News Roundup for March 15, 2022

March 15, 2022
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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

AIPAC Is All In on Support for ‘Stop the Steal’ Candidates, The Daily Beast
“Anticipating the conflicts ahead, the progressive lobbying group, J Street, issued a “Pro-Democracy Pledge” for all pro-Israel PACs to not to endorse candidates who sided with the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. Some took the pledge, but the most influential among them, AIPAC, did not. AIPAC’s first wave of 70 endorsements includes both Democrats and Republicans, but among the latter are 37 Republicans who stood with Trump in denying the election results on that fateful day—a deliberate choice that in the eyes of AIPAC’s critics shows the lobbying group prioritizes its commitment to Israel’s interests over its commitment to democracy. “It’s incredibly dangerous for a high-profile organization that claims to represent pro-Israel Americans to give a stamp of approval and to provide funding to the extremists who threatened the survival of our democracy,” says Logan Bayroff, the communications director for J Street, which was founded 14 years ago to counter AIPAC’s rightward lurch. “No matter what an elected official’s position on Israel, it should be common sense that extremists who don’t respect our election should be beyond the pale.” A J Street poll conducted in October 2021 shows that 43 percent of American Jews view “extremism and insurrection” to be the most dangerous threat facing the country, far more than any other issue. Only 6 percent cited Iran as posing the greatest danger.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Government Websites Crash in Suspected Cyberattack, Bloomberg
A cyberattack crashed a number of Israeli government websites Monday, according to the country’s cyber officials. The Israel National Cyber Directorate blamed the outages on a denial-of-service or DDoS attack. Such incidents typically involve outside attackers directing waves of inauthentic traffic at a website, temporarily rendering it inaccessible.

As Ukraine War Rages, Israel Grapples With Fate of Oligarchs, AP
Israel is grappling with how to deal with dozens of Jewish Russian oligarchs as Western nations step up sanctions on businesspeople with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. A worried Israeli government has formed a high-level committee to see how the country can maintain its status as a haven for any Jew without running afoul of the biting sanctions targeting Putin’s inner circle.


Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy to Address Israeli Legislators Next Week,
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address Knesset members over Zoom next week. Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy and the Ukrainian ambassador to Israel have chosen two potential dates in the coming week for the speech.

Settlers Ram Troops, Assault Palestinians Near Homesh, IDF Alleges, The Times of Israel
An Israeli rammed his car into soldiers manning a West Bank checkpoint Monday, the Israel Defense Forces said. Two soldiers were hit by the car near the illegal outpost of Homesh but did not require hospitalization, according to the army, which described it as one of two recent “violent incidents” in the area. It described the car as Israeli, likely meaning it had Israeli license plates.

Iran Says U.S. Has To Make Decision on Reviving Nuclear Deal, Reuters
The United States needs to make a decision to wrap up a deal to salvage Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday amid fears that talks in Vienna might collapse.

Israel, UAE Ask U.S. for Security Guarantee if New Iran Nuclear Deal Signed, Report Says, Haaretz
Israel and the United Arab Emirates have asked the United States to provide them with security guarantees and to “formulate a security strategy for the Middle East” in the event that a new international nuclear agreement is signed with Iran.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Top Court Will Decide Whether To Expel 1,300 of My Neighbors, +972 Mag
Basil al-Adraa writes, “When I was four years old, my expelled neighbors petitioned the High Court, which issued a temporary order that allowed them to return to their homes — until a final decision is made. Twenty-two years have passed, and the court never decided our fate. We grew up in the shadow of waiting for a decision: will they expel the people I love and know best, or won’t they? On March 15, the court is set to hold its final hearing on the issue. After that it will make a decision. The fate of eight villages and 1,300 people is once again on the agenda. As Palestinian living under the military occupation of a foreign invader, we do not have the right to decide our fate. This feeling — that you are being controlled by others — permeates every aspect of our lives here, every single day.”

This Israeli Eco Settlement’s Problem Isn’t Tourists. It Is Abuse of Palestinians, Haaretz
Sarit Michaeli responds to an article published in Haaretz about the ecological settlement of Rotem, stating, “Over the last six years, ever since the settlers began the accelerated construction of their own herding outposts – or “agricultural farms,” as they are euphemistically called – the level of harm Israel causes to Jordan Valley Palestinians has been ratcheted up a notch. Violence seems to be the business model for these outposts.”