News Roundup for October 21, 2021

October 21, 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

Sunrise Movement’s DC chapter boycotts event due to ‘participation of Zionist organizations’, Jewish Insider
The event has become steeped in controversy after the Washington chapter of the Sunrise Movement — an influential progressive environmental advocacy group — released a statement on Tuesday announcing it would not participate in the event “due to the participation of a number of Zionist organizations.” Kevin Rachlin, J Street’s vice president of public affairs, expressed his support for “the critical work of the Sunrise Movement in combating the urgent dangers of climate change.” But, Rachlin told JI, “we find the statement by the local Sunrise DC Chapter to be saddening, harmful and wrong,” he said. “Seeking to bar liberal pro-Israel and Zionist groups and individuals from progressive coalitions and spaces disrespects and alienates a large portion of the American Jewish community — and does nothing to actually help the Palestinian people, combat occupation or promote peace. Progressive advocates for Palestinian rights and other important causes should seek to engage and share views with liberal Jewish institutions — not treat them with dismissive contempt.”

Top News and Analysis

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute, Axios
The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say. The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.

Palestinian protests turn deadly as Israel considers the future of a new settlement, NPR
Israeli settlers are pressing ahead with a new outpost on occupied West Bank land — closing it off to Palestinians and posing a test for Israeli leaders who will have to rule on it.

These Palestinian Families Face Eviction From Their East Jerusalem Homes, Haaretz
Israel’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing early next week and the fates of approximately one hundred families living in the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood of East Jerusalem’s Silwan hang in the balance. The families photographed for this project live in two buildings in the neighborhood, and like the rest, are liable to lose their homes because of eviction suits brought by right-wing and settler organizations. These people are not squatters or tenants who have failed to pay rent. They are families who paid for their homes in full, but a discriminatory law passed by the Knesset in 1970 has made them an easy target for eviction.


Israeli minister sees opportunity at UN climate conference, AP
Israel’s new environmental protection minister has set some ambitious goals: She believes she can use her office to play an important role in the global battle against climate change while also promoting peace in the volatile Middle East. Tamar Zandberg laid out her agenda in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of the upcoming U.N. climate conference in Glasgow. She says Israel, despite its small size and own inability to reach the global goal of zero net emissions by 2050, has the potential to be a key player.

Palestinians demand mobilisation to save hunger-strike prisoners, Al Jazeera
Dozens of Palestinians staged a protest at the al-Manara Square in downtown Ramallah on Wednesday, calling for the release of six prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, some of whom are at imminent risk of death. The six prisoners embarked on open-ended hunger strikes to protest being held on “administrative detention” orders – an Israeli policy that allows detaining Palestinians indefinitely based on “secret information” – without pressing formal charges or putting them on trial.

IDF officer who raped Palestinian was not dismissed for earlier sexual offenses, Times of Israel
An Israeli Defense Forces officer who has been imprisoned since 2017 for multiple sexual offenses, including the rape of a Palestinian woman, had faced dismissal from the military months before the attacks over his sexual harassment of female officers, it was reported Thursday. The Ynet news site, which first broke the story of the serviceman’s sexual offenses, said the officer, whose name remains barred from publication, came close to dismissal from the military after two incidents in which he sexually harassed female soldiers.

Opinion and Analysis

The Real Reason Why Netanyahu Skipped Rabin’s Annual Memorial, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Twenty-six years on, Netanyahu is still trying to convince the public that he, and not Yitzhak Rabin, was the real victim in November 1995, and he seems to think more and more are starting to believe it”

Israel Needs to Step Away From the Trump-Orbán-Bolsonaro Illiberal Alliance, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas writes, “In the Trump-Netanyahu years, Israel aligned itself with authoritarian leaders who challenged democratic norms in Europe and around the world. The new government in Jerusalem should rethink this problematic policy”