J Street Daily News Roundup 11/6/13

November 6th, 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

Why Now is Not the Time for New Sanctions on Iran, Open Zion

“Much like a disproportionate dose of baking powder would yield inedible, bitter muffins, so would a hasty deluge of sanctions sour the prospects for ensuring Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons,” wrote J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams.

Why Open Zion is Closing, Open Zion

In his explanation of Open Zion’s closing, Peter Beinart praised “the community we’ve built,” adding, “Our seventh [blogger], Simone Zimmerman, was yet another former AIPAC activist turned president of J Street U. And it was from J Street U’s extraordinary ranks that we drew many of our interns, writers and strongest allies.”

Not all criticism is incitement, Haaretz

Aryeh Eldad’s article featured an AFP picture of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni at the J Street conference.

Top News and Analysis

Kerry pushes Israel, Palestinians to make ‘hard decisions’ for Middle East peace, CBS News

In Israel, Secretary of State Kerry said he was optimistic that tensions and difficulties could be overcome in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, even as Israel's leader bashed the Palestinians for the poor state of negotiations. "This can be achieved with good faith and a serious effort on both sides," he said, urging both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, who he will see later in the day, to make "real compromises and hard decisions." After his meeting with Abbas in Bethlehem, Kerry will return to Jerusalem for a meeting with President Peres and meet with Netanyahu again over dinner. On Thursday, Kerry plans to travel to Jordan, where he expects to see Abbas for a second time on his current mission.

Insults traded as Israeli-Palestinian negotiation session ends in row, Haaretz

Palestinian officials involved in the peace negotiations with Israel reported that the talks held on Tuesday for nearly four hours between the two negotiating teams ended in a row, with raised voices and the exchange of verbal insults. According to reports from within the negotiation rooms, delegates Dr. Saeb Erekat and Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh criticized Israel’s announcement of settlement expansion, and the connection Israel has made between that construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners.  A senior Israeli official stated that despite the blame being traded by the two sides over the last few days, both parties made it clear to Special Envoy Martin Indyk and Kerry that they will not leave the table, and that they intend to fulfill their commitment to engage in direct negotiations for nine months.

Israel's Lieberman rejoining government after acquittal, Reuters

Netanyahu welcomed his former foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, back to government on Wednesday after the ultra-nationalist politician was acquitted of corruption charges.

Iranian Minister Says Nuclear Deal Is Possible This Week, The New York Times

Two days before negotiations resume in Geneva between Iran and the United States and other Western powers aimed at ending a fight over the disputed Iranian nuclear program, the country’s foreign minister sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday, saying a deal was possible as soon as this week.

It's time to abandon posturing on Iran, Haaretz

“Addressing ourselves to the Europeans who have been working on this issue for 10 years, to the Americans who have at long last determined to take diplomacy in hand, and to the Iranians who have now set out seriously on the path of negotiation, we ask everyone to abandon posturing and time-wasting once and for all,” urged François Nicoullaud and six other European ambassadors. “We encourage you to negotiate firmly, concretely and with a full intention to succeed. You cannot afford to disappoint the people of the region and beyond. They expect too much from you for that.”

Envisioning a peaceful Israel, scientifically, New Yorker

Bernard Avishai asks, “How well might the Israeli economy have done if the conflict hadn’t taken place?”


Kerry in Tel Aviv for Rabin ceremony ahead of official meetings, Times of Israel

Kerry attended a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination on November 4, 1995. “I come here without any illusions about the difficulties but I come here determined to work with the leaders… to try to find a way forward so that Israel can live the dream that [Rabin] pressed so eloquently and beautifully on the tragedy of that day,” he said.

Abbas says Israel wants to strip Israeli-Arab terrorists of citizenship, Times of Israel

President Abbas warned that an Israeli move to revoke the citizenship of Israeli-Arab terrorists set for release would immediately end peace talks.

A Greater Israel? Faction says no to two-state solution, yes to annexing Palestinian areas, Washington Post

Ministers in Netanyahu’s ruling coalition and leaders of his party, the Likud, are in revolt against the international community’s long-held consensus that there should be two states between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. In the process, they are seeking to overturn the commitments of every US president since Bill Clinton and at least four Israeli prime ministers, including the current one. They are preparing details of their own vision  for how Israel should proceed unilaterally after the current round of peace talks fails — which they say is inevitable.

Lapid: Jerusalem is not up for negotiation because the city will never be divided, Jerusalem Post

Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that the issue of Jerusalem is not on the table in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians because the city will never be divided.

Lapid freezes transfer of NIS 105m. to settlements, Times of Israel

Lapid delayed the transfer of nearly $30 million to West Bank settlements.

Poll: Americans strongly favor Israel, wary of Iran entanglement, JTA

Americans maintain a high opinion of the US-Israel alliance but are wary of any involvement in a potential Iran conflict, according to an Anti-Defamation League poll.

Iran's culture minister: Citizens should use Facebook and Twitter freely, Haaretz

Iranian Culture Minister Ali Jannati said Tuesday in a conversation with reporters in Tehran that he supports the removal of restrictions on free civilian use of Facebook and Twitter.

Israel, Iran attended nuclear conference last month, sources confirm, Times of Israel

Diplomatic sources confirmed Tuesday that Israel and Iran attended an international conference two weeks ago in Switzerland to discuss the possibility of banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Opinion and Analysis

Inside Iran, ABC News

Muhammad Lila reports from Iran, digging into a changing country few Americans understand.

Tzipi Livni’s cart and horse, Times of Israel

Haviv Rettig Gur notes that Livni “has thus embarked on a campaign calling on Israel’s prime minister and opposition leader to sacrifice the existing, stable parliamentary order, and in all likelihood their own political futures, for a theoretical peace deal she has yet to negotiate. As the saying goes, one should not put the cart before the horse.”

Israel-Palestinian talks: Why fate of Jordan Valley is key, BBC

Yolande Knell explores the importance of the Jordan Valley for a two-state deal.

A diplomatic price tag, Haaretz

Uzi Baram writes, “If HaBayit HaYehudi is trying to demand an ongoing price tag from Netanyahu, he should present them with his own price tag and throw the party out of his government.”

Kerry's Palestinian economic plan another dead end?, Al-Monitor

Omar Shaban examines the rollout of Kerry’s economic plan for the Palestinians.

Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath' Is Anti-Israel Book That Makes Even Anti-Zionists Blush, Forward

JJ Goldberg weighs in on the debate over Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath.”