News Roundup for November 5, 2020

November 5, 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’s 2020 election night polling — available here — shows a major repudiation of President Trump. We invite you to break down the results with us during a special briefing next Tuesday at noon Eastern.

J Street in the News

Jewish Voters Back Biden After Trump Says Voting Democrat Is ‘Very Disloyal’: Poll, Newsweek
“Jewish voters overwhelmingly backed former Vice President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party over President Donald Trump in Tuesday’s election, according to an exit poll published by the liberal J Street non-profit organization […] Jewish voters went for Biden over Trump by a 77-21 margin according to J Street’s poll, conducted by the GBAO Strategies company and compiled between October 28 and November 3, surveying 800 voters. The margin of error was 3.5 percent. Jewish voters also supported down ballot Democratic candidates. Of those surveyed, 78 percent supported Democrats in their congressional races, compared with 21 percent for Republican candidates. Despite Trump’s suggestions to the contrary, American policy on Israel was not the driving issue for Jewish voters. Trump has framed American Jews as primarily focused on Israel, an anti-Semitic trope that has earned him criticism from the Jewish community.”

Jewish voters favored Biden 77-21, exit poll finds, JTA
“Jewish voters favored Joe Biden over Preident Donald Trump 77%-21% in an exit poll. The numbers, in a poll by GBAO Strategies for J Street, a liberal Jewish Middle East advocacy group which endorsed Biden, was of 800 voters who voted early or who answered questions on election night.”

Washington-area Jews waiting out too-close-to-call presidential election, Washington Jewish Week
“‘J Street continues as of this moment to be confident that Joe Biden is going to be the next president,’ Ben-Ami said. ‘We believe that by perhaps as early as the end of the day today, there will be enough clear data for Joe Biden to claim victory for the race to be called.’”

American Jews vote overwhelmingly for Biden with 56 point margin, The Jerusalem Post
“The poll also found that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen highly unfavorably among American Jews. His favorability is rated at -30, a steep fall from +30 in 2014 and +12 in 2016. Three-quarters (74%) of Jewish voters supported rejoining the Iran nuclear agreement, and 75% believed that the US should pressure Israelis and Palestinians to make peace. ‘Jewish voters continue to overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates, evenhanded US engagement in efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a two-state solution and a return to Obama-era policies such as the Iran nuclear agreement,’ said pollster Jim Gerstein.”

Over Three-quarters of U.S. Jews Voted for Biden in Election, Poll Finds, Haaretz
“American Jews traditionally lean Democrat in elections at about 70 percent, but these figures suggest Jewish voters backed Biden over President Donald Trump by 77 to 21 percent – a 56-percentage point margin that significantly surpassed Hillary Clinton’s +45 point advantage in 2016 […] Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 91 percent of respondents said they’d support the United States playing an active role in helping the parties try to resolve it. In addition, 72 percent of Jewish voters still believed a two-state solution would be the best option […] ‘While Trump touted an ‘exodus’ of Jews from the Democratic Party, the only exodus we saw here was Republicans losing a significant chunk of their already small number of Jewish supporters,’ J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said.”

US Jews’ ‘total repudiation’ of Trump highlights chasm between them and Israeli Jews, Mondoweiss
“There was a lot of talk that Donald Trump could get to 30 or 35 percent of the Jewish vote in the country because of his actions in favor of Israel. That talk looks like horse manure today. J Street released an exit poll today showing Jews voted for a Democrat yesterday at the historically high rate: 77 to 21. This is well above the previous two elections (Hillary Clinton 71-24; Barack Obama, 69-30) and in line with the high water mark for Jews as Democrats, in the first Obama victory and the Bill Clinton and Al Gore races. ‘In this historically pivotal election, Jewish voters have just totally repudiated Donald Trump and a Republican Party that has catered to the most far-right, xenophobic elements of the country,’ J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami commented. “

With Trump and Biden battling still, American Jews grapple with profound political shifts, JTA
“The first exit poll of Jewish voters showed their most resounding rejection of an American president in 20 years. Jewish voters favored Biden 77% to 21% in the poll of 800 Jewish voters commissioned by J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, which endorsed Biden. That was a seven-point increase for the Democrat candidate over the same poll’s 2016 finding, twice the margin of error.”

Jewish Dems: We Must Count Every Ballot, JDCA
“We are encouraged to see overwhelming Jewish voter support for Joe Biden by a margin of nearly four-to-one, the largest repudiation of a Republican candidate for president by Jewish voters in 20 years, and more than a five-point increase in Jewish support for the Democratic candidate since 2016 (According to a poll of 800 Jewish voters conducted by GBAO, commissioned by J Street).”

Top News and Analysis

Count Every Vote’: Protests Over Ballot Tallies Sweep Through U.S. Cities, New York Times
Protesters marched in Minneapolis, New York and elsewhere against President Trump, while some of his supporters gathered near a Phoenix building where crucial votes were being counted.

Israel Uses Cover Of U.S. Election To Destroy Palestinian Homes, Critics Say, NPR
“I am 99% certain this was taking advantage of the U.S. elections. … There were no journalists around,” Yasser Abu al-Kbash, a resident, told NPR.

Israeli forces leave 41 children homeless after razing Palestinian village, UN says, The Guardian
“These are some of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank,” said Yvonne Helle, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory.


The latest on Jewish races: Elissa Slotkin wins in Michigan, The Forward
On Wednesday afternoon, Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat of Michigan, was reelected to her House seat against Republican Paul Junge. She finished with 51.1% of the race; he had 47.1%. Elaine Luria, a Democratic congresswoman from Virginia, pulled out a victory in a tight contest against Republican Scott Taylor with 51%of the vote, allowing her to hold on to the seat she had taken from him in 2018. Democrat Kathy Manning, the former chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, has won her District 6 House seat in North Carolina with more than 62% of the vote, according to the Associated Press.

Elaine Luria and Elissa Slotkin prevail in competitive races to remain in Congress, JTA
Two Jewish moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives — Elaine Luria in Virginia and Elissa Slotkin in Michigan — have narrowly held onto their congressional seats.

Armed Agents Are Allowed in Ballot-Counting Venues, Justice Dept. Tells Prosecutors, New York Times
The Justice Department told federal prosecutors in an email early on Wednesday that the law allowed them to send armed federal officers to ballot-counting locations around the country to investigate potential voter fraud, according to three people who described the message. The email created the specter of the federal government intimidating local election officials or otherwise intervening in vote tallying amid calls by President Trump to end the tabulating in states where he was trailing in the presidential race, former officials said.

Israel razes Bedouin campsite in largest West Bank demolition in a decade, Times of Israel
Israeli bulldozers flanked by soldiers demolished a small Bedouin village in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank on Tuesday morning, rendering around 73 Palestinians — including 41 children — homeless, according to the United Nations.

With His Path to Re-election Narrowing, Trump Turns to the Courts, New York Times
The president pursued lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and his campaign said it would demand a recount in Wisconsin.

In Rare Move, ADL Joins Campaign Against Former Far-right Politician Slated to Head Yad Vashem, Haaretz
The Anti-Defamation League has joined the campaign against the appointment of Effi Eitam, a former far-right politician and military commander, to the top position at Yad Vashem, citing his “problematic moral record.”

Israel says troops kill Palestinian gunman in West Bank, AP
The Israeli military said Wednesday that troops killed a Palestinian man who had shot at soldiers near an army checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

No matter who wins the election, American Jews fear bigotry and division will endure, JTA
“We are an incredibly divided country, and that was something we knew before yesterday, and something we know today,” said Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council. “There are certain people in the Jewish community who were hoping this would be a massive rejection of Trumpism, and no matter what the outcome is in the Electoral College or the Senate, this is not a massive rejection.”

Opinion and Analysis

Win or Lose, Trump Will Remain a Powerful and Disruptive Force, New York Times
Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman write, “At the very least, he has 76 days left in office to use his power as he sees fit and to seek revenge on some of his perceived adversaries. Angry at a defeat, he may fire or sideline a variety of senior officials who failed to carry out his wishes as he saw it, including Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases specialist in the middle of a pandemic. And if he is forced to vacate the White House on Jan. 20, Mr. Trump is likely to prove more resilient than expected and almost surely will remain a powerful and disruptive force in American life. He received at least 68 million votes, or five million more than he did in 2016, and commanded about 48 percent of the popular vote, meaning he retained the support of nearly half of the public despite four years of scandal, setbacks, impeachment and the brutal coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 233,000 Americans.”

The Map Proves It: Trump and Netanyahu May Go, but the Erosion of Democracy Is Here to Stay, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “After four years of Donald Trump and everything that has happened, people still voted for him in numbers unfathomable to the bewildered liberal world. It’s clear that Joe Biden won’t enjoy a landslide victory, that the United States is still deeply divided, that the agreed-on rules of the game are being eroded and that neither side has any intention of leaving the playing field.”

Iran is Hoping for Biden Return to Nuclear Deal—But Trust Will Be Hard to Rebuild, Newsweek
Tom O’Connor writes, “A U.S. largely isolated among the international community in its support for heavy economic restrictions against Iran has far less leverage than it did under Obama, whose multilateral approach was embraced by most nations, with the notable exceptions of Israel and Arab Sunni Muslim monarchies like Saudi Arabia.”

Neither Biden nor Trump Will Make Israel End the Occupation, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “Of all issues, one ostensibly enjoys wide international consensus, from bloc to bloc and continent to continent. No issue unifies countries more than opposition to the occupation and the withholding of recognition of it. This is the one issue where there is no difference among U.S. presidents; not one president has considered putting a stop to it. Maybe one who hasn’t been born yet.”

In pandemic, of all times: Number of Palestinians Israel has left homeless hits four-year record, B’Tselem
B’Tselem writes, “In the midst of an unprecedented health and economic crisis, more Palestinians in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) lost their homes in the first 10 months of 2020 alone than in any full year since 2016 – the highest year on record since B’Tselem started collecting this data. As a result of Israel’s policy, 798 Palestinians have already lost their homes in 2020, including 404 minors who lived in 218 homes – compared to 677 Palestinians in all of 2019, 397 in 2018 and 521 in 2017.”

Not Just Biden vs. Trump: The Left Everywhere Still Hasn’t Found a Way to Confront Right-wing Populism, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “His departure from the White House, assuming he has lost, will not bring about a purge of his loyalists or a reckoning on the right. His fraudulent methods will remain popular in America and abroad. Despite the lies, cruelty and corruption, the lack of shame and the 230,000 dead and counting from COVID-19, these methods are far from discredited. At least 47 percent of American voters still stood by him. “