News Roundup for November 1, 2021

November 1, 2021

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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.

Top News and Analysis

Glasgow Climate Summit: What Part Will Israel Play, and What Does It Hope to Achieve, Haaretz
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, kicked off Sunday, where Israel is expected to present its new climate targets, though the country’s approach to tackling climate change significantly lags behind the rest of the world. Israel sent a particularly large delegation to the high-stakes summit. In attendance are Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, Energy Minister Karine Elharrar and some 120 representatives from the government, Knesset ministries, civil society, academia, business, municipalities, and journalism.

Biden, European leaders urge Iran to resume talks to avoid “dangerous escalation”, Axios
President Biden and the leaders of Germany, France and the United Kingdom met on Saturday and called on Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to return to nuclear negotiations soon in order to avoid “a dangerous escalation.” The joint statement, released after the four met on the sidelines of the G20 summit, was intended to demonstrate that the United States and its European allies are united in their approach going into renewed talks with Iran.

Blinken Declines to Rule Out Military Option Should Iran Nuclear Talks Fail, Haaretz
On the eve of the resumption of negotiations surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to rule out a potential military option should talks falter. “As we always say, every option is on the table,” Blinken told CBS’s Face the Nation when directly pressed on a potential military option, noting that the important facts are that Iran is “moving forward aggressively” with its program and the time needed to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon is getting shorter.


Israeli and American rabbis call on Bennet and Biden to take climate change seriously at UN conference, JTA
Rabbis in the United States and in Israel called on the leaders of their countries to take the issue of climate change seriously ahead of a gathering of world leaders to address the issue. […] A group of major Israeli Orthodox rabbis, largely from the Modern Orthodox community, wrote a letter calling on Bennet to treat climate change as a matter of the utmost importance in a letter Friday. They called climate change a matter of worldwide “pikuach nefesh,” invoking the Jewish legal term for the requirement to preserve life, a requirement which overrules nearly all other commandments in Jewish law.

Iran says Israel, U.S. likely behind cyberattack on gas stations, Reuters
Iran’s civil defence chief on Saturday accused Israel and the United States of being the likely culprits behind a cyberattack which disrupted gasoline sales across the Islamic Republic, but said a technical investigation was yet to be completed. “We are still unable to say forensically, but analytically I believe it was carried out by the Zionist Regime, the Americans and their agents,” Gholamreza Jalali, head of civil defence which is in charge of cyber security, told state TV in an interview.

‘A turning point’: 3 years on, US rabbis reflect on Pittsburgh synagogue attack, Times of Israel
On Saturday, October 27, 2018, during Shabbat morning services, a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s quiet Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Eleven people were killed in the attack, recorded as the deadliest that the American Jewish community has ever known. Within hours, the world’s eyes were on Squirrel Hill, home to a tight-knit community that some describe as a Jewish hub in the Steel City. Journalists, politicians and Israeli diplomats flocked into town and Jewish communities across the United States mourned the loss of the victims. The following Shabbat, sanctuaries across the country were full to capacity in solidarity.

Jewish employees play key role in push to cancel Google’s $1.2 billion contract with Israel, JTA
Two Jewish Google employees are playing a key role in a worker petition calling on Google and Amazon to cancel a joint contract to build cloud-based data centers on behalf of the Israeli government. The massive, $1.2 billion contract, dubbed Project Nimbus, was signed in May and is one of Israel’s largest technology infrastructure ventures. Google and Amazon will transfer Israel’s data into six cloud-based storage centers over the next several years.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel escalates its attacks against defenders of Palestinian rights, wherever they may be, Washington Post
Youssef Munayyer writes, “When the Israeli government last week slapped a “terrorism” designation on six Palestinian human rights groups that have worked closely with Western governments and international advocacy groups, it was met with widespread outrage from global civil society actors as well as surprise from the U.S. State Department. But anyone surprised by this step has not been paying attention, as it represents just the latest depth the Israeli government has been willing to sink to in order to intimidate, silence and repress dissent against its apartheid policies.”

Why the Abraham Accords Won’t Bring Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Foreign Policy
Dalia Dassa Kaye writes, “Fresh off his triumph in Iraq in 1991, then-U.S. President George H.W. Bush sought to translate U.S. global predominance into a peace dividend, declaring “the time has come to put an end to Arab-Israeli conflict.” By Oct. 30 of that year, the United States and Soviet Union would convene dozens of global and regional parties in Madrid for the most ambitious regional peace conference in the history of Arab-Israeli peacemaking. Thirty years later, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is as far from resolution as ever. Unfortunately, a key lesson still resonates: Regional diplomatic and economic engagement with Israel has not boosted Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

Lebanon sentenced me to 10 years in prison for helping sick Palestinian children – I consider my work a badge of honour, The Guardian
Jamal Rifi writes, “I have never walked away from a fight involving the wellbeing of children. I have never abandoned the right for Palestinian health workers to train in Israel for the benefit of those same children. […] In August I discovered through media reports that a military tribunal in Lebanon – the country of my birth – tried me in absentia on the charge of treason. My ‘crimes’ were to fraternise with the enemy (Zionists) and to enter enemy territory (Israel) without authorisation. I am, according to the judgement, a traitor and a collaborator. My sentence is 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.”

Israel’s constant talk of attacking Iran is a danger to US interests, Responsible Statecraft
Paul Pillar writes, “The United States must resist getting drawn into whatever game a confrontation-stoking regime is playing. Washington should remember that the purposes the game is serving are not U.S. interests and may conflict with U.S. interests, even if the game-player presents itself as a U.S. ally.”