News Roundup for May 2, 2019

May 2, 2019

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J Street in the News

Poway and Pittsburgh: the rise in murderous anti-Semitism, explained, Vox
“[T]he surge in anti-Semitism began as Trump’s fortunes rose politically — and it’s very hard not to conclude that there’s at least some connection there. This is certainly the sense of what’s happening in the Jewish community: A staggering 81 percent of American Jews describe themselves as becoming ‘more concerned’ about anti-Semitism in the US since Trump took office, per a 2018 GBA Strategy poll conducted for the left-leaning Jewish group J Street.”

Top News and Analysis

Mitt Romney: Two-state solution is all there is, JTA
Sen. Mitt Romney returned from a Middle East tour saying that he saw no alternative to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict other than the two-state solution. The Utah Republican, his party’s 2012 presidential nominee, has just assumed the chairmanship of the Middle East subcommittee in the Senate. “I would say I don’t know what the alternative is other than a two-state solution,” Romney said Tuesday. “No one articulated to us anywhere in the region an idea or a proposal for something other than a two-state solution.”

New legislation in Congress criticizes US military assistance to Israel, The Jerusalem Post
New legislation in Congress is seeking to “promote human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation,” and require that “United States funds do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse or ill-treatment of Palestinian children and for other purposes.” Congresswoman Betty McCollum, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Representative (DFL) of Minnesota, sponsored the legislation. In a press release, she said that “Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families.”

Jewish Americans are least Islamophobic faith group, survey finds, JTA
A majority of Jewish Americans have positive feelings about Muslims – and the feelings are mutual, according to a survey released Wednesday. The 2019 American Muslim Poll, conducted in January, found that 53 percent of Jewish Americans reported having positive views of Muslims — the highest of any non-Muslim faith group surveyed — compared to 13 percent with negative views. The same percentage of Jews reported that a candidate’s endorsement of a Muslim ban would decrease their support for that individual.


Sirens wail as Israel stands still for Holocaust remembrance, AP
Israel came to a standstill on Thursday morning with a two-minute siren wailing across the country in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Pedestrians stood in place, buses stopped on busy streets and cars pulled over on major highways — their drivers standing on the roads with their heads bowed.

Extremists, Iran and Political Caricatures: Netanyahu Charts Dangers of anti-Semitism, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem memorial on Wednesday, both warning about the rise in anti-Semitism globally. “The radical right, radical left and radical Islamic groups agree only on one thing: Hatred of Jews,” Netanyahu said.

In Holocaust memorial address, PM denounces ‘systematic vilification’ of Israel, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday vowed that Israel “will not present its neck for the slaughter in the face of threats of destruction,” criticizing the Iranian regime and rising anti-Semitism — often dressed up as criticism of Israel — as the chief dangers to the Jews and the Jewish state today.

Rockets Fired at Southern Israel; Military Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza, Haaretz
Two rockets were fired at southern Israel early Thursday, the army said, about two hours after the military conducted airstrikes against targets belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip following the launch of incendiary balloons from the enclave earlier in the day.

IDF deploys Iron Domes ahead of Eurovision, Independence Day, Times of Israel
The Israeli military deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries throughout the country on Tuesday, following a rocket attack from Gaza the previous night and ahead of what is expected to be a sensitive next few weeks.

Israel Seeks to Increase Enforcement and Protection for Palestinian Workers in Israel, Haaretz
On paper the tens of thousands of Palestinians who work inside Israel have the same labor rights as their Israeli peers; in practice, there is a huge gap between what the law says and what happens on the factory floor, construction site or farm field. Now, after a long delay, a government panel is recommending changes to a clumsy system it says makes it too easy for employers to evade taxes and deprive workers of their rights.

US to send official delegation to March of the Living for first time, JTA
The United States for the first time will send an official delegation to the annual March of the Living at the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi camp. The delegation will be headed by the ambassador to Israel, David Friedman; the ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell; the ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher; and the special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, Elan Carr.

Palestinian Authority Rejects EU Proposal for Israeli-Palestinian Tax Crisis, Haaretz
The Palestinian Authority rejected on Wednesday a proposal by the European Union to have Palestinian prisoners receive stipends based on their financial state rather than the crimes they committed.

Opinion and Analysis

Palestine’s last man in the US: The Trump peace plan will create one-state apartheid, The National
Arthur MacMillan writes, “The worst case scenario envisaged from the Kushner-Greenblatt proposals, for the Palestinians, is an outcome that would all but remove the prospect of a two state solution […] ‘Now we are close to the stage of blaming the Palestinians for whatever they put on the table, to say that ‘they refused a fabulous deal’,’ [Ambassador] Mansour says of recent official US statements. ‘A cynic might say the objective of that is to pave the way for further gifts for Israel, such as the annexation of the settlements and whatever parts of the West Bank that Mr Netanyahu wants.’”

Are Trump, Netanyahu planning to ‘buy off’ the Palestinians?, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “It is believed by Israeli and American officials that the program will include an especially generous international Marshall Plan to rehabilitate the PA’s territories with enormous investments and massive economic assistance. According to this theory, the timing will be perfect. One moment before bankruptcy and chaos, a new option will be presented to the Palestinians that can transform Ramallah and other Palestinian cities into the Middle East version of Singapore.”

Netanyahu’s embrace of far-right leaders leaves Jews vulnerable to anti-Semitism, +972 Mag
Rachel Shenhav-Goldberg writes, “For some years now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been forming close diplomatic relations with far-right nationalist world leaders. This alignment might promote Netanyahu’s plan to strengthen Jewish nationalism in Israel, but it concomitantly weakens diaspora Jews and makes them more vulnerable to anti-Semitism and hate crimes in their own countries.”

Why Iran-US confrontation may intensify under new IRGC commander, Al-Monitor
Saeid Jafari writes, “Iran replaced the commander of its powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) less than two weeks after the United States designated it a ‘foreign terrorist organization.’ Given the wider global agenda advanced by the new IRGC commander, the replacement is a clear signal from Tehran that bowing to Washington’s pressure is not an option.”

A Holocaust Story for the Social Media Generation, New York Times
Isabel Kershner writes, “Eva’s Instagram account, based on a diary kept by the real Eva Heyman in 1944, will go live Wednesday afternoon for the start of Israel’s annual Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day. In 70 short episodes, a British actress playing Eva takes followers along on her Holocaust journey: a happy bourgeois prewar existence interrupted by the Nazi invasion of her hometown in what was then Hungary; her family’s forced move into the cramped chaos of the ghetto; and the packed train that ultimately transports her to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp from which she never returns.”

Talk of a National Unity Government? Not This Time, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “In the past decade, the unity government question became an integral part of the inaugural session, alongside the president’s address and the flower in the lapel. No longer. As long as Netanyahu remains a criminal defendant —  before or after a pretrial hearing, with or without immunity — Kahol Lavan, in whole or in part, will not join a coalition led by him. The alliance’s leaders are agreed on this.”