News Roundup for July 12, 2021

July 12, 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

On Capitol Hill, rally-goers agree that antisemitism is un-American. But when Israel is involved, it gets complicated., JTA
“Notably absent were representatives of more left-wing groups that were asked to join but opted out of attending because some of the sponsoring groups adhere to a definition of antisemitism that encompasses harsh criticism of Israel, including the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. Groups like J Street and Americans for Peace Now oppose BDS, but object to defining it as antisemitic.”

Amid calls for Jewish unity, rally against antisemitism centers Israel, Forward
“It was the likely first major protest against domestic antisemitism held in the nation’s capital in American history, but to many it bore more resemblance to a pro-Israel rally. ‘No Fear: A Rally In Solidarity with the Jewish People’ brought more than 2,000 to the Capitol Sunday, when the temperature approached 90 degrees. Relatively few liberal and progressive Jews stood among them, though organizers billed the event as one to unify Jews from across the political and religious spectrum — as long as they were not anti-Zionist. […] Other leading liberal Jewish organizations including J Street, Bend the Arc and T’ruah also did not participate although their leadership did not specify a reason.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu vacates prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, AP
Benjamin Netanyahu and his family vacated the Israeli prime minister’s official residence early Sunday, nearly a month after the longtime leader was ousted from office with the formation of an alternate government.

U.S. Envoy Hady Amr Visits Israel and Palestinian Authority, Bloomberg
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories this week. Amr will meet with Israeli and Palestinian private sector representatives and government officials to follow up on the recent visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. He will also meet officials from the United Nations.

Israel’s high court opens the way for same-sex couples to have children via surrogacy, Washington Post
A decision by Israel’s supreme court Sunday paved the way for same-sex couples to have children through surrogacy, capping a decade-old legal battle in what activist groups hailed as a major advance for LGBTQ rights in Israel. Restrictions on surrogacy for same-sex couples and single fathers in Israel must be lifted within six months, the court ruled, giving authorities time to prepare for the change while making clear that it is a definitive one.


Why Palestinians are uniting around watermelon emoji, Washington Post
Raising the red, green, white and black Palestinian flag has historically been banned at times in Israel and today draws the ire of authorities. So the watermelon — locally grown and similarly colored — has for decades served in Palestinian iconography as a subversive stand-in. In recent weeks, the watermelon has resurged on social media, as part of what some Palestinians say are efforts to preempt or circumvent online censorship and content moderation, in the face of heightened enforcement sparked by the Israel-Hamas conflict in May and the attendant wave of grass-roots Palestinian activism.

Some Israelis are still traumatized 2 months after the deadly violence between Arabs and Jews, JTA
Given the torrent of news developments in Israel since its brief war with Hamas in May — a new prime minister and government, an unexpected resurgence of COVID-19 — the 11-day conflict might be easily forgotten. But two months on, many Israelis are suffering lingering trauma — both from the more than 4,000 rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza and the paroxysm of internal violence that the conflict sparked between Arabs and Jews inside Israel.

In Europe, Lapid tells NATO chief Israel wants to deepen ties, Times of Israel
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met in Brussels with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday, ahead of a series of bilateral talks with several of his European counterparts. Lapid expressed his desire to deepen ties with NATO and declared Israel’s readiness to support the alliance on matters of intelligence, cybersecurity, counter-terrorism, climate change, maritime security, missile defense, and civilian emergency management.

Opinion and Analysis

Defend Israeli and Palestinian human rights workers, LA Times
Daniel Sokatch writes, “If the Biden administration is serious about its commitment to a human-rights-first foreign policy, then speaking up to protect Israeli and Palestinian human rights defenders should be part of that agenda.”

Explained: Why Israel Says Yes to LGBTQ Surrogacy but No to Marriage Equality, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “For the same parity to be applied to marriage, the Knesset will first have to undertake a legislative overhaul that will divest the religious establishment of its power – a ‘politically unfeasible’ scenario”

In a Moment of Honesty, Lapid Revealed Israel’s Antidemocratic Essence, Haaretz
Carolina Landsmann writes, “Yair Lapid decided to speak honestly. ‘We shouldn’t hide the essence of the Citizenship Law,’ he said. ‘It’s one of the tools aimed at ensuring Israel’s Jewish majority.’ The moment the masks are removed is exciting. Regardless of whether it’s the reality show ‘The Masked Singer’ or the removal of political masks, it’s always exciting to see what someone’s real identity is.”