News Roundup for October 26, 2021

October 26, 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

Two-state solution bill sponsor: Don’t cancel Cori Bush over apartheid claim, St. Louis Jewish Light
Levin, who is Jewish and recently introduced legislation aimed at achieving a two-state solution, does not condemn Bush over her comments on Israel. He said he wants her to be part of the discussion among lawmakers concerning the conflict and efforts to achieve peace. […] Levin and J Street hope they can advance efforts to achieve a two-state solution with legislation containing provisions to prevent Israel from using U.S. defense assistance to annex or exercise permanent control over Palestinian territories and to reverse the Trump administration’s policy that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not a violation of international law.

Open Maryland congressional seat could see crowded Democratic primary, Jewish Insider
Hours after Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) announced his run for Maryland attorney general, attention is turning to the candidates — two of whom have already filed the paperwork — vying to replace him in the state’s 4th Congressional District. […] Another rumored candidate is Donna Edwards, who represented the district before Brown but left to mount an unsuccessful Senate campaign in 2016. […] Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, praised Edwards at the time. “She’s been a real serious leader of efforts in Congress to advance the pro-Israel, pro-peace agenda,” he said.

Top News and Analysis

Israel envoy to brief US over ban on Palestinian groups, AP
Israel is sending an envoy to Washington amid a deepening rift with the Biden administration over six outlawed Palestinian rights groups, a Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday. Israel last week designated the prominent Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organizations, sparking international criticism and repeated assertions by Israel’s top strategic partner, the United States, that there had been no advance warning of the move.

‘They targeted us for one reason: We’re succeeding in changing the paradigm’, +972 Magazine
Yuval Abraham writes, “I spoke to the heads or senior members of five of the NGOs, all of whom are prominent activists, lawyers, and thinkers who harshly criticize both the Israeli regime and the Palestinian Authority. Vehemently rejecting Israel’s accusations, they describe these latest attacks as part of Israel’s years-long political persecution of Palestinian civil society in order to silence their work.”

Silwan: Palestinian neighbourhood turns into a nightly warzone, Al Jazeera
Every night, the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan turns into a warzone as youths confront Israeli occupation forces, Palestinian homes are raided and ransacked, young men and children arrested, shot at, and assaulted. During the day homes are demolished and residents displaced as the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality pursues its policy of Judaisation of the occupied eastern part of the city to make way for Israeli settlers, a policy illegal under international law.


Chauvinist Reaction’: Israeli Female Minister Told to ‘Stop Interfering in War on Terror’, Haaretz
Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party chided Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli on Monday for her criticism of the government’s decision to designate six Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organizations, telling her to stop “interfering in the war on terror.” Michaeli, leader of the Labor Party, issued one of the sharpest attacks on the move by a coalition partner in the Bennett-Lapid government.

Iran says cyberattack closes gas stations across country, AP
A cyberattack targeted gas stations Tuesday across Iran, shutting down a government system managing fuel subsidies and leaving angry motorists stranded in long lines at shuttered stations. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though it bore similarities to another months earlier that seemed to directly challenge Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the country’s economy buckles under American sanctions.

U.S. and allies plan next moves if Iran won’t resume nuclear talks, Axios
The Biden administration is discussing potential next steps with partners in the Middle East and Europe if Iran doesn’t return to negotiations in Vienna, U.S. Iran envoy Rob Malley told reporters in a conference call on Monday. Talks have been frozen since Iran’s new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June, and the Iranians continue to say they need more time to prepare to reenter the negotiations. In the meantime, Iran’s nuclear program is making significant advances, with uranium enrichment levels moving ever closer to the 90% grade needed to produce a nuclear weapon.

Florida to start divesting from Ben & Jerry’s parent firm over West Bank boycott, Times of Israel
The US state of Florida is set to begin divesting from conglomerate Unilever over the boycott of West Bank settlements announced several months ago by its subsidiary the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company, according to local reports. The move will take effect on Tuesday, three months after Governor Ron DeSantis ordered the State Board of Administration to add the London-based Unilever to its list of “scrutinized companies” that boycott Israel.

Israel Warming at Triple Rate Than in Recent Decades, Haaretz
The pace at which average temperatures are rising in Israel has tripled in recent decades, and the total increase recently crossed the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, new data from the Israel Meteorological Service shows. The service compared Israeli data from 1980 through 2020 with data on that same period from the latest report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It found that average temperatures in Israel rose by 0.59 degrees a decade during this period, while the average increase globally was 0.21 degrees per decade.

Opinion and Analysis

I Fund Terror Groups, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “I am announcing and confessing here that I finance terrorism. Some of the tax money I pay to the Israeli government is transferred to its terrorist activities and those of its representatives, the settlers, against the Palestinian people. If by ‘terrorism’ one means imposing terror and fear – then what are the commanders in the army and Shin Bet security service doing when they send masked soldiers to raid the homes of Palestinians night after night? Accompanied by dogs and with rifles aimed, soldiers wake families from their slumber, overturn the contents of closets, confiscate property and strike the adults in front of the children.