News Roundup for July 19, 2022

July 19, 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

Key Takeaways From President Biden’s Middle East Trip, J Street
J Street President and Founder Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “In short, while the President took some limited steps in the right direction, his trip was far from the visit that J Street would have advocated for. The dire state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict demands bolder action and leadership. Kicking the can down the road will come to be seen as a tragic mistake if and when the situation unravels…Unending occupation and de facto annexation without meaningful American opposition is facilitating the loss not only of hope but of the practical possibility of Palestinian statehood. The emerging one-state reality is not a solution to the conflict, as some on the right and left may theorize, but rather an accelerant for deepening despair and heightened tension and violence. It will take strong leadership — American, Israeli and Palestinian — to change course away from this emerging one-state nightmare, which undermines Israel’s future, the Palestinians’ quest for freedom and self-determination, and American interests.”

Outside Groups Spar Over Jan. 6 in Heated Democratic Primary, NBC News
“Accusations are flying on the airwaves in Michigan’s 11th District, where Democratic Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens are facing one another in the Aug. 2 primary. The two incumbents are now running against each other after Michigan’s redistricting, and a handful of outside groups are weighing in, too. One of those groups, the J Street Action Fund, is accusing another, the AIPAC-affiliated United Democracy Project, of backing Stevens while simultaneously supporting right-wing GOP representatives. “Haley Stevens is taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from a group that’s supporting 109 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election,” a narrator in the latest J Street ad says. “Even after we saw how Republicans nearly overturned the election on January 6th, Stevens keeps accepting the group’s money and support,” the narrator adds.”

Pro-Israel Hardliners Spend Millions To Transform Democratic Primaries, The Guardian
“A more liberal pro-Israel group, J Street, which calls for the US government to take a harder line with the Israeli government to end to the occupation, has backed Edwards through its Super Pac with about $700,000 in ads… “It’s alarming that a group that has endorsed some of the most rightwing extremist Republicans, with a super Pac funded in part by Republican billionaire megadonors, could go into a Democratic primary and spend and spend with the single-minded purpose of crushing a fairly popular mainstream candidate who they’ve labelled anti-Israel with no evidence, no real justification at all, for such a claim,” [a J Street spokesperson Logan] Bayroff said. “This is all about trying to drive the party back into more rightward direction on Israel and foreign policy. It’s really alarming and it’s fundamentally anti-democratic when a group can influence this process in such a way because most voters wouldn’t know where this money is coming from. I think that’s dangerous.” Bayroff said Aipac and UDP were attempting to intimidate candidates into “feeling that they cannot offer good faith criticism of Israeli policy, that they cannot vocally support Palestinian rights”. “They recognise that the political space on these issues in the Democratic party has opened up and they want to try to arrest and reverse that trend, and push us back to a place in which there’s really very little public debate or discussion about the correct American role in the region,” he said.”

What to Watch For in Tuesday’s Primary Elections in Maryland, The New York Times
“Angered by AIPAC’s meddling, the liberal pro-Israel group J Street stepped in to back Ms. Edwards with attack ads against Mr. Ivey, framing him as a high-priced Washington lobbyist.”

Top News and Analysis

Gantz, IDF Warn Settler Activists Against ‘Illegal’ Bid to Form West Bank Outposts, The Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police issued statements Tuesday warning Israelis against participating in an initiative scheduled for Wednesday that aims to establish three illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank. The Nachala Settlement Movement organization has been planning for months to create new outposts and has recruited hundreds and possibly thousands of activists to participate in this operation. According to a statement from Gantz’s office, the minister was briefed on the operation on Monday and gave instructions on Tuesday “to issue a clear message to Israeli citizens who intend to take part in the program that these are illegal activities that the security services are preparing to thwart.”

Israel Intercepts ‘Likely Hezbollah’ Drone That Crossed Over From Lebanon, Haaretz
The Israeli military downed a drone over Israel’s border with Lebanon on Monday, the military said, weeks after four Hezbollah drones were intercepted on their way to an Israeli-operated gas field near a disputed area between Israel’s and Lebanon’s territorial waters.


Tel Aviv Court Cancels Housing Lottery for Arabs Only in Jaffa, Citing Lack of Transparency, Haaretz
The Tel Aviv District Court ruled on Sunday against awarding 10 Jaffa apartments to Arab residents of the city in a government-subsidized lottery, saying that while it was advertised as open to all Jaffa residents, in practice only Arabs were considered.

Israel Sends Veiled Threat to Attorneys of Outlawed Palestinian NGOs, +972 Mag
A Defense Ministry official sent a letter to several of the lawyers representing the six Palestinian organizations that have been designated by Israel “terrorist organizations,” hinting that doing so could violate Israel’s anti-terror laws. According to the letter, the three may be in violation of Israel’s terror laws for collecting fees from the groups.

Four Charged With Murder in Burning Death of 12-year-old in Israeli Bedouin Town, Haaretz
Four residents of a Bedouin town in southern Israel were charged on Tuesday with the murder of a 12-year-old boy in a fire they had set in May. Issa Abu al-Kiyan sustained second- and third-degree burns which covered 95 percent of his body after a cellphone store in the town of Hura was set ablaze. After receiving extensive medical care, he succumbed to his wounds last week.

Unchallenged Netanyahu Cements Likud Chairmanship; Leadership Primary Formally Nixed, The Times of Israel
Continuing his longtime rule of the Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu will officially retain his chairman position going into the upcoming November 1 elections, a Likud oversight committee confirmed on Tuesday morning.

Opinion and Analysis

What This Palestinian Would Have Told Biden During His Middle East Visit, Haaretz
Ziad Abu Zayyad writes, “We, Mr. President, are a living and conscious people, who are determined to stand by their rights. We will never give in to the policies that attempt to tame us or prevent us from achieving our legitimate national rights.”