News Roundup for June 19, 2019

June 19, 2019

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J Street in the News

Ocasio-Cortez Calls Migrant Detention Centers ‘Concentration Camps,’ Eliciting Backlash, New York Times
“‘Like the vast majority of American Jews, J Street is outraged by the Trump administration’s disgraceful, inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees — and supportive of members of Congress like Representative Ocasio-Cortez who are strongly challenging the president’s hateful policies,’ the group said in a statement. ‘The legacy of the Holocaust absolutely compels us to act in defense of vulnerable and targeted minorities — and to stop their mistreatment before it grows even worse,’ the statement continued. ‘Instead of policing terminology, we should be doing everything we can to shut down these camps and to aid the families who are imprisoned in them.’”

Why Jared Kushner’s Bahrain Conference Won’t Do Much for the Palestinian Economy, The New Yorker
“The [Partnership Fund for Peace Act] would be funded by a congressional allocation of fifty million dollars annually for five years, is sponsored by a bipartisan group, including Senators Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, and has the support of both the conservative aipac and the liberal J-Street lobbying groups.”

Top News and Analysis

Meet the candidates: Do you think Israel meets international standards of human rights?, New York Times
Democratic views of Israel are in flux. President Trump has redefined the American role in the region and a younger generation of liberals are questioning Democrats’ longstanding support of Israel’s security policies. We thought this question would gauge Democrats’ willingness to criticize Israel, and found few candidates who would do so.

No Palestinians, No Israelis, Maybe Even No Journalists: What’s Left of Kushner’s Bahrain Summit, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “When the conference was announced on May 19, some analysts in Jerusalem imagined it turning into what Israelis call a ‘victory picture’ for the US administration, showcasing Israeli and Arab officials sharing a table, discussing the future of the Middle East and doing so in front of cameras from all over the world — including Israel itself. Right now, almost no part of that vision seems likely to become a reality.”

Trump: Oil tanker attack ‘very minor,’ but would go to war over Iran nukes, Times of Israel
US President Donald Trump said in an interview published Monday that he might authorize military action to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but was less willing to go to war to protect global oil supplies.


Meretz Lawmaker Attacks Party Leader Over Fears for Future of Israeli Left Wing, Haaretz
Lawmaker Michal Rozin of Meretz sharply criticized the party’s chairwoman, Tamar Zandberg, accusing her of bringing the party to “the brink of extinction” and saying she was “fearful” for what the future held for the party and the entire Israeli left wing.

Greenblatt: Israel should hold off on annexation until peace plan unveiled, Times of Israel
“I don’t think anyone should make unilateral moves until we at least reveal the plan. I don’t think that’s helpful to anybody,” he told Channel 12 news.

Tremors across Jordan as Trump Mideast peace plan revives old fears, Reuters
Jordan’s King Abdullah reacts angrily to any suggestion that he might accept a U.S. deal to end the Arab-Israeli conflict that would make his country a homeland for Palestinians. Speaking to the armed forces in March, he rejected the idea of Jordan as an alternative state for Palestinians, saying: “Don’t we have a voice in the end?”

EU ‘ready to work’ with US on peace plan, as long as it aims at two states, Times of Israel
The European Union on Wednesday signaled willingness to cooperate with the US administration’s effort to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, as long as it includes a clear commitment to the two-state solution and other internationally endorsed parameters.

Lindsey Graham, a Trump confidant, insists on two-state solution, JTA
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a top foreign policy Republican, says he sees no viable peace outcome except for two states, one for Israel and one for the Palestinians. That puts him at odds with his party platform, the Trump administration and Israel’s government.

Palestinian finances near collapse as cuts deepen, says monetary chief, The National
Palestinian finances are on the brink of collapse after hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid was suspended, the head of the Palestine Monetary Authority said on Tuesday.

Opinion and Analysis

To Fend Off Unity Government, Netanyahu Strives to Merge All Parties to the Right of Likud, Haaretz
Chaim Levinson writes, “Netanyahu has a strategy for victory. First of all, despite his utter abhorrence of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, the leaders of the breakaway Hayamin Hehadash party which did not make it into the Knesset in April election, he does not intend to let them run on their own this time.”

Will Israel’s Meretz officially become a Jewish-Arab party?, Al-Monitor
Danny Zaken writes, “Zandberg supports turning Meretz into a joint Jewish-Arab party, a move that would substantially change the party’s nature and the direction of the political left in general. Horowitz, on the other hand, is enthusiastically championing a joint run with the center-left Labor party, a move that could clash with party efforts to appeal to Arab voters.”

As Its Economy Tanks, Iran May Have to Talk With America, Haaretz
David Rosenberg writes, “In spite of all the economic pressures they face, it’s by no means certain that ordinary Iranians will act out the Trump White House dream and pour into the streets to demand nuclear talks and/or the ayatollahs’ heads. It could happen, but the record of sanctions causing economic distress and political change aren’t that good — just look at Russia and Venezuela.”

Jared Kushner’s Bahrain peace summit is for the Israelis and Palestinians — but neither will be there, JTA
Ron Kampeas writes, “Don’t call it a peace plan, call it an ‘economic vision’. And don’t call the event that will unveil it next week a summit, it’s a workshop. To benefit Israelis and Palestinians. Whose officials won’t be there.”

My name is Abdol, and I care about my country, the State of Israel, Times of Israel
Abdullah Abed al-Rahman writes, “My name is Abdol. I’m 29 years old, and a social and political activist. I don’t identify with any political parties because I’d rather identify with people. I care about my country. I care about living in dignity. As an Israeli citizen, I want change. And yes, I care about my country because my future is here and nowhere else. That’s how I was raised — to be optimistic.”