J Street Daily News Roundup 10/17/13

October 17th, 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.

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J Street in the News

J Street Welcomes Forward Movement in Geneva Talks, J Street

J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams said that J Street welcomes with cautious optimism the joint statement issued by the the member countries of the P5+1 and Iran characterizing the talks-- the first since Hassan Rouhani assumed Iran's presidency-- as “substantive” and “forward looking." He said J Street supports maintaining sanctions that can be carefully calibrated by the President to maximize the prospects for Iranian compliance with its nuclear obligations. Sanctions should be scaled back only in exchange for material, verifiable concessions on the part of Iran. Williams added that now is not the time for new sanctions legislation to move through Congress, which might undermine President Rouhani's standing and ability to conclude an agreement.

Netanyahu Sure Looks Like He's Getting Ready to Divide Jerusalem, New Republic

Ben Birnbaum said that “in a vacuum, of course, [Prime Minister Netanyahu’s silence on Jerusalem] could be read differently—as a strategic decision by Netanyahu not to embarrass the US during peace talks—but it comes just a couple weeks after Likud Knesset member Tzachi Hanegbi, who is very close to Netanyahu, came out for dividing Jerusalem  at the J Street conference (and was not reprimanded in any way).”

Jewish Americans see generational split on Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Al Jazeera America

“Zachary Parker, a junior at the University of Illinois and a member of J Street U, the university arm of the liberal pro-Israel advocacy group J Street, said [Anti-Defamation League National Direcotr Abe] Foxman’s comment [about American Jews] ‘reminds me of a parable I once heard about a king with no followers.’ Jacob Plitman, president of the J Street U national student board, said it is ‘troubling for us to see Abe Foxman say he’s not interested in what we think.’”

Livni to Labor: Join Netanyahu government for sake of peace, Jerusalem Post

Labor should join the coalition to back peace talks, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday.

If You Want Two States, Support BDS, Open Zion

Kathleen Peratis mentioned the J Street conference in her discussion of the two-state solution and the BDS movement.

Top News and Analysis

US says talks intense, serious after Iran hints at atomic concessions, Reuters

The United States described two days of nuclear negotiations with Iran as the most serious and candid to date after Western diplomats said Tehran hinted it was ready to scale back sensitive atomic activities to secure urgent sanctions relief. But a senior US administration official told reporters after the conclusion of negotiations between Iran and six world powers that no breakthroughs had been achieved and many disagreements remained. Follow-up talks between the six powers and Iran will be held in Geneva on November 7-8.

Netanyahu: Israel committed to Rabin's vision of peace, but our enemies aren't, Haaretz

Speaking at a memorial service marking 18 years since Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, Netanyahu praised the former prime minister as having "strived to achieve peace with our neighbors, and we are committed to it," but added that the "enemies who want to wipe us out are not a destination for peace.”

Netanyahu to meet Pope Francis and Kerry in Rome next week, Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu is set to travel to Rome next week and meet with both Pope Francis and Secretary of State Kerry.

If not now, when?, The New York Times

“Of course things can change in the Middle East — of late very fast — but if Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is inclined to take risks from strength, the present looks propitious,” writes Roger Cohen. “With scarcely a murmur, the talks continue.”


Abbas meets pope, invites him to visit Holy Land, Reuters

President Abbas on Thursday invited Pope Francis to visit the Holy Land, matching a standing invitation from Israel.

Settlement construction rate rises 70% in 2013, Times of Israel

The first half of 2013 marked a 70 percent increase in construction projects started in Israeli settlements compared to the same period last year, according to a report by Peace Now.

State indicts 11 Jewish teens for 'price tag' violent attacks on Arabs in east Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed an indictment with the district court against 11 Jewish teens for “price-tag” attacks in August-September in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Ex-Shin Bet head says rabbis partly to blame for Rabin’s killing, Times of Israel

Rabbis who incited their followers share responsibility for the Rabin’s assassination, said Carmi Gillon, who directed the Shin Bet internal security agency from 1994 to 1996. He added that “price tag attacks could lead to the murder of a prime minister… The roots and foundations of the murder of a prime minister are planted in price tag attacks.”

Opinion and Analysis

Fear and Censorship in Washington, D.C., Partners for Progressive Israel

Paul Scham discusses the controversy surrounding a planned performance at Theater J.