News Roundup for December 23, 2021

December 23, 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

J Street Endorses Jessica Cisneros in TX-28 House Primary, Jewish Insider
“J Street, the left-leaning Israel advocacy group, is endorsing Jessica Cisneros in her bid to unseat Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) in Texas’s 28th Congressional District. “Jessica Cisneros is an exciting young leader who is deeply in touch with the needs of her district and with the democratic values of our movement,” Laura Birnbaum, J Street’s national political director, told Jewish Insider. “She understands the importance of diplomacy, opposes disastrous wars of choice and is committed to peace, justice and self-determination and for both Israelis and Palestinians.” J Street favors what it describes as “end-use restrictions” on U.S. aid to Israel to ensure the Jewish state uses such assistance only for “legitimate security purposes.” J Street says such restrictions differ from conditioning aid. “J Street supports ongoing U.S. security aid to Israel, and believes that there should be clear restrictions and guardrails on that aid to ensure that it cannot be used as a blank check to support policies that deepen occupation, imperil Israel’s future and trample on Palestinian rights,” Birnbaum told JI. “We’re fully confident that Cisneros’s position on this issue is aligned with J Street’s and with the overwhelming majority of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.”””

AIPAC ‘PACs’ up Money Game but Sacrifices Neutrality, The Jerusalem Post
“One AIPAC insider said the move reflects “adjusting to changing times.” One of the changes may be the growing influence of J Street. Among the first and loudest to object to AIPAC’s decision, the group’s main issue is promoting peace with the Palestinians. It is a lobby and a PAC, it openly endorses candidates and has been steadily growing at AIPAC’s expense as many friends of Israel were repelled by the organization’s close ties to Republicans, evangelicals, Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party.”

Top News and Analysis

Inside Jake Sullivan’s meetings in Israel on Iran, Axios
Four senior Israeli officials who attended meetings in Jerusalem with national security adviser Jake Sullivan tell Axios they came away reassured that the U.S. is ready to take a harder line on Iran if necessary and to take Israel’s views into account.

Meeting Biden’s Security Adviser, Abbas Urges Closer US-Palestinian Ties, The Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hosts visiting US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan for talks in Ramallah, telling him that obstacles to closer American-Palestinian ties “must be removed,” according to a statement by Abbas’s office.


Gaza’s Old Battery Pileups Pose Risk to Health, Environment, Haaretz
Gaza’s Environment Authority estimates that there are 25,000 tons of old batteries piled up at several locations across the tiny and overcrowded coastal territory. There are no recycling facilities in Gaza and a punishing blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt prevents shipping the batteries abroad for safe disposal.

Poll Finds Slim Majority of Israelis Back Bennett Meeting Palestinian Leader Abbas, The Times of Israel
A majority of Israelis are in favor of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and nearly half back direct talks with the Hamas terror group, according to a poll released Wednesday by the left-wing Geneva Initiative group.

In Israel, People Over 60 and Medical Workers Will Receive Fourth Vaccine Doses., The New York Times
Israel, which late last year was an early trailblazer in its efforts to administer a first coronavirus vaccine dose to its citizens, now plans to offer fourth doses in a bid to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, officials said on Tuesday.

Palestinian Killed by Israeli Forces After Alleged Car Attack, Al-Monitor
A young Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces in the West Bank after he allegedly attempted to run them over with his vehicle. There have been several violent incidents between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent weeks.

4,000 U.S. Jews Moved to Israel in 2021 – the Most in Nearly 50 Years, Haaretz
According to the figures, which were published jointly by the Aliyah and Integration Ministry and the Jewish Agency, an estimated 4,000 American Jews will have made aliyah by the end of this year – the largest number for a single year since 1973.

Opinion and Analysis

I Was Arrested for a Crime I Didn’t Commit. The Palestinians I Work With Suffer Far Worse, Forward
Oriel Eisner writes about his experience being falsely interrogated and arrested for drawing pro-Palestinian graffiti, writing, “This same system that so easily targeted my roommates and me with an absurd and disproportionate show of force stands by and supports routine settler attacks on Palestinians, army violence and land takeover. In the South Hebron Hills, I’ve seen this hypocrisy clearly when the army fires tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians while masked settlers ransack their villages. When armed settlers intimidate Palestinian communities in the middle of the night, the army simply leaves. When “incidents” between settlers and Palestinians take place, the police and army arrest Palestinians, ignore the complaints they file and let the settlers go home freely.”

‘The System Is Defending Police Shooters Instead of Putting Them on Trial’, 972 Mag
Oren Ziv analyzes the results of a report from Adalah, a Haifa-based Palestinian legal center, that looked into five cases of Israeli police killings of Palestinians in East Jerusalem in 2015-2016, during what was known as the “knife intifada.” The legal proceedings shine a light on the way in which the authorities treat attempted stabbing attacks by Palestinians on Israeli forces and civilians, and the justifications they offer to cover for the police’s “shoot-to-kill” policy.

Missiles Trained on Iran Won’t Revive Foundering Iran Nuclear Deal, Responsible Statecraft
Gregory Brew argues, “A military strike would do nothing to rescue the deal or deter Iran from building a bomb, if that is in fact its intent. The only way forward is through constructive dialogue.”