News Roundup for July 16, 2021

July 16, 2021

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!


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

More American Jews are calling Israel an ‘apartheid’ state, and big organizations are struggling to fight the trend, JTA
The traditional mainstream organizational focus on, and lionization of, Israel is becoming a liability and turning people away. […] “Rather than engage with young people and try to put the reality of the situation in context, and admit problems that are going on, they’ve chosen to deny that there are problems, and to attack those who raised them,” said J Street’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami. “That has resulted in polarization. Rather than engaging people who have questions and criticism, they push them away.”

Top News and Analysis

“You’re Gonna Have a F–king War”: Mark Milley’s Fight to Stop Trump from Striking Iran, The New Yorker
In the months after the election, with Trump seemingly willing to do anything to stay in power, the subject of Iran was repeatedly raised in White House meetings with the President, and Milley repeatedly argued against a strike. Trump did not want a war, the chairman believed, but he kept pushing for a missile strike in response to various provocations against U.S. interests in the region. Milley, by statute the senior military adviser to the President, was worried that Trump might set in motion a full-scale conflict that was not justified. Trump had a circle of Iran hawks around him and was close with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was also urging the Administration to act against Iran after it was clear that Trump had lost the election.

Israel Recruited the Jewish National Fund to Secretly Buy Palestinian Land for Settlers, Haaretz
Haaretz reveals details of a series of deals carried out by Himanuta, a Jewish National Fund subsidiary, in the West Bank, one of which involved the Defense Ministry. The Bakri house in Hebron, for example, was bought for settlers who had squatted there, and other deals too reflect behavior both problematic and questionable.

Israel has denied certain married couples the right to live together. Some hide. Others break up., Washington Post
For two decades, Wafa Issa has lived like a prisoner in her own home on the gritty outskirts of this ancient city. Her world is her kitchen, her six children and the stables out back where the family keeps Arabian horses. […] It’s a sacrifice Issa has made to be with her East Jerusalem-born husband, who is a legal permanent resident of Israel. As a Palestinian born in the occupied territories, she has not been entitled to join him despite their marriage. Even if her husband were a full citizen of Israel, the legal right to live with her family still would be out of reach.


U.S. point person on Israel-Palestine says PA facing dangerous economic crisis, Axios
The State Department’s point person on Israel-Palestine warned Israeli officials during his talks in Jerusalem this week that the Palestinian Authority is facing dangerous economic and political crises, three Israeli officials told me. The Palestinian Authority is going through a deep legitimacy crisis after the postponement of the parliamentary elections and the death of a political activist in the custody of Palestinian security forces.

Palestinians shaken but steadfast as PA suppresses dissent, AP
“Never in my life have I seen such brutality,” said Awawdeh, a local radio reporter who has been covering Mideast unrest for more than a decade. “The sound of people screaming inside the police station, to this day I still hear it. It echoes in my head … I can’t forget.” He was among several people who were beaten and detained at a police station on July 5, in one of the most violent incidents in weeks of protests against the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Iran Nuclear Talks Stalled While U.S. Waits for Raisi, Foreign Policy
Contrary to hopes that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, might be looking for a swift revival of the 2015 nuclear deal before the installation of Tehran’s new hard-line government next month, U.S. and European officials now believe that success or failure lies in the hands of the incoming president, Ebrahim Raisi.

With COVID Blocking Deportations, Israel Held Foreigners for Months in Jail Instead, Haaretz
Foreign nationals who are slated for deportation have been held in jail for months after agreeing to return home, largely because the number of flights from Israel fell drastically due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, there were dozens of cases last year and a handful this year in which people were kept in jail because no alternative was found.

No path forward on Iran without nuclear agreement, Murphy says, Jewish Insider
A day after some Senate leaders emerged from a classified briefing with Secretary of State Tony Blinken offering a pessimistic outlook on the chances of re-entering the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told Jewish Insider that the deal remains the U.S.’s only viable option for dealing with Iran.

Biden looks to help get Jordan-Israel ties back on track, Al Monitor
Jordan and Israel, with US backing, are looking to reset bilateral ties after more than a decade of a roller-coaster diplomatic ride that saw relations, under former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reach rock-bottom levels.

Opinion and Analysis

Jews’ Existential Dread About Antisemitism Is Deep – and It’s Warping Our Judgment, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “The hysteria of Jews who feel that the criticism of Israel on social media and in a few headlines in The New York Times is an existential crisis, is about as ridiculous the other side of the Diaspora coin – the Jews who feel that the injustice done by other Jews living thousands of miles away to the Palestinians is the core existential crisis for their Jewish identity and for humankind.”

How can Israel convince gentiles if it can’t convince Jews?, Jerusalem Post
Avi Gil writes, “The Palestinian issue is not a matter of bad public relations that a shrewd argument could overcome. It is a living reality that threatens Israel’s identity and its future.”