News Roundup for September 24, 2021

September 24, 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 Democrats Trying to Make the Two-state Solution Relevant Again in Congress, Haaretz
More than two dozen House Democrats on Thursday introduced perhaps the most thorough piece of legislation to date aimed at detailing how the United States can help preserve and push for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. […] Left-wing, pro-Israel organizations such as J Street and Americans for Peace Now endorsed Levin’s legislation. Debra Shushan, J Street’s director of government affairs, said the bill makes clear that “true support for the two-state solution must go beyond mere rhetoric and lip service, and into the realm of action to effect real change.”

Rep. Andy Levin proposes pathway to two-state solution in Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Detroit News
Michigan U.S. Rep. Andy Levin is leading a bill would take steps to encourage a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. […] The bill comes at a time when the two-state solution is “in deep trouble,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal Jewish group J Street. “It’s on life support,” said Ben-Ami, whose group supports the bill. “If it is, in fact, vital to the future of Israel and the Palestinians, then the United States needs to do something to advance that. And that’s what this bill does.”

Progressive Dems introduce bill they say aims at keeping 2-state solution alive, Times of Israel
A group of progressive, pro-Israel Democrats introduced a comprehensive piece of legislation on Thursday aimed at keeping alive the dimming prospects for a two-state solution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. […] Levin rolled out his bill at the press conference with J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group that in recent years has endorsed some restrictions on US assistance to Israel.

Two bills in Congress reflect split among Democrats — and Jewish Democrats — on Israel funding, JTA
There were two groups of Jewish Democrats working Capitol Hill this week, each leveraging their Jewishness to advance what each believed to be a critical remedy after Israel’s conflict with Hamas in May. […] The split also was reflected in who was backing each initiative: lobbying for Manning’s bill was done by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the country’s largest pro-Israel powerhouse that is historically centrist and center-right. Levin rolled out his bill at the press conference with J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group that in recent years has endorsed some restrictions on U.S. assistance to Israel.

Top News and Analysis

House approves $1 billion for the Iron Dome as Democrats feud over Israel., New York Times
The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved $1 billion in new funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, after a debate that exposed bitter divisions among Democrats over U.S. policy toward one of its closest allies. The vote was 420 to 9 to help Israel replace missile interceptors used during heavy fighting in a devastating rocket and missile war with the Palestinians in May, reflecting the widespread bipartisan support in Congress for Jerusalem that has persisted for decades.

Jailbreak shines light on mass incarceration of Palestinians, AP
The cinematic escape of six prisoners who tunneled out of an Israeli penitentiary earlier this month shone a light on Israel’s mass incarceration of Palestinians, one of the many bitter fruits of the conflict. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have passed through a military justice system designed for what Israel still portrays as a temporary occupation, but that is now well into its sixth decade and critics say is firmly cemented.

Biden admin sends ‘negative sign’ by keeping sanctions on Tehran, says new Iranian foreign minister, NBC News
Iran remains ready to return to nuclear talks “very soon” but the Biden administration has sent a “negative sign” by failing to lift economic sanctions and imposing new sanctions against Tehran, Iran’s new foreign minister told NBC News. The foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell that President Joe Biden needed to back up his talk of diplomacy with concrete actions to show Iran that Washington is serious about restoring a 2015 nuclear deal.


L.A. teachers union sidesteps vote over Israel-Palestinian conflict, Los Angeles Times
The union representing Los Angeles teachers stepped back late Thursday from acting on a resolution that would have condemned Israel and supported Palestinians. Instead, the union’s 250-member governing body overwhelmingly passed a substitute motion to establish voluntary forums for union members to discuss the issue.

The Illegal Settler Outpost Has Running Water. Its Palestinian Neighbors Don’t. This Is Apartheid at Its Starkest, Haaretz
The activists who were attacked by Israeli soldiers in the South Hebron Hills were bringing water to the Hamamdi family – who are denied that resource by Israel. Opposite them are the water pipes and electric cables of an outlaw settler outpost.

Bennett, health officials said to tussle over further COVID restrictions, Times of Israel
Government and health officials appeared to feud Friday over imposing additional coronavirus restrictions, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reportedly deciding against further limitations on gatherings. According to the Walla news site, Bennett’s decision was opposed by Health Ministry officials, who are pushing for tighter curbs on gatherings.

Opinion and Analysis

Yes, These Palestinians Are Freedom Fighters, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “Are their ends just? There is nothing more just. Are the means they adopt to achieve them criminal, cruel and shocking? Certainly so.”

Murderers, Not Freedom Fighters, Haaretz
Josh Breiner writes, “What is so audacious in dispatching a terrorist wired to a bomb to blow up a bus full of innocent people? Where is the heroism? Where is the righteousness?”