News Roundup for October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016

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J Street in the News

‘My Promised Land’ author Ari Shavit resigns journalism posts in wake of sexual-harassment accusations, Washington Post

“A prominent Israeli journalist and author resigned Sunday from his posts at a television station and a newspaper amid allegations of sexual harassment by two American Jewish women. Ari Shavit, a columnist at the Haaretz newspaper and a commentator for Israel’s Channel 10 news, is perhaps best known for his New York Times best-selling book ‘My Promised Land.’ He said in a statement Sunday that he would take ‘full responsibility for my actions,’ Haaretz reported…..Danielle Berrin, a reporter for the Jewish Journal in Los Angeles, wrote a cover story last week entitled “My sexual assault, and yours: Every woman’s story’….By Sunday, another woman, a 26-year-old employee of the liberal Jewish American advocacy group J Street, had come forward with a similar claim against Shavit.”

Since Alleged 2014 Sexual Misconduct With Staffer, J Street Has Not Invited Shavit To Speak, Forward

“The liberal Israel lobby group J Street has not allowed the Israeli journalist Ari Shavit to speak at its events since 2014, after the prominent writer was accused of sexual misconduct by a J Street staffer at a conference for college students, the Forward has learned.”

Is Malcolm Hoenlein still the king?, Jewish Journal

“Debate over the conference’s political leanings and its approach toward Israel came to a head in 2014 when J Street, the progressive group known for its willingness to criticize Israeli leaders and its advocacy for a two-state solution, had its request for membership in the conference rejected.  ‘The old guard approach to Israel advocacy still controls the levers at the conference,’ Ben-Ami said. ‘The idea that J Street was introducing — that you can be pro-Israel and be critical of the government of Israel — still rattles that old-style approach. That mindset is where we were decades ago and still guides the conference.’ The conference ‘is not at all representative of the Jewish community,’ Ben-Ami said. ‘What’s missing is the voice of 21st-century, liberal American Jews who have critiques of Israeli government policy but want to be engaged in the life of Jewish America.’ For many familiar with the organization, both members and outside observers, the rejection of J Street confirmed the conference’s mounting irrelevance.”

Top News and Analysis

Foreign Ministry: Relocating Illegal Outpost to Abandoned Palestinian Land Would Harm Israel, Haaretz

“The Foreign Ministry is opposed to a government proposal to relocate the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona to nearby land, which is believed to have been abandoned by its Palestinian owners in 1967. The land is regarded by Israel as abandoned property. A senior ministry official in Jerusalem, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that the Foreign Ministry regards the proposal as being contrary to international law. It is also concerned about the diplomatic damage that implementing the proposal will do. The ministry’s position was expressed during an October 9 meeting with Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit concerning Amona. The ministry’s representatives said at the meeting that the proposal was problematic both as regards international law and diplomatically.”

Why Israel Still Refuses to Choose, The New York Times

Roger Cohen writes, “Palestinians — whether in Israel proper, where the 1.5 million Arab citizens make up about 17 percent of a population of 8.5 million, or in the West Bank, where they number about 2.6 million — are tired of the humiliations, big and small, that Israel dishes out. How, they wonder, can anything resembling a state ever be fashioned from their countless little self-administering enclaves on the West Bank broken up by Israeli settlements?….After the election but before he leaves office, President Obama may present America’s principles for a two-state outcome in a Security Council resolution that sets out how Israel and Palestine would look in their “final status.” Israel is strongly opposed. That is the best reason for doing it. As long as Israel has a blank check from Washington and an effective Security Council veto through the United States, nothing will change. And something has to.”


John Kerry raps UN Human Rights Council for ‘biased focus on Israel’, JTA

Following the United States’ reelection to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Secretary of State John Kerry criticized the body for its “biased focus on Israel.”

Abbas’ Political Rival Dahlan Says He Won’t Seek Palestinian Presidency, Backs Jailed Barghouti, Haaretz

Senior Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan said on Sunday he does not intend to vie to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority and will instead back the candidacy of Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for murder in an Israeli jail.

Dahlan is considered to be one of Abbas’ main rivals and, in an interview with the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, accused Abbas of demonstrating a lack of leadership. Nevertheless, he rejected the suggestion that he sees himself as a potential successor to Abbas.

After organizers cancel, Labor steps in to save Rabin rally, Times of Israel

The Labor Party said Sunday it would take it upon itself to arrange the annual Tel Aviv memorial rally for slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, hours after organizers of the event announced its cancellation due to lack of funds.

Furor as Israeli Lawmaker Claims Italy Earthquakes Are Divine Retribution, Forward

On the eve of a state visit to Israel by Italy’s president, a furor erupted over remarks by an Israeli lawmaker that suggested Wednesday’s pair of earthquakes in Italy was divine retribution for Italy’s abstention in the recent UNESCO vote denying Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

Israeli settlers cut down 18 trees on private Palestinian land near Bethlehem, Ma’an

Israeli settlers on Saturday morning cut down 18 olive trees belonging to a Palestinian family in the village of Nahhalin, west of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank.

3 Border Police lightly hurt in West Bank car-ramming attack, Times of Israel

Three Border Police officers were lightly injured Sunday afternoon in an apparent car-ramming attack in the West Bank. The incident occurred on Route 60 near Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. The driver of the vehicle was shot dead by security forces at the scene.

In Talk With Putin, Netanyahu Protests Russia’s Support for anti-Israel UNESCO Resolution, Haaretz

srael has protested to Russia over its vote at UNESCO two weeks ago in favor of an anti-Israel resolution that ignored Judaism’s connection to the Temple Mount and cast doubt on its connection to the Western Wall.

Opinion and Analysis

Obama: Last Chance to Rectify Your Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking Failures, Haaretz

Yossi Beilin writes, “It is no secret that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is seriously concerned that President Obama may make a “bold” step to jumpstart the non-existent Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the twilight of his administration, after the November 8 elections and the January 20 inauguration….The best options for a last-minute Obama intervention require a stepping up of the rhetoric and intentions. That would mean a UN resolution directly initiated by the U.S., or a policy speech that packed its punches rather than go over old ground.”

New UN secretary-general considers special mission to Palestine, Al-Monitor

Uri Savir writes of new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “he has strong views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a friend of Israel, historically inspired by Israel’s dramatic nation-building since its establishment. He is fully opposed to the occupation of the West Bank and to Israeli settlement policies. He believes Israel’s security can only be assured by a fair two-state solution guaranteed by the international community.”

Zephyr Teachout’s Commitment to Diplomacy, J Street Blog

Ilya Braverman writes, “On Thursday night at Temple Emanuel of Kingston, members of the community gathered to hear Teachout and Faso debate for the sixth time this election….In an election year that has seen foreign policy and national security play an outsized role, the audience at Temple Emanuel was also anxious to hear from the candidates about how they plan to keep Americans safe. On issues like terrorism, cybersecurity, and nuclear proliferation, the candidates put forth their differing visions. Teachout highlighted the importance of a diplomacy-first approach to foreign policy, one that would have the United States use its leverage to pursue solutions to global conflicts.”

Is rapprochement underway between Palestinian rivals Dahlan, Hamas?, Al-Monitor

Mohammed Othman reports, “In light of the escalating hostilities between the head of Fatah, President Mahmoud Abbas, and his rival Dahlan, the latter began to seek rapprochement with Hamas. First, he started making contact with Hamas in the Gaza Strip in order to implement humanitarian projects in Gaza that he financed, such as collective weddings and taking care of the poor, and he coordinated with Egypt to open the Rafah crossing.”

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