News Roundup for June 1, 2023

June 1, 2023

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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

Is Netanyahu’s Government Going in the Wrong Direction?, Open To Debate
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami debates the widespread protests around judicial reforms in Israel with Caroline Glick, Senior Contributing Editor at Jewish News Syndicate.

Top News and Analysis

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Sent Bibi Letter Urging Him to Suspend NGO Bill, Axios
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week urging him not to move forward with legislation that would limit the ability of Israeli nongovernmental organizations to raise money from foreign governments, two Israeli and U.S. officials told Axios. Netanyahu took the legislation off the table for further review following U.S. and European pressure.

Blast in East Lebanon Kills 5 in Base Controlled by Palestinian Faction, Israel Denies Role, ABC News
A blast early Wednesday at a military base controlled by a Syria-backed Palestinian faction in eastern Lebanon killed five Palestinian militants and wounded 10 others, according to two Palestinian officials with the group.The faction said an Israeli airstrike caused the blast, but that account was disputed by an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, who denied the country had any role in the incident. Israel does not typically respond to foreign reports.

Can the Two-State Solution Be Saved?, Foreign Affairs
Authors of The One State Reality: What is Israel/Palestine? respond to critiques of their recent article in Foreign Affairs, writing, “Remarkably, the responses to our article did not seriously contest our central claim – that a single, deeply entrenched state now controls all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, there was little disagreement about the unjust nature of that reality (although some of our critics find it tolerable). Many bemoan this situation and would like it to be otherwise, but most recognize that it is not.”


Harris to Give Speech at Israeli Embassy’s 75th Independence Day Reception, Axios
Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to give a speech next week at the Israeli Embassy’s reception celebrating Israel’s 75th anniversary, according to a White House official and an Israeli source. Vice presidents, including Joe Biden and Mike Pence, have attended the reception in the past. But President Biden’s decision to send such a high-level representative to the event carries extra weight considering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still hasn’t received a White House invitation – five months after taking office.

Low on Cash, UN Warns of Looming Humanitarian Disaster in Gaza. Israel Aware of Crisis ‘For Weeks’, Haaretz
The United Nations is warning that humanitarian aid supporting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will come to a halt in the coming days. A spokesperson for the UN Secretary General warned on Tuesday that without an urgent influx of cash, the money funding its world food program in Gaza, which feeds some 200,000 Gazans daily, will run out.

Two Palestinians Sentenced to Life, Plus 30 Years, for Deadly Ariel Attack Last Year, The Times of Israel
An Israeli military court on Wednesday sentenced two Palestinians to life in prison for carrying out a deadly shooting attack in the West Bank settlement of Ariel last year. Vyacheslav Golev, 23, was gunned down inside a guard booth at a gate to the West Bank settlement on April 29, 2022, by Palestinian assailants Youssef Sameeh Assi and Yahya Marei.

61% of Israelis Support Equal Rights for LGBT People, The Jerusalem Post
61% of Israelis support granting equal rights to LGBT people, a new poll by Channel 13 found on Wednesday. Among Jewish Israelis, the rate of support is even higher, with 68% expressing support and only 17% expressing opposition. Among religious Jews, 33% support granting equal rights to LGBT people, while 32% oppose doing so.

Opinion and Analysis

Israeli Pro-Democracy Protests Should Include Palestinian Rights Issues, The Jewish News of Northern California
Itzik Goldberger writes, “The occupation in general – and settler violence specifically – should be condemned by speakers during the rallies. Palestinians should be invited to speak. Palestinian flags should be encouraged, just like the blue and white flag of Israel and the rainbow flag of the gay community. This change, a shift toward discussing the occupation, must be adopted and driven by the organizers of the rallies in Israel. The mission of the Religious Zionism Party, which is headed by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, is the annexation of the West Bank without addressing the rights of the Palestinians who live there. This mission must be recognized as a major threat to Israel’s liberal democracy. Defeating this plan must be included as a priority goal for the rallies.

The Palestinian Flag Should Not Be a Contentious Symbol, The Jerusalem Post
Gershon Baskin argues, “And now Israeli Jews, who fully comprehend the true meaning of democracy, will proudly wave the Palestinian flag. Some of them will wave both flags and some only the Palestinian flag. Yes, this is a provocation, but it is less about ‘identifying with a terrorist organization’ or with the enemy, and more about protecting our democratic rights for free expression and even more so, to push harder for the recognition that there really cannot be democracy with occupation.”