News Roundup for February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

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J Street News Roundup

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

House Votes To Remove Omar From Foreign Affairs Panel As Democrats Cry Hypocrisy and ‘Racism’, Roll Call
“Over Democratic cries of hypocrisy and “revenge”-seeking, House Republicans on Thursday stripped one of the chamber’s few Muslim female lawmakers of a coveted committee assignment, arguing some past comments she uttered were laced with antisemitism…“As Jewish American organizations, we oppose Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s pledge to strip Rep. Ilhan Omar of her House Foreign Affairs Committee seat based on false accusations that she is antisemitic or anti-Israel,” J Street, New Israel Fund, Bend the Arc and other groups said in a statement. “We may not agree with some of Congresswoman Omar’s opinions, but we categorically reject the suggestion that any of her policy positions or statements merit disqualification from her role on the committee.” The Jewish groups also charged McCarthy with acting in a hypocritical manner, given the fact he and some of his own top deputies have also spread antisemitic tropes.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli AG Says Judicial Overhaul ‘Severely Harms’ Israel’s Checks and Balances, Haaretz
Israel’s Attorney General said Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the judicial system will cause “severe harm” to the checks and balances between the branches of government in an official opinion issued on Thursday, warning that the proposals might amount to a regime change.

Israel and Sudan Agree to Revive Peace Deal, The Wall Street Journal
Israel and Sudan agreed to sign a peace agreement later this year, after earlier attempts by the African nation to normalize relations with Israel failed, Israel’s foreign minister said Thursday.  Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Thursday, where he met with the president of the Transitional Sovereign Council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and other senior Sudanese officials, his office said in a statement. With U.S. mediation, the two sides agreed to the terms of a peace deal and planned to hold a signing ceremony in Washington in a few month’s time, after Sudan establishes a civilian government, the Israeli statement said.


Macron Raises Alarm over ‘Headlong’ Iran Nuclear Rush in Meeting with Netanyahu, The Times of Israel
French President Emmanuel Macron blasted Iran’s “headlong rush” to develop its nuclear program Thursday following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Élysée Palace. The premier urged France to back enhanced sanctions against Iran and to increase deterrence against the Islamic Republic and its proxies during talks with Macron.

House Ousts Ilhan Omar From Foreign Affairs Panel as G.O.P. Exacts Revenge, The New York Times
A bitterly divided House on Thursday ousted Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the Foreign Affairs Committee over past comments about Israel that were widely condemned as antisemitic, as Republicans moved to cater to the demands of right-wing members and mete out punishment to a Democrat their party has demonized for years.

Man Who Firebombed New Jersey Synagogue Sunday Arrested, The Jerusalem Post
A man who threw Molotov cocktails at a New Jersey synagogue was arrested on Wednesday for his part in the attack, federal prosecutors announced. Nicholas Malindretos, 26, was arrested after police tracked the car’s license plate used in the Sunday morning attack. Police found the clothing used in the attack in the car, thus linking him to the incident.

Israel Probes Legality of US Giving Artifact to Palestinians, AP
An ivory spoon dating back 2,700 years that was recently repatriated to the Palestinian Authority from the United States has sparked a dispute with Israel’s new far-right government over the cultural heritage in the occupied West Bank. The clash brings into focus the political sensitivities surrounding archaeology in the Middle East, where Israelis and Palestinians each use ancient artifacts to support their claims over the land.

Extremist Israeli Group Halts Fund-Raising Effort in US, The Washington Post
An Israeli group that assists Jewish prisoners convicted in some of the country’s most notorious hate crimes has halted its fund-raising efforts through a U.S.-based Jewish charity following an investigation by The Associated Press and the Israeli nonprofit news organization Shomrim. The fund-raising through the Lakewood, New Jersey-based World of Tzedaka had allowed American donors to make tax-exempt contributions to the hard-line Israeli group, and suggested that Israel’s far right was making new inroads into the U.S.

Opinion and Analysis

American Jewish Donors: Use Your Influence Now. Confront Israel’s Radical Government, Haaretz
Ron Gerlitz, the CEO of aChord, writes, “Jewish philanthropy and Jewish leadership in North America and elsewhere must speak out forcefully against the takeover of official centers of power by ultra-racist forces in Israeli society. Despite the unfamiliarity and the discomfort, keeping quiet now will function as appeasement.”

What to Expect When the Palestinian Authority Collapses, The Times of Israel
Bishara Bahbah outlines what he believes will be the ramifications should the Palestinian Authority collapse.

We Are Liberal American Zionists. We Stand With Israel’s Protesters., The Washington Post
Paul Berman, Martin Peretz, Michael Walzer and Leon Wieseltier reflect, “The political crisis in Israel, which has brought enormous crowds into the streets protesting the new far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has become a crisis for us, too, and for people like us. We are American liberals and liberal Zionists who have always supported Israel and have always regarded American support for Israel as a point of patriotic pride.”