News Roundup for August 3, 2021

August 4, 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

The telling Ben & Jerry’s backlash: Even a targeted economic pressure campaign against Israel’s settlements meets a vitriolic response, New York Daily News
Toby Irving writes, “The people at Ben & Jerry’s who decided to remove their products from Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories anticipated significant backlash, but I wonder if they saw all the ‘meltdown’ puns coming. Over the last few weeks, defenders of Israeli apartheid certainly lost it reacting to one of the highest-profile corporate actions against Israeli occupation. […] J Street and other pro-Israel pro-peace groups have voiced their support for Ben & Jerry’s. They grounded their support in the action’s distance from BDS, but also in American (and American Jewish) values of civil liberties.”

Ben & Jerry’s Israel diplomacy no reason for punishment, Star Ledger
J Street Leader Mark Lurinsky writes, “To many Americans like myself, proudly Jewish and proudly pro-Israel, the attacks on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and accompanying calls to penalize it under anti-boycott laws are shameful, as are U.S. politicians who try to exploit another wedge issue to divide us and to pander for votes. Please keep your hands off Ben & Jerry’s. I’ll keep my Cherry Garcia scoops, thanks.”

Top News and Analysis

Florida may drop Ben & Jerry’s parent over Israel boycott, AP
Florida won’t put any state money into the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s unless it reverses a decision to stop selling ice cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday. The Republican governor said the State Board of Administration added London-based Unilever to its list of “scrutinized companies” that boycott Israel. This means that if Ben & Jerry’s position on Israel is not reversed in 90 days, Florida will not invest in or contract with Unilever or its subsidiaries.

In upset, pro-Israel backed candidate wins key Cleveland area Democratic primary, JTA
Shontel Brown, a Cuyahoga County councilwoman, came from behind in the polls to win a critical Democratic primary in a Cleveland area district with a substantial Jewish population, with considerable help from a mainstream pro-Israel political action committee. […] Democratic Majority for Israel pumped $2 million into the race, running ads that highlighted Turner’s past attacks on Democratic Party centrists, focusing especially on her disdain for Biden, who is popular among Democrats.

Israel Asks U.S. to Pressure Palestinians to Accept Sheikh Jarrah Eviction Compromise, Haaretz
Israeli officials have asked the Biden administration to put pressure on the Palestinians to have the families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood agree to the compromise suggested Monday by Israel’s Supreme Court in a high-profile eviction case. The court suggested that the families be allowed to remain in their homes under “protected residents” status; the locals would have to pay a small rental fee to a settler group that acquired the rights to the land that once belonged to Jewish families.


Israel tightens restrictions on travelers from United States, Washington Post
The Israeli Health Ministry on Tuesday announced that it would require both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans to quarantine for a week upon arrival to Israel, as it added the United States to a growing list of “red countries” to which Israeli residents were discouraged from traveling. The regulations are slated to take effect Aug. 11.

Footage of Palestinian Boy Killed by IDF Shows Troops Fire as Car Backs Up, Haaretz
Footage of last week’s fatal shooting of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy by Israeli soldiers near the West Bank city of Hebron show soldiers open fire at the car in which the boy was riding as it was backing up. The Israeli army spokesperson’s account stated that the troops shot at the car’s tires after the driver did not heed their order to stop.

Israel reinstates COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge, Axios
Israel announced Tuesday it will tighten public health measures due to surging in COVID-19 case numbers. The latest restrictions come as Israel saw nearly 4,000 new daily cases reported on Tuesday, the highest count so far since the country began experiencing an uptick last month, the AP reports.

U.S. National Security Adviser Meets With Incoming Israeli Counterpart for First Time, Haaretz
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday met with incoming Israeli National Security Adviser Dr. Eyal Hulata for the first time since his appointment last month. According to a White House readout of the meeting, Sullivan congratulated Hulata on his new role and emphasized that he looks forward to working together to strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israel partnership.

Relentlessly hotter: Sizzling heat increasingly the norm in Israel, data shows, Times of Israel
As Israel sizzles under prolonged heat, with dry conditions that are once again sparking brushfires, data put together by number cruncher Dr. Gil David underscores the extent to which more and more scorching days in the country are becoming the norm. David, a data scientist and researcher whose blog Data Science Storytelling provides text, graphs and diagrams on a wealth of subjects including climate change, posted a graph on Monday showing the annual number of heatwave days between 1964 and 2020.

Jewish groups lead opposition to bill forcing foundations to pay out targeted donations within 15 years, JTA
Dozens of Jewish organizations are spearheading an appeal by nonprofits to stop a bill that would force the disbursement of donor-advised funds within 15 years. Jewish federations have become major clearinghouses for donor-advised funds, which allow donors to funnel charitable giving through an existing foundation to a dedicated cause. There now is no time frame for foundations to disburse the donations.

Opinion and Analysis

Why the World Is Gripped by Sheikh Jarrah, While Israelis Aren’t Really Interested, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Three months ago, 256 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, but Sheikh Jarrah – where no one has died – has remained in the news much longer. Earlier this year, two major human rights organizations published reports explaining why Israel is an apartheid state, but they failed to achieve anything close to the impact like the story of the families of Sheikh Jarrah.”

12 Minutes and 46 Seconds: When Israeli Soldiers Are Thieves in the Night, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “In any normal context, all of these would be considered acts of crime and terror, whose perpetrators must be brought to justice. But in Israel – where military rule over another people is as natural as the slavery regime was until recently, for those who profited from it, directly and indirectly – break-ins, thievery and murder are normative, the heart’s desire of proud Jewish mothers and fathers. The streets of Israel are bustling with mostly men who have spent their best years carrying out such normative crimes.”