News Roundup for June 16 2021

June 16, 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

Democrats, Jewish Groups Welcome Tom Nides as Biden’s Pick for Israel Ambassador, Haaretz
“Democratic officials and Jewish organizations welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Tom Nides as U.S. ambassador to Israel, expressing optimism that he can help bolster U.S.-Israel ties with the new Bennett-Lapid government in place. […] J Street congratulated Nides, saying that it believes he has the necessary experience to take up this ‘highly sensitive and complex post.’ The pro-Israel, left-wing organization said it looks forward to hearing from Nides how he believes the United States can best act to create a more just, equitable and peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Biden to nominate Thomas Nides as US ambassador to Israel, Al Jazeera
“United States President Joe Biden will nominate Wall Street banker and former State Department official Thomas R Nides to be the country’s next ambassador to Israel, the White House said in a statement on Tuesday. J Street, a liberal, pro-Israel group based in the US, welcomed Nides’s nomination on Tuesday. ‘The events of the past few weeks have made abundantly clear that our country urgently needs an experienced diplomat to take up this highly sensitive and complex post, and we believe that Nides has the necessary experience,’ the group said in a statement.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Airstrikes Hit Gaza as Nationalist March in Jerusalem Stokes Tensions, Wall Street Journal
Israeli police fired rubber bullets at Palestinians trying to disrupt a right-wing nationalist march in Jerusalem, while Hamas militants launched incendiary balloons into Israel that triggered Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, raising the specter of renewed violence in the region. The Israeli military said it carried out a limited series of airstrikes on the militant group’s compounds across the Gaza Strip, marking the first time the rival forces have traded blows since the two sides agreed to a May 21 truce that brought an end to an 11-day conflict.

Mediators Push to Restore Cease-Fire in Gaza After Overnight Strikes, New York Times
International mediators stepped up efforts Wednesday to broker a longer-term truce between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that dominates the Gaza Strip, after the first armed exchange between the two sides since the end of an 11-day air war in May.

Israeli police fire rubber bullets at Palestinians protesting against march, The Guardian
Israeli police fired rubber-tipped bullets at Palestinians protesting against a march by Jewish ultranationalists through Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, a provocative parade that threatened to damage a fragile Gaza ceasefire. At one point, several dozen young men and teenagers, jumping in their air, chanted: “Death to Arabs!” Palestinian medics said Israeli police had wounded more than 30 people protesting against the parade.


Poll finds dramatic rise in Palestinian support for Hamas, AP
A new poll released Tuesday finds a dramatic surge in Palestinian support for Hamas following last month’s Gaza war, with around three quarters viewing the Islamic militants as victors in a battle against Israel to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites.

Israeli army ends home raids in Palestinian areas aimed at gathering intelligence, JTA
Israel’s army is ending its longstanding practice of middle-of-the-night raids on Palestinian homes to gather intelligence — a policy that drew criticism from human rights groups for the psychological damage it inflicted. Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, on Tuesday reported the change in the practice, which has been in place for more than 50 years of Israel’s administration of the West Bank. Israel will continue raiding homes to make arrests and search for weapons caches.

EU sees progress on key obstacles at Iran nuclear talks, AP
A top European diplomat said Tuesday he believes international negotiations with Iran will ultimately succeed in re-imposing limits on its nuclear program, but indicated that more time may be needed. Enrique Mora, who is coordinating the talks in Vienna, said progress had been made on overcoming key obstacles at the talks.

Record Number of Women Serving in New Israeli Cabinet, Haaretz
Of the 27 cabinet ministers who took office with the installation of Israel’s new government on Sunday evening, nine are women. While still outnumbered by their male counterparts, there have never been so many women in Israel’s cabinet. Women are now at the helm of the education, interior, transportation, environmental protection and aliyah and integration ministries.

Israel drops indoor mask requirement Tuesday, as daily cases near zero, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry announced that from Tuesday the requirement for masks to be worn indoors will be lifted, marking the end of one of the only major coronavirus restrictions remaining in Israel.

Opinion and Analysis

The American Jewish Left’s Untimely Abandonment of Israel’s Leftists, Haaretz
Etan Nechin writes, “The recent months of violence in Israel and Palestine have had at least one constructive consequence: a sea-change in American public opinion, spearheaded most prominently by writers and activists on the Jewish left, towards a clearer understanding of the occupation, how to pressure Israel, and what alternative political configurations of the region could look like. […] Yet, these deliberations, vital as they are, have two major faults, both grounded in the disconnection, if not alienation, flowing from their U.S.-based origins.”

US aid to Israel was once a given. What’s changing now?, +972 Magazine
Majeed Malhas writes, “Whereas in the past negative public opinion of Israel’s routine bombardment of Gaza would quickly dissipate following the declaration of a piecemeal ceasefire, today it is being seriously discussed in the bureaucratic halls of the world’s largest economic and military superpower, which continues to finance and sanction Israel’s oppressive policies. The credit for that monumental shift goes first and foremost to the consistent grassroots international pressure created by Palestinian activists, journalists, and working-class people on the ground.”

The agonizingly slow but steady march of Biden’s ambassadors, Washington Post
Daniel Drezner writes, “On Tuesday, the Biden White House released its first slate of ambassadorial nominations not limited to career Foreign Service officers. […] I have read enough and heard enough to know that the Biden White House has been agonizingly slow in the confirmation process. This looks fine next to Trump, but not when compared to Obama or George W. Bush. Hopefully, the pace will quicken soon. But at least the trajectory is promising.”

Israel Said No to Authoritarianism, but Risk of Populism Remains, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “Israel said no to authoritarianism, but the danger of populism remains. Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid may have replaced the Netanyahu government, but in many ways, they are still caught in the confines of the discourse that he shaped. This is a discourse in which there is a constant need to prove patriotism by means of right-wing positions that supposedly represent ‘the people,’ and whoever doesn’t hold these positions, like the left and Arab citizens, is a traitor, or at the very least, illegitimate.”