News Roundup for December 12, 2022

December 12, 2022
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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

US Jews Fear Collision With Expected Israeli Government, AP
““This is a very significant crossroads,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal, pro-Israel group in Washington. “The potential for specific actions that could be taken by this government, these are the moments when the relationship between the bulk of American Jews and the state of Israel begins to really fray. So I’m very afraid.””

Biden’s Private Approach With Bibi May Not Cut It, Politico
“What’s not changing is U.S. policy toward Israel and the Middle East, per a Sunday speech by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the left-leaning pro-Israel J Street advocacy group. Blinken said the administration believes in a two-state solution based on 1967 lines and a return to the Iran nuclear deal, among other things, all likely to roil Netanyahu and his leadership team.”

With Biden Cautious on New Israeli Gov’t, Dems at J Street Ready To Take Gloves Off, The Times of Israel
“As White House takes wait-and-see attitude, Congress members addressing group’s conference blast ‘extreme right-wing’ coalition being formed by Netanyahu, liken him to Trump.”

‘Bibi Serving Same Menu as Trump’: Dems Warn About New Israeli Far-right Government, Haaretz
“Balint, the granddaughter of a Jewish Holocaust victim, cited J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami’s warnings about the election results, where he warned that they were “deeply troubling for all who care about Israel and about liberal democracy globally – for those whose core values of justice, equality and freedom are fundamentally at odds with the parties and leaders who stand on the cusp of victory.””

Paging Bibi, Politico
“Blinken said at a J Street conference Sunday that the U.S. won’t waver from its friendship with Israel even if Benjamin Netanyahu returns to power with far-right partners, per AP’s Matthew Lee. “Blinken said the Biden administration would engage with Netanyahu’s government based on its policies and not on personalities … But, Blinken also warned that the U.S. would object to policies that marginalize the Palestinians, diminish their ‘horizon for hope,’ or make a two-state resolution more difficult.””

J Street to AIPAC: ‘Pull Back’ on Political Spending and We Will Too, The Forward
“In the wake of the midterm elections and ahead of the 2024 election cycle, the head of the pro-Israel advocacy group J Street is calling on the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee to cease its political activities, calling the group’s heavy spending in partisan primaries “not productive.” J Street and AIPAC, which takes a more conservative view of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, tussled in the midterms, each spending millions in House races to boost its preferred candidate. ”

J Street Prepares for Battle as Far-right Israeli Government Takes Form, Haaretz
“The liberal Jewish group is holding its first in-person conference since COVID-19 just as Benjamin Netanyahu is forming the most right-wing government in Israel’s history. Founder Jeremy Ben-Ami warns of a ‘high-alert mode’ in Washington.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Cabinet Choice Has Criminal Convictions, Delaying a Government, The New York Times
Benjamin Netanyahu, struggling for more than a month to form a coalition government, on Friday was granted another 10 days to do so. But his hopes rest on a contentious quest: shepherding in a new law that would allow convicted criminals who have suspended jail terms to serve in his cabinet.

Palestinians: Israeli Army Kills 4 in West Bank Violence, AP
Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, the latest violence to shake the region after months of unrest. Late Thursday, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian youth near the city of Ramallah and wounded three others, the ministry said. The Israeli military said it fired at Palestinians who threw rocks and paint bottles at Israeli cars traveling on a West Bank road. “Hits were identified,” it said without providing further details. Earlier in the day, three Palestinians were killed when the Israeli military was carrying out an arrest raid in the flashpoint city of Jenin in the northern West Bank. The army said forces came under fire and then responded with live fire.


Israel Dismantles Unused Gaza Crossing To Extend Barrier, AP
Bulldozers and cranes were seen Tuesday dismantling a commercial crossing point on the eastern side of Gaza City after Israel decided to extend a security barrier at the location of the long-defunct terminal. The Karni crossing had been the largest and main import-export terminal for the Palestinian enclave, equipped with scanners and conveyor belts. But Israel shut it down when it imposed a blockade on Gaza following the militant Hamas group’s takeover in 2007.

Netanyahu Appoints Likud Lawmaker as Temporary Knesset Speaker, Haaretz
Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin nominated Likud lawmaker Yariv Levin as a temporary Knesset speaker on Monday, because he hasn’t yet decided which of the candidates from his party he prefers as permanent speaker.

Gaza Officials: Over 60 Tombs Discovered in Roman Era Burial Site, The Times of Israel
Authorities in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip announced on Sunday the discovery of over 60 tombs in an ancient burial site dating back to the Roman era. Work crews have been excavating the site since it was discovered in January during preparations for an Egyptian-funded housing project.

Opinion and Analysis

How Can American Jews Confront Israel’s Horrific New Government?, Haaretz
Eric H. Yoffie argues, “We must tell the truth, to ourselves and our religious and political allies. And the truth is that elements of this government will promote a racist, hate-filled, divisive, and vindictive view of politics and Judaism. We do not know if their view will determine Israel’s direction, but the danger is real.”

Rise of Israel’s Far Right Puts Focus Back on the West Bank Occupation, The Washington Post
Shira Rubin reports, “Even before Religious Zionism assumes office — taking on influential cabinet portfolios that will give them unprecedented control over this contested territory — their promises to set the stage for annexation are exacerbating the daily dangers and indignities of life in the occupied West Bank, residents say. Many warn that Hebron’s bloody, biblically tinged conflict, between its 800 hard-line Israeli settlers and its 200,000 Palestinians, is a test case for the future of relations between the two peoples under the next government.”