News Roundup for January 26, 2022

January 26, 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 ‘Pushes Back’ Against AIPAC by Announcing New Fund for 2022 Congressional Races, Haaretz
“The new fund, supplementing and operating separately from its “JStreetPAC,” which raised $9 million in the 2020 election cycle, will aim to shape public narratives around candidates who maintain both pro-Israel and pro-peace positions, according to the group’s criteria, allowing it greater flexibility to back candidates facing attacks in both Democratic primaries and the general election. J Street’s independent expenditure arm will be joined by a further grassroots action fund, marking a significant expansion in the lobby group’s operations.”

Middle East Hawks Are Calling for Another Dangerous Showdown in Order to Sink the Iran Deal for Good, Business Insider
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “Diplomacy has proven to be the only effective way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and to avoid war. With luck, the coming weeks will bring success in the current negotiations. But whatever the outcome of talks in Vienna, the clearest lesson of American policy disasters in the Middle East in the past generation is that we must not listen to the same hawkish voices urging conflict and pressure and instead rally strongly behind diplomacy and peace.”

J Street Launches New “Action Fund” For Independent Expenditures in Key Congressional Races, J Street
“J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, announced today that it is launching a new J Street Action Fund that will aim to raise $1 million for targeted independent expenditures in key Congressional races in the 2022 cycle. The Action Fund will complement the work of JStreetPAC, a conduit PAC which raised over $7 million for 197 endorsed Congressional candidates and $2 million for the Biden-Harris campaign in the 2020 election cycle.”

Top News and Analysis

Army Should’ve Arrested Huwara Rioters, Knesset Law Committee Chair Said, Jerusalem Post
The army should have arrested the Israelis who rioted against Palestinians in the West Bank town of Huwara, Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman Gilad Kariv (Labor) said Tuesday.

Top PA Official Says His Meeting With Lapid Was ‘Positive,’ Will Have Follow-Ups, Times of Israel
Senior Palestinian Authority official Hussein al-Sheikh tells Israel’s Walla news site that his meeting this week with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was positive and “opened the door” to expanding diplomatic talks, adding that they agreed to hold follow-up meetings.


At a West Bank Outpost, Israeli Settlers Flaunt Their Power, AP
That Israeli authorities have not cleared Homesh — which under Israeli law is blatantly illegal — makes it nearly impossible to imagine the removal of any of Israel’s 130 officially authorized settlements as part of any future peace deal. Nearly 500,000 settlers now live in those settlements, as well as dozens of unauthorized outposts like Homesh. The Palestinians view the settlements as the main obstacle to any two-state solution to the century-old conflict, and most countries view them as a violation of international law. But in an increasingly hawkish Israel, the settlers enjoy wide support.

Israel To Destroy Khan Al-ahmar Hamlet, Rebuild It 300 Meters Away, Times of Israel
The West Bank Bedouin hamlet of Khan al-Ahmar is to soon be evacuated and rebuilt 300 meters (328 yards) away, in a potential solution to a longstanding impasse that has involved intense international pressure not to raze the village, according to a Tuesday report.

Wave of Political Detentions, Pursuit of Activists in West Bank, Al-Monitor
The Palestinian Authority is continuing its crackdown against activist and opposition voices despite condemnation by rights groups.

IDF, Police Bust Gun-Running Operation on Jordanian Border, Seize 53 Firearms, Times of Israel
Israeli security forces arrested four people suspected of smuggling guns into Israel from Jordan Tuesday, confiscating dozens of firearms in the process, the military and police said.

Israel Says It Hopes for Ties With Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, but No Deals Imminent, Reuters
Israel’s top diplomat said on Tuesday it hopes to build on its 2020 U.S.-brokered accords with four Muslim nations and establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, but such deals would take time.

Opinion and Analysis

The New Hasbara Campaign Israel Doesn’t Want You To Know About, +972 Mag
Itamar Benzaquen reports with independent media watchdog The Seventh Eye about “Israel’s relaunching [of] a heavily-funded plan to disguise its own propaganda behind the façade of ‘foreign agents.’”

‘Tantura’: An Explosive New Israeli Documentary Is Prompting Calls to Excavate a Possible Palestinian Mass Grave, JTA
“What really happened near a beach in Israel in 1948? The question, once debated in a 20-year-old libel suit that served as a microcosm for the battle over Israel’s historical record, reentered the public consciousness this week. Entities including the Palestinian Authority and the editorial board of Haaretz have begun calling for a commission to excavate land near Mount Carmel in search of an alleged mass grave site in which perhaps 300 Palestinians may be buried. The renewed attention is due to an explosive new documentary, “Tantura,” directed by Israeli filmmaker Alon Schwarz, which premiered virtually Jan. 20 at the Sundance Film Festival. In the film, Schwarz interviews several Israeli veterans who, in the country’s 1948 war for independence, served in the Alexandroni Brigade, a regiment that forcibly displaced Arab residents of the village of Tantura following the formal conclusion of the war in order to build Dor Beach and the neighboring Kibbutz Nahsholim.”

‘As a Rabbi, I Have to Raise My Voice’: The Jewish Values Guiding Rabbis for Human Rights, J Street
The latest piece in J Street’s Our Israel series features, Rabbis for Human Rights, an Israeli organization working throughout Israel and the Occupied Territory to monitor human rights violations, to support social and economic justice, and to promote education and interfaith dialogue. The organization was founded over 30 years ago in response to the violation of Palestinian human rights taking place in the Occupied Territories and has since expanded to include a number of different initiatives throughout Israel and Palestine to advance human rights for all.