News Roundup for August 17, 2021

August 17, 2021

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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

Ben and Jerry’s: The cherry on top of the sundae, New Jersey Jewish News
J Street leader Martin Levine writes, “This is the problem. The problem is the occupation and the illegal settlements that jeopardize the future of the Palestinians and also that of the State of Israel. Ben and Jerry’s are merely responding to it. Let’s not shoot the messenger. Let’s listen to the message.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel asks allies for help as wildfires rage near Jerusalem, AP
Israeli leaders on Monday appealed to its international allies as firefighters battled wildfires near Jerusalem for a second day after the blaze forced hundreds of residents from their homes. Israel Fire and Rescue service said that 75 firefighting teams accompanied by 12 planes were working to contain a series of fires in the forested hills west of the city.

Arizona is the 8th state to launch review into possible Ben & Jerry’s sanctions, JTA
Arizona has become the eighth state to begin reviewing whether Ben & Jerry’s plans to withdraw from doing business in the West Bank merits sanctions under its law targeting the Israel boycott movement. In emails obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the state’s treasurer last week asked Unilever, the ice cream manufacturer’s parent company, to comply with its 2016 law.

Ahead of First Meeting, Biden and Bennett Try to Dismantle a Jerusalem Landmine, Haaretz
The Biden administration is walking a fine line as it tries to balance a promise to the Palestinians to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, and a desire to help Israel’s new government maintain political stability.


In one kibbutz, coexistence becomes an existential threat, +972 Magazine
For young Mizrahi activists, the Asi River has become a symbol of the ongoing inequality and discrimination their families face in Israel. The struggle began in September 2019, when a group of young women and men from Beit She’an began demanding the right to access the river, a natural gem whose translucent green water runs straight through Nir David. As is customary of kibbutzim across Israel, Nir David is a “gated community” whose fences block off access to the river for non-kibbutz residents, particularly those from Beit She’an.

The Abraham Accords just turned 1. Here’s how each of the agreements are holding up, JTA
The degree to which the normalization agreements are thriving varies from country to country, and for the moment it doesn’t look like there are any imminent new members of the club. But the forecast by experts and peace-brokers is that the deals are here to stay. And Biden deserves some credit for that, a Trump administration official told JTA.

How will Biden’s Afghanistan retreat impact Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?, The Forward
The one area where the Afghanistan withdrawal might have a profound impact on is with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an issue the Biden administration is committed to resolving by diplomatic means. “It seems certain that, compounded by a long-held perception that the U.S. is in retreat from the region, and in the face of active security concerns about Hamas, Hezbollah, and the influence and impact of actors further afield, Israel and some of its regional allies will have little appetite for robust diplomatic pursuits that could point the way toward security or territorial compromise,” said Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, director of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict program at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Warsaw threatens to end ‘anti-Polish’ Israeli youth Holocaust memorial trips, Times of Israel
Poland on Monday said it was examining the option of suspending annual Israeli youth trips to Holocaust memorial sites in the country, amid a major diplomatic crisis between the nations. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski claimed in a Monday radio interview that “the trips do not take place in a proper manner. They sometimes instill hatred for Poland in the heads of young Israelis.”

A million Israelis get third dose, with early data showing heightened protection, Times of Israel
More than one million Israelis have received the third-dose booster shot as the government races to squelch the spread of the Delta variant through another vaccination blitz, officials said Monday. The government launched its latest vaccination campaign over two weeks ago, urging Israelis over 60 (since lowered to over 50) to get their third dose “booster,” which officials hope will help protect Israel’s most vulnerable from the new highly contagious variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

Opinion and Analysis

The Age of Mega-fires: Jerusalem Blaze Is a Wake-up Call for Israel, Haaretz
Nir Hasson writes, “With climate change and global warming, a new era of forest fires, unlike anything seen in the region before, has begun. Now, Israel must change how it fights – and thinks about them.”

I Grew Up Watching Settlers Attacking My Palestinian Village. They’re Becoming Bolder. I’m Afraid, Haaretz
Basil Al-Adraa writes, “I live in a small Palestinian village named Twani, in the southern hills of the West Bank, and, like both of my parents, I am an activist who believes in non-violent resistance to the occupation. All I have at my disposal is a camera and a notebook. Over the past two months, since the latest war in Gaza, the settlers’ attacks have become larger and more coordinated, and have started to involve guns.