News Roundup for July 23, 2021

July 23, 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

Now that we’re rid of Trump and Bibi, what’s next?, Times of Israel
J Street’s Nadav Tamir writes, “Yes, even left-wing malcontents are sometimes allowed a sigh of relief and sense of pleasure in the return of sanity to our government. But we cannot rest on our laurels because the dramatic political improvement does not resolve the greatest threat to the State of Israel — the Palestinian issue.”

Top News and Analysis

UN rights body names panel to probe Israel, Palestinians, AP
The U.N.’s former top human rights official will be part of a new permanent panel investigating abuses in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, the U.N. Human Rights Council said Thursday. The chairperson of the 47-member Human Rights Council appointed Navi Pillay, a former South African judge, to lead a commission of inquiry established following the 11-day conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas in May.

Israeli panel to review potential misuse of NSO spyware around world, Times of Israel
Israel has established a committee to review allegations that NSO Group’s controversial Pegasus phone surveillance software was misused, the head of Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said Thursday. […] Pegasus has been implicated in possible mass surveillance of journalists, human rights defenders and 14 heads of state, whose phone numbers were among some 50,000 potential surveillance targets on a list leaked to rights group Amnesty International and Paris-based Forbidden Stories.

What the Ben & Jerry’s Decision Reveals About Israel, The Atlantic
Yasmeen Serhan writes, “That an ice-cream maker could cause such an uproar at the highest levels of Israeli politics says a lot about how sensitive Israel is to the very notion of boycotts against it—even those that, like Ben & Jerry’s, are limited in scope. More fundamentally, the dustup reveals a growing divergence between how the world sees Israel and how the country sees itself. While the international community, including the United States, continues to distinguish between Israel and the territories it occupies, the reaction to the Ben & Jerry’s decision has shown that, as far as many Israeli politicians are concerned, that distinction no longer exists.”


‘When I Fight With My Husband, I Have Nowhere to Go’, Haaretz
Once every three weeks, for over half a year, dozens of women, men and children gather for protest vigils in the West Bank city of El Bireh, under the slogan “Family reunification: my right.” […] These protesters are not asking to live in East Jerusalem or a town within Israel’s recognized borders. All they dream of and want is to receive the status of permanent residency in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, where they have already lived for many years as the spouses or parents of a person who holds a Palestinian identity card.

Bennett: Vaccine refusers are endangering the entire country, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issued a fresh appeal on Thursday for all Israelis to get the coronavirus vaccine, accusing those eligible to get vaccinated who have not done so of endangering the rest of the country. In a primetime television address from Tel Aviv, Bennett said the government’s aim is to allow Israelis to go about their lives unimpeded and not to reimpose COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Israel granted official observer status at the African Union, Al Jazeera
After nearly 20 years of diplomatic efforts, Israel has attained observer status at the African Union (AU). Making the move official, Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia, Burundi and Chad Aleli Admasu on Thursday presented his credentials to Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, at the bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Israel Seeking U.S. Help in Fight Against Polish Holocaust Restitution Bill, Haaretz
Israel has asked U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to support its effort against legislation in Poland that would restrict restitution claims by Holocaust survivors and their families for property stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Opinion and Analysis

Why Israel is more concerned about Ben & Jerry’s than the Pegasus revelations, The Guardian
Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “The pioneers of cyber-technology are often graduates of military hi-tech surveillance units. NSO and the ice cream boycott are not strange bedfellows – they’re inseparable. Israel’s symbolic self-image as the earnest victim that can programme its way out of politics is the real illusion.”

The phoniness of opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement, Responsible Statecraft
Paul Pillar writes, “Arguments against the JCPOA only become comprehensible only when one understands that nuclear nonproliferation is not their goal.”