News Roundup for May 17, 2022

May 17, 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

Pro-Israel Lobbying Group AIPAC Secretly Pouring Millions Into Defeating Progressive Democrats, The Guardian
“A smaller and more liberal pro-Israel group, J-Street, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of Cisneros, saying she is committed to a more just solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. J-Street’s spokesperson, Logan Bayroff, accused Aipac of being a Republican front organisation that strongly supported Donald Trump, and of attempting to intimidate candidates into avoiding criticism of Israel by implicitly threatening to fund campaigns against them. “Aipac are taking all this money from Republican donors, and they’re obfuscating the fact that they’re a very Republican-aligned organisation while trying to persuade Democratic voters who they should support,” he said. “The United Democracy Project sounds innocuous and the advertising that they’re running in these districts is about healthcare and reproductive rights and things that have nothing to do with Israel. Which makes sense because those are the things that decide elections, not Israel. But the reason that they’re aligning with certain candidates is because they are more aligned with their more hawkish positions on Israel, and because they fear that other candidates will be more progressive and aligned with the Palestinians.””

Top News and Analysis

Israel Says Iran Working On Advanced Centrifuges at New Underground Sites, Reuters
Iran is working on advanced uranium centrifuges at new underground sites being built near its Natanz nuclear plant, Israel’s defence minister said on Tuesday, giving figures that appeared to go beyond those published by a U.N. watchdog. Centrifuges are used to purify uranium for civilian projects or, at higher levels, to make bomb fuel. Iranian progress in the field is being watched by world powers trying to resurrect a nuclear deal with Tehran, which denies having military designs.


Catholic Leader Blasts Israeli Conduct at Journalist Funeral, AP
The top Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land on Monday condemned the police beating of mourners carrying the casket of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, accusing the authorities of violating human rights and disrespecting the Catholic Church.

Al Jazeera Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s Brother Slams Violent Actions of Israeli Police at Her Funeral, CNN
The brother of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh Monday blasted the violent intervention by Israeli police into her funeral as “unacceptable and unjustifiable.” “They could have easily blocked the road if they didn’t want to see the funeral leave the hospital but the attack was intentional and brutal,” Tony Abu Akleh told CNN.

In Shift, Bennett’s Yamina Moves to Strip Rebel MK Silman of Her Committee Posts, The Times of Israel
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett appeared to have reversed his kid-glove treatment of rebel MK Idit Silman, reportedly deciding early Tuesday to remove her from her positions on Knesset committees. Silman, a member of Bennett’s Yamina party, resigned as coalition whip last month and joined the opposition, a major blow to the government that cost it its parliamentary majority.

Police Request Criminal Probe Into Two Israeli Lawmakers, Haaretz
Police has requested that a criminal investigation be opened against Israeli lawmakers Ahmad Tibi and Ofer Cassif after the latter was filmed striking a police officer during a protest in the West Bank last week.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Dirty Trick of ‘Construction for Palestinians’, Haaretz
Akiva Eldar writes, “Right-wing activists, including Bennett, know that construction plans for Palestinians not only don’t interfere with the annexation of the West Bank, but are an inseparable part of it. Just like home demolitions are. These minuscule construction plans for the Palestinians aren’t meant only to make it easier for the Americans to swallow a new plan to expand the settlements, or to silence the left’s representatives in the government. The policy of allowing the building of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and the policy of demolishing them both serve the same goal – putting a spoke in the possibility of Palestinian sovereignty west of the Jordan River.”

Shireen Abu Akleh Raised My Generation. Now, We’re Breaking Through the Dam, +972 Mag
Dima Srouji reflects, “Her assassination, a huge mistake on the occupation’s part, will resonate for another generation. The sonic experience of last May was visceral: chants, car honks, taraleel, applause, songs, and sobbing were heard across the world for weeks. Today, they are resonating even louder. Shireen’s voice rings louder, our voice rings louder, and the dam just cracked a little wider.”