News Roundup for July 13, 2018

April 13, 2018

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J Street in the News

Top American Jewish Organizations in Letter to Herzog: “Nation-State Bill would Enshrine Discrimination into Israel’s Basic Laws”, J Street

“Today, 13 leading American Jewish organizations submitted a letter to Knesset opposition leader Isaac Herzog expressing opposition to the discriminatory ‘Nation-State Bill,’ which is currently advancing in the Knesset. The bill would alter Israel’s constitution-level Basic Law in ways that pose severe risks to minority rights and Israel’s democratic foundation.”

Neo-Nazis Look for New Home in Trump’s Republican Party, J Street Blog

J Street’s Alan Elsner writes, “A recent article on the major news website began with a terrifying statement: ‘In at least five state and national races across the country, the Republican Party is dealing with an uncomfortable problem. Their party’s candidate is either a card-carrying Nazi, a Holocaust denier, a proud white supremacist, or all of the above.’ In one way, this should not be so surprising. After all, President Trump last year called some of the racists and white supremacists who marched under the banner of the swastika in Charlottesville, Virginia ‘very fine people.’ As they walked down the street, the white-nationalist protesters chanted ‘blood and soil,’ the English translation of a Nazi slogan.”

Top News and Analysis

High Court further postpones demolition of West Bank Bedouin village, Times of Israel

Jacob Magid reports, “The High Court of Justice agreed on Thursday to hold a hearing on a petition filed by residents of Khan al-Ahmar against the state’s decision to demolish the Bedouin village near the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. The top legal body ordered that a hearing on the matter be held by August 15, meaning the demotion of the hamlet — originally green-lighted by the court in May — will be further delayed until after the session takes place and a decision is handed down.”

The Jewish Revolt, New York Magazine

Abraham Riesman profiles the IfNotNow movement.

An Israeli Aid Worker’s Clandestine Effort to Help Syrian Refugees, New Yorker

Bernard Avishai reports, “Gal Lusky, a founder and leader of the relief organization Israeli Flying Aid, is speaking to me by phone from Israel. She has been working covertly—and audaciously—to support displaced civilians in southwest and northern Syria since the beginning of the insurgency against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, in April, 2011. Lusky told me that she wanted to publicly disclose her clandestine efforts in view of what she called ‘the extremity of the situation’—yet another daunting humanitarian crisis, the result of a massive regime-led military offensive in Dara’a, Syria’s southwest province, which Dexter Filkins described last week, and which seems bound to become yet another military flashpoint along Israel’s northeast border.”


Israel hits Syrian posts after drone breached its airspace, Associated Press

Israel targeted Syrian military positions early on Thursday after an unmanned drone entered its airspace from the neighboring country the previous day, the military said.

Democrats Claim Trump Secretly Froze All Humanitarian Aid to Palestinians, Haaretz

A group of Democratic members of Congress urged U.S. President Trump on Wednesday to reveal his administration’s full policy on funding humanitarian projects in the Palestinian territories. The lawmakers claimed in their letter that “all U.S. assistance, including life-saving humanitarian aid, has been frozen since January 2018,” and blamed the administration for a lack of transparency on the subject.

Israeli minister calls for closure of embassy in Dublin after settlements vote, CNN

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for the “immediate” closure of his country’s embassy in Dublin after the upper house of the Irish parliament voted to ban the import of goods produced in Israeli settlements.

Israel summons EU envoy for dressing down in clash over Jewish state bill, Times of Israel

A diplomatic spat was sparked Thursday evening between Israel and the European Union over a report that the EU’s ambassador here told Likud lawmakers that a controversial government-sponsored bill “reeks of racism” and could harm the country’s international standing.

Netanyahu doubles down support for controversial ‘nation-state’ bill, i24NEWS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doubled down his support on Thursday for a controversial “nation-state” bill before parliament that has attracted criticism from the country’s president.

Top official says Tehran has no intention of leaving Syria, Associated Press

A senior envoy to Iran’s leader says Tehran has no intention of leaving Syria despite U.S. and Israeli pressure. The statement from Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, follows his meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Opinion and Analysis

Don’t Let Trump Go to War With Iran, Atlantic

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) writes, “I hope I am wrong about what I see coming. But watching this administration tear up a diplomatic deal with Iran, use increasingly belligerent rhetoric about that nation, and assert that it can wage war without coming to Congress leads me to sound an alarm. We cannot afford another unnecessary war, and Congress and the public must be vigilant to stop it.”

Israeli president stands up against Arab discrimination, Al-Monitor

Yossi Beilin writes, “President Reuven Rivlin was so furious this week that he sent a letter about the proposed [“Nation-State”] law to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all Knesset members after he had discussed the matter with Netanyahu. It is safe to assume that Rivlin was also angry about this blatant attack on the Arabic language, but he nevertheless chose to focus on the sub-clause that would give communities the right to exclude Arabs from living among them. His remarks had solid grounding in previous legislation passed by the Knesset that states explicitly, ‘The admissions committee is prohibited from rejecting a candidate for reasons of race, religion, gender, nationality, disability, marital status, age, parenthood, sexual orientation, country of origin, viewpoint or political party affiliation.’ According to Rivlin, the proposed law violates not only the Supreme Court’s ruling, but other laws passed by the Knesset itself.”

Netanyahu’s Crippling Lack of Confidence in Israel’s Jewish Identity – and His Own, Haaretz

William Kolbrener writes, “Israel is not America, I am told. Separation of Church and State is an unnatural import. Well, maybe, yes. But the Zionist ideal is a fragile, if not impossible, one. And in the strange paradox of Israel as Jewish democracy, we should err on the side of democracy. Empowering the government to enforce a particular conception of Judaism or community through symbols and legislative acts represents yet another in a series of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to violate democratic norms.”