News Roundup for October 20, 2020

October 8, 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

As Netanyahu Ally Lindsey Graham Fights for Political Life, South Carolina Jews Are Torn, Haaretz
“Ben Shnider, vice president of political affairs and strategy at the left-wing lobby J Street, waxed even more praise, calling Harrison a new “center of gravity” in the party on issues related to Israel and the Palestinians. Shnider explained that within the party ranks, as he sees it, “there are the small but vocal few who want to see the Democratic Party part ways with Israel and lack an affinity for the State of Israel, on one hand.” On the other hand, he added, “there is the “old playbook crowd,” who don’t see fit to take issue with the Netanyahu government publicly. Shnider said that Harrison doesn’t represent either of these two camps. “I think Jaime sees clearly that the future of the party is right in the middle and that being pro-Israel doesn’t mean wholly embracing a government like Netanyahu’s in public,” he said.”

Top News and Analysis

What a Biden Presidency Might Mean for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Time Magazine
Joseph Hincks speaks with former Palestinian envoy to the US Husam Zomlot about the potential Israeli-Palestinian policies of a future Biden administration.

Key Palestinian official in critical condition with covid-19, Washington Post
Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian leader who tested positive for the novel coronavirus this month, was placed on a ventilator Monday and is in critical condition at an Israeli hospital, the facility said in a statement. Erekat, well known to diplomats as the Palestinians’ chief negotiator and the leader most frequently quoted by Western media, was rushed from his West Bank home to a hospital in Tel Aviv on Sunday, then transferred to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.


Jewish World Organizations Push Back Against ‘Hostile Takeover’ of Key Zionist Institutions, Haaretz
Several large Jewish world organizations, including Hadassah and B’nai B’rith International, indicated on Monday that they would not be complicit in the takeover of key Zionist institutions by right-wing and rigidly Orthodox political parties. They made their position known in a sharply worded letter addressed to the leaders of the World Zionist Organization, just one day before the World Zionist Congress is scheduled to vote, as it does once every five years, on who will fill key positions and control key departments in these institutions.

‘It’s Not Working’: Gantz’s Party Escalates Rhetoric on Partnership With Netanyahu, Haaretz
Prominent Kahol Lavan ministers warned their coalition partners in Likud on Monday that if the 2021 state budget is not passed and major appointments are not made, Israelis will have no choice but to return to the polls. The government is “not working,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi of Kahol Lavan said on Monday, and called for new elections if the situation doesn’t change by November.

Israel to sign visa exemption agreement with UAE, its first with an Arab state, Times of Israel
Israel and the United Arab Emirates are set to sign a visa exemption treaty Tuesday, in what will be the Jewish state’s first such agreement with an Arab country. The treaty will be signed during high-level meetings and a ceremony in Tel Aviv attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and two senior UAE ministers — part of the first high-level delegation from the Gulf nation to visit Israel.

Jewish Republican congressional candidate calls George Soros a ‘Nazi sympathizer’, JTA
The latest political candidate to condemn George Soros, the Jewish billionaire Democratic megadonor, is Jewish himself. Eric Early, a Republican who is running for Congress in California, tweeted Sunday, “Nazi sympathizer Soros is a danger to our nation.” Soros, who is a frequent target of Republican officials, in fact survived the Holocaust as a teenager.

Opinion and Analysis

‘Tired of the Game’: Palestinian Americans Want Trump Out but Have Issues With Biden, Foreign Policy
“Many Palestinian community leaders in Dearborn, Michigan—home to the small but vocal Palestinian American community that helped elect Rep. Rashida Tlaib to Congress—are urging voters to turn out for Joe Biden next month with two simple pleas. First, vote out President Donald Trump. Then, after Election Day, begin holding the Democratic ticket’s feet to the fire on Palestinian issues.”

After the ultra-Orthodox Rebellion, Netanyahu Looks Weaker Than Ever, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Netanyahu now knows he has no choice but to reach a compromise with Gantz on crucial issues such as the 2021 state budget and the appointment of a new state prosecutor. Holding an early election now, when the entire Israeli public is witnessing how he’s being held a helpless hostage by a merciless ultra-Orthodox leadership, is unthinkable.”

Iran struggles with Covid-19, U.S. sanctions and collapsing economy, NBC News
“Across the country, Iranians are suffering from acute interlinking maladies: the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, intensifying U.S. sanctions and a collapsing economy…On social media, Iranians regularly describe chaotic scenes at overwhelmed medical facilities. On state TV, gravediggers break new ground in vast cemeteries for virus victims. Daily death toll records were shattered three times last week.”

Exclusive: Documents reveal decades of close cooperation between JNF and Elad, +972
Uri Blau reports, “An internal 1998 JNF report…alongside other historical documents and interviews held in recent weeks, portray a deliberate, close, and fruitful cooperation between the two organizations that goes as far back as the 1980s. This collaboration, which included personal handwritten letters and contracts, shows the JNF willingly granted Elad the right to pursue cases on its behalf — resulting in the taking over of various properties in Silwan.”