News Roundup for November 23, 2016

November 23, 2016

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J Street in the News

Donald Trump confirms our worst fears, Newsday

J Street’s Logan Bayroff writes, “American Jews know well what it means to be singled out, lied about and targeted. We have fought for civil rights, for women’s rights, for gay rights and in other struggles. We must stand with those under attack and defend their rights and dignity. Our community should remember that our safety and success in this country are not rooted in access to any administration. Rather, they are based on the principles of tolerance, freedom and respect enshrined in our Constitution….We can never allow statements and acts of bigotry against any Americans to become normal. We cannot allow those who would accept them to speak for us. Our ancestors came to this country and found refuge from irrational hatreds and discrimination. In uncertain times, we must commit to maintaining that place of refuge for ourselves and for others.”

Top News and Analysis

Bennett to Trump Aides: Don’t Rush to Adopt Two-state Solution as Official U.S. Policy, Haaretz

Education Minster Naftali Bennett met three members of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s team on Sunday and asked that the new administration not rush to embrace a two-state solution, but rather examine alternatives to the official American policy that prevailed during the Bush and Obama administrations. These meetings were probably what prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue a directive to his cabinet members on Monday not to hold direct talks with Trump’s team.

Trump says he does not want to ‘energize’ white supremacists, defends Bannon, JTA

President-elect Donald Trump said he wants to find out if and why he is “energizing” white supremacists.

Faced With Steve Bannon, Jewish Groups Need To Reach Out to Decent Republicans, Forward

J.J. Goldberg observes, “We don’t know what a Trump-Bannon administration will bring. But if Bannon even slightly lives up to his reputation, we may see efforts to chip away at minority rights, religious or otherwise, at tax exemptions for not-for-profit social service agencies, care for the elderly, the freedom to lobby and advocate for Jews around the world or simply to speak and publish on matters of conscience. If that happens, our Jewish advocacy agencies should be ready with plans for responding and pushing back. Working alliances should be in place with traditional liberal partners, with allies on both sides of Congress and among the Jewish agencies themselves — not simply to speak out for righteousness, but to make deals for mutual benefit. Coalitions within the Jewish community should be broad and inclusive, as they were back in the days when our community was a force to be reckoned with.”

Bennett: Netanyahu must tell Trump ‘no’ to Palestinian state, Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could prevent the creation of a Palestinian state by ruling it out in his first meeting with US President-elect Donald Trump when he takes office, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said Wednesday … “The next few weeks present a unique window of opportunity for Israel,” Bennett told the crowd. “Since 1967 there have always been external reasons for Israel to not do what is right for itself. When Prime Minister Netanyahu meets President Trump, what will he say? Will he continue the long standing approach of forming a Palestinian state in the heart of Israel or take a new, fresh approach?” Bennett said he was eagerly awaiting the answer from Netanyahu when it comes.


Nikki Haley Is Said to Be Trump’s Choice for UN Ambassador, New York Times

President-elect Donald J. Trump is expected on Wednesday to name Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina as his choice to become ambassador to the United Nations, according to two people familiar with the matter.Ms. Haley’s name had previously been mentioned as a possible contender to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, and she met with Trump transition officials last week in New York.

Livni: Two-state solution needed to preserve Israel’s values, Jerusalem Post

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni said Wednesday at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference that she is concerned that fear and hatred entering Israel will endanger Zionist values. Livni said that a two-state solution is the best way to preserve Israel’s values as a Jewish, democratic state that gives equal rights to minorities. “The moderates of the world should unite. It’s not just about the Palestinians, its about us, our values. We need to find a way to create a united world to fight for the values we believe in, and I believe that is part of Zionism,” she said.

Attorney General Slams Proposal to Legalize Settlements Built on Private Palestinian Land, Haaretz

Both Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon came out Tuesday against proposed legislation to legalize settlements, in a statement read out at the first meeting of a Knesset panel tasked with advancing it. “The fact that the bill ostensibly only appropriates from the legal owners the right to use the land does not detract in any way from the severity of the violation it entails and from its illegality,” said Mendelblit’s statement.

Jared Kushner again defends Trump against anti-Semitism claims, JTA

Jared Kushner defended his father-in-law, President-elect Donald Trump, against accusations of racism and anti-Semitism.

Israeli Watchdog Raps Housing Discrimination Against Palestinians in Jerusalem, Haaretz

An annual comptroller’s report on Israeli local authorities issued on Tuesday accuses the Jerusalem Municipality of faulty planning and construction, and discriminating against the largely Palestinian populated side of the city in the the issuing of building permits. The report finds the entire city of Jerusalem lacks any valid zoning plan, and that the most recent one, approved in 2009, was later frozen, due to right-wing complaints it would permit too much Palestinian construction.

Amid call for a re-think, Shapiro re-affirms US commitment to two-states, Jerusalem Post

Just minutes after Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that it was time to re-think the “two-state solution,” US Ambassador Dan Shapiro told the Jerusalem Post diplomatic conference on Wednesday that Washington remains committed to advancing peace through a negotiated two-state solution. This has been a shared priority for decades, he said.

Hebron municipality calls on Israel to remove settler structures in schoolyard, Ma’an

Under the protection of Israeli military forces, Israeli settlers have recently set up tents and steel structures on the land used as a Palestinian schoolyard in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, according to a lawyer from the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Hebron municipality.

Trump: Son-in-law Kushner Could Help Make Peace Between Israel, Palestinians, Haaretz

US President-elect Donald Trump said on Tuesday that his son-in-law Jared Kushner could help make peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Speaking to the New York Times in New York, Trump said he “would love to be the one who made peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” adding that it would be a “great achievement,” according to a reporter’s tweets.

Lapid urges Palestinians to ‘grow up,’ build a future, Jerusalem Post

The Palestinians need to work on building a state for themselves instead of focusing on terror and death, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in the capital Wednesday

High Court considers home demolition for Jewish extremists, Ynet

The High Court of Justice held discussions on Monday on whether the policy of home demolition should be extend to Jewish murders of Arabs. The talks took place on the heels of a petition submitted by the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir ,16 – who was kidnapped and brutally murdered by Jewish terrorists in July 2014 – calling for the homes of the culprits to be destroyed.

Israeli Legislator Calls for Suspension of Colleagues Who Seek Settlement Boycott, Haaretz

MK Yoav Kish (Likud) said this week he will propose that the Knesset suspend any member who calls for a boycott against the West Bank settlements. Under Kish’s proposal, MKs would be forbidden to call for a boycott or the shunning of a person or organization merely for an affiliation with Israel or any of its institutions or areas under control.

Opinion and Analysis

Defending Keith Ellison, Jerusalem Post

Steve Rabinowitz writes, “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the outspoken new Senate minority leader and strong supporter of Israel, was among the first to endorse Ellison as DNC chair. Marshall Breger, an observant Jew who served as president Ronald Reagan’s liaison to the Jewish community, has expressed his gratitude to Ellison for hosting a delegation to combat the use of the Holocaust to foment anti-Semitism….And the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Judaism’s largest movement, has long been a friend and ally. I don’t know Ellison personally, but those praises from diverse members of the Jewish and pro-Israel community coupled with what I do know about his record in Congress convince me that Jews shouldn’t worry if he becomes the next DNC chair.”

Don‘t Break the Iran Nuclear Deal, Roll Call

Kelsey Davenport explains, “The historic deal negotiated between the United States, its partners, and Iran in July 2015, has put Tehran’s nuclear activities under strict limits and intrusive monitoring for well over a decade. As a result of the agreement, it would take Tehran over a year to obtain enough enriched material for bomb. When President Barack Obama began his second term in 2013, the timeline was two to three months … Trump does not have to face the challenge posed by a nuclear weapons program in Iran – unless he brings it on himself and the people of the United States. And if the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress break the Iran nuclear deal, they will own the grave consequences.”

Israel should be very worried about President Trump, Washington Post

Gershom Gorenberg warns, “Trump’s election is a crisis for American Jews. For a couple of generations, Jews in the United States have justifiably felt that America is qualitatively different from previous Diaspora homes – that they are not just tolerated but welcome. A large part of American Jewry is now in shock. Jews are concerned, or downright scared, about the mainstreaming of anti-Semitism in America … Israel and America are the two pillars of 21st-century Jewish life. For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government to ignore the anti-Jewish motifs of Trump’s campaign and the dangers of its aftermath, or to ignore or, worse yet, welcome Bannon  to the White House would flagrantly violate the principle of solidarity – and, in practical terms, risk alienating the liberal majority of American Jewry.”

These Members of Congress Have Condemned Bannon’s Appointment, J Street Blog

Melanie Fineman highlights which members of Congress have spoken out against Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon.

Five Tips for Jewish Resistance: How to Be Bannon’s Worst Nightmare, Haaretz

Bradley Burston writes, “You’re free. Make way for something new. Make Jewish resistance your cause, resistance to expressions of bigotry, hate, supremacy. Make it yourself. Make it out of clay, out of nothing. Make it up as you go along. Be your own master.”

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