J Street Daily News Roundup 4/3/14

April 3rd, 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

The same clear mission, J Street

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote, “The fight we are in isn’t easy. The peaks and valleys take a toll. As we watch events unfold in the coming days, let’s keep our eyes on the goals that guide us and our energy focused on the work that lies ahead.”

Donor Slams Federation for Divisive 'Political Attack Ad' Aimed at J Street, Forward

Larry Gelman called “the recent decision of Federation and Hillel of Greater Philadelphia to co-sponsor a divisive film screening that demonizes a fellow Jewish group — in this case, J Street… beyond disappointing. It flies in the face of everything that the Federation system claims to represent.”

The News Isn't the Silencing. It's the Debate, American Prospect

“Facts obviously weren't a major concern to the producers [‘of the J Street Challenge’],” said Gershom Gorenberg. “The purpose was to reassure those who believe in a threatened myth, to give them the chance to boo those who threaten it, and to wrap the whole thing up with an attack on people who believe that conflicts, or at least this conflict, can be resolved by human effort. For anyone who has moved on to a more complex view of Israel, and for anyone who believes that it is a Jewish value to work at making the world a better place, The J Street Challenge is likely to produce nausea or pity.”

America’s Jewish mainstream goes rogue, Cairo Review of Global Affairs

Matthew Berkman analyzed the politics surrounding the “J Street Challenge.”

Walter Jones, a Republican backed by J Street, gets the ECI (flag)burn, JTA

Ron Kampeas noted that the far-right group the Emergency Committee for Israel is running ads against J Street-endorsed Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC).

Top News and Analysis

Kerry calls on Israeli, Palestinian leaders to ‘lead’ in talks, Times of Israel

Frustrated by Israeli and Palestinian actions that have complicated his furious effort to salvage peace talks, Secretary of State Kerry on Thursday exhorted leaders on both sides to “lead” and to do so now to prevent the negotiations from collapsing. Kerry said there are limits to what the Obama administration can do to push the parties together. He vowed to continue his efforts “no matter what.” But he also stressed he could not force Prime Minister Netanyahu or President Abbas to continue the talks, let alone actually resolve the long-running conflict. Kerry’s comments came hours after an emergency meeting between the chief Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and American mediator Martin Indyk reportedly fell apart after a marathon all-night session

As Kerry falters, where is Netanyahu leading Israel?, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board asks Netanyahu, “Where are you leading the negotiations and the State of Israel?”


White House ‘disappointed’ at Israel, Palestinians, Times of Israel

White House deputy spokesperson Josh Earnest expressed disappointment at “unhelpful, unilateral actions both parties have taken in recent days.” He added that “tit for tat” actions were counterproductive but that despite ominous signs, the US administration still believed diplomacy had a chance.

Lieberman tells Palestinians UN move is mistake, Jerusalem Post

Foreign Minister Lieberman advised Abbas to continue negotiations rather than turn to the UN.

Palestinian envoy threatens Israel with ICC membership, Times of Israel

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations says his government may seek to join the International Criminal Court and more UN agencies if there is no progress in peace talks with the Israelis.

House warns Palestinian aid may be cut, Al-Monitor

US lawmakers are threatening to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid to the Palestinian Authority Abbas goes through with his stated intention to sign on to 15 UN treaties.

Arab League to hold urgent meeting on peace talks, Times of Israel

The Arab League called an emergency meeting of foreign ministers for April 9 to discuss the future of the peace negotiations.

Netanyahu prefers status quo to working for peace, analysts say, Haaretz

Netanyahu is not serious about the peace process and Israel does not fully grasp the changes in US policy toward Iran - these are two of the central conclusions of a conference on regional security and foreign policy, co-sponsored by the Washington-based Center for American Progress and by the Israeli-based Molad, a Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy.

Vandals slash tires of 40 cars in hate crime in northern Israel, Haaretz

The tires of 40 cars were punctured and anti-Arab graffiti was sprayed in an Arab town in northern Israel overnight Thursday. The vandalism took place in the town of Jish, near Safed, where in addition to the punctured tires, the assailants sprayed racist graffiti reading: "Only goys [non-Jews] can be driven out of our land." Police have launched an investigation.

Opinion and Analysis

Sheldon Adelson’s culture of hate, Haaretz

Peter Beinart says Sheldon Adelson’s attitude toward Muslims “isn’t hawkishness. It’s hate.”

Dear John, it's time for Plan B, Haaretz

Ari Shavit urges, “After Kerry decided to defy fate and confront it, he cannot fold the flags, declare a failure and go home. The inspiring things he said in Washington obligate him. The promise he transmitted binds him. Defeat is not an option… But beyond that, one must start thinking outside the box.”

Mr. Kerry, go home, Haaretz

According to Barak Ravid, “Only American disengagement from the peace process could provide the shock treatment the Israelis and Palestinians need. Without Kerry and Indyk, Netanyahu and Abbas will suddenly discover that the alternative is to wallow together in the mud at best, or in blood at worst.”

Israeli-Palestinian blame game is on, but the outcome is known in advance, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev predicts that “once Israelis and many Diaspora Jews understand that international public opinion is blaming them rather than the Palestinians, despite what they perceive to be the overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence on their side, they will only grow more insular, more isolated and more convinced not only that the ‘world is against us’, as their leaders keep telling them, but that it is inherently Jew-hating as well.”

John Kerry, Thwarted by the Middle East, Bloomberg

Jeffrey Goldberg laments, “Yes, there were plenty of missteps along the way, but, really, how can we blame a man for seeking peace?”

Both Pollard, Barghouti should be released, Al-Monitor

“Adding Barghouti to the list of prisoners who will be returning home in the next wave of releases will provide an inestimable boost to the stature of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, especially in his struggles with his opponents in Fatah and the Hamas leadership,” writes Akiva Eldar.

Releasing prisoners versus freezing settlements, Partners for Progressive Israel

Ralph Seliger reflects on prisoner releases and what really matters in peacemaking.