News Roundup for July 15, 2022

July 15, 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

After Stroke, John Fetterman Takes Small Steps Back Into Pa. Senate Race, The Washington Post
“[H]is campaign said, he appeared virtually at a fundraiser hosted by JStreetPAC, the political arm of the liberal pro-Israel group…That event lasted more than an hour, and he took questions from donors. JStreet spokesman Logan Bayroff confirmed Fetterman’s virtual presence at the hour-long event attended by about 100 people and that he participated in a lengthy back-and-forth exchange with donors for about 25 minutes. “He sounded good. Obviously he acknowledged that he’s on the road to recovery, but he sounded good,” Bayroff said. “We are fully aware that he’s on the road back to the trail and … we’re extremely excited and appreciative that he was back out there and made the time to meet with us.””

A Proxy Conflict Embroils Democrats Over Support for Israel, The New York Times
“After four years of Donald J. Trump’s overt efforts to peel Jewish voters away from the Democrats by pursuing policies long sought by the Israeli right, now should be a time of healing, Mr. Ben-Ami said. Instead, the interventions in Democratic primaries are “driving a wedge between communities of color, especially progressives, and the Jewish community” and “turning Israel into a political football,” he added…. “We’re about saving the space to preserve American policies that are more balanced, that push back on some of the things that are happening on the ground in Israel,” he said, adding, “AIPAC is trying to shut down the discussion and impose a political cost” on those who speak out.”

At the Races: Build Back Something?, Roll Call
“J Street Action Fund launched a $700,000 television ad campaign in Michigan’s 11th District supporting Levin’s primary against Stevens. AIPAC and United Democracy Project are supporting Stevens, in another example this cycle of pro-Israel groups taking sides in Democratic primaries.”

Top News and Analysis

Biden Meets With Israeli Leaders, With Focus on Iran and Saudi Arabia, NBC News
President Joe Biden said Thursday that he still sees a diplomatic path to ensuring Iran doesn’t obtain a nuclear weapon, a contrast to the view of Israel’s interim leader. “I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome and will continue to work with Israel to counter other threats from Iran throughout the region,” Biden said at a news conference.

Biden Backs Palestinian State, Calls for Accounting of U.S. Journalist Death, The Washington Post
President Biden devoted the last hours of his Israeli visit to restoring the ties with Palestinians severed by predecessor, visiting a Palestinian hospital Friday in East Jerusalem and crossing an Israeli military checkpoint to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. The president called for a full accounting of the May killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during an Israeli raid in the West Bank, the first time he has publicly mentioned the incident during his visit. Biden’s two events produced no progress toward renewed talks in the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But the White House did announce a range of measures meant to improve the situation at a time “when Palestinians are hurting, you can just feel,” Biden said after his meeting with Abbas.


At East Jerusalem Hospital, Biden Pledges $100 Million for Palestinian Health Care, The Times of Israel
US President Joe Biden on Friday announced an infusion of American assistance for six East Jerusalem hospitals that he said serve as “the backbone” of health care for Palestinians. During a visit to Augusta Victoria Hospital on the third day of his trip to the region, Biden said that Palestinians and Israelis “deserve equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and dignity, and access to health care when you need it is essential to living a life of dignity for all of us.”

Biden visits Church of the Nativity in West Bank, AP
President Joe Biden is visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus. Biden, a devout Roman Catholic, stopped by the church Friday after meeting with Palestinian leaders in the ancient West Bank city. He shook hands with local officials before entering the historic basilica, held sacred by Christians of all denominations.

MK Zandberg To Take Political Time Out in Latest Resignation From Left-wing Meretz, The Times of Israel
Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg announced on Friday that she was taking a break from politics and would not compete in the upcoming elections, after nine years in the Knesset.

Iran Showcases First Drone Division as Biden Rallies Support in Mideast Visit, Haaretz
Iran on Friday announced its first drone division in the Indian Ocean, state TV said, as U.S. President Joe Biden visits the Middle East to rally Arab support to counter Iranian threats. The TV report did not say how many vessels or drones were included in each unit, only that one ship carried 50 drones.

Opinion and Analysis

Biden Says He Wants a Two-State Solution. Why Is He Silent on Israeli Settlements?, Vox
Jonathan Guyer notes, “Though the Biden administration may say the right things, it appears that they’ve made a political judgment not to quibble over settlements. So you get comments like this from State Department spokesperson Jalina Porter — “Israel’s program of expanding settlements deeply damages the prospect for a two-state solution” — but no American leverage or influence to back up the criticism.”

The Significance of President Biden’s Plan to Visit a Palestinian Hospital Tomorrow, NPR
“At the Palestinian hospital where President Joe Biden plans to visit Friday, medical care is complicated by the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”