News Roundup for March 3, 2022

March 3, 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

Biden Is Betting Republican Senators Lack Votes to Derail Revival of Iran Nuclear Deal, NBC News
“But supporters of the nuclear deal, Democratic lawmakers and administration officials believe Republicans won’t be able to muster enough votes to stop a revival of the accord. “I think the cards would play out in a way that it would hold,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a left-leaning pro-Israel lobbying group that supported lawmakers who backed the 2015 deal. After the deal was originally negotiated seven years ago, opponents warned that lawmakers who backed it could be punished by voters. But no members of Congress who endorsed the 2015 deal lost their seats because of their support. The political lesson from seven years ago “is that this can withstand the headwinds,” Ben-Ami said. And although Democrats face a tough midterm election this year in which they could lose control of both the House and the Senate, the nuclear deal isn’t registering as an issue for voters, and it’s unlikely to be a factor in the elections this fall, Ben-Ami said.”

Progressive Wins Democrat Texas Race Despite Far-left Breakup Over Israel-Palestine, Haaretz
“The other closely monitored race, between centrist Rep. Henry Cuellar and progressive upstart Jessica Cisneros in Texas’ 28th congressional district, heads to a May runoff after neither passed the 50-percent threshold. The battle is between a pro-Israel incumbent and a progressive critic critical of how the United States contributes to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. 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 Cisneros over an incumbent, including bankrolling $100,000 via its new action fund to support her candidacy with a targeted digital ad buy.”

Top News and Analysis

U.S. Losing Patience With Israel Over Ukraine, Haaretz
U.S. officials are growing increasingly impatient with Israel’s attempts to support Ukraine without alienating Russia, arguing that anything less than full support for the beleaguered nation falls short. Israel’s stance is out of sync with the international community and has provoked rare bipartisan criticism in Washington, as Jerusalem strives to maintain Moscow’s permission to operate over Syria, where Russia effectively controls the airspace and lets Israel attack Iranian targets according to numerous foreign reports.

Gantz Says Iran Nuclear Deal Could Be Signed Within Days, The Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz vowed Wednesday that Israel will never give up on making sure Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons, as a deal between Tehran and world powers seemed imminent. “In the coming weeks, perhaps even in the coming days, a nuclear agreement may be signed between [world] powers and Iran,” Gantz said during a graduation ceremony for navy officers in the Haifa bay area. “Whether that happens or not, Israel will continue to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from becoming an existential threat and possessing nuclear capability,” he said.


Israel Celebrates Rescue of Jewish Orphans from Ukraine, Al Monitor
Israel’s Foreign Ministry opened special reception stations at crossing points with Ukraine this morning to offer Israelis and Jews leaving the country food, medical consultations and consular assistance. The stations will be manned by representatives of the ministry, representatives of Nativ (liaison office for Jews living in the former Soviet bloc) and representatives of the Jewish Agency. So far, Israeli representatives have been occupied primarily with assisting Israelis and Jews to exit Ukraine and cross the border.

Jerusalem Police Uses Excessive Force Against Palestinians, Senior Officials Accuse, Haaretz
Jerusalem police officers have used excessive force against Palestinians this week, police sources say, warning that tensions in the city and elsewhere could seriously escalate if the Jerusalem District, under the command of Maj. Gen. Doron Turgeman, doesn’t change its policy. Footage of clashes on Monday between officers and Palestinians near the Old City’s Damascus Gate shows “loss of control,” a senior police official told Haaretz.

IAEA Chief Grossi to Visit Tehran Saturday in Shadow of Nuke Talks, The Jerusalem Post
International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi will visit Tehran on Saturday in an effort to reach certain understandings in the shadow of a potential impending deal at the nuclear talks in Vienna between Iran and the world powers.

Russian Strikes Destroy Centers of Jewish Life in Kharkiv as Community Members Flee, Haaretz
Artillery and missile strikes destroyed or damaged multiple Jewish sites across Kharkiv as Russian forces attempted to wrest control of the eastern Ukrainian city from government forces on Wednesday.

Opinion and Analysis

How To Work for a Two-state Solution for Israel, Palestine, The Jerusalem Post
Gershon Baskin argues, “If there is any chance of saving the two-state solution then at least two things need to happen: Elections in Palestine and recognition of the State of Palestine. Quite frankly, I cannot understand the logic of continuing to support the two-state solution, while only recognizing one of the states.”

Settlements Don’t Create Security, Justice Stein, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “The heads of the security establishment, including former IDF chiefs of staff, have for years argued that the settlements are not a security asset but rather a burden on the IDF. The Israeli interest, including its security interest, requires that an end be put to the theft of parcels of land in the territories and that these parcels be returned to their owners.”