News Roundup for June 7, 2023

June 7, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Democratic Senator Calls for Biden to Release Report on Israeli Shooting Death of American Journalist, The Hill
A Democratic senator is calling on the Biden administration to publicly release its findings into the shooting death of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist who was killed by Israeli forces while covering a security raid in the West Bank in May 2022. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that a report compiled by the U.S. security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority provides relevant information about the “the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unit involved in that operation as well as other IDF units operating in the West Bank.”

Why Did Top Federation Leaders Sponsor a Conference Promoting Israeli Settlements?, The Forward
Two leading mainstream American Jewish groups sponsored a conference Sunday promoting Israeli settlements in the West Bank, contrary to their public positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a video recorded for the Arutz Sheva Jerusalem Conference in New York City, Eric Fingerhut, president of the Jewish Federations of North America, told attendees that he was “proud” that his organization, which represents more than 140 local federations, was able to sponsor “this important conference.”

Blinken Heads to Saudi Arabia Amid Strained Ties, Israel Normalization in Mind, Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday on a mission to steady Washington’s relationship with Riyadh after years of deepening disagreements on issues ranging from Iran and regional security to oil prices. Blinken is expected to meet with top Saudi officials and possibly the kingdom’s de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The aims of the trip also include pushing for the eventual normalization of Saudi-Israeli ties.

Hearing on Controversial E1 Settlement Project Scheduled for Next Week, The Times of Israel
A key settlements planning committee is set to convene next week to discuss the plans for the highly controversial E1 settlement project east of Jerusalem, which critics say would severely impede the chances of creating a Palestinian state. The Subcommittee for Objections within the Higher Planning Committee of the Civil Administration is currently scheduled to discuss objections to the plan next Monday, although hearings have been postponed twice in the last nine months due to the highly sensitive nature of the E1 proposal and sustained international opposition.


Architect of Israel’s Judicial Overhaul Gatecrashes Embassy Event to Hear Kamala Harris Slam His Brainchild, Haaretz
Member of the Knesset Simcha Rothman made an unannounced appearance on Tuesday at the Israeli Embassy in Washington’s Independence Day celebration where he heard U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris snipe at his brainchild — Israel’s contentious judicial overhaul. “Under President Joe Biden and our administration, America will continue to stand for the values that have been the bedrock of the U.S.-Israel relationship, which includes continuing to strengthen our democracies, which are both built on strong institutions, checks and balances — and I’ll add an independent judiciary,” Harris said to applause from the audience, while Rothman paid no attention and made small talk with attendees.

Jerusalem Post Conference is Latest Israeli Event in New York to be Disrupted by Protests, JTA
Protest organizers told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the conference had canceled 20 to 30 tickets that protesters had bought. While a demonstration outside the conference dissipated by mid-morning, in the mid-afternoon, as Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat took the stage to discuss government action to encourage entrepreneurship, the familiar Hebrew chants of “Shame! Shame!” echoed in the room, disrupting his remarks, and a group of protesters were escorted out.

Mother of Slain Palestinian Child Calls for Justice, Reuters
The mother of a Palestinian toddler who died of his wounds after being shot by Israeli soldiers last week called for justice on Tuesday as she attended his funeral in the occupied West Bank. Marching with dozens of mourners, Marwa al-Tamimi held her toddler for the last time, his face fitting in her palms as she leaned in to kiss his forehead. “I want justice for my son, and for every person who shot at my husband and son to be held accountable,” she said.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Judaization and Exclusion Law, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board argues, “The truth is thus exposed: This isn’t about communitarianism, but an attempt to legally enshrine discrimination on the basis of religion, race and nationality, in violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Kaadan case, which forbade establishing communities for Jews only.”

‘The Hardest Year of My Life’: Masafer Yatta Shepherds Suffer Under Expulsion Threat, +972
Hamdan Mohammed Al-Huraini, a human rights activist from the village of Susiya in Masafer Yatta, writes, “A year after the terrible ruling, it is clear just how devastating an impact it has already had on the lives of Palestinian shepherds in Masafer Yatta, where livestock are considered a pillar of life and are depended on for families’ economic stability. The changes that have taken place in the area, granting the Israeli army the right to do whatever it wants in the middle of our villages, is a civilian death sentence. It makes our lives untenable; it is a crime against humanity.”