News Roundup for November 16, 2017

November 16, 2017

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J Street in the News

Meet Melanie: Jewish Marathon Runner of the Week! Gather DC

“I’m on the digital communications team at J Street, which is the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who [support] diplomacy-first US foreign policy in the Middle East, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and policies that reflect our Jewish and democratic values.. I feel really fortunate to wake up everyday knowing that I’m working for an organization that I care about, and is fighting for important causes. It’s a nice combination of working both in the Jewish community, and in the political space.”

Top News and Analysis

Congress Still Hasn’t Followed Trump’s Orders On The Iran Deal, Huffington Post

Jessica Schulberg reports, “The same day Trump threatened to pull out of the deal, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) began drafting legislation to satisfy the president’s request… But Corker and Cotton appear to have made little progress in the past month. They have not released text of the legislation or announced any Democratic partners. Cardin acknowledged discussions about ‘what the president would like to see from Congress’ but said he is ‘not aware of there being any Corker-Cotton bill.’”


Attorney general okays seizure of private Palestinian land for outpost road, Times of Israel

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit approved the expropriation of private Palestinian land for the building of an access road to an illegal West Bank outpost, in an unprecedented legal opinion on Wednesday. Established without government approval in 1995, the Haresha outpost, in the Binyamin region near the settlement of Talmon, had been ordered to cease construction in 2005 following a High Court of Justice petition by the Peace Now settlement watchdog.

Bannon Crosses Up Klein With ‘Political Speech,’ The New York Jewish Week

ZOA leader says ex-Trump strategist ‘promised me’ he would stick to Israel, Jewish people.

U.S., Israeli Reform Jewish Leaders Roughed Up at Western Wall by Security Guards, Haaretz

A violent confrontation broke out at Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Thursday, when a delegation of Reform movement leaders tried to hold a Torah-reading service at the site.

House Panel Unanimously Approves Taylor Force Act, Targets Hamas, Jerusalem Post

The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation that would compel the Palestinian Authority to end its program of compensating the families of convicted terrorists for their crimes.

Palestine to get its own central bank, Al-Monitor

The Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) is currently preparing to open the Palestinian Central Bank, as soon as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signs the Central Bank of Palestine law. This comes as the PMA fulfilled the requirements for transitioning into an integrated central bank. The preparations included restructuring the PMA, building the Central Bank headquarters in Ramallah, developing Palestinian banks, developing new control systems and finalizing the Central Bank of Palestine law.

Israel to Cut Palestinian Village From Water Source in Order to Take Control of Farming Land, Haaretz

Israel has told residents of the Palestinian village of al-Walaja south of Jerusalem that they are to be cut off from their farmland and farming terraces because of the relocation of a checkpoint, shifting a large segment of land from the Palestinian side to the Israeli one.

Opinions and Analysis

Fact-checking Netanyahu’s False Claims to U.S. Jews About the Western Wall, Haaretz

Judy Maltz writes “If the purpose of the plan had been to only improve the existing egalitarian space, as Netanyahu now insists, the government wouldn’t have needed to spend three and a half years in negotiations with the non-Orthodox movements and with Women of the Wall, the feminist prayer group. In fact, it wouldn’t have needed any negotiations at all. It could simply have started a bidding process for renovation work and gone with the best offer. As far as most Diaspora Jews were concerned, the heart and soul of the Western Wall deal lay in the very elements that Netanyahu is now trying to dismiss as trivial. In fact, these “ideologically charged” elements, as he now defines them, represented the bulk of the 40-page document approved by his government back in January 2016.”

Trump’s White Nationalist Foreign Policy, The New Republic

Jeet Heer argues, “The Warsaw demonstration clarified why Trump ignored the hopes and fears of the people of Asia: His soft-power message is one of white nationalism, which, of course, will find no purchase in the non-white world. But Trump’s echoing of alt-right themes is likely to find a receptive audience in other European countries like Britain, Austria, Germany, France, and Denmark, all of which have seen a rise in nativist political movements in recent years. Trump has a dual foreign policy: He seeks solidarity with white-nationalist forces in Europe, thereby undermining democratic leaders who have been America’s longest allies, and he cozies up with the ruling elite of the rest of the world, even murderous dictators. Taken to its logical conclusion, this vision of the world is a troubling one. If successful, Trump’s foreign policy would create a Europe dominated by right-wing populists intent on controlling borders, while the people of Asia would be ruled by despots untroubled by calls for democratization and eager to cut bilateral trade deals. It would be a New World Order held together by illiberalism.”

Palestinian rights make a rare appearance in Congress, +972

Samer Badawi writes, “Members of Congress on Tuesday introduced a bill requiring the U.S. Secretary of State to certify that funds bound for Israel ‘do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.’ The proposed legislation, put forward by Minnesota Representative Betty McCollum, had ten co-sponsors when it was announced. Although that number may seem small, especially when measured against the 268 current co-sponsors of the so-called Israel Anti-Boycott Act, the “Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act” is further evidence that the Palestinian rights movement in the U.S. is gaining unprecedented ground.”

We Asked 23 Rabbis: What Is The Diaspora Jew’s Role In Israel? The Forward

“As a part of our Rabbi Roundtable series, we brought together leading rabbis from all corners of the Jewish world to offer their thoughts on the big questions. This week, we asked our rabbis, ‘What is the Diaspora Jew’s role vis a vis Israel?’ Here are their responses.”

Gaza Kids Live in Hell: A Psychologist Tells of Rampant Sexual Abuse, Drugs and Despair, Haaretz

“Mohammed Mansour, who treats Gaza’s victims of sexual assault, describes the dystopian nightmare that Palestinians are living”

Needed: A Coordinated, U.S.-led Strategy to Confront Iran, Haaretz

Ambassador Dan Shapiro asks, “Key decisions await. How active is the United States prepared to be, unilaterally and through diplomacy with Russia, to restrain Iran in Syria? How can the coalition’s goals advance in Yemen at lower humanitarian cost? What is required to get the distraction of the Qatar issue resolved? What is Israel’s view on moves that could spark an accelerated conflict with Hezbollah? Is the goal in Lebanon to strengthen a Sunni counterweight to Hezbollah, or to expose Hezbollah’s dominance and Iran’s influence to wider criticism and pressure? The U.S.-Saudi-Israeli coalition will need to be prepared for Iranian countermoves, and will want to show there is a price to Iran’s malign influence and deter its aggression. Strategists should consider how that can be done without sparking a wider regional war. And if it cannot, are we prepared to have that war?”

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