News Roundup for October 5, 2023

October 5, 2023
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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

Randi Weingarten, Teachers’ Union Leader, Joins J Street Board, JTA
“J Street announced that Randi Weingarten, a teachers’ union leader who has become a prominent voice in national debates over COVID-19 and education, is joining its board. The liberal Israel lobby’s announcement on Wednesday said Weingarten would be joined by John Yarmuth, a retired Jewish Democratic congressman from Kentucky; Cary Sherman, a former top recording industry executive; and Jon Greenwald, a veteran diplomat. J Street also announced that its longtime chairman, Alan Solomont would be replaced by Peter Frey.”

J Street Welcomes 20 Senators’ Letter on US Role in Israel-Saudi Normalization, J Street
“As an organization that supports the establishment of normal relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, J Street strongly agrees that any normalization agreement should be leveraged to promote the ultimate resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which remains a core interest for Israelis, Palestinians and the United States.”

J Street Welcomes New Board Members, Incoming Chair, J Street
“J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy Americans, announced today an exciting slate of new additions to its Board of Directors, including the first retired Member of Congress to join the organization’s board and the head of one of the country’s major labor unions.”

Top News and Analysis

Democrats Tell Biden Saudi-Israel Pact Needs Concessions for Palestinians, The New York Times
Democratic senators told President Biden on Wednesday that any diplomatic pact between Saudi Arabia and Israel would need to include a commitment from Israel to halt settlements in Palestinian territories and preserve “the option of a two-state solution.”

Two Palestinians Killed, Five Israeli Soldiers Wounded in Separate Incidents Near Tulkarem Refugee Camp in West Bank, Haaretz
The two Palestinians reportedly opened fire at an Israeli vehicle and were shot and killed at by IDF forces. In another incident, five IDF soldiers were injured, three severely, by a grenade explosion.


Senior Biden Advisers Quietly Visit Saudi Arabia to Discuss Mega-deal, Axios
Brett McGurk, the White House Middle East czar, and Amos Hochstein, Biden’s senior adviser for energy and infrastructure, visited Saudi Arabia for several hours last Thursday, sources said to Axios. The White House did not disclose their trip.

Gaza Strip Protesters Received Bullet Wounds to Ankles, Medics Report, The Guardian
Medics in the Gaza Strip have reported treating an influx of protesters who appear to have been deliberately targeted in the ankle in recent unrest at the volatile boundary of the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

Israeli Police Arrest Suspects for Spitting Near Christian Pilgrims and Churches in Jerusalem, AP
Israeli police said Wednesday they arrested several people suspected of spitting in the direction of Christian pilgrims and churches in Jerusalem this week as religious tensions flared in the capital that the three Abrahamic faiths consider holy.

84 Palestinians Flee West Bank Village Since July, UN Says, Calls Israel to Follow International Law, Haaretz
The residents who left the areas told the UN’s coordinator for humanitarian affairs agency that the reason for leaving was severe restrictions on their freedom of movement, imposed upon them by the military since the ruling. They said the situation has gotten even worse in recent months.

2 Women Shot Dead in Separate Attacks, as Murder Wave Shows No Sign of Abating, The Times of Israel
Two women were shot and killed in the north on Wednesday within two hours of each other, medics said, raising the tally of those killed in the Arab Israeli community in 2023 to 196, of whom 14 were women.

Opinion and Analysis

How to Establish a New Settlement Without the World Noticing, +972
Yonatan Mizrahi reports, “Dozens of illegal buildings are being constructed in the area — all without prior government approval, recognized land rights, or building permits. Despite nominal demolition orders, these buildings remain standing. And more are soon to be built, essentially doling out rewards to criminals.”

The Chaos is the Point: Matt Gaetz and the Mainstreaming of Conspiracy, Xenophobia and Antisemitism, The Forward
Emily Tamkin writes, “But just in case it still matters, it is worth remembering that, when Matt Gaetz steps into the middle of a circle of reporters, this is the person being interviewed. In this way, he is not dissimilar to his political ally, former US President Donald Trump, or to entrepreneur Elon Musk.”