News Roundup for October 24, 2019

October 24, 2019

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street in the News

5 Democratic presidential candidates to address J Street conference, JTA
“Five Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential nomination will address the J Street national conference. The liberal Jewish Middle East policy group will hold its conference in Washington, D.C., beginning on Saturday. The candidates are Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Michael Bennet of Colorado, along with Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro. In onstage interviews, they will discuss the future of the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American foreign policy in the Middle East, among other topics.”

New J Street Campaign Pushes for Next Democratic Party Platform to Oppose Occupation, Settlement Expansion, J Street
“‘The vast majority of Democratic voters believe that the US should support Israel’s security, promote a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and oppose the Israeli government’s policies of occupation and creeping annexation,’ said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. ‘That approach is good policy and smart politics — which is why the Democrats should firmly commit to it in their party platform.’”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu rival Gantz accepts mandate to try to form Israeli government, Reuters
Former military chief Benny Gantz received an official mandate on Wednesday to try to form Israel’s next government, but with no easy path to ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long hold on power.

Reaching out to Netanyahu, ultra-Orthodox, Gantz bids to defy Knesset arithmetic, Times of Israel
In an unexpectedly passionate and largely gracious speech on Wednesday night, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz accepted the “privilege” of being tasked with forming Israel’s next government and sought to dispel the notion that he has no greater chance of success than the incumbent, Benjamin Netanyahu.

UN expert calls for ban on Israeli products from settlements, AP
The U.N. independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories called Wednesday for an international ban on all products made in Israeli settlements as a step to potentially end Israel’s 52-year “illegal occupation.” Michael Lynk told the General Assembly’s human rights committee that the international community should also issue “a clarion call to the United Nations” to complete and release a database “on businesses engaged in activities related to the illegal settlements.”


Evidence found of war crimes during Turkish offensive in Syria, says U.S. official, Reuters
President Donald Trump’s special envoy for Syria said on Wednesday that U.S. forces had seen evidence of war crimes during Turkey’s offensive against the Kurds in Syria, and had demanded an explanation from Ankara.

Netanyahu agrees to meet PM-designate Gantz; other right, Orthodox leaders wait, Times of Israel
Blue and White’s Benny Gantz and Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu will meet in the coming days to discuss the possibility of forming a unity government, the parties said on Wednesday night, hours after the centrist leader was tasked with forming a government where the incumbent premier failed.

Lieberman Accuses Netanyahu of Dragging Out Government Formation ‘For Personal Reasons’, Haaretz
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of talking about a unity government while driving Israel into a third round of elections in a Wednesday morning radio interview.

Third election won’t break political deadlock in Israel, poll finds, Times of Israel
With politicians warning that yet another election could be on the horizon amid ongoing political deadlock, a television poll published Tuesday evening predicted that very little would change in the event of a third round of ballot-casting.

Most Israelis support a government with 2 large political parties, survey finds, JTA
Fifty-six percent of some 600 respondents, Jews and Arabs, backed the alternating plan between longtime incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud party, and Benny Gantz, his counterpart from the Blue and White party.

Opinion and Analysis

37 Days After the Fact, Israel Saw Today the First Real Manifestation of Netanyahu’s Election Defeat, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The incongruous sight of someone other than Netanyahu taking charge could alter expectations of his rival’s inevitable failure.”

After Bibi’s Failure, Gantz Will Try To Form Government. How Will That Work?, The Forward
Aiden Pink writes, “Gantz has said he would be willing to partner with the Likud as long as Netanyahu wasn’t its leader, so this would be the opportunity for one of the prime minister’s internal rivals to try to overthrow Netanyahu from party leadership, and possibly be named prime minister in the process.”

What’s next for Netanyahu?, Al-Monitor
Mazal Mualem writes, “Another option on Blue and White’s desk is an outline for a minority government with the support of the Arab Joint List from outside the coalition and the abstention of Yisrael Beitenu. In fact, this seems to be the only option Gantz has for assembling a government with himself at its head. Will it happen? Not likely.”

Gantz’s Mission Impossible and Netanyahu’s Cinderella Moment, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “Gantz managed to do what much more experienced politicians than him – such as Tzipi Livni, Shelly Yacimovitch and Isaac Herzog – all failed to accomplish over the years. But his chances of forming a government in the coming 28 days are slim, perhaps even slimmer than those Netanyahu had. The election results are familiar to all, and no fairy can appear and magically move blocks around so that they add up to a governing majority.”