News Roundup for September 28, 2020

September 28, 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

Biden Compares Trump to Goebbels Ahead of Presidential Debate, Haaretz
“‘He’s sort of like [Joseph] Goebbels,’ Biden said of Trump in reference to the Nazi propagandist. ‘You say the lie long enough, keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it, it becomes common knowledge.’ — ‘He’s sort of like [Joseph] Goebbels,’ Biden said of Trump in reference to the Nazi propagandist. ‘You say the lie long enough, keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it, it becomes common knowledge.’ […] The majority of Jewish voters who view Trump unfavorably ‘are not going to put (that) out of their minds’ because the president can trumpet new pacts between Gulf states and Israel, said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal-leaning Jewish American advocacy group J Street.”

Virtual classes, services and offerings, starting September 28, Cleveland Jewish News
“J Street, the political home for people who favor a negotiated, two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict in Israel, will launch J Street CLE, with a virtual celebration Sept. 30. 7:30 p.m., private reception with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, and Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street founder and president; 8 p.m., Roger Cohen, New York Times columnist, and Ben-Ami will discuss the importance of J Street’s mission and the challenges facing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Visit to register.”

Top News and Analysis

Options Dwindling, Palestinian Leader Calls for U.N. Peace Conference, New York Times
Weary of repeating his people’s longstanding grievances with Israel, the Palestinian leader used his United Nations General Assembly speech on Friday to request an international conference in early 2021 “with the participation of all concerned parties.” The request by the leader, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, appeared to reflect an acknowledgment that the ground had shifted significantly in Israel’s favor over the past year, threatening to marginalize the Palestinians in a struggle that is nearly as old at the United Nations itself. “I wondered while preparing this statement what more I could tell you, after all that I have said in previous statements, about the perpetual tragedy and suffering being endured by my people,” Mr. Abbas said. The prerecorded speech was sent from his office in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to the annual gathering, held virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel ushers in Yom Kippur with record COVID cases, tight restrictions and government apologies, JTA
Israel confirmed more than 8,000 new coronavirus cases in one day, a new high, as the rate of tests coming back positive climbed to 14% and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that the country opened too fast after the first lockdown. Israel currently is more than two weeks into a second lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. On Saturday, the Health Ministry reported that 8,315 new coronavirus cases had been confirmed Friday. As of Sunday morning, there have been 1,450 Israeli deaths from the coronavirus.

How Joe Biden can solve the Iran crisis, Responsible Statecraft
Joe Cirincione writes, “The solution to the crisis is simple: come back into compliance with the Iran nuclear agreement and related United Nations Security Council resolutions, then work with our allies to build upon them, addressing through diplomacy our other disagreements with Iran. Implementing this simple solution, however, will be difficult. Even with a new Biden approach, Iran may not agree, regional powers will try to sabotage him, domestic opponents aligned with these foreign governments will attack him, and the window for action will be short.”


Ocasio-Cortez withdraws from Rabin memorial event after backlash, Times of Israel
The decision, which came after backlash from pro-Palestinian activists, was confirmed to The Times of Israel by a spokeswoman for the congresswoman, a rising star in the progressive wing of the Democratic party.

Israel’s ‘silent transfer’ of Palestinians out of Palestine, Al Jazeera
Palestinian researcher Manosur Manasra notes Israel launched this policy of transfer against Palestinians in East Jerusalem almost immediately after the 1967 war and the subsequent occupation of the eastern part of the city.

Ahead of Yom Kippur, coronavirus czar apologizes for failing to avert lockdown, Times of Israel
The leader of the government’s fight against the coronavirus, Ronni Gamzu, asked Sunday for forgiveness for failing to prevent a general lockdown.

Israeli Politicians Bicker Over Protests While COVID Cases Skyrocket in Haredi Communities, Haaretz
Cases in ultra-Orthodox areas have been climbing for more than a month, and the government has not made any real effort to enforce distancing rules in them.

Health minister: Law limiting protests, prayers will be advanced Tuesday, Times of Israel
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein on Saturday said the government would finalize legislation banning large demonstrations on Tuesday, as thousands rallied against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Opinion and Analysis

The Arab World Is Having a Jewish Revolution, Foreign Policy
Steven A Cook writes, “The contrast between what the UAE is doing through the Abraham Accords and its broader efforts at outreach to other faiths, notably Roman Catholics, is far beyond the norm of what I’ve grown accustomed to since I began traveling to and living in the Middle East three decades ago.”

COVID-19 Failure of Right-wing Populists Like Trump and Netanyahu Hardly a Coincidence, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The country with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world is the United States, which is led by an authoritarian right-wing nationalist and populist, Donald Trump. Second place belongs to India, which is led by the authoritarian right-wing nationalist and populist Narendra Modi. Next in line is Brazil, led by the authoritarian right-wing nationalist and populist Jair Bolsonaro.”

AOC should honor Rabin. She should honor Arafat, too, The Forward
Muhammad Shehada writes, “This waffling on the part of the congresswoman is problematic. Having already accepted the invitation, turning her back now on a pro-peace organization that tirelessly advocates the two-state solution and consequently casting shade on Rabin’s record as a peacemaker would send the wrong signal to — and alienate — peace advocates on the other side.”

Liberal Zionists, It’s Time to Admit: AOC Just Doesn’t Want to Be Your Friend, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “That [‘peace camp’] was left hurting and humiliated this weekend after Ocasio-Cortez decided to cancel her participation at the APN event commemorating Rabin’s murder. Rabin was a brutal military officer who fought the Palestinians for five decades before using his political power to become the first Israeli leader to seriously negotiate with the other side, a policy reversal that cost him his life. Along the way, he did something even more important than the Oslo Accords – he was the first, and so far only, Israeli prime minister who based his government on the support of Arab-Israeli politicians, refusing to accept the racist concept of a ‘government without the Arab parties’ that has dominated Israeli politics since his death.”

The myth of Rabin the peacemaker, +972 Mag
Amjad Iraqi writes, “During the debate over AOC’s event, some commentators fairly pointed out that Rabin’s legacy was more complex than others were letting on. Rabin’s decision to stake his career on negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization — once an unthinkable prospect for most Israelis — was indeed daring. His outreach to Palestinian citizens of Israel to help him keep a government mandate and advance the accords was unprecedented; many Palestinian citizens supported the peace process and even mourned Rabin’s death. Moreover, Palestinian leaders were no less tainted by crimes that they had ordered or committed, yet they, too, were capable of change.”

No Terror Attacks, No Accords: 20 Years On, the Effects of the Second Intifada Are Clear, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “The Palestinians’ suicide-bomb campaign led to an extraordinary Israeli consensus on the tough response needed. And now the Palestinian leadership is helping quell violence.”