J Street Daily News Roundup 1/24/14

January 24th, 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.

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Please email newsroundup@jstreet.org

J Street in the News

The Strange Vote of the Georgia State Legislature, Times of Israel

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner wrote, “For the sake of peace and for the sake of Israel, local politicians in the United States who love Israel would be best advised not to tell its citizens and its government where its borders should be.”

The other Israel lobby, The Dish

Andrew Sullivan noted that J Street’s work against new Iran sanctions “is good for the US, Israel and Iran.”

The Iran Deal as an American Turning Point, American Conservative

Scott McConnell said that “the pivot away from AIPAC only began in late December but the forces which have allied to stall [the Iran sanctions bill] have been percolating for several years. They include, importantly, J Street and similar liberal pro-Israel groups, at odds with [Prime Minister] Netanyahu over the entire spectrum of his policies.”

Liberal Groups Scramble as Nathan Cummings Foundation Shifts Funding Guidelines, Forward

“Others, primarily liberal organizations supporting a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, will have to do without the [Cummings Foundation’s] backing once its one-year adjustment grant expires at the end of 2014. Such is the case with J Street, a dovish lobbying organization that had received $130,000 through its sister organization, J Street Education Fund. This sum made up roughly 2% of J Street’s total budget for 2012. ‘I’m confident that we will be fine,’ J Street’s spokeswoman Jessica Rosenblum said, adding, however, that ‘it’s a shame that they are choosing to disengage from this important work at this time.’”

What?? Michael Oren Going to Scowcroft Center, Washington Note

According to Steve Clemons, Michael Oren joining the Atlantic Council‘s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security Policy “is kind of like the Washington Institute on Near East Policy offering senior fellowships to J Street Founders Daniel Levy and Jeremy Ben-Ami.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu, Kerry discuss core conflict issues in Davos, Haaretz

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Secretary of State Kerry on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Friday morning to discuss the peace negotiations with the Palestinians. The meeting focused on the details of the draft framework agreement that Kerry wants to present within a few weeks. “We’re still negotiating," said Kerry. “My hope is we can achieve the framework for final status negotiations. But it’s very, very difficult and we have a lot of work to do."

US eyes difficulties in next round of Iran talks, Washington Post

For the United States and its negotiating partners, the next round of nuclear talks with Iran could present a difficult decision: to sign another temporary agreement or accept nothing less than an ambitious, multi year accord to dismantle the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

New Poll Finds Large Majority Of Americans Support Iran Nuclear Agreement, Think Progress

A new poll released on Wednesday found that a solid majority of Americans — by greater than a 2 to 1 margin — support the first step nuclear deal with Iran, a finding that lines up with most recent surveys taken on the issue.

Why New Sanctions on Iran Won't Work, National Interest

Alireza Nader argues that “sanctions may have had an important effect on negotiations, but it is US diplomacy that will ultimately win the day.”

Congress, give diplomacy with Iran a chance, Billings Gazette

Rabbi Allen Secher urges “Congress [to] forget about this misguided sanctions bill and give diplomacy a chance to work.”


Peres honored at World Economic Forum in Davos, Haaretz

President Peres was honored on Friday at the World Economic Forum where he accepted the Spirit of Davos award for his contribution to peace, economics and technology.

Netanyahu: We can’t have a ‘Palestine’ run by Iran, Times of Israel

On Thursday, Netanyahu laid out the dilemma facing his administration when it comes to the Palestinian conflict — the imperative to avoid a binational state encompassing Israel and the Palestinians, but also to prevent a future Palestinian state from becoming an Iranian proxy. Netanyahu insisted he was ready for “real secure genuine peace,” adding, “I hope [President Abbas is too.”

Herzog ahead of PM-Kerry meeting in Davos: Peace talks at turning point, Jerusalem Post

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said that negotiations have reached a peak in which Netanyahu and Abbas must decide if they really want peace. “Our future has to be in peace with our neighbors," he stated. "A deal must be reached… We must look beyond this settlement bloc or that."

Abbas calls for larger Russian role in peace talks, Times of Israel

Abbas was in Moscow Thursday for high-level discussions with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, in which Abbas praised Russia’s role in world affairs and reportedly indicated that Moscow should become more involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Former PLO negotiator calls on PA to endorse 'resistance' against Israel, Jerusalem Post

Former Palestinian negotiator Muhammad Shtayyeh claimed that peace talks are headed toward failure and called on the Palestinian Authority to endorse “resistance” against Israel instead of providing services to Palestinians.

Hamas may be fighting a losing battle to stop Gaza rocket fire, Times of Israel

Rival groups are defying Hamas’ efforts to maintain calm in the Gaza Strip, precisely as Hamas itself once defied the PA.

Shulamit Aloni, former minister and staunch civil rights supporter, dies at 85, Haaretz

Shulamit Aloni, the former leader of Israel's Meretz party and Israel Prize laureate who, throughout her life, fought for equality and civil rights, died on Friday morning at age 85.

Opinion and Analysis

The American Lobby in Israel: Options for Peace— Without Netanyahu, Daily Beast

Eli Lake discusses Special Envoy Martin Indyk’s work to recruit Israeli support for Kerry’s peace initiative.

Omar Barghouti at UCLA: No to BDS, no to occupation, Jewish Journal

“BDS is poison,” writes Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, “but so is the occupation. Wisdom, morality, and loyalty to Israel and Judaism demand that we say no to both.”

Is Israel Safe Without Troops on Jordan River?, Forward

JJ Goldberg translates a recent oped by retired brigadier general Ephraim Sneh, who argues “that Israel can accept other security arrangements [without the Jordan Valley] that would meet Palestinian objections and still fulfill Israel’s needs.”

What About Palestinian Security?, American Prospect

Matthew Duss says, “It’s a smart move by Secretary Kerry to address Israeli concerns up front, thereby removing another excuse on which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long relied to avoid making tough choices. Israeli security is, of course, important in its own right. But Palestinian security is no less so. And right now, Palestinians lack security amid an Israeli occupation in its forty-seventh year. It’s important that this be addressed as a part of the process Secretary Kerry is managing, even in advance of a final status deal.”

Israeli-Palestinian Violence Erupts, Brookings Institution

According to Natan Sachs, “Given the costs to US interests of a severe outbreak of violence, it is important that the negotiations be coupled with preparations for a worst-case outcome.”

The Hawks' Hypocrisy on the Iran Sanctions Bill, Atlantic

Peter Beinart contends that “some of the same commentators who say the Senate proposal will guarantee an agreement sticks have already declared a diplomatic deal will never work and that war is the only option.”

Prof. Juan Cole: Who are these Jews anyway?, Partners for Progressive Israel

Ralph Seliger critiques Juan Cole’s argument against recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.