J Street News Roundup 5/14/2014

May 14th, 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

Setting the record straight, Times of Israel

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami hit back at smears against J Street.

Dangerous Direction Seen In Presidents Conference Vote, New York Jewish Week

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner wrote that “with the collapse of peace talks and the uncertainty of what comes next in the region, one thing is certain: Our work in changing the conversation and the politics here in the US is as necessary and critical as ever.”

Hillel letter: J Street U members add to ‘ideas within our tent’, JNS

Hillel President & CEO Eric Fingerhut and board chair Sidney Pertnoy wrote in a letter to Hillel International colleagues, “The [Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations] vote has no effect whatsoever on Hillel’s relationship with J Street U and its student members. Like other Hillel students and student groups, J Street U’s members add their perspective to the rich tapestry of ideas within our tent.”

If J Street is out, then justify why you're in, Haaretz

“Shunning J Street in a secret ballot vote is not an intellectual argument or an intelligent discussion of communal visions, it is the kind of emotional snobbery of schoolchildren who don’t want to share the lunch table,” said Sara Hirschhorn.

US Must Navigate Road Carefully in Palestine-Israel Compromise, Oberlin Review

“It’s time to take an active step and redefine the American political conversation surrounding the conflict and create space for progressive action,” said J Street U Oberlin member Sarah Minion. “At this crucial political moment, it’s time for the American Jewish community to recognize that a voice for peace is a voice for Israel.”

Silence, Questions, and Growth – My Four Years as a Leftist Jew at Oberlin, Fearless and Loathing

J Street U Oberlin member Toby Irving noted that he “found a space to develop literacy and conviction for my own experience in J Street U. The group embraces conversations with nuance and complexity, with a focus on concrete political action towards a just resolution to the conflict.”

A Brave New Hillel or More of the Same?, New Voices

Derek Kwait mentioned J Street in his examination of reform within Hillel.

An imperfect peace, Rochester City Newspaper

Shlomi Eldar spoke a J Street-sponsored event at Temple B'rith Kodesh in Rochester.

Top News and Analysis

Fatah delegate heads to Gaza for unity talks, AFP

A senior Fatah official arrived in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Tuesday, ahead of reconciliation talks aimed at forming a unity government between the bitter rivals.

Six powers, Iran launch crunch phase of nuclear diplomacy, Reuters

Six world powers and Iran launched a decisive phase of diplomacy on Wednesday to begin drafting a lasting accord that would curb Tehran's contested nuclear activity in exchange for a phased end to sanctions that have hobbled the Iranian economy. After three months of floating expectations rather than negotiating possible compromises, the sides now aim to devise a package meant to end years of antagonism and curtail the risk of a wider Middle East war with global repercussions.

US cautions Iran deal not imminent or certain, Al-Monitor

A senior US official cautioned, “Everyone comes to the table wanting a diplomatic solution… But having the intention does not mean it will happen… It does not mean agreement is imminent.” He added that “there are a range of complicated issues to address. We do not know if Iran will accept” taking the steps necessary.


Iran deal won't weaken Gulf security, Hagel vows, Haaretz

Defense Secretary Hagel on Wednesday promised US allies in the Persian Gulf that negotiations to contain Iran's nuclear program will not weaken their security.

How Martin Indyk Went From AIPAC Man To Blaming Israel for Talk's Failure, Forward

Responding to reaction surrounding US Envoy Martin Indyk’s recent address on the suspension of peace talks, a US official noted that “Indyk calls it as he sees it… It’s the Australian in him, perhaps. He’s more frank than most diplomats, but he is speaking out because he cares about Israel’s future.”

Breaking the Impasse, at an impasse?, Jerusalem Post

Breaking the Impasse--a coalition of pro-peace Israeli and Palestinian businesspeople--faces new obstacles following the pause in the peace process.

Top minister: Abbas torpedoed talks by refusing Kerry meet, Times of Israel

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said that peace talks broke down with the Palestinians because “[President] Abbas rejected [Secretary of State] Kerry’s framework and refused to meet him in Ramallah — and Kerry flew back the next morning without any meeting.”

Arad: In lieu of accord with the Palestinians, Israel should negotiate with the Quartet, Jerusalem Post

Former National Security Council head Uzi Arad suggested, “If we cannot come to a negotiated agreement [with the Palestinians], let’s do an agreement with the Quartet.”

Israeli forces begin razing outpost after court rejects settlers' ownership claims, Haaretz

Security forces began demolishing illegal houses in the West Bank outpost of Ma'aleh Rehavam on Wednesday afternoon, after the High Court of Justice rejected the settlers' claims to have purchased the land legally from Palestinians.

Lieberman: US aid funds Palestinian Authority stipends for killers of Americans, Jerusalem Post

Foreign Minister Lieberman said that the Palestinian Authority is using US aid to pay stipends to terrorists who murdered American citizens.

Palestinian prisoners to hold solidarity hunger strike, Times of Israel

Security prisoners in Israeli jails announced Wednesday that they intended to hold a one-day hunger strike on Thursday to show solidarity with a group of 125 administrative detainees who have been refusing food in recent weeks in protest against being jailed without trial.

Poll: 93% of Palestinians hold anti-Jewish beliefs, Times of Israel

According to a global survey of anti-Semitism conducted by the Anti-Defamation League, the Middle East is the most anti-Semitic region on earth, with 93% of Palestinians holding anti-Semitic beliefs.

Opinion and Analysis

The Pitfalls of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks, Council on Foreign Relations

Aaron David Miller contends in an interview that to achieve a two-state solution, “you need leaders who are masters of their political houses, not prisoners of their political constituencies… You need a sense of urgency, which simply does not exist right now enough in sufficient quantities on the Israeli and Palestinian side. And finally, you need a sense of ownership.”

Israeli election season starts early, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem says Israeli lawmakers are already positioning themselves for the next election.

Vox Clamantis: A Two-State Solution, The Dartmouth

J Street U national student board member Asher Mayerson and J Street U Dartmouth board member Zachary Kamin write in a letter that “if we want to see a just peace and end to occupation, then we must forgo finger-pointing and instead ask ourselves what we can do to help end this conflict. Indeed, we need to ensure that our elected officials vocally support a two-state solution. Only serious political engagement can make that a reality.”