News Roundup for October 19, 2021

October 19, 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

Senate follows House in proposing $225 million for Palestinian aid, Jewish Insider
Senate Democratic leaders proposed a $150 million increase in Palestinian aid in the draft of its state and foreign operations funding bill, which was released on Monday, bringing the total amount of recommended aid to $225 million. […] The Senate also included a new oversight provision, supported by J Street, requiring that the secretary of state meet with countries receiving U.S. military aid to ensure compliance with U.S. law and national security policy. The provision has been framed by some proponents as an initial step toward limiting the ways in which Israel uses U.S. aid.

Which Israel do you love?, New Jersey Jewish News
J Street Leader Marty Levine writes, “Rather than punishing Ben and Jerry’s for taking a principled stand in favor of a sustainable Israel, we should encourage our members of Congress to pass Congressman Levin’s bill. This is our best hope for the future of the Israel that I, and many others, love.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel approves West Bank residency for 4,000 undocumented Palestinians, Reuters
Israel announced on Tuesday that it approved registration as West Bank residents for some 4,000 Palestinians who have been living for years in the Israeli-occupied territory without official status. The decision affects 2,800 former inhabitants of the Gaza Strip who left the enclave after Hamas Islamist militants seized it in internal Palestinian fighting in 2007, Israel’s COGAT liaison office to the Palestinians said. Some 1,200 other Palestinians, among them undocumented spouses and children of West Bank residents, will also receive official standing.

Ritchie Torres Is the Future of “Pro-Israel” Politics, Jewish Currents
While lawmakers of color have challenged the Democratic consensus on Israel, the Bronx congressman has become a powerful voice for upholding the status quo.

Eight Palestinians Arrested After Hundreds Clash With Israel Police in Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, Haaretz
Israeli police arrested eight Palestinians on Monday after hundreds clashed with police forces in East Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, as tensions over the past two weeks continue to grow. The Palestinians gathered at Damascus Gate to mark the birth of the Prophet Muhammad and police have said that the arrests were carried out after the youths threw bottles and stones at them. One Palestinian woman was filmed arguing with a police officer, spitting on him and trying to escape. He pursued her, pulled her to the ground by her hair, and arrested her.


Iran: US should lift sanctions to prove it wants talks, AP
Iran’s president said Monday the United States should lift the sanctions on his country to prove it is serious about restarting stalled nuclear talks in Vienna. In an interview with state TV, Ebrahim Raisi said Iran is after “goal-oriented” talks with the West and said Iran “never left” the negotiation table. “Lifting sanctions is an indication of seriousness of the other party,” he said.

Tragic Death Highlights Hard Lives of Palestinian LGBTQ Community in Israel, Haaretz
Zehava fled the Palestinian authority to escape abuse and prostitution. But in Israel, she was left without basic rights – even welfare institutions offered no solution. ‘They said her appearance was not feminine enough.’

Breaking Biden’s diplomatic logjam, Axios
The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden’s ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break. Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog. The Foreign Relations Committee will meet Tuesday to vote on several nominees, including Morgan Stanley executive Thomas Nides as ambassador to Israel.

Colin Powell, who brokered the Middle East ‘road map’ to peace, dies at 84, JTA
Colin Powell will be remembered in history as the first Black U.S. national security advisor, the first Black military chief of staff and the first Black secretary of state. He was also the first military chief to speak Yiddish as a second language, and he loved surprising Jews with his skill. Powell, the former U.S. secretary of state who brokered the “road map” to a two-state peace deal that still informs much of U.S. policy in the region, died Monday aged 84. He died of COVID-19, his family said on Facebook. He was fully vaccinated and, according to news reports, had been undergoing treatments for blood cancer.

Poll: Iranians disillusioned with Biden, back turn toward East, Responsible Statecraft
The Iranian public has grown increasingly disillusioned with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden and the United States more generally and supports its new government’s emphasis on turning more to the East in its international political and economic relations, according to a new survey released Monday by the Iran Poll and the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies. Conducted by phone and over the internet from August 30 to September 9, the poll, the latest of 10 conducted by the Iran Poll and the CISSM since 2014, found declining popular support for the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and overwhelming skepticism that the United States could ever be trusted to permanently abide by its terms.

On Netflix and elsewhere, new collections of Palestinian and Israeli films are now available for streaming, JTA
Some of Netflix’s biggest international hits of the last few years — from “Fauda” to “Shtisel” — have been Israeli imports. Now, the streaming giant is spotlighting Palestinian entertainment, as well. Last week, Netflix released a “Palestinian Stories” collection consisting of what it said was 32 films, although only 27 films were listed under the category in the U.S. as of Monday. Of the available selections, which span the last couple of decades, 12 of them are short films.

Opinion and Analysis

Hawks on all sides ready to swoop if Iran drags feet on nuclear talks, The Guardian
Simon Tisdall writes, “The very last thing US president Joe Biden wants, as he tries to disengage from the Middle East and focus on China, is Israeli military action against Iran that sets the region ablaze. Yet an anxious Naftali Bennett, Israel’s prime minister, doesn’t rule it out. ‘The world waits, the Iranians delay, and the centrifuges spin,’ he said.”

“They Want To Kick Us Out of This Land”, Jewish Currents
Basil al-Adraa wrote that he believes there was an attempt to intimidate him out of documenting the violence of the occupation. For this week’s newsletter (to which you can subscribe here), I spoke to al-Adraa about the context of the Mufagara pogrom, why he became a local journalist, and the experience of being smeared by a major Israeli news source. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Israel Is Approaching the Next Nakba, Haaretz
Sheren Falah Saab and Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegel write, “The dehumanization of the Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line stems from an overarching view that history is more important than modern-day reality. Whether Israelis are talking about their historical rights or about correcting a historic mistake, they are promoting violations of human rights.”