News Roundup for August 12, 2021

August 12, 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

Putting Her Life at Risk’: Ilhan Omar Staff Slams AIPAC Over Aggressive Campaign Ads, Haaretz
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is facing criticism over its latest ad campaign on Facebook, which targets progressive Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush. […] The left-wing, pro-Israel J Street organization slammed AIPAC for the ads. “After 4 years backing Trump’s far-right policies, AIPAC seems to be declaring war on progressive Democrats with incendiary ads falsely accusing Congresswomen of color of supporting terror & hate,” it tweeted. “This isn’t ‘bipartisan.’ It doesn’t help Israel. It doesn’t speak for American Jews.”

J Street postpones Congressional trips to Israel, Jewish Insider
J Street, the left-leaning Israel advocacy group, has delayed two August delegations to Israel, including one for House members and another for congressional staffers, amid mounting concerns over the surging Delta variant of the coronavirus, Jewish Insider has learned. “We’ve postponed our planned August CODEL due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the renewed uncertainty around travel logistics and restrictions,” Logan Bayroff, J Street’s director of communications, told JI on Wednesday, referring to the now-delayed congressional delegation. “We’ll be closely monitoring the outlook and hope to get our delegations to the region up and running again as soon as it’s safe and viable to do so.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel to approve new construction in West Bank for both settlers and Palestinians, Axios
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz today announced that a committee will convene next week to authorize new housing units in the occupied West Bank for both Jewish settlers and for Palestinians living in “Area C,” which is controlled by Israel. West Bank settlements policy is among the most polarizing issues in Israel and could destabilize Bennett’s ideologically diverse coalition. It’s also one of the biggest challenges for Bennett to navigate as he prepares for an expected meeting with President Biden later this month.

In Sheikh Jarrah, anonymous actors and an absent state have created a powder keg, Times of Israel
If one zooms out of the narrow Sheikh Jarrah case to include the hills and valleys around the Old City, then according to UN figures based on Palestinian reports, some 218 Palestinian households with 970 people living in them now face some stage of eviction proceedings against them. Left-wing activist groups cite even larger numbers. But even if the real figure is half that, the overall picture amounts to an unprecedented and concerted campaign of displacement — all privately funded and administered, and requiring only occasional, quiet support from a small number of anonymous Israeli bureaucrats at key junctures.

CIA Chief’s Visit: Not Only Israel Believes Iran Won’t Return to Nuclear Deal, Haaretz
U.S. officials who visited Israel with CIA Director William Burns believe that the chances of Iran returning to the 2015 nuclear deal are slim, Israeli officials familiar with the details said Wednesday. Members of Burns’ delegation, the Israeli officials said, clarified to their Israeli counterparts that they do not expect that the discussions with Iran that are being promoted by global superpowers will bear fruit.


Israel, 80% Vaccinated, Suffers Another Covid-19 Surge, Wall Street Journal
After becoming one of the first countries to open up thanks to a widespread Covid-19 vaccination campaign, Israel is again on guard, this time against the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. Mask mandates are back, including requirements to mask up for large outdoor gatherings. Many venues require people to show proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test or proof of recovery from the virus.

Poland faces harmed ties with US, Israel over disputed bills, AP
Poland is looking at a more difficult relationship with two allies, the United States and Israel, after lawmakers passed separate bills — one dealing with foreign ownership of media and the other affecting the property rights of the families of Holocaust survivors — which the Polish government had been warned to drop.

Rights group says Hamas rockets at Israel a clear war crime, AP
A prominent international human rights group on Thursday accused Hamas of committing war crimes during a recent 11-day conflict with Israel by indiscriminately firing thousands of rockets toward Israeli population centers. In its report, Human Rights Watch also said it had concluded that a misfired rocket launched by Hamas killed seven Palestinians when it fell short in the Gaza Strip. In a separate development, a U.N. agency said it had uncovered militant tunnels near one of its facilities and that Hamas had taken over one of its schools, undermining the agency’s neutrality.

The Reform movement is investigating itself over history of rabbinic sexual misconduct, JTA
After a series of high-profile revelations about sexual misconduct within its ranks, the world’s largest Jewish denomination has initiated three separate independent investigations into how it deals with allegations of abuse. In an unprecedented move, the Reform movement’s seminary, rabbinical association and synagogue network have each hired different expert law firms to investigate allegations of cases of harassment and abuse with a focus on policies and practices that have failed to ensure accountability.

Opinion and Analysis

Biden Just Won a Major Victory. Israel Should Pay Attention, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “Biden is slated to host Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House at the end of the month – the first meeting between the leaders, both of whom recently took office. In the wake of Tuesday’s historic vote in the Senate, Bennett should take into account that he will be greeted in Washington by a politically strong president. Biden has just secured a major political victory and has already begun to carve out a legacy for himself – after only half a year on the job.”

How Iran’s Deadly Tanker Attack Is Linked to the Nuclear Deal, Foreign Policy
Robert Satloff writes, “Reasonable people can disagree on the wisdom of resurrecting the JCPOA. But if Washington is committed to that course, the tactical path runs through an effective response to the Mercer Street attack. It won’t ensure the success of nuclear diplomacy but will remove one key obstacle to a deal.”

Israel’s Tech Boom Will Include Arabs, Wall Street Journal
Israel’s Minister for Innovation, Science, and Technology Orit Farkash-Hacohen writes, “My vision is to use Israeli technology—the bedrock of our economy—to help people on the periphery of society. Aptly dubbed Impact, the $100 million, five-year plan, aims to bridge a gap in tech jobs. Israel’s Arab community makes up around 20% of the country’s population but accounts for only about 2% of tech workers. The Jewish ultra-Orthodox demographic, with more than 12% of Israel’s population of 9.3 million, makes up only 3% of tech workers.”

Global warming, the story that matters most, Times of Israel
David Horovitz writes, “With all due respect to the world’s greatest soccer star, the fate of Afghanistan, New York’s governorship, and even this pernicious pandemic, the imperative to save our warming planet is the story that matters most — right now and for decades to come.”