On Iran, Whom Is J Street Working For?

When not opposing the construction of houses in Israel, the advocacy group J Street, working alongside far-left and pro-Iranian organizations, has been lobbying the U.S. Congress to suspend sanctions against Iran. In doing so, it gives the lie to its claim that it is really a pro-Israel organization dedicated to a diplomatic solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It seems more likely that it has made itself into an extension of the Obama administration. Eric Greenstein writes:

This wouldn’t be the first time J Street has worked together with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) to prevent either a military strike or the strengthening of sanctions against Iran. Already in 2009, J Street head Jeremy Ben-Ami and Dr. Trita Parsi of NIAC worked against sanctions, and the two organizations have developed warm ties. A Jerusalem Post investigation showed that J Street received donations from Muslim and Arab bodies, including those with connections to NIAC.

The character of the organizations and the timing of their “grassroots” pressure on Congress raise serious questions about J Street’s role as an arm of the White House. The timing of the petition is no coincidence. On November 24, the ultimatum set for the Iranians in the framework of the nuclear talks will expire. Along with other powers, the United States is working intensively to reach an agreement with Iran that would reduce the number of [but not eliminate] its active centrifuges.

Read more at Mida

More about: Iran sanctions, J Street

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation