News Roundup for November 3, 2020

November 3, 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.

J Street in the News

Muslims, Jews in Florida Discuss Presidential Preferences, Jewish Journal
“According to a recent GBAO Strategies poll commissioned by the Jewish group J Street, Biden leads Trump 73% to 22% among Jews in Florida. The circumstances involving developments in the Middle East, he says, are ‘complicated and multifactorial,’ but not consequential enough to change Rabbi David Steinhardt’s vote. The coronavirus pandemic tops his concerns. ‘I am a values voter. The values that define my life and identity, which at the core is a Jewish identity, are the values that I vote by, and they certainly are most aligned with that of Joe Biden,’ he explained.”

Top News and Analysis

Exclusive Q&A with Kamala Harris ahead of election, The Arab American News
“Joe and I also believe in the worth and value of every Palestinian and every Israeli and we will work to ensure that Palestinians and Israelis enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy. We are committed to a two-state solution, and we will oppose any unilateral steps that undermine that goal. We will also oppose annexation and settlement expansion. And we will take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, reopen the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem and work to reopen the PLO mission in Washington.”

Trump Is Bad for Israel, Too, Haaretz
Recent polls show that almost two-thirds of Israelis think Trump is better for Israel than Biden. But a clear-eyed look at his government shows that many of his proclamations were merely symbolic. Moreover, he distanced a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, gave sticks to the Palestinians and carrots to the Israelis and encouraged dangerous messianic fantasies. Just last week, Trump and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a fan of Israel keeping the entire Land of Israel, gave Israelis a taste of all the goodies that await them in Trump’s second term, should he win, when they removed the American ban on scientific cooperation with Israeli institutions in the territories.

‘Raw exposed nerves’: Anxious nation awaits Election Day, AP
As the traditional Election Day closes in, Americans are exhausted from constant crises, on edge because of volatile political divisions and anxious about what will happen next. Their agony is not in deciding between President Donald Trump or his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. Most made that choice long ago. Instead, voters arriving in record numbers to cast early ballots say basic democratic foundations feel suddenly brittle: Will their vote count? Will the loser accept the result? Will the winner find a way to repair a fractured, sick and unsettled nation?


At least 4 dead in suspected terror attack near Vienna synagogue, Politico
At least four victims were killed and 15 others injured in a series of shootings that started near the Stadttempel synagogue in central Vienna on Monday night, which Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said were connected to the Islamic State terror group.

Rivlin, Netanyahu condemn ‘despicable’ Vienna terrorist attack, Times of Israel
President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Tuesday to the deadly terrorist attack in Vienna a day earlier, saying that Israel stands with Austria in the fight against terrorism.

Over 70 ICC nations support court and oppose US sanctions, AP
More than 70 nations voiced strong opposition Monday to what they consider threats to the International Criminal Court and decried sanctions on its top officials, issuing a statement that did not name any country but was clearly aimed at the U.S. They declared that “any attempt to undermine the independence of the court should not be tolerated.”

Days before election, Jewish cemetery in Michigan vandalized with ‘TRUMP’ and ‘MAGA’ graffiti, JTA
The graffiti comes days before the presidential election, in which Michigan is a key swing state, and soon before President Donald Trump’s final campaign rally, which will be held in the Grand Rapids area on Monday.

Israel virus cases up, positive test rate falls; jail says 65 prisoners infected, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry said on Tuesday that the rate in positive coronavirus test results had dropped, but the number of confirmed infections showed a slight upward trend, with 774 new cases diagnosed on Monday.

Palestinians Hit by COVID-19, but They Have Greater Things to Worry About, Haaretz
West Bank and Gaza residents have chalked up relatively low rates of illness and death, hence the noticeable complacency. But the toll the pandemic and Israel’s tough policies is taking on their pockets seems incurable.

Gantz admits he doesn’t expect Netanyahu to honor premiership rotation deal, Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz has reportedly admitted to close confidants that he does not expect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make good on the rotation agreement that would see Gantz assume the premiership next year.

Opinion and Analysis

What a Biden Win Would Mean for U.S. Ties With Israel, Haaretz
The two-state solution and engagement with the Palestinians is back in, support for settlement activity is out. Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, predicts that Biden would revert to the more even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that characterized the Obama administration and others before it.

Palestinians, desperate for a Biden victory, hold their breath as America votes, Times of Israel
As hard as it might be to recall now, it wasn’t that long ago that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was enthusiastic about Donald Trump. “With you, we have hope,” Abbas gushed at a meeting with the US president in May 2017, praising the president’s deal-making skills. Three and a half years later, diplomatically isolated, in a deep fiscal crisis, and with relations with Washington at a nadir, Abbas and his deputies are desperate for an electoral victory by Joe Biden, who they believe will be more attentive to the Palestinian cause.

Netanyahu Is Prepping a Narrative in Case of a Trump Loss, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Netanyahu is aware that barring a major upset, the four years of having a president in the White House who sung from the same hymn sheet – in fact, from a hymn sheet he often helped to write – are over. He’s preparing to go back to the situation he’s more used to, one he experienced for the first 10 of his 14 years as Israel’s prime minister: a less than sympathetic Democratic president.”

In the US and Israel, the left’s next battle is with the moderate right, +972 Mag
Ariel David writes, “Invigorating the left in Israel might seem like a fantasy. But the U.S. progressive movement shows that with clear alternatives, a shift is possible.”