CMEP Bulletin: The US-Israel Relationship: ‘It’s Complicated’

CMEP_logo.jpgLong, Uneasy Love Affair of Israel and U.S. Evangelicals May Have Peaked [The Washington Post]
The Washington Post reports, “The Trump administration’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent visit of the evangelical vice president to Israel mark the culmination of a long, complicated and sometimes uneasy alliance between Israeli leaders and Christian evangelicals that dates to before the establishment of the state. But the high-water mark comes just as younger American evangelicals are growing less attached to Israel.”
How Not to Measure Americans' Support for Israel [The Atlantic]
Tamara Cofman Wittes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, and Daniel Shapiro, former US Ambassador to Israel, write, “Support for Israel is, in fact, becoming a politicized issue in the United States, and partisan divides on policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are indeed getting wider. But the wrong response risks making Israel’s real problems in American public opinion worse. … The poll question is faulty because sympathy for Palestinians should not imply hostility to Israel, nor should sympathy for Israel require disregard for the fate of Palestinians. A solution to their conflict enshrining two states for two peoples is the outcome most preferred by Americans regardless of party, and administrations of both parties have sought to help both Israel and the Palestinians achieve their goals in a two-state solution. … The bottom line is that a partisan divide over American support for Israel is neither natural nor inevitable.”
Fuel Shortage Closes Seven Gaza Medical Centers [The Times of Israel]
The Times of Israel reports, “Seven medical centers in Gaza have stopped services due to lack of fuel to power generators, the health ministry in the Palestinian enclave said Wednesday, two days after a hospital took similar steps. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the ministry in Hamas-run Gaza, said the health situation had entered an ‘unprecedented stage’ due to an electricity crisis. … The Hamas terror group’s longtime rival in the West Bank, Fatah, has accused the Islamists of exaggerating the problem, saying fuel and funding have been provided.”
Sorry, Naftali Bennett: ‘Normal’ Democracies Don’t Ban Nonviolent Resistance [Forward]
Issa Amro writes, “Last week, Israeli Member of Knesset Naftali Bennett wrote an op ed in the New York Times defending Israel’s new blacklist. … Throughout the piece, Bennett’s tone is above all reasonable. ‘Any other country in a similar situation would do the same,’ he insists. … ‘Like any normal democracy, Israel has as its No. 1 priority defending its citizens,’ writes Bennett. The problem is, Israel isn’t a normal democracy. I am one of millions of people Israel excludes from its democratic proceedings, just as Bennett expertly excluded me from his piece. Far from normal, Israel is a democracy that is occupying millions of Palestinians. And it is this fact – the denial of civil liberties to millions of people – that BDS uses nonviolent means to oppose. And it’s this fact that Naftali Bennett is so good at hiding.”
In First, Judge Blocks Kansas Law Aimed at Boycotts of Israel [ACLU]
“The American Civil Liberties Union won an early victory today in its federal lawsuit arguing that a Kansas law requiring a public school educator to certify that she won’t boycott Israel violates her First Amendment rights. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law while the case filed in October proceeds. It is the first ruling addressing a recent wave of laws nationwide aiming to punish people who boycott Israel. … The ACLU represents Esther Koontz, who belongs to the Mennonite Church USA. In accordance with calls for boycott made by members of her congregation and her church, Koontz decided not to buy consumer products made by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. … When Koontz was asked to certify that she does not participate in a boycott of Israel, she said that she could not sign the form in good conscience. As a result, the state refuses to contract with her, and she is unable to participate as a trainer in the state’s program,” according to the ACLU.

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