News Roundup for September 22, 2023

September 22, 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.

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J Street In the News

Israel’s Tensions Spill Onto NY Streets as Pro-democracy and pro-Netanyahu Protesters Face-off, Haaretz
“Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, called on Jewish community leaders to take a stand against Netanyahu and the threats his government posed to the future of Israel’s democracy. […] ‘Our community leaders must not be silent as Prime Minister Netanyahu and his band of nationalists, racists and thugs pursue legislation that will undermine the independence of the court. Legislation that threatens the equality of women, of Palestinians, of the LGBTQ community.’”

Experts Call for Talks with Iran, Politico’s National Security Daily
“A group of two dozen liberal national security experts are urging the White House to use the momentum from this week’s prisoner swap to increase diplomatic engagement with Iran. The signatories, a mix of academics and think tank figures that have previously held sway in Iran policy conversations, include […] J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami. […] The letter follows the Biden administration’s denials earlier this week that the swap signaled any renewed interest from Washington to mend fences with Tehran.”

Top News and Analysis

The US Wants Saudi-Israel Normalization. Others Aren’t So Sure, The Washington Post
“The Abraham Accords agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates has seen a flourishing of bilateral trade and people-to-people contacts between the two countries, but it has done little to advance the plight of the Palestinians, whatever the rhetoric of “peace” that surrounded the forging of these deals. Some officials are more sanguine about this reality than others.”


Palestinian Leader Tells UN There Can be No Mideast Peace Without his People Enjoying Full Rights, AP
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly on Thursday that there can be no peace in the Middle East without his people enjoying their “full and legitimate national rights.” It was the closest he came to acknowledging US-led negotiations aimed at getting Saudi Arabia to normalize relations with Israel.

Netanyahu to Face a Divided and Aggrieved American Jewish Community When he Meets with its Leaders, JTA
The meeting on Friday in New York City, following Netanyahu’s address to the United Nations General Assembly, will reflect the internal tensions of an American Jewish community riven by his efforts to weaken the Israeli judiciary and by other policies of his government, which includes far-right partners in senior roles.

Palestinians Demand Israel-Saudi Deal Include Settlement Freeze, Increased Autonomy, Haaretz
Palestinian officials are pushing the US and Saudi Arabia to secure full UN membership, establishing a PLO office in Washington and opening a US consulate in East Jerusalem as part of talks toward a normalization deal.

Top Nuclear Experts Urge Biden to Not Allow Saudi Uranium Enrichment in Mega-deal, Axios
A bipartisan group of more than two dozen nuclear and Middle East experts sent a letter to President Biden on Thursday urging him not to allow Saudi Arabia to have a uranium enrichment program on its soil.

Inside Qatar’s Key Role in US-Iran Prisoner Swap, Al-Monitor
The primary Qatari mediators were the prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and Qatari Minister of State at the Foreign Ministry Mohammed Al-Khulaifi. For two days in June 2022, Qatari officials shuttled between hotels in Doha for meetings with Iranian and US officials.

Opinion and Analysis

Symbolic Crumbs for the Palestinians From Israel Will Not Be Enough in a Saudi Deal, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “Every day, the government is entrenching and intensifying the occupation, expanding the illegal settlement outposts and encouraging Jewish terrorism. Without significant steps to curb this dangerous policy, accompanied by dialogue with the Palestinian Authority, the deal with Saudi Arabia might well become a fig leaf that will enable a continued deterioration of the situation.”

My Prime Minister Accused Me of Siding with Iran, The Times of Israel
Tova Herzl argues, “[Netanyahu] trashes hundreds of thousands from all walks of life who have taken to the streets since January, when his government showed us that it is planning to set Israel en route to theocratic authoritarianism, with helpings of homophobia, racism, and annexation. He is not alone in this discourse — his ministers draw on a wellspring of slurs.”