News Roundup for March 13, 2023

March 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

Smotrich Lands in DC, Where Hundreds Plan to Protest Speech at Israel Bonds Confab, The Times of Israel
At least two protests against Smotrich will be taking place on Sunday evening, one being led by a group of Israeli ex-pats and another by the Progressive Israel Network, which includes J Street, Americans for Peace Now, the New Israel Fund, and the T’ruah rabbinic human rights organization.

Hundreds of Israelis, American Jews Protest Smotrich in Washington, Haaretz
Hundreds of protesters from various segments of the American-Jewish and Israeli expat community demonstrated against Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, where the far-right lawmaker was attending Israel Bonds’ leadership gala.

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Forces Have Killed Three Palestinians in a Shootout in the West Bank, NPR
Israeli forces shot and killed three Palestinian gunmen Sunday who opened fire on troops in the occupied West Bank, the military said, the latest bloodshed in a year-long wave of violence in the region. The military said one gunman turned himself in and was arrested. The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed three people were killed near the city of Nablus. It did not immediately disclose their identities.

Half a Million Israelis Join Latest Protest Against Netanyahu’s Judicial Overhaul, Organizers Say, CNN
Half a million Israelis took to the streets in the tenth consecutive week of protests against plans by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to overhaul the country’s judicial system, organizers claimed. Israel has a population of just over 9 million, so if organizers’ estimates are correct, about 5% of Israelis came out to voice their opposition to the proposed reforms.

Five Things To Know About the Iran-Saudi Deal Brokered by China, The Hill
Another international agreement that could be brewing is one to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, but the Saudi government’s deal with Iran could make accomplishing that more difficult.


Civil Disobedience Needed If Israel Passes Judicial Changes, Former Prime Minister Says, Politico
A former prime minister of Israel on Sunday called for massive civil disobedience in his country if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s package of judicial reforms is enacted. Speaking on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Ehud Barak said, “Once a government, using the tools of democracy, in order to destroy it from within, and ends up acting in a blatantly illegitimate matter, it is not just the right of citizens, it is, in my judgment, the obligation of citizens to turn unfortunately toward civil disobedience.”

Israel To Weigh Action after Silicon Valley Bank Collapse, AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the government would assess the effect of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse on Israeli companies and determine whether or not to assist them. Israel is home to a vibrant high-tech industry, and local media said Sunday that hundreds of local firms could be exposed to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Report: UAE Halts Military Purchases From Israel Amid Political Turmoil, Haaretz
The United Arab Emirates is freezing its purchase of military equipment from Israel over Prime Minister Benjamin-Netanyahu’s government’s recent policies, Channel 12 News reported on Sunday.

Opinion and Analysis

I Was Wrong About Israel. I Apologized. Then President Carter Gave Me A Lesson in Grace, The Forward
Steve Berman writes, “I was not happy about this public break from the president, but I felt that even my left-of-center sensibilities had been betrayed. I listened to his explanations: He wasn’t calling Israel an apartheid state, he said, but warning that Israel was moving toward this state of affairs by its ongoing occupation of the West Bank. At the time, I wasn’t convinced. But in the intervening years, I realized that he was likely right.”

The Future of Palestinian Politics, The New Yorker
Isaach Chotiner speaks with Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, about the state of governance in the Palestinian Territory.

Israel and Biden Shouldn’t Panic Over Iran-Saudi Deal, Haaretz
Daniel B. Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, writes, “Washington can see both full and empty halves of the glass in the announcement of this deal. The full half: Reducing Iranian-Saudi tensions is a goal the United States has endorsed, having given its backing to previous rounds of such talks in Iraq and Oman.”