J Street Daily News Roundup 3/5/2014

March 5th, 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

At AIPAC, PM Netanyahu Promotes Benefits of Peace, J Street

J Street said that in his address to the AIPAC conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu made his most compelling case yet to an American audience for a two-state solution.

A DC voice for a two-state solution, The Hill

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in an interview that “Netanyahu is deeply trusted by Israelis and could be the one to achieve a two-state deal. ‘If he has [concluded that such a solution is essential for Israel’s survival], I really believe that he’s the one who can do this,’ Ben-Ami said. ‘If he hasn’t, and if at the end of the day, he decides to walk away from all of this, it’s going to be a long time.’”

Netanyahu to speak to pro-Israel conference in US, AFP

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner said, "Seventy-five percent of American Jews supported Barack Obama in 2012; almost as many in 2008. Yet when we look at the views of the community as they are expressed by the traditional organisations on Israel, that progressive voice was not being heard, it was not even being expressed… Our mission is to advocate and to mobilize and to organize for a two-state solution."

Troubled AIPAC Meets, but Its Influence Wanes, The Nation

Bob Dreyfuss noted that “in his speech to AIPAC, Netanyahu didn’t spend a lot of time on Iran, and instead talked a great deal about Israel itself, denouncing the movement to boycott Israel and defending the state’s character. But as J Street pointed out in its report on Netanyahu’s address, in which the organization chose to emphasize the positive parts of his remarks. Here’s part of J Street’s news release: Pledging to work with the US and the Palestinians to ‘forge a durable peace’ based on ‘mutual recognition,’ the prime minister declared, ‘Peace would be good for us. Peace would be good for the Palestinians’ and peace would ‘catapult the entire region forward.’”

Carl Levin does not like AIPAC’s Senate Iran letter, JTA

Notably, J Street, the liberal Jewish group that has opposed many of the hawkish Iran initiatives, is backing the [AIPAC-supported] House letter, but not the Senate letter.”

AIPAC-backed letters urge congressional oversight of Iran deal, JTA

Notably, the letter also has the backing of J Street, the liberal Jewish group that has opposed many of the Iran-related initiatives.

House Iran Letter Leaves Out Demand For ‘Zero Enrichment’, Think Progress

“JTA reports  that the House letter ‘has the backing of J Street, the liberal Jewish group that has opposed many of the Iran-related initiatives’ backed by AIPAC.”

Michele Bachmann: American Jewish Community 'Sold Out Israel', Huffington Post

“In a Monday interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, [Michele] Bachmann chastised American Jewish organizations  for backing off stronger sanctions against Iran over its nuclear weapons program… Seventy percent of Jewish American voters picked President Barack Obama when he ran for reelection in 2012. J Street, a pro-peace lobbying group that supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, commissioned a poll  that year which found that just 10 percent of Jewish American voters identified Israel as one of their top two voting issue priorities.”

With sadness, I'm getting off the Hillel bandwagon, Sun-Sentinel

Rabbi Bruce Warshal said that “Hillel is no longer the Hillel of yesteryears… on more than a dozen campuses Hillel has refused to allow J Street U, an affiliate of the pro-Israel, pro-peace liberal group J Street, to co-sponsor events on the basis that donors to Hillel do not support J Street. This brings us to the nub of the problem: Money — money from conservative Federations, and major donors who are committed to AIPAC and fear a more liberal Jewish lobby.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Promotes Efforts Toward a Peace Deal, The New York Times

A day after meeting with President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu on Tuesday made an uncharacteristically enthusiastic pitch for a peace accord with the Palestinians, saying it would enable Israel to tighten ties with its Arab neighbors and “catapult the region forward” on issues like health, energy and education.”

Obama promises Netanyahu to put pressure on Abbas, Haaretz

Obama reportedly promised Netanyahu that he would put pressure on President Abbas "to make tough decisions.”

Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech: A red alert for settlers, Haaretz

According to Barak Ravid, “If anyone needs to be concerned about the address Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered at AIPAC’s annual policy conference on Tuesday, it’s the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria and the settlers’ caucus in the Knesset. For the first time in a major speech, Netanyahu used ‘leftist’ language and stressed ‘the fruits of peace’ that Israel will enjoy if it reaches an agreement with the Palestinians. For a moment one could have thought that it was Shimon Peres at the podium or, God forbid, John Kerry.”


Netanyahu ‘wasting time,’ PA says of AIPAC speech, Times of Israel

The Palestinian Authority issued a lukewarm response to Netanyahu’s speech, saying the prime minister was thwarting US peace efforts.

At AIPAC, Mideast Peace Process Is Way Down the Agenda, Forward

Prodded by Netanyahu, AIPAC members applauded his call for peace. But the moment made clear that discussing the peace process, even in the context of placing demands on the Palestinians, had taken supporters of the lobby out of their comfort zone.

Israel tightens control in key areas of West Bank, Associated Press

Two decades after peace efforts began, more than 60 percent of the West Bank remains under sole Israeli control.

Israel says seized Gaza-bound rocket shipment from Iran, Reuters

The Israeli navy seized a ship in the Red Sea on Wednesday that was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied rockets made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip, the military said.

Yisrael Beiteinu delays decision on future of union with Likud, Jerusalem Post

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman postponed his decision on whether Yisrael Beiteinu will run on its own in the next election.

Opinion and Analysis

Evangelical, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine, Washington Post

Echoing J Street, Todd Deatherage asks, “What if the loudest evangelical voices don’t represent the complexity of our community [when it comes to Israel]?”

How Israel has done its part, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board warns, “Time is running out, the world is losing patience, and the moderate Palestinian leadership is steadily growing weaker. But all this wasn’t enough to push Netanyahu into a historic change of direction, or at least to restrain his mania for settlement construction. And the price for the government’s policy is being, and will be, paid by all Israeli citizens.”

UNRWA vs. David Bedein: Neither seem credible, Partners for Progressive Israel

Ralph Seliger urges readers to maintain an open mind regarding The United Nations Relief and Works Agency.