J Street Daily News Roundup 11/12/13

November 12th, 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

The Vulnerability of American Rabbis, Open Zion

J Street Rabbinic Director Rabbi Jonah Geffen asked, “How can we possibly expect American Jews to meaningfully engage with Israel if their own rabbis don’t model that behavior?”

White House says criticism of Iran nuclear deal premature, Reuters

“J Street, a more liberal lobbying group, took a different tack [on Iran], urging supporters on its website to ‘tell your senators: don't undermine Iran negotiations with new sanctions.’”

Former Israel Security Agency head supports talks to reach nuclear deal with Iran, Chicago Sun-Times

At the J Street luncheon in Chicago, former Shin Bet Director Carmi Gillon said, “In my eyes, American policy is not coming out of weakness. It comes out of power.”

Luncheon lineup reflects J Street’s growing influence, Chicago Sun-Times

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said that “J Street is in a far different place than… three or four years ago… Our political action committee now endorses nearly half the Democrats in Congress, we’ve raised more money than any other political action committee in the Jewish community that works on Israel, our lunch at which Ambassador Gillon is the keynote speaker — Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel is speaking, [Senator] Dick Durbin is speaking, David Axelrod is speaking — that is a very significant showing that four years ago wouldn’t have happened.”

Despite setback, can’t let chance for Iranian nuclear deal slip away, Chicago Sun-Times

In its discussion of negotiations between world powers and Iran, the Sun-Times editorial board quoted Ben-Ami, who said, “We are getting ‘yes’ for an answer from the Iranians… What do we give them?”

Former Israeli Security Chief Says U.S. Iran Policy ‘Is A Policy Of Wisdom’, Think Progress

Ben Armbruster mentioned Gillon’s meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board.

East Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah – A Study in Bad Policy and Injustice, Jewish Journal

J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove recalled his visit to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

'Loyalty' poll misleadingly dichotomizes U.S. Jews, Haaretz

J Street U communications co-chair Benjy Cannon wrote that “the Israeli government and their counterparts in the pro-Israel lobby, must acknowledge the destructive reality of the occupation – first and foremost on the Palestinians who are subjected to it, but also on the Jewish-American psyche. That means embracing the legitimacy of critical opinions and acting on them, rather than splitting the community with misguided ‘loyalty’ tests.”

Open Zion Created a Valuable Community and is Closing Prematurely, Open Zion

Recalling meeting Peter Beinart at a J Street U conference, Rachel Cohen lamented that “right smack in the middle of fragile peace negotiations, losing [Open Zion] provides a stark reminder of what kind of void it was originally created to fill.”

The Saboteurs Go Into Overdrive, National Interest

Paul Pillar referred to a recent piece by J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams.

Sharon residents working for peace through J Street, Wicked Local Sharon

J Street member Karyl Weicher said that “this is the first time in many many years that I have seen that there’s a possibility for peace.”

Top News and Analysis

Iranian foreign minister blames West for snag in nuclear talks, Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected Secretary of State Kerry's pinning of blame on Iran for the lack of a deal on its nuclear program last week, saying splits between Western powers prevented a breakthrough. Responding to remarks by Kerry in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Zarif said that singling out Iran only served to undermine confidence in the Geneva negotiations, which will resume on November 20. Kerry struck a more positive tone on Tuesday, saying he was encouraged by the progress in Geneva, which built on a diplomatic opening to the big powers created by Iran's election in June of moderate Hassan Rouhani as president.

Where do the Iran nuclear talks stand?, Associated Press

Behind the scenes a lot was accomplished, according to diplomats in Geneva for the talks.

Iran to give U.N. inspectors more access to nuclear sites, Reuters

Iran will grant UN inspectors "managed access" to a uranium mine and a heavy-water plant within three months as part of a cooperation pact reached on Monday.

Obama faces worry at home, abroad over Iran talks, Associated Press

President Obama's hopes for a nuclear deal with Iran now depend in part on his ability to keep a lid on both hard-liners on Capitol Hill and anxious allies abroad, including Israel, the Arab Gulf states and even France.

U.S. Senate will wait before moving on Iran sanctions -aides, Reuters

US lawmakers will wait for a briefing by Secretary of State John Kerry this week before deciding whether to impose tough new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, Senate aides said on Monday.

Netanyahu asks US supporters to oppose Iran deal, Reuters

In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Netanyahu urged hundreds of supporters attending an assembly of the Jewish Agency, many of them from the United States, to help him avert what he called a "bad and dangerous deal" emerging with Iran. "You are our partners, you are our brothers and sisters, and we are one big Jewish family. Like all families we have to face challenges together, that's what families do," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu pleads for ‘a Palestinian Ben-Gurion’, Times of Israel

In an address marking the 40th anniversary of the death of David Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu said Israel was committed to an end-of-conflict agreement with the Palestinians — “two states for two peoples” — and was ready to make compromises to that ends. He said he longed for a “Palestinian Ben-Gurion who would give an address, in Arabic, at a West Bank university, to parallel his own landmark two-state speech delivered at Bar Ilan University in 2009.

Iran Nuclear Talks: Unfinished, but Alive, The New York Times

The New York Times editorial board emphasized that “diplomacy takes work, and agreements rarely flow seamlessly from beginning to end. [And] if all those inveighing against any deal — namely members of Congress, Israel and Saudi Arabia — see the weekend results as a new opportunity to sabotage it, what is the alternative?”

A Doable Iran Deal, The New York Times

Addressing questions over the Geneva talks, Roger Cohen stresses, “There will not be a better opportunity with any other conceivable team within a useful time frame.”

The case for a deal with Iran, Los Angeles Times

“Yes, there are risks in an interim agreement,” writes The Los Angeles Times editorial board. “Iran might renege on its assurances or drag out negotiations. Even if Rouhani is sincere, the country's religious leaders might balk at allowing him to conclude an agreement. But these uncertainties must be weighed against the indications that Iran is willing to abandon its nuclear ambitions in exchange for an end to economic isolation. It would be irresponsible for the US and its partners not to pursue that possibility.”


Iran talks complicate U.S. push on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Politico

The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations may be at their most delicate and momentous stage just as Israel, the US and others are making a difficult and complicated assessment of whether Iran has complied with the interim nuclear deal and whether a permanent pact should be put in place.

Lieberman: It's time to calm tensions between Israel and U.S. over Iran, Haaretz

A day after he was sworn in as foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman said, “Ties with the US administration are crucial, stable, and good. Nothing can change that.”

Ministers, opposition slam emerging deal on Iran’s nuclear program, Times of Israel

Ministers and opposition politicians on Saturday criticized the reported deal that was negotiated in Geneva.

Bennett to personally lobby Congress against Iran deal, Times of Israel

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett will travel to the US this week to lobby US Congress members against a potential deal with Iran.

ADL chief Foxman: Kerry's 'chutzpah' will unite American Jews, Haaretz

Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman predicted that “Kerry's outrageous behavior will unite the American Jewish community… It is chutzpah to lecture Israel about the risks of peace and war."

‘No deal is better than a bad deal’ with Israel, PA says, Times of Israel

Palestinian negotiator Muhammad Shtayyeh said Monday that failing to reach an agreement with Israel was a better option than signing a bad treaty

Egypt ‘skeptical’ about Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Times of Israel

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said Saturday that Egypt remained skeptical over an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal because of “settlement activity.”

Bayit Yehudi MK to Kerry: You are not an 'honest broker' to Israeli-Palestinian talks, Jerusalem Post

HaBayit HaYehudi MK Orit Struck said that Kerry is not a fair negotiator, in what appears to be a trend of lawmakers from her party penning angry letters to Kerry.

Housing Ministry publishes tenders forcing planners to build in West Bank, Haaretz

Leading construction planning companies are steering clear of a Housing and Construction Ministry tender for the initial planning of new neighborhoods, both within the Green Line and across it. Participation in the tender requires urban planners to commit to planning housing projects in the West Bank.

Palestinian police arrest criminals in Israeli-controlled areas near Jerusalem, Haaretz

With Israeli permission, dozens of Palestinian police officers have been operating against criminals in the A-Ram neighborhood just outside Jerusalem.

A new Palestinian city struggles to come into its own, Times of Israel

Work on the first planned Palestinian city is now well underway: Rawabi was discussed extensively for years, but this time it’s for real. However, this unique project has encountered more than a few obstacles placed by Israel.

Cabinet OKs demolishing Bedouin village, replacing with Jewish town, Haaretz

Israel's ministers voted in a special cabinet session on Sunday to demolish an unauthorized Bedouin village and replace it with a religious Jewish community.

Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu expected to soon go their separate ways, Haaretz

Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu will soon hold separate discussions on whether to end their political partnership, with sources in both parties expecting a split despite the wishes of Netanyahu. Yisrael Beiteinu's central committee will meet to discuss the split on November 24, while a Likud vote on the issue is due at the beginning of December.

Opinion and Analysis

This Is What A Winning Negotiation With Iran Looks Like, Think Progress

Noting that “the right kind of deal [with Iran] would strengthen US national security, increase regional stability in the Middle East and demonstrate that diplomacy — by using all aspects of American power — can secure core security objectives,” Joel Rubin argues, “From all accounts, this is just the type of deal that was on the table in Geneva and that will be the focus of the continuing negotiations.”

Saving Kerry's Peace Plan, The New York Times

Yossi Beilin proposes a solution to the issues of settler evacuation from the West Bank and Israel’s desire to be recognized as a Jewish State.

It ain’t over til Kerry sings, Times of Israel

“Though reports coming out of the Israeli-Palestinian talks paint a grim picture,” writes Avi Issacharoff, “there may be some reason for hope.”

Netanyahu's harsh criticism of U.S. on Iran is a political boomerang, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board urges, “Netanyahu should grit his teeth, curb statements that only widen the rift between Israel and the United States and let the talks with Iran pass the experimental phase. Meanwhile, he should harness his rhetorical abilities and his concerns in progressing the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.”

Israel should seek the achievable rather than waging an unwinnable, all-out war with Washington, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev suggests, “If Israel plays its cards right, it could bring some of its objections to bear on the administration’s positions during the upcoming November 20 round of talks, as long as it realizes that the objectives outlined by Netanyahu yesterday – no enrichment and no centrifuges – are unattainable, at least during the ‘first step’ that the Administration is advocating.”

Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, Forward

According to Mairav Zonszein, “the issue of settler violence is different not only because it is brutal violence in in broad daylight, but also because the Israeli government can easily — and does — shirk responsibility, conveniently pointing a finger at a small group of fanatics.”

Why does Israel hurt itself both with Iran and the West Bank? Hurt the West too?, Times of Israel

James Adler says that “the temporary delay in the Iran-Western nuclear deal is disheartening but let us hope — for Israel’s sake as well as the rest of the responsible world — for a deal soon.”