News Roundup for July 27, 2022

July 26, 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

AIPAC’s Aggressive Spending Is Bad for the Democratic Party—and Democracy Itself, New Republic
J Street President and Founder Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “In truth, nearly all of the Democratic candidates attacked by AIPAC as “anti-Israel” are nothing of the sort. Levin and Edwards voted for security assistance to Israel throughout their time in Congress, and many of the younger congressional candidates attacked by AIPAC’s millions barely have made any public statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or foreign policy at all. The simple fact that these candidates have the support of progressive groups and leaders—or of a liberal pro-Israel group like J Street, of which I am president—is often enough to damn them in AIPAC’s eyes. By spending millions to attack these candidates, AIPAC hopes to send an intimidating message to others: Cross our red lines, and you could be next. Political space for open and honest debate over U.S. foreign policy has opened up considerably in recent years, and AIPAC is determined to close it down. It longs to return to the days when one-sided congressional resolutions about Israel routinely passed without objection.”

Pro-Israel Groups Wade Into Democratic Primaries to Defeat Progressives, The Wall Street Journal
“The powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as Aipac, formed the United Democracy Project, a super PAC, specifically to wade into primaries this year and has spent about $23 million thus far on its chosen candidates, the group said. Another group, Democratic Majority for Israel, has also spent to defeat progressives in primaries this year but unlike Aipac doesn’t back Republicans. A more liberal advocacy group, J Street, which at times criticizes the Israeli government for its posture toward the Palestinians, has supported progressive candidates…Progressive groups have offered similar criticism of Aipac and DMFI’s spending. “Most voters have no idea where this money is coming from, who is paying for it,” said Logan Bayroff, spokesman for J Street.”

Top News and Analysis

Blinken Meets With Family of Slain Palestinian American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Washington, CNN
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the family of slain Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the State Department on Tuesday. “The Secretary is deeply appreciative of the opportunity to meet with Shireen’s family,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a briefing, noting that the meeting was ongoing at that point. Price said Blinken would “use the opportunity to underscore for Shireen’s family our deepest condolences on her tragic death and to reiterate the priority we attach to accountability, something we continue to discuss with our Israeli and Palestinian partners, as well.”

Jordan’s King Tells Israel PM That Palestinians Must Join Regional Projects, Reuters
Jordan’s King Abdullah on Wednesday told Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Amman that Palestinians should be part of U.S.-sponsored regional economic projects to underpin stability in the Middle East. He also told Lapid, in the first meeting after U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to the region earlier this month, that the creation of a Palestinian state was essential to reach lasting peace between Arabs and Israelis.


Health Ministry Issues Heat Wave Warning as Temperatures Spike, Haaretz
An extreme heat wave is expected to hit Israel in the coming days, the Health Ministry warned on Wednesday, calling on the public to avoid exposure to the sun and physical exertion as much as possible. “According to the forecasts of the meteorological service, the heat load is expected to increase in the coming days, at least until the end of the week,” the ministry cautioned.

Israel Rushes to De-escalate Diplomatic Crisis With Russia, Al-Monitor
Israeli President Isaac Herzog is now trying to discreetly resolve the diplomatic dispute between Moscow and Jerusalem so that the Jewish Agency can continue its activities there.

EU Puts Forward New Draft Text To Revive Iran Nuclear Deal, Reuters
The European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Tuesday he has proposed a new draft text to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying there is no room left for further major compromises. “I have now put on the table a text that addresses, in precise detail, the sanctions lifting as well as the nuclear steps needed to restore the JCPOA,” the European Union’s Josep Borrell wrote in an essay in the Financial Times.

Yamina’s Struggling New Leader Ayelet Shaked Eyes Merger in Bid for Survival Ahead of Israeli Election, Haaretz
The negotiating teams of Ayelet Shaked’s Yamina and former Communication Minister Yoaz Hendel’s Derech Eretz parties met on Tuesday to discuss a possible joint run in the upcoming November election, days after an early election poll forecasted the fledgling Yamina party would not qualify for the next Knesset.

Opinion and Analysis

Popular Arab Support for the Abraham Accords Is Dropping. Israel Must Take Notice, Haaretz
Ksenia Svetlova argues, “[W]hat should Israel make of recent statements, polls and research with regard to public opinion on the Abraham Accords in the Arab world ? First, it should acknowledge that Palestinians matter and that their plight is still well heard across the Arab world. While Israel is no longer considered to be an enemy by many Arab rulers, Israeli leadership should not mistake the growing interest in formal or non-formal ties with Jerusalem as disregard for the Palestinians. The lack of political horizon, settlement expansion and violence are seen not only in Ramallah, but also in Arab capitals. Any turmoil in Jerusalem will pour more ice water on the enthusiasm over the new relationship with Israel.”

‘It’s 2022 and We Live In Caves’: Herders Besieged by Settlers on West Bank but Still Clinging To Hope, The Guardian
In a photo essay, Manal Massalha shows images of pastoralist communities living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the impact of the attacks by settlers on the Palestinian shepherds’ lifestyle and livelihoods.