What A Day: A total 'yahu

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

 -The Houston Police Department, casually tracking down a big loose tiger

Israel has provoked and escalated its most violent confrontation with Palestinians in years, and progressives are pushing the Biden administration to hold Israel accountable—or at the very least, to do a little better than Andrew Yang

  • Israeli airstrikes into the Gaza Strip on Monday and Tuesday have killed at least 30 Palestinians, including 10 children, and wounded more than 150 others. Those attacks were deployed in (rather unequal) retaliation for rockets that Hamas fired at Israeli cities, which have reportedly killed three Israelis and sent at least 56 others to the hospital. Clashes have also broken out in the West Bank and Arab-Israeli towns, and schools have closed in several parts of Israel.
  • This latest flare-up largely stems from Israel’s efforts to evict several Palestinian families in the Shekh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. In brief: A Jewish settler group argued that Jews owned the land those homes were built on before the 1948 war, so the current occupants should be forced out. Palestinians pointed out that Israeli law doesn’t allow them to reclaim property they lost in the same war, and that this sure seems like part of a wider strategy of displacing Palestinians to shore up Jewish control of occupied land. 
  • Unrest in Jerusalem had been building for weeks, and on Monday, Israel’s Supreme Court delayed its decision on the evictions to try to defuse tensions. Unfortunately, Monday was also Jerusalem Day, when far-right Israeli asshats traditionally march through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter and inflame tensions. Angry Palestinians threw stones at Israeli police outside the al-Aqsa Mosque, police responded with a barrage of stun grenades and rubber bullets into Islam’s third-holiest site in the middle of Ramadan, Hamas fired rockets, and the IDF started flattening Gaza. In a word, oy.

Instead of looking for an exit ramp, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to ramp up the airstrikes.

  • If Netanyahu weren’t such a famously cool guy, one might suspect he was acting out of his own political and personal interests. The violence has complicated negotiations among Netanyahu’s rivals to form a coalition government, which would unseat him as prime minister and finally end Israel’s Groundhog Day cycle of inconclusive elections and political gridlock—if they can get it done in three weeks. The longer Netanyahu bombs Gaza, the better his chances of staying in power and protecting himself from prosecution on corruption charges, but again, we’re sure sweet Bibi hasn’t thought of that.
  • Over the past week, Biden administration officials have called on Israeli and Palestinian officials to end the violence, and said that the administration has “serious concerns about the events in Jerusalem.” But neither President Biden nor the State Department has strongly denounced Israel’s actions on camera, and a number of Democrats in Congress have urged them to do so. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) tweeted on Saturday, “If the Biden Administration puts the rule of law and human rights at the heart of its foreign policy, this is not a moment for tepid statements.”

Middle East experts aren’t holding their breath for Biden to act on that advice: Solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t central to his foreign-policy agenda, and he’ll need Jerusalem’s support to get the Iran nuclear deal back on track. But no human-rights focused administration can deny that the status quo is unacceptable, and it’s a few billion dollars too late for the U.S. to deem itself a bystander in the conflict.

This week Jon Favreau is joined by Beto O’Rourke to talk about Texas’s new voter suppression legislation and the grassroots movement trying to fight it. To catch this and other can't miss interviews, subscribe to the Crooked YouTube channel today! 

The Senate Rules Committee held a markup hearing for the For The People Act on Tuesday, during which Republicans introduced more than 100 amendments and shat their collective pants about the prospect of protecting voting rights and ending partisan gerrymandering. “We all learned early in life, if you can write the rules, you can win the game,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in response to a bill that would prevent Republicans from writing their own rules. Anyway, here’s a great analysis of how GOP redistricting in Texas could negate urban population growth that “should” help Democrats, and ultimately tip the House into Kevin McCarthy’s sweaty little hands in 2022. New polling suggests that filibuster reformers will have a better shot at doing something about that if more voters understand why the filibuster needs to go—got some time to help get the word out?

Glenn Youngkin has won the GOP nomination for governor of Virginia, which is not terrific news for Democrats. Youngkin beat out two more overtly Trumpy candidates who would have been much easier to beat in a state where Trump is deeply unpopular. It's sort of the worst of both worlds: Youngkin is loyal to Trump and his anti-democracy efforts, and scored his endorsement on Tuesday—but he’ll be harder to paint as a full-blown MAGA lunatic, and could bring down Democrats’ margins in suburban areas. Over in the Democratic primary, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is still significantly ahead in both fundraising and polling.

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One million people have signed up for ACA coverage during the Biden administration’s special enrollment period. 

The Biden administration has approved the first major offshore U.S. windfarm, which will be capable of generating enough power for 400,000 homes. 

A total area of forest the size of France has regrown around the world since 2000, according to a new analysis.

The White House announced that Uber and Lyft will provide free rides to vaccination sites, from May 24 to July 4.

. . . . . .

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