J Street News Roundup 5/1/2014

May 1st, 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

Israel, Kerry is one of your best friends, CNN.com

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote, “What friends of Israel should really be asking themselves is not whether they are doing everything they can to protect Israel from being called certain names, but whether they are doing everything possible to secure its future as the democratic home of the Jewish people by bringing about a two-state peace.”

Kerry's apartheid remark hits pro-Israel nerve, CNN.com

“In a statement on its website, the US group J Street said ‘Israel today is not an apartheid state, and that's not what Secretary of State Kerry said.’”

J Street disappointed by Conference of Presidents’ exclusion, J Street

J Street said it was disappointed that its bid for membership to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations has been rejected. This is a sad day for us, but also for the American Jewish community and for a venerable institution that has chosen to bar the door to the communal tent to an organization that represents a substantial segment of Jewish opinion on Israel.

Jewish Coalition Rejects Lobbying Group’s Bid to Join, The New York Times

“Ben-Ami said the vote sent a ‘terrible message’ to those who have concerns about aspects of Israeli policy. ‘This is what has been wrong with the conversation in the Jewish community,’ he said. ‘People whose views don’t fit with those running longtime organizations are not welcome, and this is sad proof of that,’ he added. ‘It sends the worst possible signal to young Jews who want to be connected to the Jewish community, but also want to have freedom of thought and expression.’”

J Street’s rejection is a milestone in the growing polarization of American Jews, Haaretz

According to Chemi Shalev, “The emphatic repudiation of J Street will be widely perceived… as a milestone in the growing polarization and fragmentation of the organized American Jewish community, as a vivid manifestation of its escalating right-wing intolerance and possibly as a harbinger of a fateful schism to come.”

J Street Fails Badly in Bid for Admission to Presidents Conference, Forward

“J Street lined up support from several big mainstream Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Committee on Public Affairs.”

Jewish umbrella group rejects J Street's admission, Haaretz

“Another major organization that backed J Street is the Union for Reform Judaism, which represents the largest Jewish denomination in America, and Americans for Peace Now, already a member, supports its admission as well and shares its mission of promoting US involvement to push both Israel and the Palestinians towards a two-state solution.”

J Street rejected by Conference of Presidents, Israel Hayom

“Among the votes in favor of J Street's joining was the Anti-Defamation League. ADL National Director Abraham Foxman told JTA on Wednesday that ‘we will support the admission of J Street not because we agree with them, not because we support their views, but in order to ensure the integrity and credibility of American Jewish advocacy and of the Conference of Presidents.’”

Presidents Conference rejects J Street’s membership bid, JTA

“In an interview with JTA, J Street’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, said the organization had ‘no plans at this time’ to reapply. ‘I think it’s a really sad day,’ he said. ‘We wanted to be in this tent, we belong in this tent, we’d be an important asset to this tent.’”

J Street denied entry to US Jewish umbrella group, Ynet

“The group, which has spawned many college chapters, chose to focus on the gains it has made: ‘After only six years, we have the third largest annual gathering of any American Jewish organization, over 800 rabbis have joined our Rabbinic Cabinet, and we have chapters in 40 cities and states.’”

J Street rejected by American Jewish umbrella group in ‘big tent’ litmus test, JNS

“In what many observers will see as the de facto expression of mainstream US Jewry’s outlook on J Street, members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Wednesday voted 22-17 (with three abstentions) to reject the membership application of the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby.”

Conference of Presidents votes against J Street inclusion, Jerusalem Post

“The significance of this particular vote – happening at a particularly polarized and emotional moment for American Jews as the latest peace talks seemed to fail – revolves around how big and inclusive of a metaphorical tent the American Jewish community is willing to pitch.”

Hillel Student Board Votes to Reject J Street U at Boston University, Times of Israel

J Street U at Boston University Vice President Solomon Tarlin asked, “does BU Hillel want to keep Hillel ‘politics-free’ or free of politics they disagree with?”

Come One, Come All: Many Voices for Two States, Pomona Student Life

Leyth Swidan argued that “J Street U chapters nationwide are in need of the non-Jewish voices that are invested in this conflict. While the organization does stand for both the Israeli and Palestinian states, it still needs multiple, diverse voices to make this movement more powerful. This conflict, while complicated, cannot be resolved without the investment of non-Jewish voices.”

Top News and Analysis

Six powers meet in Brussels to fine-tune Iran talks strategy, Reuters

Senior diplomats from six world powers met in Brussels on Wednesday to fine-tune negotiating strategy towards Iran with talks on its contested nuclear program entering a crunch stretch before a July 20 deadline.

Report: Top US Negotiator For Israel-Palestinian Talks Resigning, Buzzfeed

The Palestinian outlet Al-Quds reported that Envoy Martin Indyk will resign from the State Department and return to his job at the Brookings Institution. A senior administration official said the report was “premature.”

Kerry was wrong: In Israel, there may never be apartheid. In the West Bank, it’s already here, Haaretz

“I sympathize with Kerry’s efforts to awake Israelis to the dangers of perpetuating the status quo,” writes Peter Beinart. “But apartheid is not a problem Israel must avoid in the future. It’s the reality West Bank Palestinians face today. For Jews and non-Jews who care about justice, that should be all the incentive we need.”


Bill Clinton: Israel offered Temple Mount to Palestinians in 2000, Times of Israel

Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that the Palestinians were offered the Temple Mount at the Camp David Summit in 2000, but the agreement fell through over a sliver of land near the Western Wall. “Somehow you have to find a way to establish trust among adversaries,” Clinton. “Agreement is not nearly as important as trust.”

Netanyahu: Anti-Arab attack contradicts our values, Haaretz

Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the recent anti-Arab attack in a northern Israeli Arab town. "What happened in Fureidis is infuriating," said Netanyahu. "We are working to find those responsible. I have ordered reinforcements and we are using the Shin Bet's tools. This is a major target because it contradicts our character and our values." On Tuesday, some 2,500 Arabs and Jews demonstrated against the recent wave of anti-Arab attacks in both Israel and the West Bank.

US report: 'Price tag' attacks spread into Israel, go unpunished, Haaretz

The State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism said crimes by Israeli extremists against Palestinians spread into Israel and went largely unpunished last year.

Minister fires back at US over ‘price tag’ allegations, Times of Israel

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said, “This is a gross, incorrect generalization… We are not talking about acts of murder; this is graffiti. There is a difference between murder and destruction of property. I do not accept that destruction of property, even that of a mosque, is like murder. These actions could lead to murder, but they have not yet.”

West Bank Hamas rally tests new Palestinian unity pact, Reuters

Over a thousand Hamas supporters marched through the streets of the West Bank on Wednesday, testing the recent Palestinian unity pact.

Opinion and Analysis

Defending the Iran Deal, National Interest

John Allen Gay says that in negotiations with Iran, “the Obama administration is on the right path.”

Why Mahmoud Abbas Holocaust Declaration Matters, Forward

Rabbi Marc Schneier urges, “we must redouble efforts to give Muslims and Jews worldwide the opportunity to connect with each other. In that ongoing spiritual process, [President] Abbas’s courageous statement acknowledging the Holocaust as the most heinous crime of the modern era represents an important step forward. Can we afford to miss this opportunity?”

Kerry's warning to Israel lost in furor over 'apartheid', Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar explores how the occupation is already eroding Israel’s democracy.

People of Israel, wake up!, Jerusalem Post

Gershon Baskin warns, “Netanyahu is leading Israel to pariah state status.”