News Roundup for April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024
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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

In Private Meeting with Jewish Leaders, Blinken Addresses US Rifts with Israel, The Forward
“Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a closed meeting with a dozen American Jewish leaders Tuesday, addressed concerns raised by some in the group that the US is airing its disagreements with Israel too publicly, and reinforcing impressions that the divide between the nations is growing. […] The meeting included representatives of major Jewish organizations including the Jewish Federations of North America, the Orthodox Union, the Union for Reform Judaism, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the National Council for Jewish Women, as well as the pro-Israel groups AIPAC and J Street.”

Blinken Tells Jewish Leaders the United States Does Not Want Israel to ‘Escalate’ After Iran Attack, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
“Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East lobby, praised the Biden Administration for sanctioning Jewish extremists the Biden Administration says are terrorizing West Bank Palestinians.”

Top News and Analysis

Blinken: Escalation with Iran Is Not in US or Israel’s Interests, Axios
The Biden administration and several other Western countries allied with Israel are urging Benjamin Netanyahu’s government not to rush into a retaliation against Iran that could lead to a regional war. The US assessment is that Iran would respond to any significant, overt Israeli strike on Iranian soil with a new round of missile and drone attacks, a senior US official told Axios. “We think it will be very hard to replicate the huge success we had on Saturday with defeating the attack if Iran launches hundreds of missiles and drones again — and the Israelis know it,” another US official said.

US Plans New Sanctions on Iran After Attack on Israel, The New York Times
Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, said in a statement that the sanctions would target Iran’s “missile and drone program” and entities that support the country’s military groups. “These new sanctions and other measures will continue a steady drumbeat of pressure to contain and degrade Iran’s military capacity and effectiveness and confront the full range of its problematic behaviors,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Courts Order Evicting 35 Palestinians From East Jerusalem Homes; Properties to Be Allocated to Israeli Right-wing Groups, Haaretz
Israeli law only allows Jews to reclaim property based on ownership rights dating back to before Israel’s establishment, and both eviction cases were the result of claims made by right-wing Jewish activists. It is estimated that about a third of the real estate in West Jerusalem was owned by Arab Palestinians prior to Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, but that property was transferred to the Israeli government and to private ownership in accordance with the country’s abandoned property law.


13 Hurt, 4 Seriously, as Hezbollah Drone Hits Community Center in Northern Israel, Times of Israel
Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted a building used by the Israeli military with guided missiles and explosive-laden drones. The terror group said the attack was a response to the killing of three of its members, including two commanders, in Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon a day earlier.

Arab States That Allied With Israel and US for Iran Attack Now Face Consequences, Haaretz
Knowing full well that Israel alone was in Iran’s crosshairs and with no direct threat to their interests, Arab countries are now facing difficulty, in light of the Gaza offensive, explaining their unprecedented coalition to their public.

UN Panel Says Israel Is Obstructing Its Investigation of the Oct. 7 Attack, The New York Times
“We have faced not merely a lack of cooperation but active obstruction of our efforts to receive evidence from Israeli witnesses and victims” related to the Oct. 7 attack, Chris Sidoti, one of three members of the commission, told a briefing for diplomats in Geneva. The commission was formed in 2021 to investigate human rights violations in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israel has accused the commission of bias, and has said it would not cooperate with what it described as “an anti-Israeli, antisemitic body.”

Poll: 74% of Israelis Oppose Counterstrike on Iran If It Harms Security Alliances, Times of Israel
Nearly three-quarters of the Israeli public oppose a retaliatory strike on Iran for its massive missile attack on the country if such action would harm Israel’s security alliance with its allies, according to a poll published Tuesday.

Homes Burned, Animals Killed: Palestinians Describe Israeli Settler Rampage, The Washington Post
Hundreds of settlers roamed the roads and hillsides of al-Mughayyir, eyewitnesses said, throwing stones and firing on residents. They set homes and vehicles ablaze, including a firetruck that had been called to put out the flames engulfing a family business. Palestinians threw rocks back at the attackers, they said, but were easily outmatched.

Resisting the ‘Ecstasy of War’: Gaza through the Eyes of Religious, Left-Wing Israeli Soldiers, Haaretz
For religious left-wingers, the moral complexity surrounding their military orders created a unique battle within them during their time as reservists in Gaza – especially when witnessing “disgraceful acts” that contradict Jewish values.

USC Cancels Pro-Palestinian Valedictorian’s Speech, Citing Fears of Threats, The Washington Post
The University of Southern California announced Monday that it will not have its valedictorian, who is Muslim and pro-Palestinian, speak at its commencement because officials worry about keeping the event safe amid fears of threats… Asna Tabassum, the student selected as valedictorian, and Muslim advocacy groups view it as the silencing of a student.

Opinion and Analysis

How to Be Pro-Palestinian, Pro-Israeli and Pro-Iranian, The New York Times
Thomas Friedman argues, “So if you want to be pro-Palestinian today — as well as pro-Israel, pro-U.S.-Saudi-Israel agreement, pro-Abraham Accords, or anti-Iranian regime — the single most meaningful thing you can push for, demonstrate for or volunteer to contribute to is the transformation of the Palestinian Authority into a professionally led, noncorrupt, accountable-to-donors, effective governing institution.”

The End Game, The Times of Israel
Gershon Baskin writes, “The challenge that we face is that the government of Israel refuses to confront any kind of political end game. It intends to continue to control Gaza which is the surest guarantee of armed insurgency against Israeli soldiers and the surest way to empower Hamas and other extremists.”

Tucker Carlson Went After Israel — and His Fellow Conservatives are Furious, Vox
Zack Beauchamp argues, “The simple fact is that the worldview of the antisemitic right has clear resonance with the Trumpified Republican party. Their influence is primarily felt online today, but what happens online doesn’t always stay there. There’s enough evidence of this bleeding out into the real world — all-too-often literally — that it’s worth being alarmed about it. The reaction to Carlson’s interview raises a question about whether conservatives can see this. Are they merely angry that Tucker’s longtime antisemitism turned into anti-Israel sentiment? Or are they capable of the broader self-reflection and self-policing necessary to fix the movement’s deeper problem with Jews?”

A Trauma Surgeon on Why Gaza Is the Worst of War Zones, The Economist
Trauma surgeon David Nott shares, “There was a total breakdown of the usual medical care that a society would give to its population. Even in the midst of vicious wars such as in Yemen or Syria, people had access to basic life-saving medicines. Not so in Gaza: all pharmacies had closed down and there were no drugs. As a result, there was no access to daily medications for people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, and those with cardiological, renal, oncological and haematological diseases.”