News Roundup for September 23, 2021

September 23, 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

An exclusive look at the “Two-State Solution Act”, Politico
Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) wants a two-state solution to be official U.S. policy, and new legislation he’ll propose tomorrow sets out a pathway to make that arrangement a reality. […] While many of the ideas in the bill aren’t unique, “this is the single-most comprehensive piece of legislation on the two-state solution that I’ve seen since I’ve been working on this issue,” said JEREMY BEN-AMI, president of the left-leaning J Street, adding it’s a step beyond the usual “lip service and rhetoric.” Why? Because the bill clearly differentiates between the State of Israel and the territories Israel occupies; aid should have end-use restrictions; and it provides carrots to the Palestinians as opposed to only sticks, Ben-Ami said.

US-born ex-MK Marcia Freedman, a pioneer of Israeli women’s rights, dies at 83, Times of Israel
Marcia Freedman, an Israeli lawmaker who was a pioneer of LGBTQ and women’s rights in the 1970s and initiated the first women’s shelter in the country, died on Tuesday at the age of 83. […] J Street eulogized Freedman as “a beloved, outspoken and visionary activist for Israeli-Palestinian peace and a wide range of progressive causes.” “She became a major early champion of independent Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, embracing the idea of two states for two peoples long before it was widely accepted,” the progressive lobby said.

Top News and Analysis

Poll finds nearly 80% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign, AP
A new poll has found that nearly 80% of Palestinians want President Mahmoud Abbas to resign, reflecting widespread anger over the death of an activist in security forces’ custody and a crackdown on protests over the summer. The survey released Tuesday found support for Abbas’ Hamas rivals remained high months after the 11-day Gaza war in May, when the Islamic militant group was widely seen by Palestinians as having scored a victory against a far more powerful Israel while the Western-backed Abbas was sidelined.

House Democrats introduce $1B funding bill for Israel’s Iron Dome, Politico
The top House Democrat on Appropriations introduced a bill on Wednesday that would provide $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, after the funding was abruptly pulled from a government funding package Tuesday. Democrats were forced to toss the money from a stopgap spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown at the end of the month amid objections from progressives. The incident, which temporarily derailed a vote on the continuing resolution, illustrated the long-simmering internal tensions within the party over supporting Israel, a longtime U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Top Republican releases remaining Palestinian aid he held up for months, Times of Israel
A top Senate Republican agreed Wednesday to release the remainder of humanitarian funds that he had been holding up since the Biden administration allocated them to the Palestinians last spring, his office told The Times of Israel on Wednesday night. A spokesperson for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch said that the senator had agreed to release $20 million in aid he had been holding, “as long as it is reprogrammed to be used for food aid, and will not be in the hands of terrorists.”


Why Israel is suddenly interested in its Palestinian citizens, +972 Magazine
On the one hand, the disparities between Jewish and Palestinian citizens have widened greatly on every possible front — housing, employment, education, welfare, industry, personal security, and more. On the other hand, the new governing coalition includes an Arab party, Ra’am, which has shown great willingness to push for a number of projects that will benefit Arab society.

GOP bill would keep settlement products labeled ‘Made in Israel’, Jerusalem Post
New legislation by Republicans in the US House of Representatives seeks to reinforce the Trump-era instruction to label products of Judea and Samaria “Made in Israel.” Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was set to introduce what she called the Anti-BDS Labeling Act on Thursday, meant to stop the Biden administration from reversing the instruction from former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in the final months of the Trump administration.

Palestinian children traumatised by Israeli home invasions, Al Jazeera
Human rights groups and medical advocates say that Israeli raids are having a dire effect on the mental health of Palestinian children. A report titled A Life Exposed published late last year by three Israeli human rights organisations – Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Yesh Din and Breaking the Silence – documented the grievous mental health repercussions, including on children, of Israeli raids on Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran “plan B”, Axios
The U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran last week to discuss a possible “plan B” if nuclear talks are not resumed, two senior Israeli officials tell me. This is the first time a top-secret U.S.-Israel strategic working group on Iran has convened since the new Israeli government took office in June.

Opinion and Analysis

How to Save the Iran Nuclear Deal, Foreign Affairs
Ali Vaez and Vali Nasr write, “None of the concessions required to get the negotiations out of the doldrums will be easy. But if the United States and Iran hope to salvage the nuclear accord, they will have to show a willingness to explore new ideas. Diplomacy should be aimed at seizing the moment, based on the understanding that the Vienna talks could be their last chance to save a deal that—despite all its shortcomings—is far preferable and less costly than the alternatives.”

Israel Will Get Its Iron Dome Funds. It Should Be Worried About a Larger Problem, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas writes, “Israel has a new nemesis: the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Israel doesn’t know what this is, exactly, but it already doesn’t like it. […] Israel’s treatment and approach to progressives is a case study in dilettantism, laziness and convenient denial of trends in U.S. politics and society. It also represents a portion of a decade-long attempt by Mr. Netanyahu’s governments to deliberately and recklessly make Israel a wedge issue in Washington and align itself with the Republican Party.”

Israel Is Crushing My Right to Protest Its Occupation, Haaretz
Galia Golan writes, I can no longer run from settler violence. Nor can I run from tear gas shot by the IDF, or from being shoved to the ground. Now, after decades of activism, I’m too scared to protest”