News Roundup for October 22, 2018

October 22, 2018

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J Street in the News

Amid attacks by Rep. Hunter, Campa-Najjar and pro-Israeli group say there’s no problem with American-Muslim donors, San Diego Union-Tribune

“Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar has received $17,300 in contributions from board members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — contributions that the candidate says show support from hard-working Americans and his critics on the right wing are portraying as money tied to terrorism….A spokesman for J Street, which is among the United State’s largest pro-Israel groups and considers Hamas a serious threat to Israel’s safety, said J Street ‘strongly rejects the notion that CAIR is supportive of Islamic extremism’ and condemned Hunter’s attacks on Campa-Najjar. The group has endorsed Campa-Najjar. More than 360 individuals supporters of J Street contributed a total $48,736 to Campa-Najjar’s campaign using J Street’s political action committee as a conduit. ‘Partly why we exist is to help ensure that people can’t get away with these kinds of smears,’ Logan Bayroff, a spokesman for J Street, told the Union-Tribune this week. ‘The facts are that pro-Israel, pro-peace voters in his district and across the country support Campa-Najjar because of his values and positions, and they are appalled by these kinds of attacks.’…Bayroff, the J Street spokesman, said on Thursday that J Street ‘has zero concern about the handful of contributions from people associated with CAIR.’ ‘We never support a Congressional candidate unless we are confident that they care about Israel and its future, support a productive U.S.-Israel relationship and want to promote peace and security in the region,’ he said. ‘That is vitally important to J Street’s mission. We support Campa-Najjar precisely because his positions and views on this issue are pro-Israel, pro-peace and pro-diplomacy — good for the U.S. and our allies.’”

Does US Closure of ‘Pseudo-Embassy’ to PA Hint at One State Solution?, Jerusalem Post

“The Trump Administration has signaled it may be veering away from a two-state resolution to the Israeli conflict by its decision to close the ‘pseudo Palestinian embassy,’ former United States ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro told The Jerusalem Post….The US left-wing Jewish NGO J-Street said, ‘Step by step, the Trump administration has worked to destroy the US relationship with the Palestinians and to close off every point of contact with the Palestinian leadership.’ ‘The Trump administration is doing everything it can think of to promote the agenda of the Israeli Right – permanent occupation and a one-state nightmare,’ it said.”

J Street, JINSA to discuss Israeli security, Cleveland Jewish News

“J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and JINSA President Michael Makovsky will discuss security challenges facing Israel and ways the U.S. can help ensure the future of the country at a free discussion at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Mandel Jewish Community Center, 26001 S. Woodland Road, in Beachwood….It’s the third year J Street, which organizes and mobilizes pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want a secure Israel, and JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security, have held a discussion of this kind….Ben-Ami said too often his organization only speaks to its own supporters. ‘J Street is constantly looking for opportunities to engage in discussions with those we disagree,’ he said. ‘I think it’s important to have an open and vibrant discussion about issues related to Israel. The common ground is [J Street and JINSA are] both are in this for the same reason. I think that is sometimes lost in these conversations. Our concern is the security and survival of Israel and the long-term survival of the Jewish people.’”

Dan Kohl battles incumbent Republican Glenn Grothman in hopes of turning reliable red House seat blue, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“In a closely watched congressional race that includes far north suburban Milwaukee, Democrat Dan Kohl has raised more money than Republican incumbent Glenn Grothman….J Street’s PAC has so far contributed nearly $190,000 to the Kohl race, records show.”

Top News and Analysis

The GA’s ‘We Need to Talk’ Slogan Is a Desperate Plea to Save Israel-U.S. Jewish Ties, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev writes, “This year’s General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has already created more of a ruckus than any GA in recent memory – before it even started. The phrase ‘We need to talk,’ which adorns the invitation to the GA and its slogan, carries a loaded punch. In today’s popular culture, as Urban Dictionary says, ‘We need to talk’ is ‘The preamble to the discussion that is generally followed by the ending of a relationship.’ This was certainly not the intention of the JFNA copywriter who came up with the motto. But even if one interprets ‘We need to talk’ in the most positive way possible, it still denotes serious disagreements that can no longer be ignored. To drive the point home, the GA organizers underscored the urgency of the situation by highlighting the stark differences of views between Israelis and American Jews. Given that in recent years the JFNA has gone out of its way to eradicate any hint of discord and has dedicated the agendas of successive GA’s to non-controversial – not to say boring – issues, such as fundraising and community organizing, this year’s GA is already a watershed event in the joint history of Israel and American Jews.”

Majority of American Jews say you can support Israel and criticize its government, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Ron Kampeas reports, “A poll commissioned by a new group founded by Jewish Democrats, the Jewish Electorate Institute, found that Jewish voters favor Democrats over Republicans, 74-26 percent. Only 25 percent approve of the job Trump is doing, while 75 percent disapprove….The breakdown shows that a majority of American Jews do not perceive criticism of Israeli government policies as inconsistent with support for Israel: 32 percent say they are supportive of Israel and its government’s policies; 35 percent are supportive of Israel and critical of some government policies; and 24 percent are supportive of Israel and critical of many of its government’s policies. That’s a majority of 59 percent who say they are comfortable supporting Israel and also criticizing its government. (Also, 92 percent of voters say they are supportive of Israel, belying the noise generated by fringe anti-Israel groups who say they are more representative of where Jewish Americans are heading.)”

Israel’s Attorney-General Behind Khan al-Ahmar Demolition Delay, Jerusalem Post

Tovah Lazaroff reports, “Israel’s Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit asked to delay the pending demolition of the illegal West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar for legal reasons, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday evening. He spoke after the security cabinet affirmed the delay in hopes of finding a compromise with its residents and avoiding a forced evacuation. Liberman, who initially opposed the delay, voted for it at the cabinet meeting and spoke of his support for it at a Jerusalem event that evening….’The moment the cabinet approves the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar, the process is irreversible,’ Liberman said. He explained that Mandelblit had told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that it was legally important to make one more attempt to negotiate with the 180 residents of Khan al-Ahmar. Netanyahu told the government that ‘Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated, with or without an agreement.”


Lawyer says top PA officials held by Israel suspected of kidnapping US citizen, Times of Israel

Two top Palestinian officials arrested by Israeli forces over the weekend were held on suspicion helping abduct a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem, who was also a US citizen, their lawyers said on Sunday.

Jordan says it won’t renew peace treaty land deal with Israel, Reuters

Jordan said on Sunday it would not extend the 25-year deal that allows Israel to use two tracts of territory along its border just as Israel said it was still planning to negotiate an extension.

Funding Blacklists of U.S. Citizens, Playing D.C. Against Iran: Israeli Gov’t Implicated by Shelved Al Jazeera Investigation, Haaretz

The Strategic Affairs Ministry coordinated with a Washington D.C.-based think tank that lobbied against the nuclear deal with Iran, the ministry’s director-general says in a shelved Al Jazeera documentary about the Israel lobby….The report says that these include activities against pro-Palestinian organizations in the United States., collecting information on Palestinian organizations on U.S. college campuses, churches, and labor organizations, and how to thwart them.

Rogue Hamas unit fired rockets at Israel amid division over truce efforts: source, i24NEWS

A rogue unit from Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades military wing was behind the firing of two rockets into Israeli territory last week, a source close to the Islamist group’s armed faction told i24NEWS on Monday.

Israeli forces kill Palestinian who tried to stab a soldier, Associated Press

The Israeli military says forces shot and killed a Palestinian who attempted to stab a soldier in the West Bank.

Israeli Committee Approves Bill Denying Visits to Hamas Prisoners, Haaretz

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a bill on Sunday that would block Hamas prisoners from receiving visits from Red Cross representatives or family members.

Rivlin proposes ‘Reverse Birthright’ in bid to strengthen Israel-Diaspora ties, i24NEWS

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin called for the establishment of a ‘Reverse Taglit-Birthright’ program during his address to the General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) on Monday, in what appeared to be an effort to bolster ties with Jewish diaspora communities abroad.

Opinion and Analysis

The Real Hero Is the B’Tselem Chief, Haaretz

Gideon Levy writes, “Who contributes more to Israel’s status in the world, UN Ambassador Danny Danon or B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad? Who generates more respect, the diplomat or the human rights activist? Which of the two disgraced Israel with his words and who retained some of its humane image? Who told the truth and who lied? Whom does the world believe – excluding Nikki Haley, the only true collaborator in the hall – and whom can the no world no longer believe? They sat opposite each other at the Security Council – two Israelis of the same age, born here, army veterans, with totally different worldviews and conflicting moral standards. Their values are contradictory and their information on what’s happening under the occupation is divergent. One relies on the lies of Israel’s propaganda machine while the other’s views are based on the investigative efforts of an organization whose work couldn’t be more reliable and professional.”

Did Camp David Doom the Palestinians?, Foreign Policy

Dennis Ross writes, “The Camp David Accords have long been hailed as a preeminent example of U.S. diplomacy at its best—a landmark agreement that produced the framework for the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, as well as the guidelines for an interim period of Palestinian self-rule and for future final-status negotiations that Washington hoped would resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Seth Anziska’s new book, Preventing Palestine: A Political History From Camp David to Oslo, tells a very different story. Rather than celebrating the Camp David Accords, he portrays them as largely responsible for denying the Palestinians self-determination and statehood.”

Palestinian protest icon goes from jail cell to VIP suite, Reuters

Mohammed Daraghmeh and Josef Federman report, “When Israel locked up Ahed Tamimi for slapping a soldier last year, it hoped to finally silence the teenage Palestinian activist. Instead, it created an international celebrity. Less than three months after walking out of prison, Tamimi is on a victory tour, crisscrossing Europe and the Middle East as a superstar of the campaign against Israeli occupation. She has spoken to throngs of adoring fans, met world leaders and was even welcomed by the Real Madrid soccer club. The VIP reception has dismayed Israeli officials and is prompting some to ask if Israel mishandled the case.”