News Roundup for April 13, 2021

April 13, 2021

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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.

J Street in the News

J Street to present Jimmy Carter with peacemaker award at its annual conference, JTA
“J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group, is presenting Jimmy Carter with a peacemaker award at its conference, recognizing the former president, who has frequently tangled with the mainstream pro-Israel community, for brokering the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace. ‘By helping to broker the incredible Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt, President Carter demonstrated that determined American diplomacy can end decades of conflict and bring together even the most determined foes,’ J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said Monday in a release sent to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. J Street’s Tzedek v’Shalom award goes to ‘distinguished individuals who have made critical contributions in their lives to the cause of peace for Israelis, Palestinians and the wider Middle East,’ the release said.”

Lachlan Murdoch Waves Off ADL’s Demand That Fox Fire Tucker Carlson, The Daily Beast
“Carlson went on to say this: ‘ have less political power because they are importing a brand new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that? The power that I have as an American guaranteed at birth is one man, one vote, and they are diluting it. No, they are not allowed to do it. Why are we putting up with this?’ Calling Carlson’s remarks ‘anti-Semitic, racist and toxic,’ Greenblatt called on the Fox News star’s ouster, saying ‘Tucker must go.’ Progressive Jewish group J Street said it was ‘horrifying that Fox News continues to empower Tucker Carlson and other white nationalist ideologues to broadcast this kind of hateful poison into the homes of tens of millions of Americans.’”

Eight Members of the Progressive Israel Network: ‘JNF-KKL’s Executive Board Wants to Make Palestinian Dispossession its Policy’, Progressive Israel Network
“Members of the Progressive Israel Network join the broad chorus of American Jews who are deeply troubled that Israel’s JNF-KKL’s Executive Board will vote today to make Palestinian dispossession into its policy. The vast majority of American Jews want to be part of building a state of Israel that respects its neighbors, upholds democracy, and seeks peace. Buying land to expand West Bank settlements is antithetical to Israel’s future as a democracy, and only serves to entrench occupation and to make the lives of Israelis and Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line less safe. Progressive Israel Network members are hopeful that JNF-KKL’s general voting body will reject the decision to participate in settlement expansion when the decision comes to a final vote on April 22.”

Top News and Analysis

After Nuclear Site Blackout, Thunder From Iran, and Silence From U.S., New York Times
The last time the centrifuges crashed at Iran’s underground nuclear fuel-production center at Natanz, more than a decade ago, the sabotage was the result of a joint Israeli-American cyberattack intended to slow Tehran’s progress toward nuclear weapons and force a diplomatic negotiation. When they crashed again this weekend, the White House asserted that the United States had no involvement. The operation raised the question of whether Israel was acting on its own to strike Iran and undermine American diplomacy as the Biden administration seeks to reconstitute a nuclear agreement. Or, alternatively, whether Israel was operating in concert with American interests, carrying out dirty work that would weaken Iran’s negotiating position in the talks.

Ex-IDF intel chief questions Netanyahu’s authority to order attacks on Iran, Times of Israel
Amos Yadlin, a former IDF chief of Military Intelligence, said on Tuesday following a blast at a key Iranian uranium enrichment site that Israel’s process for approving sensitive security-related operations was not being followed, indicating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was acting without authority. He further suggested that Netanyahu was dangerously stoking tensions with Iran for domestic political purposes as he tries to form a coalition following last month’s inconclusive elections.

Iran warns sabotage could hurt Vienna talks over nuke deal, AP
“Americans should know that neither sanctions nor sabotage actions would provide them with an instrument for talks,” Zarif said in Tehran alongside visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “They should know that these actions would only make the situation difficult for them.”


U.S. and Israel to hold strategic Iran talks on Tuesday, Axios
Top national security officials from the U.S. and Israel will convene virtually on Tuesday for a second round of strategic talks on Iran, three Israeli officials tell me. The talks come two days after an explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility that experts consider a likely act of Israeli sabotage, and one day before the U.S. resumes indirect nuclear talks in Vienna over a return to the 2015 nuclear deal — a prospect that has raised anxiety levels in Jerusalem.

JNF Board Members Demand Immediate Halt to West Bank Land Purchases, Haaretz
Members of the board of directors of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund demanded Tuesday an immediate halt to all plans by the organization to purchase land in the West Bank on the grounds that such acquisitions violate its constitution. The board members cited a new legal opinion, written by former Deputy Attorney General Yehoshua Shoffman, stipulating that the JNF is only authorized to purchase land in sovereign Israeli territory. The West Bank is not under Israeli sovereignty.

Walla owner told CEO: ‘Give Sara everything, Netanyahu’s killing himself for me’, Times of Israel
The former CEO of the Walla news site on Tuesday continued his key testimony in one of the cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he was told to pander to the premier’s wife because the company was receiving help with regulatory benefits.

Biden administration says it has UNRWA’s commitment to ‘zero tolerance’ for anti-Semitism, JTA
“UNWRA has made clear their rock-solid commitments to the United States on the issues of transparency, accountability, and neutrality in all its operations,” a senior U.S. official said in an interview this weekend, describing the process that led last week to the administration announcing the resumption of funding for the agency. “And what neutrality means in the context of the United Nations is zero tolerance for racism, discrimination, and anti-Semitism.”

Natanz blast took out main power and backup, Iranian official acknowledges, Times of Israel
An Iranian official has acknowledged that Sunday’s blast at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, which has been attributed to Israel, took out the plant’s main electrical power system and its backup.

45% of those living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea believe “apartheid” is an appropriate description, B’Tselem
The poll found that 45% of the overall river-to-the-sea population say that the definition of “apartheid” proposed in the survey question is fitting or very fitting as a description of the Israeli regime. A strong majority among Palestinian respondents believe that the apartheid definition fits the Israeli regime (57% “strongly” and 18% “somewhat” – three-quarters in total) and a mirror image among Jews reject it (50% say it doesn’t fit at all and 25% doesn’t really fit – three-quarters in total).

Opinion and Analysis

Why Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear facility, Responsible Statecraft
John Ghazvinian writes, “The purpose of these latest Israeli attacks on Iranian facilities was not to set back some kind of notional progress that Iran was making towards some kind of notional nuclear weapon. It was to set back diplomacy. And it was a tactic the Israelis have been using for a very long time.”

Don’t Be Scared of Biden’s Commitment to Palestinian Refugees, Haaretz
Abe Silberstein writes, “The Biden administration’s recognition of Palestinian refugees goes beyond reinstating aid: It walks back Trump’s adoption of the right wing’s fantastical, punitive dreams. The rest of the pro-Israel camp should welcome it.”

For Yom Hazikaron, 5 ways to commemorate Israel’s Memorial Day remotely, JTA
In Israel, the day is marked with one- and two-minute sirens when the country halts and everyone stands in silence. At night, Israelis attend official memorial services. People traditionally visit the graves of loved ones who died in wars and terror attacks during the day — a custom that was interrupted last year, when the country was in the middle of its first pandemic lockdown.

Netanyahu Plays Dangerous Game With Iran and Biden. It Could Help Him Politically, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas writes, “The prime minister’s perception is that creating a confrontation with the U.S. administration will allow him to market himself as the only actor capable of diffusing it.”

Two-Way Street for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaout | Not if but When, J Street
Rabbi Moshe Heyn writes, “In a few days, we will observe Yom HaZikaron, the day on which we remember those who gave their lives for the sake of this vision and those whose lives were cut short by the conflict since the creation of the state. On this solemn day, as we mourn the tragic loss of life we cannot help but consider how much was unnecessary, how much could have been avoided with a diplomatic solution. And we sadly anticipate the grief of what is yet to come in the absence of a diplomatic solution to the conflict.”