J Street News Roundup 4/4/2014

April 4th, 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

Building the Great Student Constituency for Peace, New Voices

“My Taglit-Birthright Israel trip and at speeches by Members of Knesset and Israeli embassy officials, I have been told numerous times that I have a stake in Israel’s future,” wrote J Street U Brown member Joanna Kramer, co-chair of the J Street U town hall. “If this is true, then I cannot allow the occupation to persist; for as long as it does, it will be a threat to Israel’s security and a blight on the soul of the Jewish people. My love for Israel drives my critiques of some of its policies because I want to be proud of the state that represents my religion, my people, to the world.”


Secretary of State John Kerry urges Israeli and Palestinian leaders to continue peace talks, WBEZ

In Chicago for a J Street town hall, Yossi Beilin discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Bash-J Street Audience Turns on Dershowitz, Forward

JJ Goldberg reported that “the Philadelphia screening of the anti-J Street film ‘The J Street Challenge’ by the Jewish federation and the regional Hillel council reportedly turned into a rowdy right-wing roast in which the audience turned its fury on Alan Dershowitz… It might be time for him to consider finding a new bunch of friends to hang out with.”

J Street, Challenged, Daily Pennsylvanian

Rabbi Mike Uram of Penn Hillel said that Hillel is supportive of J Street U Penn. “Hillel is incredibly proud of J Street and the work they do,” he said. “They do an incredible job of being pro-Israel activists and contributing to larger discussions on campus.”

Agree to disagree on Israel, then agree to keep talking, JWeekly

Steven Zipperstein noted, “Donors might, at times, bludgeon with fiscal threats. A student leader from J Street’s campus arm, for instance, recently wrote how members of his organization typically hear such threats relayed to them by Hillel leaders. ‘If I support the work you’re doing around Israel, we could lose a major funder,’ Jacob Plitman, the president of the J Street U national board, wrote in the New York Jewish Week in December 2013. ‘It’s either you, or $50,000 that will benefit all your peers.’”

With peace talks in crisis, Boston forum showcases diverse Israeli political landscape, JNS

Labor MK Nachman Shai said that while “he disagreed with many of J Street’s positions, he believes it is important not to ignore groups like J Street that appeal to many young American Jews.”

Top News and Analysis

Kerry: It's reality check time, US will evaluate role in peace process, Haaretz

Secretary of State Kerry said the United States was evaluating whether to continue its role in Middle East peace talks after both Israeli and Palestinian sides had taken steps that were not helpful to the negotiations. According to Kerry, both sides said they want to continue, and neither wishes the talks to be called off. However, he added that the US is "not going to sit there indefinitely." Earlier on Friday, top US officials said that President Obama believes that however worthy the goal, Kerry's effort to advance negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians "may be reaching its limit."

Erekat: Leaked list doesn't represent our official stand, Haaretz

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat denied on Thursday that his team presented a list of demands to Israel that included the release of 1,200 prisoners, recognition of the 1967 borders and of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Erekat told associates that this list came from Fatah officials, not from him or his staff, and did not represent the official Palestinian negotiating position. He said that while he did tell US envoy Martin Indyk and Israeli negotiators on Wednesday night that the Palestinians wanted to discuss the dispute's core issues, he did not go into detail nor make the demands reported.

Iran, six powers start expert-level nuclear talks in Vienna, Reuters

Iran and six world powers began an expert-level meeting about Tehran's nuclear program on Thursday, to prepare for a new round of higher-level negotiations next week, also in Vienna.


Israel said to be considering sanctions against Palestinians, AFP

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yaalon have asked the head of the Israeli military administration in the West Bank to draw up a range of options for retaliation against the Palestinian application to international agencies.

Efforts to continue for Pollard release before Passover, Jerusalem Post

Efforts to bring about the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard before Passover will reportedly not stop due to the current problems in the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians. Sources said that efforts to bring about Pollard’s release will only intensify, in hopes that the Americans, Palestinians and Israelis have too much at stake to let the negotiations end.

As peace talks falter, Lapid prepares 'alibi', Haaretz

Finance Minister and Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid has started preparing an "alibi" for staying in the coalition despite the imminent collapse of the peace process. "Resuming negotiations with the Palestinians was one of Yesh Atid's conditions for joining the cabinet," Lapid said. "But to hold negotiations the other side must be interested, as well. [President] Abbas' conduct in the last day raises serious doubts as to his willingness to reach an agreement."

Lieberman heads to US to meet Kerry, senators, Times of Israel

Foreign Minister Lieberman flew to the United States on Thursday evening for a multi-day visit to include meetings with top US officials and leaders of the US Jewish community.

How One Man Sabotaged The Israeli–Palestinian Peace Talks, Buzzfeed

Housing Minister Uri Ariel played a deliberate role in sabotaging peace talks with the Palestinians.

We won’t turn to violence after talks end, PA official says, Times of Israel

Fatah Central Committee Deputy Secretary Jibril Rajoub said that the PA has no intention of allowing violence and bloodshed to ramp up in the West Bank.

Israel strikes Gaza targets after rocket attack, Times of Israel

The Israeli air force struck five militant targets in the Gaza Strip Thursday night, after three rockets were fired into Israel from the Palestinian coastal territory earlier in the evening.

Jerusalem panel approves controversial City of David visitors’ center, Haaretz

The Jerusalem Regional Planning and Building Committee approved the construction of a controversial visitors’ center for the City of David just outside the Old City walls. The committee heard objections to the huge project for eight hours before approving it Thursday evening.