News Roundup for November 1, 2019

November 1, 2019

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J Street in the News

J Street Is Minding the Mainstream, New Republic
“It used to be that there was simply one venue and one conversation’ for U.S.-Israeli politics, Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, told me ahead of the conference. That venue was AIPAC, the hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which describes itself as ‘America’s pro-Israel lobby’ and has advocated unquestioning support for Israel for decades. ‘That monolith has been broken,’ Ben-Ami said; AIPAC has ‘found themselves essentially standing and cheering for the autocrats.’ Trump’s open affection for the increasingly belligerent, media-bashing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘opened up a tremendous amount of room’ for other voices on Israel and in the Jewish community, Ben-Ami said.”

Democratic Candidates Debate Using Aid to Israel as Leverage in Policy Disputes, Wall Street Journal
“Speaking at the J Street convention on Monday, Mr. Buttigieg said the U.S. should ensure that funding for Israel ‘does not get turned into U.S. taxpayer support for a move like annexation’ of occupied territories on the West Bank. Ms. Warren, who addressed the conference in a video, echoed Mr. Buttigieg’s view, saying the U.S. must ‘create consequences for problematic behavior.”

Bennet: America will need to restore alliances after Trump, Jewish Insider
“Speaking to JI after appearing on stage at the annual J Street National Conference in Washington this week, the presidential hopeful expressed his anxiety over the damage he said the president has done to American foreign policy. Bennet said the most common foreign policy question that he’s received from voters is, ‘How are you going to restore our alliances’ after Trump leaves office, a question he says is ‘an indication to me that people really deeply worried about the instability that [Trump] is creating and the opportunity cost of having somebody with Trump’s view of the world [as President].’”

Top News and Analysis

Rare Moment in Israeli Politics as Gantz Meets Arab Party Leaders for Coalition Talks, Haaretz
Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz met on Thursday with the leaders of the Joint List, an alliance of four Arab-majority parties, as part of his effort to form a governing coalition after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so.

Arab MKs meet with Gantz, call for ‘real diplomatic process’ with Palestinians, Times of Israel
Blue and White head Benny Gantz met with the leaders of the Joint List alliance for coalition talks on Thursday, opening the door to the possibility of Arab-majority parties backing or joining the government, for the first time in decades.


Gaza rocket fired at southern Israel, drawing IDF retaliation, Times of Israel
Incoming rocket sirens sounded Thursday evening in southern Israeli communities, with the military confirming that one rocket had been launched from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists.

Top Netanyahu donors’ West Bank winery seeks Trump’s help fighting EU, Al-Monitor
An Israeli winery linked to the biggest donors to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hired top lobbying talent to enlist the Donald Trump administration in a legal and political fight against the European Union.

Netanyahu: Iran emboldened by lack of response to its attacks, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said Iran was emboldened by the lack of a response to a series of attacks in the Middle East attributed to the Islamic Republic.

After Israeli plea, US cutting $105 million in military aid to Lebanon — report, Times of Israel
The State Department has reportedly decided to withhold $105 million in military aid to Lebanon, a day after Israel said it was asking international donors to withhold funds amid political turbulence in Beirut.

‘Multi-generational tragedy’ in Israel and Palestine demands political will for two-State solution, UN
Occupations in Palestinian areas continue, “and no progresss has been made in realizing a negotiated two-State solution”, Special Envoy Nicolay Mlandenov reported during his quarterly update to the Council on the Middle East. “It is a multi-generational tragedy for the peoples of this land.”

PM’s wife during police questioning: Media ‘stepping on me like a cockroach’, Times of Israel
Israeli television on Thursday evening published leaked transcripts of the police interrogation of Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, in which she accused the media of only publishing “lies” about her and “trampling me like a cockroach” and police of “selective law enforcement.”

Opinion and Analysis

Baghdadi’s death could mean more American withdrawal in the Middle East. That’s bad news, Washington Post
Fareed Zakaria writes, “So we see an emerging post-American Middle East, with various regional powers jockeying for influence, mainly Saudi Arabia and Iran, along with others such as Turkey and Israel, pushing their own interests. These are uncharted waters in a time of great upheaval — Syria has produced more than 5 million refugees , and Yemen faces the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The Islamic State has been decapitated and is scattered for now, but the demons that have fueled such terror — stagnation, repression, despair — continue to haunt today’s Arab world.”

In TrumpWorld and BibiWorld, Truth Is Tantamount to Treason, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “A cult of personality that requires swift destruction of conscientious critics is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes.”

Netanyahu’s opposition within the Likud, Al-Monitor
Danny Zaken writes, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thus far succeeded in overcoming any sign of subversion of his leadership of the Likud, and even maintains exclusive control over policymaking and management of the coalition negotiations. Even the man considered his prominent rival within the Likud, Knesset member Gideon Saar — the only one to announce that he would run against Netanyahu in the next internal election — declared Oct. 6 that until this election takes place Netanyahu is the leader of the Likud.”

Israeli Schools Teach Pro-settler Religious Nationalism Is the Only Way to Be Jewish, Haaretz
Noga Brenner Samia writes, “Raising a pious, pro-settler generation: Israeli schoolkids are now targets of a state-sponsored campaign of political and religious indoctrination”

To push aliyah, the Absorption Ministry is making up fake immigrants, Times of Israel
Judah Ari Gross writes, “Until Thursday, the Ministry of Absorption and Immigration’s Twitter page was filled with pictures of grinning immigrants talking about how they’ve successfully established a life in Israel, despite the hardships of the move. The only problem: They are not real. Not only are the photographs stock images, but the purported immigrants and their quotes were made up.”

Israel is turning Palestinian students into criminals, +972 Mag
Jaclynn Ashly writes, “Israeli authorities have arrested at least 64 Palestinian university students since the start of 2019. That number is only growing.”