News Roundup for July 9, 2021

July 9, 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

How Zionism complicated a Capitol rally against antisemitism, Forward
“One of the groups most notably absent from the rally will be J Street, the prominent, liberal pro-Israel group. Some of the early promotional material for the event declared that all Zionist Jews were welcome ‘from J Street on the left, ZOA on the right, and everyone in between.’ But the J Street reference quickly disappeared. Mort Klein, ZOA’s president and a longtime J Street foe, took credit for its removal but Wiesel said ‘that is definitely not what happened.’ Wiesel declined to elaborate, citing the issue’s sensitivity, and J Street spokesman Misha Linnehan declined to say why the group was not participating in the rally or whether it had asked organizers to stop using its name.”

A rally against antisemitism hopes to present a united front, but its message on Israel has driven away some left-wing groups, JTA
“But Rabinowitz said he hit a brick wall with a few large left-leaning organizations — including J Street, T’ruah and Americans for Peace Now, which declined invitations to cosponsor the rally. […] A spokesman for J Street declined to comment on why the group did not participate.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Supreme Court upholds contentious Jewish state law, AP
Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a controversial law that defines the country as the nation state of the Jewish people — rejecting claims by opponents that it discriminates against minorities. In its ruling, the court acknowledged shortcomings in the so-called Nation State Law. But it said the law “did not negate Israel’s democratic character” outlined in other laws.

US now to ‘prioritize’ pushing Israel to stop demolishing terrorists’ homes, Times of Israel
The State Department will prioritize pushing Israel to end its controversial policy of demolishing the homes of terrorists, a spokesperson said Thursday, with the US’s top diplomat already bringing the issue up with senior officials in Israel. The comments from State Department spokesman Ned Price came hours after the administration of US President Joe Biden leveled rare criticism at Israel for razing of the home of a Palestinian-American suspected in a deadly West Bank shooting attack, marking a likely point of friction amid efforts between Washington and Jerusalem to rehabilitate ties.

In the peak of summer, West Bank demolitions leave 70 Palestinians homeless, +972 Magazine
On Wednesday morning, in temperatures reaching past 104 degrees Fahrenheit, Israeli forces demolished the Palestinian village of Khirbet Humsa in the occupied West Bank for the sixth time in less than a year. […] Eleven households, which were home to around 70 people — including 36 children — lost their dwelling.


Jews and Palestinians Tried to Forge Bonds in a Jerusalem Neighborhood. It Backfired., Wall Street Journal
When a group of Jewish and Muslim Jerusalemites wanted to show that Israelis and Palestinians could coexist peaceably during a wave of communal violence, they joined to hand out cakes and cookies in their neighborhood of Abu Tor. The gesture backfired. Palestinians who took part received death threats from callers who accused them of collaborating with Israel. Someone shot at the home of a prominent Palestinian leader. And the so-called Good Neighbors project—which runs language classes, set up a youth soccer team and hosts an informal cafe where people can meet—quickly shelved most of its work.

US Jews getting younger on average, massive religions survey finds, JTA
The median age of American Jews has dropped from 52 to 48 since 2013, according to a massive survey of Americans and religion, making Jews one of only two religious groups to grow younger on average. Every other religious grouping except for mainline Protestants tended to age during the same period, although a number remained on average younger than Jews.

TikTok Fanned the Flames of the Israel-Gaza War. What Else Is It Capable Of?, Haaretz
A news report two weeks ago stated that TikTok had hired lobbyists to work the Knesset. The report read as if it had been written almost with a wink and a nod: It’s true, this is a silly video-sharing app – but hey, serious things are happening there. Remember how the round of fighting in the Gaza Strip in May started with TikTok terror?

Palestinian hunger striker freed from Israeli custody after 63-day protest, Times of Israel
A Palestinian man who had been held by Israel without charge was released from custody and will be transferred to a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank after being on a hunger strike for more than two months, his supporters said Thursday.

Palestinians Claiming Land at Illegal Outpost Take Israel’s Deal With Settlers to Court, Haaretz
Palestinians from villages near the illegal outpost Evyatar have petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to revoke the state’s compromise that gives the settlers a chance to return in the future. Under the deal, the outpost’s structures are to remain intact and the settlers may return if the land is deemed state-owned.

Opinion and Analysis

The Economic Crises on Israel’s Borders Are Cause for Concern, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt are just three of many poor Arab countries, but they are the most important to Israel’s strategic considerations. And Israel’s relationship with them can’t be limited to analyzing the military threat they may pose – counting how many weapons and soldiers can be fielded and assessing their quality. Regime stability and governability, two issues that didn’t particularly concern Israel until a decade ago, now require special attention, diplomatic and economic planning and international cooperation to ensure that its neighbors don’t collapse.”

Biden may succeed in making Israeli-Palestinian peace, Jerusalem Post
Alon Ben-Meir writes, “The US remains the indispensable power that can bring both Israel and the Palestinians to an enduring peace, as no other power can exert the kind of influence on both sides that is needed to reach an agreement. For the Biden administration to bring this about, it must play an active role by advancing its own ideas and using its vast resources and influence to persuade and/or pressure both sides to make the necessary compromises to conclude a predetermined peace accord based on a two-state solution, following a period of a few years for a reconciliatory process.”