News Roundup for July 2, 2019

July 2, 2019

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J Street in the News

U.S. Envoys Break Open Tunnel Running Under Palestinian Village in East Jerusalem, Haaretz
“In response to the inauguration ceremony, J Street Israel director Yael Patir released a statement saying: ‘When the U.S. ambassador takes part, alongside radical right-wing members, in breaking walls that run under houses in the Palestinian village of Silwan, he only strengthens the walls of distrust between the Trump administration and the Palestinians. An administration that presented [an economic] plan in Bahrain, and shortly after shattered it in Silwan, doesn’t really seek peace and doesn’t really want to serve as mediator,’ Patir said.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel Is Blamed for Deadly Missile Strikes in Syria, New York Times
Israeli warplanes struck several military sites in Syria overnight and killed several fighters and civilians, Syrian state media reported on Monday, in what appeared to be a stepping up of Israel’s long-running, partly covert campaign to thwart Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and stop weapon transfers to Lebanon.

Yitzhak Rabin’s granddaughter joins new political party of Ehud Barak, JTA
She said the decision to enter politics wasn’t easy. “I’ve seen from up close the price of hatred and incitement,” Rothman said in a statement announcing the move. “We shouldn’t accept extremist views in Israeli society.”

Iran Is Rushing to Build a Nuclear Weapon and Trump Can’t Stop It, New York Times
John J. Mearsheimer writes, “President Trump says he wants to make sure Iran never acquires nuclear weapons. His policy, however, is having the opposite effect: It is giving Tehran a powerful incentive to go nuclear, while at the same time making it increasingly difficult for the United States to prevent that […] American policy toward Iran over the past year makes it clear that Iranian leaders were foolish not to develop a nuclear deterrent in the early 2000s.”


Donald Trump says Iran ‘playing with fire’ after nuclear deal limit breached, The National
US President Donald Trump warned Monday that Iran is “playing with fire” after Tehran said it exceeded a limit on enriched uranium reserves under a 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by Washington.

White House issues nonsensical statement about Iran nuclear deal, The Independent
A White House claim that Iran violated the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal before the agreement even existed has been ridiculed as “illogical”. Stephanie Grisham, appointed press secretary by Donald Trump last month, issued a statement on Monday that said: “There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.” Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded in a message on Twitter: “Seriously?”

Israel will be destroyed in half an hour if America attacks Iran: senior Iranian MP, Reuters
Israel will be destroyed in half an hour if the United States attacks Iran, a senior Iranian parliamentarian said on Monday, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Embattled Labor sets sights on a new leader to revitalize party, Times of Israel
Tens of thousands of Labor party members will head to the polls on Tuesday in the first round of voting for a new leader of the center-left party that, having led Israel for its first three decades, is now fighting to stay relevant. The race sees party veteran and former leader MK Amir Peretz facing off against Labor’s youngest MKs, Itzik Shmuli and Stav Shaffir, who their supporters say represent a last chance to revitalize the once-venerable faction and save it from oblivion.

36 Jewish protesters arrested at ICE detention center in New Jersey, JTA
Thirty-six protesters from a new Jewish group were arrested at a demonstration in front of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

US arms control office critically understaffed under Trump, experts say, The Gaurdian
A state department office tasked with negotiating and implementing nuclear disarmament treaties has lost more than 70% of its staff over the past two years, as the Trump administration moves towards a world without arms control for the first time in nearly half a century.

Protests expected to intensify over slaying of Ethiopian-Israeli teen by cop, Times of Israel
Protests are expected to intensify Tuesday amid anger in Israel’s Ethiopian community over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by an off-duty police officer on Sunday, as police warned they would respond “firmly” to any further violence.

Hundreds of Scholars Criticize D.C. Holocaust Museum’s Stance on Concentration Camps Comparison, Haaretz
The Holocaust museum’s position that nothing can be compared to the Holocaust, including Trump’s border facilities to concentration camps, ‘makes learning from the past almost impossible,’ open letter says

Zehut-New Right merger talks at impasse over Feiglin’s leadership primary demand, Times of Israel
The Zehut party announced on Sunday that it had agreed in principle to a joint Knesset run with the New Right party in the upcoming elections, but put forward an ultimatum asserting that the merger would not be made official unless open leadership primaries were held for the top slot on the joint list.

Opinion and Analysis

It’s Time To Admit That The US Is Signing The Checks For Greater Israel, The Forward
Saeb Erekat writes, “For a while, it was possible to see the Trump Administration’s actions as simply biased in favor of Israel. No longer. It is in fact a full-fledged underwriting of the ideological dynamics at play, which negate Palestinian rights, international law, and United Nations resolutions. Kushner, along with Ambassador David Friedman — himself a supporter of the settler movement — and Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt have exposed a clear goal of eliminating the Palestinian national project, to the benefit of those who advocate for ‘Greater Israel.’”

I fled Nazi Germany. I hope the US doesn’t turn its back on refugees, The Gaurdian
Aryeh Neier writes, “Since beginning his presidential campaign in 2015, Trump has made hostility to migrants, including asylum seekers, the running theme of his appeals to his most fervent supporters. Whether or not Trump is re-elected, the antagonism to refugees that he has generated will not soon disappear. Trump made it the main focus of his effort to secure support exactly because he recognized its popular appeal. Yet I do not think that the nationalistic and xenophobic strain in American attitudes that the president has cultivated and brought to the fore will necessarily continue to prevail.”

The origins of Israeli racism lie in our hyper-militarized society, +972
Orly Noy writes, “Israeli children get a healthy dose of both racism and militarism from a young age, from the moment they are drafted into the ranks in kindergarten, preparing care packages for soldiers before they can even read. It is around this age that they first hear and internalize anti-Arab racism. Eventually, years down the line, they will attend a pre-military boot camp and pretend they are soldiers for a few days. Before they know it, they will be joining the IDF to fight the ‘terrorists,’ a term that has always been used as a euphemism for ‘Arabs.’”

Fire and Ice: Inside the Battle to Lead Israel’s Troubled Labor Party, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “The winner will face a formidable task: Picking up the pieces of the once-dominant party after the most disastrous election result in its history. After Labor garnered a mere six seats in April, Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay resigned, the latest in a series of leaders who failed to win over voters. In their campaign speeches, media appearances and frequent tweets and Instagram posts, Shaffir and Shmuli both say they represent the change that their struggling party needs to rebuild itself. Both contend that Peretz represents the party’s old, failed image.”

Iran’s leaders will negotiate with Trump sooner or later. They’d prefer later, Washington Post
Jason Rezaian writes, “Both sides have been ratcheting up the antagonism for more than a year. Remember it was President Trump who decided to pull the United States out of the deal in May 2018, setting off what would be best described as a manufactured crisis.”