News Roundup for July 18, 2022

July 18, 2022
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

Edwards, Ivey Face off Tuesday After Tense Home Stretch in MD. Primaries, The Washington Post
“Ivey, a white-collar attorney running on his record of fighting violent crime and starting other community programs as the county’s top prosecutor from 2002 to 2011, outraised Edwards in the race, according to the latest federal campaign finance figures. He pulled in $1.2 million to Edwards’s $980,000. But that is overwhelmingly due to hefty assistance Ivey has received from AIPAC, setting up somewhat of a proxy battle between two Israel policy advocacy groups: AIPAC and the more liberal J Street, which has endorsed Edwards and come to her aid. AIPAC donors have given Ivey nearly $570,000 this cycle, making up roughly half of his total contributions, not including $150,000 Ivey loaned his campaign. And a super PAC affiliated with AIPAC, the United Democracy Project, has spent nearly $6 million on ads supporting Ivey and attacking Edwards — a major outside influence that undoubtedly impacts the race, said Justin Schall, a Maryland-based Democratic strategist who previously managed Brown’s campaign for governor. Edwards championed liberal causes ranging from Medicare-for-all to LGBTQ rights and gun violence prevention while in Congress, eventually landing a leadership role within the Democratic Caucus. When United Democracy Project’s first attack ad came out, Pelosi defended her in a videotaped message as “one of the most effective members” in Congress, while other allies like the League of Conservation Voters and J Street began placing their own ad buys to back Edwards. J Street released an ad attacking Ivey for his support and donations from AIPAC, which it pointed out has also endorsed Republicans who objected to election results on Jan. 6, 2021. Ivey’s campaign decried the ad’s attempt to link him to those Republicans and called for the ad to be taken down last week.”

Biden’s Mideast Trip Keeps America in the Game, Washington Monthly
“Palestinian officials called the Abraham Accords “a stab in the back” by Arab nations who had rejected relations with Israel until there was an Israeli-Palestinian resolution. Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and president of the pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy group J Street, told me there needs to be strong American diplomacy to bring the Palestinians into the regional integration process and to incentivize Israel to work toward a two-state solution, which even Biden admitted is unlikely “in the near term.” Ben-Ami observed that “the real state of conflict is that Israel is sitting on land that belongs to the Palestinians” and the concern that the Abraham Accords might be “a detour around the peace process and not a way toward it.” (Ben-Ami sees the agreements less as diplomatic treaties than as business agreements.) He has called for Biden to denounce the expansion of Jewish settlements, settler violence, and the mass demolition of Palestinians’ homes—all creating what the former Clinton administration official called a “creeping annexation” that will choke off the possibility of an independent Palestinian state. J Street wants Biden to take concrete steps toward Palestinian integration, a two-state solution, and equal justice for the Palestinians—including reopening the shuttered U.S. consulate in Jerusalem as a diplomatic mission for Palestinians.”

Top News and Analysis

Rockets Fired From Gaza Into Israel Hours After Biden Visit, The Washington Post
The Israeli military said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets toward southern Israel early Saturday, hours after U.S. President Joe Biden concluded a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. One of the rockets was intercepted by aerial defenses and the other fell in an open area, the military said. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Biden Tells 9 Arab Leaders: U.S. “Will Not Walk Away” From Middle East, Axios
President Biden on Saturday told nine Arab leaders at a summit in Saudi Arabia that the U.S. “will not walk away” from the Middle East and “leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran.” The visit — part of Biden’s first trip to the region since becoming president — was aimed at recalibrating ties with Saudi Arabia and bolstering U.S. influence in the region.


IDF Chief: ‘Diplomacy Can Fail,’ Attack on Iran ‘at the Center’ of IDF Preparations, The Times of Israel
Army chief Aviv Kohavi on Sunday said it was Israel’s “moral obligation” to prepare a military response against Iran’s nuclear program, hours after a senior Iranian official said his country has the ability to produce a weapon.

Biden Says the U.S. Will Work To Improve Palestinians’ Lives, NPR
President Biden reiterated his commitment to the elusive “two-state solution” — the long-sought vision in which an independent Palestinian state and Israel coexist — on Friday, as he spoke alongside Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Saudi Arabia Opens Airspace To Israeli Flights, JTA
Saudi Arabia fully opened its airspace to Israeli flights for the first time, the latest sign of the two countries’ warming relations. The country’s civil aviation authority announced the change on Friday, as President Joe Biden flew into Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a conference of Gulf states.

Iran Is Technically Capable of Producing Nuclear Bomb, Senior Official Says, Haaretz
Iran has the technical capabilities to manufacture a nuclear bomb, Kamal Kharazi, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, told Al Jazeera on Sunday, but stressed that Tehran has yet to decide whether to develop such weapons. Kharazi, who heads the leader’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, added that Iran has conducted several drills to strike deep into Israel in the event that their regional rival opted to “target our sensitive facilities.”

Opinion and Analysis

As Europe Burns, Israel Shrugs Off Extreme Heat, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial Board writes, “Israel isn’t prepared to cope with heat waves. The health system, the defense establishment and the welfare system haven’t made any changes in their work practices due to these findings. The National Emergency Management Authority – the Defense Ministry unit responsible for coordinating among all the emergency services – even announced after the report was published that it doesn’t see extreme heat waves as a grave enough threat to justify adding them to Israel’s official threat map.”