News Roundup for September 21, 2023

September 21, 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

Biden Invites Netanyahu to White House Despite Frosty Relations, The Washington Post
“Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group, said he wished Biden had delivered a firmer message to Netanyahu about the judicial overhaul and urged him to end all of the proposed changes that opponents say would undercut Israeli democracy by reducing the courts’ ability to rule on fundamental issues.”

Biden and Netanyahu Meet to Discuss ‘Hard Issues’ as Tensions Simmer, Politico
“As the US discusses a potential Saudi normalization deal, the president also emphasized US support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “While securing normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia is a worthy goal, any such agreement must meaningfully advance resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the end of ongoing occupation — not sideline or ignore them […],” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami in a statement.”

Netanyahu in the United States, J Street
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “There is a red-alert blaring that democracy – in Israel, the US and around the world – is under terrible threat. The MAGA movement in the US and the ultranationalist settlement movement in Israel are pushing ever farther down a dangerous path. It is time for our community to mobilize, to stand together with our allies in Israel, and to do everything in our power to speak out, stand up and fight back.”

Top News and Analysis

Inside the Biden-Netanyahu Meeting, Axios
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left his long-awaited meeting with President Biden Wednesday with exactly the result he wanted: an invitation to the White House before the end of the year. For nine months, Biden had declined to meet Netanyahu over concerns about his far-right government and its steps to weaken Israel’s Supreme Court.

‘Biden, Don’t Whitewash Bibi’s Coup:’ Pro-democracy Protesters Rally in NYC, Tel Aviv as Leaders Meet, Haaretz
On Wednesday, hundreds of pro-democracy protesters gathered in New York City outside the Intercontinental Hotel, where US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a bilateral meeting. They urged Biden not to “whitewash Bibi’s coup.”


Saudi Crown Prince Says ‘Every Day We Get Closer’ to Normalization with Israel, AP
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a rare interview with Fox News on Wednesday that negotiations over Israel means the prospects of normalized relations between both countries “get closer” every day, but that treatment of Palestinians remains a “very important” issue to be resolved.

Tensions ‘Beginning to Boil’ in Gaza as Fears of New Conflict Mount, The Washington Post
In the deadliest shift, Hamas has also permitted — some analysts say orchestrated — the return of Friday protests at Gaza’s eastern border, where young demonstrators have faced off with Israeli soldiers. On Sept. 13, five Palestinians were killed when they attempted to detonate an explosive at the barrier wall.

Campaign to Free Israeli Killer of Palestinian Family Raises Over NIS 1.2 Million, The Times of Israel
More than 6,000 people donated to the campaign, reportedly including prominent right-wing rabbis and the head of the ultranationalist, homophobic Lehava group.

Crown Prince Confirms Saudi Arabia will Seek Nuclear Arsenal if Iran Develops One, The Guardian
Questioned by Fox News about the prospect of an Iranian bomb, the crown prince said “we are concerned of any country getting a nuclear weapon,” adding that if Iran did successfully develop a weapon “we will have to get one.”

Opinion and Analysis

Shattering the Israel Taboo: Why American Jews Are Protesting Netanyahu at the UN, Haaretz
Abe Silberstein argues, “Amid these ultimately failed efforts to isolate Israel, American Jews always stuck by Israeli leaders at the UN, which makes what’s unfolding ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled address there Friday so extraordinary: a daily wave of noisy protests by American Jews following the prime minister during his stay in Manhattan.”

You Don’t Have to Be in New York to Stand up for Israel’s Democracy, The Forward
In a call to stand with Israel’s pro-democracy protesters during Sukkot, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker writes, “Every Israeli official, every Israeli citizen, every politician in Washington needs to know that we in the diaspora love Israel, that our lives are intertwined with Israel, and that we stand with those who are struggling to save Israel’s democracy. That ‘Kol Yisrael arayvim ze bazeh’ — we are all responsible for one another.”