J Street Daily News Roundup 11/22/13

November 22nd, 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 Sen. Reid Statement on Iran Sanctions, J Street

J Street welcomed the Senate's decision not to advance new sanctions legislation as P5+1 negotiations continue in Geneva.



Jewish groups embrace Senate sanctions announcement, Times of Israel

“J Street cast the Thursday afternoon announcement in a very different light, claiming that [Senator Harry] Reid’s announcement was a victory for the administration and those who had pushed for a delay in additional sanctions… J Street has been lobbying senators to hold off on additional sanctions legislation, echoing the administration’s arguments that new sanctions — while talks are underway in Geneva — could strengthen ‘opponents of a deal in Tehran, undermining the international coalition that built the sanctions and sabotaging the negotiations.’”

 


Israel’s Chief Negotiator Slam’s Naftali Bennett as a Radical Minority on Settlements, Jewish Journal

J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove noted that “More and more former Israeli right-wing politicians...have come to the position that there is NO alternative to a two-state solution.”



How anti-Semitism made me care about Israel, Daily Princetonian

AJ Sibley recalled the day he realized he could make a difference in pushing for a two-state solution. “The question is not ‘Will America be involved?’ but rather, How will we shape America’s involvement?’ he said. “J Street is shaping the conversation about the conflict to support peace and justice.”


Top News and Analysis


Iran, six powers struggle to overcome snags in nuclear talks, Reuters

Iran and six global powers struggled on Friday to overcome stumbling blocks holding up an interim deal under which Tehran would restrain its contested nuclear program in exchange for some relief from punitive sanctions. Western diplomats played down the prospect of a pending breakthrough in the talks that began on Wednesday after a November 7-9 round in which the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany came close to winning concessions they count on to reduce the risk of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

They said some progress had been made during the first two days and the number of disagreements reduced. But Iran's insistence that the six powers explicitly acknowledge its right to enrich uranium - a process which can yield both electricity and nuclear bombs - was proving a major political obstacle.



Abbas accepts resignation of Palestinian peace negotiator Shtayyeh, Jerusalem Post

President Abbas has reportedly accepted the resignation of peace negotiator Mohammad Shtayyeh. While Abbas rejected chief negotiator Saeb Erekat's resignation, a Palestinian official said the rest of the delegation will be replaced. Another round of negotiations is scheduled for next week.



Herzog: ‘We’ll challenge the government until we reclaim the leadership’, Times of Israel

“We will challenge the government until we reclaim the leadership,” said Isaac Herzog, the Labor Party’s new chairman in his acceptance speech Friday morning, hours after his victory over outgoing chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich was announced. Asked directly if he would join the ruling coalition, Herzog said: “I will serve as opposition leader. And I will meet with the prime minister when relevant… I have said before that if he makes a clear, daring step toward peace, I would be there.” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she sees renewed importance for the peace process in Herzog’s victory, writing, “I believe that ‘Boujie’ really believes and is really committed to a [peace] agreement and I hope he will help change the script for everyone here. The peace process needs real support. In short, congratulations and, together, we can block the extremists.”


News


Israeli military goes off message on Iran nuclear talks, Christian Science Monitor

Even as Prime Minister Netanyahu continues his diplomatic offensive against what he calls a "dangerous" compromise on Iran’s nuclear program, Israel’s military intelligence seems open to a deal, even one that relaxes the Western sanctions on Iran that Netanyahu has vocally supported. According to an unclassified assessment shared by a senior Israeli officer, a deal would boost Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose surprise victory in June appeared to herald a political shift in Iran – although he is up against hardliners who oppose a deal.



Poll shows ebbing Israeli support for Iran strike, Times of Israel

A recent poll of Israelis found that slightly fewer than half back a military option against Iran’s nuclear program, with the number dropping even further should the US not lend support for such an action. Meanwhile, a CNN poll released Thursday showed that more than half of Americans  would support a deal with Iran that curbed, but didn’t end, nuclear enrichment.



White House: Israel’s all-or-nothing proposal on Iran would lead to war, JTA

A top White House official said that Israel’s proposal that Iran totally dismantle its nuclear capacity in exchange for sanctions relief would likely lead to war.



To Save the Peace Process, Get Religion, Tablet

A new International Crisis Group report argues that in order to forge Israeli-Palestinian peace, negotiators must take into account the concerns of the Jewish state’s religious right, rather than exclude them from the discussion as obstacles.



Unemployment spikes in West Bank and Gaza, Haaretz

Palestinian unemployment in the Gaza Strip and West Bank rose sharply in the July-September third quarter--to 27.1 percent, up from 24.5 percent in the April-June second quarter, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday. Meanwhile, the number of Palestinians employed in Israel and the West Bank settlements increased in the third quarter over the second, to 103,000 from 96,000, according to the bureau.


Opinion and Analysis


Iran: The Sanctions Collapse Myth, National Interest

Samuel Cutler argues that “few [companies], if any, will be willing to [skirt sanctions], even if Iran gets limited relief in an interim deal.”



The long, hard road back to political relevance, Times of Israel

Haviv Rettig Gur says Herzog’s election “means Netanyahu’s political maneuvering room has just expanded considerably, especially when it comes to the US-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians.”



Want to make history Bougie? Put peace first, Haaretz

David Landau urges Herzog to “cleave to his own peace-first strategy, not just as the family tradition, nor merely as bearer of his uncle's heritage, but as his own contribution to Israel's history at a decisive moment.”



Why Netanyahu won’t yield, Los Angeles Times

Michael Oren writes that “critics can call him militant or intransigent, but Netanyahu is merely doing his job. Any Israeli leader who did less would be strategically and morally negligent.”



Palestinians and Jews Unite to Save the Pre-1948 Town of Lifta, Open Zion

Lauren Gelfond Feldinger discusses the Coalition to Save Lifta.



Beinart's 'Open Zion' closing; too large a tent?, Partners for Progressive Israel

Ralph Seliger shares his thoughts on the the closing “Open Zion.”