News Roundup for November 28, 2018

November 28, 2018

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J Street in the News

One Month After Pittsburgh, This Is How We Mourn, Forward

“Years from now, October 27, 2018, may be remembered as an inflection point in the way America regards its Jews, and in the way that Jews regard themselves. The brutal murders of 11 congregants at prayer in the supposed safety of a synagogue demolished any lingering, quixotic notion that anti-Semitism in this country had been relegated to history’s back burner….The gunman didn’t rail against Palestinians and Zionism; rather, he claimed that HIAS was importing ‘invaders to kill our people.’ He didn’t support Trump, but only because he thought the president didn’t go far enough, as long as Jews ‘infest’ the country. These conflicting responses highlight the disconnect between Israeli official views and the American-lived experience. A J Street poll released just after the midterm elections said that 72% of American Jews thought that Trump’s comments and policies are ‘very or somewhat’ responsible for the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu on CNN Poll: New anti-Semitism Comes From Extreme Left and Radical Islam, Haaretz

“Europe has seen the growth of a ‘new anti-Semitism’ coming from leftists and radical Islam, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN on Tuesday in an interview after the publication of a poll on anti-Semitism in Europe. ‘There’s old anti-Semitism in Europe that came from the extreme right, but there’s also new anti-Semitism that comes from the extreme left and also the radical Islamic pockets in Europe that spew forth these slanders and lies about Israel,’ Netanyahu said. When asked about European leaders who use anti-Semitic imagery but remain Israel’s allies, Netanyahu replied, ‘I don’t think they do.’ According to the prime minister, anti-Zionism and anti-Israel policies constitute ‘the ultimate anti-Semitism of today.’…Netanyahu went on to praise the right-wing leaders of Austria and Hungary for combating the issue.”

Israel’s UN Envoy Sees Trump Mideast Deal Emerging in Early 2019, Bloomberg

Ivan Levingston reports, “Israel’s United Nations envoy said he believes President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan is finalized and could be rolled out in early 2019 as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withstands pressure to hold early elections. ‘We are all waiting for the peace plan of President Trump, and we know that it’s completed,’ Ambassador Danny Danon told reporters in New York on Tuesday. ‘Now the question is when they will submit it, as far as we know they speak with us about beginning of ’19, which is coming soon.’…’We’ll go for elections but it will take a few months so basically today the president is able to come and present it without interfering in political debate in Israel,’ Danon said. ‘If he will present it during the election, it will be horrendous, everybody will be attacking it.”


Erdan asks US states to act against Airbnb’s delisting of West Bank rentals, Times of Israel

Israel’s minister in charge of combating boycott efforts against the Jewish state is urging US states to take steps against booking website Airbnb, after it decided to de-list accommodations in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Saudi Arabia pledges $50 million to UN Palestinian refugee agency, i24NEWS

Saudi Arabia pledged $50 million in aid on Wednesday to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), which has been hit by the withdrawal of all US funding, an official said.

‘His Highness Asks’: Did Saudis Try to Enlist Former Israeli PM Barak to Buy Cyberattack Technology?, Haaretz

A man saying he represented Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman phoned Ehud Barak in 2015 saying he wanted the former prime minister to help him sell cybertech to assist the Saudis in eavesdropping on their citizens’ and enemies’ phone conversations.

US lobbies Europe to back UN vote on condemning Hamas, i24NEWS

The United States is leading a push at the United Nations to win crucial backing from European countries for a resolution condemning the Palestinian Hamas group, the Israeli ambassador said Tuesday.

Trump says US troops could remain in Middle East for Israel’s sake, Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump said in an interview published Wednesday that, although he could remove troops from the Middle East, citing cheaper oil as an explanation, one reason not to do so is concern for Israel’s security.

Opinion and Analysis

Dispute Over Airbnb In West Bank Settlements Shows ADL’s ‘Moral Schizophrenia’, Forward

Peter Beinart writes, “The Anti-Defamation League has a disease. It suffers from an acute — and potentially fatal — form of moral schizophrenia. The ADL was founded 105 years ago during the anti-Semitic conviction and later lynching of Atlanta business owner Leo Frank with a dual purpose. It was created ‘to stop…the defamation of the Jewish people’ but also — crucially — ‘to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.’…In the United States, for the most part, the ADL still does that. Under its current National Director, Jonathan Greenblatt, the organization has again and again challenged the Trump administration’s bigotry and inhumanity. In late 2016, amidst rumors that Trump might establish a database of American Muslims, Greenblatt even announced that if Trump did so, he would ‘register as a Muslim’ in protest. But when it comes to Israel, the ADL is a different organization. Not just different, in fact, but morally unrecognizable. The ADL doesn’t just fail to meaningfully oppose Israel’s ‘unjust and unfair discrimination’ against Palestinians, it opposes those who do. When Americans apply the very principles that the ADL champions in the United States to Israel, the ADL accuses them of anti-Semitism.”

Netanyahu’s security has little to do with peace, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar writes, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not lying and or exaggerating when he told the nation on Nov. 18 that Israel was facing one of its most complex defense challenges. He was right in telling his coalition partners, “We are in an intensifying battle” and berating them for being irresponsible by threatening to quit the government at such a time. He urged them to set aside personal and political considerations. Israel is indeed facing a security challenge that requires its elected officials to act responsibly and to set aside personal and political considerations. But the solution requires a change in leadership.”