News Roundup for August 11, 2021

August 11, 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.

Top News and Analysis

At Risk in Israel’s Backlash Against Ben and Jerry’s? The Right to Protest, The Nation
Amira Mattar writes, “Much has been written about Israel’s relentless offensive against the ice cream company. But less has been said about the consequences for Americans’ right to protest if our constitutional right to boycott is gutted per Israel’s requests. As a Palestinian and lawyer supporting those who face a cruel backlash for supporting Palestinian rights, I can tell you that these efforts are only the tip of a larger assault on all of our rights to speak out for justice.”

Israel Sees Little Chance of Iran Under Raisi Returning to Nuclear Deal, Haaretz
Israel has been trying in recent weeks to harness the United States to promote dramatic steps against Iran, if Iran declares that it won’t renew the nuclear agreement. The defense establishment is afraid of a scenario in which Iran will delay its announcement for months to prevent international action against it. Israeli officials are now trying to ascertain if the U.S. administration is willing to mobilize the international community for a significant pressure campaign against Iran if it rejects the deal, in order to force it to give up its nuclear ambitions for the near future.

What can Israel do to fight the climate crisis? An expert names the top 5 steps, Times of Israel
The Times of Israel asked Yoav Yair, Dean of the School of Sustainability at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), to name, in order of importance, the five actions that Israel should take to fight climate change.


ICC Mulls Probing Israel Over Razing Palestinian Homes in Jordan Valley, Haaretz
The International Criminal Court prosecutors’ office is mulling opening an investigation into the destruction of the homes of dozens of Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley village of Khirbet Humsah at the behest of the Combatants for Peace organization, which termed the act a war crime. The incident occurred last month when the Israel Defense Force’s Civil Administration razed the homes and confiscated the belongings of about 60 Palestinians in the village, which is located in an area that Israel has declared a firing zone. It was the third operation of this kind in the past year.

Israel investigating May barrage that killed 6 in Gaza, AP
After initially finding no grounds for disciplinary action, the Israeli military later opened an investigation into an artillery bombardment that killed six Palestinian civilians, including an infant, in the Gaza Strip in May. To date, no soldiers or senior officers have been punished for the errant fire, which witnesses say came without warning.

Israel’s top diplomat on first visit to Morocco since upgrade in ties, Reuters
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid began a visit to Morocco on Wednesday, the first by Israel’s top diplomat to the North African country since an upgrading of relations under a U.S.-brokered deal. Israel and Morocco agreed in December to resume diplomatic relations and re-launch direct flights under the agreement in which Washington also recognised Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

One State or Two States? Trends in Israeli and Palestinian Public Opinion (podcast), Times of Israel
Can leaders lead the public on this issue, or does the public lead them? Will Israel’s new government attempt to narrow these points of difference, and are the Palestinians still open to such gradualism? In this episode, David Makovsky hosts Khalil Shikaki, David Pollock, and Tamar Hermann for a discussion on what polling can tell us about these issues. Where does current Israeli and Palestinian public opinion fall on the two-state question, and what deeper insights does the data hold?

Opinion and Analysis

America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes, New York Times
Peter Beinart writes, “In warning that Iran could turn the Middle East nuclear, American politicians imply that the region is nuclear-free now. But it’s not. Israel already has nuclear weapons. You’d just never know it from America’s leaders, who have spent the last half-century feigning ignorance. This deceit undercuts America’s supposed commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, and it distorts the American debate over Iran. It’s time for the Biden administration to tell the truth.”

Guess Who’s Fueling Israel’s Disastrous COVID Anti-vaxxer Movement?, Haaretz
Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “To understand the politicized version of the vaccine debate, Benjamin Netanyahu is a good place to start. After shamelessly running his last (failed) general election campaign on his vaccine accomplishments, and now as leader of the opposition, many of his rants against the government harp on the vaccine or COVID themes. Last Friday, he released a new tirade accusing the leadership of torpor in rolling out booster shots as part of their general failure to manage the coronavirus crisis.”

The Two-State Solution Imperative, Jerusalem Strategic Tribune
James Jones writes, “It is time for an American administration to take a step the US has been too reluctant to take, one which could make the difference both in bringing peace and restoring US influence in this vital region. That step is to advance an American plan for the establishment of a two-state solution, one that could be and should be supported by the international community as a basis for agreement between the respective Israeli and Palestinian leaderships.”

How the budding Azerbaijan-Israel alliance is more than just ‘good business’, Responsible Statecraft
Eldar Mamedov writes, “In this context, the opening of Azerbaijan’s office in Israel is seen in Tehran as potentially much more and much more threatening than the promotion of bilateral trade and tourism as Baku insists. Instead, it is likely to be understood as the next step in the strengthening of a de facto Azerbaijani-Israeli-Turkish axis aimed against the Islamic Republic. How Tehran responds remains to be seen, but these latest developments bode ill for regional stability.”