News Roundup for September 13, 2019

September 13, 2019

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J Street in the News

A Progressive Perspective: Questioning the Loyalty of Jewish People, The Trentonian
“Logan Bayoff, the communications director for J Street, the prominent progressive Jewish lobbying organization in America, got it right when he said: ‘It dangerous and shameful for the President to attack the majority of the American Jewish community as unintelligent and ‘disloyal.’ But it is no surprise that the president’s racists, disingenuous attacks on progressive women of color in the Congress have now transitioned into smears against Jews.’”

Top News and Analysis

Five Days to Election, a Battered and Bruised Netanyahu Is Nonetheless Growing Stronger, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Even so, despite apprehension that Netanyahu’s Iran strategy could crash and burn, a recent rash of damaging leaks concerning Netanyahu’s criminal investigations as well as the damaging footage of Netanyahu being rushed off an election rally podium because of a Hamas rocket attack, the prime minister is still standing strong in the polls and is still the odds-on favorite to win the elections.”

Here’s what the Israeli public thinks about Netanyahu’s campaign promise to annex parts of the West Bank., Washington Post
Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “What does the Israeli public think about the annexation of the West Bank and its 2.7 million Palestinians, which would end the two-state solution forever?”

Trump says he does not believe Israelis are spying on the U.S., Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he does not believe Israel is spying on the United States after a published report said Israel was most likely behind cellphone surveillance devices found near the White House and elsewhere in Washington.


AG allows Netanyahu to fund legal defense with loan from wealthy friend Partrich, Times of Israel
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Friday said that he will allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take a loan from a friend, American businessman Spencer Partrich, to help fund his legal defense.

Annexing Jordan Valley would end ‘illusion’ of a meaningful two-State solution: UN rights expert, UN
“To assert the right to annex in the 21st century is to attempt to re-enter a world that no longer exists,” said Mr. Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. “The annexation, if realized, will effectively end the illusion of a meaningful two-state solution, and will instead further entrench a one state reality of separate and vastly unequal legal systems, political rights and social opportunities,” he continued.

Meeting Putin after 3-hour wait, Netanyahu vows to stop Iran’s attacks on Israel, Times of Israel
In his comments, the Israeli leader, who traveled to Russia less than a week before the September 17 Knesset elections, hailed bilateral relations, saying they have never been better. He cited two reasons: more than one million Russian-speakers live in Israel, building a “human bridge” between the two countries, and the “direct relationship” between himself and Putin.

Palestinians in Jordan Valley: ‘Our lands are already annexed’, Al Jazeera
“This is not new. Our lands have already been annexed and we are living under Israeli occupation,” 48-year-old Ahmed Atiyat, a farmer in Ras Ain al-Auja, told Al Jazeera.

Netanyahu: War in Gaza could break out ‘before the elections’, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday morning, upon returning from a brief visit to Russia, that war with terror groups in the Gaza Strip could break out “at any moment.”

Israel Admits Attempt to Prevent Gazans From Settling in West Bank, Haaretz
Israel is working to block Palestinians from the Gaza Strip from settling in the Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank.  Israel regards these Palestinians as “illegal aliens,” and in the words of the state’s response, it is making efforts “to halt the growth” in these numbers and to “prevent their settling” in the West Bank.

Trump says Iranian leadership ‘wants to meet’, Times of Israel
US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he believes that Iran’s leadership wants a meeting, adding to expectations that he is trying to arrange a summit with his Iranian counterpart at the upcoming UN assembly.

Facebook Suspends Netanyahu Campaign Bot for Hate Speech, New York Times
Facebook suspended a chatbot operated by the official account of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday for violating hate speech rules after it sent a message saying that Israel’s Arab politicians “want to destroy us all.”

Top Likud official: Chances of Ben Gvir being a minister ‘not realistic’, Times of Israel
Ben Gvir, the head of the extremist Otzma Yehudit party, said earlier in the day that if his party makes it into the Knesset in next week’s elections, he would demand to be made a minister in exchange for his support.

Opinion and Analysis

Will Israeli voters give Bibi a “get out of jail” card?, The Interpreter
Ian Parmeter writes, “Netanyahu has indicated that if re-elected, he will seek to pass a law granting him immunity from such charges while he remains Prime Minister. If he loses the election, he will have to face the court. If convicted, he could be jailed, as was his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, on similar charges.”

How Jewish Should the Jewish State Be? The Question Shadows an Israeli Vote, New York Times
David M. Halbfinger writes, “In Israel, Jewish men and women are drafted into the military, but the ultra-Orthodox are largely exempt. Unlike other Israelis, many ultra-Orthodox receive state subsidies to study the Torah and raise large families. And in a country that calls itself home to all Jews, ultra-Orthodox rabbis have a state-sanctioned monopoly on events like marriage, divorce and religious conversions. A series of political twists has suddenly jolted these issues to the fore, and the country’s long-simmering secular-religious divide has become a central issue in the national election on Tuesday.”

Unable to vote, Palestinians shrug off Israel’s elections, AP
Joseph Krauss and Mohammed Daraghmeh write, “Maraei Maraei runs a hardware store in the West Bank village of Mas’ha, which is separated from the Elkana settlement by a wall and a closed metal gate. Elkana’s settlers can vote, while residents of Mas’ha cannot. Still, he shrugs off the talk of annexation.”

What do Palestinians in Gaza really think about the Israeli elections?, +972 Mag
Yuval Abraham writes, “I’ve known Muhammad for a little over a year. He was the first person from Gaza I ever spoke to. He works as a physiotherapist at a government hospital, and has experienced Gaza’s wars through the injuries he’s had to treat. He starts our conversation with a warning: ‘I’m not worth your while interviewing. I don’t have anything to say about the Israeli elections, because they don’t interest me,’ he says. ‘Firstly, because I’m drowning in day-to-day problems in Gaza. We’re not being paid our doctors’ wages, and the noise from the drones is driving me crazy.’”

Why the man who comes second in Israel’s election could end up as prime minister, Times of Israel
Haviv Rettig Gur writes, “Neither Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud nor Benny Gantz’s Blue and White looks set to draw an easy 61-seat coalition. Likud’s falling out with Yisrael Beytenu and the latter party’s campaign promise to force a secularist national-unity coalition without the Haredi parties has denied Likud an obvious right-wing majority.”