News Roundup for July 16, 2019

July 16, 2019

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J Street in the News

J Street Offers Alternative to Birthright for Young Jews [Video], CNN
CNN reports from Israel on J Street U’s model ‘Let Our People Know’ trip to Israel, which included in-depth engagement with issues surrounding the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Liberal US Jews say Trump is weaponizing Israel to defend his racist tweets, Times of Israel
“Other Jewish groups, such as J Street, excoriated Trump’s tweets as xenophobic and bigoted, and said they were part of an attempt to stifle debate about American policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ‘We refuse to allow the real threat of anti-Semitism to be weaponized and exploited by those who themselves share a large part of the responsibility for the rise of white nationalist and anti-Semitic violence in this country,’ the liberal Mideast advocacy organization said in a statement. ‘We refuse to allow false ‘anti-Israel’ charges to silence important debate over US foreign policy conflict and legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies.’”

US Jewish Groups Condemn Trump’s ‘Racist’ Tweets Against Rival Congresswomen, Haaretz
“The organization J Street added it is ‘appalled’ by what they called the ‘ongoing torrent of racist incitement that President Trump continues to direct against progressive women of color in Congress.’ The recent tweets, the group said, show Trump has ‘sunk to a disgraceful new low of extremism and shown contempt for the very essence of democracy and equality in the United States.’”

Anti-Semitism event at Justice Department turns into pro-Israel rally, Yahoo News
“‘The facts show that the white nationalist, xenophobic far-right is the clear source of rising anti-Semitic violence in this country,’ said Dylan Williams, vice president of government affairs at J Street, a progressive Jewish advocacy group. ‘Instead of seriously combating that threat — which the president has stoked with his own hateful rhetoric — the Trump administration and its allies in the right-wing minority of the Jewish community prefer to focus overwhelming attention on nonviolent campus critics of Israel, and to wield false accusations of anti-Semitism as a partisan weapon against progressives.’”

Lindsey Graham Calls Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “Anti-American,” “Anti-Semitic”, Paste
“‘We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists,’ he began. ‘They hate Israel, they hate our own country, they’re calling the guards along our borders, the border patrol agents, concentration camp guards, they accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins, they’re anti-Semitic. They’re anti-American.’ As Dylan Williams of J Street pointed out, this rhetoric comes dangerously close to incitement…”

Trump’s Racist Incitement Must Be Fought — Without Equivocation or Excuse, J Street
“As a movement that represents the pro-Israel, pro-peace majority of American Jews, we are outraged that the president and his allies continue to smear progressive Democrats with false accusations of anti-Semitism and to use ‘support for Israel’ as a shield with which to obscure and justify their own bigotry.”

Top News and Analysis

Trump answers racism accusation with a charge of his own: anti-Semitism, Washington Post
President Trump, unrepentant after hurling racial invective at four nonwhite lawmakers, accused one of the first two Muslim women in Congress of harboring animosity toward Jews in an apparent attempt to claim the moral high ground in an explosive contest over identity, patriotism and bigotry […] The tactic demonstrated how aggressively the president has courted Israel and its most fervent American supporters, as well as his willingness to use that base of support as a bulwark against accusations of intolerance.

Trump Is Using Israel To Shield His Racism, The Forward
Michael Koplow writes, “When someone uses racist and incendiary language to accuse American Jews of undermining the U.S. and being foreign implants in service of Israel, we waste no time in condemning that language as anti-Semitic. But what do we do when someone uses racist and incendiary language to accuse other Americans of undermining the U.S. and being foreign implants, and does so allegedly in service of Israel? Welcome to being an American Jew in the Trump era, where a president who is literally hailed by the Israeli government as the greatest philo-Semite since ancient Persia’s King Cyrus the Great is undermining Israel in ways that will be nearly impossible to reverse and using American Jews as his weapon of choice.”

‘This is the agenda of white nationalists’: Four minority congresswomen condemn Trump’s racist remarks, Washington Post
After being targeted by President Trump with racist tweets — following days of scolding from their own party leaders — four Democratic congresswomen chose to stand together before the cameras and defend their vision for their country. During a hastily scheduled news conference late Monday, the self-described “Squad” — Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) — spoke in somber and personal terms of their belief in America as a nation of immigrants offering opportunities for women of color like themselves, rather than a country for the privileged.

News

Trump falsely accuses Ilhan Omar of praising al Qaeda, CNN
In a series of racist tweets on Sunday, President Donald Trump told a group of four Democratic congresswomen, all of whom are people of color, to “go back” to their supposed home countries, though three of them were born in the US. On Monday, he aggressively defended the tweets — and falsely accused one of the congresswomen, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, of having praised al Qaeda. Trump said he is angry “when I hear people speaking about how wonderful al Qaeda is.” He emphasized: “That was Omar. How great al Qaeda is.”

Trump, Netanyahu Are Both Racists, Says Arab MK in Defense of Congresswomen, The Jerusalem Post
Hadash-Ta’al MK Aida Touma-Sliman sent a message of solidarity on Tuesday to a group of controversial congresswomen who have been repeatedly attacked on Twitter this week by US president Donald Trump. “Trump went on a racist attack against left wing congresswomen of color,” said Touma-Sliman, who headed the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women in the 20th Knesset. Touma-Sliman added that “Trump and Netanyahu work in the same way. They represent the same racism, nationalism and incitement against minorities.”

Top 2020 Dems wouldn’t reverse Trump’s Jerusalem embassy decision, Axios
In addition to Biden, Sens. Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand — as well as former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Mayor Pete Buttigieg — said they would not reverse Trump’s decision. Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Julián Castro, declined to express an opinion on the matter, despite having sharply criticized Trump at the time of the move.

EU Ministers, Scrambling to Save Iran Nuclear Deal, Play Down Breaches, New York Times
Scrambling to save the nuclear agreement with Iran, European foreign ministers declared Monday that Iranian breaches so far were not serious enough to take steps that could lead to reimposed international sanctions and a collapse of the accord. That conclusion, reached at a meeting in Brussels, effectively extended a lifeline for the 2015 nuclear agreement in defiance of pressure by the Trump administration.

Netanyahu accuses Europeans of appeasing Iran like they did Germany in the ’30s, JTA
The European Union said it remains committed to the nuclear deal with Iran despite that country’s claims that it violated its terms, prompting Israel to accuse Brussels of 1930s-like appeasement.

UK warns Iran nuclear bomb a year away as foreign ministers seek to save 2015 deal, The National
Iran is a year from developing a nuclear weapon, Britain’s foreign secretary warned on Monday as he joined his European counterparts in scrambling to avoid the nightmare scenario of weapons proliferation across the Middle East.

Israelis call for education minister to resign over gay conversion remarks, The Guardian
Hundreds of demonstrators have called on Israel’s new education minister to resign after the far-right politician said he supported gay conversion “therapy” and had even attempted it himself.

Bernie Sanders Visited The Tree Of Life Synagogue – Secretly, The Forward
Sen. Bernie Sanders forbade his campaign staff from publicizing a visit he paid to the site of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre in April because he didn’t want the visit to be seen as a “publicity grab,” The New York Times reported Saturday.

Hamas: Our Struggle Is Only Against the Occupation, Not Jews Elsewhere, The Jerusalem Post
“These remarks do not reflect the official stances of Hamas and its policy,” stated Hamas on Monday in response to Hamas official Fathi Hamad who on Friday told Palestinians worldwide to “attack every Jew on planet Earth.”  In the statement on their website, Hamas stressed that it’s stances and policy “state that our struggle is only against the Israeli occupation which occupies our land and desecrates our holy places.”

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Do-over Election Gives Arab Parties an Opportunity – One They’re Refusing to Seize, Haaretz
Jack Khoury writes, “There is no Joint List, no trust between the parties – and the trust between the parties and their voters has been eroded so much that even the veteran party activists have a hard time remembering the last time things were so bad.”

Israel’s machinery of dispossession has crushed the hopes of an inspirational family, The National
Jonathan Cook writes, “Israeli police forced out the Siyam family from their home in the heart of occupied East Jerusalem last week, the final chapter in their 25-year legal battle against a powerful settler organisation. The family’s defeat represented much more than just another eviction. It was intended to land a crushing blow against the hopes of some 20,000 Palestinians living in the shadow of the Old City walls and Al Aqsa mosque.”

Testimonies From the Censored Deir Yassin Massacre: ‘They Piled Bodies and Burned Them’, Haaretz
Ofer Aderet writes, “A young fellow tied to a tree and set on fire. A woman and an old man shot in back. Girls lined up against a wall and shot with a submachine gun. The testimonies collected by filmmaker Neta Shoshani about the massacre in Deir Yassin are difficult to process even 70 years after the fact.”

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