J Street Daily News Roundup 3/20/14

March 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

‘Every Israeli is interested in making peace’, New Jersey Jewish News

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner said in an interview, “If we miss this opportunity and the occupation continues and the settlements continue to grow, at some point the two-state solution may be lost. The longer we wait the more painful it will be for everyone.”

Recognizing the ‘Jewish State’: Two definitions, two implications, Jewish Journal

J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove warned that “designating Israel as a ‘Jewish state’ compromises Israel’s democracy, Jewish majority and Jewish character. To call Israel ‘the state of the Jewish people,’ however, honors Israel’s Jewish diversity, preserves its Jewish majority, and protects and sustains Israel’s democratic traditions.”

Unproductive dialogue, Daily Pennsylvanian

J Street U Penn members urged, “Every other Hillel in the country has refused to screen [“The J Street Challenge,”] and we expect Penn to be no different.”

Pro-Israel Program in Philadelphia Sparks Debate, Jewish Exponent

“Rebecca Kirzner, J Street’s Mid-Atlantic regional director, has sent a letter to [the Philadelphia Jewish] Federation’s Israel Advocacy Committee, proposing that Federation host a forum this spring featuring J Street’s founder and president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, and someone representing a differing viewpoint so the community can address the myriad issues likely to be raised by the Obama administration’s framework agreement that is expected to be presented soon to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.”

Top News and Analysis

Optimism in Vienna: Final Iran deal possible by July, Haaretz

The second round of talks on a permanent agreement over Iran’s nuclear program ended on Wednesday with optimistic statements made by all sides. At a briefing for reporters in Vienna, where the two-day talks between Iran and the six powers took place, a senior member of the American negotiating team said the talks delved into “the substance of key issues more than we have ever previously.” Another round will be held in Vienna in three weeks’ time, from April 7-9.

Hillary Clinton: Test Iran and wait on new sanctions, JTA

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that nuclear negotiations with Iran should be given a chance and warned Congress against imposing new sanctions. She also praised her successor, Secretary of State Kerry, as a “forceful advocate” for the peace process.

Israeli defense minister apologizes for calling US 'weak', Haaretz

Defense Minister Ya'alon apologized for the second time in two months about critical statements he made against the US government. In the wake of tremendous anger in Washington, a telephone call between Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu and a personal talk with the prime minister, Ya'alon told his American counterpart, Secretary of Defense Hagel, that there was no defiance, criticism or intention to hurt the United States or Israel's relations with its ally with his words.


Jailed militant key to Mideast talks, Associated Press

According to several top officials, the Palestinians are seeking the freedom of prominent Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti as part of any plan to extend negotiations with Israel beyond an April deadline. A release of Barghouti could inject new life into the troubled peace process, boost embattled President Abbas, and even provide the Palestinians with a plausible successor to their 78-year-old leader.

Palestinians threaten to resume UN campaign, Times of Israel

A senior Palestinian official says the Palestinians will resume their campaign for international recognition at the United Nations if Israel calls off a planned release of Palestinian prisoners, scheduled for March 28.

Deputy Minister Danon to resign if more Palestinians freed, Haaretz

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said on Wednesday that he will step down from his position if Netanyahu approves the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Youths throw rocks at MK on Temple Mount, Times of Israel

Hundreds of Arab youths assembled Thursday morning atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to protest the visit of Likud MK Moshe Feiglin to the site. Two men were arrested for throwing rocks, and Feiglin was compelled to leave the plaza, home to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque.

Israel's envoy courts liberal Democrats on Iran, Al-Monitor

In a meeting with House Democrats, Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer pressed the case for demanding that Iran be prohibited from enriching uranium.

Opinion and Analysis

Could 'Framework' Offer Elusive Breakthrough as Peace Talks Sputter?, Forward

JJ Goldberg interviewed former Shin Bet Chief Ami Ayalon, who says that “Kerry’s framework could change the architecture [of peace talks]... If the framework is put in writing and adopted formally by the United States, the Quartet and the United Nations, ‘then for the first time we will have a clear goal.’”

Before Abbas recognizes the Jewish state, Israel must define it, Haaretz

Peter Beinart suggests that “the next time Benjamin Netanyahu demands that [Abbas] recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish state,’ [he should] tell him that [he’ll] agree on one condition. The Israeli cabinet must first agree on what ‘Jewish state’ means.”

Peace talks could benefit from implementing previous agreements, Al-Monitor

According to Akiva Eldar, “Fulfilling the existing agreements and encouraging Israelis to leave the territories is no alternative to Kerry’s important efforts to reach a regional peace agreement based on the Arab Peace Initiative. Actually, it is the crutch without which we will all fall flat on our faces.”