News Roundup for May 1, 2024

May 1, 2024
Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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 Founder Discusses Being Pro-Israel and Pro-Peace in the 21st Century [Audio], St. Louis Public Radio
Host Don Marsh talked with the J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami and Rabbi Jim Bennett about being “pro-Israel and pro-peace.

Top News and Analysis

Blinken Holds High-Stakes Meetings in Israel as He Ramps up Pressure on Hamas to Accept Ceasefire Deal, CNN
Blinken reiterated Tuesday that he believes a deal is “achievable because the Israelis put a strong proposal on the table,” and that the US wants to see such an agreement come together “in the coming days.” Israel “demonstrated that they’re willing to compromise, and now it’s on Hamas,” he said. “No more delays. No more excuses. The time to act is now.”

With Gaza Aid Flows Rising, US To Push Israel to Speed Distribution, The Washington Post
Blinken said additional trucks, drivers and fuel must be let into Gaza to enable adequate distribution, along with steps to better deconflict military and humanitarian operations amid an ongoing conflict in which aid workers have repeatedly been injured or killed. He said he intends to speak with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli officials about “the things [that] still need to be done if the test is going to be met of making sure that people have what they need.”

Israel Will Invade Gaza’s Rafah ‘With or Without’ a Hostage Deal, Netanyahu Says, NPR
“The idea that we will halt the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there — with or without a deal — in order to achieve the total victory,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement released by his office.

Biden’s Tough Options as Gaza Protests Unravel on College Campuses, Axios
A day after the dramatic takeover of a Columbia University building, the White House is facing a year-end exam with no good answers. The strategy appears to be to let the protests play out, wait for undergrads to leave for the summer, and hope that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is in place before students return in the fall.

New York City Police Enter Columbia University Amid Pro-Palestinian Protests, Reuters
A long line of officers climbed into Hamilton Hall, an academic building that protesters had broken into and occupied in the early morning hours of Tuesday. Police entered through a second-story window, using a police vehicle equipped with a ladder. Students standing outside the hall jeered police with shouts of “Shame, shame!” Police were seen loading dozens of detainees onto a bus, each with their hands bound behind their backs by zip-ties.


Scoop: GOP Plots Ad Blitz Over Anti-Israel College Protests, Axios
In the Senate, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is making ads tying protestors to President Biden and Senate Democrats — and preparing a messaging bill that would block anti-Israel protestors from student loan forgiveness, a senior adviser told Axios.

A Freed Israeli Hostage Waits With Hope for Her Husband, Still Held by Hamas in Gaza, NPR
“Seeing my father today only emphasizes to all of us how much we must reach a deal as soon as possible and bring everyone home,” Elan Tiv, Aviva and Keith’s 33-year-old daughter, says in a video message she and her sister and mother released in response to Saturday’s Hamas video. “I demand that the leaders of this country watch this video and see their own father crying out for help.”

Schumer Slams Pro-Palestinian Protesters Who Took Over Columbia Building, Axios
It is a forceful rebuke from the top Senate Democrat that comes when Democrats are fractured on the issue. Some progressives, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have shown support for the protesters. And Republicans are planning to punish Democratic candidates politically for their fractured front on the Israel-Hamas war.

White House Considers Welcoming Some Palestinians From War-Torn Gaza as Refugees, CBS News
A White House spokesperson said that the U.S. “has helped more than 1,800 American citizens and their families leave Gaza, many of whom have come to the United States. At President Biden’s direction, we have also helped, and will continue to help, some particularly vulnerable individuals, such as children with serious health problems and children who were receiving treatment for cancer, get out of harm’s way and receive care at nearby hospitals in the region.”

Attorneys Inside and Outside the Administration Urge Biden to Cut off Arms to Israel, Politico
The group that drafted the letter includes current attorneys from the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. While the letter is still circulating for signatures, so far more than 90 lawyers have signed on, including from the departments of Justice, Labor and Energy, along with lawyers at the European Commission and in the private sector.

The Top UN Court Rejects Nicaragua’s Request for Germany to Halt Aid to Israel, AP
The court noted that Germany had granted only four export licenses to Israel for weapons of war since the start of the conflict, two for training ammunition and one for test purposes, as well as one consignment of “3,000 portable anti-tank weapons.” Nicaragua, a longstanding ally of the Palestinians, alleges that Germany is enabling genocide by sending arms and other support to Israel.

China Says Hamas and Fatah Voice Will for Palestinian Reconciliation, Reuters
The talks reviewed efforts to achieve a ceasefire, “the tragic humanitarian situation” caused by Israel’s bmonardments and invasion and the possibility of China enhancing humanitarian aid to Gaza. “In conclusion, both sides affirmed the continuation of consultations and working towards achieving Palestinian national unity, with China ready to provide all necessary support.”

Trump Blasts Bibi But Says US Would ‘Protect’ Israel against Iran, Responsible Statecraft
In general, Trump’s foreign policy approach seems motivated by criticizing what he considers to be Joe Biden’s failures while avoiding providing clear, discernible alternatives. On multiple occasions, Trump has claimed that neither Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nor Hamas’s incursion into Israel would have happened under his watch, claims he repeated during Tuesday’s interview.

Opinion and Analysis

Will Ousting Netanyahu Solve Everything for Israel?, Haaretz
Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “Israel’s refusal to commit itself unambiguously to equality, separation of religion and state, limitations on the power of government, basic civil liberties and human rights made it uniquely vulnerable to the political exploitation of the gaping holes and gray zones of democracy. The connection between this flimsy democratic foundation and the treatment of Palestinians cannot be repeated often enough.”

Why Israel Should Declare a Unilateral Cease-Fire in Gaza, Foreign Affairs
Dennis Ross and David Makovsky state, “A unilateral cease-fire of four to six weeks would, in fact, offer Israel many strategic benefits with few material drawbacks. And in truth, if their negotiations with Hamas fail once again, Israeli leaders will need to adopt a different approach if they hope to get hostages released while some are still alive.”

Why the Right Loves the Anti-Israel Encampments, New York Magazine
Jonathan Chait argues, “Extremists thrive on an atmosphere of crisis. The Middle East has been teetering on crisis for decades, which is why advocates of peaceful partition and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians have never had an easy time of it. The more fevered the atmosphere, the easier it is for Trumpian conservatives, along with radicals on the left, to argue that the conflict pits good against evil and that compromise is unthinkable.”