News Roundup for November 2, 2020

November 2, 2020

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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.

Top News and Analysis

Scoop: Trump’s plan to declare premature victory, Axios
President Trump has told confidants he’ll declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he’s “ahead,” according to three sources familiar with his private comments. That’s even if the Electoral College outcome still hinges on large numbers of uncounted votes in key states like Pennsylvania. Trump has privately talked through this scenario in some detail in the last few weeks, describing plans to walk up to a podium on election night and declare he has won. For this to happen, his allies expect he would need to either win or have commanding leads in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Arizona and Georgia. Trump’s team is preparing to falsely claim that mail-in ballots counted after Nov. 3 — a legitimate count expected to favor Democrats — are evidence of election fraud. Many prognosticators say that on election night, Trump will likely appear ahead in Pennsylvania — though the state’s final outcome could change substantially as mail-in ballots are counted over the following days.

Israel’s Netanyahu praises Trump policies ahead of election, AP
Israel’s leader on Sunday praised President Donald Trump’s Mideast policies, even as he avoided openly taking sides ahead of the U.S. presidential election. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that U.S. bipartisan support has been “one of the foundations of the American-Israeli alliance.” He then went on to say “that alliance has never been stronger” and praised a slew of steps taken by Trump in favor of Israel. He noted the tough U.S. stance toward Iran, recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, the tolerant approach toward Israeli settlements and the recent diplomatic pacts between Israel and three Arab countries.

Attack ad shows Jewish Alaska Senate candidate Al Gross grasping cash, with Schumer lurking, JTA
Al Gross, the insurgent challenger in Alaska’s Senate race, says an ad attacking him just days before votes are tallied “has disgusting anti-Semitic tropes.” The digital ad for Sen. Dan Sullivan, the incumbent Republican, shows Gross holding fanned-out cash, with a pile of money in front of him, evoking the age-old stereotype of Jews as money-grubbing. The face of Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Jewish Senate minority leader, is visible in the background.


Gross campaign, Anti-Defamation League call on Sullivan to remove ad seen as anti-Semitic, Anchorage Daily News
The ad shows Sullivan’s challenger, Al Gross, holding a bunch of money, and standing behind a pile of $100 bills. Over Gross’ left shoulder is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, grinning in the shadows. On Saturday, the Gross campaign tweeted the ad is “disgusting” and plays on anti-Semitic tropes. Gross and Schumer are both Jewish.

Netanyahu gets one more — perhaps last — gift from Trump, Al-Monitor
The cancellation of the US ban against supporting research in West Bank settlement institutions would surely benefit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his efforts to appease the settlers.

Israel hasn’t learned the lesson of Rabin’s assassination, slain PM’s son says, Times of Israel
Israeli society hasn’t learned the lessons of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination a quarter century ago, his son Yuval Rabin said Sunday, lamenting the level of public discourse and political leaders’ persistent attacks on their opponents and the legal establishment.

Palestinian Authority to resume accepting tax money collected by Israel, YNetNews
The Palestinian Authority will begin accepting tax revenue collected by Israel after months of boycotting the funds over Jerusalem’s now-defunct annexation plans and deductions made to prisoner salaries.

Settlers to pray for Trump in Hebron, Times of Israel
Settler leaders in Hebron were planning on holding a special prayer rally Monday urging divine intervention to ensure victory for US President Donald Trump in Tuesday’s general election.

Violent Clash With Gaza May Be Imminent, Israeli Officials Worry, Haaretz
Defense officials are concerned about a possible escalation in tensions with the Gaza Strip in the near future, perhaps even as early as the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, they told the security cabinet on Wednesday.

IDF razes home of Palestinian accused in deadly Petah Tikva stabbing, Times of Israel
Israeli forces destroyed the West Bank home of a Palestinian man accused of stabbing an Israeli rabbi to death in a terror attack near Tel Aviv in late August, the military said.

New normal takes shape for Israel, Palestinians, UAE, Al-Monitor
A new normal is taking form in Israel and the occupied territories following the signing of the Abraham Accords last month. This unfolding state of affairs includes Israelis energized by the prospects of peace, friendship and business ties with the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf; Arab citizens with anxious and mixed feelings; and Palestinians angry enough to harass Gulf visitors at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Opinion and Analysis

A Frazzled World Holds Its Breath While the U.S. Chooses Its Leader, New York Times
David Halbfinger writes, “President Trump turned American foreign policy inside out, to the benefit of some nations and consternation of others. Now both groups are watching attentively to see which direction the U.S. goes next […] Israel’s right-wing government has been showered with political favors by the Trump White House and backed to the hilt, culminating in normalization deals with three Arab countries that made the Middle East suddenly feel a bit less hostile to the Jewish state.”

Netanyahu’s Complicity With Traitor Trump Has Tainted Israel-U.S. Ties, Haaretz
David Rothfopf writes, “Of all the world’s leaders, its right-wing populists and ethno-nationalists, no one embraced America’s betrayer as fully and as short-sightedly as Netanyahu. The years ahead will reveal the deep-seated damage that has caused.”

Israel, American Jews and the Democratic dichotomy, YNetNews
Nadav Tamir writes, “Tikkun Olam means supporting social justice and the rights of minorities and immigrants. Many American Jews still perceive themselves as descendants of an immigrant minority and therefore feel solidarity towards those who have not succeeded like them and still need assistance from the state. Contrary to popular belief in Israel, most American Jews see anti-Semitism as a phenomenon that originates from the racist right and not the critical left. They have watched for years as the white supremacy movement attacked them for their support of the civil rights movement and they draw pride from the famous picture of Martin Luther King Jr. and the renowned Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marching together in lockstep in Selma in 1965.”

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal, Axios
Dave Lawler writes, “Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden’s foreign policy priority list. He says he’d re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.”

The Democrats’ ‘Jewish Squad’ Is Fighting for Reelection in Trump Country, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “Reps. Elissa Slotkin, Elaine Luria, Kim Schrier and Susan Wild may not be as well known as AOC’s squad but they’re a new breed of blue lawmaker, flipping traditionally GOP districts.”

The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin: ‘He never knew it was one of his people who shot him in the back’, The Guardian
Jonathan Freedland writes, “Yigal Amir, a 25-year-old Israeli Jew, fervent in his faith and his nationalism, stepped out of the shadows and calmly shot the prime minister twice in quick succession. An hour and a half later, Rabin would be pronounced dead. Within a few months, his government would go the same way, taking the prospect of a lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis along with it.”

In Israel, Lethal Bullets Whistle From Right to Left Only, Haaretz
Ravit Hecht writes, “We must all condemn acts of political violence …. Twenty-five years after Rabin’s murder, there is explicit incitement to assassinate the prime minister and his family, and hardly anyone says anything.’ These stunning words were spoken Thursday by none other than Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition leader in August 1995. Back then, Netanyahu was warned by the head of the Shin Bet security service, Carmi Gillon, that the atmosphere he was helping fan endangered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s life.”