News Roundup for October 1, 2020

October 1, 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

Trump’s Open Embrace of Far-Right Extremists Is a Severe Threat to Our Democracy, J Street
“In this moment of peril, J Street will work with our coalition partners in the Jewish community and beyond — including the Save the Vote campaign — to help get out the vote and defend our democracy. We will continue to do all that we can to help Vice President Joe Biden win a free and fair election — and to be duly inaugurated. We urge all responsible leaders in the American Jewish community and throughout the country to fully recognize and actively confront the terrible threat that we are facing — before it’s too late.”

Top News and Analysis

Nearly 9,000 virus cases recorded Wednesday as infections hit new high, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry announced on Thursday morning that a record-high nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed a day earlier, as infections continued to climb and worries mounted of hospitals being overwhelmed by the runaway surge.

In Florida, ‘Proud Boys stand by’ doesn’t faze Jews for Trump, The Forward
“I love President Trump; he just needs to keep his mouth shut and stop talking,” said Perri Cohen, president of the Conservative Club of Wynmoor, a senior community in Broward County. “Let other people make fools of themselves.”


As virus rebounds in New York, ultra-Orthodox decry stigmatization, AFP
As cases of coronavirus tick up again in New York, particularly in neighborhoods with significant populations of Orthodox Jews, some residents of those areas say they feel attacked or insulted, accusing authorities of creating a stigma based on their faith.

Think Trump failed to condemn white supremacy? Here’s how Republican Jews see it., The Forward
Some, like Reinish, found his response insufficient, but also insignificant. Others maintain that there were good reasons for it, or that Trump did indeed offer the condemnation solicited by debate moderator Chris Wallace. Either way, they’re almost all sticking with the president in 2020. “I’m voting straight Republican,” Reinish said.

Large sukkahs for mass gatherings seen going up in ultra-Orthodox areas, Times of Israel
At least three ultra-Orthodox sects were reportedly preparing on Wednesday for mass gatherings in Jerusalem during the upcoming Sukkot festival, despite regulations against large groups and a surge of the coronavirus within the community.

You heard correctly, Biden said ‘inshallah’ on the debate stage last night, The Forward
During last night’s presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden uttered an unlikely phrase in response to the president’s declaration that he would, at least eventually, release his tax records. Biden said “Inshallah,” an Arabic phrase literally meaning “God willing.”

Opinion and Analysis

The disease Netanyahu fears isn’t covid-19. It’s dissent, Washington Post
Gershom Gorenberg writes, “Two factors have driven Netanyahu’s policy prescriptions since the pandemic began. One factor has been suppressing covid-19. The stronger motivation appears to be suppressing threats to Netanyahu’s hold on power.”

Punishing Iran wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, Responsible Statecraft
Dan DePetris writes, “The genesis of the maximum pressure campaign as articulated by former national security adviser John Bolton and hawkish think tanks like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, was founded upon a simplistic but appealing narrative: the Iranian Islamic regime has grand designs on the Middle East, including a kind of 21st century colonization that would swallow the region whole. Because this narrative was already fully entrenched in Washington’s security and intelligence establishment, it was a relatively easy one to sell to an administration staffed to the gills with Iran hawks. “

They criticized us for comparing Trump’s hate to the Nazis. Then he told the Proud Boys to ‘stand by’, The Forward
Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, writes, “It’s sad that […] the ADL and the AJC felt the need to criticize our ad, which was so heartily vindicated just hours later. We recognize that parallels between today and the 1930s are grim and chilling, but they are real. We cannot wish them away, and Trump continues to remind us of the extreme danger of his words, as the AJC and ADL both confirmed in their condemnations of his debate performance last night.”

Curbing Protests, Israel Takes Another Step Toward Civil War, Haaretz
Ravit Hecht writes, “Netanyahu’s supporters called demonstrators monsters, and the Knesset gave them a seal of approval. It is a shocking failure of the government, at the lowest point of Israel’s democracy.”

Why Palestinian Unity Is a Pipe Dream, Bloomberg
Hussein Ibish writes, “Still reeling from Israel’s normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Palestinian leaders have fallen back on their hoariest, least convincing talking point: national reunification. Fatah and Hamas, the dominant parties in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively, say they have agreed to hold a general election, the first in 15 years. This, they say, will allow them to form a united front in opposition to Israel.”

Twenty Years After the Second Intifada, the Israeli Victory Is Nearly Complete, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “Then, as now, the Israeli majority paid little heed to the Palestinian casualties, and did not view the seizure of their lands as institutional aggression. At the same time, the number of unarmed Palestinians killed by Israel kept growing. With every funeral, the Palestinian call for revenge grew stronger. With and without a green light from above, armed Palestinians shot at Israeli civilians (also armed, as many of the settlers are) in the West Bank and Gaza.”