News Roundup for August 1, 2022

August 1, 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

Huge AIPAC Investment in Primaries Is Paying Off — But at What Price Down the Road?, The Times of Israel
“J Street, a liberal Jewish Middle East policy group launched in 2008 as a counterweight to AIPAC to create space for what it describes as policies that are pro-Israel while at times critical of its government, says that while the short-term results may validate AIPAC’s gambit and keep Democrats in line, long term it will have lasting damage. Logan Bayroff, the group’s vice president of communications, said the heavy-handed spending would alienate Democrats and Americans who will identify AIPAC and the pro-Israel community with bullying. “Somehow, they expect at the end of the day that all this is going to somehow strengthen support for Israel,” Bayroff said. “I think this is an admission that they can’t win on the merits.” J Street’s Bayroff said he perceived the aim of the AIPAC-affiliated PACs as narrowing pro-Israel discourse to the uncritical dimensions that flourished prior to the rise of J Street. He noted that UDP was spending millions in a Michigan race pitting two Democratic incumbents against one another because of redistricting. Pro-AIPAC groups are backing Representative Haley Stevens and opposed the J Street-endorsed candidate, Representative Andy Levin, a scion of a Jewish political family who is an outspoken promoter of US involvement in nudging Israel and the Palestinians toward a two-state outcome.”

Top News and Analysis

Michigan Jews Defend ‘Mensch’ Congressman Ahead of Key Primary, Haaretz
Days before Tuesday’s highly anticipated Michigan Democratic primary between Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens, Levin’s core Jewish supporters are fighting to sway local voters that he should be their pick while combating attacks based on his positions on the Israel-Palestine issue. A group of volunteers calling themselves “Jews for Andy,” consisting of Jews of various ages and political positions, has been spearheading campaign efforts due to what they deem “existential” positions.

Israeli Settlers Purchase Hebron Home From Palestinian Owner, The Jerusalem Post
Israeli settlers announced their purchase of a three-story Palestinian building in Hebron near the Tomb of the Patriarchs on Sunday, in what is the second such publication of a property acquisition this year. “By the grace of God, the Jewish community in Hebron is expanding,” tweeted MK Orit Struck (Religious Zionist Party). The move is part of a long-term campaign by Hebron’s Jewish community and their supporters to expand its property holding in the section of the city under IDF military control.


Israel to Withhold NIS 600 Million From PA Over Its Payments to Terrorists’ Families, The Times of Israel
The security cabinet voted to withhold over half a billion shekels from the Palestinian Authority on Sunday to offset funds that the PA paid to terrorists and their families in the past year. The NIS 600 million ($176 million) that the government voted to freeze will come from tax funds that Israel collects on behalf of the PA.

Hamas: Israeli Bombing During Gaza War Killed Captives’ Guard, Haaretz
Hamas said Sunday that one of its operatives who was guarding Israeli captives during the 2021 Gaza War was killed in an Israeli attack on the Strip. The spokesman of the Hamas military wing, Abu Ubaidah, said that the Israeli attack killed a member of Hamas’ Shadow Unit responsible for guarding captives. He added that three more were wounded in the bombardment.

Hezbollah Airs Video of Israeli Barges in Disputed Gas Field, AP
Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Sunday aired drone footage of Israeli ships in a disputed gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, highlighting the tension at the center of U.S.-mediated maritime border talks between Lebanon and Israel. The footage was aired as the U.S. energy envoy, Amos Hochstein, was landing in Beirut to mediate ongoing talks between Lebanon and Israel over their sea borders.

77% of Incitement Charges in Israel Filed Against Arabs, Study Reveals, Haaretz
Fully 77 percent of all indictments for incitement to violence and racism are filed against Arabs, according to a new study by the Israel Religious Action Center. The report also found significant gaps in conviction rates and sentences between Arabs and Jews. In addition, it says, prosecutors tended to avoid filing incitement charges against public figures, especially rabbis.

Opinion and Analysis

Palestinian Flags Aren’t Illegal in Israel. They Still Get Torn Down., The New York Times
Raja Abdulrahim reports, “The Palestinian flag is not banned in Israel but its public display has come under increasing attack by Israeli authorities seeking to crack down on expressions of Palestinian nationalism. That is especially the case in East Jerusalem, the half of the city populated mostly by Palestinians.”