News Roundup for July 12, 2022

July 12, 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

Biden Needs To Address the Coming Crisis Between Israel and Palestine, The Washington Post
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “President Biden’s first official visit to Israel and the Middle East this month provides an opportunity for a vital reset of U.S. policy. Despite the collapse of Israel’s governing coalition, the trip still offers the best opportunity of Biden’s presidency to reassert the United States’ position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was upended during the Trump years.”

Progressive Pro-Israel Group Takes on AIPAC in Michigan Democratic Primary Fight, CNN
“On Wednesday, the campaign arm of J Street, a moderate “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group that advocates for a two-state solution, will kick off a $700,000 television ad campaign to boost Rep. Andy Levin, who is running against Rep. Haley Stevens for the new seat. J Street says its decision to jump into the August 2 primary was prompted by the massive outlay on Stevens’ behalf by a super PAC, United Democracy Project, affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC….AIPAC’s stepped up involvement in these races has frustrated some Democrats, most prominently from the party’s progressive wing, who have criticized the group — and some of the candidates who have benefited from its spending — over its endorsement of Republicans who voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s election after the January 6, 2021, US Capitol riot…”Democratic voters in Michigan’s 11th district deserve to know that AIPAC, a group that endorses 109 insurrectionist-aligned Republican, is funneling millions of dollars from GOP megadonors into support for Haley Stevens — targeting Andy Levin simply because he fights for the principled views and values of mainstream Democrats,” J Street Vice President of Public Affairs Kevin Rachlin said in a statement. “We’re proud to do all we can to back the candidacy of Andy Levin, a fighter for democratic values and a true champion for the pro-Israel, pro-peace beliefs that most Jewish-Americans share.”

What Happens to AIPAC’s Biggest Bet (So Far) Of 2022?, Politico
“The pro-Israel group’s super PAC, United Democracy Project, has been the fourth-biggest super PAC spender in federal elections so far this primary season, according to OpenSecrets. Those millions have generated a pretty good win-loss record in Democratic primaries. But its most expensive investment to date is the primary coming up just outside Washington, D.C., next week: UDP’s bid to stop former Rep. Donna Edwards’ comeback in Maryland’s 4th District. Edwards has faced more than $3 million in UDP attack ads so far, including some bashing her constituent service record, while the PAC has spent yet more bucking up Democratic candidate Glenn Ivey, the former prosecutor in Prince George’s County. A Washington Post profile from 2016 notes that Edwards was the first candidate elected with support from J Street, the liberal Jewish group that has often lined up opposite AIPAC in policy and political fights. J Street has supported Edwards with ads this year.”

Jewish Liberal Groups Urge Biden To Stop Eviction of Palestinians From Their Homes in Villages Near Hebron, The Forward
“Prominent liberal Jewish groups sent a letter to President Joe Biden ahead of his visit to Israel this week, urging him to intervene to stop Israel’s eviction of some 1,000 Palestinians from their homes in Masafer Yatta, an area of Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank…It is signed by the Union for Reform Judaism, New Israel Fund, Reconstructing Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Ameinu, T’ruah, Americans for Peace Now, Habonim Dror North America, Hashomer Hatzair USA, Israel Policy Forum, the Jewish Labor Committee, J Street, the National Council of Jewish Women, Partners for Progressive Israel and New York Jewish Agenda.”

Top News and Analysis

U.S. Rejected Request for Israeli Officials To Join Biden East Jerusalem Visit, Axios
The U.S. rejected an Israeli request to allow Israeli government officials to join President Biden’s upcoming visit to the Augusta Victoria Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem. Biden’s visit to the hospital is diplomatically sensitive due to the fact it is located in East Jerusalem, which most countries see as the future Palestinian capital.

Israel to Update Biden on Progress Toward Regional Anti-Iran Military Alliance, The Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday that Israel would bring Joe Biden up to speed on progress toward building a regional military alliance against Iran during the US president’s visit this week. Gantz had recently spoken of US-led efforts to establish a regional air defense pact between Israel and its Arab allies in the region, against the threat of Iranian drones and missiles.


Iran Set to Supply Russia With ‘Hundreds’ of Armed Drones, White House Says, Haaretz
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Monday that U.S. President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia could help pay dividends for U.S. interests for years to come. In a briefing at the White House, Sullivan said the U.S. believes Russia is turning to Iran to provide it with “hundreds” of unmanned aerial vehicles, including weapons-capable drones, for use in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

At Board of Governors Session, Members Demand Jewish Agency Act On Western Wall, The Times of Israel
Members of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors demanded the organization work to address the situation at the Western Wall on Monday, as anger continued to smolder after religious zealots overran several bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies at the holy site’s egalitarian section last month.

Classified Document Reveals IDF ‘Firing Zones’ Built To Give Land to Settlers, +972 Mag
A never-before-seen document reveals that Israel created “military firing zones” in the occupied West Bank as a mechanism for transferring land to settlements. Those firing zones, which on their face were established for the purpose of military training, were built as part of a larger strategy to create an “ethnic border” between Jews and Palestinians.

Pregnant Israeli Woman Lightly Hurt in Alleged West Bank Carjacking, The Times of Israel
An Israeli woman is lightly hurt in an alleged carjacking on Route 505 near the West Bank Palestinian town of Biddya, officials say. According to police, the victim told officers that a vehicle with several suspects in it stopped near her car, physically forced her out, and drove off.

Opinion and Analysis

Expanding Israeli West Bank Settlements Test U.S. Ahead of Biden Visit, Reuters
Ali Sawafta and Henriette Chacar write, “Steps away from a cluster of Palestinian tents and shacks in the northern Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, trucks worked in full force to prepare for the construction of a school for Israeli settlers. The settlement of Mehola is trying to expand, as demand has become very high, Zohar Zror, 32, a resident, told Reuters. Largely out of the public eye, Israeli settlements are growing across the occupied West Bank, raising Palestinian fears of displacement and posing a test for U.S. opposition to such building ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit this week.”

Six Things to Watch During Biden’s Trip to the Middle East, AP
Chris Megerian outlines some of the major issues that will be at play during Biden’s travels.