News Roundup for March 24, 2022

March 24, 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

‘Morally Bankrupt’: Outrage After Pro-Israel Group Backs Insurrectionist Republicans, The Guardian
“The lobby group’s move has been met by a storm of criticism, including from other pro-Israel organizations. “AIPAC’s support for these candidates endangers American democracy and undermines the true interests and values of millions of American Jews and pro-Israel Americans who they often claim to represent,” said…pro-Israel lobby group J Street. “Whatever their views on Israel, elected officials who threaten the very future of our country should be completely beyond the pale.””

Israeli Officials, U.S. Mideast Experts, Jewish Orgs Mourn ‘Trail-blazer’ Madeleine Albright, Haaretz
“J Street praised Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s promoting of “lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace via a two-state solution, and remained a champion for diplomatic progress in the region throughout her life.””

J Street Mourns Passing of Secretary Madeleine Albright, a Champion for Diplomacy and Democracy, J Street
“J Street mourns the passing of former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine Albright, one of the most accomplished and renowned diplomats and statespeople in modern American history. Throughout her long and distinguished career in diplomacy and politics, Secretary Albright stood out for her keen intellect, moral leadership and unequivocal commitment to democratic values. During her tenure as Secretary of State — the first woman ever to hold that office — she promoted lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace via a two-state solution, and remained a champion for diplomatic progress in the region throughout her life. J Street was deeply honored to host her as the featured speaker at our 2017 National Gala in Washington, DC.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel, Fearing Russian Reaction, Blocked Spyware for Ukraine and Estonia, The New York Times
The Israeli government rejected requests from Ukraine and Estonia in recent years to purchase and use Pegasus — the powerful spyware tool — to hack Russian mobile phone numbers, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Israel feared that selling the cyberweapon to adversaries of Russia would damage Israel’s relationship with the Kremlin, they said. Both Ukraine and Estonia had hoped to buy Pegasus to gain access to Russian phones, presumably as part of intelligence operations targeting their increasingly menacing neighbor in the years before Russia carried out its invasion of Ukraine.

Israeli Troops’ New Quota: Add 50 Palestinians to Tracking Database Every Shift, Haaretz
Soldiers posted in the West Bank have recently received instructions from their commanders that in any shift at a checkpoint or guard post they must enter the details and photos of at least 50 Palestinians to the IDF’s “Blue Wolf” tracking system. A soldier who doesn’t make the quota, they were told at the briefing, will not be relieved from duty at the end of their shift and will be forced to remain on duty until they make quota.


Israeli Court Reduces Detention Without Trial of Man Suspected of Left-wing Activists’ Assault, Haaretz
An Israeli court issued an order Wednesday reducing by two weeks the detention without trial of a Jewish man who was arrested last month on suspicion of attacking left-wing Israeli activists. The 20-year-old man, whose name is under gag order, is the resident of a West Bank settlement who is suspected of assaulting the activists near the West Bank village of Burin in January. He is the only Jewish administrative detainee in the country at this time; there are 490 Palestinians being held without trial by Israel.

After Backlash, Police Chief Defends Cops’ Response Time in Deadly Beersheba Attack, The Times of Israel
Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai on Wednesday rejected criticism of officers’ response time to the deadly stabbing attack in Beersheba the previous day. Shabtai said that “four minutes from the moment the report is received at the police station to the moment of arrival is a quick response time. These are four minutes of fast driving on busy roads, but these are also four minutes in a terrorist incident where every second is critical and important.”

Iran Hasn’t Agreed to U.S. Conditions for Removing IRGC From Terror List, Axios
An agreement to restore the 2015 nuclear deal is nearly complete, but Iran’s demand that President Biden reverse former President Trump’s decision to designate the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is one of the last remaining sticking points.

Abbas Loyalists Lose Bethlehem University Election, The Jerusalem Post
For the first time in many years, a list affiliated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction has lost the student council election at Bethlehem University.

Israel’s Energy Minister Talks Ukraine, Global Energy Crisis in Paris, Al-Monitor
Israel’s Energy Minister Karine Elharar is participating in the ministerial meeting of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, “Accelerating Global Action on Clean Energy and Energy Security.” Israel is in the process of joining this group, established a few years ago by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Opinion and Analysis

Collective Punishment Is the Wrong Response to Terrorism, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial Board writes, “The government must not be drawn into the right-wing sentiment that seeks to take a hard line with all Palestinians, including those with no connection to the attack or to Abu al-Kiyan. The calls for harsh treatment of Palestinians are calls for collective punishment. This is an offensive practice that also wrongly assumes that the Palestinians are a monolithic group, and there is no difference between those who live in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and those who are Israeli citizens. All this, while relative calm prevails in the West Bank and the Strip.”

AIPAC’s Endorsements Risk Irreparably Damaging the U.S.-Israel Relationship, The Forward
Laura E. Adkins argues “I understand that AIPAC is an organization single-mindedly committed to the U.S.-Israel relationship. But without a strong and vibrant democracy in the United States, there is no U.S.-Israel relationship to defend. Unlike other lobbying groups that issue scorecards to show how they choose which candidates to endorse, AIPAC’s process for choosing candidates remains opaque. It would be helpful to understand how AIPAC defines pro-Israel…AIPAC’s base will shrink if its members feel the group has forsaken them. And if the 37 election-deniers endorsed by AIPAC have their way, America will become a much-diminished country as well, calling into question the very stability that makes a strong U.S.-Israel relationship possible.”