News Roundup for September 18, 2023

September 18, 2023
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.

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu’s Supreme Court Overhaul Effort Seen by Protesters as Threat to Israel’s Democracy [Video], CBS News
Lesley Stahl covers Israel’s pro-democracy protest movement on Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes. She talks with leaders of the pro-democracy military reservist organization, Brothers and Sisters in Arms, and Yariv Levin, architect of the controversial judicial overhaul.

US Jewish Leaders Slam Netanyahu for Equating Pro-democracy Protesters With Iran, PLO, Haaretz
American Jewish leaders on Sunday quickly condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for equating the pro-democracy protesters awaiting him in the US with the PLO and Iran, demanding he apologize while warning his meeting with Elon Musk sends a dangerous message about the spread and normalization of antisemitism.


NY Israeli Activists, a Headache for Visiting Ministers, Gear Up for Netanyahu at UN, The Times of Israel
The expat activists have proved to be a persistent thorn in the side of government ministers and Knesset members during visits to New York and other cities in the US. The still-expanding protest movement is now gearing up for demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government ministers who are visiting New York.

Trump’s Rosh Hashanah Message Attacks Majority of US Jews for ‘Voting to Destroy America and Israel’, Haaretz
Former US President Donald Trump on Sunday posted an ominous warning to American Jews in honor of Rosh Hashanah, retreading well-worn territory of dual loyalty tropes and conflating support for Israel and American Jews.

Iran-US Prisoner Swap Appears in Motion as Nearly $6B in Once-frozen Iranian Assets Reaches Qatar, AP
Iran and the United States will exchange prisoners on Monday after nearly $6 billion in once-frozen Iranian assets reached Qatar, a key element of the planned swap, officials said.

Iranian-Israelis Renew Support for Protests on Mahsa Amini Anniversary, Al-Monitor
Israelis of Iranian origin and Israeli politicians have increased their activities to support the Tehran protest movement, including contacts with the son of the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Iranian activists in exile.

UN Adds Site Near Palestinian City of Jericho to World Heritage List, The Washington Post
A UN committee voted Sunday to recognize ruins near the West Bank city of Jericho as a World Heritage site, a move that could bring backlash from Israel, which has clashed with the United Nations in the past over designations in the Palestinian territories.

Opinion and Analysis

Mahmoud Abbas Holocaust Controversy Spotlights Deep Disillusion with Palestinian Authority, The Intercept
Alice Speri writes, “Mahmoud Abbas, the usually low-profile president of the Palestinian Authority, was widely condemned around the world this week, including by prominent Palestinian intellectuals, after making antisemitic comments about the Holocaust […] While Abbas’s words and actions rarely command significant international attention, the incident put a spotlight on his deep unpopularity among Palestinians, some 73 percent of whom want him gone, and their growing disillusionment with the PA.”

Will Israel’s High Court Defy the Far-right Government?, +972
As the Court hears petitions against the first judicial overhaul bill, Ghousoon Bisharat interviews Palestinian human rights lawyer Hassan Jabareen to assess the state of play. Jabareen said, “I believe [the hearing is historic], primarily because it follows a long public struggle — including 37 weeks of demonstrations — and a lengthy public debate that divided the country into two camps: one supporting the judiciary and one against it.”

Will US-Iran Prisoner Exchange Jumpstart Diplomacy at the UN General Assembly?, Al-Monitor
Andrew Parasiliti notes, “The question at UNGA this week is whether the prisoner exchange can provide a new opening for diplomacy, and to build on regional initiatives such as the ongoing Saudi-Iranian rapprochement, which appears to have contributed to progress in diplomacy to end the war in Yemen.”