News Roundup for August 27, 2020

August 27, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!


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

Chairmanship Fight Highlights Democratic Divisions on Israel, Bloomberg
“The rhetoric about Middle East peace among Democrats appears “more sharp because of the completely hands-off way the Trump administration has approached Israel,” said Dana Stroul, a former Obama administration defense official and Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer who is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The leadership races in the House will see members “pushing for more open discussion and challenging long-held views’’ about Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries, not only Israel, she said in an interview. The Trump administration’s abandonment of the U.S.’s longstanding role of Middle East peace broker has spawned a sense of urgency in the Democratic caucus about restoring American commitment to a two-state solution, Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich) said at an Aug. 18 webinar sponsored by J Street, a liberal Israel advocacy group that supports a two-state solution.”

Lee Zeldin, one of the 2 Jewish Republicans in Congress, is in a dead heat in his House race, JTA
“Goroff is backed by J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, which has raised $60,000 for her campaign. In June, Goroff told The Times of Israel that she is pro-Israel, backs a two-state solution and opposes any plans for Israel to annex parts of the West Bank as ‘destabilizing’ […] J Street’s political action committee this week sent out an appeal to fundraise for three candidates who have a shot at unseating speakers at the Republican convention. Goroff is one of them.”

Top News and Analysis

Kamala Harris: Biden White House Will Not Place Conditions on Aid to Israel, Haaretz
“Joe has made it clear,” Harris said in a phone call with Jewish supporters, “he will not tie security assistance to political decisions Israel makes, and I couldn’t agree more.” Biden has indeed stated several times over the past year that unlike other Democratic politicians, most notably Senator Bernie Sanders, he does not support the calls to place conditions on military aid to Israel in order to pressure the country to change its policies. Biden has called this idea “outrageous.” […] In reply to a question about Iran, Harris said that “we will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, period.” She criticized President Donald Trump from withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, a step she said had increased Iran’s aggressive behavior and isolated the United States on the world stage. “The deal blocked Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon and it was working,” she said.

Iran to grant IAEA inspectors access to suspected ex-nuclear sites, BBC
Iran has agreed to give International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to two suspected former nuclear sites. A joint statement said Iran was doing so in good faith to resolve outstanding issues related to nuclear safeguards. The agreement came during a visit to Tehran by the IAEA’s director general. The global watchdog has criticised Iran for not answering its questions about possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at the two locations, and denying it access.

Israeli Shai Ohayon stabbed to death by Palestinian in suspected terror attack, Times of Israel
The victim, who suffered multiple stab wounds, was identified as Rabbi Shai Ohayon, a father of four and, according to Ultra-Orthodox news outlet, a member of Petah Tikva’s Haredi community, who studied full time at a religious institution (kollel) in the nearby town of Kfar Saba. Police said he was 39 years old; his children are aged 4-13.


RNC speaker criticized for several actions seen as dogwhistles to alt-right, The Forward
Madison Cawthorn, 24, is the Republican nominee in a solid-red North Carolina congressional district. He has also garnered attention for a series of posts and actions that detractors say are dogwhistles to the so-called alt-right.

Commander of Israeli Cop Who Killed Autistic Palestinian Eyad Hallaq: ‘I Told Him to Stop Shooting’, Haaretz
The autistic Palestinian man who was shot dead by a Border Police officer in East Jerusalem in May did not pose a danger to anyone and there was no need to fire at him, said the commander of the force that pursued Eyad Hallaq and cornered him in a trash room in the Old City.

Officer reportedly tells probe he told cop not to shoot autistic Palestinian, Times of Israel
The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department on Wednesday reconstructed the police shooting of Iyad Halak, an autistic East Jerusalem man who was mistakenly shot to death by cops in late May, as part of an investigation into the incident.

Power crisis threatens already fragile situation in Gaza, Al-Monitor
As the power outage crisis in the Gaza Strip for more than 20 hours per day paralyzes all health care and economic sectors, Gazans await for Israel to allow fuel to enter the enclave to operate their only power plant.

Hamas extends Gaza’s coronavirus lockdown amid growing fears of outbreak, Times of Israel
Health authorities in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip will extend its coronavirus lockdown for another 72 hours amid growing fears of an outbreak in the territory.

Three Months After His Death, Israel Reenacts Shooting of Autistic Palestinian Man in Jerusalem’s Old City, Haaretz
The Justice Ministry unit in charge of investigating police misconduct performed on Wednesday a reenactment of the fatal shooting of an autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem’s Old City in May.

Backing Arab Peace Initiative, Bahrain appears to reject US push for Israel ties, Times of Israel
Bahrain, in talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said Wednesday that it was committed to the creation of a Palestinian state, implicitly rejecting his push for Arab countries to swiftly normalize ties with Israel.

Pompeo floats ending Sudan’s terror designation amid push for Israel ties, Al-Monitor
As he lobbied Arab countries to normalize ties with Israel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also discussed dropping Sudan from a list of states that sponsor terrorism during his high-profile visit to Khartoum on Tuesday.

UN peacekeepers investigating flareup on Israel-Lebanon border, Times of Israel
The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon UNIFIL on Wednesday announced it was launching an investigation into an apparent exchange of fire between the Israel Defense Forces and Hezbollah terror group along the Israeli-Lebanese border the night before.

Opinion and Analysis

Ending endless war & progressive foreign policy: What Democrats want, Responsible Statecraft
Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum writes, “The center of gravity in the Democratic party has moved in a progressive direction. Unlike the centrism of the Clinton era, the reflexive militarism of the post-9/11 years, or the comparatively cautious Obama years — notable for progress on arms control, but also sharply increased drone killing — Democrats want their party and its leaders to articulate a different path by a lopsided margin.”

Petah Tikva stabbing attack is a reality check for Israel, The Jerusalem Post
Herb Keinon writes, “Netanyahu has overseen a period when most Israelis – though not those living near the Gaza border – have felt a high degree of personal security. Netanyahu has not led the country into any major wars, and terrorism – notwithstanding the horrific attack on Wednesday – is way down during his long tenure.”

Gaza’s Coronavirus Outbreak Won’t Change Israel’s Carrot-and-stick Method, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “Instead of strategy accepting Hamas will stay in power, Israel has taken a confused line – accusing group of holding Gazans hostage, while also imposing economic sanctions.”

No, California’s governor did not sign an anti-Israel bill, Times of Israel
Dillon Hosier writes, “Social media and inboxes in California have been buzzing this week with headlines claiming Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that is anti-Israel and pro-BDS. One problem: the headlines are false.”