News Roundup for December 20, 2021

December 20, 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.

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J Street in the News

Biden Needs Tough Diplomacy to Stop Iran From Getting a Nuclear Weapon, Washington Monthly
“Military confrontation doesn’t scare an extremist regime away from developing nuclear weapons—it makes them want nuclear weapons even more to prevent such an assault from ever happening again. That’s why Logan Bayroff, vice president of communications for J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobbying group, told me diplomacy is the only way out. “There is not a military option that will solve this. What did work before was diplomacy, and it produced concessions from both sides,” he said. What’s more, Trump’s maximum pressure campaign left the moderates weaker in Iran and the world closer to war. “Doubling down on failed policies is not going to work,” he emphasized. “We need tough diplomacy.””

AIPAC Launching Super PAC Ahead of Midterms, The Hill
“J Street, the progressive pro-Israel, pro-“two-state solution” group, issued a statement Thursday calling on all pro-Israel PACs to not support candidates that question the 2020 election.”

‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Provider Lobbies Up, Politico
“It didn’t take long following American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s announcement that it would be wading into electoral politics with direct spending for the first time before the group got pulled into the quandary faced by all PAC managers since the Jan. 6 insurrection. — J Street, the liberal pro-Israel advocacy group, called on AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups to stay away from donations to the 146 Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the presidential election results in January, calling it “critical that groups representing the pro-Israel and Jewish communities do absolutely all that we can to help defend free and fair elections and democratic institutions.” — “While leaders and organizations in the pro-Israel community will of course have significant differences over questions related to American foreign policy and the US-Israel relationship, there can be no excuse for aiding and endorsing elected officials and candidates who seek to tear down American democracy itself,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, the organization’s president, said in a statement, arguing that “no amount of ‘pro-Israel’ posturing on the part of far-right politicians can be cause to justify or ignore the threat they pose to democracy, to the American Jewish community and all vulnerable minorities.” AIPAC declined to comment.””

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Defense Officials Cast Doubt on Threat to Attack Iran, The New York Times
Israel has threatened military action to destroy Iran’s nuclear program if need be. But defense officials say Israel does not have the ability, at least not anytime soon.

In Reset to Pre-Trump Norm, State Department Terrorism Report Includes Extensive Reporting on West Bank Settler Violence, JTA
The U.S. State Department has included extensive reporting on West Bank settler attacks on Palestinians in its annual terrorism report, a sign of how seriously the Biden administration is treating the phenomenon. The 2020 report on terrorist violence, released Thursday, includes three paragraphs reporting settler violence, the most it has included in years.


Trump Invokes Antisemitic Tropes While Discussing His Support for Israel, Politico
Former President Donald Trump veered into several antisemitic tropes in a recent interview, claiming that Israel used to have “absolute power over Congress” and saying that American Jews — the majority of whom vote Democratic — “either don’t like Israel or don’t care about Israel.”

Palestinian Arrested Over Suspected Stabbing Attempt Near Jerusalem’s Old City, The Times of Israel
Police on Sunday arrested a Palestinian suspected of attempting to carry out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem near the Old City’s Damascus Gate, as an Israeli bus driver was injured in a West Bank rock-throwing incident amid escalating tensions.

Israel to allow Gazan Christians into Bethlehem for Christmas, Al-Monitor
Israeli announced that about 500 permits will be available to Gaza’s 1,000 Christians to enter Israel and the West Bank for Christmas celebrations.

Settlers Attack Israeli Forces at West Bank Outpost Days After Deadly Shooting, Haaretz
The army said that about 200 settlers attempted to reach Homesh, which was evicted as part of Israel’s 2005 disengagement plan, but encountered large forces at checkpoints en route.

US-Palestinian Economic Ties Resume After 5 Years, Al-Monitor
Five years after the suspension of US-Palestinian talks on economic issues, Washington appears to be open for the resumption of economic talks. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland recently met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, inaugurating the way for talks that were suspended during the Trump administration and for the most part of the first year of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Israel Set to Expel Sheikh Jarrah Family Before the New Year, 972 Mag
Israel is preparing to forcibly expel a Palestinian family from their home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah by the end of this month. According to an eviction order handed last week to the Salem family, which comprises 11 people, the chances of thwarting the expulsion through the legal system is very low, as it is based on a final court judgment that cannot be appealed. Yonatan Yosef, a right-wing member of the Jerusalem Municipality who claims he bought the rights to the land, is set to take over the family’s home.

Opinion and Analysis

The Fallacy of ‘Shrinking the Conflict’, Jewish Chronicle
J Street leader Ivan Frank writes, “Can we as Jewish people, who recognize the value of freedom, ignore that the Palestinians are being denied the human rights which Israelis enjoy? If we ignore that struggle and allow the new Israeli zealots and the government to destroy the possibility of a two-state solution while they use reactionary excuses of the difficult history of both peoples, then we will allow the conflict to grow. Thus, we too will be responsible for ignoring the struggle for freedom for all people that represents the true values that Jewish people hold close to their hearts.”

Israeli Troops and Settlers Zero in on a New Target for Attacks: Palestinian Schools, Haaretz
“The children in this village have seen everything. They’ve seen Israeli soldiers forcibly prevent them from reaching school, and settlers who curse and beat them. They have choked on tear gas and been hit by rubber-coated metal bullets on the way to school and back. They have seen their teachers humiliated – according to testimonies, soldiers have forced teachers several times to go down on their knees in the presence of their pupils – and they have seen soldiers hurl tear-gas grenades into classrooms and schoolyards. In Lubban al-Sharqiyah, parents send their kids off in the morning without knowing in which state they will return. Indeed, the head of the local council, Yakub Iwassi, relates that he arrives at the entrance to the village every morning at 6:30 to escort the children to school and to ensure their safety and security. Although incidents of stone throwing on the highway have occurred, according to the council head, they are a thing of the past. There have been no incidents in the last two or so weeks, Iwassi adds, and he and his staff are doing whatever they can to prevent them. Recently teams of parents have volunteered to film and document the goings-on near the schools.”

‘We Are Family’: The Israelis Sharing Life and Hope With Palestinians, The Guardian
“In the plywood hut in which Palestinian Iman al-Hathalin and her family have lived since their home was bulldozed by the Israeli authorities in 2014, the warmth from a rickety samovar is welcome. Outside the only window, the winter sky is blinding white: it floods the room with an icy light and sends shadows dancing up the flimsy walls. Everyone has been ill lately, it seems, including Hathalin’s two-year-old daughter, who sleeps fitfully on her lap, and Maya Mark, her Arabic-speaking Israeli guest. “It is not exaggerating to say Maya is like my sister,” the 28-year-old said. “I was so worried when she was sick. We are family.””