J Street Daily News Roundup 12/19/13

December 19th, 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

Our last roundup of the year will be on Tuesday, December 24.

We will see you in 2014!

J Street in the News

Surely we can talk, New York Jewish Week

“You can’t win a debate by walking out,” wrote J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “You can only lose.”

92nd St. Y broadcast gets stormy as irate panelist walks out, Jewish Chronicle

As John Podhoretz left the stage of a debate at New York’s 92nd Street Y, “Forward Editor-in-Chief Jane Eisner — the moderator — and the remaining two panelists, AJC Executive Director David Harris and J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami were momentarily stunned — until Ben-Ami broke the silence. ‘This is the state of dialogue in the American Jewish community,’ he said.”

A good read for winter break?, J Street

J Street Director of Education and Programs Sarah Beller recommended winter reading on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Gatekeepers stirs debate at Montclair shul, New Jersey Jewish News

At a screening of The Gatekeepers, “J Street’s New York regional field organizer, Amy Levin, urged audience members to support Secretary of State John Kerry’s diplomatic efforts in the region. ‘There’s tons you can do. Show your members of Congress that there is a constituency in the American-Jewish community that supports a two-state solution.’”

The hunger that Open Zion fed, Open Zion

Emily Hauser noted that “when Peter [Beinart] arrived at the 2011 J Street conference, the reception was rock-star-esque. The gratitude these Jews felt that someone (not just any someone, but someone with a broad audience, someone with a mainstream platform) had said what they’d been feeling for years was palpable, an almost living, breathing thing. That gratitude breathed hope into people who had lost it.”

Top News and Analysis

Palestinians ready to extend talks with Israel, Associated Press

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinians are ready to extend current peace talks with Israel beyond an April deadline if a detailed framework agreement is in place by then.

Abbas raises concerns to Obama on Kerry's security proposal, Haaretz

President Abbas sent President Obama a document last week in which he set out the Palestinian positions on all the core issues in negotiations with Israel. Abbas also outlined his reservations and concerns about ideas he has heard from Secretary of State Kerry on security arrangements in the West Bank and other issues. Abbas hopes that the document he sent to Obama will influence U.S. positions, especially ahead of presentation of the “framework agreement” which Kerry, Indyk and their people are working on, at the end of January.

US pressuring Israel not to announce new settlement construction, Haaretz

Kerry, Indyk and several other senior American officials have all urged Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli officials to exercise maximum restraint in announcing new settlement construction, lest the measure undermine the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Top Senate Democrats Break with White House and Circulate New Iran Sanctions Bill, Foreign Policy

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez and Senators Chuck Schumer and Mark Kirk have begun circulating a draft of a new Iran sanctions bill which defies the Obama administration's repeated requests for Congress to hold off on any new legislation that could imperil last month's interim nuclear pact with Iran while talks continue towards a comprehensive final deal.

Now’s No Time for New Iran Sanctions, Politico

Senators Barbara Boxer and Carl Levin argue, “we shouldn’t pass legislation now that would endanger negotiations that most people and countries want to succeed. Such congressional action now could bolster the efforts of Iran’s militants to kill the deal.”


Israeli forces kill one Palestinian, wound several others in Jenin clashes, Haaretz

Israeli forces killed one Palestinian and wounded four others on Wednesday in clashes that erupted during a special arrest operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Peres to Chinese FM: Peace is Israel's greatest desire, Iran is the greatest problem, Jerusalem Post

President Peres told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Israel faces not only grave threats but also great opportunities, adding that peace is Israel’s greatest desire, and “Iran is the greatest problem.”

Jerusalem patriarch: Settlement construction 'hampers' peace, Ynet

Israel’s top Roman Catholic cleric said that “the Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed in late July, after three years of interruption, but the efforts are hampered by the continuous building of Israeli settlements… As long as this problem is not resolved, the people of our region will suffer.”

Likud Beiteinu, HaBayit HaYehudi skip out on vote to keep Jerusalem whole, Jerusalem Post

Most right-wing lawmakers on Wednesday skipped a vote on a bill that would require two-thirds of the Knesset’s approval before the government could negotiate on Jerusalem’s status. The bill, proposed by United Torah Judaism MK Ya’acov Litzman, was voted down with 12 MKs in favor and 51 opposed.

Third US academic body pushes for boycott of Israel, JTA

A Native American studies association is the third US academic body this year to recommend its members boycott Israeli universities.

Delayed decision on Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu split boosts Netanyahu, Jerusalem Post

Representatives of the prime minister succeeded Wednesday in delaying a Likud vote that could end the party’s partnership with Yisrael Beiteinu.

Abbas guards intervene in confrontation between senior Palestinians, Reuters

Abbas's elite guard unit surrounded parliament in Ramallah on Wednesday to protect a legislator from being attacked by another senior official.

AP-GfK poll: Obama int'l ratings top domestic ones, Associated Press

A new poll found that 60 percent of Americans say they approve of the interim deal with Iran.

Iran FM: We can resume 20% enrichment within a day, Times of Israel

Iran’s foreign minister said that his country could immediately resume enriching uranium to 20 percent should Western powers fail to uphold their end of the interim nuclear deal inked last month in Geneva.

Opinion and Analysis

Poll: Settlers would consider leaving West Bank for 'genuine peace', Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar discusses a secret 2010 poll which found that Israeli settlers would be most willing to withdraw from the West Bank if Palestinians recognized “Israel as the state of the Jewish people.”

Dear Palestinian leaders, your destiny is in your own hands, Haaretz

Carlo Strenger urges the Palestinian leadership, “precisely because I want Israel to end the historical catastrophe of the occupation and for you to live in freedom and dignity, I call upon you to realize that there will be no agreement without far-reaching security measures in Israel’s favor.”

Israelis, stop treating US Jews as rich uncles, Haaretz

According to Ari Shavit, “For millions of American Jews, Israel is an impressive yet somewhat incomprehensible and sometimes embarrassing relative, who makes it very difficult for those who so want to embrace and take pride in him… But for Israel to continue to fulfill the role it is supposed to fulfill in the lives of young Jewish Americans, Israel must change.”

A close neighbor, Jerusalem Post

Gershon Baskin figures Gaza into the two-state equation.

Hamas, Israel develop unwritten understanding for coexistence, Al-Monitor

Shlomi Eldar reports on emerging “secret arrangements [between Israel and Hamas] that no one would have thought possible.”