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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."
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.
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 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.”
The European Union ambassador to Israel said 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.
Shin Bet officials announced 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
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.”