News Roundup for August 14, 2023

August 14, 2023
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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

House Democrats Criticized for AIPAC Association [Video], MSNBC
House Democrats are under fire for an AIPAC-affiliated trip to Israel, despite the judicial overhaul. Speaking on the Mehdi Hasan Show, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami says this is larger than AIPAC. “It’s about the entirety of our political system being warped and our policies being warped by the influence of money.”

AIPAC’s Attacks on J Street Show How Out of Touch They Are, The Forward
Jeremy Ben-Ami and Board Chair Alan Solomont write, “An astounding movement of Israelis warns us, week after week, that their democracy is slipping from their grasp. They are desperately asking for support from Israel’s friends in the United States. Instead of speaking up, AIPAC instead resorts to attacking those who do.”

Democratic House Leader Under Fire for Israel Trip Sponsored by Lobbyist Group, The Guardian
“In response to Jeffries’ comments, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street said that aid should be judged according to whether it advances US and Israeli security. “Our concern is that US tax dollars shouldn’t be funding material and arms that facilitate the deepening of occupation and the permanent demise of a possible Palestinian state. That’s not in anyone’s security interest,” said J Street’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami.”

Top News and Analysis

AIPAC Is, Again, Siding With the Enemies of Democracy. This Time in Israel, Haaretz
Leading activists in Israel’s pro-democracy movement argue, “At best, AIPAC and its leaders are stuck in the archaic notion that their job is to present to their guests an Israel that is sterile and free of controversy, while in reality the country is imploding. A less generous interpretation might be that AIPAC is – once again – siding with the enemies of democracy. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise.”

Riyadh Appoints Envoy to Palestinians Amid Push for Saudi-Israeli Ties, The New York Times
Saudi Arabia has appointed its first envoy to the Palestinian administration in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, a move widely seen as linked to efforts led by the United States to forge diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.


Biden Zeroes in on Lew for Israel Ambassador, Axios
Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is the leading candidate to be the new US ambassador to Israel and could be nominated by President Biden in the coming weeks, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Growing Segregation by Sex in Israel Raises Fears for Women’s Rights, The New York Times
Ultra-Orthodox members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right coalition want to expand the powers of all-male rabbinical courts, and to bar women and men from mixing in many public arenas.

Palestinian Family Evicted From East Jerusalem Home Ordered to Pay for Own Eviction, Haaretz
After being evicted from their home in July, the Sub Laban family now has to pay almost 50,000 shekels to cover the legal and operational costs of their eviction.

In Rare Move, Security Forces Evacuate Illegal West Bank Outpost, The Times of Israel
Officials from the Civil Administration, backed by police, destroyed or evacuated five buildings in the “Aira Shahar” outpost near the settlement of Kochav Hashahar. Right-wing activists and residents of the outpost tried to oppose the evacuation by burning tires and scattering spikes on the road.

Opinion and Analysis

From China to US, Israel’s Netanyahu Takes Victory Lap Over Foreign Invites, Al-Monitor
Rina Bassist notes, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received invitations over the past month from the leaders of China, Morocco, Turkey and the United States to visit their countries. His associates point to these invites as diplomatic achievements and proof that the world accepts the current Israeli government’s judicial overhaul plan. Some analysts and former diplomats argue, however, that Israel’s international status is not improving but is in fact declining rapidly.”

If Not Now, When? Saving Israel’s Educational System, The Times of Israel
Israeli educator and lawyer Naomi Beyth-Zoran argues, “One of the first moves of Prime Minister Netanyahu was promising a bite of the education system to the self-declared misogynist-homophobic-racist Avi Maoz, who obtained power over the external programs unit. This move poked a bear. Liberal, secular parents raised their voices and, together with municipalities and NGOs, said: Not in our schools, you shall not pass.”