December 6, 2019 In The News

Jewish Insider: As Trump travels to Florida to address Israeli Americans, House Dems hope to send message on annexation

Good Friday morning!

On Capitol Hill, the House is set to vote on a resolution reaffirming U.S. support for the two-state solution. More below.

In South Florida, President Donald Trump will speak Saturday night at the annual Israeli-American Council national summit, taking place this weekend at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood.

In Israel, three Netanyahu associates — including his cousin — were indicted yesterday on charges of corruption linked to Case 3000, which related to the 2016 purchase of submarines from Germany. Netanyahu himself was not charged in the case.

In Poland, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is slated to make her first visit since assuming office to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial today, and announce a donation of €60 million to conservation efforts.

In London, the Campaign Against Antisemitism is hosting the “Together Against Antisemitism” national solidarity march on Sunday in Parliament Square.

Over at Fox News: A few days after The Washington Post’s media critic Erik Wemple wrote ‘Fox can’t shake anti-Semitism,’ Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg observes the dog-whistles deployed by Tucker Carlson in a segment earlier this week.

ON THE HILL — House to take a stance on annexation and continued aid to Israel
The House of Representatives will vote today on a resolution (H.R. 326), introduced by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), reaffirming U.S. support for the two-state solution.

Why now: Lowenthal said the recent reversal on settlements by the Trump administration — and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow earlier this year to annex part of the West Bank — makes this declaration critical. “We cannot let partisan political concerns — either at home or abroad — distract us from keeping the dream of a just peace alive,” he said. “Congress must speak out to make clear to the world that the United States stands behind its longstanding foreign policy principles.”

Along partisan lines: Nearly 200 Democrats have cosponsored the resolution, which also expresses opposition to the “unilateral annexation of territory or efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework of negotiations.” Despite the removal of language referencing the “occupation” and “opposing settlement activity” from the final draft, most Republicans are expected to oppose the resolution.

The last minute inclusion of two amendments — introduced by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Tom Reed (R-NY) — reaffirming the “ironclad” U.S. commitment to the MOU and to annual military assistance without new conditions — will make the passage of the resolution bipartisan. At least 10 Republicans signed on in support of the amendments, and several are likely to vote in favor of the measure.

Timing: Gottheimer told JI’s Jacob Kornbluh that the passage of the resolution “sends a very clear message that puts to rest the splinter view of adding new conditions on aid to Israel.” According to the New Jersey Democrat, while “the underlying resolution isn’t perfect,” the fact that the amendments added were backed by a handful of Republicans makes it a bipartisan declaration about continued aid to Israel.

No comment: An AIPAC spokesperson tells JI, “We have no position on this resolution.” A similar measure condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and endorsing the two-state solution (H.R. 246), which passed overwhelmingly 398-17 in July, was supported by AIPAC. The current resolution has the support of J Street and the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

Why it matters: If passed, the resolution will mark the first time the House has voted to oppose unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank. “Coming at the end of a week in which President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly discussed potential Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley, it will send a clear message that Congress strongly opposes such efforts to undermine the prospects for a two-state solution,” Logan Bayroff, J Street’s director of communications, told JI.

Rep. David Price (D-NC) tells JI’s Ben Jacobs that he’s “pleased to put the House on the record” in opposition to West Bank annexation and the withholding of U.S. funds to the Palestinian Authority.

Republican opposition: In a letter sent earlier this week to Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Republican Jewish Coalition pointed to the passing of H.R. 246 as a reason to oppose the current Democratic-sponsored resolution. “It appears that their purpose is to undercut the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan ahead of its unveiling,” the RJC wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Jewish Insider, calling the vote a “redundant exercise.”

Opposing from the left: Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Justin Amash (I-MI) sided with the Republicans in voting “no” on the amendments and the ruling. Tlaib told The Hill that she opposed the amendments because she supports a one-state solution and will vote against the resolution because the “word ‘occupation’ was taken out.”

U.S.-Israel defense pact: In a briefing with Israeli reporters in Lisbon, Portugal, Netanyahu said that Pompeo agreed to promote a mutual defense pact between the U.S. and Israel, but cautioned that it might not be possible for the U.S. to sign such an agreement with only an interim Israeli government in place.

Bonus:Al-Arabiya reports that Palestinian officials are concerned over a recent report by the International Criminal Court’s head prosecutor that addresses Palestinian Authority payments to individuals who’ve conducted terror attacks against Israelis. The report warned that the payments could constitute a war crime.

Read the full story here.

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Jeffrey Goldberg, Bari Weiss discuss antisemitism in America
At the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan on Thursday night, Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg and New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss spoke with Council for Young Jewish Presidents executive director Zach Schaffer about assimilation, the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community and the politicization of antisemitism.

Goldberg told the audience: “The interesting thing about the antisemitism on the far left is that it plays an unusually sophisticated role in corroding Jewish unity, Jewish sense of self, Jewish purpose in a way that Nazism [and] Islamism… don’t — they actually bring the Jewish people together. The extreme leftism is interesting because it’s far more clever than idiot Nazis running around in Charlottesville.”

Speaking to JI Thursday night, Weiss expressed frustration with Sanders’s silence over comments made by campaign surrogate Linda Sarsour — at a conference hosted by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) — that Israel was “built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else.” Weiss told JI that entrenched antisemitism within a political party can originate at Sarsour’s level: “This is sort of how it begins, where it’s like, ‘What is the line?’”

Weiss told JI: “It’s not just what [Sarsour] said — it’s the content of the entire conference,” noting that the controversial statements and sessions did not garner significant attention beyond the Jewish community. Weiss pointed out that the conference included a session with the description, “Zionism has come in like a disease to destroy the purity of Al Quds [Jerusalem].”

Piling on: In a press release distributed Thursday, Democratic Majority for Israel said, “We are deeply saddened and completely appalled to see Senator Sanders standing with antisemitism by remaining silent and retaining Linda Sarsour as an ‘official surrogate’ of his campaign after she made yet another antisemitic statement.”

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Indyk discusses new book on Kissinger and the Middle East
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk discussed his forthcoming book Henry Kissinger and the Art of the Middle East Deal, on the “Decision Points” podcast with The Washington Institute’s David Makovsky.

On the 1973 Yom Kippur War: Indyk characterizes the U.S. airlift in support of Israeli troops as a vital moment in the war and broader U.S.-American relationship. After, “what the airlift did was give the Israelis a shot in the arm and a critical sense that the United States was behind them full-square.”

Ultimate Deal: Kissinger approached Middle East peace as a means to expelling Soviet presence in the region. According to Indyk, this came much to the chagrin of then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. In one incident, Indyk explains, Kissinger “had to convince the Israelis to give up territory, not for peace, but for the order he wished to create.”