News Roundup for December 20, 2022

December 20, 2022
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J Street News Roundup

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.

Top News and Analysis

At White House Hanukkah Reception, Biden Urges Political Leaders To Speak Out Against Antisemitism, The Forward
President Joe Biden, hosting Jewish leaders at the White House for Hanukkah Monday evening, urged political and communal leaders to speak out forcefully against antisemitism and said he’s committed “to the safety of the Jewish people and the vibrancy of Jewish life.” “Silence is complicity,” Biden told the crowd. “We must not remain silent. And I made no bones about it from the very beginning: I will not be silent. America will not be silent.”


Israel’s Far-right Demands ‘Immunity for Soldiers,’ Risking Action From Hague Criminal Court, Haaretz
Israeli defense establishment officials are warning about problems they could expect from far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is working to advance legislation that would grant immunity to IDF soldiers and the Israel Police from investigations or trials for their actions during security incidents. Defense officials are concerned that such a move would make Israeli soldiers susceptible to prosecution by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Palestinians Call for Strike After Prisoner Dies of Cancer, AP
Palestinian factions called for a general strike in the occupied West Bank and urged Palestinians to confront Israeli troops on Tuesday after a Palestinian prisoner died of lung cancer. Nasser Abu Hamid, 50, a former leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, was sentenced to seven life sentences in 2002 for involvement in the deaths of seven Israelis during the second Palestinian Intifada, or uprising against Israel’s occupation in the early 2000s.

‘Ben Gvir Bill’ That Aims To Boost Political Control of Police Passes 1st Knesset Vote, The Times of Israel
A contentious bill that would expand political control over the Israel Police advances in the Knesset, clearing its first reading 63-53 after a 4.5-hour filibuster staged by the incoming opposition.

97-year-old Convicted of Complicity in 10,500 Murders at Nazi Death Camp, Haaretz
A German court on Tuesday convicted a 97-year-old woman of being an accessory to murder for her role as a secretary to the SS commander of the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp during World War II.

Opinion and Analysis

Tikun Olam vs Klal Yisrael Tribalism – A False Dichotomy, The Times of Israel
J Street Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove writes, “We [Diaspora Jews] have a right and duty to share our ideas because what Israel does has a direct impact on American Jewish identity, American Jewish pride, and American Jewish security as a minority population in the United States.”

What Connects Hanukkah and the Rise of Israel’s Religious Far Right, Haaretz
Meesh Hammer-Kossoy reflects, “With the surging power of Itamar Ben-Gvir and Israel’s radical right shaking the foundations of religious Zionist identity, mine included, we need to heed the Hanukkah story’s stark warning about the menace of militant intolerance.”

Israel’s Far Right Targets Law of Return To Restrict Jewish Immigration, The Washington Post
Shira Rubin explains, “Bezalel Smotrich, Religious Zionism’s leader, promised earlier this month to change Israel’s immigration policy, which was passed unanimously in 1950 to deliver on the promise of a Jewish homeland in the aftermath of the Holocaust…The proposed immigration restrictions have sent shock waves through the American Jewish community, which is facing an increase in antisemitic attacks and a reemergence of antisemitic rhetoric in the political and cultural mainstream.”