News Roundup for December 21, 2021

December 21, 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

Tom Nelson Wants to Bridge Wisconsin’s Rural-Urban Divide, Jewish Insider
Nelson is among four candidates in the Wisconsin primary who have earned endorsements from J Street, the left-leaning Israel advocacy group — Barnes, Lasry and Godlewski have also gotten the group’s backing. He says his positions on Middle East foreign policy issues are “pretty consistent with” J Street. Notably, Nelson says he is in favor of a new policy objective for which J Street has only recently begun advocating. He supports “end-use restrictions” on U.S. aid to Israel that would ensure the Jewish state uses such assistance only for “legitimate security purposes,” as J Street has put it. Nelson is the only Wisconsin Senate candidate among those backed by J Street to explicitly support end-use restrictions, which the group distinguishes from conditioning aid to Israel.

Top News and Analysis

Ex-Israeli Intel Chief Admits Role in Assassination of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani, Haaretz
Israel played a role in the assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in an U.S drone strike near Baghdad in January 2020, the former head of Israeli military intelligence has stated.

Future Uncertain for US Palestinian Affairs Consulate in Jerusalem, Al-Monitor
The Biden administration has effectively shelved its efforts to reopen a consulate for Palestinian affairs in Jerusalem, according to Dec. 15 press reports citing unnamed senior American officials. The administration has not confirmed the news. The facility was closed by the Trump administration 2019.


Dispute Over Connecting Unrecognized Arab Homes to Electricity Threatens Israeli Coalition, Haaretz
A bill that would enable predominantly Arab homes built without permits to be connected to the electrical grid has sparked a fierce disagreement between the United Arab List and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, threatening the stability of Israel’s governing coalition.

Israel Bans Travel to the United States and Canada Amid Omicron Fears, The Washington Post
Israel on Monday barred travel to 10 new countries, including the United States, Canada and Germany, as its total number of omicron cases reached 175 and the prime minister warned that the fifth wave of the coronavirus had already arrived.

IDF Begins Allowing Troops to Shoot at Fleeing Rock-Throwers, The Times of Israel
The Israeli military has revised its open-fire policies for the West Bank, officially allowing troops to shoot at Palestinians who had thrown rocks or firebombs at cars, even if the assailants no longer present an immediate threat.

Jordan: Palestinian Refugees Struggle Amid UNRWA Funding Cuts, Al Jazeera
Descendants of Palestinian refugees from Gaza live in Jordan without citizenship or rights, relying on UN refugee agency.

Biden Adviser Jake Sullivan to Visit Israel for Iran Talks, Reuters
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan will visit Israel this week for detailed discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Iran’s nuclear program, a senior Biden administration official said on Monday.

Opinion and Analysis

How Israel Expelled Me, a German Ph.D. Student, for Something I Had No Intention of Doing, Haaretz
Sarah Rueller, a 28 year old Ph.D. student, tells her story of being denied entry to Israel. She writes, “Reflecting on the incident now, I try to put what happened to us into perspective. What grounds was this decision based on? We weren’t trying to illegally immigrate; our flights back to Germany were booked for December 14. Neither were we planning to take part in human rights demonstrations. But, even if that had been our plan, would that be reprehensible in a democratic country? Not having an airport or control over the borders of their territory, the Palestinians are dependent on the Israeli entry regulations. It’s the Israelis, not the Palestinians, who get to decide who is allowed to visit Palestinians or not, who gets to collaborate with Palestinian universities or not. In our case, meeting with our Palestinian research partners was denied, based on absurd reasons.”

I Once Headed the Iran Branch of Israel’s Military Intelligence Research. Here’s Why Israel Can’t Take Out Iran’s Nuclear Program., Atlantic Council
Former Head of Military Intelligence research, Danny Citrinowicz, writes, “For Israel, there are no good options, only bad ones. This resulted from adopting a failed Iran policy pushed by the Benjamin Netanyahu government and Donald Trump administration under false pretenses. Subsequently, Israel carried out the policy and other actions—e.g. sabotaging nuclear facilities and assassinating scientists—that only pushed Iran to move forward with its plans at a more rapid rate instead of delaying the country’s nuclear program.”

Threatening War With Iran Won’t Save the Nuclear Deal, Responsible Statecraft
Trita Parsi argues, “Rather than being the solution to the crisis, the military threat the U.S. poses to Iran is a key reason why the Iranian nuclear program has expanded. The more a country is faced with military threats, the more it will demand a nuclear deterrence. Donald Trump’s military threats and broad economic sanctions are precisely why we are in this mess right now. To believe that more Trumpian conduct by the United States will break the nuclear deadlock bewilders the mind.”