News Roundup for May 4, 2022

May 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

Top Pro-Israel Group Reshapes Democratic Primaries With Multimillion-Dollar Barrage, HuffPost
“The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) founded a super PAC, United Democracy Project, that has already spent nearly $3.5 million to influence just five congressional primaries, according to a HuffPost analysis of federal election disclosures. The size of the spending is a source of anger and anxiety for more left-leaning groups. “They clearly are trying to intimidate people with large sums of money from small groups of people,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a more liberal pro-Israel group. J Street, which supports a more proactive U.S. role in brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace, has also escalated its investment in Democratic primaries. J Street’s federal PAC, JStreetPAC, has endorsed 146 candidates this cycle, including Summer Lee, Jessica Cisneros, Erica Smith and Rep. Andy Levin, who are running against AIPAC-backed Democrats. “We’re adjusting to the change in the rules of the game,” Ben-Ami told HuffPost. Thus far though, J Street has raised modest sums compared to AIPAC. The group’s first intervention was a $100,000 investment in digital advertisements in support of Cisneros’ primary run in Texas. Bayroff, the J Street spokesperson, also noted that the five progressive candidates on the receiving end of AIPAC’s super PAC spending are all women of color and suggested it spoke to AIPAC’s bias.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel Commemorates War Dead With Nationwide Pause, Sirens, AP
Israel honored its soldiers and civilians killed in wars and militant attacks on Wednesday with sirens wailing nationwide for Memorial Day. Ceremonies and poetry readings were held at cemeteries for the over 24,000 people lost in Israel’s conflicts, before the occasion turns more festive at sundown with parties and military flyovers to kick off the country’s 74th Independence Day. During the two minutes of sirens, people stood still, heads bowed.

U.S. Explores Holding Regional Leaders’ Meeting During Biden’s Middle East Visit, Axios
The White House and the Israeli prime minister’s office discussed holding a regional leaders’ meeting as part of President Biden’s visit to the Middle East toward the end of June. A regional leaders’ meeting headed by Biden would signal U.S. leadership and commitment in the Middle East at a time when the U.S. is seen as withdrawing from the region.


US Envoy: I Give Israel ‘a Lot of Credit’ for Its Handling of Jerusalem Tensions, The Times of Israel
The US ambassador to Israel said Tuesday that he gives Israel’s government “a lot of credit” for its handling of tensions in Jerusalem over the past month, which saw a rare confluence of Passover, Ramadan and Easter. “I think things went pretty well,” Ambassador Thomas Nides said during an event hosted by the Atlantic Council.

3 Killed in Severe Car Crash in Southern Israel, The Jerusalem Post
Three people were killed and a number of others were injured in a severe car accident between two cars and a truck near the town of Azrikam in southern Israel on Tuesday afternoon.

Israel Adds 56 Names to List of Fallen Soldiers Over the Past Year, Haaretz
Fifty-six names have been added to Israel’s list of those who have fallen in war over the past year, since last Memorial Day, Israel’s Defense Ministry said on Friday. An additional 84 wounded veterans died as a result of their injuries or disabilities sustained during military service, bringing the total number of people who have died in service since 1860 to 24,068.

Hamas Warns Israel ‘Playing With Fire’ as Temple Mount Groups Plan Thursday Visit, The Times of Israel
The Hamas terror group warned Israel against allowing Jewish visitors to enter the flashpoint Temple Mount site on Thursday after some right-wing groups planned to visit the sacred hilltop on Independence Day.

Opinion and Analysis

They Can’t Speak About What They Did in Service of Israel, but Can Finally Open Up About PTSD, Haaretz
Yaniv Kubovich explains, “After years, Israel’s Shin Bet realized its personnel also deals with post-traumatic stress disorder after prolonged security activity. An initiative by a former senior official allows them to break their silence.”

The Watchful Eye of Israel’s Surveillance Empire, +972 Mag
Jonathan Hempel writes, “Israeli cyber companies are at the forefront of a booming facial recognition market, threatening basic freedoms in Israel-Palestine and beyond.”