News Roundup for January 25, 2022

January 25, 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

J Street to Launch Independent Expenditures Arm, Politico
“Liberal pro-Israel advocacy group J Street is launching the J Street Action Fund, through which it hopes to raise $1 million to drop on independent expenditures on congressional races during the 2022 cycle. J Street is the second major pro-Israel group to unveil plans to get into the I.E. game during the midterms after AIPAC formed a PAC and super PAC to support candidates — though J Street noted that its committee had been in the works long before AIPAC’s announcement late last year. — J Street already operates a PAC called JStreetPAC, which raised and spent nearly $10 million to back congressional candidates and now-President Joe Biden in 2020, but the new independent expenditures arm will be a separate entity within the group’s existing 501(c)(4). “With American democracy itself under threat and groups to our right increasingly spending millions to push candidates towards more hawkish and conservative positions, the Action Fund will be a critical new tool of our work,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the organization’s president, in a statement, “allowing the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement to play a more involved role in key races of national importance.” — The group is also forming J Street Grassroots Action, which will send contributions to local organizations focused on grassroots organizing in key states, which for this year’s midterms include Georgia Alliance for Progress in Georgia and Living United for Change in Arizona, the sites of two key Senate races.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinians, Stores in West Bank’s Huwara, Jerusalem Post
Settlers vandalized stores, homes and vehicles along Route 60 in the West Bank Palestinian town of Huwara in a violent attack that left three Palestinians injured, the Israeli left-wing group Yesh Din reported on Monday night.

Iran Signals Willingness to Engage Directly With US on Deal, ABC News
Iran on Monday signaled a willingness to engage directly with the United States in ongoing discussions over the nuclear deal with world powers if it is necessary to reach a good agreement, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.


Internal Rifts Impair Ability to Counter Iranian, Palestinian Threats, The Times of Israel
A leading Israeli think tank presented its annual strategic survey to President Isaac Herzog on Monday, arguing that Israel’s deepening domestic rifts hamper its ability to develop an integrated, long-term approach to the major challenges it faces.

Iran Insists Prisoner Swap Not Precondition for Nuclear Deal, Al-Monitor
Iran ruled out a prisoner exchange as a precondition for a renewed nuclear agreement on Monday, a day after the United States suggested a swap would be a necessary part of any deal made with the Islamic Republic.

Israel’s Arab and Jews United in Their Fight Against a Power Plant, Haaretz
“Raz Sagi, a city council member from the Jewish Tel Aviv suburb of Rosh Ha’ayin, and Musa Abu Zaid, of the neighboring Arab town of Kafr Qasem, sit together in a small protest tent. The smell of coffee prepared on a camping stove wafts through the tent in the middle of an open field near Kafr Qasem. They have been sitting there for the past month as part of a joint effort to stop the construction of the Kesem power plant, which is slated to be built between their two communities.”

‘We’re Here to Pressure the Village’: Israeli Troops Admit Collective Punishment Policy, +972 Mag
For nearly two months, Israeli soldiers have been imposing collective punishment on the 1,000 residents of the Palestinian village of Dir Nizam, claiming it to be a response to children throwing stones at passing vehicles. On Dec. 1, 2021, the army closed all three entrances to the village, which lies to the north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, and set up a spike-strip checkpoint at the only entrance left open to traffic.

CIA Director Raised China Concerns With Israeli Prime Minister, Axios
While visiting Israel last week, CIA director Bill Burns told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett the U.S. was concerned about Chinese investments in Israel, particularly in the tech sector, and involvement in major infrastructure projects, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Opinion and Analysis

Biden’s Pledges to Palestinians—a Year of Disappointment, The Nation
James Zogby argues, ‘The new administration promised a policy based on valuing Palestinian and Israeli lives equally. That promise has not been kept.”

A Question for the Soldiers Who Abused an 80-year-old Palestinian Man, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “If I could only meet with the soldiers of the Netzah Yehuda battalion who abused 80-year-old Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad to the point of death, I would ask them just one question: What would have happened is As’ad was your grandfather? We don’t need to preach or give more educational seminars, this question is more than enough to upend their world.”