News Roundup for September 12, 2019

September 12, 2019

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J Street in the News

Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff, Times of Israel
“Netanyahu’s campaign rivals quickly dismissed his ‘dramatic announcement’ as more political spin just days away from the election. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said if Israel moves forward with the plan it will have ‘succeeded in burying even any chance of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.’ Across the Arab world, however, the reaction was more muted, though the Arab League labeled Netanyahu’s promise as ‘aggression.’ J Street called the move ‘unacceptable,’ while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) both condemned it.”

Jewish and Israel-related groups react to ouster of Bolton as national security advisor, JNS
“J Street spokesperson Logan Bayroff told JNS: ‘He will not be missed.’”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Voters May Like Netanyahu’s Promises, but Don’t Necessarily Believe Them, New York Times
So deep is the distrust of Mr. Netanyahu’s showmanship, particularly in the lead-up to hotly contested elections like the current one, with voters returning to the polls next Tuesday, that even some of his supporters are doubting his sincerity about the annexation.

Trump Discussed Easing Iran Sanctions, Prompting Bolton Pushback, Bloomberg
President Donald Trump discussed easing sanctions on Iran to help secure a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later this month, prompting then-National Security Advisor John Bolton to argue forcefully against such a step, according to three people familiar with the matter. After an Oval Office meeting on Monday when the idea came up, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin voiced his support for the move as a way to restart negotiations with Iran, some of the people said. Later in the day, Trump decided to oust Bolton, whose departure was announced Tuesday.

Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House, Politico
The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter. But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.


Netanyahu’s New Election Message: ‘Arabs Want to Annihilate Us All’, Haaretz
“Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men” – that is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new message to voters, which appears through an automated popup message that appears on the screen of anybody accessing his official Facebook page.

Israeli ambassador urges US to ‘stay the course’ on pressuring Iran, JTA
“What is important now is to stay the course, stand up to Iran’s aggression and continue ratcheting up the pressure until Iran abandons its nuclear ambitions once and for all,” Dermer said Tuesday evening at a pre-Rosh Hashanah reception at the embassy. “Israel looks forward to working with the Trump administration to do just that in the year ahead.”

On Eve of Netanyahu-Putin Meeting, Russia Joins in Condemning Annexation Plan, Haaretz
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned Wedenesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex parts of the West Bank, a day before the Israeli leader is slated to meet President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Al-Qaida chief in 9/11 speech calls for attacks on West, AP
Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri called Wednesday on Muslims to attack U.S., European, Israeli and Russian targets in a speech on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Netanyahu Fails to Pass Bill to Film at Polling Stations After Clash With Arab Party Leader, Haaretz
Fifty-eight lawmakers voted in favor of the Likud-sponsored bill, but it didn’t pass because of the special majority the Knesset’s legal adviser had determined was required to approve the legislation.

As MKs debate camera bill, Arab lawmaker booted for filming Netanyahu, Times of Israel
The Knesset’s top Arab lawmaker confronted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a cellphone camera in parliament on Wednesday, interrupting a debate on a bill that seeks to allow party representatives to bring cameras into polling stations in next’s week election.

False Alarms Activated in Southern Israel as Army Shells Hamas Compound in Gaza, Haaretz
The Israeli army said it struck a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip Wednesday night in response to rockets fired from the coastal enclave earlier in the day.

Opinion and Analysis

The Guardian view on Netanyahu’s land grab: a prison, not a peace, The Guardian
The Editorial Board writes, “The Israeli political leadership, with the help of Donald Trump, is making finding a way out of conflict with the Palestinians impossible.”

Why the Arab World Isn’t Outraged by Netanyahu’s West Bank Vow, New York Times
Ben Hubbard writes, “Mr. Netanyahu’s vow comes after strategic shifts in the Middle East have pushed the Palestinian cause down the priority list of many Arab leaders and their peoples. It also follows President Trump’s endorsement of a number of unilateral steps by Israel toward other disputed territories.”

Behind Netanyahu’s scorched earth campaign against Israel’s media, +972 Mag
Natasha Roth writes, “Just one week out from the second national elections in six months, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s relationship with the Israeli media seems to be at an all-time low. But are his ferocious attacks on the press all they seem?”

Gaza rockets are battering Netanyahu’s image, but Hamas isn’t seeking his ouster, Times of Israel
Avi Issacharoff writes, “Someone in Gaza is trying to start a war. It remains unclear at this point whether this is the work of Hamas or a smaller terrorist group affiliated with it, or whether Islamic Jihad is at work here.”

Why Netanyahu and Dermer Have Kept Silent About John Bolton, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “Bolton’s assistance to Netanyahu didn’t end with his influence on Trump regarding the Iran deal. That was just the beginning.”

Kahane lives and breathes in the Israeli mainstream, +972 Mag
Ron Cahlili writes, “If the polls are accurate, more than 140,000 voters will vote the Kahanists back into the Knesset in next week’s election. Yet the desire for a pure Jewish state long ago moved from the margins of Israeli society to the mainstream.”

Netanyahu the Inciter, Version 2.0, Haaretz
The Editorial Board writes, “New technologies bring new means of incitement. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for whom incitement is his daily bread, doesn’t hesitate to use them.”