News Roundup for September 17, 2021

September 17, 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

The Roots of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Fair Observer
In this edition of The Interview, Fair Observer talks to Avi Shlaim, professor emeritus of international relations at the University of Oxford and author of “The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.” […] “There is another factor at play in America: young, progressive Jews are increasingly disenchanted, even disgusted with Israel. Peter Beinart, who is the leading expert on this, estimates that AIPAC represents maybe 30% of American Jews and J Street roughly 70%. A growing number of young, American Jews are openly critical of Israel, critical of its human rights abuses, critical of the occupation, and they support a two-state solution.”

Top News and Analysis

Lawyers say Palestinian prisoners were beaten after capture, AP
Lawyers for two Palestinians who were captured after escaping from an Israeli prison last week said Wednesday their clients were badly beaten during their arrest, with the most well-known of the prisoners suffering a broken jaw and two broken ribs while in handcuffs. Six Palestinian prisoners, five of whom have been accused of deadly attacks against Israelis, tunneled out of a maximum-security prison in northern Israel on Sept. 6 in the first mass prison break in decades. Four were recaptured around five days later, apparently while hiding outdoors.

Israel’s new plan is to ‘shrink,’ not solve, the Palestinian conflict. Here’s what that looks like, CNN
Micah Goodman, a political philosopher, has rocketed to public prominence in Israel and beyond for his contrarian thesis on how not to solve the long-running conflict. Many have taken to calling him the court philosopher of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, an ultra-nationalist former settlement leader, who has publicly embraced Goodman’s paradigm of “shrinking the conflict.” But other centrist and leftist ministers have also come calling. Even the Biden administration has seemingly taken on what Goodman calls his pragmatic and less ideological approach.

N.J. to Pull $182 Million Out of Unilever Over Ben & Jerry’s and Israel, New York Times
New Jersey has become the latest state to announce plans to divest from the company that owns Ben & Jerry’s over its decision to stop selling ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories. The state’s Division of Investment sent a letter this week to Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s whose American headquarters are in New Jersey, explaining that a state law passed in 2016 prohibited the investment of state pension funds in businesses that engaged in boycotts.


Biden pulls punches on rights abusers, Politico
President Joe Biden has repeatedly promised to prioritize human rights, saying the cause “must be the center of our foreign policy, not the periphery.” […] But when it comes to some of the thorniest human rights cases, Biden and his aides have taken middle-of-the-road positions that have upset even some of their staunchest backers. From Myanmar to Saudi Arabia, Biden and his aides have repeatedly pulled their punches against some of the world’s worst abusers, doling out some penalties but holding off on more powerful punishments for reasons that include protecting U.S. national security interests.

Naftali Bennett made the Time 100 list. It’s because of ‘courage,’ his Arab-Israeli coalition partner writes., JTA
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has made Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, and his Arab-Israeli coalition partner Mansour Abbas thinks he knows why. “It all comes down to courage,” Abbas, the leader of the first Arab party to join an Israeli governing coalition, writes in the accompanying blurb explaining why his political opposite was recognized on the list published Wednesday.

U.S. to Mark Abraham Accords One-year Anniversary in Online Event, Haaretz
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to host an online summit on Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the so-called Abraham Accords, which will be attended by the foreign ministers of the signatory countries – Bahrain, Israel, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates – and in which attendees will discuss ways to deepen ties.

Opinion and Analysis

Yom Kippur is the Jewish holiday of remembrance. Poland uses it to erase the past., NBC News
Mark Wilf writes, “The Polish government’s new law bars restitution to Holocaust survivors, part of a trend erasing any Polish responsibility for what happened to Jews during the war.”

Palestinian-Americans are turning the tide of US policy, +972 Magazine
Tariq Kenney-Shawa writes, “Over the past few months, the global response to the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, along with Israel’s latest war crimes in Gaza, have shaken the policy of fragmentation that Israel hoped would permanently cripple the Palestinian movement. For what felt like the first time in decades, Palestinians from all geographies rose up in unprecedented scenes of unity, their shared identity superseding their physical and psychological separation under varying forms of Israeli apartheid.”

Surviving an assassination attempt gave me a new appreciation for the High Holidays, Forward
Gabrielle Giffords writes, “I have always loved this time of year, but I’ve experienced Rosh Hashanah differently since I was shot ten years ago. Before January 8th, 2011, the New Year was a celebration, but a given — not a gift. It came around every fall, like clockwork. After surviving an assassination attempt, learning to walk and talk again, and rebuilding a new life for myself, every new year feels like a small miracle, a victory over despair and defeat. I do not take a new year for granted now, and I never will again.”

Bennett Presents: How to Establish One State Without Ruffling Feathers, Haaretz
Aluf Benn writes, “Bennett understands that with President Joe Biden in the White House, and better ties with Arab countries, there’s no place for talk of “extending sovereignty” in the West Bank and provocations like the eviction of Khan al-Ahmar’s residents. He simply applies his polite style to Israel’s foreign and security policies as well. Instead of arguing with allies, he keeps them happy and gallops softly and determinedly toward one state with millions of Palestinian subjects.”