News Roundup for June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018

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J Street in the News

With Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, J Street PAC now endorses more than half of incumbent Dems, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

“The political action committee affiliated with J Street added Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to its list of endorsed senators, with the result that over half of the Senate’s Democratic caucus now has the endorsement of the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group. In its decade of existence, J Street has moved from garnering a handful of endorsees to affiliation with more than half of the caucus in the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, where it endorses 102 out of 192 incumbents.”

Sheldon Adelson: the casino mogul driving Trump’s Middle East policy, Guardian

“Adelson’s established himself as an influential figure in American politics with the amount of money that he has contributed,” said Logan Bayroff of the liberal pro-Israel group, J Street. “There’s no doubt that he has very strong, very far-right dangerous positions and that – at very least – those positions are really being heard and thought about at the highest levels of government.”

Morning Score, Politico

“GETTING THE NOD — JStreetPAC endorses 6 House candidates: JStreetPAC, a pro-Israel liberal group, announced that it endorsed 6 Democratic challengers, including Ammar Campa-Najjar (CA-50), Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Abby Finkenauer (IA-1), Katie Hill (CA-25), Katie Porter (CA-45) and Susan Wild (PA-7).”

Top News and Analysis

Gaza crisis threatens to set West Bank ablaze, Al-Monitor

Shlomi Eldar writes, “The possibility of West Bank Palestinians clashing with the IDF in sympathy with the border fence protests has been discussed by the security forces ever since the Gaza protests began. Fear of a violent outburst in the West Bank increased as the number of Palestinians killed and wounded in the Gaza Strip increased, as the photos of the victims flooded Arab broadcasting and social media networks. Unlike Gaza, which is hermetically sealed from every direction, the topographical situation in the West Bank is much more complex despite the incomplete separation wall. Friction between West Bank Palestinians, the settler population and the IDF is high, and any violence between them could be lethal. It could ignite the entire West Bank.”

Israel shoots to wound, not kill. That has led to a wave of amputations in Gaza, LA Times

Alexandra Zavis and Hanah Salah report, “The toll of violence during two months of protests along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel is most often measured in deaths: at least 127 Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire. But more than 14,000 have been wounded — 3,700 of them took bullets — according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. Nearly 60% of those gunshot casualties were hit in the legs — a strategy employed by the Israeli military to limit killings.”

Palestinian negotiator shoots back at Trump official in ongoing spat, Times of Israel
“A top Palestinian official accused the Trump administration’s top Middle East negotiator of parroting right-wing Israeli views and refusing to put anything of substance on the table for discussion Sunday. Saeb Erekat’s was the latest volley in an ongoing op-ed spat with Jason Greenblatt, coming less than a day after US President Donald Trump’s special Mideast envoy lashed out at the veteran negotiator and said he should step aside, in an episode that has highlighted simmering frustration between the sides over moribund peace efforts.”


18-year-old Woman Stabbed in Northern Israel; Palestinian Suspect Detained, Haaretz

An 18-year-old woman was stabbed in the northern Israeli city of Afula on Monday. A Palestinian suspect was arrested nearby by police in possession of a knife after trying to evade the officers.

Israel says it destroys land-to-sea Hamas tunnel in Gaza, Associated Press

The Israeli military says it has destroyed a tunnel dug by Hamas leading from Gaza into the Mediterranean Sea.

No decision to ease Gaza humanitarian woes after top ministers meet, Times of Israel

Israeli ministers met for over three hours to discuss a worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza Sunday, but failed to agree on any concrete steps to ease dire conditions in the Strip. Signals from top ministers ahead of the security cabinet meeting had pointed to a deep rift over whether Israel should push ahead with programs aimed at bringing clean water, electricity and other basic needs to the territory.

Hezbollah leader says to stay in Syria, Reuters

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah will remain in Syria as long as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants it there, the group’s leader said on Friday, defying renewed U.S. and Israeli pressure to force Tehran and its allies to quit the country.

Poll shows deep divisions between Israeli and US Jews on Trump, peace, religion, Times of Israel

An opinion poll published Sunday shows deep divisions between Israeli and American Jews, particularly in relation to US President Donald Trump, highlighting the growing rift between the world’s two largest Jewish communities. The survey by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) showed 77 percent of Israeli Jews approved of the president’s handling of US-Israel relations, while only 34 percent of American Jews did. Fifty-seven percent of US Jews disapproved, while only 10 percent of Israeli Jews did.

Over 1,500 Demonstrate in Ramallah Calling on Abbas to Lift Sanctions on Gaza, Haaretz

Over 1,500 people demonstrated in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday night calling for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to lift punitive sanctions imposed on Gaza in an attempt to weaken Hamas, the rival Palestinian faction that rules the Strip.

Opinion and Analysis

Enough already. Not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism, LA Times

The LA Times editorial board writes, “Freedom of speech on college campuses is under enough pressure without the federal government adding to the problem by threatening to withdraw funding to punish people for expressing their political opinions. That would be a real possibility if Congress enacted and President Trump signed a bill called the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018….This proposal would blur the distinction between unacceptable, intimidating expressions of intolerance directed against Jews with criticism of the state of Israel. The latter, even when expressed in intemperate terms, is protected by the 1st Amendment.”

Why US recognition of Golan Heights annexation would hurt Israel, Al-Monitor

Yossi Beilin writes, “Republican Sen. Ted Cruz recently spearheaded efforts in Congress to advance US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Unlike the decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem — which was significant for Israel even if it came at a price — this is just a meaningless gesture that will be of no significance when Israel holds peace talks with the Syrians. On the other hand, the potential damage posed by such a move would be immediate. There would be boycotts, condemnation in the Arab world and a very discernible attempt by the West to prove that it rejects the US initiative.”

Banned From Israel: A Q&A With Law Professor Katherine Franke, Nation

Columbia University professor and activist Katherine Franke discusses her recent experience being refused entry into Israel.