News Roundup for July 19, 2019

July 19, 2019

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J Street in the News

Defenders of a Racist President Use Jews as Human Shields, New York Times
“Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the liberal Zionist group J Street, puts part of the blame for this rhetorical derangement at the feet of the American Jewish establishment. Its leaders made an alliance of convenience with right-wing Christian Zionists, who support the state of Israel as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and a bulwark of Western values in the Middle East, but care little about pluralism in the United States […] ‘When they start asking people to go back where they came from, that’s the first line of attack on the Jewish people over centuries,’ said Ben-Ami. It’s terrifying enough to have a president who says such things. It’s an almost incalculable insult for Trump and his enablers to act as if he’s helping the Jews when he adopts the language of the pogrom.”

Jewish organization denounces Trump’s tactics, St Louis Post-Dispatch
“J Street members 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. At a time when many of the core values and norms of American democracy are under threat, we cannot equivocate or hesitate to challenge the forces of hate, even — and especially — when these forces cloak themselves in the authority of the White House. We must call them out clearly and do all that we can to defeat them.”

J Street Opposes the Global Bds Movement and Defends Americans’ Constitutional Right to Engage in Boycotts, J Street
“As an organization, J Street is unequivocal both in our strong opposition to the Global BDS Movement and in our support for Americans’ constitutional right to engage in boycott activities. Standing alongside our allies in the progressive Jewish community and in support of leading First Amendment experts at the ACLU, we have been at the forefront of the fight to oppose dangerous legislation that seeks to impose unconstitutional legal penalties on those engaging in boycotts […] We therefore support H.Res.496, a resolution that was introduced this week by Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and John Lewis (D-GA). “

Top News and Analysis

Iran denies Trump’s claim that U.S. warship destroyed one of its drones, Washington Post
Iran’s top military force said on Friday that it would release images of an American warship taken by one of its drones to disprove prove President Trump’s claim that the U.S. military had brought it down. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the footage would show the U.S.S. Boxer entering the Strait of Hormuz. It was taken both before and after the time the Pentagon said the drone was destroyed, according to a statement quoted by Iranian state media outlets.

Want To ‘Send Omar Back’? That’s What The Nazis Did, The Forward
Batya Ungar-Sargon writes, “There is nothing more dangerous than the idea that citizenship is mutable, that it can be undone, that it is not a permanent thing. A stateless person has no government who is answerable to them, which means their blood is cheap, if not free. Who will speak up for them when they are inevitably abused? Who will come to their aid? It’s something we Jews know all too well. Before the Nazis began their extermination of six million Jews, they revoked their citizenship. It was a crucial first step, argued the political theorist Hannah Arendt, herself an escapee of a concentration camp.”

How to Deal With Racist Leaders Who ‘Love’ Jews, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “It’s now a global trend: Israel and Jewish Diaspora communities cynically courted by democracy-eroding, ‘pro-Israel’ nationalists who present themselves as philo-Semites.”


In US, Zarif offers permanent scrutiny of nuclear sites for sanctions relief, Times of Israel
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday offered to formalize stricter international inspections of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities in exchange for permanent sanctions relief.

Ilhan Omar Introduces Resolution to Defend Americans’ Right to Boycott, Haaretz
Under fire from U.S. President Trump and ahead of a newly-announced trip to Israel and the West Bank, Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has introduced a resolution championing “the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights.”

Their families really have done nothing for this country:’ Fox guest’s attack on Omar, Tlaib tweeted by White House, Washington Post
On Thursday night, Trump retweeted a fiery fire-minute commentary from a Fox News guest who called the women “anti-Semite bigots” and said that “their families really have done nothing for this country.”

Arab Israeli Lawmaker Sends Letter of Solidarity to Omar, Tlaib: Trump’s Racism Is Like Netanyahu’s, Haaretz
Arab Israeli Knesset member Aida Touma-Sliman sent official solidarity letters to Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib “to express my appreciation for your tireless work on behalf of the Palestinian people“ and “in light of President Trump’s recent attacks.” Touma-Sliman wrote: “When I read of President Trump’s vicious attacks, I was struck by the similarity between his racist incitementand that practiced by his close ally PM Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Barak laments Labor-Gesher merger, hopes it’s ‘reversible’, Times of Israel
Israel Democratic Party leader Ehud Barak on Friday lamented the Labor Party’s merger with Orly Levy-Abekasis’s Gesher, saying it could mark the “nail on the coffin” for the storied center-left political party he formerly chaired. “I hope it’s still reversible, but the union could be the nail on the coffin of the Labor Party,” said Barak. The union with Levy-Abekasis “is essentially giving up on replacing the government and is opening the door for joining up with Netanyahu,” he added.

Vandalized Cars, Graffiti: Israeli Arab Town Hit by ‘Despicable’ Suspected Hate Crime, Haaretz
Malicious graffiti was scrawled and 23 tires of vehicles were slashed in the Arab town of Jish in northern Israel, local residents said on Friday.

Opinion and Analysis

Reconstruct the Joint List Now, Haaretz
The Editorial Board writes, “More than any poll or study, the results of the election for the 21st Knesset, which dissolved a month after it was sworn in, provide an up-to-date, reliable picture of the mood of the Israeli electorate. Parties that want to survive must seize this opportunity to learn from their mistakes and improve themselves before the next election, which will take place on September 17. Those who lack the sense to do so will pay the price at the polls.”

Republicans sour on two-state solution, Al-Monitor
Bryant Harris writes, “[Republican] skepticism was on full display this week when Democrats on Wednesday advanced a nonbinding resolution, introduced by Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., reaffirming congressional support for a two-state solution. Although the Lowenthal resolution boasts 151 co-sponsors, not a single Republican has signed on, and several members of the caucus sharply criticized the legislation before the vote.”

Lieberman Is Laying a Trap for Netanyahu, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “When the campaign got underway, in early July, the prime minister set forth a critical, lifesaving aim at his staff meetings: to lower Avigdor Lieberman, who is out to destroy him, to somewhere below the electoral threshold. All the polls have been showing that no existing party is gaining strength except for one, which will shortly double its representation in the Knesset: Yisrael Beiteinu.”

Trump is building his reelection campaign on a foundation of racism, Washington Post
Karen Tumulty writes, “It has become a cliche to say this president has hit a new bottom. The fact is, it is the same one to which he has taken the country before and will again. And as we learned Wednesday night, his most ardent supporters understand that and welcome it.”