J Street Daily News Roundup 1/15/14

January 15th, 2014

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

New sanctions on Iran endanger Israel, Jewish Currents

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner argued, “Many who support the [Senate Iran sanctions] bill are no doubt well intentioned, but the bill does not make Israel safer. Rather, by endangering the negotiations, it actually puts Israelis at greater peril. We should all be urging our elected officials to vote against it.”

Left ratchets up pressure on Dems over Iran, Washington Post

“A coalition of liberal and foreign policy groups — including MoveOn, CREDO, the National Iranian American Council, J Street and a few evangelical groups — are sending a letter today to Senators, urging them not to support S. 1881, the bill to impose new sanctions on Iran, which the White House fears will derail diplomacy and make war more likely.”

Where the Democrats divide on Iran (and Israel), Haaretz

Ali Gharib noted that “some liberal pro-Israel groups, such as J Street, are opposing new sanctions.”

Senators wary of Obama’s ‘secret side deal’ with Iran, Times of Israel

“Dovish Jewish groups such as J Street and Americans for Peace Now oppose the bill.”

Students should engage in Israel-Palestine debate, Daily Trojan

Yasmeen Serhan said that “by spearheading initiatives like J Street’s 2 Campaign, which encourages students to grapple with the key issues that come up in negotiations, USC students can begin the type of dialogue our campus so desperately needs. In doing so, they can ultimately help in this seemingly intractable conflict’s endless pursuit of peace.”

The Most Important Book to Come out of Israel in Years – “My Promised Land” by Ari Shavit, Jewish Journal

According to J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove, Ari Shavit’s “new book is a must read for anyone wishing to understand the complexity of the competing ideologies, nationalisms, politics, cultures, religions, ethnicities, histories, and narratives  that make up modern Israel.”

Top News and Analysis

Kerry responds to Ya'alon: I won't let one set of comments undermine peace efforts, Haaretz

Secretary of State Kerry responded Wednesday to Defense Minister Ya'alon's attack, saying he did not intend to let "one set of comments undermine peace efforts." Kerry said, "I will work undeterred," a day after Ya'alon set off a diplomatic incident for calling him "obsessive and messianic.” After a two-hour meeting between Ya'alon and Prime Minister Netanyahu, Ya’alon’s bureau released a statement saying, “The defense minister did not intend to insult the secretary and he apologizes if the secretary was hurt by the remarks attributed to the defense minister.”

Kerry visits papal diplomat to talk Mideast peace, Times of Israel

Kerry enlisted a new ally Tuesday in his push for Mideast peace in what he described as a “common enterprise” between America and the Holy See. In a brief visit to the Vatican, Kerry described a broad conversation with the pope’s chief diplomat, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, that touched on everything ranging from violence in Syria and Africa to ending a generations-long feud between Israelis and Palestinians and addressing climate change and poverty.

Dem Senators Signal Opposition To New Iran Sanctions, Think Progress

Two Senate Democrats on Tuesday said that they oppose a new bill to place additional sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program while negotiations for a final deal are taking place, while two others signaled that they are backing away from the measure.

An Iran hawk’s case against new Iran sanctions, Bloomberg

“It would be quite an achievement to allow Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, to play the role of injured party in this drama,” writes Jeffrey Goldberg. “But [with the new sanctions bill,] the Senate is poised to do just that.”

How to poison the Iran talks, Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times editorial board urges, “the best congressional insurance policy for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran is patience… Congress' kibitzing needlessly complicates already delicate negotiations.”

Give the Iran Deal Time to Work, Politico

Samuel Berger argues that “the American people and the international community need to know that we made our best effort to achieve our objectives in a good-faith negotiation. Loading that negotiation down from the outset will not provide that test.”


PA accuses Israel of incitement against Abbas, Jerusalem Post

The Palestinian Authority reacted angrily to statements from some Israeli officials criticizing President Abbas.

West Bank mosque torched, graffitied in apparent settler attack, Times of Israel

A mosque was set ablaze and vandalized early Wednesday morning in an apparent “price tag” attack in the Palestinian village of Dayr Istiya just north of the Israeli settlement of Ariel.

Terror in the West Bank, rockets in Gaza, Haaretz

Israeli security forces say it is clear that the Palestinian Authority is afraid to deal with the growing pockets of anarchy in the refugee camps.

Sharon realized occupation was greatest threat to Israel, says just-released biography, Haaretz

In wide-ranging interview with Haaretz, author David Landau points to disengagement from Gaza as a seminal move for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

New Evangelical Movement Seeks Split From Pro-Israel Line, Buzzfeed

Figures with deep roots in America’s religious right have launched a quiet effort aimed at pushing evangelical Christians away from decades of growing loyalty to Israel and toward increased solidarity with the Palestinians.

Opinion and Analysis

The Iran Vote: This Really Matters, and You Should Let Your Senators Know, Atlantic

James Fallows says that supporters of the sanctions bill “ are opposing what their president, his secretaries of state and defense, our normal major allies, and even the Russians and Chinese view as a step toward peace. And their stated reason for doing so—that new sanctions will ‘help’ the negotiations, even though every American, French, British, German, etc., and Iranian figure involved in the talks says the reverse—doesn't pass the straight-face test.”

Congress should let diplomacy on Iran nuclear program play out, Washington Post

The Washington Post editorial board concludes that passing the sanctions bill “would be problematic.”

It's Jew vs. Jew as Iran Sanctions Fight Gets Ugly, Forward

JJ Goldberg examines the dispute between American Jewish organizations over new Iran sanctions.

Ariel Sharon made pragmatic shift toward peace, Boston Globe

The Boston Globe editorial board reflects that Sharon “set an example for future leaders through his willingness to change tactics and his recognition that only a two-state solution could preserve his lifelong goal of a secure Israel.”

The damage he did, American Prospect

Gershom Gorenberg says that given the nature of Sharon’s death, his legacy is “a matter of history, not prognostication.”

Re-examining Lieberman's land swap plan for 2 states, Partners for Progressive Israel

Ralph Seliger discusses Foreign Minister Lieberman’s land swap proposal.