News Roundup for October 27, 2016

October 27, 2016

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J Street in the News

Want to Prevent BDS? Speak Out Against the Destruction of Susya., Forward

J Street U Tufts leader Andrew Goldblatt writes, “The lack of efforts by Jewish communal institutions to put weight behind their support for the two-state solution and publicly stand against settlement expansion and home demolitions strengthens the perception that BDS is the only option for fighting against the status quo…..This challenge now represents a watershed moment for powerful institutions like the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Boston’s Jewish Community Relations Council who need to speak out against home demolitions and on the side of progress towards peace. Speaking up will demonstrate to progressive students on campus that they neither need to disengage from the pro-Israel community nor divest from Israel in order to change the status quo. It will reaffirm our community’s commitment to the core Jewish values of chesed, compassion, tzedakah, charity, and tikkun olam, repairing the world.”

Top News and Analysis

Trump Tells Supporters at Jerusalem Rally: Together, We Will Make America and Israel Safe Again, Haaretz

“Donald Trump delivered a warm message of support for Israel and his close adviser launched a blistering attack on his rival Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama at a much-anticipated rally that drew 200 supporters Wednesday night just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City….The address by Trump, as well as one by running mate Mike Pence, was screened at an event hosted by Republicans Overseas Israel. The gathering had been alternately publicized as a rally for the Republican presidential candidate and as a show of support of Jewish connection to the Jerusalem….At each mention of Clinton’s name, boos were heard in the audience, as well as cries of ‘Lock Her Up,’ ‘Hillary for Prison,] and the campaign’s latest slogan, ‘Drain the Swamp.’”

Israeli settlements in West Bank not illegal: Trump adviser, Yahoo News

Donald Trump’s adviser on Israel said Wednesday that Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank were not illegal and he believed the candidate agreed with him, putting them at odds with much of the world. Speaking to AFP after a rally in support of Trump at a restaurant’s rooftop on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, David Friedman also said the US presidential candidate was “tremendously sceptical” about the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In Historic Shift, Jewish Federations Representatives to Now Visit Israeli Settlements, Haaretz

Debra Nussbaum Cohen reports, “Top leaders of the Jewish Federations of North America held a secretive meeting Wednesday to approve changing its policy of not traveling into the West Bank to visit Jewish settlements or Palestinian communities. The conference call was led by JFNA Chairman Richard Sandler, who is executive vice president of the Milken Family Foundation in Los Angeles. Participation in the call was limited only to voting JFNA trustees, according to a memo sent by JFNA CEO Jerry Silverman to those board members, because ‘the issues under discussion are deemed privileged information.’….As the federation insider who tipped Haaretz off to the meeting said, ‘I’m worried about them normalizing the settlements.’ JFNA and its predecessor organizations have had a longstanding policy of not officially traveling beyond Israel’s 1967 borders, known as the Green Line. In reality, said one JFNA trustee involved with the meeting, JFNA’s practice has been to travel to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”

Peace Now’s new director is a different kind of leftist, Ynet

An interview with new Israeli Peace Now director Avi Buskila.


In Protest of Latest UNESCO Resolution, Netanyahu to Recall Israel’s Ambassador for Consultations, Haaretz

In protest of UNESCO’s adoption of yet another resolution ignoring Judaism’s connection to the Temple Mount, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will recall Israel’s UNESCO Ambassador Carmel Shama-Hacohen to Jerusalem for consultations, Haaretz has learned.

Israeli-enforced demolitions in Jerusalem leave scores of Palestinians homeless, Ma’an

Israeli-enforced demolitions in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoodsof Beit Hanina and Silwan on Wednesday left at least 44 Palestinians homeless. Three homes in the al-Ashqariya area of Beit Hanina north of Jerusalem were demolished Wednesday afternoon without prior notice, according to members of the families who were displaced as a result of the demolitions. Meanwhile in Silwan, an extended family of 30 Palestinians — mostly children — were displaced after the Jerusalem municipality rejected the family’s attempts to obtain building permits for nine years.

Israel’s High Court Hands State Three-week Deadline to Explain Impasse in Western Wall Deal, Haaretz

The Israeli government has been issued a three-week deadline to explain why it has not followed through with its decision to create a new space at the Western Wall where men and women can pray together. The November 17 deadline was set by the High Court of Justice earlier this week, in response to a petition submitted against the state by the Reform and Conservative movements, together with Women of the Wall – the multidenominational feminist prayer group – and several Israeli non-profits engaged in promoting religious freedom.

Israeli forces detain well-known Palestinian activist Salah al-Khawaja, Ma’an

Israeli forces detained well-known Palestinian activist Salah al-Khawaja during a predawn raid in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday, sparking clashes. Israeli forces raided al-Khawaja’s home in the Old City of Ramallah, also known as Ramallah al-Tahta, and searched the house for more than an hour and a half before detaining him. Al-Khawaja is a leader of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), a Palestinian political party aiming to provide an alternative to Fatah and Hamas, as well as an activist for the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements.

Israel says ancient papyrus supports its claim to Jerusalem, Reuters

Israeli archaeologists have made public a fragment of an ancient text which they say is the earliest Hebrew reference to Jerusalem outside the Bible – a discovery the government swiftly enlisted as evidence of the Jewish connection to the holy city.

Bill Would Give Defense Minister Broad Powers Against Israelis Deemed ‘Public Safety’ Threat, Haaretz

The government has submitted legislation that would expand the defense minister’s powers to detain Israeli citizens without trial or issue other administrative orders restricting their freedom.

The bill would authorize the minister to restrict the professions a person could work in, forbid them to enter or leave a given locale, forbid them to leave the country or have contact with certain people, and impose “any other order or restriction necessitated by considerations of national security or the public safety.” It is slated to apply solely within Israel; administrative orders in the West Bank are governed by military regulations.

Opinion and Analysis

It’s Every Israeli’s Right, and Duty, to Speak Up – Including at the UN, Haaretz

Michael Sfard writes, “The occupation is not legitimate; the policy of the Israeli government is not legal and is not moral. It is impelled by ideological greed that ignores the tremendous suffering it inflicts upon millions of human begins who are asphyxiating under its weight everyday of their lives. No majority is entitled to impose a sentence of oppression like this on a minority, and especially on a minority that does not participate at all in the taking of decisions about its future. And no human rights activist is entitled to relinquish any nonviolent tool, national or international, for fighting such a long and cruel occupation.”

The Israeli defense minister’s surprising offer, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit analyzes “The surprising interview that Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman granted to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds.”

How to Save Obama’s Legacy in Palestine, The New York Times

Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Shtayyeh writes, “It is not too late for the president to make good on his declaration in Cairo. He could start by fully supporting France’s proposal for a multilateral framework for resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To end the occupation that began in 1967 and to establish a sovereign Palestinian state is a goal that requires the kind of international engagement that the Obama administration brought to negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Anything short of that will be yet another failure.”

How the March of Hope is moving the needle toward peace, J Street Blog

Vivian Silver writes, “This is not just another protest movement. Rather it is a single-issue movement that is intentionally not promoting any specific peace plan . We are not using language that will prevent Israelis with varying political opinions from joining our call. We are not set on bringing down the government. An end to the conflict is in the interests of all – right, left, center; Israeli and Palestinian….We in Israel need to be convinced that the long-standing paradigm that suggests that war is the only way to peace has to be replaced by the understanding that a mutually accepted diplomatic agreement is the only way we will reach security in this region. Women Wage Peace has undertaken this mission.”

Hey, Curt Schilling, Let Me Tell You About American Jews, Forward

Jay Michaelson argues, “ Donald Trump would destabilize the Middle East, trash alliances that Israel depends on, cripple America’s partnerships with Muslim allies and return our country to an “America First” isolationism that, as one Orthodox rabbi recently told me, has proven disastrous for Jews. Presumably that’s why Israelis overwhelmingly support Clinton over Trump. But it’s true in other years too. Support for Israel’s hard right is bad for Israel. Friends don’t let friends turn their government over to messianic nationalists with no plan for peace and normalcy. Democrats have been staunch allies of Israel for decades. Republicans are indebted to fanatical Christian Zionists who want to hasten the coming of the apocalypse.”

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