J Street News Roundup 9/3/2014

September 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

J Street Condemns New Settlement Announcement, Urges Firmer US Action, J Street Blog

J Street condemned the Israeli government’s decision to appropriate nearly 1,000 acres of land in the West Bank, warning that it would alienate the US from Israel, weaken the Palestinian Authority and call into question Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution. J Street urged the US to put real meaning behind its rhetoric on settlements, including returning to previous US policy of referring to settlements as illegal under international law.

A political solution, not war, in Mideast, Denver Post

“The choice before us — Israelis, Palestinians and Americans — is quite clear,” wrote J Street Chicago Chair Saul Rosenthal. “Only a political solution to this conflict will result in a secure Israel and a real homeland for the Palestinians. Only through a negotiated solution can Israel maintain both its Jewish character and its democratic values.”

Student Groups Hold Candlelight Vigil In Honor of Deaths in Gaza and Israel, Swarthmore Daily Gazette

Swarthmore College students will remember the lives lost this summer in Gaza and Israel, in a vigil organized by J Street U. J Street U Swarthmore President Rachel Flaherman said that the vigil is a time for all to “come together and find common ground in mourning and commemoration.” She said that they will not ask anyone to “divorce themselves from their politics,” acknowledging that while the vigil is not intended to be a political space “people all bring with them their own personal story and political view.”

War against the N.Y. Times and the new 'my way or highway’ Jewish theology, Haaretz

After Reform Rabbi Richard Block accused The New York Times of being anti-Israel, Chemi Shalev said, “This is the same kind of worldview that triumphed when the Conference of Presidents earlier this year rejected the membership application of J Street, a group that defines itself as unabashedly pro-Israel, simply because it differs with the views of the current powers that be… It all makes for the depressingly insular, self-righteous, with-us-or-against-us mentality that is delineating Israel and many of followers abroad as an island unto themselves.”

Despair won’t advance liberal Zionists’ agenda, Haaretz

Brent Sasley mentioned J Street in his take on the future of liberal Zionism.

Top News and Analysis

Kerry calls Netanyahu to protest Israeli appropriation of West Bank land, Haaretz

Secretary of State Kerry called Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday and sharply protested Israel’s decision to appropriate 1,000 acres of land belonging to Palestinian villages in the West Bank. The State Department has called on Israel to reverse the move.

Kerry to speak with Netanyahu, meet Erekat, AFP

Kerry will meet Palestinian negotiators on Wednesday in Washington in his first face-to-face meeting with the Palestinians since late July. They are expected to discuss President Abbas’ plan to set a three-year deadline at the United Nations for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Palestinian Leaders Seek Actions in Security Council and Court, The New York Times

Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi is also in Washington today to discuss the plan, after meeting at the United Nations yesterday. Ashrawi threatened that the Palestinians would seek to prosecute Israel at the International Criminal Court if their proposal was not accepted.

Israel lobbies U.S. anew as another Iran nuclear deadline looms, Reuters

Israel is lobbying world powers anew against any Iranian nuclear deal that would let Tehran retain potential bomb-making technologies. Minister for Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz will head an Israeli delegation to Washington next week to insist that Iran be stripped of all nuclear capacity - something Tehran rules out and many Western diplomats deem unfeasible.

Israel’s land appropriation: Foolish, ill-timed and self-destructive, Haaretz

“We in the Jewish community need to stop denying reality. Settlement building is a disaster,” says Rabbi Eric Yoffie.


EU gives Israel extra month to prepare for ban on settlement farm products, Haaretz

Israel has reportedly won a one-month extension to ready itself for a European Union ban on many farm products from West Bank settlements.

Gaza war cost $2.5 billion, Ya’alon says, Times of Israel

Defense Minister Ya’alon said on Tuesday that the direct cost of the 50-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip amounted to more than $2.5 billion.

‘Egypt ready to train PA presidential guards to man Rafah crossing’, Times of Israel

Egypt is prepared to train forces from the Palestinian Authority Presidential Guard to man the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and deploy along the border between the Palestinian enclave and the Sinai Peninsula.

Fatah said threatening to obstruct Rafah opening, Times of Israel

Fatah officials have reportedly warned that if Hamas does not cede control of the Gaza Strip to the unity government, the presidential guard forces will not deploy along the borders and the crossings will remain closed.

Abbas rips ‘liar’ Mashaal in leaked Qatari minutes, Times of Israel

In a meeting with Qatari Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad two weeks ago, Abbas reportedly said, “Since the creation of the Palestinian Authority, [Hamas] have been trying to undermine and topple it… They issue [religious rulings] to suit them and use religion to serve their purposes.”

Gazans demand right of passage to West Bank, Haaretz

Ahead of Cairo talks on easing restrictions at border crossings, Gazans want an end to 'checkpoint visas.'

IDF soldiers open fire on Palestinian trying to burst through West Bank checkpoint, Haaretz

Israeli soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian vehicle attempting to break through the Eyal checkpoint between the West Bank and central Israel on Tuesday afternoon, seriously wounding the driver and lightly wounding one of his passengers.

Opinion and Analysis

Why Abbas needs Hamas, Al-Monitor

According to Shlomi Eldar, “Hamas needs Abbas to monitor the border crossings. Abbas, for his part, is loath to dismantle the unity agreement, even though the true face of the Hamas movement has been revealed to him. Abbas knows that dismantling the alliance would be tantamount to admitting that Fatah men have zero chances of setting foot on Gaza land from which they were forcefully expelled about seven years ago.”

So You Really Think Liberal Zionism Is Dead?, Forward

Arguing that “Gaza did not spell the end of the two-state solution,” JJ Goldberg notes that Netanyahu “has apparently cast his lot — for now, at least — with the moderates, [Justice Minister] Tzipi Livni and [Finance Minister] Yair Lapid.”

This is not David Harris’ sermon, Jerusalem Post

“Today, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon or a social psychologist to understand that anger at Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians – whether on account of the daunting civilian toll of its bombing campaign in Gaza, the humiliating impact of the occupation, the ‘price tag’ attacks committed by extremist settlers, or the unequal treatment of Arab Israelis – is fanning the flames of anti-Semitism far beyond the borders of the state,” says Michael Felsen.

On Being Called a "Hamas Defender" by a Progressive State Senator, Daily Kos

David Harris Gershon laments that “[American] politicians – even the most progressive – continue to demonstrate incongruity when it comes to foreign policy matters as they relate to Israel.”

Two-state solution is only true way forward, Boston Globe

Edward Goldstein writes in a letter that “without Israel and a Palestinian state living peacefully side by side, Israel will continue its slide toward domestic authoritarianism and intolerance while sinking deeper into international isolation. The Palestinians will remain stateless, lacking human rights. To preclude this and to save lives, we need to make the two-state solution a reality.”

Ameinu Condemns Land Grab By Israel Gov, Ameinu

Ameinu warns that “this [Israeli] government is leading Israel down the path of endless war, conflict and international isolation.”