J Street Daily News Roundup 10/31/13

October 31st, 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

J Street Backs Kerry's Diplomatic Approach to Iran, J Street

J Street welcomed Secretary of State Kerry’s commitment to exploring a diplomatic resolution of international concerns over Iran's nuclear program and warned that moving forward with new sanctions now could severely undermine prospects for diplomacy.

Israel's Prisoner Release Was Netanyahu's Horrible Choice, Huffington Post

“It would have been better had [Prime Minister] Netanyahu chosen either of the other two options he was presented with instead of the prisoner exchange,” wrote J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner. “But right now, we need to get it over with and move on with the negotiations.”

Top lobbyists 2013, The Hill

“[J Street President Jeremy] Ben-Ami and his group are front and center as Secretary of State John Kerry renews peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the raison d’être for the liberal pro-Israel group.”

Eric Alterman on Max Blumenthal's anti-Israel book, Partners for Progressive Israel

Ralph Seliger discussed the feud between Eric Alterman and Max Blumenthal, noting that he first learned of Blumenthal at the 2009 J Street Conference.

Top News and Analysis

Israel advancing plan for some 5,000 new homes in West Bank and East Jerusalem, Haaretz

The Israeli government will begin advancing a series of construction plans in the East Jerusalem and the West Bank to the tune of some 5,000 new housing units, in an effort to “offset” the release of Palestinian prisoners earlier this week. The Palestinian Authority condemned the renewal of constructions as "destructive to the peace efforts," adding it "only lead to more tensions."

EU condemns new Israeli settlements plan, Associated Press

Catherine Ashton, the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, denounced Israel's settlement plans, calling the move illegal and a potential obstacle to peace.

OPCW: Syria destroys chemical arms equipment, Associated Press

Syria has completed destruction of critical equipment for producing chemical weapons and filling munitions with poison gas, the global chemical weapons watchdog said Thursday.


UN envoy: Status of Jerusalem must be resolved, Jerusalem Post

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry said, “Without resolving Jerusalem, there will be no solution… The [UN] secretary general believes that a way has to be found for Jerusalem to emerge as a capital for two states.”

Israel reported to discuss joining nuke-free Mideast conference, Times of Israel

Senior Israeli officials reportedly held a rare meeting last week in Switzerland with representatives from an array of regional states — including Iran — and other major powers to discuss convening an international conference on making the Middle East a region free of weapons of mass destruction.

Israeli troops kill Palestinian during West Bank raid: medics, Reuters

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian during a clash in the West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian witnesses and medical officials said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the soldiers had been on an overnight raid in a village near the city of Jenin, when about 50 Palestinians started hurling rocks at them.

Opinion and Analysis

No solace, Jerusalem Post

Reflecting on the prisoner release, Gershon Baskin says, “The best we can do is to hope that one day soon we will reach real peace and all of the killing will stop and no one will need to feel this pain again.”

Settler Violence: Think of It Like Burning Down a Jewish Business, Open Zion

Edo Conrad argues that “it’s time to wake up to the reality in the West Bank and view these attacks on Palestinians and their livelihoods for what they are.”

Despite rise in West Bank terror, IDF in no hurry to declare new intifada, Haaretz

Gili Cohen reports that Israeli military commanders believe “the Palestinian Authority’s interest in maintaining quiet and the lack of Palestinian public support for demonstrations and disturbances are evidence that the territories are not on the verge of a new wave of violence.”

At West Bank Funeral, Palestinians Express Rising Support for Armed Resistance, Open Zion

According to Jesse Rosenfeld, “As frustration at Israeli military violence and the lack of progress in unarmed protests builds in the occupied West Bank villages bordering Israel, Palestinian residents feel they are being pushed towards armed struggle.”

Getting to a WMD-Free Middle East, Partners for Progressive Israel

Hillel Schenker urged, “What we need is a parallel process, moving toward a WMD-Free Zone and toward comprehensive Israeli-Arab peace and a new regional regime of peace, security and cooperation.”

J Street and disaffected youth, New York Jewish Week

J Street New York City Communications Committee Chair Gil Kulick writes in a letter that “the establishment of J Street has attracted many of these
 disaffected youth back into the Zionist fold, as was strikingly demonstrated
by the presence at J Street’s recent national conference of over 900
 enthusiastic students from 50-plus colleges around the US.”