News Roundup for November 11, 2020

November 11, 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

JI readers share their thoughts on the future of U.S. civil discourse, Jewish Insider
“J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami: “The Jewish people have thrived on debate over the centuries. The differences in views within our community — both in this country and globally — are real and meaningful. There are starkly different views on the best path forward for the U.S., Israel and the Jewish people. We’ll continue to argue and fight in the political arena here and in Israel. What I hope is that we can do it with a spirit of respect and with empathy and an understanding that while we may never agree with each other, we are stronger as a people when we work our differences out civilly, respect the rule of law and value the worth of every individual.” “

J Street Mourns the Loss of Dr. Saeb Erekat, Renowned Advocate for Palestinian Rights and Israeli-Palestinian Peace, J Street
“J Street mourns the loss of Dr. Saeb Erekat, the long-time Palestinian Chief Negotiator who dedicated his life to serving his people at the highest levels of politics and diplomacy, and to pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his family, his colleagues and his people. Dr. Erekat was renowned and respected by leading diplomats in Israel, the United States and around the world as a fierce but also friendly advocate for Palestinian rights and for a comprehensive two-state solution. He played a leading role in virtually all high-level negotiations between Israel and the PLO, striving to both defend Palestinian interests and also reach the compromises needed for peace, all the while building innumerable bridges and friendships with his intermediaries and even ostensible adversaries on the other side of the negotiating table.”

Top News and Analysis

GOP backs Trump as he fights election results, transition, AP
The Trump administration threw the presidential transition into tumult, with President Donald Trump blocking government officials from cooperating with President-elect Joe Biden’s team and Attorney General William Barr authorizing the Justice Department to probe unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud. Some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, rallied behind Trump’s efforts to fight the election results. Few in the GOP acknowledged Biden’s victory or condemned Trump’s other concerning move on Monday: his firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper. The developments cast doubt on whether the nation would witness the same kind of smooth transition of power that has long anchored its democracy. The Electoral College is slated to formally confirm Biden’s victory on Dec. 14, and the Democrat will be sworn into office in late January.

A rabbinic call to uphold truth and democracy, The Forward
Rabbis Jack Moline, Laura Geller, Sharon Brous, Shmuly Yanklowitz and Sid Schwarz write, “This is no longer a partisan issue. It is a moral issue. The message that needs to come forth from pulpits throughout America must emphasize three points: Uphold the democratic principle of peaceful transition of power regardless of party affiliation; Condemn in the strongest possible language public statements that might encourage Americans to resort to violence or may set the stage for ongoing undermining of legitimate American political institutions; Allow the U.S. court system to adjudicate any claims of impropriety in the US election process and refrain from public statements that encourage the spread of baseless conspiracy theories that put the reputation and safety of public officials at risk.”

How Trump’s Defeat Could Mean More Policy Favors for Israel, Foreign Policy
Joshua Mitnick writes, “With Trump raging over baseless claims that the U.S. election was ‘stolen,’ some officials and analysts are worried that he’ll use the last 10 weeks of his term to grant more favors to Netanyahu—on Iran and on Jewish settlements in the West Bank—that could complicate President-elect Joe Biden’s approach to the region or, worse, tip it further into chaos.”


German FM: Biden’s election an opportunity for US to rejoin Iran deal, AP
The election of Joe Biden as the next US president is an opportunity for a “new deal” in trans-Atlantic relations that would revive the close cooperation between America and Europe, but also see Europeans shoulder greater responsibility on the world stage, Germany’s foreign minister said Tuesday.

Benny Gantz warns election to be initiated soon, The Jerusalem Post
The next time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz meet, Gantz will inform Netanyahu that their political partnership is over, a source close to Gantz told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday night.

Pompeo promises ‘smooth transition to second Trump administration’ as world leaders congratulate Biden, Politico
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday became the latest senior U.S. official to resist accepting the results of last week’s presidential election.

Newt Gingrich Shares Conspiracy Theory With Antisemitic Roots, Draws Warning From ADL, Haaretz
The Anti-Defamation League has called on public figures to stop sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories that blame rich Jews for “stealing” the U.S. election, in which incumbent President Donald Trump lost to President-elect Joe Biden.

White supremacist who echoed Trump election fraud claims arrested for threatening to kill Democrats, protesters and federal officials, JTA
He reportedly made the threats while echoing President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. And he referenced “the Jew Senator from Jew York,” presumably referring to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, who is Jewish.

Biden vows to ‘get right to work’ despite Trump resistance, AP
Vowing “to get right to work,” President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday shrugged off President Donald Trump’s fierce refusal to accept the election outcome as “inconsequential,” even as Democrats elsewhere warned that the Republican president’s actions were dangerous.

Trump administration unveils more sanctions tied to Iran, Al-Monitor
The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed a new round of sanctions targeting Iran, blacklisting six companies and four people accused of facilitating the procurement of sensitive goods for an Iranian military firm.

Netanyahu says he will not treat Democrat Biden any differently from how he treated Trump, JTA
“What I see before my eyes is not Democrats and not Republicans. It is just the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a speech to Israel’s Knesset, the Associated Press reported. “I am committed to stand behind the interests that are crucial to our future and our existence and this is how I will continue even with the next American administration.”

Administration Proposes Arms Deal for U.A.E., but Some in Congress Already Object, New York Times
The $23 billion arms sale could alter the military balance in the Middle East, eventually allowing the small but powerful emirates to flex greater power in a region of sectarian rivalries and simmering proxy wars.

Opinion and Analysis

Biden team considers options on Iran nuclear deal, Financial Times
Katrina Manson, Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Michael Peel  write, “Mr Biden has said he will return to the multi-party 2015 deal that limited Iran’s nuclear programme, as long as Iran also returns to strict compliance, as a ‘starting point for follow-on negotiations’. But while the president-elect has promised to offer Iran ‘a credible path back to diplomacy’ the task is fraught with complexity and Biden advisers are playing down expectations of a deal. “

Why is Raphael Warnock’s Israel stance suddenly an issue in his Georgia Senate campaign?, The Forward
Ari Feldman writes, “The Israel positions of the Democratic candidate in one of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs came under scrutiny in the past week from both media organizations and his opponent despite his strong ties to the city’s Jewish community. Rev. Raphael Warnock leads the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the pulpit from which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached. He’s worked with the city’s Jewish community in both clergy exchanges and interfaith programs, and is running against Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican. Several Jewish leaders who spoke to the Forward for a recent story about Georgia’s Jews and the runoffs scoffed at the notion that Warnock is not a friend to the Jewish state.”

How Biden Could Put Netanyahu in His Place – Without Repeating Obama’s Mistakes, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “If either Biden or Vice President-elect Kamala Harris travel to this part of the world early in their term […] They can easily offset whatever Netanyahu hopes to gain from such a visit by making a point to meet his political opponents, as well as the Palestinian leadership […] There will be ample opportunity for the new administration to demonstrate that it has no problem with Israel, just with Netanyahu, by having the new defense secretary and secretary of state invite their Israeli counterparts to Washington early on. That these just happen to be two of Netanyahu’s internal coalition rivals, Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi, will be lost on no one.”

Saeb Erekat: A tireless advocate for the Palestinian people, Brookings
Shibley Telhami writes, “For those who knew him, Erekat was a brilliant and a driven defender of Palestinian rights. And contrary to his public image — partly born of his authoritative manner of speech — he was a humble man, aiming to serve his people as best he could.”

Biden Will Soon Choose a Secretary of State. The Impact on Israel Could Be Dramatic, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “President-elect Joe Biden has no shortage of contenders vying to be his secretary of state. Will he opt for a diplomatic or political appointee, and how will they be greeted in Jerusalem?”

Biden Realizes the Palestinian Authority’s Importance to Israel, but Expectations Remain Low, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “Diplomatic ties between the United States and the PA will be resumed. The Palestinian mission in Washington will reopen. Meetings between American civilian and military officials and Palestinian representatives will also resume – reinforcing the Palestinian governing class’ sense of self-importance.”

How US Middle East policy can and will change under President Biden, Responsible Statecraft
Annelle Sheline writes, “Biden inherits the interrelated domestic challenges of COVID-19 and economic collapse, so the new president will likely focus his energy on these crises, thus perhaps leaving international affairs to his foreign policy team, which will likely largely consist of DC’s foreign policy establishment, or ‘the Blob.’ A consensus among the Blob over the years has held that a large U.S. military presence in the Middle East provides greater stability for local people and more security for Americans. This view persists in the face of all contradictory evidence, including higher instances of terrorism, war, and authoritarianism.”

Hamas Is Mourning Trump’s Defeat, Abbas Is Celebrating and the Saudis Are Sulking, Haaretz
Muhammad Shehada writes, “Palestinian Authority leaders are hopeful, almost excessively, that Biden will reverse Trump’s catastrophic damage. But both Hamas and Saudi Arabia now have a lot to lose.”