News Roundup for September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street in the News

J Street accuses Trump of inflating importance of Mideast normalization deals, Times of Israel
“The liberal J Street lobby accuses US President Donald Trump of inflating the importance of the normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, which he touted during his speech to the UN General Assembly. ‘Israel’s diplomatic normalization agreements with the UAE and Bahrain are a good thing — but it’s no surprise that the president continues to drastically misrepresent their importance in order to falsely claim for himself the mantle of ‘Middle East peacemaker,’’ says J Street’s Vice President for Government Affairs Dylan Williams in a statement. He says the normalization deals are no replacement for Israel-Palestinian peace […] ’True Israeli-Palestinian peace remains both necessary and possible, but it will require American and Israeli leaders who are willing to seriously engage with the Palestinians and their aspirations, rather than scapegoating and excluding them.’”

Trump Doubles Down on Totally Failed Iran Policy, J Street
“President Trump’s brief but belligerent speech to the UN General Assembly today only served as a reminder that his policies toward Iran have been a complete and utter failure. Iran is today much closer to possessing a nuclear weapon than they were when Trump took office. Its hardliners are empowered and emboldened, openly launching missiles at US troops in the region. Having destroyed the united international front against Iran’s most threatening behavior that it inherited from the Obama-Biden administration, Trump has left the US totally isolated at the United Nations, alienated from — and now openly threatening — even our closest European allies.”

Top News and Analysis

Virus surges to almost 7,000 daily cases as cabinet meets on tightening closure, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry said on Wednesday morning that 6,923 new virus cases had been diagnosed in Israel the previous day, a massive surge to a record-high number of infections, as the coronavirus cabinet was set to meet on tightening the national lockdown.

It’s Time for Arab States to Drop Another Bombshell on Israel, Haaretz
Yossi Beilin writes, “Saudi Arabia should revisit its surprise 2002 initiative by pushing the four Arab states who have normalized relations with Israel to lobby for a proper peace. One that includes the Palestinians.”


Netanyahu Calls to Curb Protests Against Him Under Coronavirus Restrictions, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that the “farce” of anti-government protests calling for his resignation must be curbed under the coronavirus restrictions.

At UN, Jordan’s king calls for two-state solution, YNetNews
“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the one conflict that started with the UN’s formation and that continues to fester to this very day,” he said. “The only way toward an end to this conflict, the central conflict in my region, is through the two-state solution in accordance with international law and UN resolutions.

Israeli Coronavirus Patients Wait Hours in Ambulances as Hospitals Fill Up, Haaretz
Over the last few days, COVID-19 patients have been forced to wait in ambulances for hours due to the difficulty of finding a hospital willing to accept them, as coronavirus wards across the country are flooded with new cases.

Israeli kibbutz tweaks its name to honor Ginsburg, AP
Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet, or The Judge’s Heights, is named after Julian Mack, an early 20th century Jewish American judge. The kibbutz in northern Israel said this week it was temporarily tweaking its name to Ramat Hashofetet. Hebrew is a gendered language and the change turns the word judge female.

Pentagon head tells Gantz US will protect Israeli edge, as F-35 sale zooms ahead, Times of Israel
The top US defense official told his Israeli counterpart that Washington was committed to maintaining Israel’s military edge in the region Tuesday, as the sides sought ways to defray Jerusalem’s worries over the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates.

NYC health department warns of ‘significant concern’ about COVID-19 rise in largely Orthodox neighborhoods, JTA
Six heavily Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens are currently contributing 20% of all new COVID-19 cases in New York City, and rising cases there are cause for “significant concern,” city health officials announced Tuesday.

Palestinians quit Arab League role over UAE-Bahrain-Israel deal, Deutsche Welle
The Palestinian Authority has stepped down from a key Arab League role over the bloc’s failure to condemn Bahrain and the UAE’s normalization of ties with Israel. Its foreign minister called any such deal dishonorable.

Companies Linked to Roman Abramovich Donated $100 Million to E. Jerusalem Right-wing Group, Haaretz
Bank documents indicate that companies associated with or controlled by the Israeli-Russian billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich have contributed nearly 350 million shekels ($102 million) to the Elad organization, which works to strengthen the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem. The disclosure links the Russian-born oligarch to four companies that are registered in the British Virgin Islands and over which up to now, it was not known who was behind them.

Opinion and Analysis

6 weeks after UAE’s normalization bombshell, Palestinians still have no strategy, Times of Israel
Aaron Boxerman writes, “It has been nearly a month and a half since the surprise announcement that the United Arab Emirates was establishing open ties with Israel. But analysts say the Palestinian Authority is still at a loss as to how to combat the wave of normalization sweeping the region.”

Israel’s colossal coronavirus failure, The Jerusalem Post
Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman writes, “Those pointing fingers are correct – as long as they have pointed one of those fingers at themselves. It took a whole village to get to the point where Israel has nearly 700 critical coronavirus patients – and it will take a whole village to get the nation out of this crisis.”

The Uighurs are today’s Marranos. This year, Kol Nidre is about them, The Forward
Jonah Kaye writes, “The Chinese government has forced at least one million Uyghurs into concentration camps and has carried out organ harvesting and forced sterilizations. They have also been stripped of their ability to practice their religion and have become conversos to the CCP’s ideology of ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics,’ and to an increasingly dominant Han Chinese culture.”