Foreign Policy: America Has a Plan. And, No, It Isn't One That Israel Would Like.

New poll shows that if the two-state solution collapses, U.S. public favors democracy over Jewishness.

By Shibley Telhami

Middle East leaders are beating a path to the White House's door. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Barack Obama on March 3, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive on March 17 to discuss the U.S. administration's diplomatic effort to reach a two-state solution.

Although Secretary of State John Kerry has said that "failure is not an option" in these talks, the reality is that both Israelis and Palestinians assume that there is only a slim chance of finding a conflict-ending solution. The president himself put the odds at less than 50 percent. With the Obama administration's goal to reach a negotiated settlement set for the end of April, we could be witnessing the death of the two-state solution. A key, but often unasked, question is whether the American public even cares.

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Foreign Policy: Bibi Trapped

By Aaron David Miller

Why Israel's prime minister can't call the shots on Iran or the peace process.

Benjamin Netanyahu is one smart Israeli politician. This year, he will become the longest continuously serving prime minister in Israel's history. He is the only Israeli leader to win back-to-back elections. And despite his detractors' efforts to portray him as an illegitimate expression of Israeli popular desires, his staying power -- at least on security and foreign policy -- is an authentic expression of where much of the country stands in 2014.

Yet on the eve of his White House meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday, March 3, when the two leaders will discuss Iran, peace talks, and other issues, Bibi faces the prospect of being ensnared in traps that will limit his room to maneuver and undermine Israel's interests, as he defines them.

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Is a Settlement Boycott Best for Israel? APN's Lara Friedman in the New York Times

A powerful debate between APN's Lara Friedman and Rabbi Daniel Gordis in the New York Times.

Introduction

Israel’s expansion of settlements in the occupied territories has been an obstacle to the two-state solution, considered the most likely hope for peace with the Palestinians.

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The Forward: "Business Coalition Pushes Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu To Forge Peace Deal"

Uncertainty Dampens Growth on Both Sides of Green Line

By Nathan Jeffay

The latest coalition of Israelis and Palestinians hoping to affect the settlement of the conflict is not your usual bunch of peace activists. They are wealthy businesspeople who work in a broad range of sectors, from construction to high-tech. They don’t need to struggle to be heard in the halls of power — they already have the ears of everyone from Israel’s prime minister to the leaders of Hamas.

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Steven Kaplan and Sanford Weiner in the Jewish Journal: A victory against anti-Israel BDS

Kaplan_Weiner_JewishJournal

Israelis and supporters of Israel are increasingly concerned about international pressure — and with good reason. There was last year’s directive from the European Union, which threatened important Israel-EU cooperation; the recent uproar about SodaStream, which brought Israel unflattering media attention; and the almost daily news of some European country singling out an Israeli company for negative treatment.

Are these victories for the global BDS movement — the movement calling on people and nations to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel? Absolutely not. 

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SodaStream, an Israeli company with a production facility in a West Bank settlement, made headlines recently due to the superstar status of its spokeswoman, Scarlett Johansson. But the real stars of the Israeli business community are those who joined with their Palestinian counterparts in an effort to use their economic heft to urge political leaders to achieve a two-state solution as soon as possible.

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The New York Times -Thomas L. Friedman: Israel’s Big Question

I’ve written a series of columns from Israel in the past two weeks because I believe that if Secretary of State John Kerry brings his peace mission to a head and presents the parties with a clear framework for an agreement, Israel and the Jewish people will face one of the most critical choices in their history. And when they do, all hell could break loose in Israel. It is important to understand why.

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The New York Times - Roger Cohen: The B.D.S. Threat

Secretary of State John Kerry caused outrage in Israel recently when he declared: “For Israel there’s an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There is talk of boycotts and other kinds of things. Today’s status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained. It’s not sustainable. It’s illusionary.”

Members of the Israeli government were indignant. Israel, they declared, will not negotiate under pressure. Advice givers, stay away! But Kerry was only repeating what Israel’s own finance minister, Yair Lapid, had already said: The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement is beginning to bite.

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A flawed but compelling narrative has taken root in the debate over SodaStream. It's the story of the politically moderate Israeli businessman building bridges to peace by providing Palestinians good employment. What could be the problem with that?

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APN CEO Debra DeLee in The Forward: Love Israel. Oppose BDS. Reject SodaStream.

As counterintuitive as it may be, when you see Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowl ad on Sunday, promoting a product that lets you make carbonated drinks at home, try to see through bubbles and think about the future of the Middle East.

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