News Roundup for December 9, 2021

December 9, 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

The ball’s in Alex Lasry’s court in Wisconsin, Jewish Insider
“J Street, the left-leaning Israel advocacy group, is supporting Lasry in the race, along with Barnes, Godlewski and Nelson. The organization, which has yet to engage in other primaries, designated the four candidates as “primary-approved,” allowing them to solicit donations through its membership network, according to Laura Birnbaum, J Street’s national political director. In an interview with JI on Monday, Birnbaum noted there are “variations” between the candidates, who were asked to submit Israel position papers as part of the approval process, “in terms of policy issues.” But she said they were all broadly in agreement with J Street on basic goals such as supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and opposing settlement expansion in the West Bank. “We’re really encouraged that we can support so many folks in this race,” she said.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel opposed the Iran nuclear deal, but former Israeli officials increasingly say U.S. pullout was a mistake, The Washington Post
A growing number of former Israeli security officials are publicly faulting their government for opposing a nuclear deal negotiated in 2015 between Iran and world powers, and warning that economic sanctions on Iran are not deterring it from dangerously advancing its nuclear program.

Report: Israel to launch major exercise this spring simulating strike on Iran, The Times of Israel
The Israel Defense Forces will hold a large-scale exercise over the Mediterranean in the spring with dozens of aircraft simulating a strike against Iran’s nuclear program, according to a report Wednesday.

New Israeli Government’s Scorecard for Peace: Poor., The Century Foundation
Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “So far, Bennett’s government has dug into the most enduring policies designed to expand settlements, perpetuate Israeli control, and dismantle the territorial basis for a future Palestinian state. To support these goals, Bennett has sought to head off international pressure, while downplaying or deflecting Israeli actions—tactics that have been honed over decades.”


Erdogan: Israel Ties Could Be Fixed if It Displays ‘Sensitivity’ Toward Palestinians, Haaretz
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is open to improved relations with Israel, but the country must first display “more sensitive” policies toward Palestinians.

Tense talks on Iran’s nuclear program to resume Thursday in Vienna, AP News
The European diplomat chairing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers says negotiations in Vienna will resume Thursday.

Ancient Gaza monastery restored by unemployed young Palestinians, Al-Monitor
For the third year in a row, a Palestinian team under French supervision works on the restoration of St. Hilarion Monastery in Gaza’s Nuseirat refugee camp.

Israel’s Education Ministry Consulting With Controversial Right-wing Think Tank, Haaretz
Israel’s Education Ministry invited a controversial right-wing think tank to provide consultation at a policy meeting, drawing criticism from ministry officials because of the unusual amount of influence given to a partisan organization.

Opinion and Analysis

Why US lawmakers should witness the Israeli occupation firsthand, 972 Mag
Nasser Nawaja notes the impact a recent trip led by J Street, reflecting, “Currently, most of our water cisterns are located in a “security buffer zone” that we cannot access. We are thus forced to buy water at five times the price, while Israelis living in settlements enjoy the same privileges as if they were living in the heart of Tel Aviv. Last month, U.S. Congressmen Jamaal Bowman and Mark Pocan, together with their colleagues, visited Susiya and witnessed these injustices, too. I stood with them in our playground, which on the previous Shabbat had been invaded by settlers who were escorted and protected by the Israeli army.”

Why Settlers Are Quietly Happy With Israel’s post-Netanyahu Government, Haaretz
“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett used to be a critic of his predecessor’s policy on settlement building, but is now following in Netanyahu’s footsteps. Settler leaders are content to see the status quo being maintained.”