News Roundup for July 22, 2021

July 22, 2021

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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

What You Need To Know About The Ben & Jerry’s Israel Debate, J Street
The decision by Vermont-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s to end sales of ice cream within Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian Territory has sparked a national and international debate. With passionate arguments online, incendiary responses from senior Israeli political leaders, and the threat of possible legal action against Ben & Jerry’s over the decision by state governments in the US, let’s set the record straight on what this debate is (and isn’t) about.

Top News and Analysis

First on CNN: Ilhan Omar leads group calling for special envoy to combat Islamophobia, CNN
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is leading a group of Democratic lawmakers in calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia, as instances of anti-Muslim hate crimes continue to rise worldwide. Omar, one of three Muslims serving in Congress, is sending a letter to Blinken to make the case for why the United States needs to play a heightened role in monitoring Islamophobic incidents around the world.

Israel’s President: Ben & Jerry’s Boycott Is Part of ‘A New Form of Terrorism’, Haaretz
Newly sworn-in Isaac Herzog argues ‘terrorism tries to harm the citizens of Israel and the economy of Israel. We must oppose this boycott and terrorism in any form,’ after ice cream company vows to stop sales to settlements

White House: Antisemitism monitor to be named ‘in the coming weeks’, JTA
The White House will nominate an antisemitism monitor within weeks, a top White House official said at a Jewish Federations of North America conference on antisemitism. Melissa Rogers, the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, addressed the JFNA’s “Cabinet Activation against Antisemitism” on Tuesday, the JFNA said in a release.


Kosher grocery stores drop Ben & Jerry’s after its decision to stop selling ice cream in Palestinian territories, CNN
Several kosher grocery stores around the United States have decided to pull Ben & Jerry’s from their shelves after the company’s announcement this week that it would stop doing business with a licensee in Israel that sells ice cream in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

Scoop: U.S. won’t reopen consulate in Jerusalem until Bennett passes budget, Axios
The Biden administration has decided to hold off on reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem until after Israel’s new government passes a budget, likely in early November, Israeli, U.S. and Palestinian sources say. The decision shows how invested the Biden administration is in helping to stabilize the new Israeli government. The Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry had requested the delay.

What Ben & Jerry’s can learn from Airbnb about boycotting the West Bank, Forward
Airbnb, the travel lodging website, announced three years ago that it would remove listings in Israeli West Bank settlements, a decision that progressive activists cheered and Israel’s defenders jeered. On Monday, Ben & Jerry’s was met with the same reactions when it announced that it would stop selling its ice cream in the West Bank.

Explosion in Gaza market kills one; cause unknown, Al Jazeera
An explosion in a marketplace has rocked Gaza City, killing at least one person and wounding 10 others, according to Palestinian officials. Some of the wounded were in critical condition and were taken to the main Shifa Hospital following the explosion on Thursday in Zawiya market. It was not immediately clear what had caused the explosion.

The Order Expired, but Israel Still Refuses to Process Palestinian Requests for Family Unification, Haaretz
Palestinian families who have made requests to the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority have been told that they cannot ‘make new appointments’

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Seems to Insist on Waiting for a Climate Catastrophe, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “It seems that in Israel there is an insistence on waiting until a disaster occurs before people wake up. A review of this country’s level of preparedness for the climate crisis reveals a dismal picture.”

It’s time for the U.S. to stop selling weapons to human rights abusers, Washington Post
Elisa Epstein writes, “To put it bluntly, the Biden administration is selling weapons to at least three human rights abusers — the Philippines, Egypt and Israel— despite a pledge to make human rights central to its foreign policy.”

A Rap Song Lays Bare Israel’s Jewish-Arab Fracture — and Goes Viral, New York Times
Roger Cohen writes, “A Jew and a Palestinian sling slurs at each other, giving voice to hidden prejudice with the aim of overcoming it.”

Ben & Jerry’s Aren’t Nazis and Their Settlement Boycott Isn’t Antisemitic, Haaretz
Joshua Shanes writes, “Perhaps people will finally wake up to the fact that if they consider any actual pressure to stop the settlement project to be illegitimate and antisemitic – even the most meaningless, token gestures – that they do not actually oppose this project. They support it.”