News Roundup for August 2, 2021

August 2, 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

‘Staunch Supporter of Peace,’ ‘Friend of Israel,’ ‘Mensch’: U.S. Jews Mourn Sen. Carl Levin, Haaretz
Over the weekend, Jewish lawmakers and organizations in the United States remembered the late Sen. Carl Levin, who died last week at 87. […] The pro-Israel left-wing J Street organization said Carl Levin would be remembered for his commitment to the people of Michigan as well as for his “passionate belief in the power of diplomacy, his razor sharp wit and intelligence, and his pursuit of truth and justice, even when not politically convenient.”

Sharon Kleinbaum, rabbi of New York City LGBTQ synagogue, picked to rejoin US religious freedom commission, JTA
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, who has led New York City’s Congregation Beth Simchat Torah since 1992, is one of President Joe Biden’s choices to join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. […] Kleinbaum is known for her advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ and human rights, including in Israel. Her support for the liberal pro-Israel lobby J Street induced a right-wing political action committee to run an ad last year that called her an “antisemite,” drawing condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League and others.

Top News and Analysis

Sheikh Jarrah Eviction Case: Court Offers Palestinians ‘Protected Residents’ Status, Haaretz
Israel’s Supreme Court offered Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood a compromise that would involve issuing them with “protected status” and prevent their expulsion from the controversial neighborhood in the “coming years.” The hearing, which began on Monday, concerns the appeal case of four Palestinian families that reside in Sheikh Jarrah who had received eviction orders from the settler organization that owns the rights to the land.

Israeli Cabinet advances budget, shores up new government, AP
Israel’s Cabinet advanced a national budget on Monday for the first time since 2018 in a sign of stability for the country’s fragile new government. The 120-member Knesset must still approve the two-year spending plan by November to avoid dissolving the government and new elections.

Riots Shatter Veneer of Coexistence in Israel’s Mixed Towns, New York Times
The May riots, set off by provocative police interventions at the Aqsa Mosque and the outbreak of the 11-day Israel-Hamas war, tore away a thin layer of civility to expose seething resentments between Israel’s Jewish and Palestinian citizens. Across almost all of Israel’s seven officially “mixed” Arab-Jewish towns, gunfire, arson, stone-throwing and lynching left a trail of destruction. Arab mobs burned Jewish stores to the ground.


U.S., Britain, Israel blame Iran for fatal drone strike on oil tanker; Tehran denies responsibility, Washington Post
The United States, Britain and Israel on Sunday all accused Iran of carrying out a drone attack last week on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea that killed two people on board, raising fears of an escalating maritime war in the Middle East, as Tehran denied responsibility for the strike.

Palestinians, Israeli troops clash after West Bank funeral, AP
Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces on Friday following the funeral of a Palestinian man killed by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank the previous day. Footage from The Associated Press shows dozens of protesters in the town of Beit Ummar hurling rocks and stones at Israeli soldiers, and soldiers firing at protesters.

Israel: protests against renewed Covid restrictions as cases hit highest in months, The Guardian
Several hundred Israelis have demonstrated in Tel Aviv against new coronavirus restrictions and vaccination as positive cases and hospitalisations rise to levels not seen in months. The health ministry reported on Saturday that 2,435 new Covid cases had been recorded the day before – the highest number since March – driven by the more contagious Delta variant.

Israel Wants to Become a Petroleum Superpower, and the Climate Crisis Can Wait, Haaretz
A visit to state-owned EAPC facilities in Ashkelon, one of the world’s 20 largest oil storage facilities, make the recent cabinet resolution promising a low-carbon future for the Israeli economy seem like science fiction

Opinion and Analysis

Why Israel’s ice cream war could backfire, +972 Magazine
Mitchell Plitnick writes, “In an era where bipartisanship in Washington is almost a fantasy, blindly opposing any step that helps Palestinians attain their rights is apparently one of the few things that still gets support from both parties. […] If Biden seriously wants to cling to the ephemeral hope of a two-state solution, he would support Ben & Jerry’s decision with everything he’s got.”

That time an Israeli-Palestinian ice cream feud refused to melt, Al Jazeera
A. Craig Copetas writes, “Buried in Ben & Jerry’s sales statistics is a road map to solving the Israeli-Palestinian ice cream conflict and, as Afran al-Saddi insisted as we outlasted a missile barrage in his Basra bakery during the second war in Iraq, reunite the bickering children of Abraham.”

Israel’s Standing in America Is Now Far Weaker Than It Seems, Haaretz
Eric Yoffie writes, “We desperately need an Israeli leader who will say to American Jews and to all Americans: The territories are not Israel. We Israelis have no desire to rule over the Palestinian people. We are committed to sitting down with Palestinian leadership and working out a peace agreement, based on the principle of two states for two peoples. Until we have an agreement, no matter how long it may take, we will not expand our area of settlement, and we will do everything possible to separate from the Palestinians.”