News Roundup for October 21, 2020

October 8, 2020

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J Street in the News

Poll shows Biden with commanding 51-point lead over Trump among Florida Jewish voters, Sun Sentinel
“With Democrat Joe Biden and President Donald Trump effectively tied in the race for Florida’s critically important cache of electoral votes, a new poll shows the state’s Jewish voters overwhelmingly support Biden. The poll, set for release on Wednesday, shows Biden with a commanding lead over Trump among Jewish voters in Florida, 73% to 22% — a difference of 51 percentage points….It was sponsored by liberal national political organization J Street, which has endorsed Biden…Jewish voters have long been an important and loyal voting bloc supporting Democratic presidential candidates. Election after election, Republican candidates and their supporters proclaim the tide is turning, but the numbers show that isn’t happening in 2020….Jewish voters thought Biden would do a better job than Trump on a range of issues, including combating white nationalism and anti-Semitism (75% to 20%). The poll also found an advantage for Biden on keeping American Jews safe (67% to 25%) and racial justice (77% to 19%)….Jewish voters thought Biden was better than Trump on a range of foreign policy issues, including Iran (60% to 30%), Advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace (59% to 31%) and on Israel (56% to 35%).”

Biden has huge lead over Trump with Jewish voters, poll by liberal group says, The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Jewish voters in Pennsylvania overwhelmingly favor Democrat Joe Biden over President Donald Trump, according to a new poll commissioned by a progressive Jewish group.
The survey from J Street found Biden leading 75% to 22% among Pennsylvania Jews — similar to a recent nonpartisan national survey. J Street also found that 67% of Jewish voters in the state favor Biden to keep their community safe, compared to 25% who favor Trump.”

Top News and Analysis

Hadassah and other groups block right-wing takeover of top World Zionist Congress positions, JTA
“A coalition of Jewish groups including the likes of Hadassah and B’nai B’rith International has temporarily blocked a plan by Orthodox and right-wing parties to take over top positions throughout the World Zionist Congress, the Jewish National Fund and other crucial groups that spend $1 billion annually on international Jewish causes…On Tuesday, Sheila Katz, the National Council of Jewish Women CEO and a member of the Hatikvah slate in the Congress, said on Twitter that legacy groups including Hadassah, Naamat, Maccabi, B’nai B’rith International, the Women’s International Zionist Organization and Emunah stepped in to delay the vote on the right-wing plan until Thursday to renegotiate how the professional leadership will be selected.”

Israel says UAE visit ‘making history’ – Palestinians call it ‘shameful’, Reuters
A group of United Arab Emirates officials became the first Gulf Arab delegation ever to visit in Israel on Tuesday, cementing a normalisation deal in an occasion that Israel and U.S. officials described as historic but the Palestinians called “shameful”.


With coordination still suspended, Israel hands three power stations to PA, Times of Israel
After years of delays, Israel transferred control over three power substations to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank over the past month, the country’s military liaison to the Palestinians announced on Tuesday. Ramallah praised the new substations as a step towards solving the West Bank’s long-running electricity crisis. Almost totally dependent on Israel for electricity and possessing only a feeble grid, rolling blackouts are a familiar feature of life in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Iran hard-liners renew calls for Rouhani’s head, Al-Monitor
Extremists among the opponents of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are calling for his impeachment and even execution after he suggested rapprochement with the United States could happen.

Israel said to strike Iran-backed militia base in southern Syria, Times of Israel
Syrian state media said Israel had fired a missile early Wednesday at a site in the Quneitra province in southern Syria, near the Golan Heights border. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strike hit a base for pro-Iran militias, adding that I was “likely” responsible.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Bennett in dilemma over his growing popularity, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “Bennett’s true dream is to inherit Netanyahu’s leadership of the Likud. He knows the Likud party stalwarts never forgive anyone who harms their leader. By forming a government without Netanyahu, he risks toppling the ladder on which he is scrambling to the top. On the other hand, and there is definitely another hand, according to the polling, Bennett is Israel’s next prime minister (possibly in a job share rotation arrangement with Lapid) — not Netanyahu. Bennett no longer needs the Likud. From the prime minister’s perch one can reach any political base as Netanyahu proved when he returned to power just three years after bringing his Likud to a nadir of 12 seats in the 2006 elections.”

Israel’s Anti-tunnel Barrier Pays Off, but Gaza Groups Are Working on Alternatives, Haaretz
Amos Harel reports, “Successive Netanyahu governments have preferred to manage the conflict against Hamas while avoiding more costly clashes insofar as possible, even if the latter might have produced a fundamental change in the situation. Now, given the combination of the distress caused by the coronavirus and the distress of the families of Israel’s MIAs and captives in Gaza, there is seemingly an opportunity to reach an agreement that would ensure longer-term quiet in the Gaza Strip. Defense officials, and especially IDF officers, favor approving large-scale infrastructure projects in Gaza in the hopes of achieving a long-term cease-fire.”