News from June 15-June 21

Trump campaign ads, annexation update, and honorable mentions

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Facebook removes Trump campaign ads that use Nazi symbols:

What happened? On Thursday, Facebook removed several Trump campaign ads that featured a symbol once used by Nazi Germany to denote political prisoners. The ad, which featured an inverted triangle, calls for President Trump’s followers to support designating Antifa, a collection of far-left groups, a terrorist organization. Though the Trump campaign clarified that the ad was meant to represent an emoji, the inverted red triangle was used by the Nazis to identify communists, liberals, social democrats, and people of other opposition parties. In total, 88 ads were removed from the social media platform.

Photo from the Washington Post.

How have people reacted? Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said, “The Nazis used red triangles to identify their political victims in concentration camps. Using it to attack political opponents is highly offensive. @POTUS' campaign needs to learn its history, as ignorance is no excuse for using Nazi-related symbols.”

Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign spokesman, said, “The red triangle is an Antifa symbol. We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad.”

Nathaniel Gleicher, the head of security policy at Facebook, said, “We obviously want to be careful to allow someone to put up a symbol to condemn it or to discuss it, but in a situation where we don’t see either of those, we don’t allow it on the platform and we’ll remove it. That’s what we saw in this case with this ad, and anywhere that symbol is used, we would take the same action.”

Further reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/19/leaked-document-makes-trumps-use-nazi-era-symbol-look-worse/ (WaPo)

Annexation update:

What happened? Debates in the American and Israeli government over whether or not Israel should annex parts of the West Bank as early as July 1st continued over the past week. On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Speaker of the Knesset presented Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi with several different scenarios for applying sovereignty that ranged from annexing small, symbolic areas to nearly 30% of the West Bank. 

Wait, Israel’s Prime Minister presented options to its Alternate Prime Minister? It’s an unorthodox situation. According to Netanyahu’s coalition deal with Gantz, he must consult with Gantz before he begins the formal process to annex portions of the West Bank. Though he can proceed without the approval of Gantz, Netanyahu must coordinate his actions with Gantz. Even so, Netanyahu may have no choice because reports indicate that the United States will not give the “green light” on annexation unless Israel’s government broadly agrees with the proposal. It’s unlikely that Gantz and Ashkenazi will support annexing 30% of the West Bank, but they may support limited measures. 

Anything else? Last week, the United Arab Emirates’ Ambassador to the United States wrote an unprecedented op-ed in a Hebrew language newspaper. This week, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer wrote his own op-ed. In his piece, he says, “The extension of Israeli sovereignty to certain territories in Judea and Samaria will not, as many critics suggest, destroy the two-state solution. But it will shatter the two-state illusion. And in doing so, it will open the door to a realistic two-state solution and get the peace process out of the cul-de-sac it has been stuck in for two decades.” He also said, “The hard truth is that for the past 25 years, international leaders and policymakers have been unwilling to admit that they never had the Palestinians onboard for a genuine two-state solution. And in constantly moving the goalpost to get them onboard, they have now lost Israelis as well.”

What to watch for: This week, American officials will meet to decide what form of annexation, if any, they will support. Also, look for more Democrats to publicly oppose annexation. Earlier this week, pro-Israel Senators Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, and Ben Cardin, released a statement “expressing opposition” to annexation. 

Further reading:https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-52756427 (BBC)

Honorable mentions:

I am the architect of the U.S.-Israel police exchange. Don’t believe the lies by Steven L. Pomerantz (Forward)

Ramy Youssef and Amar'e Stoudemire Discuss Religion and Basketball by Frazier Tharpe (Complex)

Jewish groups race to support [Congressman Elliot Engel] as AOC-backed challenger surges by Aiden Pink (Forward)

Muslims, Jews petition to remove statue of St. Louis’ crusader namesake by Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post) (Eylon Levy also has an interesting Twitter thread on statues of controversial figures)

Trump was prepared to back Israeli strike on Iran, Bolton says by Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)

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