News Roundup for June 13, 2023

June 13, 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

Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Blasts J Street as Soros-funded Group ‘Hostile’ to Israel, Haaretz
Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli on Monday called J Street a “hostile organization,” citing the funding it receives from Jewish billionaire George Soros. He further attacked the group on Tuesday morning in a series of tweets, accusing J Street of attempting to thwart his meetings with U.S. officials. J Street Vice President of Communications Logan Bayroff said, “What a clear sign of how utterly out of touch this government is with the vast majority of American Jews, represented by J Street, who are deeply worried about their attacks on Israeli democracy and angered by their extreme right agenda.”

Israel’s Diaspora Minister Calls J Street ‘Hostile’ after Group Tweets Negatively about Him, JTA
Amichai Chikli, the Israeli Diaspora minister who has antagonized some liberal segments of American Jewry, called J Street “hostile” to Israel after it retweeted a photo of the minister from New York City’s Celebrate Israel Parade. Bayroff told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Comments like this show how deeply contemptuous this Israeli government is of the vast majority of American Jews, who reject their far-right, anti-democratic agenda.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel to Announce Plans for Thousands of New Settlement Units in West Bank, Axios
The Israeli government told the Biden administration it intends to announce later this month the building and planning of thousands of new housing units in the settlements in the occupied West Bank, three Israeli and U.S. officials told Axios. The Biden administration has said it is vehemently opposed to new building in the Israeli settlements, which it sees as undermining the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Saudi Embassy in DC: Normalization With Israel Only After Palestinian Agreement, Haaretz
In light of the American efforts to bring Israel and Saudi Arabia closer together, the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC has made it clear that an agreement normalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia will only be possible if a solution is reached for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinians Rail at Likud Lawmaker’s Proposal to Divide Temple Mount, The Jerusalem Post
Dividing the Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount) between Muslims and Jews would cause “overwhelming anger,” the results of which cannot be expected, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh warned on Monday. Shtayyeh, in opening remarks during the weekly meeting of the PA cabinet in Ramallah, called on Arabs, Muslims and the rest of the international community to “move from issuing condemnations to imposing sanctions on Israel to prevent any change at al-Aqsa Mosque and halt any violation of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.”


US Tells UNESCO it Has Decided to Rejoin Agency Trump Quit, Axios
The U.S. last week privately notified the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that it has decided to rejoin the agency nearly six years after the Trump administration announced it was withdrawing U.S. membership over what it described as anti-Israel bias. Rejoining UNESCO is one of the Biden administration’s foreign policy goals — mainly in an effort to counter what it sees as the growing influence of the Chinese government on the UN agency’s agenda.

Far-right Pushes Bill Granting Ben-Gvir Powers to Put Israelis in Detention Without Trial, Haaretz
Far-right Israeli lawmakers are advancing a bill that would allow National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to put any Israeli citizen in detention without trial, Channel 12 News reported on Sunday. The proposal would allow police to limit the freedom of movement and employment of the suspect, enforces bans on internet use, and constraints on their communications.

Ra’am’s Abbas Says Shin Bet Not the Solution to Crime on Arab Streets, The Times of Israel
Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas dismisses proposals to involve the Shin Bet in fighting crime in Arab communities, saying the idea is not feasible. “It points to an attitude that doesn’t deal with the issue seriously,” he says. Instead, Abbas demands that the cabinet immediately deploy resources to combat crime in Arab society.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Won’t Consider a Strike Against Iran Right Before a Nuclear Deal, The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post’s Yonah Jeremy Bob writes, “No one knows for sure whether Israel would pull the trigger and strike Iran’s nuclear program preemptively if it felt time was about to run out on any chance of preventing the ayatollahs from achieving a deployable nuclear weapons capability. But we can pretty much assume that Jerusalem will not take any major action as long as there is momentum between the West and the Islamic Republic for a potentially imminent deal.”

China’s Palestinian Moment is About Global Standing Rather Than Peace, The Guardian
Bethan McKernan, The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, writes, “The Palestinian Authority president’s imminent state visit to China is believed even by senior Palestinian officials to be aimed at bolstering Beijing’s credentials on the world stage, rather than a serious attempt to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”

Israel Is an Occupation With a Country Attached to It, Haaretz
Zehava Galon, former chairwoman of the Meretz party, argues “All in all, we’re good at acclimating. The pogrom in the Palestinian town of Hawara brought Israelis out into the street. They saw good Jews praying near the flames of a burning town and were horrified. The other week settlers torched houses in the Palestinian village of Jalud. As usual, the police arrived after the event. As usual, nobody was arrested.”