J Street's News Roundup 5/21/14

May 21st, 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

Defining ‘pro-Israel’, New Voices

J Street U at Boston University Vice President Solomon Tarlin wrote, “When J Street defines itself as pro-Israel, it is not doing so to trick people into believing we’re something we’re not. It is to demonstrate that our work comes from a desire to protect Israel’s Jewish and democratic character. By supporting the drive for a two-state solution through a negotiated settlement, and fighting for Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, we are doing the best thing possible for Israel’s future.”

Serious Student Activism: Pros and Cons of the BDS Divestment Debate at UCLA, Nonprofit Quarterly

“The question remains: what is our role—as students, as Americans, and as activists—to resolve the conflict and end the occupation?,” asked J Street U Wesleyan members Becca Caspar-Johnson and Maya Berkman. The result of the divestment debates “must lead to even sharper and more focused efforts as Americans to change our own political dynamics.”

Top News and Analysis

US urges restraint by both sides after killing of Palestinian teens, Haaretz

The State Department called on the Israeli government to investigate the killing of two Palestinian teenagers protesting outside the Ofer Military Prison near Ramallah last Thursday, and on both sides to show restraint. A top UN official also called for an investigation into the deadly shooting. The IDF denies live fire was used, but said the incident is under investigation.

Abbas says he won’t join more international groups for now, Times of Israel

President Abbas said the Palestinians do not intend to seek membership in or help from additional UN and other international organizations in the near future. He said they are instead waiting to see what diplomatic developments will ensue in the aftermath of last month’s suspension of peace negotiations.

Study: Diaspora Jews say occupation, Orthodoxy threaten Israel, Haaretz

A new study by a Jerusalem-based think-tank found that most Diaspora Jews believe that for Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, it must end the occupation, treat its Arab citizens more fairly and eliminate the Orthodox monopoly over religion.


Iran and IAEA end nuclear talks, no early sign of breakthrough, Reuters

The International Atomic Energy Agency sought in talks with Iran on Tuesday to advance a long-stalled investigation into Tehran's atomic activities, but it was not immediately clear whether any headway was made.

Democrats seek to move Israel bill without Iran language, Al-Monitor

Senator Barbara Boxer said she will take her bill, the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, straight to a Senate vote to avoid a partisan committee vote on Iran nuclear negotiations.

Bennett: Dismantle West Bank security barrier to achieve peace with Palestinians, Jerusalem Post

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett called for Israel to annex Area C of the West Bank and grant Palestinian sovereignty in Areas A and B.

IDF uses live-fire zones to expel Palestinians from areas of West Bank, officer admits, Haaretz

Military training in live-fire zones in the West Bank is used as a way of reducing the number of Palestinians living nearby, and serves as an important part of the campaign against Palestinian illegal construction, an army officer revealed at a recent Knesset committee meeting.

Likud minister Shalom said to nix presidential run, Times of Israel

Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom will not run for president after Prime Minister Netanyahu said he would not back his candidacy.

Stances on Israel roil UCLA campus, Los Angeles Times

Sunny Singh, who ran for UCLA student body president, lost by 31 votes to a candidate who pledged not to take trips to Israel sponsored by particular groups.

Opinion and Analysis

Kerry failure proves that cuddling Netanyahu doesn’t bring peace any closer, Haaretz

Peter Beinart calls Secretary of State Kerry peace initiative a “natural experiment” disproving the theory that “if you want Israel to take risks… then its leaders must know that the United States is right next to them.”

Occu-Partheid. By any name, it's ruining Israel. Can it be reversed?, Haaretz

Bradley Burston argues, “It doesn't matter what you call it. Call it Occu-Partheid, if that will in any way shift the discussion from what to call it, to how to end it.”

Neglecting Israel’s Arab community, Jerusalem Post

Brent Sasley says Israeli Arabs “have adopted increasingly anti-Zionist and nationalist solutions to the internal tensions between Israel’s Jewish and Palestinian populations that are more in line with the one-state demands presented by many in the PLO and abroad.”

Likud leaders claim Netanyahu blocks settlements, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem examines how Netanyahu is seeking to balance his left and right flanks.

Hateful, spiteful tack, Jerusalem Post

James Adler suggests in a letter that “Abbas might have delivered had it not been for, as US Secretary of State John Kerry said, 700 settlement units announced in Jerusalem.”