News Roundup for March 2, 2022

March 2, 2022

J Street in the News

In Heated Texas Primaries, Big Stakes for Israel Policies, Haaretz
While Israel is not a primary talking point in this electoral battle, the two candidates stand in stark opposition on how they relate – leading J Street to offer almost unprecedented support for a challenger over an incumbent. “With our support for Jessica Cisneros, J Street is demonstrating that the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement intends to stand firmly behind candidates who embody our commitment to democratic values, diplomacy-first foreign policy, human rights and Israeli-Palestinian peace,” said J Street Vice President of Communications Logan Bayroff. J Street’s new action fund, created on the heels of leading pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s formal entry into the campaign space, notably bankrolled $100,000 to support Cisneros’ candidacy with a targeted digital ad buy.

Top News and Analysis

Cuellar, Cisneros Head to Democratic Runoff in Texas, The Hill
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and progressive favorite Jessica Cisneros are heading to a runoff in Texas’s 28th Congressional District, The Associated Press projected, after neither of the leading candidates secured 50 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. The race’s runoff status shows that Cuellar, the incumbent, is on shaky ground after serving nine terms in the seat. Results show that Cisneros outperformed her 2020 primary performance, when she lost to Cuellar by just under 4 points.

Palestinians Threatened With Eviction Can Stay in Their Homes — for Now, The New York Times
Israel’s Supreme Court handed a partial victory on Tuesday to a group of Palestinian families whose looming eviction from their homes in East Jerusalem contributed to the tensions that led to last year’s 11-day Gaza war. After years of legal struggles, Israel’s highest court accepted the main argument of the families, allowing them to remain in their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood until the dispute over the ownership of the property is settled — a process that experts said could take years, if it gets settled at all.

Israeli Forces Kill Three Palestinians in West Bank Clashes, Reuters
Israeli forces killed three Palestinians on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said, and the Islamic Jihad militant group identified two of the dead as its gunmen. Witnesses said the two were killed when undercover Israeli forces exchanged fire with Palestinians during a pre-dawn raid in Jenin. Israel’s border police said its forces came under heavy gunfire during an operation in the camp to arrest a suspect wanted for what it described as “terrorist activity”.


Russian Forces Begin Massive Assault on Kyiv as Rockets Pound Ukrainian Capital, The Jerusalem Post
Russian forces began a massive assault against the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv on Tuesday as bombs showered down across the city including on the state TV tower in Babyn Yar. At least five people were reported killed and five injured. Russia warned Kyiv residents to flee their homes and rained rockets down on the city of Kharkiv, as Russian commanders who have failed to achieve a quick victory shifted their tactics to intensify the bombardment of Ukrainian cities.

Top pro-Israeli Democrat Is Retiring, and Jewish Groups Are Worried, Haaretz
Rep. Ted Deutch, who has widely been identified as Israel’s best friend in the Democratic Party, announced Monday he will not seek reelection this November. He will instead become the new CEO of the American Jewish Committee, one of the oldest and most significant Jewish legacy organizations in America. His departure from Congress not only introduces a major new player to the U.S.-Jewish establishment but creates an undeniable vacuum among pro-Israel Democrats, who are losing someone widely seen as a de facto “team captain” of sorts.

Israeli, Jewish Officials Denounce Russian Strike That Hit Babi Yar Memorial Complex, The Times of Israel
Israeli and Jewish officials sharply denounced a Russian missile attack on a Ukrainian television transmitter in Kyiv that killed five people and also struck the city’s Babi Yar Holocaust memorial site on Tuesday. “As we view images emerging from Ukraine showing innocent civilians fleeing from their endangered homes and pictures of the deadly Russian attack on the vicinity of the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial site, Yad Vashem voices its vehement condemnation,” the Israeli Holocaust museum said in a statement.

Opinion and Analysis

While the West Stands Up to Putin, Israel Is Fighting Ben & Jerry’s, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas writes, “It essentially comes down to a simple truth: When your foreign policy on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream has more resolve, determination, conviction and moral clarity than your stuttering, tentative and noncommittal stance when Russia invades Ukraine, you may have a serious problem. Not just a problem of moral clarity, but a problem of a coherent and smart foreign policy.”

Israel Cannot Stand on the Sidelines of the Ukraine Crisis, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board argues, “Israel must join the international effort to offer shelter to refugees from the war in Ukraine. It must allow anyone fleeing the battles to stay here with their relatives and friends without demanding that they post guarantees. It’s very strange that the Ukrainian consul had to tell the Knesset Special Committee on Foreign Workers Tuesday what ought to be self-evident: – Ukraine isn’t asking Israel to let these refugees stay forever; it’s merely asking for practical measures to help people in need.”

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Top News and Analysis

Israel Surpasses 1,000 Demolitions in the Occupied West Bank Since Joe Biden Took Office, The Intercept
The rate of Israel’s destruction of Palestinian-owned properties in the occupied West Bank is accelerating at a rapid pace under U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, according to data from the United Nations’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This week, the U.N.’s tally of demolitions carried out since Biden’s inauguration eclipsed 1,000.

Diplomats Reconvene in Vienna for Iran Nuclear Talks, AP
Diplomats from Iran and world powers reconvened in Vienna on Monday to seek a deal reviving Tehran’s 2015 nuclear accord, with pressure mounting for results soon. Among them was Iran’s chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, who returned to Vienna after consultations with his government in Teheran over the weekend. The other parties to the agreement are Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. The United States has participated indirectly in the talks because it withdrew from the accord in 2018 under then President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden has signaled that he wants to rejoin the deal.


Israel to Join UN Condemnation of Russian Invasion, Al Monitor
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said today that Israel will join the UN General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Israel has a moral responsibility to both condemn Russia and give humanitarian assistance, said Lapid, adding that “Israel was and is on the right side of history.” He noted that three planes will leave Israel for Ukraine today and tomorrow with humanitarian aid.

Israeli Headed for Border Killed in Ukraine in Apparent Case of Mistaken Identity, Haaretz
An Israeli man was shot to death Monday by Ukrainian soldiers, the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed. Roman Brodesky, 42, who had been living in Ukraine for the past few years, was driving in a convoy of vehicles making its way to the border with Moldova. The information Israel received indicates that Ukrainian soldiers took him out of his vehicle at a roadblock 95 kilometers south of Kyiv and shot him, apparently in a case of mistaken identity.

More than 5,000 Ukrainians Inquire about Moving to Israel, Al Monitor
The Jewish Agency said Monday that more than 5,000 Ukrainians have inquired about moving to Israel after Russia launched an invasion of their country. The agency, created in 1929 before Israel was established, processes Israeli immigration for Jews in the diaspora. A spokeswoman told AFP that the agency has set up a hotline following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week to assist Jews wanting to immigrate.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Has Some Leverage Over Russia, if It Is Only Willing to Use It, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Israel’s fear of Putin is greatly exaggerated, and if its leaders were capable of overcoming it they would realize that they actually do have some leverage…For that to happen, though, Israelis need to see through the image Netanyahu has built of Putin as an omnipotent genius that Israel must never cross. The chances of that happening in the near future are remote. Bennett seems as awestruck of Putin as Netanyahu was. It would probably be best for Israel not to put itself in the position of mediator. Besides, as a country that has avoided negotiations over ending its own occupation, it might be a little awkward to try to resolve another one.”

Depriving Water from Palestinians Is Israel’s Own Degradation – opinion, The Jerusalem Post
Tuly Flint, Israeli general coordinator of Combatants for Peace, writes, “MK Benny Gantz, I am calling on you to pay attention to the reality on the ground and witness what your army and other security forces under your command are being asked to do. For whom and for what are they fighting? Is this the way you want to see IDF soldiers behaving? I am calling on you to come to Hebron Hills, to the Jordan Valley, to the Kane River and see the theft that is being committed in your name by the army that you, as the minister of defense, are responsible for. Give residents who live under the army’s control access to water. Stop the injustice that is taking place every single day by the forces you command.”