News Roundup for March 4, 2022

March 4, 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’s PAC Endorses Dozens of Republicans Who Refused to Certify Joe Biden as President, JTA
““Whatever their views on Israel, elected officials who threaten the very future of our country should be completely beyond the pale,” J Street’s national political director, Laura Birnbaum, said. “We call on AIPAC to immediately end their support for these candidates — or explain what could possibly justify supporting those who effectively sided with the insurrectionists on January 6th.” J Street and two other pro-Israel PACs have sworn not to back lawmakers who refused to certify Biden’s election.”

AIPAC Endorses Dozens of Republicans Who Refused to Certify Biden’s Election, The Times of Israel
“They are 120 lawmakers from both parties, but also include 37 Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results after the January 6 insurrection — drawing criticism from rival lobby J Street. “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,” says Laura Birnbaum, J Street’s National Political Director.”

Levin-Stevens Primary Contest Reflects Split Among Democrats Over Israel, Detroit News
“Logan Bayroff at the liberal Jewish organization J Street, which endorsed the Two- State Solution Act, argues that groups like AIPAC feel threatened by Levin and others willing to criticize Israel who are growing louder and more prominent within the Democratic Party. Bayroff said opposition to the bill is from those who don’t want to see any “meaningful” action from Congress or the Biden administration pushing back on the Israeli government or the status quo. ‘I think part of what is so threatening to groups on the right is that it’s more difficult to smear someone who is making very clear that his leadership in this area is motivated by his support for Israel — by his concern for Jewish values,’ Bayroff said.”

AIPAC’s Decision to Endorse and Fund Over 35 Candidates Who Voted To Overturn Election Results on January 6th Is A Slap in the Face for American Democracy, J Street
“J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, today expressed alarm and concern that AIPAC’s new PAC has endorsed over 35 congressional candidates who egregiously undermined American democracy by voting against the certification of presidential results after insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol on January 6th. J Street has repeatedly urged all pro-Israel PACs to take a “Democracy Pledge” to never support such anti-democratic candidates. Yet AIPAC has now announced their intention to funnel millions of dollars to these dangerous politicians.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Army Blocking Activists From Calling ‘Hotlines’ to Report Settler Violence, +972 Mag
IDF hotlines in the occupied West Bank are blocking incoming calls from Israeli human rights activists trying to get the army to intercede against settler violence.The hotlines, also known as “operation rooms,” are run by the Civil Administration, the arm of the Israeli military that governs the occupied territories, and are intended for Palestinians and Israelis who seek to report attacks by Israeli settlers, property theft, illegal construction, and other incidents. Because the West Bank does not have a strong Israeli police presence, the hotlines effectively serve as an all-purpose emergency number. Five of the hotlines overseeing the Jordan Valley, however, have blocked the phone numbers of several Israeli activists in recent years, making it impossible for the activists to send texts or place calls to the authorities.


From Here We Can Do a Lot More’: Kyiv Chief Rabbi Lands in Israel to Lobby for Ukraine Aid, Haaretz
Kyiv Chief Rabbi Yonatan Markovitch landed in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, and pledged to lobby Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government to provide increased aid to Ukraine.

Ben & Jerry’s Is Sued by Israeli Ice Cream Maker Over Boycott, Reuters
Ben & Jerry’s was sued on Thursday by its longtime Israeli ice cream manufacturer, which said the company illegally severed their 34-year relationship after halting sales in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

Collective Punishment’: Israel Police Sets Up Checkpoint to Tackle Neighborhood’s Crimewave, Haaretz
The residents Jawarish in Ramle, the most dangerous neighborhood in Israel last year, are split about the police campaign but they all feel that the checkpoint is a burden on their daily lives.

Bennett Urges ‘Smooth’ Integration of Palestinian Tech Workers at Israeli Companies, Times of Israel
In response to talent shortages felt across Israel’s well-established tech sector, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has given “instruction to my government to make it smooth” for Palestinians to integrate into Israeli technology companies, he said at Tel Aviv’s CyberTech conference on Thursday.

Opinion and Analysis

Reflections on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, J Street
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “The struggle for peace and democracy for Israelis and Palestinians of course remains J Street’s core mission. Yet we recognize that our work is but one facet of a broader struggle pitting proponents of peace, diplomacy and human rights against hawks, militarists and ethno-nationalists. J Street knows where we stand. We stand for peace and for diplomacy. We stand for justice, equality, democracy and human rights. And we will stand up for those values whether against anti-democratic forces here at home, the pro-occupation right in Israel, or global autocrats like Putin.”

We Jews of Ukraine Ask: Why Is Israel Abandoning Our Country?, Haaretz
Ilya Bezruchko reflects, “We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe for Ukraine and for our community, but Israel is failing to stand up for us. The Talmud teaches: Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire. It’s not too late for Israel to remember it.”