News Roundup for December 7, 2021

December 7, 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.

J Street in the News

What AIPAC Is Telling Congress on Biden’s Iran Negotiations, Haaretz
“American Jews have largely indicated their support for the deal and President Joe Biden’s handling of relations with Iran. Recent GBAO polling commissioned by J Street – AIPAC’s foil within the U.S. Jewish community concerning Iran – found that 69 percent of American Jews support reentry to the deal and 65 percent support continued diplomatic efforts. ‘It’s a recognition that the prior agreement was working and the position of the majority of Jews from 2013-2015 was proven correct,’ says J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. ‘The position that AIPAC and [then-Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the Trump administration took was proven wrong. It’s not just what we think, it’s now a matter of historical fact that the JCPOA worked and Iran was further away from the possibility of developing a nuclear weapon.’ He adds: ‘It’s a matter of fact that there’s only one way to constrain and put an end to this potential threat – and that’s through diplomacy and through agreement. The idea that some magical form of maximum pressure or saber-rattling is going to work doesn’t work. We’re right back at it trying to repair the damage that they caused. And they’re acting like amnesiacs with an ahistorical context, fact free.’”

Islamophobia and anti-Semitism controversies dominate Congress. Diplomacy, not so much., Politico
“‘The far right of the Republican Party is moving away from two states,’ said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the pro-Israel group J Street. ‘And 98 percent of Democrats remain wedded to the concept that the only way out of this conflict is through diplomacy and two states.’ Ben-Ami added pointedly that it’s often the 2 percent that get the most attention. It was J Street — founded as a more liberal alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee but which is now squarely in the mainstream of the party — that Bowman, a newer Squad member, raised progressive hackles for praising.”

If You Back a Two-State Solution, You Should Back US Action to Make It Possible, J Street
J Street’s Logan Bayroff writes, “For the overwhelming majority of Democratic elected officials and American Jewish, pro-Israel advocacy groups, however, the most important question isn’t whether you say that you support a two-state solution. The fundamental question is — what do you believe the United States should be doing to help make it possible, and to push back against harmful policies that deliberately undermine the chances for Israel-Palestinian peace and Palestinian statehood?”

Top News and Analysis

Israel delays major settlement plan for East Jerusalem, Reuters
An Israeli state planning committee on Monday delayed granting further approval of a major settlement project in East Jerusalem that has drawn U.S. and Palestinian concern.

Lapid set to visit Cairo for talks with Egyptian counterpart, The Times of Israel
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is slated to visit Cairo this week, his spokesman confirmed Monday, the latest in a series of high-level contacts between Israel and Egypt.


Palestinian Authority Says Would Cut Wages Amid Prisoner, Tax Dispute With Israel, Haaretz
The Palestinian Authority said on Monday it would cut wages paid to its employees in response to a cash crunch exacerbated by a renewed dispute with Israel over payments it makes to Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Israel orders high alert at all West Bank crossings after overnight ramming, The Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered checkpoints across the West Bank to go on high alert on Monday following a ramming attack earlier in the morning in which a security guard was seriously wounded, his office said.

Israeli left opposes Omicron phone tracking, Al-Monitor
After being criticized by human rights groups, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz has stopped the Shin Bet’s tracking of Omicron-infected Israelis.

Israel announces completion of Gaza barrier to end attack tunnel threat, The Times of Israel
The Israeli defense establishment has completed the 65-kilometer upgraded barrier with the Gaza Strip, three years and over a dozen rounds of violent conflict after work began.

Opinion and Analysis

Top Israeli military officials say Trump’s Iran deal exit was a ‘mistake,’ bad for Israel, Responsible Statecraft
Mitchell Plitnick explores many of the voices in the Israeli security establishment that are emerging to support revival of the JCPOA.

The Temple Mount movement is soaring under Israel’s new government, 972 Mag
For much of the past decade, religious Jews have been trickling onto the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in the Old City of Jerusalem — considered the holiest side in Judaism and one of the holiest in Islam — in violation of a fragile, decades-long “status quo” at the compound. Yet over the past few months, and particularly since the establishment of the Bennett-Lapid government, the number of Jews who have entered the compound has reportedly grown dramatically. According to statistics published by Yaraeh, an Israeli organization that promotes Jewish entry to and prayer on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, around 10,000 Jews have entered the compound over the past three months — a 35 percent increase compared to previous years.