News Roundup for July 15, 2019

July 15, 2019

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J Street in the News

Bipartisan House Amendment to NDAA Blocks Trump from Launching Unauthorized War with Iran — Lawmakers Must Demand Its Inclusion in Final Bill, J Street
“By passing this pivotal amendment, the House of Representatives just sent a strong message that President Trump is not authorized to launch a disastrous new war of choice with Iran. Bipartisan majorities of both the House and Senate have now made clear that they will not allow this administration to usurp Congress’ constitutional responsibility to decide whether our country enters into war.”

Top News and Analysis

Progressives just got a major win against Trump on Iran. Can they hold on to it?, Vox
The House took a major step Friday in tying President Donald Trump’s hands on war with Iran — one that will be met with major resistance from Senate Republicans. Lawmakers passed two amendments to the House’s more than $730 billion national defense budget that would restrict Trump’s ability to go to war with Iran without congressional approval, and also put a check on Trump’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, an alliance the administration has been using to escalate tensions with Iran.

Trump calls on minority congresswomen to apologize after he said they should ‘go back’ to their countries, Washington Post
President Trump on Monday called on a group of minority, liberal congresswomen to “apologize” to the United States, Israel and to him a day after he said in inflammatory tweets that they should “go back” to their countries. “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said,” Trump said in a new tweet Monday. “So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”

Biden, Buttigieg, Booker respond to IfNotNow question about occupation, JTA
Democratic presidential front runner and former vice president, Joe Biden, told a member of the IfNotNow Jewish anti-occupation movement that the “occupation is a human rights crisis,” and called for a two-state solution […] Buttigieg on Friday in Laconia, New Hampshire, told IfNotNow fellow Erin Sandler, 29, that “The occupation must end.”[…] “[Y]ou can care about Israel’s future and believe in the U.S. relationship and alliance with Israel without being on board with right-wing policies by the Netanyahu government which is now walking away from peace in a way that I think will harm the Israeli people, the Palestinian people, and in the long run the American people,” Buttigieg said […] IfNotNow said one of its fellows on Saturday asked Cory Booker the same occupation question and that he got “visibly frustrated.” – “If that’s your issue I would understand if you want to support somebody else,” the group said he responded. The series of tweets also noted that he refused to use the term occupation.


Israeli Education Minister Advocates Debunked Gay Conversion Therapy, New York Times
Israel’s new education minister endorsed so-called conversion therapy for gay youths, which has been widely debunked by the medical establishment — prompting immediate outrage and calls for his dismissal.

Trump pulled out of Iran nuclear deal to spite Obama, then-British ambassador said, LA Times
In the May 2018 cable published by the Mail on Sunday, British Ambassador Kim Darroch called Trump’s decision to abandon the international accord “an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons” because the pact “was Obama’s deal.” Darroch wrote the memo after then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Washington in a failed attempt to persuade the United States not to abandon the 2015 nuclear agreement. He alleged the White House had no strategy for what would come after its withdrawal and “no sort of plan for reaching out to partners and allies.”

Netanyahu: IDF the Only Army Ready to Fight Iran, The Jerusalem Post
Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the only army ready to combat Iran is the IDF. Speaking to members of the National Security College at the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu slammed the 2015 nuclear deal, and said that only he was against it at the time.

I Don’t Feel Like a Human Being’: The Gazans Who Lost Everything in an Israeli Bombing, Haaretz
After the air force bombed Gaza in the latest round of fighting, in May, hundreds of people who lost their homes haven’t recovered. Residents of two destroyed buildings offer new testimony of the disaster that befell them.

Erekat slams senior Hamas official’s ‘repugnant’ remarks about killing Jews, Times of Israel
Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, on Monday condemned statements made by senior Hamas official Fathi Hammad last week calling on members of the Palestinian diaspora to kill Jews around the world. “The just values of the Palestinian cause include love for freedom, justice and equality. The repugnant statement of Hamas leader Mr. Fathi Hammad about Jews doesn’t represent any of them,” Erekat tweeted on Monday. “Religion shouldn’t be used for political purposes.”

One hundred bullet fragments ‘lodged in Palestinian child shot by Israeli soldiers’, The National
A Palestinian boy is in a critical condition with 100 bullet fragments in his head after reportedly being shot during a protest in the West Bank.

As Israel Tightens Entry Rules, Foreign Lecturers at Palestinian Universities Forced to Leave, Haaretz
Among the many problems at Birzeit University in the West Bank, foreign lecturers’ troubles haven’t received top priority. But as Mudar Kassis, an associate professor in philosophy, puts it, “suddenly I looked around and discovered that my colleagues were being deported.”

Opinion and Analysis

Is Netanyahu concerned about anti-Semitic rulers?, Al-Monitor
Akiva Eldar writes, “How many minutes, if not seconds, would it have taken Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or his son Yair Netanyahu to tweet in rage against a Western leader who invited an illustrator (or a cartoonist) known for his anti-Semitic caricatures to meet with him? This is not some imaginary scenario. None other than President Donald Trump issued such an invitation to the White House on July 8. Apparently, he is not outraged by Ben Garrison’s caricatures, one of which depicts the presidents of the United States and Russia peeking from the skull of the angel of death who has a Star of David drawn on his nose and the word ‘War’ boldly emblazoned on his forehead.”

Benny Morris: Israel’s Concealing of Nakba Documents Is Totalitarian, Haaretz
Benny Morris writes, “Malmab, the Defense Ministry’s secretive security department, has systematically culled from Israeli archives documents that paint the state’s conduct toward Palestine’s Arabs, particularly during the 1948 war, in bleak colors. In vaults, it hides away documents describing expulsions and massacres by various pre-state militias and then Israeli soldiers during that war and in subsequent years.”

Tehran is preparing for a showdown with the US, The National
Raghida Dergham writes, “Both sides are also preparing for a military showdown. According to sources, the US needs a week to ensure full readiness to do so, although its current deployment is sufficient for a swift military strike if necessary. Iran is also preparing its forces and proxies in the Arab region, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Popular Mobilisation Forces in Iraq. In other words, unless a deal precludes confrontation, the current trajectory of events indicates pending military hostilities in the Gulf and Middle East.”

Gay Conversion Controversy Reveals Seismic Shift in Israeli Politics, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “The speed at which the fault lines of Israeli politics have moved from the classic left-right argument over the future of the West Bank and conflict with the Palestinians to matters of religion and liberalism has taken everyone by surprise. Even Avigdor Lieberman, who prevented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a new governing coalition less than two months ago, using the law for drafting yeshiva students as his wedge issue, could not have dreamed that the upcoming election campaign would be consumed by matters such as gay conversion therapy.”

After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning, New York Times
David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner write, “What stings most is not that he was arrested at 15, that his crime was speaking up for a younger boy, that he was one more Ethiopian harassed by the Israeli police, or even that he was pummeled by the police officer on the way to the station house. The one memory that Izra Ayalo, 25, cannot shake was the moment when the officer told a commander, ‘Watch this,’ and raised his fist again. Mr. Ayalo flinched. The commander laughed. ‘From that point on,’ Mr. Ayalo said, ‘I’ve had a hole in my heart.’”