News Roundup for September 13, 2021

September 13, 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

Arizona sells Unilever bonds over Ben & Jerry’s Israel move, AP
Arizona has sold off $93 million in Unilever bonds and plans to sell the remaining $50 million it has invested in the global consumer products company over subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling its ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories, the latest in a series of actions by states with anti-Israel boycott laws. […] The head of J Street, a Washington, D.C.-based pro-Israel organization that backs a two-state solution, supported Ben & Jerry’s decision and said punishing the company is “gravely dangerous.” “It’s not anti-semitic to criticize Israeli policy or to not sell ice cream in illegal settlements,” President Jeremy Ben-Ami tweeted in July. “It’s actually a truly pro-Israel decision.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel Captures 4 of 6 Palestinian Fugitives Who Escaped Prison, New York Times
The Israeli police said on Saturday that they had captured four of the six Palestinian fugitives who escaped a maximum-security prison this week, in a case seen as a rare humiliation of the country’s security establishment. […] To many Palestinians, their flight was a fleeting cause for celebration — a symbolic victory over an Israeli prison apparatus that is seen as synonymous with the occupation of the West Bank.

With rockets and rhetoric, Hamas seeks to leverage Palestinian prisoner escape, Washington Post
Hamas, aiming to capitalize on the public euphoria after Palestinian prisoners escaped from an Israeli prison last week, said it would demand the release of the men who have been rearrested as it remained committed to fighting. Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Hamas militant arm, al-Qassam Brigades, spoke during a weekend of rocket fire exchanges with Israel that threatened to shatter a fragile four-month cease-fire.

Iran Pledges to Cooperate With U.N. Atomic Agency, Easing Nuclear Talks Threat, Wall Street Journal
Iran reached an agreement Sunday with the United Nations atomic agency that will grant international inspectors access to some of the country’s nuclear-related sites, a step likely to avert a crisis in the negotiations on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.


What fate awaits the rearrested Palestinian prisoners?, Al Jazeera
The four recaptured Palestinian prisoners – who broke out of an Israeli prison last week – are likely to face additional prison time and harsh punitive measures, according to lawyers. The four prisoners appeared separately on Saturday before the Israeli Magistrate Court in Nazareth, which decided to extend their detention until September 19 to “complete the investigation”, according to a statement from the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Commission of Detainees Affairs.

Israel Is Preparing for Possible Fourth Covid Vaccine Dose, Bloomberg

Israeli prime minister visits Egypt in first official trip for a decade, Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday for talks on Israeli-Palestinian relations and bilateral issues, Egypt’s presidency said, in the first official trip by an Israeli head of government to Egypt for a decade.

After First Visit to post-Netanyahu Israel, Democratic Senators Leave Optimistic, Haaretz
One of the key takeaways by a group of Senate Democrats who recently returned from a congressional trip to the Middle East is their confidence in the new Israeli government’s pragmatism, staying power and commitment to restoring bipartisan ties in Washington. The delegation, consisting of Sens. Chris Murphy, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Van Hollen and Jon Ossoff, visited Israel and the West Bank as part of their greater trip aimed at covering regional security and democracy.

Josh Mandel, Jewish Ohio Senate candidate, compares Biden’s vaccine mandate to the Gestapo, JTA
The latest politician to compare government vaccination efforts to Nazi Germany is Josh Mandel, a Jewish Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio. In a video Thursday protesting President Joe Biden’s upcoming requirement that a large portion of private sector employees either get vaccinated against COVID or get tested weekly, Mandel instructed his social media viewers not to comply with the requirement. In doing so, he compared Biden to the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police force that played a major role in carrying out the Holocaust.

Opinion and Analysis

Dispelling Israeli myths about Palestinian prisoners, +972 Magazine
Oren Ziv writes, “The Israeli media often claims Palestinian political prisoners are treated to ‘five-star’ treatment. In reality, they face some of the worst conditions in the West.”

Who do they think they are? Israel tells US to ease off Saudi, Egypt human rights, Responsible Statecraft
Annelle Sheline writes, “Israeli officials warned the United States not to hold Saudi Arabia and Egypt accountable for human rights abuses, or else risk driving them into the arms of China, Russia, and Iran. This would contradict President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken’s pledge to ‘put human rights at the center of U.S. foreign policy.’ Israel need not worry: despite his campaign rhetoric lambasting Trump’s fondness for Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and President Sisi, since taking office Biden has made few efforts to pressure the Saudi or Egyptian governments on human rights.”

Israel, an Overly Emotional, Easily Rattled Military Power, Haaretz
Odeh Bisharat writes, “How can a military power that threatens every neighborhood with its lethal army be maintained when the killing of a single soldier drives people out of their minds? Where is the sense of self-confidence, and where are the nerves of steel?”