News Roundup for November 4, 2021

November 4, 2021

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

Lipstadt tells Charlottesville jury she was ‘taken aback’ by antisemitism at ‘Unite the Right’ rally, Forward
Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt told a jury in Charlottesville Wednesday that she was shocked by the extent to which antisemitism defined the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally. “There was a great deal of overt antisemitism and adulation of the Third Reich throughout the evidence I looked at,” said Lipstadt, an expert witness in a case against rally organizers. […] The litigation, which effectively seeks to bankrupt much of the organized far-right that rose to prominence during the Trump administration, has been organized by Integrity First for America, which is stacked with several veterans of Jewish organizations including director Amy Spitalnick, who previously worked for J Street.

Top News and Analysis

Israel Passes First Budget in More Than 3 Years, New York Times
Israel’s Parliament narrowly approved a state budget on Thursday, the country’s first in more than three years, removing an imminent threat to the survival of the government and potentially paving the way to some political stability after a chaotic stretch of four elections within two years. “A holiday for the state of Israel!” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett exulted on Twitter shortly after the pre-dawn vote. “We are moving ahead with full force.”

Secret Israeli dossier provides no proof for declaring Palestinian NGOs ‘terrorists’, +972 Magazine
On Oct. 22, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six prominent Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist organizations,” citing alleged links with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a left-wing Palestinian party and militant movement. […] So on what evidence was this declaration supposedly based? This question has been asked over the last two weeks by the human rights community, as well as a small number of Knesset members and senior representatives of countries friendly to Israel. A source inside the defense establishment was widely quoted in Israeli media saying that the proof against the Palestinian groups was “rock solid.” However, information from classified documents that we are revealing here for the first time casts serious doubt on that claim.

After Josh Hawley’s holdup, Senate confirms Tom Nides to be ambassador to Israel, JTA
After Sen. Josh Hawley briefly held up the appointment, the U.S. Senate confirmed Tom Nides, a businessman and a former deputy secretary of state, to be U.S. ambassador to Israel on Wednesday night. It was never clear what objection Hawley, a Republican of Missouri, had to Nides, but he said represented a number of Republicans in advancing the hold on Nides and seven other ambassador nominees this week.


U.S. Blacklists Israeli Firm NSO Group Over Spyware, New York Times
In a remarkable breach with Israel over one of its most successful technology companies, the Biden administration on Wednesday blacklisted the NSO Group, saying the company knowingly supplied spyware that has been used by foreign governments to “maliciously target” the phones of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists and others. The firm, and another Israeli company, Candiru, acted “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,” the Commerce Department said, a striking accusation against a business that operates under the direct supervision of the Israeli government.

U.S. wants Israel to convince Sudan’s generals to end coup, Axios
The Biden administration has asked the Israeli government to use its close relations with Sudan’s coup leader and de facto president, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to urge the military to restore the civilian government. Burhan has been central to the Israel-Sudan normalization process over the last two years. He and other Sudanese generals have been coordinating with contacts in the Israeli national security council and Mossad intelligence agency.

Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah Compromise Rejected Under Palestinian Authority Pressure, Haaretz
Pressure from the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas led the families facing eviction in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to reject a compromise proposed by Israel’s Supreme Court that could have prevented the evictions. The heads of the families involved leaned toward accepting the compromise offer, but in the end rejected it on Tuesday under pressure from the Palestinian Authority.

How much of a revolution? 13 key plans in Israel’s new state budget, Times of Israel
The overall budget (Hebrew) marks a major reorientation of Israel’s allocation of resources and financial priorities in the coming years and is based on key principles such as streamlining government operations, upgrading public services, boosting economic competitiveness, cutting back on regulations to support growth in the private and public sectors, limiting Israel’s “non-observed economy,” or shadow economy, boosting transportation, housing, energy and technology infrastructures, and investing in human capital by training and integrating sidelined populations into the workforce.

Opinion and Analysis

In the West Bank, Only the Israeli Government Is Allowed to Steal Land, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “Never mind the violation of international law, disdain for international criticism and surrendering to the lords and masters who are living on stolen land. They are already part of a long-standing political culture. But when the survival of this untouchable, carefully coddled government based on the carved-in-stone decision to not arouse diplomatic controversy for fear of tearing this fragile coalition, why build in the settlements?”

NSO Blacklisting Shows Israel’s Cyber Diplomacy Is a Double-edged Sword, Haaretz
Omer Benjakob writes, “The news that Israeli cyberfirms NSO Group and Candiru have been blacklisted by the United States for selling advanced, if not ‘military-grade,’ spyware tools and services shows that Israel’s cyber diplomacy is a double-edged sword. […] The U.S. decision proves that what was once dismissed as a PR problem whose price in terms of optics was small compared to its massive diplomatic payoff is wrong. It is not just liberal media outlets that are concerned with the misuse of Israeli spy tech. It’s the United States itself that is labeling the abuse of this technology as a threat to democracy.”