News Roundup for February 11, 2022

February 11, 2022
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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

Donna Edwards Steps Back Into the Fray, Jewish Insider
“When she ran for the seat in 2008, Edwards was one of the first candidates ever endorsed by J Street. “The interesting thing for Donna is that she was ahead of her time,“ J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami told JI last week. “She’s been someone who really typifies what it means to be pro-Israel, and at the same time to have a very, very clear set of critiques about what the government and the policies of the [Israeli] government are.” J Street has not yet made an endorsement in the race, as the organization is still talking to all the candidates. But Ben-Ami called Edwards’s positions on Israel-related issues “rock solid.” Ben-Ami argued that Edwards’ positions are reflective of where the Democratic Party now stands on foreign policy. ”The majority of the party is where Donna is at, and the majority of American Jews are where Donna is at — and that is supportive of Israel, but very, very concerned and critical of what’s happening vis-a-vis the Palestinians,” he noted. ”Now you see races where people who hold the positions that Donna Edwards holds are facing a real stiff assault from the traditional establishment of the Jewish community, but they’re fighting the tide.””

Democrats Clash as Iran Talks Enter Crunch Time, Haaretz
“Unless INARA has a clause that says less than one-third of a chamber can veto an already-reviewed agreement, this preemptive strike against JCPOA return has failed,” said J Street Senior Vice President Dylan Williams. “Even if INARA did apply to JCPOA return – which it doesn’t – it’d take more than twice as many senators to sink the deal.”

Top News and Analysis

Death of Elderly Palestinian Calls Attention To Notorious IDF Unit, Al-Monitor
The incident has brought the world’s attention to the soldiers who detained Asaad. All of them are part of Netzach Yehudah, an ultra-Orthodox unit that operates in the West Bank. Over the years, there have been many reports of incidents involving unruly behavior by this battalion, some of them investigated by the military police. There are now calls to dissolve the battalion entirely, with claims that it functions like an independent militia within the IDF.


Israel Won’t Build Settlements That’ll Prevent Two-states – Lapid, Jerusalem Post
Israel won’t engage in settlement activity that would harm the two-state solution, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said as the state has advanced plans to authorize a yeshiva on the West Bank Evyatar hilltop over 26 km. beyond the pre-1967 lines.

Pegasus Scandal: NSO Threatens to Sue Israeli Newspaper, Haaretz
NSO Group sent a warning letter on Thursday to the Israeli financial daily Calcalist over the daily’s latest report into the use of the company’s Pegasus spyware.

Turkish Media: Iranian Cell Caught While Plotting To Assassinate Israeli in Istanbul, Times of Israel
Turkish intelligence thwarted an Iranian plan to assassinate an Israeli businessman in the country, according to unconfirmed reports in Turkish media Friday.

Israel Indicts Three Palestinians in Settler’s Murder Near Flashpoint Outpost, Haaretz
A military court filed indictments against three Palestinians on Thursday for the murder of Yehuda Dimentman in December near the evacuated West Bank settlement outpost of Homesh.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump’s Iran Failures Left Biden With No Choice But to Make a Deal, Time
United States Senator Chris Murphy writes, “In the Middle East, those whose criticism of Obama’s deal was the loudest in 2015 are now cheerleading its restart. Those that live closest to Iran have seen how dangerous its behavior has become since Trump pulled out, and they know the region is safer if Iran is farther away from a nuclear weapon than it is today. Biden and his team should do whatever is necessary to get a good deal back in place.”

The Biden-Bennett Honeymoon, Foreign Affairs
Amir Tibon reports, “In January, Israeli officials told me, the White House made it clear to Israel that provocative steps on the ground, particularly the recurring violence against Palestinian citizens by Israeli settlers, could drag Biden into an arena he would rather avoid. This is an important message that hasn’t been fully internalized by all the players in Bennett’s diverse coalition government, as evident by the unveiling in late January of a plan to construct a new settlement in the heart of the West Bank. Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, sent a letter to Bennett—which quickly leaked to the press—warning that if the plan was approved, it would cause a major crisis with the Biden administration. A source close to Lapid told me that the foreign minister is concerned that Bennett is “testing the president’s patience on this, in the wrong way.””