News Roundup for May 16, 2022

May 16, 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

Jewish Progressives Sound the Alarm as Pro-Israel Groups Target Marginalized Candidates, The Intercept
“J Street’s conduit PAC has also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for progressive candidates. Logan Bayroff, J Street’s vice president of communications, told The Intercept that while the group lacks the funding to match AIPAC and DMFI dollar for dollar, its spending does make a difference, especially by providing evidence that progressive Jews and women of color are being dishonestly accused of being antisemitic or anti-Israel. “We are trying to have the backs of those who represent the true values and views of the majority of American Jews and the majority of pro-Israel Americans who don’t believe the AIPAC line,” he said. “We’re doing what we can to push back and call out the smears.” But he acknowledged that J Street’s actions alone are not enough to counter the “onslaught” facing marginalized progressives. “This is an extremely dangerous time,” he said, “and a lot more needs to be done to call out what AIPAC and their allies are doing and to find ways to mobilize to counter it.””

Where Megadonors Are Spending Big Money To Shape the Democratic Party’s Future, Politico
““If you want to be an effective political operation in 2022” and push “your preferred goals in the party,” J Street spokesperson Logan Bayroff said, “you have to be looking at spending on independent expenditures” — jargon that describes outside spending in political races. J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group, launched its own outside spending unit for the first time this year and is backing a trio of progressive candidates in primaries. “The money is coming in really hard, really fast,” Bayroff added.”

Top News and Analysis

Independent Probe Points to Israeli Fire in Journalist Death, Politico
As Israel and the Palestinians wrangle over the investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, several independent groups have launched their own probes. One open-source research team said its initial findings lent support to Palestinian witnesses who said she was killed by Israeli fire. The outcome of these investigations could help shape international opinion over who is responsible for Abu Akleh’s death, particularly if an official Israeli military probe drags on. Israel and the Palestinians are locked in a war of narratives that already has put Israel on the defensive.

Amid Global Anger, Israel Says It Will Investigate Police Assault on Funeral, The Washington Post
Jerusalem police say they have opened an investigation into their handling of a high-profile funeral of a Palestinian American journalist, after images of its officers using batons to beat mourners sparked global condemnation. The journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran correspondent for Al Jazeera, was fatally shot Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank. Witnesses, the network and Palestinian authorities said she was shot by an Israeli soldier. Israel has said that she was caught in Israeli-Palestinian crossfire and that it has not determined who killed her.


Israeli Lawmakers Call to Amend Nation-state Law After Druze Officer’s Death, Haaretz
Declassification of the name and photo of a Druze commander who fell during a covert mission in the Gaza Strip in 2018 sparked calls among Israeli lawmakers to amend the controversial nation-state law that defines the country as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Palestinian Militant Dies of Wounds, Days After Clashes With Israeli Troops, Reuters
A Palestinian gunmen, brother of a prominent militant in the occupied West Bank, died in an Israeli hospital on Sunday, two days after being wounded in clashes with Israeli forces. The Palestinian Health Ministry announced Daoud Zubeidi’s death, citing information from Israeli authorities, and armed groups vowed revenge.

Prominent Israeli Peace Negotiator Uri Savir Dies at 69, AP
Uri Savir, a prominent Israeli peace negotiator and dogged believer in the need for a settlement with the Palestinians, has died, according to Israeli media reports. He was 69. The reports said he died Friday. No cause of death was given. As director of the country’s Foreign Ministry, Savir led an Israeli delegation to negotiate a series of interim agreements with the Palestinians in 1993 that became known as the Oslo Accords.

Jewish Settlers Take Over Hebron Building, Ignoring Palestinian’s Ownership Claim, Haaretz
Dozens of settlers who moved into a building in the West Bank city of Hebron over the weekend did so without a permit, an Israeli security official told Haaretz. A Palestinian man from Jerusalem who claims to be the building’s rightful owner said he filed a police complaint.

Opinion and Analysis

Shireen Abu Akleh Was a Voice for Palestine. Israeli Police Didn’t Let Them Mourn in Peace., MSNBC
Ayman Mohyeldin writes about Israeli police attacks on mourners during the funeral procession of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. He writes, “This is what a dehumanizing occupation looks like. It deprives Palestinians even of their right to mourn, their right to express grief in whatever way brings them comfort and closure. This is what it means to be oppressed, to have one’s cultural expressions subject to the state’s approval and to be subject to violence from the state for breaking those rules. This is what it means to be mastered, to be subjugated, to be silenced by a state that shows its force with bullets, batons, bulldozers and bombs.”

‘My Only Hobby Is Crying’: The Boy Who Lost His Family to an Israeli Airstrike, The Guardian
Bethan McKernan and Hazem Balousha tell the story of 17-year-old Omar Abu al-Ouf. They write, “Omar Abu al-Ouf is revising for his final school exams, hoping to do well enough to pursue his dream of becoming an engineer, but it’s difficult for the 17-year-old to focus. His mind constantly drifts to his family, all of whom died last year when an Israeli airstrike destroyed their apartment building in a middle-class neighbourhood of Gaza city.”