J Street Daily News Roundup 10/30/13

October 30th, 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

RJC vs. NJDC on upgrading Iran sanctions, JTA

Ron Kampeas noted, “Some pro-Israel groups favor adding the new sanctions, ASAP. These include AIPAC, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs. J Street opposes advancing  the new sanctions.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel frees Palestinian prisoners, pushes settlement plan, Reuters

Israel freed 26 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday as part of US-brokered peace efforts, but said it was pressing on with plans to build more homes for Jewish settlers, in an apparent move to appease hardliners. The inmates, who were convicted of killing Israelis, basked in a heroes' welcome from hundreds of relatives and well-wishers in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. "Our heroes are coming home, long live the prisoners," crowds chanted outside the office of President Abbas in Ramallah.

Foxman slams Kerry remarks as White House courts Jewish leaders on Iran, Haaretz

ADL National Chairman Abe Foxman criticized Secretary of State Kerry’s “inappropriate” remarks rejecting “fear tactics” supposedly being employed in order to dissuade the Obama Administration from pursuing a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear impasse. Foxman’s rebuke of Kerry came following a White House meeting on Tuesday between senior Administration officials, led by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and a group of Jewish leaders from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, AIPAC, the Anti Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee.

In effort to appease Israel's right, Netanyahu recycling old construction plans in Jerusalem, Haaretz

Examining the new settlement announcements, Barak Ravid said that some of them “are recycled versions of older ones that have already been in the pipeline for some years.”


Defense minister defends prisoner release as ‘strategic’ move, Times of Israel

Defense Minister Ya’alon said the decision to release the prisoners was made with a “heavy heart” but that it was done with “a long-term strategic view.”

U.S. Mideast czar: Settlements, settler attacks not ‘conducive’ to peace, JTA

Philip Gordon, the National Security Council coordinator for Middle East policy told the American Task Force on Palestine that the US condemns settler violence and “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement expansion.”

PA refutes report saying Abbas has softened his stance on peace talks, Jerusalem Post

A Palestinian Authority official denied claims Abbas has softened his opposition to an interim agreement with Israel.

Poll: Most Israelis reject Jordan Valley withdrawal by IDF, Jerusalem Post

According to a poll by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, sixty-three percent of Israelis oppose Israel withdrawing from the Jordan Valley, even if international forces take on responsibility for Israel’s security along the West Bank.

Defiant Israel returns to UN rights forum after 1.5 year boycott, Reuters

Israel appeared before the main United Nations human rights body on Tuesday, ending a 20-month boycott of the Geneva forum which it accuses of bias against the Jewish state.

Lapid: Israel's definition as Jewish and democratic is an unsolvable contradiction, Jerusalem Post

Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that Israel’s definition as a Jewish Democratic state is a contradiction that cannot be solved.

U.S. senators seek to cut Iran's oil sales in half - again, Reuters

Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an AIPAC meeting that a package of sanctions ready to move in his chamber has a goal of cutting Iran's current oil exports to no more than 500,000 barrels per day. The reduction being sought is about 500,000 bpd less than a more severe bill passed by the House of Representatives in July, which aimed to slash exports to nearly zero.

Opinion and Analysis

Allies in revolt, The New York Times

The New York Times editorial board writes that “in addressing the United Nations last month, [President] Obama reinforced his intention to narrow his regional diplomatic focus to the Iranian nuclear deal and an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Some have read this as weakness and retreat, rather than pragmatism. We wish he had put more emphasis on Egypt and Iraq. But his priorities make sense. His task now is to reassure the allies that the United States remains committed to their security.”

All Terrorism, Both Jewish and Arab, Must Stop for Talks to Succeed, Open Zion

Aaron Magid says, “If security forces—both Israeli and Palestinian—do not respond more seriously to this grave escalation of terrorism, than all of the progress in the negotiating room could be wiped out by violence on the street.”