J Street Daily News Roundup 2/20/2014

February 20th, 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

'Zionism Unsettled' is Reductive and Offensive, J Street

J Street said that it was deeply offended by the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church’s recent publication of “Zionism Unsettled.”

J Street Responds to "The J Street Challenge", J Street

J Street said that a movie currently circulating entitled "The J Street Challenge" contains numerous inaccuracies, distortions and outright lies.

Talking with Former Head of Israeli Spy Agency, Santa Barbara Independent

Slated to speak at a J Street 2 Campaign Town Hall in Santa Barbara, former Mossad Chief Danny Yatom said, “After so many years of serving in the security apparatus and in the military and experiencing too many wars and numerous actions against terror, I came to the conclusion that the only way to stabilize Israel and to stabilize the Middle East and to make sure that Israel will continue to prosper and flourish is to strike a deal with the Palestinians.”

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange, NJ.com

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner will speak in South Orange, New Jersey on March 28.



In undermining Iran negotiations, Susan Collins defends Israel’s ability to start war, not achieve peace, Bangor Daily News

Noting that Senator Susan Collins has supported new sanctions legislation against Iran but not measures supporting Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, Ed McCarthy wrote that “foremost among those appalled by this congressional pathology are certain Jewish friends of Israel, such as J Street  and Americans for Peace Now , who understand how counterproductive such actions are.”

Top News and Analysis

Iran and World Powers Agree on Framework for Nuclear Talks, The New York Times

In what officials described as a serious, workmanlike and conversational atmosphere, Iran and six world powers agreed upon a timetable and framework for negotiating a comprehensive agreement to end the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program, the European Union’s foreign policy chief and Iran’s foreign minister said on Thursday. They said that expert groups would meet early in March and the full delegations would meet in Vienna again on March 17, with the expectation that they will meet monthly.

Kerry defends peace efforts: I'm committed, not obsessive, Haaretz

Secretary of State Kerry said in an interview he does not does not intend to give up hope of reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, despite the differences between the sides and the personal attacks he has come under recently. Kerry also implied that evacuating Jewish settlements may not be a necessary part of a peace deal.

What Liberal Zionists should say when we’re called naive, Haaretz

Peter Beinart argues, “Israel has not changed Palestinian hearts but it has changed what many Palestinians consider possible. The grave danger today is that Israel’s settlement policies are undoing that historic achievement. By pursuing territorially maximalist policies in the West Bank, Israel is encouraging Palestinians to pursue a territorial maximalism of their own.”


US framework draft is too vague, says top PLO official, Times of Israel

Ahmed Qurei, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee and a former prime minister, said that current American positions on a number of core negotiating issues including borders, Jerusalem and the settlements do not satisfy the Palestinian need for clarity.

Bennett, Schulz meet in Brussels for conciliatory talks, Jerusalem Post

Exactly a week after demonstratively marching out of European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s speech in the Knesset, Economy Minister Naphtali Bennett walked into his Brussels office Wednesday for a conciliatory meeting. The two men discussed last week’s incident in the Knesset and agreed to work together to advance ties between Israel and Europe.

Top Jewish Agency official: Stifling criticism of Israel could backfire, Haaretz

In a sharp departure from the message delivered by other world Jewish leaders this week, a senior Jewish Agency official has warned that attempts in recent days to stifle criticism abroad of Israeli policies could ultimately backfire.

Vassar Jewish Students Break With Hillel on Israel, Forward

The Vassar Jewish Union declared  itself an “Open Hillel” on Tuesday, becoming the second Hillel-affiliated organization to break from Hillel International over the parent group’s Israel guidelines.

Opinion and Analysis

The Arafat precedent, Haaretz

Ari Shavit reports that Yasser Arafat recognized that Israel is a Jewish state and so should President Abbas.

Mutual and reciprocal recognition, Jerusalem Post

I would say to the Palestinians,” writes Gershon Baskin, “we don’t need your recognition of our character – that is for us to decide. We do demand that in a peace treaty to continue to recognize us as a state, as we will recognize you as a state, that we end our conflict in its entirety, that we respect each other’s sovereignty, that we adhere to international law and through the agreements between us, we work to establish real peace between our peoples and not only between our governments and that we understand that the mutual good of both of us is our goal so that we can all live in security and bring safety and prosperity to our people.”

De Blasio on Backing AIPAC: Yes, It's My Job, Forward

JJ Goldberg examines a recent interview of New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio regarding his recent meeting with AIPAC.

Apologize to Kerry, New York Jewish Week

Gil Kulick writes in a letter that the Jewish Week owes an apology to Kerry for “shooting the messenger.”

An idea for SodaStream, New York Jewish Week

Judith Hollander says that “Kerry’s statement [about the consequences of failure to achieve two states] will not increase
the likelihood of enlarged boycott. He simply described the potential for the
 economic implications if the status quo continues to be the status quo.”

Don’t Shoot The Messenger, New York Jewish Week

Ralph Seliger writes, “Rather than chastising 
Kerry, who opposes BDS, [Jewish Week] should address recalcitrance within Israel’s
 ruling coalition, which includes parties and individuals who oppose the very 
idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel.”

Opposes Censorship, New York Jewish Week

“Not only is the 
attempt to delegitimize Jewish voices fundamentally problematic,” says Matt Gordon, “but it also
 seems to be the minority who attempts to censor the majority of American 
Jews, who do believe in policies like Palestinian statehood and negotiations
with Iran.”

Arguing about Israel, Pete Seeger and Jeff Halper, Partners for Progressive Israel

“Left-Zionists like myself fight a two-front battle: one against the political right and anti-peace forces that are Zionist, and the other against far-left forces that are anti-Zionist,” says Seliger. “While I take a liberal and critical view of Israel, I am also supportive of Israel's raison d'être as a sovereign Jewish homeland and often criticize pro-Palestinian views and actions.”