News Roundup for November 8, 2021

November 8, 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

Nikki Haley goes after AIPAC for hosting lawmakers who support Iran deal, Times of Israel
“Former United States president Donald Trump’s onetime envoy to the United Nations Nikki Halley tore into the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC on Saturday for hosting politicians who support the Iran nuclear deal….The ex-Trump ambassador also went after the dovish J Street lobby…“Supposedly they claim to be a pro-Israel organization? I will never understand that.’ J Street spokesman Logan Bayroff told the Times of Israel afterward that ‘it’s unsurprising that a right-wing politician like Nikki Haley would be confused and threatened by the impact of J Street. Trump apologists like her simply can’t accept the fact that the overwhelming majority of American Jews support diplomacy and pro-Israel, pro-peace policies that aim to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not exacerbate it.’ While Nikki Haley spends her time lauding the destructive actions of her former boss, we’ll stay focused on representing the goals and values of the majority of our community,’ he added.”

Top News and Analysis

Palestinian Minister Says Bennett Trying to ‘Challenge’ Biden With Jerusalem Consulate Remarks, Haaretz
A Palestinian minister said on Sunday Israel had issued “a new challenge” to the United States, a day after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid reiterated their opposition to reopening a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem. Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority’s civil affairs minister, who also coordinates ties with Israeli authorities, tweeted that the statements constitute “a new challenge from the Israeli government to the #Biden administration, which has already announced repeatedly its decision to open the US Consulate in East Jerusalem!!!”

Meretz MKs warn plan to double Jordan Valley settlers imperils coalition, Times of Israel
Two Meretz party lawmakers have warned Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin that his plan to double the Israeli population in the Jordan Valley will rupture the fragile government coalition, Channel 13 reported Sunday. Elkin intends to seek government approval for a scheme to increase Israel’s presence in the strategic valley, the part of the West Bank and runs along the border with Jordan. MKs Mossi Raz and Gaby Lasky wrote to Elkin that “we can no longer remain silent.”


At Vatican, PA’s Abbas discusses Israeli-Palestinian peace with pope, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held a private audience with Pope Francis on Thursday and met with top Vatican officials, who emphasized the importance of resuming peace talks with Israel.

Two Weeks On, Israeli Army Extends Palestinian NGO Terror Designation to West Bank, Haaretz
The chief of the Israeli army’s Central Command, who oversees activity in the West Bank, signed an order Sunday declaring Palestinian NGOs terror groups, extending Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s declaration to the West Bank and seriously hindering the groups’ ability to operate. Prior to this decision, the groups could still legally operate in the West Bank, where they were registered and active, regardless of Israel designating them terrorist organizations. The order means that the army can act against these organizations immediately, arrest their employees on suspicion of membership in a terror group, raid their offices and confiscate equipment.

Report: Israel and Hamas on verge of prisoner exchange deal, i24 News
According to sources quoted by Arabic-speaking media, Israel and Hamas are on the verge of reaching an agreement regarding a prisoner exchange. The Palestinians are expected to hand over a recording revealing the condition of two Israeli captives, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza, British media outlet Al-Arab reported on Saturday. Israel seeks the return of those two hostages, as well as the remains of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed in 2014.

Iran Seizes an Oil Tanker, but Whose Tanker Is Disputed, The New York Times
American and Iranian officials both said Wednesday that Iran had seized an oil tanker in the Sea of Oman last month after an encounter with the U.S. Navy, but the two sides gave widely differing accounts of whose tanker it was and what, exactly, had happened.

Opinion and Analysis

Can the Iran nuclear deal be saved?, Vox
Jen Kirby writes, Reviving the JCPOA is going to face tough odds. Iran has signaled it’s coming back to the table, so that’s something. The remarks at the G-20, on the part of the Europeans and the US, are also a nice show of unity. But those are tiny Band-Aids on the badly broken political trust between Washington and Tehran.”

How the Occupation Harms Not Only the Palestinians, but the Planet Too, Haaretz
Amira Hass argues, “Part of the damage the occupation is causing to the ecosystem boils down to superfluous, ideologically driven construction and road-building at the expense of open and green Palestinian spaces.”

Report from Las Vegas: Some Jewish Republicans have Trump fatigue, but they just can’t quit him, JTA
Ron Kampeas reports, “His influence with the base means he can’t be counted out, insiders at the RJC event said, which is a frustration to the Republican Jewish fund-raisers who want to rally around 2022 candidates who will win back Congress and a 2024 candidate who is capable of ousting President Joe Biden. Trump, they say, is gold with the GOP base needed to win primaries and poison with the independents needed to win elections.”

Why Did Iran Wait to Rejoin the Nuclear Talks? Ask the Hardliners, The National Interest
Roholla Faghihi writes, “Raisi has a tough job ahead: If he goes to Vienna and follows in Rouhani’s footsteps by signing a deal, he is certain to come under attack from his base. Yet if he doesn’t reach a deal, Iran’s dire economic situation will deteriorate further, inciting anger among all Iranians. Moreover, the reformists’ argument that Iran’s hardliners are inexperienced in foreign policy would be proved in the eyes of people.”