News Roundup for June 23, 2021

June 23, 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

Why This Proudly Jewish Lawmaker Is One of Israel’s Biggest Critics in Congress, Haaretz
“Congressman Levin is a perfect example of a leader who draws on our community’s Jewish and progressive values to help shape a more just and effective approach to U.S. foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” J Street Senior Vice President for Policy and Strategy Dylan Williams told Haaretz. “His outspoken opposition to occupation and recognition that the rights and futures of Israelis and Palestinians are interdependent represents a view that is becoming increasingly prevalent in our community, in our country and among his fellow congressional Democrats,” he adds.

Top News and Analysis

Hebron activist says he was arrested by PA over online criticism, Times of Israel
A prominent Hebron activist said he was arrested on Monday night and held in jail over a Facebook post that accused the Palestinian Authority leadership of corruption. Issa Amro, a community organizer from the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron, said he was summoned by Palestinian police for questioning. Amro said he was released — and then subsequently arrested again and detained overnight. Amro said he was detained under the PA’s controversial 2018 cybercrimes law, which allows individuals to be arrested for “slandering” government institutions online. Human rights groups argue the PA has abused the practice to arbitrarily arrest its political opponents.

US seizes Iranian news sites under unclear circumstances, AP
American authorities took down a range of Iran’s state-linked news websites under unclear circumstances on Tuesday, the U.S. and Iran said, a move that appeared to be a far-reaching crackdown on Iranian media amid heightened tensions between the two countries. The U.S. seized roughly three dozen websites, the majority of which are linked to Iranian disinformation efforts, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case had not yet been officially announced by the American government.

Scoop: After U.S. pressure, Israel joins statement criticizing China, Axios
Israel supported a statement criticizing China at the UN Human Rights Council after being pressured to do so by the Biden administration, U.S. and Israeli officials tell me. This is a significant policy change from Israel’s newly inaugurated government. Under former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel refrained from voicing any criticism about human rights violations in China — pushing for closer ties with Beijing and resisting pressure from the Trump administration to limit Chinese investments in Israel.


Twenty Palestinians Injured, Firebomb Lobbed at Jewish Home in Sheikh Jarrah Skirmish, Haaretz
Twenty Palestinians were injured and a firebomb was hurled at a Jewish home amid renewed clashes between Jewish settlers, Palestinians and police on Monday in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Lapid taps former tourism minister to serve as consul general in New York, Times of Israel
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced Tuesday that he will appoint former tourism minister Asaf Zamir to serve as Israel’s consul general in New York.

Iran accuses U.S. of meddling for criticising election, Reuters
Iran accused the United States on Tuesday of interference for saying its election was neither free nor fair as political factions traded blame for the record low turnout and high number of invalid ballots.

Lapid confident West Bank outpost Evyatar to be razed, Times of Israel
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that an illegal West Bank outpost will be razed in accordance with army orders and that the issue will not be a source of division within the fragile coalition government.

With Wary Eye on Gaza, Israel Police Bracing for Renewed Arab-Jewish Violence, Haaretz
Israel Police is preparing for renewed rioting in Arab and mixed Jewish-Arab cities in the event of new hostilities between Israel and Gaza, with sources warning that the current calm is only “skin deep.” The police has gotten treasury approval to buy riot-control equipment through a fast-track process, and has appealed the Public Security Ministry for more funding and manpower in order to meet the heightened risk of rioting within Israel’s borders.

Opinion and Analysis

Iran-U.S. Nuclear Talks on a Hair Trigger, Foreign Policy
Michael Hirsch writes, “Perhaps the most jarring irony of the monthslong negotiations to restore the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran is that both Tehran and Washington badly want to make it happen—yet, in the end, may not be able to.”

From vaccines to protests, the Palestinian Authority keeps proving its irrelevance, +972 Magazine
George Zeidan and Miran Khwais write, “We Palestinians have grown tired of undemocratic leaders who treat our cause as an administrative problem rather than a struggle for freedom.”

A changing of the guard, as Bennett’s new government hits the ground running, Times of Israel
Tal Schneider reports on the first few days of the new Israeli government.