J Street Daily News Roundup 2/13/2014

February 13th, 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

J Street Welcomes Letter to Obama Supporting Diplomacy with Iran & Opposing New Sanctions and Similar Legislation, J Street

After 104 Members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama in support of diplomacy with Iran, J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams said, “This letter reveals a deep understanding in Congress of the seriousness of the talks ahead and the delicacy of the environment in which they are taking place… It also reflects an overwhelming preference among their constituents--the American public--for a diplomatic resolution over military action which would only delay and not eliminate the Iranian program and would have unpredictable costs and consequences for the United States, our allies and the people in the region.”

Kerry’s obsession, Philadelphia Inquirer

In an interview with Trudy Rubin, MK Amram Mitzna--visiting Philadelphia on a tour arranged by J Street--said, “Never before has a secretary of state been so involved or such a believer… This is the last opportunity for the United States to be as involved as it is now. If these talks fail, I don't see when we will be able to get an agreement, because we need an outside force to push us ahead. The price to Israel of failure in these current negotiations will be very high."

Peace in the Columbia community, Columbia Spectator

J Street U Columbia/Barnard Co-Chair Julia Salazar urged, “We can turn our frustration into strategic activism. We can lead our community to promote a just solution to the conflict, before peace escapes us.”

Israeli MKs Need a Course in Anger Management - D’var Torah Ki Tisa, Jewish Journal

J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove said that “if Moses could be so diminished by his anger that God would deny him his most cherished dream then so too should leaders of the Israeli government lose their positions when their words are insulting and intemperate.”

Sen. Menendez defends approach on Iran, New Jersey Jewish News

“Doni Remba of Westfield, co-chair of the Central Jersey branch of J Street, called proposed new sanctions ‘a counterproductive strategy that would backfire.’ Remba said the sanctions bill carried ‘a very serious risk that we would be empowering the hardliners in Iran to torpedo these negotiations. We would be giving the hardliners a real basis to believe that the United States was not honoring its agreement with Iran and that we are not willing to give them the opportunity to negotiate with them in good faith. It makes no sense to follow a path that satisfies our gut need to be tough on Iran if in fact the most likely outcome of that approach would be to shoot ourselves in the foot.’”

Top News and Analysis

American Jewish leaders come out in support of Kerry peace effort, Haaretz

Over 150 American Jewish leaders sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday expressing strong support for the peace efforts of Secretary of State Kerry and offering their support at "this pivotal moment of decision-making."

European parliament chief slams Israeli critics in Knesset as 'extremists', Haaretz

European Parliament President Martin Schulz on Thursday denounced the Israeli lawmakers who criticized his speech in the Knesset a day earlier as "extremists." "I presented to the Knesset the position of the European parliament," he said. "Naturally, I cannot only say things that would be pleasant to everyone's ears. I must also present the controversial side of the things." Following the speech, Netanyahu accused Schulz of "selective hearing."

More Than 100 House Members Sign Letter Supporting Diplomacy With Iran, Think Progress

More than one hundred members of the House of Representatives have signed a bipartisan letter supporting President Obama’s diplomatic approach to Iran’s nuclear program and urging their colleagues to avoid passing “bills or resolutions” that could jeopardize current talks with Tehran.


Abbas’s new red line: Israeli withdrawal within 4 years, Times of Israel

The Palestinians on Wednesday issued a list of “red lines” in peace talks. A Palestinian spokesperson said that an Israeli-Palestinian framework document must include an Israeli withdrawal “from all Palestinian territories occupied in 1967″ within a timeframe of three to four years, followed by the release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The agreement must also explicitly refer to East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.

Habayit Hayehudi MK proposes one state with full Palestinian equality, Haaretz

HaBayit HaYehudi MK Zvulun Kalfa said that Israel “should grant Palestinians full citizenship, equality, invest in their local infrastructure and [give them] voting rights in the Knesset.”

Danon takes Netanyahu to court, Jerusalem Post

The head of the Likud central committee, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, sued  Netanyahu at the Tel Aviv District Court Wednesday to require the prime minister to convene the Likud convention for a meeting on the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.

Israeli Settlements Also Face Pressure From Within, Associated Press

With Israel mired in a struggle to combat growing calls in Europe to boycott Israeli products and businesses with ties to the controversial settlements, a quieter and more informal campaign is subtly emerging at home among Israelis themselves.

Unprecedented in recent history- Iran minister attends talk by Israeli minister, Haaretz

A talk given by Israel's Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom in Abu Dhabi earlier this week was attended by none other than his Iranian counterpart Hamid Chitchiyan. Over the past decade no serving Iranian minister has publicly sat through a conference speech given by an Israeli minister.

Opinion and Analysis

A sober assessment, Jerusalem Post

According to Gershon Baskin, “Israel and the Palestinians can put enough substance on the table in the remaining 11 weeks to continue the negotiations toward a full peace agreement, or the negotiations will end and [Israel] will face the fallout. And the fallout will come –no threat, just a sober assessment.”

George Orwell and Israel's 'democratic' occupation of the West Bank, Haaretz

Peter Beinart says that “to use the language of democracy to defend Israeli policy in the West Bank is linguistic fraud. Such fraud is necessary because to honestly defend the denial of democratic rights, for 46 years, to millions of people because they happen to be Palestinians and not Jews, would require language too coarse for the Upper West Side.”

Why Are We Ignoring Palestinian Nonviolence?, Forward

“There is no arguing that much of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation has been violent — but when we dismiss, disregard, and ignore acts of nonviolence, we are not only denying the full humanity of the enemy we face, we’re telling them that violence is the only thing we understand,” writes Emily Hauser.

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox key to peace, Al-Monitor

Interviewing former Shas spokesman Itzik Sudri, Mazal Mualem explores peace efforts within the Ultra-Orthodox community.

PM Netanyahu Ups the Ante with New Obstacles to Peace, Times of Israel

James Adler asks, “Why does Netanyahu seem to want so badly to gut and destroy the opportunity to end this long and tragic and heart-breaking conflict?”

Wrong on sanctions bill logic, New York Jewish Week

Martin Levine writes in a letter that “the Menendez-Kirk bill does not, as its proponents claim, strengthen the
 administration’s hand but rather ties its hands by imposing unreasonable