News Roundup for August 8, 2023

August 8, 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

Letter: Netanyahu Goes Too Far, The Davis Enterprise
“We are speaking out as supporters of J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace, and pro-democracy Jewish Americans. This extreme-right Israeli government will now have an increasingly unrestricted hand to enact major appointments, dismissals and policies without fear that they could be overturned by the court. This will almost certainly include deeply harmful new acts of annexation and expropriation in the West Bank, in pursuit of a one-state nightmare of permanent occupation and exclusive sovereignty between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”

Top News and Analysis

The Biggest Lies Netanyahu Would Have Told AIPAC’s Visiting Democratic Delegation to Israel, Haaretz
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee brought a delegation of 24 Democratic members of Congress to Israel this week. With AIPAC’s help, Netanyahu was given an opportunity to tell the visiting lawmakers – including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries – that his “reform” is actually all about “strengthening democracy” and “restoring balance” between the authorities in Israel. AIPAC won’t set the record straight for them, so Haaretz will at least try to do so.

Israel to Include Gaza Americans in US Visa Waiver Pilot Next Month, Reuters
Israel plans to ease travel for Palestinian Americans from the blockaded Gaza Strip next month as part of preparations for Israelis to be able to enter the United States without visas, an Israeli official said on Monday. As a condition for its accession to the US Visa Waiver Program, Israel has since July 20 loosened access through its borders, and in and out of the occupied West Bank, for Palestinian Americans in what the allies deem a pilot period.


Israeli Forces Say 3 Palestinians Killed in Occupied West Bank, CNN
Three Palestinians have been killed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the Jenin Camp in the occupied West Bank, the IDF announced on Sunday. The IDF said that they had thwarted a “terrorist cell” in the camp.

Gaza Protests Struggle to Gain Traction as Police Crack Down, The New York Times
Security forces in the Gaza Strip prevented protesters from holding rallies across the territory on Monday, quelling a rare expression of dissent against Hamas, the authoritarian Islamist group that controls the territory.

In Latest Cut to Arab Funds, Smotrich Freezes Money for Integration in Academia, The Times of Israel
In his latest move to curtail funds for the Arab public, Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich announced on Monday the freeze of a five-year, NIS 2.5 billion ($680 million) plan for the development of East Jerusalem, citing the program’s inclusion of funds for a preparatory program for Arab students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Democrat Calls on Biden to Stop ‘Racists’ in Israeli Government from ‘Land Grab’, The Guardian
After a visit to Israel and the West Bank last month, Chris Van Hollen told the Guardian in an interview that the US president should begin by reassessing the US’s huge military aid to Israel to prevent it from being used to facilitate annexation of the West Bank and oppression of the Palestinians, including the army’s complicity in escalating settler violence against the Arab civilian population.

Opinion and Analysis

The Largest ‘Pro-Israel’ Lobby in the US is Hurting Israeli Democracy, The Times of Israel
Joel Laitman, advocacy chair of the Westchester Chapter of J Street, argues, “It is high time for AIPAC and its supporters to pause and consider the current casualty of AIPAC’s systematic stifling of any and all criticism of Israel in the US Congress: Israel’s democracy. At a time when Israelis are calling for American Jews to join them in protesting the coalition’s agenda, AIPAC and its allies should not be engaged in ensuring no US Congressperson will do so.”

Israeli Government Keeps Advancing Controversial West Bank Construction Plans, Peace Now
In its latest report, Peace Now writes, “Israel’s government is openly and knowingly working to undermine the chances of a two-state solution. ‘Ariel West’ is a misleading name for a new settlement that is being added to the unprecedented expansion of settlements in the area, which directly encroaches on the Palestinian space in the West Bank.”