News Roundup for July 29, 2019

July 29, 2019

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J Street in the News

Democrats clash over resolution calling for two-state solution, Al-Monitor
“‘If implemented, these changes would completely undercut the purpose and impact of this resolution,’ J Street, a left-leaning group that lobbies on the conflict, said in a statement Thursday. ‘They would hand a victory to President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu and all those who wish to prevent the achievement of a two-state peace agreement and to instead entrench a one-state nightmare of unending conflict and occupation.’”

Top News and Analysis

Bernie Sanders says he would ‘absolutely’ mull cutting aid to pressure Israel, Times of Israel
The US provides Israel with some $3.8 billion in military assistance, and asked if he would “ever consider using that as leverage to get the Israeli government to act differently,” the Brooklyn native answered, “Absolutely.” Sanders, who is currently running in second place in most Democratic primary polls, made the comments Friday to former Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau on the popular Pod Save America podcast.

Bernie Sanders Says He Would Leverage U.S. Aid Against Netanyahu’s ‘Racist’ Government, Haaretz
“In recent years under Netanyahu, you have an extreme right-wing government with many racist tendencies,” he said. Sanders, who rarely mentions his Jewish heritage or his personal life, spoke of his connection to Israel. “I lived in Israel… I am Jewish. I am not anti-Israel,” the senator affirmed. “I believe that the people of Israel have absolutely the right to live in peace, independence and security,” he added.

John Lewis backs the right to boycott Israel — even though he opposes BDS, JTA
Lewis explained his support of this resolution as ‘a simple demonstration of my ongoing commitment to the ability of every American to exercise the fundamental First Amendment right to protest through nonviolent actions,’ he said. His statement Thursday noted his role in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, which included boycotts. That doesn’t mean Lewis personally supports BDS — in fact, he cosponsored a separate resolution, 246, that passed Tuesday that condemns the movement.


Disgusted by Trump,’ Baltimore Jews Defend Long-time Ally Elijah Cummings, Haaretz
Daniel Burg, a rabbi at the Conservative synagogue Beth Am, told Haaretz: “The Jewish community has a moral obligation to call out and forcefully respond to bullies and demagogues, including the president. The ills of American society won’t be addressed by emboldening those who flee and divest from communities of color and then blame those communities for the outcome of that divestment.”

As Moscow cracks down on protesters, Likud launches election ad campaign featuring Putin, JTA
Large multi-story banners featuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Putin, as well as alongside President Donald Trump and Indian premier Narendra Modi were unfurled on three sides of the party’s Tel Aviv headquarters on Sunday as part of a new campaign showcasing the Israeli leader’s relations with heads of state across the globe.

Fourth Arab Party Agrees to Joint Run in Israel’s Election, Marking Return of Joint List, Haaretz
The Arab-majority Balad party announced on Sunday that it would join with three others to run together on a joint slate in the September election, marking the reconstitution of the Joint List alliance that ran in the 2015 election, in a bid to increase turnout among Arab voters.

Ayelet Shaked will head joint electoral list of right-wing parties, JTA
The head of the Union of Right-Wing Parties, Rafi Peretz, will turn over the reins of a joint electoral list to New Right Party leader Ayelet Shaked. Peretz made the announcement Sunday afternoon in a tweet. “We agreed that out of national responsibility and concern for the right-wing and Religious Zionist government that Ayelet will head the Union of Right Wing Parties. Unity is a common goal of all of us,” the tweet said, in part.

As rest of right unites, Kahane disciples declare merger with anti-LGBT party, Times of Israel
The far-right Otzma Yehudit party announced on Sunday that it had agreed to merge with Noam, a similarly ultra-nationalist, religious faction that has made combating LGBT acceptance the focus of its fledgling campaign.

Successful’ tests of Israel’s Arrow 3 missile shield a warning to Iran, says Benjamin Netanyahu, The National
The long delayed test for Israel’s US-backed Arrow-3 ballistic missile shield has passed a series of live interception tests over Alaska, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. The Israeli leader cast the achievement as a warning to Iran.

After Shaffir defects, Shmuli says he won’t abandon Labor, Times of Israel
“The Labor Party is my home and even when there are disagreements and arguments, I remain committed and won’t abandon it during difficult moments,” Shmuli said in a series of tweets.

Opinion and Analysis

Palestinians Find It Hard to Believe Abbas’ ‘End to Agreements’ With Israel, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “Palestinians caught between the desire to call it quits with Israel and the fear of a further deterioration in their socioeconomic situation.”

Behind the scenes: The birth of the Meretz–Barak alliance, Al-Monitor
Shlomi Eldar writes, “Many people were surprised by the merger of Meretz with Ehud Barak’s Democratic Israel going into September elections when it was first reported on the morning of July 25. Few people knew about the secret talks that led to the parties agreeing to form an electoral list alliance. One person who knew nothing about them was Meretz chair Nitzan Horowitz. He only learned of the negotiations after they were over, when he was presented with a memorandum of understanding ready for him to sign.”

Is BDS. Anti-Semitic? A Closer Look at the Boycott Israel Campaign, New York Times
David M. Halbfinger, Michael Wines and Steven Erlanger write, “The movement’s supporters are routinely accused of anti-Semitism. Opponents are accused of trampling on free speech. Yet B.D.S. is often misunderstood and misrepresented by people on both sides. Is it a legitimate, nonviolent protest to protect the rights of Palestinians, or a movement that aims to eliminate Israel and traffics in anti-Semitism?”

Trump’s ‘Rodent-infested’ Rhetoric Shows How Germany and the World Stayed Silent, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Escalating use of Nazi-like imagery in attacks aimed at Congressman Elijah Cummings is a litmus test for American Jews – one that Israel fails almost by definition.”

Who Are Jews Backing In The Democratic Race? Hint: Not Bernie, Or Biden, The Forward
Aiden Pink writes, “The candidate scooping up the most money from Jews, and by quite a large margin, is the devoutly Christian 37-year-old mayor of a mid-size Indiana city with a Jewish population of 1,800 — who’s not afraid to criticize Israel. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is winning the Jewish primary, according to a Forward analysis of hundreds of thousands of campaign contributions over the past six months. This, despite being the only major Democratic candidate who is open to cuts to American aid to Israel. Like Obama, Buttigieg has many of the characteristics of a nice Jewish boy, said University of Florida political science professor Kenneth D. Wald: ‘He’s a guy who created his own life, did very well through education, has apparently got a good family, and speaks in a more sophisticated way than I think we’re used to hearing, even from the other Democratic nominees.’”