J Street News Roundup 5/20/2014

May 20th, 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

When it comes to pro-Israel advocacy, keep it above the belt, Jerusalem Post

Criticizing the JCC in Newton, Massachusetts for sponsoring a screening of the film “The J Street Challenge,” Larry Gellman wrote, “There are serious challenges facing our community – let’s address them together in a positive way and not waste time attacking each other.”

Zionism Wasn't Kidnapped. It Was Handed Over, Forward

Emily Hauser noted that J Street and others have warned “anyone who would listen that Israel was headed for disaster, that only a just and durable peace could save Israel from itself, that an ugly, angry, rejectionist ultra-nationalism was on the rise, and only we could stop it. But mostly, we chose not to listen.”

Is J Street pro-Israel or not?, Sun-Sentinel

J Street Southern Regional Director Scott Brockman said the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organization’s rejection of J Street “does not in any way diminish J Street's commitment to Israel or to a vibrant Jewish community. We will continue to develop relationships and partnerships on a local level to give voice to our values at the national level in our fight to secure Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people."

Top News and Analysis

Despite Israel's stance, US likely to cooperate with Palestinian unity government, Haaretz

A senior White House official said that as long as the platform of the future Palestinian government meets the conditions of the Quartet - to recognize Israel, honor previous agreements and abandon violence - the US will be satisfied. “We want a Palestinian government that upholds those principles,” said the official. “In terms of how they build this government, we are not able to orchestrate that for the Palestinians. We are not going to be able to engineer every member of this government.”

Livni hits back at right-wing over meeting with Abbas, Times of Israel

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni responded to criticism over her meeting Thursday in London with President Abbas, saying that she would keep extremists from exercising control over government activities. “The conflict is still here, and direct negotiations are preferable,” she said. “We are not ignoring the problem of the agreement between Fatah and Hamas, but there is no option of not listening and not being heard.”


Powerful Pro-Israel Lawmaker Suddenly Pulls Pro-Israel Bill, Foreign Policy

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez called off a vote on the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act after it became clear that the committee's ranking member, Senator Bob Corker, planned to introduce an amendment that would have constrained President Obama’s authority over nuclear talks with Iran.

End of mandate for EU's Ashton raises questions over Iran talks, Reuters

As negotiators work towards a July deadline to complete an accord with Tehran, a practical issue may be on their minds: the looming changeover of the European Union's foreign policy chief.

Iran determined to solve nuclear crisis via negotiations, Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran was committed to solving a dispute over Tehran's nuclear program through negotiations.

Danon: Government has frozen settlement expansion plans, Times of Israel

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said, “I don’t know of a formal policy to limit building [in settlements]. But when you look, de facto, what’s happening on the ground, yes, you feel there is a silent freeze in terms of planning and in terms of government construction.”

Legacy of Hamas-Fatah Killings Complicates Unity, The New York Times

So-called social reconciliation is one of the complicated issues yet to be addressed, as Abbas prepares to announce the promised new Palestinian government as early as this week. The 2007 fighting between Fatah and Hamas left over 400 dead, and a committee is now charged with persuading their families to accept compensation — and raise the funds to pay it — rather than pursue the death penalty as outlined in Islamic law.

Clip purports to show unarmed Palestinians shot by IDF, Times of Israel

An international non-governmental organization released video footage Monday that purportedly shows two unarmed Palestinians being shot during Nakba Day clashes with the IDF in the West Bank last Thursday.

Opinion and Analysis

After 47 years, US Jews must get over their fear of talking about the occupation, Haaretz

According to Anat Saragusti, “This occupation is here, and as long as it’s here, everyone – Israelis, Jews around the world and the US administration – would be well advised to look it in the eye and recognize its existence.”

Abbas is walking a tightrope, Haaretz

Shaul Arieli suggests that Abbas “could find himself wishing for the renewal of the negotiations, while Israel and the United States are busy with their own affairs. It will be difficult to explain to the Palestinian public — which has been demanding a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation for a long time, and Abbas has been the main obstacle to its achievement — why he is not completing the process.”