News Roundup for October 29, 2021

October 29, 2021

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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

Republican bill would bar US consulate for Palestinians, Al Monitor
Dozens of Republican senators introduced legislation this week aimed at stopping the Biden administration’s plan to reopen a US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem. […] The bill seeks to block US President Joe Biden’s plans to reopen a consulate to the Palestinian people in East Jerusalem by outlawing any funding for a US diplomatic facility in Jerusalem aside from the embassy to Israel. […] The self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization J Street is against the legislation, saying it would “intensely undermine the prospects for peacefully resolving a critical, highly-sensitive final status issue,” according their deputy director of government affairs. “J Street strongly believes in the need for the reopening of the American consulate in Jerusalem, so that the US can play an effective role as an honest broker in the Israel-Palestinian conflict and show our our serious commitment to repairing US-Palestinian relations,” Hannah Morris told Al-Monitor today.

New York pension fund joins exit from Unilever over Israel restrictions, Reuters
New York’s $268 billion state pension fund on Thursday became the latest to restrict its holdings in Unilever Plc in response to sales limits imposed by the company’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. […] Ben & Jerry’s moved in July to end a license for its ice cream to be sold in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying sales there were “inconsistent with its values.” Most countries consider Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land to be illegal. Israel disputes this. Some American Jewish groups such as the liberal-leaning J Street have also raised concerns about Israel’s settlements and opposed calls for actions against Ben & Jerry’s or Unilever.

Top News and Analysis

Israeli moves in the West Bank cause new frictions with Biden administration, Washington Post
Israeli moves in recent days to designate Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organizations and approve the construction of new homes in West Bank settlements are causing friction both with the United States and inside Israel’s governing coalition. Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s announcement targeting the six Palestinian groups, allowing authorities to freeze their funds and potentially arrest their leaders, drew a rare rebuke from the U.S. State Department, which complained of being caught off guard and asked to see the evidence behind the decision. More tough words followed after the Israeli government gave the go-ahead to about 3,000 new homes in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The Arab-Israeli Power Broker in the Knesset, The New Yorker
Ruth Margalit writes, “There’s a saying in Arabic about learning from hard experience: ‘Burn your tongue on soup and you’ll blow on yogurt.’ Mansour Abbas, an Arab-Israeli legislator, has had his share of tongue burns, and he has learned to be cautious. In public appearances, he makes sure to keep the Israeli flag in view; last year, he spoke stirringly on Holocaust Remembrance Day. But, as the head of an Islamist party with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, he remains an object of suspicion for many Jewish Israelis.”

Netanyahu’s shadow starts to recede in Israel, The Economist
The Economist writes, “In office Mr Netanyahu and Mr Trump embraced each other. Out of power, they still cast shadows over the politics of their countries. Mr Trump rails against the supposedly ‘stolen’ American election of 2020. Mr Netanyahu accepts the result of the Israeli vote this year, but regards Mr Bennett as illegitimate. The faithful still address Mr Netanyahu as ‘prime minister’.”


Progressive Democrats Push Resolution Against Israel’s NGO Terror Designations, Haaretz
Rep. Betty McCollum is introducing a House resolution condemning Israel for labelling six Palestinian civil society organizations as terror groups. According to a draft of the resolution obtained by Haaretz, the Minnesota Democrat is proposing that the House “recognize the value and importance of the courageous work being done by the six Palestinian civil society organizations defending the human rights of a vulnerable and at-risk Palestinian population living under Israeli military occupation.”

Israel, touting technology, aims for zero emissions by 2050, AP
Israel said Friday its hope to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as thousands of protesters gathered in Tel Aviv to demand action ahead of next week’s U.N. summit on climate change. As a small country, Israel contributes little to global warming, but officials say it has much to offer the world in terms of green technologies. Israel, which has already had to adapt to life in a parched region, is widely considered a world leader in areas such as solar energy storage, sustainable protein alternatives, agriculture technology and desalination.

Thousands march in Tel Aviv demanding more ambitious action on climate, Times of Israel
Thousands of people marched from Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square and back on Friday under the slogan, “Time has run out for the leaders, there’s no place for declarations, only immediate action,” in what organizers estimated was the biggest climate demonstration in Israel to date. Green Course, a student organization, which coordinated the event with a slew of other environmental bodies, put the number of demonstrators at 12,000.

Watchdog Cites ‘Serious Flaws’ in Probe Into Israeli Police Beating of Palestinians, Haaretz
The watchdog examining a Justice Ministry investigation into the beating of two Palestinians by Israeli police in East Jerusalem two years ago said the probe was marred by “serious flaws.” The Justice Ministry’s police misconduct unit delayed investigating the complaints for nearly two years, failed to question witnesses and closed the case on the grounds of insufficient evidence, the ombudsman, retired Judge David Rosen, found.

Opinion and Analysis

For American Jews, a Second Trump Term Would Be Catastrophic, Haaretz
Eric Yoffie writes, “Trump’s return would mean a constitutional crisis, a slide into authoritarianism and mob rule in the streets, endangering all of America’s minorities. So why do U.S. Jews seem so bizarrely unconcerned?”

By banning six Palestinian NGOs, Israel has entered a new era of impunity, The Guardian
Raja Shehadeh writes, “I was one of the founders of the human rights organisation Al-Haq in 1979 and remain proud of its work over the past four decades in defending human rights in the Israeli occupied territories. I was horrified when it was declared to be a terrorist organisation by the Israeli defence minister on 19 October, along with five other Palestinian NGOs.”

Sally Rooney’s Israel boycott over publication of her new book will only backfire, NBC News
Evan Fallenberg writes, “Acts like Rooney’s also mean we miss some of the voices we most need to hear, like Caryl Churchill’s. After watching a performance of her astonishing play “Far Away” in London just before the pandemic, I emerged from the theater intent upon getting it staged in Israel — only to learn that the playwright refused to have her work performed there. A taut masterpiece about the absurdity of war-making and the effects it has on human beings, this was precisely the play that Israelis need to see, and process, and talk about, a possible way into exploring the true horror of our current situation and why we need to move out of it. In order to deal with catastrophe, one must be willing to confront it; the BDS movement pre-empts that confrontation, renders it impossible.”

The real terror of Palestinian civil society, +972 Magazine
Amjad Iraqi writes, “Even if he acted alone, Gantz was effectively fulfilling a central doctrine of the Bennett-Lapid government popularly described today as “shrinking the conflict.” Though attributed to the Israeli philosopher Micah Goodman and his book “Catch-67,” it is in fact a decades-old policy that has been repackaged to reflect a core consensus in Israeli politics: that apartheid must stay, and Israel must have the audacity to defend it.”