News Roundup for November 15, 2018

November 15, 2018

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J Street in the News

J Street petitions for Palestinian perspective on birthright trips, Michigan Daily

“Members of the University of Michigan chapter of J Street, an American advocacy group that promotes the efforts of “pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” have published a petition to incorporate Palestinian perspectives into Birthright trips with University of Michigan Hillel. LSA junior Meghann Norden-Bright, the co-president of the University’s chapter of J Street, along with other leaders of the organization, decided to gather signatures after they received feedback from members of the campus Jewish community expressing dissatisfaction with Hillel’s Birthright trips. ‘We were hearing from a lot of Jewish students who were feeling that Birthright didn’t offer a balanced perspective,’ Norden-Bright said. ‘As Jewish students and young Jewish Americans, a lot of people were calling for better representation in this and wanting to hear a more balanced perspective. The idea was essentially that we wanted to make Birthright better and to get a more balanced education with it.”

Top News and Analysis

Iran Was Closer to a Nuclear Bomb Than Intelligence Agencies Thought, Foreign Policy

Michael Hirsh reports, “A secret Iranian archive seized by Israeli agents earlier this year indicates that Tehran’s nuclear program was more advanced than Western intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency had thought, according to a prominent nuclear expert who examined the documents. That conclusion in turn suggests that if Iran pulls out of the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal that U.S. President Donald Trump has already abandoned, it has the know-how to build a bomb fairly swiftly, perhaps in a matter of months, said David Albright, a physicist who runs the nonprofit Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C.”

74% of Israelis dissatisfied with Netanyahu on security matters: survey, i24NEWS

“Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party’s steadfast popularity should elections be held tomorrow, most Israelis disapprove of Netanyahu’s handling of Hamas, two separate media surveys revealed on Wednesday. Israeli Hadashot TV’s survey found that Netanyahu’s Likud party would receive 29 seats, far ahead of Yesh Atid, which would be the second biggest party with 18 seats. If former IDF chief of staff, Benny Gantz, decides to run, he would receive 15 seats, leaving Likud with 24 seats and Yesh Atid with 13. Gantz is expected to run in the next election, but he has not yet revealed which party he will be joining, or if he is creating his own. Interestingly, Hadashot TV’s survey also found that 74% of Israelis are unsatisfied with Netanyahu on security matters, while 17% are satisfied. In another survey made by Kan news, 65% of Israelis think Netanyahu’s handling of Hamas is ‘bad or very bad.’ 64% think that Israel should have continued to expand the attacks in Gaza after rockets were fired from the Hamas run enclave from Sunday into Tuesday. The same survey revealed that 49% think Hamas won the recent fight against Israel, while 14% think Israel came out as the winner.”

After an explosion of violence, Netanyahu chooses peace in Gaza, Washington Post

The Washington Post editorial board writes, “Israel’s government was on the brink of collapse Wednesday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose a cease-fire over war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The decision, which prompted the defection of his defense minister, stopped a 24-hour-plus eruption of violence in which militants fired more than 450 missiles and mortars at Israeli civilians and Israeli planes bombed dozens of Hamas targets, including its television station and military intelligence headquarters. The cease-fire heads off a conflict that would have been unwinnable for both sides, and it opens the way to a larger truce that could ease what has been a mounting humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Mr. Netanyahu deserves credit for embracing it despite the political cost.”


Lieberman Fallout: Key Netanyahu Ally Calls for Elections ‘For the Good of the Economy’, Haaretz

Head of Kulanu party and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that the right thing for the citizens and the economy of Israel is to call elections as soon as possible.

Outcry as top minister calls largest-ever daily Hamas rocket onslaught ‘minor’, Times of Israel

Senior Likud cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi on Thursday drew widespread condemnation, including from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for calling the barrage of rockets fired at Israel earlier this week “minor” because the Gaza terrorist groups did not target Tel Aviv.

Four Police Officers Wounded in Stabbing Attack in Jerusalem, Haaretz

Four police officers were lightly wounded in a stabbing attack on Wednesday at a police station in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv.

Abbas Eyeing ‘Decisive Decisions’ In Relations With Hamas, Israel And US, Jerusalem Post

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of obstructing the establishment of a Palestinian state, and hinted that he was planning new measures against the Gaza Strip.

Malaysian PM warns Australia moving Israel embassy would add to terror threat, Guardian

Scott Morrison’s contentious Israel policy shift has encountered more diplomatic headwinds, with Malaysia’s prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, suggesting relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would add to the cause of terrorism.

Opinion and Analysis

In Palestine, the First World War Has Never Really Ended, Haaretz

Seraj Assi writes, “This month marks 100 years since the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. In the Middle East, the centennial anniversary of the war has passed in near silence. This is ironic, for while the Great War is widely seen as a European war, its impact on the region was far greater and more transformative. Viewed in hindsight a century later, not only did the war shape the modern Middle East as we know it, but in some places, like Palestine, it has never actually ended. Indeed, nowhere was the war’s unfolding tragedy and lasting aftershock more acutely felt than in Palestine.”

A Human Rights Champion Comes to the House, Foreign Policy

Robbie Gramer profiles Tom Malinowski, a J Street-endorsed candidate who defeated incumbent Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07) in the midterm elections last week.