News Roundup for January 21, 2021

January 21, 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

Jewish world welcomes ‘new beginning’ as Joe Biden inaugurated as President, The Jewish News
“The Jewish world welcomed a “new beginning” on Wednesday after Donald Trump ungraciously handed over the White House to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Recent days have offered the horror of a Trump-fuelled insurrection alongside glimmers of hope such as the election of the first ever Jewish senator from Georgia. Jewish American groups such as J-Street as well as Jewish commentators and journalists all pointed to Biden saying the nation ‘must confront’ white supremacy in his inauguration speech. Several said it ‘felt significant’.”

Top News and Analysis

Biden Expected To Work To Repair U.S. Relations With Palestinian Leadership, NPR
The Trump administration dramatically shifted U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians in favor of Israel. President Biden is expected to try to repair U.S. relations with the Palestinians.

Israeli immunity hinges on Palestinians getting COVID shots too, doctors say, Times of Israel
Epidemiological interest is clear, say officials, warning that herd immunity cannot be reached otherwise, but legal experts conflicted over whether Israel is ultimately responsible.

Georgia’s new senators will write the next chapter in Black-Jewish relations, Washington Post
Jeff Melnick writes, “During their campaigns, both senators talked in detail about their desire to rekindle the historic relations of African Americans and Jews. Warnock preaches at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once pastored, and on the morning after the vote, the senator-elect made mention in an interview of King’s relationship with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched beside King. Ossoff took frequent opportunities to invoke his own connection to civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis. Both men worked hard to develop a sort of common-sense narrative about Blacks and Jews working hand-in-hand for progressive change in Georgia and — they hoped — the U.S. Senate.”


Biden ends Trump’s ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries, Al-Monitor
With the stroke of a pen, President Joe Biden has ended his predecessor’s ban on travelers entering the United States from several Middle Eastern and African nations, fulfilling a campaign pledge to dismantle policies seen as discriminatory against Muslims.

Senator Pays Tribute to Palestinian-American Aide Joining Biden Team in Historic First, Haaretz
Sen. Dick Durbin calls Reema Dodin an ‘amazing woman’ who will be a ‘tremendous asset’ to the nation. Conservative media criticized the appointment when it was first announced.

Senate confirms Biden 1st Cabinet pick as Democrats control, AP
Three new senators were sworn into office after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president’s agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges.

‘No plan, no Q, nothing’: QAnon followers reel as Biden inaugurated, Reuters
For three years, adherents of the sprawling QAnon conspiracy theory awaited a so-called Great Awakening, scouring anonymous web postings from a shadowy “Q” figure and parsing statements by former U.S. President Donald Trump, whom they believed to be their champion. On Wednesday, they grappled with a harsh reality check: Trump had left office with no mass arrests or other victories against the supposed cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophile cannibal elites, especially Democrats, he was ostensibly fighting.

‘We stood tall against the bully’: Palestinians hail end of Trump, welcome Biden, Times of Israel
“We look forward to working together for peace and stability in the region and the world,” Abbas said. The PA leader said he was ready for a “comprehensive and just peace process that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence.”

Lincoln Project founders join campaign against Netanyahu in Israel, Axios
Prime Minister Netanyahu and his main rival, Gideon Saar, will both have Republican strategists running their campaigns ahead of the elections on March 23. The competition between Netanyahu and Saar’s American advisers will be an extension of the rivalry inside the Republican Party between the pro-Trump and “never Trump” camps.

Israel Elections: Menachem Begin’s son, Bennie, runs with Gideon Sa’ar, The Jerusalem Post
Prime Ministerial candidate Gideon Sa’ar received a boost on Thursday, when former Likud minister Bennie Begin announced that he will run with Sa’ar’s New Hope Party in the March 23 election.

Police Severely Beat Palestinian Workers After Bogus Terror Attack Tip-off, Haaretz
Police severely beat two Palestinian men at a construction site in central Israel on Thursday, during a violent intervention following a terror attack tip-off.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel and Saudi Arabia set to push Biden away from the Iran nuclear deal, Responsible Statecraft
Mitchell Plitnick writes, “While Israel’s concerns are going to be deeply felt by the Biden administration, Netanyahu has done a great deal of damage to his personal relationship with the Democratic Party and his standing in the United States with his open embrace of Donald Trump and flagrant disregard of Israel’s traditional efforts at bipartisanship when dealing with the United States.”

The Lessons of the Past Point to Rejoining the Iran Deal, War on the Rock
Nicholas Miller writes, “These failures hold important lessons for U.S. nonproliferation policy today, as the incoming Biden administration aims to revive the Iran nuclear deal. That deal succeeded where previous efforts had failed precisely because it avoided the mistakes of the past. Those arguing for a ‘better deal’ or no deal at all are following the same faulty logic that led to failures of the early 2000s. The Biden administration is therefore right to attempt to rejoin the deal, in spite of the controversy this will generate at home and abroad.”

The right speech by the right man at the right time, The Forward
Jodi Rudoren writes, “At another time, from another mouth, these might have sounded like the stalest of political talking points. But after the most polarizing campaign in memory and the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol incited by a sore-loser president — coming from a guy who owes his nomination to African Americans in the South and his election to the industrial midwest — it sounded authentic. It also sounded doable.”

Why Palestinians stopped listening to their leaders at the height of a pandemic, +972 Mag
Yara Asi writes, “Few countries are also as poorly served by governance bodies at all levels — local, national, international. The Palestinian government is made up of a tangle of different and often conflicting political groups. Although Palestinian leaders have undoubtedly been stymied by their inability to control their economy, health system, and borders due to Israel’s restrictions, they have also done little to reform their institutions with the limited power and resources they do have. This has not gone unnoticed by international observers or Palestinians themselves. Just a few years after its inception, the PA already had a reputation for waste and corruption, and Palestinians were losing faith in it.”

Jon Ossoff was sworn in on my husband’s Bible, and I couldn’t be prouder, The Forward
Janice Blumberg writes, “When the results came in from Georgia’s run-off Senate races, I recited the sh’hechianu prayer, thankful to be alive to witness it.”