J Street Daily News Roundup 10/11/13

October 11th, 2013

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

Israel: Pressure on Iran Must Continue, Voice of America

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner said, “I think the United States owes it to itself and the international community and Israel to test Iranian intentions and to see if they’re serious” about a deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

Think Again: ‘Who Speaks for the Jews?’, Center for American Progress

“Now we have the data and so much is clear,” wrote Eric Alterman. “Neither the Jewish professional world, which is mostly conservative, nor the hardline Jewish neoconservatives in the media speak for American Jews… according to the [Pew] survey, it is these liberal-leaning groups—particularly J Street , whose fourth national policy conference recently hosted Vice President Joe Biden, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich, among many others—who best represent the views of American Jews.”

Pew Director Explains Rationale Behind Survey of US Jews, Open Zion

Greg Smith said that he was “pleased that our survey of Jewish Americans has sparked so much discussion within the Jewish community and beyond, including the kind of examination that Emily L. Hauser undertakes in her Open Zion column ‘Between J Street and the Pew Survey.’”

Locals attend J Street conference; local co-chair opens confab, Jewish Chronicle

Twenty-four Pittsburghers were in Washington, D.C., last week to attend the largest J Street conference held in the organization’s five-year history. Nancy Bernstein, who has been co-chair of J Street Pittsburgh since its launch in 2010, was appointed to the organization’s national board and opened the conference. “With my co-chair Malke Frank, the Pittsburgh chapter has achieved success in being able to hold programs in different Jewish venues such as synagogues and at the JCC because we have developed good relationships with the Jewish community,” she told the Chronicle. “And we were able to show Rep. Mike Doyle, who is now a J Street endorsee, that there is a significant Jewish constituency in his district that supports the mission of J Street.”


Conference, Gala and Advocacy Day, Jewish Voice

Eleanor Lewis noted that “Liz Hollander and Judy Kaye, co-chairs of J Street Rhode Island, Stephen Schwartz, David Lewis, [Lewis] and Harpo Jaeger, all from Providence, comprised the Rhode Island delegation to the conference. Jaeger led a contingent of 30 students from J Street U, the college arm of J Street that has active chapters on 50 campuses across the country. The enthusiastic presence of 900 J Street U members at the conference bodes well for the future of support for Israel among young adult American Jews.”

Berkeley Jewish students reject J Street U membership, JTA

The Jewish Student Union at the University of California-Berkeley rejected J Street U for membership for the second time since 2011.

Top News and Analysis

Five Palestinians arrested after Jordan Valley attack, Times of Israel

Five Palestinians were arrested Friday in connection with a suspected terror attack in the northern Jordan Valley in which a retired IDF colonel was bludgeoned to death overnight. IDF Chief Benny Gantz called the attack “serious” and President Shimon Peres said “no one will rest” until the perpetrators were caught. The attack, coming on the heels of a number of isolated incidents over the past month, drew harsh responses from politicians.

Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, from the nationalist Jewish Home party, said in a statement Friday morning he would work to “enlarge and strengthen” settlement in the area.

Palestinian official: Abbas has agreed to meet with Netanyahu, Jerusalem Post

According to a senior Palestinian official, President Abbas has agreed to a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. “The US administration played a big role in exerting pressure on Abbas to agree to a meeting with Netanyahu,” the official disclosed. “We expect the meeting to take place in Jerusalem in the next few days.”

Don’t give up on Jews who care about being Jewish, Haaretz

Rabbi Rick Jacobs argued that based on the Pew survey, “one-dimensional definitions of ‘pro-Israel’ should also be put to rest. American Jews, just like many Israelis, have a complicated relationship with Israel. For the majority, a peace process that results in a Palestinian state next to a secure Israel is of preeminent concern. Just 17% of American Jews think the continued building of settlements in the West Bank is helpful to Israel’s security, while 44% say that settlement construction hurts Israel’s own security interests. And only 38% believe the current Israeli government is making a sincere effort to establish peace with the Palestinians.”


Lapid and Biden powwow over Iran, economy, JTA

Finance Minister Yair Lapid met with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday to discuss the Israeli economy and economic cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, as well as Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Erekat: Israel's publication of Jerusalem building tenders threatens peace process, Jerusalem Post

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed Israel's decision to publish tenders for the construction of 58 housing units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev. Erekat warned that Israel's continued publication of building tenders would lead to the destruction of the peace process. Erekat reportedly made the remarks in a meeting in Jericho with the US Envoy Martin Indyk.

Palestinians mull appeal to UNSC over 'serious Israeli violations in Temple Mount', Haaretz

Abbas told Palestinian television Thursday evening that the PA is considering appealing to the United Nations Security Council and other UN institutions against what he termed "serious Israeli violations, especially in Jerusalem and at the Temple Mount." Abbas said that "Israel has no right to split up the Al-Aqsa Mosque neither physically nor in terms of prayer times. All East Jerusalem is Palestinian."

Opinion and Analysis

For Israelis and Palestinians, the two-stage option, Los Angeles Times

According to Dani Dayan, “If we admit the failure of the two-state formula, we could slowly and realistically move toward peace and reconciliation… Jordan could take full responsibility for residents of the Palestinian Authority, effectively replacing it with a Jordanian ‘functional exclave’ while Israel has overall sovereignty.”

In a Polluted Stream, a Pathway to Peace, The New York Times

Jeff Wheelwright suggested that “cleaning up the [water basin in the Kidron Valley] ought to be a lead item in the current talks, a cause instead of a consequence of peace. After all, the pollution is owned by both sides and breaches any possible future boundary between them. Compared with issues like the Palestinians’ right of return, the Jewish settlements and the final status of Jerusalem — not to mention the borders themselves — solving the Kidron’s problem is straightforward. More important, if the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government can work together on an uncontroversial civil project, one that improves the quality of life for all residents, they will start to develop a mutual trust.”

A new type of settlement, Economist

Correspondents in the Economist write, “Israel’s generals blame the recent killing of two of their soldiers in the West Bank, the first there for almost two years, on the PA’s weakening grip. Its leaders, say the Israelis, should crack down on the camps’ lawless youths. But Palestinian security officials fear they lack the ability and legitimacy to intervene on Israel’s behalf.”

Lapid Calls for 'Endgame' In Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Al-Monitor

Barbara Slavin reported that Lapid said a peace treaty “would not include Jerusalem but would involve the evacuation of ‘tens of thousands of Israelis’ from West Bank settlements… Rejectionists on both sides will try to prevent progress, he added. ‘The people who say ‘no’ [are] the common enemy ... We need to unite the people who are saying ‘yes.’”