News Roundup for November 9, 2017

November 9, 2017

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J Street in the News

Israeli General: 1-State Solution Will Destroy Israel, Atlanta Jewish Times

“As part of an effort by left-leaning, pro-Israel lobbying group J Street to become more active in Atlanta, Tibon is presenting ‘Personal Reflections on the Fight for Security and Democracy in Israel’ on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at The Temple in Midtown….Tibon spoke to the AJT by phone before his trip to Atlanta.”

Are liberals a lost cause? New Jersey Jewish News

Martin J Raffel argues, “I fear the too many in the Jewish establishment fall into the bad habit of giving “a cold shoulder” to Israel’s critics. For example, I attended the meeting in 2014 of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP) at which J Street’s application for membership was soundly rejected. Is J Street strongly critical of current Israeli policies? Yes, absolutely. But it also strongly supports a secure and democratic Jewish state of Israel, alongside an independent Palestinian state, and rejects all forms of BDS… In my opinion, J Street didn’t lose that day in 2014; the Jewish community did.”

It’s Jew vs. Jew as Congress weighs a new definition for anti-Semitism, JTA

Ron Kampeas reports, “Cooper kept emphasizing that the Jewish leadership in its entirety backed the bill, seeming to sideline Stern’s organizational affiliation. At one point Cooper’s insistence that the entire Jewish community backed the bill drew a correction from Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who produced a letter from J Street U, the liberal Middle Eastern lobby’s campus affiliate, opposing the bill.”

Top News and Analysis

Palestinians resume security ties with Israel, eye Gaza enforcement, Reuters

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s administration said on Wednesday it had resumed security coordination with Israel in the occupied West Bank, frozen in July, and sought sole security control of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas Islamist forces dominate. The remarks, by the Palestinian police chief, left open the question of how Abbas might bring his former rivals in Hamas to heel given their refusal to disarm as demanded by Israel and the United States. An Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal last month formally restored Abbas’s administrative control of Gaza after a 10-year schism with Hamas, though the details of implementation have yet to be worked out fully.”

Divorcing the Diaspora: How Netanyahu Is Finally Writing Off U.S. Jews, Haaretz

Judy Maltz reports, “If Israel is, indeed, experiencing a change of heart about American Jews, the signs were already evident a few years back. Many observers trace the shift to March 2015 when Netanyahu delivered his famous speech before the U.S. Congress against the Iranian nuclear deal, which was about to be finalized. Considering that 70 percent of American Jews had voted for Barack Obama, Netanyahu’s efforts to lead a revolt against him were seen by many in the Jewish community as unconscionable… [O]n controversial issues like settlement expansion, Israel’s right-wing government gets much more support from Christian Evangelicals than it does from the largely progressive Jewish community in America.”

Lebanon’s plunge into political crisis raises specter of war with Israel, Washington Post

Louisa Loveluck and Loveday Morris report, “Israel has watched with alarm as a battle-hardened Hezbollah has helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad take the upper hand in Syria’s war. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, sees its rival Iran winning the battle for influence in the region. In Yemen, Iran has backed rebels against a Saudi-led coalition. In Syria, it has supported Assad against Saudi-backed opposition forces, which no longer stand a chance of winning the six-year war. Israel has been accused of regularly bombing across its northern border, targeting convoys and military depots in Syria linked to Hezbollah. Israeli officials have also ramped up their bellicose rhetoric in recent months, warning that in any war, Israel won’t make a distinction between the Lebanese government and Hezbollah.”


Israel grants building permits for 240 homes in East Jerusalem, Times of Israel

Jerusalem authorities granted building permits for 240 homes in East Jerusalem Wednesday, Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman told The Times of Israel.

Fox News Hires Sebastian Gorka, The Forward

Sebastian Gorka, the former Trump administration counterterrorism adviser who has been repeatedly criticized for his ties to far-right Hungarian groups, has been hired by Fox News, host Sean Hannity said on his radio show Wednesday.

Police to interrogate Netanyahu for a 5th time on Thursday, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be questioned by police on Thursday, as part of widening investigations into corruption allegations against him including suspicions that he received illegal gifts from foreign businessmen.

Young U.S. Jews Want to Know Why No One Told Them About the Israeli Occupation, Haaretz

About 20 protesters from the U.S. anti-occupation group IfNotNow held a rally outside the Jewish Theological Seminary on Tuesday night, standing in the rain to demand that the Conservative movement’s Camp Ramah start talking about the Israeli occupation.

It was the first demonstration in the mainly millennial group’s “You Never Told Me” campaign, which calls on Jewish educational groups to include information about the occupation in their teachings about Israel.

Israel Retreats on Contentious ‘Nation-State Law:’ Jewish Identity Will Not Take Precedence Over Democratic Values, Haaretz

The proposed “Jewish Nation-State Law” will not give precedence to the Jewish character of Israel over its democratic nature. The government coalition has agreed to change the wording of the controversial bill and remove one of the main motifs of the original, which would have required the courts to give precedence to the Jewish character of Israel in cases where it conflicts with democratic values.

Israeli settlers assault Palestinian farmers, injure 3 in Nablus area, Ma’an

Three Palestinians were injured on Wednesday morning after Israeli settlers assaulted a group of farmers picking olives in the Urif village in the Nablus district of the northern occupied West Bank.

PA police chief: Hamas must disarm under unity deal, Times of Israel

The head of the Palestinian Authority police said Wednesday that Hamas must disarm in order for a landmark reconciliation deal signed last month with rival Fatah to succeed. Hazem Atallah’s comments came as cracks began to show in the Palestinian reconciliation deal mediated by Egypt over the issue of security control of the Gaza Strip.

Jewish Democrats launch political advocacy group for the Trump age, Times of Israel

With Donald Trump in the White House, Jewish Democrats are more energized than ever to mobilize politically. That was the message Wednesday night at a launch event for the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA).

Congress Hearing Amps Up Pressure on Trump to Move U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Haaretz

The testimony was deliberately scheduled ahead of December 1, Trump’s deadline to decide whether to once again exercise the waiver delaying the embassy’s relocation, a measure every U.S. president has made since 1995. In June, Trump signed the waiver and broke his explicit campaign election promise, to the dismay of many pro-Israel advocates and donors who had supported his candidacy.

Palestinian nabbed outside settlement with meat cleaver, Quran, Times of Israel

A Palestinian man was arrested outside a settlement in the central West Bank on Thursday, after a search of his backpack yielded a meat cleaver, a knife, and a copy of the Quran, police said.

Opinions and Analysis

What the political turmoil in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon means for Israel, JTA

Ron Kampeas writes, “There are lots of risks for Israel in the recent upheaval.

Daniel Shapiro, a former US ambassador there who is now a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel, said Israel should be wary of being drawn into a war with Hezbollah — one that would damage Hezbollah, a key goal of Crown Prince Mohammed, but one that would cost Saudi Arabia little and Israel plenty.”

Why Doesn’t Birthright Believe In Israeli Democracy? The Forward

Sam Sussman argues, “I remain deeply grateful for my own Birthright experience, which enriched my Jewish identity and gave me the chance to spend valuable time with family in Israel. But Birthright’s conviction that its participants should not encounter Palestinian citizens is a troubling sanitization – one that does justice neither to young Diaspora Jews nor to Israel itself. Rather than ask American Jews to face Israel in all its complexities and contradictions, Birthright has chosen to offer what one congressman once described to me as “Disneyland Israel” after a trip by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that met with no Palestinians. Perhaps even worse, Birthright’s restriction of its participants to meetings with Israel’s Jewish citizens undermines Israel’s own claims that it is a democratic nation of all its citizens. While Israel at least on paper claims to treat its Arab citizens as equals, Birthright has chosen to take things one step further, erasing them entirely.”

Why Mike Pompeo Released More bin Laden Files, The Atlantic

Ned Price, “Pompeo is playing politics with intelligence, using these files in a ploy to bolster the case against Iran by reinvigorating the debate on its terrorist ties. While the politicization of intelligence is more than sufficient cause for concern, the fact that he appears to be returning to the Bush administration’s pre-Iraq war playbook underscores the danger. This effort reeks of former vice president Dick Cheney’s consistent false allegations of links between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, a nexus the Bush administration debunked only after we had lost too much in blood and treasure.”

Deconstructing Balfour: The Declaration at 100, Israel Horizons, P.4

Professor Paul Scham argues, “from 100 years out, it is clear that the Balfour Declaration both reflected and furthered British ambitions at the time of its issuance. It was not a conspiracy, but rather a manifestation of imperial assumptions and objectives during a horrendous war. Obviously, it benefited the Zionists and disadvantaged the Arabs, but to draw a straight line between the Declaration and 1948, let alone today’s reality, would be a distortion and over-simplification of both the Declaration and the history of the last 100 years.”

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