News Roundup for April 20, 2022

April 20, 2022
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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

Edwards, Ivey Vie for Funding After Shake-up in MD.’s Tightest Primary, The Washington Post
“The liberal Jewish group J Street, however, endorsed Edwards last week, noting her long support for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as her support for the Iran nuclear deal. The organization’s support for Edwards dates to her first campaign, when she became one of the first candidates J Street ever endorsed, and she later joined the organization on a fact-finding trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Edwards “was one of the first Members of Congress to stand proudly and publicly with J Street and the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement, promoting more effective American leadership and a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians,” J Street said in a statement. “Now more than ever, we need her knowledgeable, experienced and principled voice in Congress.””

This Michigan Democratic Primary Is AIPAC Versus J Street, New Republic
“Logan Bayroff, a spokesperson for J Street, said AIPAC wants “to try to make an example of Andy Levin for having the audacity to actually be more representative where most of the community is and be willing to talk about occupation. They want things to stay in what we call the ‘old school approach,’ which is basically there should be no daylight between the U.S. and Israeli governments. Whatever the Israeli government decides to do, American Jews and Congress and the president should just stand up and applaud. They would love to see Andy Levin no longer be in Congress for that reason.””

A Nasty Primary Highlights Split Over Israel and Direction of the Democratic Party, NBC News
“The hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s political action arm raised nearly $300,000 in contributions for Stevens in the first three months of the year, according to a Friday filing with the Federal Election Commission. The more progressive Jewish group J Street says it has routed nearly $200,000 to Levin…But many American Jews are critical of Israel’s handling of its relationship with the Palestinians, and J Street is collecting contributions to defend Levin. He is “a leader in making clear that you can be a very proud Jew and a very proud supporter of Israel and a proud member of the Democratic Party and support push back on harmful Israeli government policies,” said J Street spokesman Logan Bayroff.”

Top News and Analysis

Blinken, Mideast Leaders in Talks to Quell Israel-Palestinian Violence, Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Israeli, Palestininan and Jordanian leaders to discuss recent violence in Israel and the West Bank that has escalated tensions in the region, officials said on Tuesday. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he updated the top U.S. diplomat on Tuesday about Israel’s efforts to ensure freedom of worship in Jerusalem.

UN Security Council Debates Jerusalem Violence, UAE Summons Israeli Envoy, Haaretz
The United Nations Security Council convened an emergency session on Tuesday to discuss the latest outbreak of violence in Jerusalem’s Old City. The UN meeting was requested by Jordan, which is a custodian of the holy site. Amman has taken an expanded role in condemning Israel on the international stage over what it argues are violations of long-standing agreements on the management of the compound.


Right-wing Politicians Clash Over Temple Mount Closure, The Jerusalem Post
Politicians from parties on the Right sparred on Twitter on Wednesday over Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s decision to close the Temple Mount to Jews at the end of Ramadan. Bennett’s associates said the same decision has been made every year, including repeatedly by Netanyahu when he was prime minister.

Thousands Attend Passover Priestly Blessing at Western Wall in Tense Jerusalem, The Times of Israel
Thousands of people on Wednesday attended the week’s second iteration of a traditional prayer ceremony at the Western Wall, with authorities on alert for any potential escalation in an already tense Jerusalem.

Right-wing Israeli Groups Announce March at Jerusalem Flash Points, Defying Police, Haaretz
Right-wing Israeli organizations will press on with a march on Wednesday around the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, despite not having received police approval, in a move that could kindle already-high tensions in the city.

Opinion and Analysis

As Ukrainians Flee to Israel, a Debate Over Who Is Allowed To Stay, The Washington Post
Shira Rubin examines the implications of Israel’s policies for non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees. She writes, “The government is struggling with its response as it balances competing demands and pleas. There have been entreaties for compassion, including from Ukraine’s Jewish president and those who argue that Israel, a nation established in the aftermath of the Holocaust, has a moral imperative to help those in need. There have been warnings as well, from right-wing politicians and segments of the public arguing that Israel should not admit non-Jewish refugees in any significant numbers, to preserve the country’s Jewish majority.”

Illegal Building Is Contempt for Human Life, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial Board explains, “The tragedy this week in the ecological village of Adama – the death in a fire of 3-year-old Libby Kalich, during a family Passover vacation there – requires a serious shake-up of the institutional handling of illegal construction and a public discussion about its dangers. A criminal culture of illegal construction has taken root in Israel over the course of many years.”