News Roundup for June 27, 2019

June 27, 2019

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J Street in the News

Democrats Should Lean In To The Israel Question At The Debates. Here’s How, The Forward
J Street’s Ben Shnider writes, “[They] should view it as a major opportunity to rally the vast majority of Democratic voters behind them — by promoting a clear, popular vision of strong, principled American leadership that can advance our long-term interests and help secure a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians. If the Democratic contenders are asked about Israel on Wednesday and Thursday nights, here are five important tips they should keep in mind:”

Garcetti faces heat for supporting U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem. What did he mean?, LA Times
“Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a Washington, DC, lobbying group that advises Democratic candidates, says most politicians try to find a middle position on Israel. ‘There is so little upside to going to one side or another,’ he said, adding that Israel isn’t a top voting issue for many Democrats and American Jews.”

Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff: June 26, 2019, The Times of Israel
“Palestinian-American businessman Sam Bahour […] said on a video conference call hosted on Tuesday by J Street: ‘I’ve never been a fan of this [PA] leadership or the previous one, but today… I would say the vast majority of Palestinians, definitely the private sector, today we are all Saeb Erekat. [The Trump administration] basically gave us a platform to unify around.’”

Top News and Analysis

Ehud Barak, Ex-Leader of Israel, Announces Comeback Amid Political Disarray, New York Times
Ehud Barak, 77, who is also a former defense minister and a decorated military chief, has long been rumored to be planning a comeback. He has used Twitter to denounce Mr. Netanyahu in recent years, denouncing him for his right-wing policies and a corruption investigation that could lead to his indictment.

Trump’s Peace Plan Is Immoral, Impractical — and Could Blow Up the Middle East, Politico
Ami Ayalon, Gilead Sher and Orni Petruschka write, “Scratch the shiny PR surface and you’ll find a dangerously simplistic approach to a complicated situation. Anybody who followed the last 30 years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict understands that President Donald Trump’s announcement of this first step on the way to a deal is all form and no substance: a new name for the same failed idea known as ‘economic peace,’ and before that as ‘a new Middle East.’”

Cory Booker was the only Democrat at the first debate who didn’t commit to rejoining the Iran deal, JTA
Moderators at the debate Wednesday evening in Miami asked the candidates whether they would rejoin the deal President Donald Trump abandoned a year ago. Booker was the only one not to raise his hand.


In Bahrain, Gaza Is Pitched as a ‘Hot I.P.O.’ Many Palestinians Aren’t Buying It, New York Times
“These projects, if you take the word ‘Palestinian’ out of them, any developing country can do well. Some of them have been talked about for 25 years now. Why haven’t they materialized? What’s stopping them? The Israeli military occupation. It’s the elephant they left out of the circus when they went to Bahrain,” said Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American business consultant who was watching the proceedings online from the West Bank.

Trump administration launches unconventional effort for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Washington Post
Some participants with little connection to the region said they weren’t sure why they were invited. Some were enthused. [Greenblatt] called the long-standing proposal for a two-state solution, with one for Israelis and anther for the Palestinians, a “slogan of the past.” The economic plan envisages “open borders” but no clarity on how that might be achieved.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Vows Never to Give In to U.S. Sanctions, New York Times
In his first public comments since President Trump aborted an imminent attack on Iran last week, its top leader on Wednesday ruled out any negotiations with Washington and said that only the threat of military force provides protection from American domination. “Negotiation is an effort to deceive into doing what the US desires,” said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the English translation on his official website.

‘Netanyahu’s Regime Must Be Toppled’: Ehud Barak Makes Comeback With New Israeli Political Party, Haaretz
“These are the darkest days we have known,” Barak told a press conferece, arguing the decision to call new election was solely meant to “disrupt the legal procedure” against Netanyahu in his bribery cases.

Yair Netanyahu stars at pro-Trump student group’s Jewish leadership conference, JTA
Netanyahu, 27, is one of the more youthful speakers at the three-day Young Jewish Leadership Summit taking place through Wednesday. He’s known as a strident defender of his father, who is mired in corruption scandals.

‘Divorced from reality’: Palestinians reject US economic plan, Al Jezeera
“The elephant in the room in Manama is obviously the [Israeli] occupation itself,” senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Hanan Ashrawi told reporters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, adding that the workshop is “totally divorced from reality”.

Iran’s ultimatum on breaching nuclear deal puts EU3 on the spot, The Gaurdian
Iran’s supreme national security council had confirmed on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic would take further, potentially more serious, steps on 7 July to reduce its commitments under the deal. The second step would involve going beyond the 3.67% restriction on enriching uranium and restarting the development of a heavy-water reactor, which has been put on hold.

UNRWA Raises $110 Million for Palestinians on Same Day as Bahrain Summit, Jerusalem Post
The agency, which services the Palestinians, still needs another $101 million to address a deficit in its $1.2 billion budget for 2019.

Opinion and Analysis

Palestinian kids are arrested every day. This time it’s my friend’s son, +972
Orly Noy writes, “That’s because the notion of ‘justice’ in the context of occupation is bereft of any meaning. The beaten Palestinian was momentarily recognized — only because he would have helped the government delegitimize a human rights organization. The system knows that even if its lies are exposed for all to see, some of the mud will stick.”

Kushner’s Ship in the Desert, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “What can Jared Kushner’s plan be compared to? A blueprint for a luxury yacht designed to sail on the desert sands. To treat the plan of Donald Trump’s son-in-law seriously we must be blessed with amnesia. Reality must be jettisoned from our consciousness for us to read such an exhausting text laden with empty promises and advertisers’ clichés.”

Susan Rice: How Did We Get 10 Minutes From War With Iran?, New York Times
Susan Rice writes, “President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and impose crippling sanctions, when Iran was in full compliance, was foolish and, predictably, has backfired. But we are where we are. Finding a way to leverage his massive mistakes while demonstrating the will and capacity to climb down is our least bad option.”

US Diplomacy Festival Won’t Put Out Israel’s Fires, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “Israel’s problem is that Trump can decide to attack Iran, and after deep thoughts lasting 10 minutes, call off the attack. He can organize a show in Bahrain and go back to watching his favorite TV show. But once this week is over, Israel will still be left with the fires in the Gaza border communities, a collapsing Palestinian Authority and thousands of Hezbollah missiles. And they are not an illusion.”

Trump moves show him to be unreliable partner, AP
Lisa Mascaro writes, “Trump won his job partly on his claims to be a great dealmaker. But the celebrity businessman-turned-president’s negotiating style — repeatedly pushing toward a brink only to pull back at the moment of action — leaves the U.S. lurching from crisis to crisis. On trade tariffs, immigration raids and now the standoff with Iran, his course reversals confound allies as well as adversaries, and his own party in Congress.”

Of All Ex-generals Vying to Replace Netanyahu, Only One Has the Energy, Aggression, and Venom, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “The sluggish, anemic behavior of Kahol Lavan’s leaders has succeeded in turning a vigorous, sharp-tongued old man who passed retirement age a decade ago into a hot political commodity. Ehud Barak is bringing the additive – some would say the drug – that this miserable election campaign so desperately needs: a combination of energy, aggression and venom.”