News Roundup for November 9, 2020

November 9, 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

What does the U.S.-Israel relationship look like under a Biden administration?, Jewish Insider
“One organization which hopes to work with the incoming administration is J Street, which raised $2 million for Biden’s campaign. ‘J Street actively supported Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s campaign because their views on core issues align with ours,’ J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami told JI. ‘We will have a strong working relationship with the new administration, and we look forward to an open exchange of ideas.’”

5 Jewish things to know about Jon Ossoff, The Forward
“He’s a supporter of J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group. They supported him too: During his 2017 campaign for House of Representatives, J-Street’s political action committee donated tens of thousands of dollars into his campaign. Foreign policy hasn’t been a major issue in his races, but he’s spoken to J Street’s Atlanta chapter. Ossoff has stated that he’s a supporter of Israel and continued U.S. military aid to the Jewish state.”

Israeli leaders and Jewish groups congratulate Biden and Harris even as Trump refuses to concede, JTA
“J Street, the liberal Israel lobby that has consistently been critical of Trump, tweeted, ‘Almost 4 years ago today, we pledged to make sure Donald Trump was a one-term president. Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, the fight for the soul of the nation continues.’”

White evangelical Christians stick by Trump again, exit polls show, The Guardian
“More than three-quarters (77%) of Jewish voters backed Biden, with 21% supporting Trump, according to an exit poll carried out for J Street, a liberal advocacy group. In 2016, 71% of American Jews voted for Hillary Clinton, with 24% opting for Trump.”

How the devoted voted: Religious polarization stark in election, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Jewish voters, traditionally Democratic overall, supported Mr. Biden by a 71%-27% margin in Pennsylvania. A national survey conducted by GBAO Strategies for the liberal advocacy group J Street found a 77%-21% split for Mr. Biden. But it noted a major religious divide: the Orthodox population, about one-tenth of the total, supported Mr. Trump 79%-17% percent.”

Bipartisanship is good for the Jews, The Jewish News of Northern California
“Polling by J Street between Oct. 30 and Election Day Nov. 3 showed that 90 percent of Reform-identified Jews voted for Biden, versus 17 percent of Orthodox. For those voting for Trump, the numbers were 7 percent of Reform Jews and 79 percent of Orthodox Jews. Support for a continued U.S. role in the Israel-Palestinian peace process remains high, according to the J Street poll, with 91 percent of Jewish voters overall. Support for a two-state solution also ran high, with 75 percent of the Jewish vote overall. A recent AJC Jewish voter poll showed similar results.”

With Biden Victory, ultra-Orthodox Lose Influence, AIPAC and J Street Gain, Haaretz
“In recent years, Biden spoke at both the AIPAC and J Street annual conferences in Washington, and his largest donors within the Jewish community come from both the progressive camp and the more traditional, centrist pro-Israel camp. “

Top News and Analysis

Trump faces calls to work with Biden team on transition, AP
President Donald Trump is facing pressure to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s team to ensure a smooth transfer of power when the new administration takes office in January. The General Services Administration is tasked with formally recognizing Biden as president-elect, which begins the transition. But the agency’s Trump-appointed administrator, Emily Murphy, has not started the process and has given no guidance on when she will do so. That lack of clarity is fueling questions about whether Trump, who has not publicly recognized Biden’s victory and has falsely claimed the election was stolen, will impede Democrats as they try to establish a government.

Biden will seek to reenter Iran nuclear deal within months, former aide says, Times of Israel
A former senior aide to Joe Biden said rejoining the Iran nuclear deal was “high on his agenda” and that the US president-elect would move to do so shortly after taking office. “I believe that in the first months [of Biden’s presidency], we’ll either see him rejoin the deal fully, or what I would call ‘JCPOA-minus,’ meaning lifting sanctions in exchange for suspending some of the Iranian nuclear programs [developed] in the past three years,” Amos Hochstein said Sunday in an interview in Hebrew with Channel 12 news.

Trump administration plans “flood” of sanctions on Iran by Jan. 20, Axios
The Trump administration, in coordination with Israel and several Gulf states, is pushing a plan to slap a long string of new sanctions on Iran in the 10 weeks left until Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, two Israeli sources briefed on the effort told me. The Trump administration’s envoy for Iran Elliott Abrams arrived in Israel on Sunday and met Prime Minister Netanyahu and National Security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat to discuss the sanctions plan. The Trump administration believes such a “flood” of sanctions will increase pressure on the Iranians and make it harder for the Biden administration to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the Israeli sources told me.


Netanyahu joins other leaders in congratulating Biden for beating Trump, Axios
More than 12 hours after the U.S. television networks called the presidential race for Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to the president-elect.

Abbas lauds Biden win, said planning to demand return of US Embassy to Tel Aviv, Times of Israel
In a statement congratulating Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Abbas urged the incoming administration “to strengthen the Palestinian-American relationship” and to strive for Middle East “peace, stability and security.”

‘Good news’: America’s allies celebrate Biden win, hope for more cooperative relations, Washington Post
Traditional allies spoke of a need to rebuild ties and multilateral cooperation against such challenges as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change after Trump’s “America First” approach upended decades of U.S. foreign policy. In some capitals, the idea of a return to normalcy after four years of criticism, unpredictable behavior and tariffs from the White House was welcomed.

‘Bibi is next’: Anti-Netanyahu protesters celebrate Biden victory in Jerusalem, +972 Mag
Marching through the streets of Jerusalem, protesters expressed hope that like Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu would soon be out of a job.

Return of Iran deal? Middle East heads for major US policy revamp under Biden, AFP
Contrary to Donald Trump’s impulsive policies in the Middle East, Joe Biden is expected to shift back to a more conventional US stance and reengage with Iran, redrawing regional geopolitics.

As Biden takes lead, Palestinians eager to return to talks with US, Al-Monitor
While Palestinian officials don’t expect a Biden administration to roll back all of Trump’s policies, they are hopeful for a change in course in US-Palestinian ties.

Opinion and Analysis

UAE, Bahrain Brace for a Chillier Biden Approach, Foreign Policy
Jonathan H. Ferziger writes, “Rather than the seductive tune of F-35 stealth fighter sales to the Emiratis that smoothed the road toward UAE-Israel rapprochement under outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump, the Biden administration will be talking about uncomfortable subjects like rejoining the Iran nuclear treaty, the region’s record on human rights, and the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents.”

Democratic leaders play a ridiculous blame game with progressives, Washington Post
James Downie writes, “Black, brown and working-class voters delivered Joe Biden the presidency; the hard work of turning out those voters wasn’t done by the national party this year, but by grass-roots organizers over many years. Stacey Abrams, whose 2018 Georgia gubernatorial campaign cemented the organizational groundwork that turned the state purple this cycle, noted on CNN that ‘for minority communities, there has to be consistent engagement.’ Running away from Black Lives Matter and real health-care reform is the opposite of that approach.”

Biden Is Good for Israel, Haaretz
Tzipi Livni writes, “I’ve known Biden for many years. I have no doubt that he, someone who doesn’t support annexation but also isn’t part of the Democrats’ radical left and is committed to Israel’s defense, is suited to help find a solution that leads to a division of the land while preserving Israel’s defense needs. At the very least, he won’t do anything that prevents such a scenario in the future. This is Israel’s clear interest.”

Biden’s victory is good for all Jews, The Forward
Jodi Rudoren writes, “There are genuine political splits among our communities on genuine political issues: how to balance our Zionism against our concern for human rights, where the proper line is between religion and state, whether the Iran nuclear deal is sound. Different Jewish leaders have profoundly different notions of how Jewish values should inform policies on abortion, gun control, climate change, tax cuts, health care, education, immigration and more. But we are united in our fears about the rise of antisemitic violence and antisemitic speech. And we should be united in our concern about the increasingly ugly expressions of racism, sexism and Islamophobia in the public sphere. We must all be deeply worried about the pernicious spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories, and the increasing frequency of ideologically motivated terrorism.”

For Biden, reentering the Iran deal will not be an easy task, Times of Israel
Judah Ari Gross writes, “Since President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and began imposing crushing economic sanctions on Tehran — a move that was cheered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials — the Islamic Republic has retaliated by producing more and more highly enriched fissile material in violation of the agreement, getting closer and closer to a bomb, while still leaving room for a return to negotiations.”

QAnon made it to Congress — twice. What does that mean for the Republican Party?, The Forward
Molly Boigon writes, “The antisemitic QAnon theory alleges that a satanic cabal of elite Democrats and Hollywood celebrities is running a child sex-trafficking ring and harvesting children’s blood to stay young — and two women who have publicly supported it won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives this week.”