News Roundup for July 26, 2021

July 26, 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

Power Up: Progressive Pro-Israel groups come out in support of Ben & Jerry’s, Washington Post
“A group of progressive, pro-Israel Jewish groups are issuing a letter to U.S. governors today in support of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after the iconic Vermont-based company announced last week it would discontinue sales of its ice cream in ‘occupied Palestinian Territory.’ […] Signatories of the letter by eight groups including J Street, the New Israel Fund, and Americans for Peace Now condemn ‘legal action against Ben & Jerry’s or its parent company Unilever in response to its decision to no longer sell ice cream in occupied Palestinian territory.’”

The ice cream (meltdown) threat, Times of Israel
J Street’s Nadav Tamir writes, “I thought, naively, that having got rid of Netanyahu, we would also be rid of his tendency to stir up panic over imagined or exaggerated threats to Israel in order to divert attention from the real challenges facing our country. Sadly, the response by the ‘government of change’ to the Ben & Jerry boycott of the settlements illustrates that the toxic influence of ‘Bibism’ on public opinion remains.”

Top News and Analysis

With Israeli-Palestinian Peace Fund, Congress Signals U.S. Hasn’t Given Up Yet, Haaretz
In December 2020, Congress passed a landmark piece of legislation providing $250 million over five years to expand ‘people-to-people’ Israeli and Palestinian grassroots programs, as well as joint economic ventures that could help shore up the Palestinian economy. Now, months after the passage of the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA), and weeks after the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas and unprecedented intercommunal violence, Congress is taking its first steps at implementing it.

5 states are considering sanctions on Ben & Jerry’s after West Bank pullout, JTA
It has been a question insiders have posed all week: Could Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling its ice cream in the West Bank trigger many or all of the laws that U.S. states have passed in recent years to hurt the Israel boycott movement? Well, five states are already looking into it.

Israel’s spat with Ben & Jerry’s overshadows its spyware scandal, Washington Post
Ishaan Tharoor writes, “The whole episode reveals a fundamental tension in Israel’s posture about its role in the Palestinian territories. On one hand, Israeli officials vehemently reject the charge that their government is perpetuating the crime of apartheid in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — where Palestinians are subordinate to Israeli security imperatives and denied the same political rights as their neighbors — by drawing a line between Israeli policies in the occupied territories and in Israel proper. […] Yet when Ben & Jerry’s makes a business decision based on conditions specifically beyond the Green Line, it is read as an “anti-Israel” move writ large and even deemed antisemitic.”


Palestinians say teen killed by Israeli gunfire in West Bank, AP
Palestinian health officials on Friday said a 17-year-old youth was shot and killed by Israeli troops during a clash in the occupied West Bank. The shooting occurred in Nebi Saleh, a village where residents have held numerous demonstrations over the years against the expansion of a nearby Israeli settlement on what they say is their land.

Soccer Team Was Lone Bright Spot in West Bank Village. Virus Took That, Too., New York Times
Despite a fan base of just 1,400 people, the Wadi al-Nis club was a perennial West Bank powerhouse. But the team — most of whose players are related — could not defeat the coronavirus.

Algerian quits Olympics rather than take on Israeli in judo match, NBC News
An Algerian judo competitor has chosen to ditch the Tokyo Olympics rather than hit the mat with an Israeli. […] Nourine and his coach, Amar Benikhlef, told Algerian media that they were boycotting Butbul to support the Palestinians. “My position of the Palestinian issue is firm,” Nourine said on Thursday. “I will not recognize the Israeli flag, and I will not get my hands dirty with it.”

Global phone hacks expose darker side of Israel’s ‘startup nation’ image, CNN
Audacious Mossad spy operations around the world. The plucky “startup nation” home to reams of billion-dollar ideas. These are two drivers of Israel’s image abroad that its political and business leaders have long been happy to push. That slick image appears to have taken a hit with new reports that once again Israeli-founded technology, like the Pegasus software from the firm NSO, has been used by governments around the world to allegedly hack the cellphones of human rights activists, journalists and others.

Emmanuel Macron ‘pushes for Israeli inquiry’ into NSO spyware concerns, The Guardian
Emmanuel Macron has reportedly spoken to the Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, to ensure that the Israeli government is “properly investigating” allegations that the French president could have been targeted with Israeli-made spyware by Morocco’s security services.

Opinion and Analysis

Corporate activism is too often cynical. In Ben & Jerry’s case, it offers hope, The Guardian
Nesrine Malik writes, “In an ideal world, we shouldn’t have to depend on private actors to stand up for the sort of human rights that western democracies claim to believe in. Ending that political hypocrisy is arguably an even more challenging task than dismantling Israeli settlements. With both off the menu for the foreseeable, Ben & Jerry’s is at least a start.”

America Is Losing Its ‘Leader of the Free World’ Mantle. That’s Bad News for Israel, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas writes, “For the past five years, the U.S. has been regarded a ‘flawed democracy.’ Unless it can resolve its internal problems, the rest of the world will lose faith in American leadership. That would be a problem for U.S. allies like Israel”

Where is the price for destroying a Palestinian village?, +972 Magazine
Sarit Michaeli writes, “Diplomats can see that the new Israeli government is continuing to expel Palestinians. Why are their states still rewarding these crimes with honors?”

Israeli Cabinet’s Plan on the Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Is Not Enough, Haaretz
Zafrir Rinat writes, “The plan approved by the cabinet on Sunday to shift Israel to a low-carbon economy is an improvement over what had been proposed in the past, particularly around the time of the signing of the 2015 Paris climate accord. But the final plan that was approved is disappointing in view of what it will take to reach the important targets.”