News Roundup for July 27, 2021

July 27, 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

Jewish Groups Urge U.S. Governors Not to Use anti-BDS Laws Against Ben & Jerry’s, Haaretz
Several progressive Jewish organizations called on 33 governors of states with anti-BDS laws to not take legal action against Ben & Jerry’s or its parent company Unilever over its decision to stop selling ice cream in Israeli settlements. In a letter – written by Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Habonim Dror North America, J Street, New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights – the progressive groups rejected allegations that the move is a boycott of Israel, an endorsement of the BDS movement or an act of antisemitism.

Top News and Analysis

Human Rights Watch: Israeli war crimes apparent in Gaza war, AP
Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused the Israeli military of carrying out attacks that “apparently amount to war crimes” during an 11-day war in May against the Hamas militant group. The international human rights organization issued its conclusions after investigating three Israeli airstrikes that it said killed 62 Palestinian civilians. It said “there were no evident military targets in the vicinity” of the attacks.

Israel ‘Working On’ Obtaining Third Doses of Vaccine as COVID Cases Spike, Bennett Says, Haaretz
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel is ‘very close’ to obtaining more coronavirus vaccines to supply Israelis with a third dose on Tuesday. “We are working on it, believe me,” Bennett said. “There are things we need to do in order to obtain [the doses]. The less we talk about it the more likely it’ll happen. I’m on it.”

Memory of Netanyahu era gives Bennett leverage over Biden, at least for now, Times of Israel
The Biden administration’s decision to delay its plan to reopen a Jerusalem consulate for the Palestinians, at Israel’s behest, has exposed a unique dynamic in the relationship between the world superpower and its Mideast ally. Despite the power imbalance, US President Joe Biden has agreed to shelve a policy goal and delay fulfilling a campaign promise for almost half a year in order to avoid destabilizing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s politically diverse coalition as it seeks to coalesce.


Scoop: Israeli officials to visit White House to prepare for Biden-Bennett meeting, Axios
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s foreign policy advisers will travel to Washington next week to begin preparations for a planned meeting between the new Israeli leader and President Biden. The meeting is expected to take place later in August, Israeli officials say. These will be the first face-to-face meetings between advisers to the two leaders since Bennett took office in June. All previous discussions were held over the phone or by video conference.

4 Democrats suggest blacklisting Israeli spyware firm over hacks of journalists, activists, Washington Post
Four House Democrats on Monday suggested blacklisting or imposing sanctions against the Israeli firm that licensed spyware used by governments to hack the smartphones of journalists, human rights activists and business executives. The Democrats’ statement was in response to an investigation by The Washington Post and 16 media partners into a list of phone numbers that included surveillance targets and that appeared to be concentrated in countries thought to have been clients of the NSO Group, a private spyware company based in Israel.

Israel continues demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, Al Monitor
Dozens of Palestinians who live in the Bedouin community Ras al-Tin in the Jordan Valley were caught by surprise when Israeli forces raided the area July 14 and confiscated 49 structures of residents and their cattle, which constitute the source of income of 84 Palestinians.

Iran says armed Mossad cell arrested over plot to provoke clashes at protests, Times of Israel
Iran said Tuesday it had arrested an armed cell working for Israel’s Mossad spy agency that was planning to use a cache of weapons to provoke violence during protests in the country. Iran, which often blames Israel and the United States for internal unrest, has seen growing demonstrations in recent weeks over water shortages in the southwestern of the country.

At least 50 CUNY professors quit union over resolution calling Israel a ‘settler-colonial state’, JTA
At least 50 professors at the City University of New York have quit their union following passage of a resolution condemning Israel. […] The resolution, which was passed June 10, was introduced in the wake of the Israel-Gaza conflict the previous month and referred to Israel’s “establishment as a settler-colonial state in 1948″ — language often used to reject Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Wants to Have Its Ice Cream and Cybersecurity Too, New York Times
Mairav Zonszein writes, “The Israeli government portrayed itself as the victim of a hostile and unethical move on the part of the ice cream company. As if Israel itself does not partake in any immoral behavior of its own; as if home demolitions, institutionalized discrimination, land expropriation, administrative detention and shooting at unarmed Palestinian protesters is not problematic; as if an Israeli company selling highly controversial technology to authoritarian regimes is not more questionable than an ice cream company denying their pints to customers who live in certain areas.”

Israel is making new friends, with Netanyahu out of office, The Hill
Seth Frantzman writes, “The new Israeli government has brought hope for new relationships between Israel and other countries, including Jordan. However, that government would be wise to learn from some of the unfulfilled promises of the Netanyahu era. Many countries want ties with Israel, but they also want Israel to take seriously the need to resolve tensions with the Palestinians.”

I Was Targeted by NSO Spyware. Here’s How Israel Is Helping Modi Undermine India’s Democracy, Haaretz
Swati Chaturvedi writes, “For two years, aided by Israeli technology, my own government spied on me. This is what it’s like to be targeted, why Israel must shut down sales of Pegasus, and why authoritarian cowards troll and intimidate – but they won’t silence me”