News Roundup for August 10, 2021

August 10, 2021

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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

Two pints of Ben & Jerry’s for a two-state solution, Jewish News of Northern California
J Street Board Member Charles Kremer writes, “After 54 years of an occupation that has succeeded in enabling a corrupt and increasingly authoritarian Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and in growing popular support for Hamas, a fanatical and murderous regime in Gaza that is dedicated to Israel’s destruction, and without any realistic alternative to a two-state solution, I believe that we should support any nonviolent actions that help bring about a demilitarized Palestinian state living in peace and security with a democratic Jewish state as its neighbor. In other words, the founding Zionist dream.”

Top News and Analysis

Inside Gaza, Capturing the Toll of War, New York Times
Coverage of the war was limited because Israel, citing security concerns, closed Gaza’s borders to foreign journalists. But civilians captured videos of the attacks. After a cease-fire was declared, Yousur Al-Hlou, a video journalist for The New York Times, and Neil Collier, a former Times staff member who now works as a freelancer, traveled to Gaza, a process that took several days and involved going through numerous security screenings, quarantining in Jerusalem and securing permission from Hamas.

Israeli Court Blasts Police for Arresting Palestinian Without Warrant, Evidence, Haaretz
Police arrested a Palestinian for alleged car theft last week then showed up in court without evidence, resulting in the court releasing the man and referring the case to the Justice Ministry department that investigates police misconduct due to suspicions that police beat the man while arresting him. Police officers, escorted by soldiers, burst into Mahmoud Ibrahim’s home in Beit Liqya, near Ramallah, before dawn last Sunday, claiming he had stolen a car near Modi’in. They had no warrant for the arrest, and Ibrahim said they beat him, causing injuries to his head and hands.

After UN warning, Israel sees diplomatic opening in combating climate cataclysm, Times of Israel
A UN report on global warming has conveyed dire warnings over the state of the planet, but Jerusalem is expressing hopes that Israel’s scientific know-how will turn it into an international beacon for countries seeking to combat, mitigate or avoid the coming storms.


CIA director to visit Israel, Palestinian Authority, Axios
CIA director Bill Burns will visit Israel on Tuesday for the first time since assuming office for talks that are expected to focus on Iran, Israeli officials tell me. He’s also expected to meet Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah. Burns will arrive in Jerusalem with tensions running hot between Israel and Iran over an alleged Iranian attack on an Israeli-linked oil tanker and amid escalation between Israel and Hezbollah on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Despite calm, Israeli town copes with scars of rocket fire, AP
Just three months after the latest war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, the border town of Sderot appears to be on the road to recovery. The streets are bustling, and the town is filled with well-kept parks and playgrounds. The local real-estate market is booming. But underneath the veneer of normalcy, the scars of years of rocket fire run deep.

Citing new quarantine rules, Birthright cancels remaining summer trips to Israel, JTA
Birthright, the program that brings young Jews to Israel for free, is canceling its remaining 42 trips this summer because of new Israeli rules that require Americans arriving in Israel to quarantine for a week. The tours last just 10 days — although participants may stay longer on their own — and most participants are American.

Israel’s Diaspora Minister Warns: If We Lose U.S. Jews, We’ll Lose America, Haaretz
Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai has warned that Israel risks losing bipartisan political support in the U.S. if it does not properly invest in its ties with the Jewish American community. “The other day, I briefed the cabinet and said: ‘If we see more of the radical left and progressive liberal Jews continuing to support BDS and Black Lives Matter, and similar to the Palestinians they relate to Israel as a genocide state or an apartheid state, we may lose America,’” Shai told the American Jewish Committee’s “People of the Pod” podcast. “The bridge to the Democratic Party and the Republican Party goes through the American Jewish community, and that’s the only bridge I believe in.”

Herzog discusses climate crisis, antisemitism with US veep Harris, Times of Israel
US Vice President Kamala Harris called President Isaac Herzog Monday to congratulate him on his inauguration as Israel’s head of state. The two discussed the importance of deepening the US-Israel relationship, with Harris expressing the Biden administration’s commitment to Israel’s security, both offices said.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Must Prepare for the Regional Effects of the Climate Crisis, Haaretz
Zafrir Rinat writes, “Only regional cooperation will enable us to share water resources, produce enough food for everyone and utilize the large expanses of land in neighboring countries to produce solar energy that we and our neighbors can use.”

Iran Nukes the Case for the JCPOA, Wall Street Journal
Walter Russell Mead writes, “Instead of welcoming the Biden administration’s eagerness to return to President Obama’s Iran policy, Tehran has turned up its nose at American attempts to chart a course back to mutual compliance with the terms of the deal. The ease with which President Trump was able to dump the JCPOA, and the inability of outraged Europeans to contest his imposition of unilateral sanctions, created a healthy skepticism in Iran about the deal’s value.”

Today in focus: Israel’s shadow war with Iran (podcast), The Guardian
The Guardian’s Middle East correspondent, Martin Chulov, tells Nosheen Iqbal that it is the latest action in what is now a rapidly escalating ‘shadow war’ between Israel and Iran. With both countries under new leadership in recent weeks, there is an added layer of unpredictability to relations that have been tense for some time.