News Roundup for July 11, 2019

July 11, 2019

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J Street in the News

From Iowa to New Hampshire, Israel Policy in Play, NY Jewish Week
“As voters begin to pay more attention to the options before them, and the presidential primary field shifts and narrows, however slightly in these early days, interest groups are increasing their efforts to shape Democratic policy towards Israel. ‘It’s clear that there’s really been a paradigm shift, that the old playbook has been thrown out,’ Ben Shnider, vice president of political affairs and strategy at J Street, told The Jewish Week….Said Shnider, ‘Candidates are looking for a way to articulate a pro-Israel platform in a matter that is consistent with the increasingly diverse and progressive Democratic base but that also does right by Israel. I think candidates now see that if they don’t, if they stick to the old school, one-step playbook on Israel, that they’re going to catch some significant heat from their base, and I think that’s a good and healthy thing.’”

Warning of Iran War, J Street Raises Over 25k in 24 Hours for McConnell’s Senate Challenger Amy McGrath, J Street
“JStreetPAC announced today that it had raised over $25,000 for Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath in the first 24 hours following the group’s endorsement of her campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. In a fundraising appeal released shortly after McGrath announced her candidacy on Tuesday, the pro-Israel, pro-peace group made clear that they were targeting McConnell as a chief enabler of President Trump’s dangerous foreign policy. They highlighted McConnell’s obstruction of a bipartisan Senate effort to prevent the president from launching an unauthorized war of choice with Iran.”

Top News and Analysis

The Only Answer to Netanyahu’s Conservative Clique: A Liberal Alliance, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “Without a worldwide alliance with forces that are currently in the opposition, comparable to that on the right, we can forget about change. Netanyahu nurtured the relationship with Trump and Jared Kushner and others in their circle long before they came to power. How many people in Israel are nurturing ties with the next Democratic president of the United States? And with liberal Christians or even with liberal Jewry? Too too few are….Netanyahu once said that the left forgot what it meant to be Jewish, but portions of the left have forgotten how to be universalist. The time has come to move beyond rote denunciation of Netanyahu’s conservative alliances and do more to promote alternative liberal alliances.”

Trump Angry Iran Is Breaking Deal Trump Already Broke, New York Magazine
Jonathan Chait writes, “There is an important difference between Trump’s dealings with Iran and my dealings with Netflix. Trump could try to threaten violence to force Iran to comply with the deal, whereas if I warned Netflix I would bomb them unless it gives me free shows, I would go to prison. But Trump does not want to attack Iran. He wants to make a deal with Iran; the deal he wants is basically the deal Obama made, yet he’s convinced any deal Obama made is terrible. He’s left in the position of negotiating a deal without having a clear understanding of what this even means.”


Israel Evicts Palestinian Family From East Jerusalem Home, Handing It to Settlers, Haaretz
The police evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday, after the Jerusalem District Court had dismissed their appeal and ruled in favor of the right-wing Elad Association, a settler organization that owns the majority of the building.

South sees stark drop in number of fires caused by Gaza arson attacks, Times of Israel
The Israeli military on Wednesday reported a fivefold drop in the number of fires sparked by balloon-borne incendiary devices from the Gaza Strip over the past year and an even greater decline in the extent of the damage caused by the flames.

Netanyahu: No uprooting of settlements in any peace plan , Jerusalem Post
Israel has no intention of evacuating any of the West Bank settlements in any peace plan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday night during a celebratory event marking the 40th anniversary of the Samaria Regional Council.

Barak meets with Labor head amid push for united center-left bloc, Times of Israel
Former prime minister Ehud Barak met Wednesday with newly elected Labor chief Amir Peretz — part of Barak’s pushes to form a united bloc of center-left parties ahead of general elections in September.

Israeli Attempts to Kill Hamas Officials Thwarted in Recent Months, Report Says, Haaretz
Hamas has thwarted Israeli attempts to kill senior members of its military wing in recent months, according to a report in the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar that cited security sources in the organization.

British warship prevents Iranian attempt to order a British tanker into its waters: US officials, ABC News
A British warship prevented an apparent attempt by five Iranian small boats to direct a British oil tanker towards Iranian waters on Wednesday, according to two U.S. officials. The incident is the first provocative action since Iranian officials warned of consequences after the United Kingdom seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar that was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of international sanctions.

Trump threatens to ‘substantially’ increase sanctions on Iran, Reuters
President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that U.S. sanctions on Iran would be increased “substantially” soon, as the U.N. nuclear watchdog held an emergency meeting at Washington’s request to weigh Tehran’s breach of a nuclear deal.

Palestinians Report Hundreds of Olive Trees Destroyed in West Bank Overnight, Haaretz
Palestinians from two West Bank towns reported that dozens of olive trees in their groves were cut down Wednesday overnight. In the area of the southern Hebron Hills, near the village of Susya, some 160 trees were cut down. Meanwhile, Palestinians reported that some 100 trees were damaged in the town of Turmus Ayya in the central West Bank.

Gaza Factions Threaten Retaliation After Israel Reportedly Kills Hamas Operative, Haaretz
A 28-year-old Hamas member died of his wounds after being shot Thursday by Israeli forces, Gaza’s Health Ministry reported. The Israeli army confirmed it has opened fire in order to drive armed individuals away from the border, but said it is not aware of any Hamas members killed.

Opinion and Analysis

Allies in the Persian Gulf pushed the U.S. to confront Iran. Now they’re not sure what they want., Washington Post
Erin Cunningham observes, “For years, U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf have pushed Washington to get tough on Iran. But now, with the prospect of war on the rise, they’re not so clear about what they want. Many Arab officials and analysts in the gulf are looking to the United States to be even more forceful in deterring Iran — while also more careful about provoking it. Given mixed signals from the Trump administration, some in the region are a little nervous and are sending conflicting signals of their own. The escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf have exposed differences between the United States and its regional allies, in part over how aggressively the Trump administration should confront Iran.”

A Sad Moment in Our History’: Arab Voters Expected to Shun Israeli Election in Record Numbers, Haaretz
“At least as things stand now, the proportion of Israeli Arabs expected to participate in the September 17 election looks as if it could fall below the historically low 49 percent that voted on April 9. Yousef Makladeh, director of the StatNet polling organization, says a survey his firm conducted earlier this month shows that only 47.5 percent of the Arab public see themselves voting this time around — although he is quick to say this number is likely to change.”