News Roundup for June 20, 2019

June 20, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Iran Revolutionary Guard shoots down US drone amid tensions, AP
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. drone on Thursday amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal with world powers, American and Iranian officials said, though they disputed the circumstances of the incident.

There is an off-ramp in the US-Iran crisis, Brookings
Suzanne Maloney writes, “The latest incidents mark a dangerous new escalation in the simmering standoff between the United States and Iran, puncturing a full year of relative calm that prevailed around Iran even as Washington upended the nuclear pact in 2018 and launched a full-frontal assault on Iran’s economy.”

Ex-Mossad Chief: Netanyahu Voters ‘Ignorant,’ PM: Left Is Condescending, The Jerusalem Post
Comments made by former head of the Mossad Shabtai Shavit that people who vote for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are “ignorant” set off a firestorm of condemnation from the political Right, including from Netanyahu himself. 


Israel’s Arab parties reunite for upcoming elections, AP
Four political parties representing Israel’s Arab minority have announced they will unite for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Far-right Otzma Yehudit accuses Jewish Home of not honoring election pact, Times of Israel
The far-right Otzma Yehudit party on Wednesday accused Jewish Home chief Rafi Peretz of not honoring the terms of their pre-election merger, saying that he was ignoring their calls.

UK, France and Germany in last-ditch effort to save Iran deal, The Guardian
Britain, France and Germany are to mount a last-ditch effort to dissuade Iran from effectively quitting the nuclear deal, warning time was running out for negotiations and the risk of war in the region “has not been averted”.

Ya’alon said to accuse party co-chief Lapid of pushing away potential voters, Times of Israel
With three months to election day, cracks may be forming in the top ranks of the Blue and White party. In leaked comments carried by multiple Israeli media outlets, the party’s no. 3, MK Moshe Ya’alon, reportedly criticized faction co-chair MK Yair Lapid’s aggressive campaigning against ultra-Orthodox parties over religious and other social issues.

Israeli Court Evicts Palestinian Family From East Jerusalem Home, Lets Settlers Take Over, Haaretz
The Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday ordered the eviction of a Palestinian family from the Silwan neighborhood outside Jerusalem’s Old city, dismissing their appeal and ruling in favor of the right-wing Elad Association, a settler organization that owns the majority of the building.

Liberman pulls libel suit after activist apologizes for claiming plot with Lapid, Times of Israel
Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday dropped a libel suit against a man who had claimed in a series of tweets that the lawmaker had met with Blue and White No. 2 MK Yair Lapid in Vienna to plot the failure of coalition talks after April’s elections.

A Jerusalem hospital where Palestinian babies die alone, The Guardian
Israel allows temporary exit from Gaza for medical reasons in some cases, but not all. At the same time, it prevents or seriously delays many parents of patients from leaving, and others never apply in the first place, fearing that extensive security checks for adults will hold up their child’s exit permit and lose vital time.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Isn’t Moving Rightward — So Why Can’t the Center-left Oust Netanyahu?, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Labor Party and Meretz are talking about merging ahead of this September’s do-over election. While it might be a smart move in the short term, it could ultimately consign Labor to the wilderness.”

US–Iran coverage is still not skeptical enough, CJR
Jon Allsop writes, “US coverage of the latest Iran episode seems to be falling into some old, bad habits. In recent coverage, ‘the media has generally been better at treating unproven accusations by the Trump administration as just that—accusations, and not facts,’ Trita Parsi, a researcher and founder of the National Iranian American Council, told me last night in an email. ‘Yet, on numerous occasions, there has either been a failure to push back against blatantly false assertions by Trump officials, or Trump accusations have been presented as proven facts.’”

Media flirt with disaster in accepting Iran claims from the credibility-challenged Trump administration, Media Matters
Bobby Lewis and Katie Sullivan write, “As tensions escalate between Iran and the United States, calls are also on the rise for the media to remain skeptical of the White House’s claims of Iran’s aggression and the retaliatory actions the U.S. is planning — especially given the administration’s long history of dishonesty.”

Never again’ means nothing if Holocaust analogies are always off limits, Washington Post
Danya Ruttenberg writes, “The Holocaust didn’t begin with gas chambers, and it’s not business as usual in America right now. We already know that the path to atrocity can be a process, and that the Holocaust began with dehumanizing propaganda, with discriminatory laws, with roundups and deportations, and with internment. Those things are happening in our country now, and they’re known as some of the stages of genocide first articulated by Genocide Watch in 1996.”

Trump Ally Lindsey Graham: America’s Most Unlikely Campaigner Against Israeli Annexation, Haaretz
Eric H. Yoffie writes, “American political leaders are rising up against the annexationist fantasies of Benjamin Netanyahu and the settler factions on the Israeli right. A message is being sent to Israel: Two states for two peoples has been, and remains, U.S. policy. And Israel changes that policy at her peril. It is hard to overstate how important a moment this is in the relations between Israel and the Jewish state.”

The Israeli academics who helped design Palestinian emigration, +972 Mag
Edo Konrad writes, “Newly-uncovered documents reveal how Israel established the ‘Professors Committee’ in the days following the occupation to devise policies to pacify the Palestinians and make them leave the West Bank and Gaza permanently.”