J Street Daily News Roundup 3/31/14

March 31st, 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's challenge to the US-Jewish right: Focus on peace, Haaretz

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote, “In Jewish communal venues here and across the globe, let’s call an end to the attack videos and mudslinging and let’s start discussing the significant challenges that really threaten not just Israel but the heart and the soul of the Jewish people.”

Have courage, don’t walk away from Israel peace talks, Chicago Sun-Times

In Chicago for a J Street town hall, Yossi Beilin said that “if ever there was a time for the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to show political courage, that time is now.”

Pro-Israel Jews Must Support Kerry, New York Jewish Week

“J Street and J Street U activists are coming by the thousands to town halls across the country to voice their support for the tough compromises necessary for a politically viable two-state agreement,” wrote  J Street U National Student Board member Asher Mayerson. “If the rest of the pro-Israel community is serious about two states, then we should expect similar expressions of support from them.”

J Street U Board Condemns T-Shirts Glorifying Terrorism, J Street U

The J Street U National Student Board joined with J Street in condemning t-shirts glorifying terrorism as being hateful and inimical to J Street’s fundamental commitment to a non-violent, negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What lies beneath the drama over Theater J, Washington Post

Sidney Schwarz noted that “the incident [at Theater J] is but one of many examples of how the Jewish community labors under a not-so-hidden loyalty test regarding what one can and cannot say about Israel... Jews who associate with J Street have been accused of disloyalty even though the advocacy group’s policy explicitly endorses a safe and secure Israel as part of a two-state solution to the Middle East dispute.”

Passions Run High at Anti-J Street Event, Jewish Exponent

At a public screening of an anti-J Street film, Alan Dershowitz was booed by audience members for supporting President Obama and opposing Israeli settlement policy.

Top News and Analysis

Kerry coming to Jerusalem, Ramallah to seal deal to extend talks, Haaretz

Secretary of State Kerry will arrive in Israel Monday night in an effort to prevent the collapse of peace talks and secure a deal that will extend the stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Kerry said Sunday night that decisions regarding the delayed Palestinian prisoner release and the extension of talks must be made by Monday. The PLO Executive Committee will meet in Ramallah Monday night, when President Abbas will present the proposal from Israel and the US for extending talks. Israel has made offers to release 300-400 Palestinian prisoners of its choosing, while the Palestinians have demanded that Israel freeze settlement construction and turn over economic and infrastructure projects in Area C of the West Bank.

Palestinian official: Talks to continue until deadline, Times of Israel

Palestinian spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the Palestinians will continue talks until the April 29 deadline, even though Israel has not yet released the fourth batch of prisoners.

Netanyahu: Talks with Palestinians 'verging on a crisis', Haaretz

Ministers from HaBayit HaYehudi and some from Likud - Yisrael Beiteinu are expected to vote against any deal with the Palestinians that includes freeing additional prisoners. Naftali Bennett, the head of HaBayit HaYehudi, declared that such a move will “never happen.” The assumption is that an agreement to free Palestinians would provoke Bennett's party to leave the coalition.

Peace Process on Life Support?, The New York Times

According to The New York Times editorial board, “If [the parties] cannot, or will not, agree on a framework for negotiations, the United States should put forward its own statement of principles, including setting boundaries along the prewar 1967 lines and endorsing Jerusalem as the capital of two states.”


Chris Christie apologizes for ‘occupied territories’ remark, Politico

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie apologized to Sheldon Adelson for referring in a speech to the West Bank as “the occupied territories.”

Left vows: We’ll pressure Livni to quit if talks fail, Jerusalem Post

Officials on the Israeli left warned that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will face a massive campaign pressuring her to leave Netanyahu’s coalition if talks between Israel and the Palestinians do not continue beyond this week.

Ya'alon to Dempsey: U.S. ties 'cornerstone' of Israeli security, Haaretz

Defense Minister Ya'alon met Sunday with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, and assured him that the relationship with the US was a "cornerstone" of Israeli security. "This is a critical week for the Israeli-Palestinian issue and we appreciate the efforts made by US Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as the commitment and contribution of President Obama towards this endeavor," Ya'alon said.

Arab Israelis, Palestinians mark Land Day, AFP

Palestinians and Arab Israelis commemorated Land Day on Sunday with rallies remembering six were shot dead during a 1976 demonstration against land seizures.

East Jerusalem construction on hold for four years, Haaretz

After four years in which Mayor Nir Barkat’s plans to improve the planning situation in East Jerusalem have failed to make headway, residents of the A-Sawahra neighborhood have petitioned the Jerusalem District Court against the municipality.

Shin Bet: West Bank terror attacks more than doubled in 2013, Jerusalem Post

The Shin Bet reported that terror attacks in the West Bank more than doubled in 2013.

Remaking a Life, After Years in an Israeli Prison, The New York Times

Demonized as terrorists by Israelis and lionized as freedom fighters by Palestinians, Palestinian prisoners serving long sentences have begun to rebuild disrupted lives.

Opinion and Analysis

What Israeli Palestinian mutual recognition really means, Haaretz

Lara Friedman argues that “Israeli and Palestinian leaders, negotiating in good faith to achieve a two-state solution, can certainly agree on a recognition formula – as was done by negotiators in the Geneva Initiative . Conversely, if Israel and Palestinian leaders don’t start dealing with this question seriously – respectful of the nuances and sensitivities involved for both sides – then the recognition question will haunt us all, and ensure that an agreement is likely never reached.”

Yossi Vardi’s ‘what’s next’ formula for Israel, Times of Israel

David Horovitz interviews Yossi Vardi, founder of Break the Impasse.

Netanyahu and Abbas are not Begin and Sadat, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem contends that “Netanyahu and [Abbas] have nothing near the readiness, the courage and the true willpower to reach an agreement — something that characterized the dialogue between late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who ultimately paid for it with his life.”