J Street Daily News Roundup 3/24/14

March 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

Our current crisis and Israel as a "Jewish state", J Street

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said that “a final, comprehensive agreement to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will have to address core issues of identity, recognition, rights and redress. However, we also believe that failure to resolve these issues at this point should not derail these negotiations. These issues are appropriately settled as part of a final peace agreement – and not now as part of a framework for continued negotiations.”


Israel and Diaspora Must Build Healthy Dialogue, Boulder Jewish News

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner argued, “We owe it to ourselves and to Israel to speak up honestly and openly. We should not censor ourselves for fear that we should be seen as less than fully united behind every single decision that the government of Israel may take. That kind of silent acquiescence ultimately serves neither us nor Israel.”

J Street: Jewish state demand not realistic at present, Haaretz

“The progressive, American. pro-Israel lobbying group J Street has come out against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state - at least during the current round of negotiations.”

J Street: ‘Unreasonable’ to expect PA recognition of Jewish state right now, JNS

“Ben-Ami’s position mirrors that of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who recently called it a ‘mistake’ to continue to insist on Jewish state recognition in the American-brokered Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations.”

Israel’s zero-sum game for the diaspora, Jewish Chronicle

Noting J Street’s pro-Israel, pro-peace Zionism, Keith Kahn-Harris suggested that “if Jewish communities in the diaspora are to remain viable and sustainable, they need to be resilient enough to cope with the fallout of any kind of development in Israel.”

Top News and Analysis

Standoff Over Prisoner Release Threatens Mideast Talks, The New York Times

Martin Indyk, the Obama administration’s envoy for the peace process, has spent the past two days meeting with negotiators in Jerusalem and the West Bank to try to resolve disagreements surrounding the extension of peace talks and the release of the fourth and last batch of Palestinian prisoners. The seriousness of the situation has led to renewed discussions over the possible release of Jonathan Pollard, an American serving a life sentence in North Carolina for spying for Israel, which those involved in the process see as a powerful card that Washington wants to play at the right moment for maximum effect.

Abbas looks to Arab League to revive its 2002 peace plan, Haaretz

At the Arab League summit in Kuwait this week, President Abbas is expected to call on Arab leaders to reaffirm their commitment to the Arab peace initiative, as well as to ask world leaders to view the proposal as the best plan for ending the conflict with Israel.

UN body to vote on settlement-boycott resolution, Haaretz

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva is scheduled to vote on five anti-Israel resolutions later this week, one of which includes a call to boycott and divest from West Bank settlements.


TV report: Abbas said ‘no’ to Obama on 3 core peace issues, Times of Israel

A Channel 2 report claimed that Abbas told President Obama in their meeting this month that he refused to relinquish the Palestinian right of return or commit to an end of the conflict.

US insists: Ya'alon has not apologized, Haaretz

The Obama administration is reportedly insisting on an explicit apology from Defense Minister Ya'alon and is refusing to make do with his widely-reported conversation on Thursday with Defense Secretary Hagel.

Labor MK: Israel gave extra $172m to settlements in winter Knesset session, Haaretz

Labor MK Stav Shaffir said that nearly $172 million were transferred to the settlements through budget adjustments that the government requested from the Knesset during the winter session.

British Architects Vote To Cut Ties With Israel Group Over Settlement Projects, JTA

The Royal Institute of British Architects approved a motion calling on the international Union of Architects to suspend its Israeli counterpart from membership until it refuses to accept projects in the West Bank.

Hamas rally in Gaza takes aim at Egypt, Israel and Abbas, Reuters

Tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied in Gaza on Sunday to show support for their Islamist Hamas government, which has long been at loggerheads with Israel but is now shunned by Egypt as well.

Palestinians vow retaliation as three Jenin militants buried, Haaretz

Three Palestinian militant groups vowed to retaliate against Israel on Saturday, after the killing of three militants and the wounding of at least seven in an Israel Defense Forces raid on the Jenin refugee camp early Saturday morning.

Opinion and Analysis

John Kerry’s Mideast initiative bogs down, but talks must be saved, Boston Globe

The Boston Globe editorial board makes the case that “even if he does not get a peace deal, Kerry’s team can help lay the foundation for a future agreement by identifying and testing creative solutions… to bridge the gap between the two sides.”

Peace and Palestinians behind Israel's prison bars, Haaretz

According to Emily Hauser, “in making every single step a make-or-break moment… we are choosing to not end the conflict… And no matter who does (or does not) get sent home from prison in the coming days, everybody else will pay the price.”

When Jews and Muslims Got Along, Huffington Post

Mark Cohen writes, “An awareness by both Muslims and Jews that they were not born to hate one another, and that there once was a time when Jews and Muslims actually coexisted in a creative and mutually enriching manner, might promote confidence on both sides of the seemingly unbridgeable gulf.”

Israelis want peace — it’s the aftermath they fear, Boston Globe

“Now is the time for Israelis and Palestinians to renew their commitment to the process that Secretary Kerry is facilitating,” says Robert Leikind. “A successful result will not come easily, but what is the alternative?”

Harvard Group Was Right To Visit Arafat's Grave, Forward

Elisheva Goldberg argues, “Allowing students to engage in conversation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Palestinians themselves is still taboo among the American Jewish establishment. And it’s high time that changed.”

The Palestinian prisoners' dilemma, Haaretz

Don Futterman examines the gap in Israeli and Palestinian perspectives regarding the prisoner releases.

Internal Likud fight could shift Israel’s balance of power, Times of Israel

Haviv Rettig Gur analyzes the political rivalry between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.