News Roundup for November 17, 2016

November 17, 2016

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J Street in the News

Hateful Attacks Against Keith Ellison are Unacceptable, J Street Blog

“J Street is deeply disturbed by some of the attacks that have surfaced against Representative Keith Ellison (MN-05) since he announced his candidacy for DNC chair on Monday. We do not take positions on internal deliberations within the Democratic Party and are not making an endorsement in the DNC leadership contest. There are a number of candidates announced and proposed, and they, like Representative Ellison, warrant serious consideration.….Representative Ellison is a true friend to the Jewish people. His support for a two-state solution, opposition to settlement construction and advocacy for US leadership to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are supported by the majority of American Jews. It is Ellison and other members like him – not their critics – who give voice to this substantial constituency of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans on Capitol Hill. Comparisons between Representative Ellison and the Trump administration are particularly odious. This week, Trump appointed Stephen Bannon, who promotes white supremacist, anti-Semitic views, as his right-hand-man in the White House. The racism that Trump has enabled against Muslims, immigrants and other vulnerable groups is a direct attack on American Jewish values. We applaud the Members of Congress – like Representative Ellison – who oppose these troubling trends.”

Top News and Analysis

169 House lawmakers sign on to Jewish rep’s letter seeking Bannon dismissal, JTA

A Jewish lawmaker’s letter asking that the White House appointment of Stephen Bannon be rescinded has received nearly unanimous support from his Jewish colleagues in the House of Representatives. Some 169 House members, all Democrats, have signed on to the letter launched Wednesday in the House by Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., with all but two of the 19 Jewish representatives signing. The two who have abstained are Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and Alan Grayson, D-Fla., who is retiring at the end of his term in January. No Republicans have signed the letter.

Israeli Minister Wants New Settlement Approach Under Trump, The New York Times

“Israel’s defense minister said Wednesday that Israel should seek a deal with President-elect Donald Trump to allow expanded construction in major West Bank settlements while freezing building in isolated areas of the occupied territory — a proposal that, if accepted, would mark a sharp break from the policy under the Obama administration. Avigdor Lieberman’s comments came as Israeli lawmakers are trying to gauge how Trump will address the issue of Israel’s West Bank settlement construction, which the U.S. and much of the international community view as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Nationalist and pro-settler Israeli legislators have welcomed Trump’s election, seeing his rise as offering Israel a freer hand in settlement policies.”

The Breathtaking Hypocrisy of Jews Who Line Up Behind Steve Bannon’s Twisted Vision of America, Forward

Jane Eisner writes, “The hypocrisy here is not only breathtaking, it’s self-defeating. The Jews in America who are the target of anti-Semitic threats and harassment — and here I include many of us at the Forward — must make common cause with other minority groups who are experiencing this and worse in today’s toxic political environment. The undocumented worker fearful of deportation. The Muslim subject to hate crimes. If, instead, Jews excuse the far right’s hateful behavior because some of the people doing it happen to favor certain policies in Israel — especially when those policies prolong a near-half century of occupation — then they’ve abandoned the natural allies in the fight for a more tolerant America. And even worse, they’ve abandoned their fellow Jews. That is what it means to support Steve Bannon’s America.”

Israel’s Settlement-legalization Bill Receives Preliminary Approval From Knesset, Haaretz

A bill to retroactively legalize illegal settlements passed its first Knesset reading on Wednesday afternoon with the support of the Kulanu Knesset faction of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. Kahlon announced earlier in the day, following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that his faction would support the bill. The first version of the bill passed the first reading by 58 votes to 50; the second by 57-52 and the third by 58 to 51.


Jerusalem Mayor Threatens to Demolish ‘Hundreds’ of Palestinian Homes if Illegal Outpost Evacuated, Haaretz

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat threatened Wednesday to demolish hundreds or thousands of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem if the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona is evacuated. The city asked for 14 demolition orders for the homes of some 40 East Jerusalem families that Barkat said were built on private Jewish land. “Unless Amona is legalized, we’ll have to destroy hundreds or thousands of houses in Jerusalem too,” Barkat said. “The Amona verdict leaves us no discretion to legalize building offenses.”

Jewish NY lawmaker connects swastika vandalism of apartment with Bannon appointment, JTA

New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who is Jewish and gay, discovered two swastikas carved into his Manhattan apartment building and connected the vandalism with the appointment of former Breitbart News chair Stephen Bannon to a White House post. “Swastika found in my apartment building this evening in Greenwich Village. Anti-Semite named to #Trump White House post. Connect the dots,” Hoylman posted Tuesday evening on Twitter along with a photo of the swastikas.

France supports Palestinian Authority with 8 million euros, Ma’an

French Consul General Pierre Cochard signed a funding agreement on Wednesday with Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara, to support the Palestinian Authority (PA) with 8 million euros ($8.55 million).

Bystander killed, 3 police hurt in renewed Nablus clashes, Times of Israel

Clashes between Palestinian gunmen and Palestinian Authority police broke out in the city of Nablus on Wednesday, leaving one woman dead and three policemen injured. The firefight reportedly erupted early Wednesday morning after gunmen opened fire on Palestinian security forces stationed in Nablus’s Old City, a densely populated warren of alleyways.

Netanyahu’s Confidant Appointed Director in Firm Advising German Submarine Maker, Haaretz

A Haaretz investigation revealed Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s confidant and attorney, David Shimron, was appointed to the board of a firm tied to a German submarine maker that sold the Israeli navy its wares.

Opinion and Analysis

America’s Most Influential Jewish Groups Have Prioritized Netanyahu Over U.S. Jews’ Safety, Haaretz

Peter Beinart writes, “America’s most powerful Jewish organizations can only summon outrage on Benjamin Netanyahu’s behalf. They protest furiously against the Iran Deal, UNESCO and the BDS movement. But when it comes to events inside the United States, they’re agnostic. They judge American politicians by one standard: Do they support the Israeli government no matter what?….Trump supporters began bombarding Jewish journalists with anti-Semitic messages. The attacks have only escalated since Trump’s victory. At least two Jewish journalists have been threatened at home. Still, AIPAC and the Presidents’ Conference say nothing. Benjamin Netanyahu is not publicly outraged so neither are they. America’s most influential Jewish leaders have decided that in order to keep Jews safe, they will ignore Donald Trump’s assault on America’s most vulnerable communities. And, in a bitter irony, American Jews now feel less safe than we have in a very long time.”

Candidate Trump’s embrace of Israeli policies may ease once he’s president, USA Today

Oren Dorell reports, “Trump appears ready to take a hands-off approach to Israel and its treatment of Palestinians, which will contribute to a sense of desperation, said Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. ‘That’s very dangerous for the Palestinians and creates incentives for violence that we haven’t seen for a very long time,’ Munayyer said. ‘For Palestinians living under occupation, this is the definition of no hope.’”

The Political Crisis Over Illegal Outpost of Amona Is Far From Over, Haaretz

Yossi Verter writes, “Contrary to Israeli and international law; contrary to the position of the authorized interpreter of the law, the state attorney general; contrary to the principles of morality and justice and completely contrary to Israel’s political interests, the governing coalition voted Wednesday for a bill that would retroactively legalize illegal outposts, the so-called Regulation Law….The crisis is not over, just postponed. But Amona’s fate has been declared. It would be better for its residents to listen to the logic of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who again informed them that there is no avoiding evacuation, and not to be impressed by the compliments of Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who in a childish act from her high-school days wrote with a marker on the back of her hand, ‘Amona will not be evacuated,’ while voting for the bill.”

#WontLookAway: A Susya Photo Blog, J Street Blog

Gili Getz shares photos and stories from his recent visit to the Area C Palestinian village of Susya, which remains under threat of demolition by Israeli authorities.

The Right’s new spin: Israel demolishes only Jewish homes, +972

Noam Sheizaf observes, “Of course Amona and Palestinian construction are totally unrelated, apart from the right-wing tendency to respond to every unfavorable development by yelling “But the Arabs!” or “But the leftists!” The state promised to evacuate Amona in 2010, such that talking about “diligence and decisiveness” when it comes to a process that has taken more than six years is a joke. But the big lie — or rather the truth — is that the state certainly does destroy Arab homes, and it does it diligently, decisively, and persistently. In 2015 Israeli authorities demolished 982 homes belonging to Bedouin citizens in the Negev. A year before that authorities demolished 1,073 homes. The Bedouin have a real claim to the land that clashes with the state’s claim. In Amona, on the other hand, there is no controversy over the fact that the land on which the outpost was built belongs to Palestinians — only over the right of Jewish Israelis to expropriate that land.”

Top Senate Democrat challenges Trump on Russia, Iran, Al-Monitor

“The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Nov. 16 challenged President-elect Donald Trump to confront Russia, strengthen the Iran deal and beef up foreign aid. In a wide-ranging interview with Capitol Hill reporters, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., laid out a foreign policy platform for the incoming Congress that seeks to keep the United States engaged in the world while confronting US foes and undemocratic actors. Cardin predicted an activist Congress as Democrats and Republicans band together to confront Trump on some of his campaign rhetoric that’s been out of step with traditional US policy around the world.”

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