News Roundup for October 13, 2023

October 13, 2023
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J Street In the News

J Street Calls On Biden Administration to Address Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza, Stress Adherence to International Law, J Street
“We welcome President Biden’s clear reminder that “Democracies like Israel and the United States are stronger and more secure when we act according to the rule of law.” We agree with the president that “it matters” that the laws of war be upheld, no matter how unspeakable the acts that came before may be. All civilian lives, Israeli and Palestinian alike, deserve to be protected. We therefore commend the Biden Administration for its continued stress on the critical importance of adherence to international law and urge it to continue to do so in the days ahead.”

The Chaos Party on the Hill Keeps On Chaos-ing, The New Yorker
“On Wednesday, in a meeting with Jewish leaders, [Biden] again emphasized how unequivocally he viewed the situation. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the leader of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group that has long been critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, was in the room, and he told me later that he was struck by Biden’s “very, very visceral” reaction. “There was a moment when he basically just exploded in rage,” Ben-Ami said. “It was really clearly a deeply personal and passionate thing.”

In Gaza Crisis, Biden Faces Little Pressure to Rein in Israel — For Now, Reuters
“Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of liberal advocacy group J Street, said the administration had made some efforts to address Palestinians’ needs in recent normalization talks brokered between Israel and Saudi Arabia but had not gone far enough. “There has been no broader vision or plan as to how to get at the underlying conflict that has now exploded in an unprecedented and unfathomable fashion of horror,” he told Reuters.”

Hamas Terror Attacks Spotlight Democratic Divisions Over Israel, The Messenger
“Logan Bayroff, the vice president of communications at J Street, a progressive advocacy group aimed at ending the Israel-Palestine conflict, agreed, describing those who have not responded well to the issue as a “very small handful of elected Democrats anywhere in the country saying something different than” than most of the party. “I think there are differences of opinion in terms of long-term US policy, in terms of how tough the administration should have been or has been or has not been on the dangerous actions of a far-right Israeli government, I think there are going to be differences of opinion of how strongly the Biden administration should be looking out for the safety of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. That is something the administration can and should balance and I could understand that some people think they are not getting that balance right,” he said.”

What Israelis Are Thinking and Feeling Since the Hamas Attack [Audio], WBUR
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir joins Boston’s local NPR station to discuss life from the region amid violence and concern for what’s to come. “It’s very hard to hear any strategic, rational conversation in [these] times. Nobody’s listening to that right now,” Nadav says.

‘Angry, Hurt, Betrayed’: Jewish Students Grapple with Lack of Support on Campuses, Jewish Insider
“Jewish students involved with progressive activism are particularly alarmed by the rhetoric from some whom they believed to be allies. For students connected to J Street U, the student arm of the organization that advocates for a two-state solution, the onslaught of statements and online posts praising Hamas has been jarring. “They’re so hurt about what happened in Israel. They’re just devastated and sad. And then they’re also hurt by what they’re seeing online from groups that they at certain points looked to as partners,” said J Street U’s director, Erin Beiner.”

Community Gathering: Voices of Survivors, Reflections from our Movement [Video], J Street
J Street was joined by Noam Cohen and Gal Raz, two survivors of the horrific Hamas terror attack on the Tribe of Nova music festival in Israel’s south. Noam and Gal share their story of survival and the aftermath of the attack. We were also joined by Rabbi Susan Leider, J Street Board Member Ben Linder and J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami for reflections on our community’s response in this moment.

Top News and Analysis

Israel Calls on 1.1 Million Gazans to Evacuate South in Order UN Warns is ‘Impossible’, CNN
Israel’s military has warned 1.1 million people living in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes, amid signs Israel is set to ramp up its retaliatory offensive against Hamas following the group’s October 7 terror attacks. The UN has decried such an order, saying it’s impossible for civilians to evacuate “without devastating humanitarian consequences.”

At Least 27 Americans Were Killed in Israel. Here’s What We Know so Far, The Washington Post
As of today, 27 Americans were killed following Saturday’s terrorist attacks on Israel. An unknown number of US citizens are also being held hostage by Hamas. It is unclear whether any American citizens have been killed by retaliatory Israeli strikes on Gaza.

At Least 300,000 Displaced in Gaza Amid Blackout, Israeli Bombardment, Al-Monitor
Three days into the Israeli siege and bombardment, the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is quickly worsening, with the death toll now over 1,400 and the number of displaced surpassing 300,000. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) described the Hamas-Israeli escalation as “abhorrent.”

Israeli Army’s Top Brass Received Troubling Info Night Before Hamas Attack, Haaretz
Snippets of information prompted phone consultations between Israeli security branches and the head of the Shin Bet, which led to additional discussions. Talks concluded with the decision not to raise the alert level.


Blinken Stresses Support for Israel While Urging Restraint on Gaza Airstrikes, The New York Times
Secretary of State Blinken stood next to Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel on Thursday at a military base in Tel Aviv and promised to help defend Israel “as long as America exists.” But he also suggested the need for restraint in Israel’s military strikes in Gaza after deadly Hamas attacks over the weekend.

Morgue at Gaza’s Biggest Hospital is Overflowing as Israeli Attacks Intensify, AP
With scores of Palestinians killed each day in the Israeli onslaught after an unprecedented Hamas attack, medics in the besieged enclave said they have run out of places to put remains pulled from the latest strikes or recovered from the ruins of demolished buildings.

For American Family Trapped in Gaza as Bombs Fall, There’s No Way Out, The Washington Post
As Okal spoke over the phone from the home of his wife’s parents in the wee hours of Friday, there were at least eight audible explosions, with others in the distance. Sleep is elusive. The bombs shake them awake, Okal said, and they find themselves coughing in air heavy with dust from pulverized buildings.

Israeli Settler Documented Shooting Palestinian at Point-blank in the West Bank, Haaretz
An Israeli settler was filmed shooting a Palestinian at point-blank range in the southern West Bank near the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani, which lies south of Hebron. In the footage, circulated by the B’Tselem organization, the settler approached the Palestinian, pushed him, and then shot him in the abdomen. An IDF soldier is also visible in the footage standing in the background near the settler.

US Will Facilitate Charter Flights to Transport Americans out of Israel, Axios
The Biden administration will begin arranging chartered flights on Friday for US citizens in Israel who wish to leave the country. The announcement comes amid limited availability of commercial flights leaving Israel and high demand from Americans.

As Deaths Soar in Gaza From Israeli Strikes, Egypt Offers Aid, but No Exit, The New York Times
“Get out now,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday, vowing to unleash the full force of Israel’s military. But the only viable exit is a border crossing into Egypt, and that country, as ever in times of war, is keeping it firmly shut.

Opinion and Analysis

The Pathways to Peace Are Getting Darker, The New York Times
Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “We have all watched peacemaking fail here, as it often does. This isn’t just a crisis for grass-roots peace activists, it’s a grand failure on a global stage. Lately the whole notion of solving conflicts, containing violence through international rules and institutions, the international system itself, appears wholly inadequate to its task of protecting people and preventing wars.”

The Reckoning Must Be With Hamas, Not With All Gazans, Haaretz
Gideon Levy notes, “Gaza is plagued with Hamas, and Hamas is a despicable organization. But most residents of the Gaza Strip are not like that. Before we start flattening and destroying and uprooting and killing, we should take this into account. The reckoning must be with Hamas, not with all Gazans. One’s heart must go out to them, regardless of one’s profound solidarity with Israel’s victims.”

Dual Loyalty, The Times of Israel
Sahar Vardi shares, “It’s dual pain, dual heartbreak, care, love. It is to hold everyone’s humanity. And it’s hard. […] It’s so much easier to “choose a side” – it almost doesn’t matter which side, just choose, and stick to it, and at least reduce the amount of pain you hold. At least feel part of a group and less alone in all this. As if that’s really an option. As if we don’t understand that our pains are intertwined. That there is no solution only for the pain of Ofakim without a solution for the pain of Khan Yunis. And we know it and recite it, and feel the pain of it all over and over again.”