J Street Daily News Roundup 2/6/14

February 6th, 2014

J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street's positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Please email newsroundup@jstreet.org

J Street in the News

Northampton synagogue to host ‘J Street Town Meeting’ on Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gazettenet

Tonight, Congregation B’nai Israel in Northampton, Massachusetts will host a J Street Town Hall aimed at supporting Secretary of State Kerry’s two-state peace initiative. Tamar Fields, chairwoman of J Street’s western Massachusetts chapter said, “It’s a chance for Jews and non-Jews in our community to show up and support a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… This is a moment in history when this can happen.”

Now is not the time for Congress to impose more Iran sanctions, Jewish Community Voice

Arguing against new Iran sanctions legislation, J Street South Jersey Chair Howard Simonoff wrote, “The current diplomatic effort should be given every chance to succeed.”

Cheering for Peace: The Problem With the Boycott, Cornell Sun

J Street U Cornell president Jacob Glick said that “if we, as a campus and a nation, are more interested in achieving a dignified peace than in airing dissatisfactions and anxieties with the Jewish State, we should discuss how Israel can make good on its commitment to Western, democratic values and not how we might punish it for supposed violations of these values.”

With AIPAC's Power in Doubt, Is Peace With Israel Now Possible?, Huffington Post

Robert Naiman noted, “a Senate bill to cripple US diplomacy with Iran had stalled after stiff resistance from President Obama, J Street, and mobilized public opinion deeply wary of efforts to gin up another Middle East war.”

Republicans said set to push Iran bill to a vote, Times of Israel

“The bill’s reported demise came following repeated lobbying efforts both by the administration as well as by a coalition of lobbying groups including J Street, Americans for Peace Now, the National Iranian American Council, the American Security Project and the Atlantic Council, coordinated under the leadership of the Ploughshares Fund.”

Top News and Analysis

Kerry: I won't be intimidated by Israeli attacks against me, Haaretz

Kerry responded decisively on Wednesday to dismissive comments made by top Israeli officials regarding his attempts to push forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

"I'm not going to be intimidated and back down," Kerry said in an interview to CNN. "I’ve been attacked before by people using real bullets, not words... No one should distort what we are saying because they are opposed to the peace process."

Israel said willing to give up 90% of West Bank, Times of Israel

The closed-door negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians over borders have reportedly come down to a matter of a few percentage points, with both sides agreeing in principle that the majority of Jewish West Bank settlements would be transferred to Israeli sovereignty in a final status deal. A report said that Israel is seeking to annex about 10 percent of the West Bank’s land area in a final deal, while the Palestinians are seeking to have Israel annex only around 3% of the West Bank.

Iran says may modify Arak reactor to allay nuclear concerns, Reuters

Iran is prepared to modify its planned Arak heavy water reactor to help allay Western concerns, its nuclear energy chief said in published remarks that could be the first such suggestion by a senior Iranian official.

GOP Will Force Reid to Save Obama’s Iran Policy—Over and Over Again, Daily Beast

Josh Rogin reported that “the Republican Senate caucus is planning to use every parliamentary trick in the book to push Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow a floor vote on a new Iran sanctions bill that the Obama administration strenuously opposes.”


US condemns new settlement plan as Kerry downplays Israeli critics, Jerusalem Post

The US State Department condemned the decision made by the Jerusalem Municipality's Committee for Planning and Building permitting 558 new homes to be built in East Jerusalem. "Our position on Jerusalem is clear,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. “We oppose any unilateral actions by either party that attempt to prejudge final status issues, including the status of Jerusalem… We’ve called on both sides to take steps to create a positive atmosphere for the negotiations."

Conservative Leader Attacks Kerry For Pursuing Middle East Peace, Think Progress

Conservative Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, criticized Kerry for pursuing peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, saying Kerry risks upending “the quietest place in the region.”

Flawed US decisions have endangered Israel, Bennett says, Haaretz

Flawed decision-making on the part of the United States government has endangered the security of Israel, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said on Thursday.

Livni: We will deal severely with ‘price tag’ criminals, Times of Israel

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni vowed on Wednesday to “deal uncompromisingly and severely” with anti-Palestinian “price tag” attacks by extremist Jewish nationalists. Her comments followed the indictment Wednesday of three Israeli Jews from a West Bank outpost.

Opinion and Analysis

Memo to Jewish groups: You can’t effectively fight BDS if you don’t fight settlements too, Haaretz

According to Peter Beinart, “Establishment American Jewish groups don’t really support the two-state solution. Or, at least, they don’t support it enough to risk a confrontation with the Israeli government [over settlements]. Which is why they are more an obstacle than an asset to the American-led ‘peace process.’ And why they can’t stop BDS.”

The moment of truth, Jerusalem Post

Gershon Baskin says, “The buck stops with [President] Abbas and [Prime Minister] Netanyahu, and this is the moment of truth.”

The moment of creation, American Prospect

Reviewing John Judis’ new book on the American Jewish community’s role in President Truman’s decision to recognize the State of Israel, Gershom Gorenberg notes, “When Obama, his secretary of state, and other advisers meet to discuss whether to press on with American peace efforts, a flood of e-mails demanding that the president do so would be valuable.”

Israel-Palestinian peace requires realism on Jordan Valley, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar contends that “Israelis who hold dear the fate of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, and those among them who are truly interested in an end to the conflict, should get used to the idea of a Palestinian Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea.”