News Roundup for October 17, 2019

October 17, 2019

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J Street in the News

Democratic Presidential Candidates to Be Interviewed on Foreign Policy, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at J Street Conference, J Street
“J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, announced today that the group’s upcoming 2019 National Conference will feature in-depth interviews on foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Democratic presidential candidates including Sen. Michael Bennet, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Bernie Sanders. On Sunday, October 27th and Monday, October 28th at Washington DC’s Convention Center, the candidates will be interviewed individually live on-stage by former Obama administration national security officials Ben Rhodes and Tommy Vietor, the co-hosts of Crooked Media’s Pod Save the World podcast.”

Top News and Analysis

Unity Government Breakthrough Possible with Gantz Eyeing Compromise, The Jerusalem Post
A unity government seemed closer than ever on Wednesday night, with Blue and White Party leader MK Benny Gantz moving toward negotiations based on President Reuven Rivlin’s outline for a rotation for the prime minister. Rivlin’s idea is to pass a law enabling a prime minister to go on a recess of indeterminate length to deal with an indictment, and create a position of a bolstered vice prime minister to run the country until the prime minister is cleared of charges.

Trump dismisses Syria concerns; Dems walk out of WH meeting, AP
Washing his hands of Syria, President Donald Trump declared Wednesday the U.S. has no stake in defending the Kurdish fighters who died by the thousands as America’s partners against IS extremists. Hours later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats walked out of a meeting at the White House, accusing him of having a “meltdown,” calling her a “third-rate politician” and having no plan to deal with a potentially revived Islamic State group.

Pompeo to visit Israel Thursday for talks on Syria, Times of Israel
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will reportedly visit Israel Thursday for talks on Syria following the pullout of American soldiers and Turkey’s launching of a military offensive against Kurdish fighters.


‘He will be indicted, and Netanyahu is finished’ – Ehud Olmert, TRT World
The former Israeli prime minister believes that a government without Benjamin Netanyahu will be less provocative and an ‘improvement’ for Palestinian-Israeli relations. He also thinks leaving the Iran nuclear deal was a mistake.

Netanyahu Signs Second Deal With Right-wing Bloc Not to Sit With Gantz, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed another agreement on Wednesday with his right-wing allies aimed at making it more difficult for Kahol Lavan’s Benny Gantz to try to forge a minority government with Israel’s center-left parties.

Settlers accused of beating rabbi, 80, who was aiding Palestinian olive harvest, Times of Israel
Masked settler youth armed with crowbars brutally assaulted a group of largely foreign volunteers assisting Palestinian farmers with the annual olive harvest in the northern West Bank, rights groups reported Wednesday.

Rabbis Say Settlers Attacked Them for Helping Palestinian Farmers in West Bank, Haaretz
Jewish settlers physically assaulted Rabbis for Human Rights activists on Wednesday morning in the Palestinian village of Burin in the northern West Bank, a human rights organization said.

Iran blames alleged tanker attack on Israel, US and Saudis, Times of Israel
A senior Iranian lawmaker on Wednesday blamed Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia for an alleged attack on an oil tanker last week off the Saudi coast and said he would take the complaint to the UN.

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Teens Attack Palestinians in Jerusalem, Haaretz
Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox teens rioted on Wednesday overnight in central Jerusalem, attacking Palestinians that drove by them and vandalizing their vehicle.

Opinion and Analysis

Democracy Is Still Under Siege, Despite Orbán and Netanyahu’s Election Defeats, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “In each country, the same pillars of democracy are under fire. Trump’s supporters in the United States may have produced a video of him shooting and killing journalists, but in Hungary, Poland and Turkey, a free and combative press is largely a thing of the past. Whether by throwing journalists in prison (Turkey), government takeover of television channels (Poland) or commercial manipulation (Hungary), the media has been brought to heel.”

Why Likud MKs aren’t trying to replace Netanyahu, yet, Times of Israel
Raoul Wootliff writes, “Netanyahu has so far managed to avert any potential internal challenge to his rule, at least any that could see him face off against Likud a rival in the near future.”

A Jewish-Arab, Anti-occupation Left, Haaretz
Avner Gvaryahu writes, “Two sighs of relief could be heard recently from the Jewish center-left camp in Israel. The first was when Benjamin Netanyahu’s incitement-immunity coalition didn’t win the 61 Knesset seats it needed to remain entrenched in power, and the second was when the Joint List announced that it was recommending that Kahol Lavan’s Benny Gantz be tasked with forming the next government.”

Dear Jewish Supporters of Donald Trump: What More Evidence Do You Need?, The Forward
David N. Myers asks, “How can you keep pretending that Donald Trump acts in the best interests of this country and be a reliable ally of Israel? It is not simply that he is a transactional actor. It is that he is an amoral person for whom justice and virtue have no meaning.”