J Street Daily News Roundup 1/23/14

January 23rd, 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.

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J Street in the News

It's Getting Easier to Vote Against Iran Sanctions–and AIPAC, National Journal

Sara Sorcher reported that the rise of J Street has provided an alternative definition of what it means to be pro-Israel and made it easier for lawmakers to side with the White House in favor of diplomacy with Iran. She quoted J Street Director of Dylan Williams who said that J Street has “been working diligently on Capitol Hill and in the Jewish-American community to raise support for the president's diplomatic efforts vis-a-vis Iran, and oppose any legislation which would threaten it… We feel very strongly that the current bill in the Senate would threaten diplomacy."

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Squeezed Hard as Iran Sanctions Fight Heats Up, Forward

Williams noted, “It’s significant that such a massive onslaught [against Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the sanctions legislation] seems not to be working.”

Top News and Analysis

Iran nuke talks to restart next month, Associated Press

The Obama administration expects negotiations on a final nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran to begin by mid-February.

Rouhani says Iran in negotiations with US, Europe relations to normalize, Reuters

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran is negotiating with the United States as part of a "constructive engagement" with the world community and wants Washington to back up its words with actions. He repeated Iran's standard pledge not to seek nuclear weapons and said Tehran was willing to accept all safeguards and inspections of the UN nuclear agency, provided it was not subjected to "discrimination.” He called for cooperation with all Iran's neighbours but did not mention Gulf rival Saudi Arabia by name and refused, when pressed twice, to include Israel among states with which Iran sought friendly relations.

Israeli leaders pan Rouhani’s ‘deceptive’ speech, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Rouhani’s attempts to foster better ties with the West are only a deception, while President Peres said, “The most significant remarks were the ones he didn’t make – he didn’t express support for peace in the Middle East… He is the only leader I know who didn’t say clearly the time has come to make peace between Israel and the Arabs.” Netanyahu is slated to give his own address to the World Economic Forum Thursday afternoon.

Another blow to the Iran sanctions bill, Washington Post

As Senators Patty Murray and Elizabeth Warren signal their opposition to new Iran sanctions, Greg Sargent says that “if current conditions remain, a vote is starting to look less and less likely.”

Iran: A Good Deal Now in Danger, New York Review of Books

“The alternatives [to an agreement with Iran] are war or a nuclear-armed Iran. Should this be a hard choice?” asks Jessica Mathews. “Astonishingly, too many members of Congress seem to think so.”


EU warns Israel, Palestinians of the cost of peace failure, Reuters

The European Union ambassador to Israel said on Wednesday that both sides of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks risk paying a high price in losing EU trade and aid if negotiations collapse

Abbas ready to meet with PM, says INSS, Jerusalem Post

President Abbas said that he is prepared to meet with Netanyahu at any time and did not rule out the possibility of addressing the Knesset. He also did not rule out the possibility that Netanyahu would one day be invited to speak before the Palestinian parliament.

Israel arrests Al-Qaida recruits trying to bomb U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Haaretz

Shin Bet officials announced on Wednesday that they have arrested three Palestinians, two of them East Jerusalem residents with Israeli identification cards, for alleged involvement in an Al-Qaida plan to carry out terror attacks in Israel. The group had planned two simultaneous suicide attacks, the Shin Bet said, one at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem and the other at the United States embassy in Tel Aviv.

White House reportedly uneasy with Jewish lobbying in Congress, Times of Israel

A US official reportedly said that “Jewish activity” in Congress, which was perceived by Secretary of State Kerry and Obama to be backed by the Israeli government, was unsettling the two American leaders.

Opinion and Analysis

Secretary Kerry's Effort to Resolve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict: Is it Worth It?, Huffington Post

Robert Lifton argues that “anyone who cares deeply about Israel and its future as a Jewish homeland should be applauding Mr. Kerry's efforts as he pursues his difficult task.”

A very personal statement on peace, Jerusalem Post

Gershon Baskin writes, “There is only one solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict – two states for two peoples. As a Jew, a Zionist and a proud Israeli I want to have prosperous and happy neighbors living in a state of their own, next to Israel, living side-by-side in peace. That is the only way that Israel will enjoy peace.”