J Street Daily News Roundup 12/16/13

December 16th, 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

Jewish American Youth, Israel, and J Street, Shalom Magazine Boston

J Street Boston Executive Committee Member Stan Fleischman wrote, “As a grandparent, I have been concerned that my grandsons may grow up with no attachment to Israel. Now I have hope that through the efforts of groups like J Street, when they grow up they may inherit an Israel that they can be proud of.”

The Gatekeepers come to Montclair, NorthJersey.com

J Street member Dorit Tabek said that from the film The Gatekeepers, "People can learn that Israel is not the holy cow that American Jews think it is, that they've made some mistakes in the past and that they really have to look at the Palestinian issue more realistically and more fearlessly."

Top News and Analysis

Abbas: Don’t boycott Israel, Times of Israel

While in South Africa this week for the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, President Abbas stunned reporters and Palestinian activists alike when he stated that the Palestinians do not support a boycott of Israel. He added that “we ask everyone to boycott the products of the settlements. Because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal… But we do not ask anyone to boycott Israel itself… We have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel.”

Kerry: Next group of Palestinian prisoners to be released as planned at end of month, Haaretz

Secretary of State Kerry said Friday that the third group of Palestinian prisoners will be released as planned on December 29. Palestinian leaders had reportedly rejected Kerry’s offer to delay the release to coincide with a “framework agreement” he hopes to formulate with both sides in the coming weeks.

Israeli, Lebanese, UN officers to discuss cross-border killing, Reuters

Israeli, Lebanese and UN military officers will meet on Monday to defuse tension after a "rogue" Lebanese soldier shot dead an Israeli soldier the day before, Israel's defense minister said. The Lebanese soldier went missing after the cross-border shooting, but has now been found, a Lebanese security source said.

Iran committed to continuing nuclear talks: foreign minister, Reuters

Iran will continue nuclear negotiations with world powers despite "unsuitable actions" which led to it halting technical talks in Vienna, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday. The United States on Thursday blacklisted additional companies and people under existing sanctions.

Q&A with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, Washington Post

David Ignatius interviews Zarif.


Israel reaches out to save US Jewish community, Associated Press

More than 100 Israeli leaders gathered with Jewish-American counterparts in Jerusalem last month with a daunting mission: to save Jewish life in North America. As these efforts press ahead, they are being complicated by a new issue: What role can Israel play in Jewish American life at a time when many American Jews, who tend to be socially liberal, have misgivings about some of Israel's policies.

Ministers okay bill mandating two-thirds majority for dividing Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post

A bill requiring a two-thirds majority in the Knesset for negotiations to divide Jerusalem was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday after Justice Minister Tzipi Livni had appealed it in October.

Fatah official: No meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu, Times of Israel

A Fatah official denied on Monday that Abbas would meet Prime Minister Netanyahu in the near future, noting that any meeting between the two leaders would be contingent upon progress in peace negotiations.

Saudi Prince Criticizes Obama Administration, Citing Indecision in Mideast, The New York Times

Saudi Arabian Prince Turki al-Faisal praised Kerry’s negotiating efforts, but warned that President Obama must be willing to force the parties to accept a lasting resolution.

White House adviser consulted Israeli officials on Iran deal, Reuters

The White House said that National Security Adviser Susan Rice played host to a series of meetings with Israeli officials last week to try to gain their support for an interim deal with Iran aimed at containing Tehran's nuclear program.

Opinion and Analysis

On Mideast security, the US has only just begun, Jerusalem Post

On the US commitment to achieving a two-state solution and preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, Charles Bronfman and Peter Joseph write that they “are encouraged that the administration appears as determined as ever to see these goals through, and in a way that will enhance, not endanger, Israeli security.”

Netanyahu, Kerry put security first in peace talks with Palestinians, Al-Monitor

According to Ben Caspit, Netanyahu promised Obama, “If I get the security arrangements I need, if it’s clear that there will be no Palestinian right of return to Israel and if Israel is recognized as a Jewish state, I would be ready to sign an agreement based on the 1967 borders, with an exchange of land that will leave most settlers were they are.”

Palestinian refugees and a Jewish state, Foreign Policy

Jerome Segal offers outside-the-box recommendations for resolving the issue of Palestinian refugees.

Israel, Palestinians already preparing their alibis if talks fail, Haaretz

Amos Harel asks, “Will [the Americans] insist on trying to force a permanent agreement on the two sides? Will they propose an interim agreement? Or will they abandon the talks altogether and hasten the road towards renewed escalations in the West Bank?”

'Supporting' Israel is out, U.S. Jews turn to 'engaging', Haaretz

Allison Kaplan Sommer says that “Israel ‘engagement’ is the trendy umbrella term that both acknowledges the existence of disagreement in the relationship, and endorses using any avenue of interest to get Reform Jews more involved with Israel.”

Demand for Arab Recognition of Israel as Jewish State Makes No Sense, Partners for Progressive Israel

Finding no precedent for the demand for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Paul Scham questions why, when it comes to peace with Arab states, Israel cannot take “yes” for an answer.