News Roundup for August 22, 2019

August 22, 2019

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J Street in the News

US Jews who support Dems are “disloyal to Israel”, MSNBC
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami tells Chris Hayes “This is not just a political matter, it’s a dangerous moment for America.”

Trump, frustrated by unpopularity with Jews, thrusts Israel into his culture war, Washington Post
“‘He is reflecting a concept of Jewish Americans as single-issue voters around Israel, which we’re not; that we’re uniformly hawkish on these issues, which we’re not,’ said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group. ‘In reality, what matters most to us are the exact values that the president is spending his term trashing. We care about equality and justice, and we embrace the notion that this is a nation of immigrants and opportunity for all.’”

J Street exec: Trump stoking ‘racial and religious divisions’, NBC
J Street Chief Operating Officer Jess Smith tells NBC News Now, ”Time and time again the president continues to show us that he’s interested in stoking both racial and religious divisions in the country for his own political gain.”

Trump Again Uses Word Associated With Antisemitism When Talking About Jewish Voters, NPR
Ben-Ami tells NPR, “Israel is an issue not simply for the Jewish community. It is an evangelical issue. It’s an issue in many red states. And it’s comparable as a cultural divide on things like guns, abortion and other culture war issues.”

Israel holds back on Trump’s Democrat Jews ‘disloyalty’ remark, Reuters
“J Street, a liberal Jewish-American lobbying group, said in a statement on Tuesday: ‘It is dangerous and shameful for President Trump to attack the large majority of the American Jewish community as unintelligent and ‘disloyal.’’ — ‘But it is no surprise that the president’s racist, disingenuous attacks on progressive women of color in Congress have now transitioned into smears against Jews,’ J Street said.”

Trump’s tweets about ‘disloyal’ Jews are laced with centuries of antisemitism, The Guardian
“Logan Bayroff, communications director for J Street, called Trump’s statement ‘dangerous and shameful’ — ‘It is no surprise that the president’s racist, disingenuous attacks on progressive women of color in Congress have now transitioned into smears against Jews.’”

What Trump is saying about gun control and American Jews, PBS
“The Anti-Defamation League criticized him for using other people who say that that’s anti-Semitic to say that Jews are disloyal. Also, J Street, a liberal advocacy group that’s involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they called the president’s words dangerous and shameful.”

Trump stands by antisemitic trope that sparked anger among Jewish Americans, The Guardian
“J Street, the progressive Jewish American lobbying group, released a statement in which it called Trump’s remarks ‘dangerous and shameful’. It noted that 70% of American Jews voted for Hillary Clinton against Trump in the 2016 presidential race, adding: ‘This vast majority of our community rejected and continues to abhor the xenophobia, bigotry and extremism of Donald Trump and his allies.’”

Trump says a vote for a Democrat is a vote against Israel, The Irish Times
“J Street, a liberal lobbying group based in Washington, was among the many US Jewish organisations that expressed outrage or alarm at Mr Trump’s comments. ‘It is dangerous and shameful for President Trump to attack the large majority of the American Jewish community as unintelligent and ‘disloyal,’’ the group said on Tuesday.”

Top News and Analysis

Trump doubles down on ‘disloyalty’ comments, saying that all Democratic voters — not just Jews — are against Israel, JTA
President Donald Trump clarified who voters — Jewish or otherwise — are being disloyal to when they vote for Democrats. “If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel,” Trump said Wednesday as he left the White House for Louisville, Kentucky.

Trump’s Vile ‘Disloyalty’ Smear Reflects Fury Over Broken Promise of Jewish Reward for Backing Israel, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The allegation that Jews are inherently ‘disloyal’ is a basic building block of anti-Semitism. It has served Jew-baiters since the dawn of civilization, when Pharaoh worried in the Book of Exodus that his Hebrew slaves ‘may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.’”

Many Israelis are worried about the state of the U.S. alliance, LA Times
Noga Tarnopolsky writes, “A crisis, from the viewpoint of many in Israel, began with Netanyahu, who broke a diplomatic norm of his own last week by banning the entry to Israel by Tlaib and Omar. They are the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, and compose half of the so-called Squad of four young Democratic legislators Trump has vilified in the run-up to his 2020 campaign for reelection.”


IDF strikes fresh Hamas targets after 2nd rocket fired from Gaza Strip, Times of Israel
The latest tit-for-tat between the IDF and Hamas continued throughout the night Thursday with Israeli planes striking a round of fresh targets in the Gaza Strip belonging to the terror group after a second rocket was fired from the coastal enclave towards Israeli towns.

As Trump questions loyalty of US Jews, Israeli PM is quiet, AP
Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday steered clear of Donald Trump’s comments questioning the loyalty of American Jews who support the Democratic Party, in sharp contrast to the tide of condemnation from Jewish critics who accused him of trafficking in anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Rivlin sends message to Trump: Israel-US ties not dependent on one party, Times of Israel
President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday was the lone senior Israeli official to address US President Donald Trump’s assertion that American Jews who vote Democrat would be displaying “great disloyalty.” In a phone call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rivlin maintained that Israel-US ties “are not dependent on the relationship with one particular party.”

I Am #DisloyalToTrump’: Jews Clap Back To The President On Twitter, The Forward
After President Trump invoked an anti-Semitic trope by calling Jews who vote for Democrats “disloyal,” Jews began storming Twitter with the hashtag #DisloyalToTrump.

Blue and White MKs rule out center-left coalition with Arab lawmakers, Times of Israel
Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh’s increased openness to joining a center-left coalition drew reactions from across the political spectrum on Thursday, with other Arab political leaders as well as the centrist Blue and White party rejecting the prospect outright.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump’s ‘disloyal’ jab may boost base, not Jews, AP
AP Analysts write, “President Donald Trump’s branding of American Jews who vote for Democrats as ‘disloyal’ to their religion and Israel prompted alarms of anti-Semitism. But his ultimate aim appears to be dividing Democrats, peeling off Jewish support and shoring up his white evangelical Christian base.”

My Palestinian sitty embodies the humanity Israel tries to deny us, +972 Mag
Nooran Alhamdan writes, “My grandmother is not just a beacon of warmth and love. Not just my first best friend. She is a survivor. She is the compass that points to justice.”

How long will Iran tolerate Israeli operations against it?, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “Western intelligence agencies believe Israel is encouraged by the success of its ongoing military effort in Syria to prevent the creation of a land-based smuggling corridor connecting Tehran and Beirut — in other words, preventing the linkage between Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. They believe this wave of successes has carried over to Iraq.”

‘There’s Going to Be a Shooting’: As This Jewish Community Grows, So Do anti-Semitic Threats, Haaretz
Danielle Ziri writes, “When more than 100 car tires belonging to Jews were slashed in Lakewood, New Jersey, last week, no one in the community was particularly surprised…”

Morning Bits: Republicans rationalize an irrational president, Washington Post
Jennifer Rubin writes, “It’s disgraceful that the Republican Jewish Coalition tries to rationalize anti-Semitism. ‘President Trump on Wednesday thanked a conspiracy theorist for saying Jews in Israel love the president ‘like he’s the King of Israel’ and doubled down on his efforts to pit American Jews against one another, accusing Jewish voters of disloyalty if they voted for Democrats.’ The coalition made a joke about it.”