News Roundup for March 30, 2023

March 30, 2023

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street News Roundup

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

J Street Commends Bipartisan Senate Passage of 2002 & 1991 AUMF Repeal, J Street
“J Street commends the Senate’s bipartisan passage of a measure repealing the 2002 and 1991 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force against Iraq. This is an important and long-overdue step towards ending our forever wars in the Middle East and preventing potential abuse of these AUMFs to justify unauthorized military operations.”

J Street Welcomes President Biden’s Comments on Netanyahu’s Judicial Overhaul, J Street
“We applaud President Biden’s clear statement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should “walk away” from his attempt to overhaul Israel’s judiciary. We agree wholeheartedly with the President that the Netanyahu government should not go down the road of eroding Israel’s system of checks and balances and other critical elements of its democracy.”

Top News and Analysis

Biden: World ‘Turning the Tide’ After Backslide on Democracy, AP
President Joe Biden on Wednesday offered an optimistic outlook on the health of democracy worldwide, declaring that leaders are “turning the tide” in stemming a yearslong backslide of democratic institutions. More recently, Biden administration officials have been at odds with close ally Israel as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tries to push forward a far-reaching judicial overhaul that the U.S. worries will diminish Israel’s democracy. Netanyahu, in remarks at the summit’s opening session, said Israel remained a “robust democracy” in the midst of “a very intensive public debate.”

Two Settlers Arrested for Purim Riots in Huwara, Indicted on Terrorism Charges, The Jerusalem Post
Two settlers were arrested by the Shin Bet and police after attacking Palestinians with an ax and stones in Huwara on Purim, the Shin Bet and police announced on Thursday. During the violence on Purim, a group of Israelis entered Huwara and began attacking Palestinians. In one instance, the group noticed a Palestinian family in a car outside a shop and began throwing stones at the car and hit one of the occupants of the vehicle with an ax.


‘Building a Dictatorship’: Thousands of Israelis Protest Move to Give Far-right Minister a Private Militia, Haaretz
Thousands of Israelis took to the streets Wednesday to protest the imminent creation of a national guard under the command of far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. The demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, initiated by the grassroots group Standing Together, were much smaller in scale than the recent mass protests against the government’s judicial overhaul.

Crisis Hotline Reports Major Spike in Calls Amid Judicial Overhaul Turmoil, The Times of Israel
Israel’s emotional first aid service, reports that it has seen a major spike in calls in response to the national crisis resulting from the government’s judicial overhaul plans. In recent weeks, a full 25 percent of calls (200 per day) relate to the situation, and 70% of the calls are from people over the age of 50.

Prominent British Jews Tell Netanyahu: We Oppose the Israeli Judicial Coup, Haaretz
Four days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to London and the accompanying demonstrations against his government’s judicial overhaul on the streets of the British capital, 100 senior figures from the Jewish community in the United Kingdom have penned an open letter to Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog, expressing their deep concern over the judicial coup.

Opinion and Analysis

Why Israel’s Democratic Reckoning Has Barely Begun, Time
Yasmeen Serhan writes, “The role of the occupation in Israel’s democratic backsliding hasn’t been completely overlooked by the protesters, a small but persistent segment of which have sought to highlight the incompatibility between liberal democracy and occupation, with some holding signs declaring that “democracy and occupation cannot coexist.” But it hasn’t been the main focus of the demonstrations, either. Rather, the protests have primarily centered around the concern that the democracy Israelis have known and enjoyed is being meddled with beyond repair…Should Netanyahu decide to proceed with the judicial overhaul at a later date, protest leaders say they will return to the streets in full force. Regardless of whether they succeed—either in preventing it or forcing the collapse of the government and triggering fresh elections—Israel’s quest for democracy won’t end with this illiberal, far-right government.”

Protect the Israeli Judiciary — but Don’t Let It Launder War Crimes Against Palestinians, The Intercept
Hagar Kotef and Merav Amir argue, “those in Israel protesting in the streets should realize that there is no such thing as a democracy for Jews alone. A true democracy will only be achieved when Israel ends its long-lasting occupation, recognizes the national rights of the Palestinians, and offers protections and equality under the law for all its citizens.”