News Roundup for July 22, 2019

July 22, 2019

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J Street in the News

J Street says it supports the right to boycott … and anti-BDS resolution, Times of Israel
“J Street has addressed two new US proposals regarding boycotts of Israel, one that affirms citizens’ constitutional right to engage in boycotts, and another that rejects the BDS movement and calls for a two-state solution […] ‘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 also believe that such efforts to restrict the constitutional rights of supporters of the Global BDS Movement ultimately only serve to garner more attention for their movement,’ the liberal Mideast policy organization said in a statement.”

Can the Israel-Palestine Campus War Become a Conversation?, Haaretz
“The Israel/Palestine conversation on UK campuses has traditionally been shaped by the conflicting narratives promoted and sanctified by both Palestine societies and Israel societies. Absent the wider choice of national organizational frameworks found on U.S. campuses (from J Street U to Jewish Voice for Peace, OneVoice on Campus to Students for Justice for Palestine) students arriving at UK universities invariably find their options for engaging with the issue limited to simply joining the Israel society or Palestine society on that campus.”

Top News and Analysis

Trump involves Israel again in criticizing 4 Democratic congresswomen, JTA
President Donald Trump continued his attacks on four freshman minority Democratic congresswomen, and again involved Israel in the debate. In Sunday’s tweet he called on “the four Congresswomen” — Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — to apologize to America and Israel. “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country. They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said. They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!” Sunday’s tweet said.

Iran says breaks up CIA spy ring, some sentenced to death, Reuters
Iran captured 17 spies working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and some have been sentenced to death, Iranian media reported on Monday. Iranian state television published images it said showed the CIA officers who were in touch with the suspected spies. There was no immediate comment on the Iranian allegations by the CIA or U.S. officials.

On Eve of Existential Election, Israel’s Center-left Is on the Verge of Implosion, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The final deadline for Israel’s political parties to submit their lists of Knesset candidates for the September 17 election is in ten days. Center-left voters and their leaders depict the election as crucial, vital and even existential. Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection, they claim, could spell the end of Israel’s liberal democracy, as we’ve known it. Nonetheless, as the clock nears midnight, the center-left is on the brink of implosion. The intensity of its aversion to continued Netanyahu rule is eclipsed only by the inability of its leaders to stand one another or work together. Barring a last minute Hail Mary or deus ex-machina, election that seemed eminently winnable for Netanyahu’s opponents could turn out to be their final Waterloo.”


Source: Iran FM met Rand Paul to feel out possible US-Iran talks, Al-Monitor
“We’re aware of reports of a supposed meeting between a US Senator and Zarif,” the US official, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor on Wednesday. “It’s unclear how productive a conversation with Zarif would be, given his limited role in making decisions on behalf of the Iranian regime. The president has said several times that he is willing to talk with Iran. However, the regime has shown no signs they’re ready to meet diplomacy with diplomacy.”

Israel Begins Tearing Down Palestinian Housing on Edge of East Jerusalem, New York Times
United Nations officials said that 17 Palestinians, including an elderly couple and five children, were being displaced by the demolitions. Footage from the early morning showed distraught Palestinians being led away by security forces.

Kushner to head to Mideast to push Palestinian economic plan, AP
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is returning to the Mideast at month’s end to promote the administration’s $50 billion economic support plan for the Palestinians that they’ve rejected because it ignores their political demands.

Stephen Miller defends Trump’s attacks on Rep. Omar, Washington Post
Miller defended Trump and said the term “racist” has become a label used to silence and punish people.

Israel won’t block Omar and Tlaib from entering country, says envoy, JTA
“Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” Ron Dermer said in a message his spokesman sent to reporters via WhatsApp.

Netanyahu brushes off concerns that Israel is becoming a partisan issue in US, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has downplayed concerns Israel is increasingly becoming a partisan issue in the United States, arguing that in the past the Jewish state was almost exclusively supported by Democrats.

Israel’s Labor Party Slams the Door on Left-wing Merger, Haaretz
Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz ruled out any potential merger with other center or left-wing parties in the country ahead of Israel’s general election in September. Peretz said on Sunday that there was no chance that his party would join forces with Ehud Barak’s party, Democratic Israel, or with Meretz. In an interview with Army Radio, Peretz said that “merging with Barak and Meretz will deter certain populations from joining us and being part of the revolution.”

Former Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked Takes Helm of Party She Founded With Bennett, Urges Right Wing to Join Forces, Haaretz
Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced on Sunday that she will spearhead Hayamin Hehadash (The New Right) – the party she founded together with Naftali Bennett that failed to pass the electoral threshold in April’s election.

Opinion and Analysis

The Absolute Hypocrisy Of Republicans Using Jews To Attack The Squad, The Forward
Rochelle Swartz writes, “The Jewish people know what it means to be scapegoated and maligned by political leaders. We remember what happened after our grandparents were treated as outsiders by their home countries. We are acutely aware of how dangerous it is to vilify a minority, round them up into, dare I say it, concentration camps, and then claim that your actions are merely eradicating a threat to the nation. “

U.S.-Iran Escalation on Verge of Turning Into Real Slugfest, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “Neither Washington nor Tehran is in a rush to arm its warplanes, but the risk that this tug of war becomes an exchange of military blows has become more real.”

Trump makes his week of ‘send them back’ about the Jews. Few Jews are happy, JTA
Ron Kampeas writes, “Over and over since Monday’s tweet saying that that the Democratic congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came,” Trump has defended himself by calling the lawmakers and their party anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. In turn, Jews — including many who share Trump’s contempt for some of the women — appear to be asking the president to leave them out of it.”

Shaked Wants to Lead the Right. Netanyahu Will Do Anything to Stop Her, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “The former justice minister has outgrown her former party, and Netanyahu’s main obsession is keeping himself from having to face her in coalition negotiations”

Senator’s speech on ‘cosmopolitan elites’: anti-Semitic dog whistle or poli-sci speak?, JTA
Ben Sales writes, “‘For years the politics of both Left and Right have been informed by a political consensus that reflects the interests not of the American middle, but of a powerful upper class and their cosmopolitan priorities. This class lives in the United States, but they identify as ‘citizens of the world.’ They run businesses or oversee universities here, but their primary loyalty is to the global community,’ said Hawley. Critics said the languages echoes charges that Jews form an elite class and are only loyal to each other, rather than being true citizens of the countries they live in. ‘If you’re Jewish and the use of ‘cosmopolitan’ doesn’t scare you, read some history,’ wrote liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who is Jewish.”

The Protest Dispersed. Then an Israeli Sniper Shot a 9-year-old Palestinian Boy in the Head, Haaretz
Gideon Levy and Alex Levac write, “In the freezer of their home in Kafr Qaddum in the West Bank, the family is preserving the last memories they have of their youngest child: a chocolate-banana popsicle and a piece of watermelon on a toothpick. Abd el-Rahman Shatawi had bought them about half an hour before an Israel Defense Forces sniper knelt on the slope of the rocky hill overlooking the village, and from a distance of 100 meters fired one live round into the 9-year-old’s head. The bullet exploded into dozens of pieces of shrapnel in his brain.”