News Roundup for March 10, 2023

March 10, 2023

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J Street News Roundup

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.

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J Street In the News

U.S. and Israel Looking at Iran From “Much Closer Point of View”, Axios
“U.S. Iran envoy Rob Malley said at an event hosted by U.S. liberal advocacy group J Street last week that the Biden administration wanted to see whether IAEA director general Rafael Grossi could get an agreement with the Iranians on inspections.”

More Than 90 Democrats Warn Biden: Netanyahu’s Actions Undermine U.S.-Israel Relationship, Haaretz
“Among the key signatures include 11 Democratic ranking members on House committees. “With violence and terror spiking in the West Bank, acts of annexation underway, and hundreds of thousands of Israelis taking to the streets to defend democracy, it’s vital that so many Members of Congress are supporting intensive diplomatic action by the Biden Administration,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, whose organization played a significant role in the letter’s formulation. “Pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy Americans are deeply worried about the actions of the Netanyahu government and the damage they are doing to both Israelis and Palestinians. This is exactly the type of leadership they hope to see from Congress and the White House,” Ben-Ami added.”

Important Letter from 92 MOCs Supports US Action On Israeli-Palestinian Escalation, Threats to Israeli Democracy, J Street
“J Street welcomes an important new House letter to President Biden, signed by 92 Members of Congress, which supports determined US leadership to de-escalate conflict, protect the viability of a negotiated two-state solution, and oppose Israeli government moves to damage democratic institutions and advance annexation.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Police Say 3 Wounded in Tel Aviv Shooting, The Washington Post
Israeli police say a Palestinian attacker has shot and wounded three people in central Tel Aviv late on Thursday. Police say the attacker was shot. The Zaka rescue service said the attacker was killed. Medical workers said one of the wounded was in critical condition. The shooting came at a time when large crowds were outdoors for anti-government demonstrations. It also occurred hours after an Israeli military raid killed three Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank. In one amateur video from Tel Aviv, repeated gunfire could be heard, apparently as the attacker was being stopped. Dozens of police quickly rushed to the area.

Israeli Minister Who Called for Palestinian Town To Be Wiped Out Gets U.S. Visa, Axios
The State Department approved the request of the far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich for a “diplomatic visa” ahead of his trip to Washington next week, a source with direct knowledge told Axios and Smotrich’s office confirmed on Thursday. The Biden administration faced pressure from several Jewish organizations and other groups in the U.S. to deny Smotrich’s visa request over his call for the Israeli government to “wipe out” the Palestinian village of Hawara.


Israel Passes Scaled-back Bill Allowing Settlers Return to Evacuated Communities, Haaretz
A Knesset panel on Thursday approved a scaled-back version of an amendment that far-right lawmakers hoped would pave the way for settlements evacuated as part of the 2005 disengagement to be reinhabited. However, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee agreed to send the newly worded amendment to the Knesset for a first reading without hearing the views of any security officials about the potential implications.

Orthodox Union Will Meet With Israel’s Far-Right Finance Minister, While Conservative and Reform Movements Join Call To Snub Him, JTA
The leading institutions of the Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements are among a coalition of liberal Jewish groups calling on American Jews to snub Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s far-right finance minister, when he visits the United States next week. But the Orthodox Union, an umbrella organization for Orthodox Jews, has confirmed to JTA that it will meet with Smotrich.

Saudi Arabia Offers Its Price to Normalize Relations With Israel, The New York Times
Saudi Arabia is seeking security guarantees from the United States, help with developing a civilian nuclear program and fewer restrictions on U.S. arms sales as its price for normalizing relations with Israel, people familiar with the exchanges say. If sealed, the deal could set up a major political realignment of the Middle East.

Israeli Army Reverses Decision to Remove Ex-commander From Reserves Over Support for Anti-gov’t Protests, Haaretz
The Israeli Air Force on Friday reversed its decision to discharge reservist fighter pilot Colonel Gilad Peled who leads the air force’s protest movement against the government’s judicial overhaul. In a conversation with Air Force Commander General Tomer Bar – who was responsible for the decision to remove Peled – Peled explained that he has not encouraged air force personnel to refuse to show up for duty to protest Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s efforts to weaken the justice system.

Pentagon Chief ‘Disturbed’ by West Bank Violence and Warns Against Inflammatory Rhetoric, The Guardian
The Pentagon chief, Lloyd Austin, has expressed his concerns over rising levels of violence against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and warned against acts that could trigger more insecurity. The US defence secretary’s talks in Israel came as Israeli police killed three suspected Palestinian militants in the West Bank and a Hamas gunman shot and wounded three people on a Tel Aviv street.

Opinion and Analysis

No Longer Trying To Shrink the Conflict, New Jersey Jewish News
J Street New Jersey leader Mark Lurinsky writes, “We know that the United States will always remain steadfast in maintaining its support for Israel’s security. That also means that the United States has both the right and an obligation to present some red lines to the annexationists to prevent the further deterioration of the Israeli-Palestinian situation into a complete maelstrom of turmoil. And our country’s leaders will have to connect violations of red lines with specific and tangible consequences for the annexationists. It is consistent with the values and interests of American Jews who support Israel as a democratic homeland for Jews and entirely appropriate to uphold the firm action required.”