News Roundup for November 2, 2021

November 2, 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.

J Street in the News

The Two-State Solution Act is critical for Israel’s future, Times of Israel
MK Yair Golan writes, “To Israel’s closest friends in the United States, I want to say this: The best friends are not the ones who blindly support everything that you do. The best friends are not those who enable counterproductive or self-destructive behavior. Rather, they are those who are willing to push back against your worst impulses, to empower the better angels in your nature, and help you be the best version of yourself. My nation needs a friend and ally like that right now. That’s why I am so heartened by the recent introduction of the Two-State Solution Act in the US House of Representatives.”

Top News and Analysis

Inside the Unraveling of American Zionism, New York Times Magazine
The letter intimated not only that the pro-Israel consensus is fraying, which has been apparent for a while, but something else, too: That the primary cause of this fraying may not be something as straightforward as the actions of Israel’s governments or the assimilation of American Jews. Instead, a generation of Jews is confronting head-on the tension between Jewish universalist principles and the idea of Jewish particularity — that Jews possess special obligations toward one another.

Trump: Until recently Israel ‘literally owned Congress’ — and that was a good thing, JTA
Former President Donald Trump told a conservative Jewish radio host that Israel until recently “literally owned Congress,” a claim similar to those that have triggered accusations of antisemitism against other politicians. […] The claim that Israel controls Congress has historically been treated as an antisemitic slander by antisemitism watchdogs. Omar herself got into trouble and apologized in 2019 when she suggested that Israel and the pro-Israel lobby purchases sympathy in Congress.

Texas Sued by Houston Contractor Over Ban on Israel Boycotts, Bloomberg
A Houston engineering firm is challenging a Texas law barring the state from doing business with companies participating in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. A&R Engineering and Testing Inc. said in a complaint filed Friday in federal court in Houston that the 2017 law violates its First Amendment right to participate in economic boycotts as a form of protest.


Israel’s prime minister threatens no-show if COP26 organizers fail to fix wheelchair access issue, CNN
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has told COP 26 organizers to fix an issue with wheelchair access to the main venue or he is cancelling his appearance at the event on Tuesday. The sharply worded threat came after Israel’s Energy Minister, Karine Elharrar, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, was unable to attend Monday’s proceedings.

Israel OKs Palestinian homes after advancing settlements, AP
Israel on Monday authorized some 1,300 Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank days after advancing plans to build more than 3,000 housing units for Jewish settlers. The Israeli government says it is adopting a moderate approach with the aim of minimizing friction with the U.S. — which is opposed to settlements — and tensions within its ruling coalition, which includes parties from across the political spectrum.

200 Republican Lawmakers to Biden: Don’t Reopen Consulate in Jerusalem, Haaretz
Republican lawmakers are uniting in their opposition to the reopening of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, turning what was once assumed to be a low-hanging fruit for the Biden administration into a hot-button wedge issue. Two-hundred House Republicans, led by Rep. Lee Zeldin (one of two Jewish House Republicans), signed onto a letter arguing that reopening the consulate shuttered by the Trump administration in 2019 would be inconsistent with U.S. law, which recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

PA premier calls ‘Israeli occupation’ biggest threat to Palestinian environment, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said “Israeli occupation” was the greatest threat to the Palestinian environment, in remarks at Monday’s international climate conference in Glasgow. “We’re here today to tell the world that the Israeli occupation is the most critical long-term threat to the Palestinian environment,” Shtayyeh said in a tweet. The Palestinian premier further claimed that Israeli policies were “systematically destroying” the traditional Palestinian environment.

Why This Powerful Israeli Agency Won’t Disclose the Scale of the Palestinian Properties It Manages, Haaretz
Israel’s Custodian of Absentee Properties is a powerful agency that manages hundreds of properties in East Jerusalem and shapes the city’s real estate market — but power does not always mean knowledge. Despite its vast sway, a recent hearing on a freedom of information request reveals the Finance Ministry department doesn’t know how many properties it controls; or that finding the information is too complicated; or that revealing this information may compromise the country’s foreign relations – depends on which answer you choose to believe.

Opinion and Analysis

Iran Won’t Back Down, Foreign Affairs
Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar writes, “As the United States and Iran prepare for talks to revive the nuclear agreement that Washington abandoned in 2018, the leadership in Tehran is laying the groundwork for a newly assertive foreign policy. Iran believes Washington has treated the Islamic Republic with deception and disrespect, and it is focused on building economic and military leverage against its longtime antagonist. […] In Washington, the conversation about Plan B against Iran has been gaining currency. But to the Islamic Republic, Plan B was in fact Plan A from the outset.”

At Glasgow, Military Emissions Are Exempt, Haaretz
B. Michael writes, “Just like in Kyoto and Paris, in Glasgow too, emissions of hothouse gases by all the world’s militaries are outside the game. Even though armies are some of the worst polluters on the face of the earth, no one is discussing them, no one is counting then, no one is proposing that their swelling ranks be cut. And not one single government is reporting honestly about the amount of garbage its army spews into the air. This is no accident; it’s intentional. The United States explicitly requested an exemption from such reporting as far back as Kyoto. Other governments joined it. Including Israel.”