News from June 1 to June 7

George Floyd protests and West Bank annexation update

Hey everyone! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, or concerns at newsofthejews@gmail.com. If you need good Jewish/Israeli shows or movies, make sure to check out this newsletter. I had limited time this weekend, so this will have to be a short edition.

Jewish writers, leaders, and organizations weigh in on the George Floyd killing and protests:

As I mentioned last week, there are a wide variety of Jewish perspectives on the protests over the murder of George Floyd. Rather than summarize them, I’m going to include a list of different articles from many different viewpoints:

‘Believe us’: Black Jews respond to the George Floyd protests, in their own words by Josefin Dolsten (JTA)

The protestors are playing with their feet. Why can’t we pray in our shuls? by Bethany Mandel (JTA)

Black Americans and Jews of color don’t need another short-term ally — we need you to join our fight by Jordan Daniels (JTA)

Al Sharpton and the Painful Contradictions Between Fighting Racism and Anti-Semitism by Ben Cohen (Jewish Journal)

For Orthodox Jews, George Floyd Protests Stir Complicated Feelings by Shira Hanau (Jewish Journal)

I am a Black, Jewish American and I Matter by Christina Benson-Wilson (Jewish Journal)

Should My Business Be Sacrificed to Fight Police Brutality? by Joel Bertet (Jewish Journal)

Black Jews, he says, ‘get traumatized twice.’ To cope, he painted their experience by PJ Grisar (Forward)

After months of silence, a scream by Jodi Rudoren (Forward(

‘It’s on us.’ Jewish clergy weigh in on the role of Jews in the aftermath of George Floyd (Forward)

How New York’s Haredim are responding to George Floyd protests by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt (Forward)

Taking Care by Nathan Goldman and Claire Schwartz (Jewish Currents)

West Bank annexation update:

What happened? Reports surfaced earlier this week indicating that the United States was not prepared to green-light Israel’s proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank by July 1st. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly suggested later in the week that parts of President Trump’s peace plan will be implemented on July 1st. Specifically, Netanyahu said that he is aiming to annex settlements housing 450,000 Israelis, which constitutes about three percent of the West Bank. The rest of the plan would be implemented at a later date.

I thought the United States wants Israel to annex the West Bank. What happened? America’s appetite for Israeli annexation of the West Bank has waned recently for a few reasons. For one, the United States reportedly feels that it has not made sufficient progress delineating the exact parts of the West Bank that will be annexed, a process being managed by a joint American-Israeli mapping committee. Key American staffers on the committee–National Security Council Director for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Scott Leith and Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner–have not been able to travel to Israel due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Until they can participate in the process in person, the mapping committee may not be able to complete its work. The White House is also said to want to slow down the annexation process while it focuses on domestic issues like America’s economic recovery and the George Floyd protests. 

What about Israel? How are Israeli’s reacting? It’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, Israeli settler leaders recently expressed to Prime Minister Netanyahu that they were not pleased that annexation would create a Palestinian state. To the settlers, the presence of a sovereign Palestinian state would effectively limit future expansions of their settlements. Netanyahu clarified that, although the American plan called for the creation of a Palestinian state in the 70% of the West Bank not annexed by Israel under the plan, he does not necessarily support its inception. The response, though seemingly contradictory to America’s position, was praised by the settler leaders. 

Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, thousands of people gathered to protest Netanyahu’s planned annexation. The protest, attended by United States Senator Bernie Sanders via video-conference, called for the end of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and a renewal of peace talks.

Protests over annexation in Tel Aviv on June 6, 2020. Tomer Appelbaum via Haaretz

Israeli protestors are not the only people sounding alarms over Netanyahu’s plan; the Palestinian Authority is preparing to advance a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly against Israel’s annexation plans, and Jordan is said to be considering canceling its peace treaty with Israel if it goes through with the annexation. 

Further reading:https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/ten-things-on-settlement-enclaves-under-trumps-plan-630657

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