J Street Daily News Roundup 1/8/14

January 8th, 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

Hillel's Crackdown on Open Debate is Bad News for American Jews, The New Republic

Citing J Street U in the debate over Hillel’s Israel guidelines, John Judis wrote, “The ground is shifting under American Jewry and its support for Israel and the first tremors are surfacing among the young.”

The Three Jews, Two-and-a-Half Opinions Gabfest, Slate (35:23)

Emily Bazelon, David Plotz and Will Saletan mentioned J Street in their conversation about the Hillel guidelines.

Top News and Analysis

Defense minister denounces extremist settler ‘terror’, Times of Israel

In the wake of an incident that saw a group of settlers beaten and held by Palestinians after they allegedly attempted to carry out a “price tag” attack, Defense Minister Ya’alon on Wednesday vehemently condemned extremist Jewish violence as “terror.” In a statement, he vowed that authorities would pursue the perpetrators of such attacks.

Kerry asks Saudis, Jordan to support Palestinian recognition of Israel as Jewish state, Haaretz

Secretary of State Kerry has asked the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia to support Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.  Kerry, who is due to meet with Arab League foreign ministers in Paris in another few days, is also hoping to hear a positive approach to this idea from them.

Bennett: We will not sit in a government that accepts agreement based on 1967 lines, Haaretz

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said that his HaBayit HaYehudi  party "will not sit in a coalition that, because of international pressure, divides Jerusalem and puts our security at risk… we will never accept an agreement based on the 1967 lines."

Security Experts Ask Senators To Pull Back Iran Sanctions Bill, Think Progress

A group of national security experts and American foreign policy luminaries sent a letter to the primary co-sponsors of an Iran sanctions bill asking them to reconsider the measure, saying it jeopardizes the ongoing negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program and could bring the United States closer to war with Iran.

Is Mideast peace possible?, Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times editorial board highlighted reason for “guarded optimism” in the Kerry initiative.

Humiliated by Palestinians and army, extremist settlers could escalate violence, Haaretz

According to Amos Harel, “the more reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering major concessions in the talks, the more [price tag attacks] will happen – this time with the goal of thwarting even the smallest glimmer of hope for a diplomatic breakthrough.”


Livni: With annexation bills, right wing panders to its extremists, Times of Israel

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni vehemently criticized the recent spate of legislative proposals that seek to place obstacles in the path of US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. “The ministers aren’t stupid,” Livni said. “They understand this harms the state of Israel, its security. But they’re playing the game, because they are indebted to the extremist groups in their party.”

PM reportedly offered to lease settlements from PA, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly offered to cede most Israeli settlements in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority on the condition that Israel would be allowed to enter into a longterm lease for the land, thereby avoiding the eviction of hundreds of thousands of settlers. The Palestinian negotiating team is said to have rejected the offer.

Ambassador Shapiro: Kerry heard things from Netanyahu , Abbas 'no one ever heard before', Jerusalem Post

US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said that Kerry, in hours of meetings with Netanyahu and President Abbas, has heard things from each of them that “perhaps no one else has heard.”

Lieberman defends his population transfer plan, Times of Israel

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman defended his promotion of a controversial plan to transfer jurisdiction of some Israeli Arab towns to a future Palestinian state by saying their residents have never wanted to part of the Jewish state. On Tuesday, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar expressed objection to Lieberman’s proposal, saying that any long-term agreement must state that Israel’s Arab population remain in Israeli territory.

Former US ambassadors call for Pollard’s release, Times of Israel

Retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering said he would support Jonathan Pollard’s release if it would help to advance the US-mediated Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and would serve as a goodwill gesture toward Israel’s leadership.

10,000 Africans rally in Jerusalem, Knesset speaker thwarts talks with MKs, Haaretz

An estimated 10,000 African migrants were protesting in the Wohl Rose Park across from the Knesset in Jerusalem on Wednesday, as their nationwide strike entered its fourth day. Meretz MK Michal Rozin, Yesh Atid MK Shimon Solomon and Hadash MK Dov Khenin initiated a meeting with several representatives of the asylum seeker community, but they were refused authorization to enter the Knesset.

Fatah official to head to Gaza for reconciliation talks with Hamas, Jerusalem Post

Senior Fatah official Azam al-Ahmed is expected to head to the Gaza Strip soon to discuss ways of ending the dispute between his faction and Hamas. The planned visit was announced one day after Hamas declared a series of measures to pave the way for reconciliation with Fatah.

Opinion and Analysis

Double-teaming peace in Israel, Christian Science Monitor

“Though they are not working consciously in tandem, Kerry and Pope Francis are in essence a powerful team promoting peace,” writes the Christian Science Monitor editorial board. “Their efforts give hope to all those around the world whose hearts yearn for an Israeli-Palestinian accord.”

Liberman’s land swap proposal shakes up peace talks, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit says, “A large part of Kerry’s optimism stems from the fact that he has an ally deep in Israel’s right-wing circles. His name is Avigdor Lieberman… In my humble opinion, despite the identity of its proponent, there isn’t a more pragmatic and logical proposal to resolve the conflict than” his.

Lapid on peace talks: 'Our role is to back the Prime Minister', Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem interviews Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

Kerry needs our vocal support as he brokers Mideast peace, Boston Globe

Michael Felsen notes in a letter, “Kerry is indeed doing a remarkable job, but his success may well depend on how clear a message we, individually and collectively, send from this side of the Atlantic.”