News Roundup for September 23

September 23, 2019

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J Street in the News

The Trump administration’s crackdown on campus criticism of Israel is Orwellian, The Guardian
“Since assuming his post at the Department of Education Pace Marcus has attempted to take this strategy even further, pushing the government to define the BDS movement as antisemitic and designate anti-occupation and Palestine solidarity activism as violations of Jewish students’ civil rights. A range of groups, from the free-speech watchdog Fire to the liberal pro-Israel lobby J Street, have warned that the conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism poses serious threats to campus free speech.”

Top News and Analysis

Ayman Odeh: We Are Ending Netanyahu’s Grip on Israel, New York Times
Ayman Odeh writes, “On behalf of the Joint List, I am recommending that Israel’s president choose Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White party, to be the next prime minister. This will be the most significant step toward helping create the majority needed to prevent another term for Mr. Netanyahu. And it should be the end of his political career.”

Why the Arab Alliance’s Endorsement of Gantz Is a Big Deal, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “It shows just how badly the voters who sent 13 Joint List representatives to the Knesset want to integrate into Israeli society.”

Kicking off unity bid, Rivlin invites Netanyahu and Gantz to meet, Times of Israel
After completing meetings with party representatives to hear their recommendations as to who should form the next government, and with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz receiving majority support in the new Knesset, President Reuven Rivlin on Monday issued an invitation for a meeting between the two in an attempt to move forward in the coalition-building process.


Arab Alliance Endorses Gantz for PM, Lieberman Won’t Back Anyone, Haaretz
“The commitments we’ve made to our voters are rock solid, and we won’t budge at all,” Avigdor Lieberman said. “As soon as Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud decided to form a bloc with ultra-Orthodox parties and religious fanatics, we can’t be part of that bloc.”

As Joint List backs Gantz, Netanyahu says: I told you so, Times of Israel
“Citizens of Israel, this happened just as we warned: the Arab Joint List recommended Benny Gantz for prime minister,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.

Three-quarters of Israeli Arabs Support Joining Ruling Coalition, Poll Shows, Haaretz
A survey finds Arabs are more open than Jews to political cooperation between the two communities, with nearly half of Jews resisting the idea of Arabs in government.

Liberman says Netanyahu, Gantz should ‘flip a coin’ for who serves first as PM, Times of Israel
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman will meet with Benny Gantz on Monday, a day after he refrained from endorsing either the Blue and White leader or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the premiership.

Israel begins cutting Palestinian electricity, citing debts, AP
Israel’s national electric company says it has begun reducing power supplies to Palestinian areas of the occupied West Bank due to a financial dispute.

Arab Israeli lawmaker: Election results a ‘slap in the face’ for Trump, Times of Israel
“The result is a slap in the face not [just] of Netanyahu but also President Trump, who supports all the racism, all the atrocities and is preparing the most anti-Palestinian plan that has even been presented by the US,” Tibi told press in English.

‘Collective’ erosion of two-State solution, continues unabated: Mladenov, UN
“There is no other viable solution to end the conflict”, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, told the Security Council on Friday. “Those who continue to support a two-State outcome must acknowledge that derailing that prospect, means that Palestinians and Israelis are facing a grim future of perpetual occupation, endless violence and threats to international stability”, he said.

Opinion and Analysis

Benny Gantz Can’t Heal the Rift Between U.S. Jews and Israel, New York Times
Daniel Gordis writes, “Contrary to conventional wisdom, I believe that any new Israeli prime minister might ultimately make matters worse between Israel and American Jews. That’s because American Jews will discover that some of the policies they detested and associated with Netanyahu are actually supported by a wide spectrum of Israelis. What they thought they disliked about Netanyahu they may find that they dislike about Israel itself.”

Sen. Reed can help stop war, Providence Journal
Jeffrey Goldwasser writes, “In July, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which prevents federal funds from being used for any military force against Iran without congressional authorization. A similar provision was also supported by a bipartisan majority in the Senate.”

Israel Election Results: Joint List Reps Cross the Rubicon to Endorse Gantz – Who Blanches in Return, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The prime minister’s relentless incitement against the Arab minority during the election campaign galvanized Arab voters to go the polls. The same fury compelled the Joint List to overrule the strenuous opposition of its ultra-nationalist Balad component and to endorse a Zionist center-right candidate, a move rendered even more remarkable in light of Gantz’s past as Israeli army chief during the 2014 Gaza War, in which many hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed.”

Israel’s opposition still wants to oust Netanyahu… just not yet, Times of Israel
David Horovitz writes, “Blue and White won more seats than Likud in last week’s elections. Its leader Gantz has the support of more MKs than Netanyahu. But in a risky gambit, it wants to bide its time.”

Tracking Israel’s support for illegal outposts, +972 Mag
Rachel Shenhav-Goldberg writes, “The Israeli government has been quietly authorizing illegal settlement outposts in recent years. A criminal activity, the trend also exposes Palestinians to increased violence and harassment from settlers.”

Blast From the Past: Did the Carter administration cover up a 1979 Israeli nuclear test?, Foreign Policy
A special Foreign Policy investigative team writes, “Forty years ago, a U.S. satellite detected the telltale signs of a nuclear explosion. An analysis of the evidence today points to a clandestine nuclear test, a Carter administration cover-up, and only one country that was willing and able to carry it out: Israel.”