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J Street in the News
In Boston for the a J Street 2 Campaign Town Hall, MK Amram Mitzna said, “It's important for people to understand what does it mean without having a two-state solution. Israel will not last as a democracy." He urged American Jews to “support the administration [in peace talks]. To be pro Israel [is] to come forward. It is very important.”
Discussing his previous work in an interview, J Street Director of Regional Operations and Strategy Josh Friedes said marriage equality moved quickly into law these past few years because it had “far greater support than people realized.” He said the same applies to American Jews’ thoughts about the two-state solution. “We see from polling that people are with us.” J Street’s role is to listen to the poll numbers and “urge the administration to play a leadership role… and not pull back.”
J Street U Wesleyan President Becca Caspar-Johnson urged the president of Wesleyan to “publicly endorse the negotiation process” between Israel and the Palestinians.
Top News and Analysis
AIPAC breaks with GOP on Iran sanctions, The Hill
AIPAC came out against an immediate vote on Iran sanctions Thursday, just hours after 42 Republican senators demanded a vote. It issued its statement after the bill's author, Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), took to the Senate floor and obliquely criticized the GOP push.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat met on Thursday in Jericho with US Middle East peace talks envoy Martin Indyk to discuss the details of the anticipated Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement.
During an interfaith breakfast in Washington, D.C, Obama praised Secretary of State Kerry's efforts to make headway in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. "I want to take this opportunity to thank Secretary Kerry for his extraordinary passion and principled diplomacy that he’s brought to the cause of peace in the Middle East. Thank you, John," Obama said, to much applause from those in attendance. The American president added that the US has made it clear to both sides that any long-term peace agreement "will require freedom of worship and access to holy sites for all faiths."
The best policy, Foreign Policy
“Kerry will likely get his agreement on a framework,” writes Aaron David Miller. “But his conundrum -- and Obama's -- on actually moving to a two-state agreement that has any chance of being implemented is clear: Closing the divide between the two sides will require the kind of toughness, fairness, and reassurance that the United States has never demonstrated in peace talks -- as well as fighting with a close ally, which is never cheap.”
Kerry: ‘Brave’ Lapid helping to advance peace process, Times of Israel
Kerry praised on Thursday Finance Minister Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party’s “brave” efforts to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, adding that the party would play an important role in pushing a deal through.
Foreign Minister Lieberman said on Friday Kerry is a "true friend of Israel" and slammed Economics Minister Naftali Bennett for his recent criticism of the top American diplomat.
US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said, “Almost everyday there were voice accusing [Kerry] of supporting boycotts and even anti-Semitism - these things are destructive and certainly a distortion of reality.”
For the past year and a half, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has been pushing an initiative aimed at starting to try violators for building illegally in Palestinian territory, though law enforcement agencies tend to deal lightly with such criminal cases.
Aid agencies working in the West Bank and East Jerusalem expressed alarm on Friday at a spike in Israeli demolitions of Palestinian property.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lashed out at his Republican colleagues on Thursday for sending him what he called a “partisan letter” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. The letter, sent to Reid on Tuesday by 42 Republican Senators and led by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), called on the Majority Leader to hold a vote on a new Iran sanctions bill that has stalled in the Senate after the White House and others argued it could lead to war with the Islamic Republic.
Bill Clinton privately urged Senate Democrats to delay imposing new sanctions on Iran, giving the White House a key ally as it seeks to avoid a battle with Congress on the sensitive issue in an election year.
US Issues Penalties Over Violations of Iran Sanctions, The New York Times
The Obama administration penalized nearly three dozen companies and individuals in eight countries on Thursday, accusing them of evading Iranian sanctions.
Opinion and Analysis
The State vs. John Kerry, Jerusalem Post
Alon Pinkas says, “When a US secretary of state is willing to invest so much time, prestige, strategic capital and American power in the Israeli-Palestinian issue, he should be appreciated and commended, even when you disagree with his idea. Otherwise, he and his successor may choose to disengage, and consequently, the US-Israeli alliance will weaken and crack. Calling him names and accusing him of being anti-Israel is not only untrue, it is plain stupid.”
Assessing US Strategy in the Israeli-Palestinian Talks: A Mideast Trip Report, Washington Institute for Near East Peace
Robert Satloff suggests ways for Kerry to strengthen his peace initiative.
Chemi Shalev profiles Kerry.