News Roundup for May 19, 2022

May 19, 2022
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

Progressives and Pro-Israel Groups Each Claim Victories in May Primaries, The Forward
“Logan Bayroff, a spokesman for the liberal J Street PAC, acknowledged that massive spending does make a difference. But he added that the race in Pennsylvania’s 12th District showed that “a good principled candidate like Lee, who has popular support in the district and who has a coalition of Democratic-aligned groups who stand with her, can still overcome that overwhelming amount of spending.” J Street endorsed Lee and its newly-created super PAC, Action Fund, donated $50,000 to her campaign. Bayroff also said that the progressive candidates in North Carolina lacked the resources to push back against AIPAC and other outside groups opposing them.”

Unprecedented Spending by AIPAC, Billionaire SuperPACs Fail in Efforts to Decide Elections in Pennsylvania and Oregon, J Street
“On Tuesday, J Street-backed candidates prevailed up and down the ballot in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Oregon — winning nominations for Senate seats in Pennsylvania and North Carolina and for the House in Pennsylvania and Oregon. An unprecedented onslaught of millions of dollars in independent expenditures by AIPAC-affiliated groups and billionaire-funded SuperPACs failed in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District where Summer Lee has declared victory and in Oregon’s 6th District where Andrea Salinas has emerged victorious. In PA-12, AIPAC’s SuperPAC and PAC, along with their affiliate Democratic Majority for Israel, spent over $3 million to attack and smear principled progressive Democrat Summer Lee – an outrageous sum greater than the combined total spent by the campaigns of Lee and her opponent Steve Irwin. In OR-06, a crypto-currency billionaire and other SuperPACs spent a staggering $13 million to try to elect their chosen candidate and defeat Andrea Salinas – and thankfully failed.”

Top News and Analysis

Palestinians Eight Times More Likely to Face Home Demolition Than Settlers, Haaretz
Israel carried out eight times as many demolition orders in the West Bank against new structures built by Palestinians compared to settlers between May 2019 and the end of 2021. During that period, the Civil Administration – Israel’s governing body in the West Bank – issued removal orders against 285 new Palestinian structures and razed 200. For settlers, by contrast, these figures were 84 and 25, respectively. The figures were furnished to Lawmaker Gaby Lasky (Meretz) in response to a parliamentary question she submitted to Defense Minister Benny Gantz. The Civil Administration did not comment.

Meretz MK Rinawie Zoabi Quits Coalition, Putting It in Minority, The Times of Israel
MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi of the left-wing Meretz party on Thursday afternoon resigned from the coalition, reducing it to a minority in the Knesset and bringing it to the brink of collapse. In a letter addressed to coalition leaders Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Rinawie Zoabi claimed her move was prompted by a rightward shift by the government. “Unfortunately, in recent months, out of narrow political considerations, the leaders of the coalition have chosen to preserve and strengthen its right-wing flank,” she wrote.


Israel to Allow Right-wing Flag March to Pass Through Muslim Quarter on Jerusalem Day, Haaretz
Israel’s flag march, scheduled to take place on Jerusalem Day on May 29th, will pass through Damascus Gate and the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai decided on Tuesday. This year, the marchers are expected to reach the Damascus Gate plaza, which will be closed to Muslim traffic, where they will perform dances, and from there toward the Muslim Quarter through which they will arrive at the Western Wall where the final event of the march will take place. Following approval, restrictions on Muslim residents in the Old City are expected.

How a Pro-Israel Lobby Group Spent Millions To Sway Democratic Primaries, MSNBC
Chris Hayes dives into how in Pennsylvania’s 12th district, AIPAC dumped millions of dollars to try to take down a Democratic candidate named Summer Lee. He says, “They recognize that Israel is not the top issue for the voters—so what they did instead was launch an almost comically disingenuous attack claiming Summer Lee is ‘not a real Democrat.’”

Israel Arrests Pallbearer Beaten at Journalist’s Funeral, Reuters
Israel police have arrested one of the Palestinian pallbearers beaten by officers at the funeral of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the detained man’s lawyer said on Wednesday. A police spokesperson confirmed the arrest of Amro Abu Khdair but said it was not connected to Friday’s funeral. He declined to give the reason for the man’s arrest.

Israeli Military Will Not Conduct Criminal Probe Into Al Jazeera Reporter’s Death, Haaretz
The Israeli army’s Military Police Criminal Investigation Division does not plan to investigate the fatal shooting of Shireen Abu Akleh. The main reason given is that there is no suspicion of a criminal act: The soldiers testified that they did not see the journalist at all and aimed their fire at gunmen, who were indeed nearby. However, it seems that one of the reasons for the decision was the belief that such an investigation would provoke opposition and controversy within the IDF and in Israeli society in general.

Opinion and Analysis

How a Settlement Outpost Is Born, Haaretz
Hagar Shezaf visits a conference in the West Bank, where a settler group behind contested West Bank outpost presents its vision. She explains, “In the building of the Binyamin Regional Council in the West Bank, 400 pro-settlement activists gathered on Wednesday evening for a conference on “building new communities.” The organizer behind the event was the Nachala Movement, the group behind the most famous outpost established in recent years: Evyatar. On the building’s grounds roamed young people in shirts reading “Evyatarnik.” Inside the room, the group presented its plans: To establish on the Hebrew date of the 21st of Tammuz (July 20) “10 Evyatars” – in other words, 10 illegal outposts at the same time.”

My Friend Shireen Abu Akleh Told the Stories No One Else Wanted To Tell, CNN
Dalia Hatuqa writes, “Since her death, many people have been calling her a symbol of a generation of Palestinian women who came of age in 1997, when she first joined Al Jazeera. Others call her a trailblazer. The many posters peppering the West Bank call her a martyr. But she was a journalist — she was one of us. And she was Palestinian, through and through. That was the driving force behind her work, her passion, her will and drive to tell the stories no one else wanted to tell.”

Summer Lee Shows Progressive Ideals Can Overcome Corporate Smears, The Nation
John Nichols notes, “The Pennsylvania contest saw the United Democracy Project spend more than $2 million to attack Lee and another $660,000 to prop up Irwin’s bid, according to Open Secrets. A second outside group, Democratic Majority for Israel, spent more than $400,000 promoting Irwin. Yet Lee prevailed. Senator Sanders, who traveled to Pittsburgh to campaign with the candidate, said, “She defeated millions of dollars of right-wing super PAC money, as well as the Democratic establishment.””