News Roundup for October 26, 2020

October 26, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Trump Announces Sudan Will Move to Normalize Relations With Israel, New York Times
President Trump announced on Friday that Israel and Sudan have opened economic ties as a pathway toward normalized relations, with Sudan becoming the third Arab state to formally set aside hostilities in recent weeks as the president looks to score a final foreign policy achievement ahead of the election. The deal, however, appeared to stop short of establishing full diplomatic recognition between the two countries, as Israel recently has with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — despite Mr. Trump’s description of it as a major agreement.

National Republican Party Formally Backs QAnon Supporter, The Daily Beast
After weeks of wavering, the national Republican party has formally thrown its support behind Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia Republican House candidate who is openly supportive of QAnon. The National Republican Congressional Committee donated $5,000 to Greene’s congressional campaign on September 25, according to campaign finance records—the maximum amount the committee can donate. The donation formalizes the GOP’s acceptance of Greene’s candidacy after top officials in the party had signaled hesitancy in backing her. Greene has not shied away from expressing her support for QAnon, a conspiracy theory that holds that President Donald Trump is engaged in a covert war against a pedophile-obsessive “cabal” that’s being fostered by the Democratic Party and other prominent cultural institutions. She has also pushed a variety of inflammatory conspiracies on various platforms, suggesting that blacks are “slaves” to the Democratic Party, that George Soros is actually a Nazi, and that Muslims do not belong in government.

GOP candidate who called Hitler ‘the Fuhrer’ attacks opponent as enemy of white men, The Forward
Republican Madison Cawthorn, who is running for a North Carolina House seat, put up an attack website this week accusing his Jewish opponent Moe Davis of being backed by a supporter who “aims to ruin white males running for office.”


In sharp about-face, Netanyahu, Gantz approve US sale of F-35s to UAE, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday that he would not oppose the US sale of “certain weapon systems” to the UAE, an apparent reference to the advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets, saying that Washington had given Israel assurances that it would “significantly upgrade” Israel’s military capabilities in exchange. The circumspect language of the statement comes after he had previously vehemently denied a media report that Israel had given a green light for Washington to sell the advanced jets to the United Arab Emirates as part of the normalization deal with Israel.

Sudanese torn on Israel ties between loyalty to Palestinians, economic benefits, AFP
Sudan’s move to normalize relations with Israel has laid bare deep societal splits, with some bashing it as a betrayal and others viewing it as a way to save the sinking economy.

Gantz accuses Netanyahu of hiding UAE F-35 talks from Israeli defense officials, Times of Israel
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Friday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of keeping him and other top defense officials in the dark over negotiations for the US to supply advanced F-35 stealth fighters to the UAE as part of the normalization deal signed with Israel.

Israel’s Top Court Suspends Administrative Detention of Palestinian Hunger Striker, Haaretz
Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled Sunday to suspend the administrative detention of Palestinian prisoner Maher Akhras, who is on a three-month hunger strike.

Israel expects Oman to normalize next, Mossad chief says Saudi deal soon, Times of Israel
Channel 12 said sources in the government claimed an announcement was even potentially possible before the US presidential election on November 3rd, though they stressed it could take more time, as Muscat would likely wait to see where political winds are blowing in Washington before making any major decisions.

Israel strikes Gaza after rocket attack, Al Jazeera
The Israeli military says it launched overnight air attack in the besieged Gaza Strip after Palestinian fighters fired rockets, with no reports of casualties or significant damage on either side.

Opinion and Analysis

‘Crazy Eddie,’ white supremacy — How campaigns are trying to reach Florida’s Jews now, The Forward
Arno Rosenfeld and Ilene Prusher write, “Liberal Jewish group Bend the Arc unveiled its own advertisement Tuesday slamming Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who represents the Florida panhandle, for his ties to antisemitic and racist political figures.”

Arab–Israeli normalisation could have unintended consequences, The Strategist
Mark Leonard writes, “Leading Israeli national-security analysts have argued that if a negotiated two-state solution is not possible, Israel should develop an unnegotiated one, by establishing a viable Palestinian state unilaterally. But this approach would seem to require a complete reconfiguration of the occupation in the interest of Israeli settlements, which could fatally undermine the legitimacy of any eventual Palestinian state. That is why other Israeli leaders with a more strategic outlook—including six former Mossad directors—have begun to look for ways to develop real statehood for the Palestinians through a process of de-occupation.”

Sudan Normalization Overshadowed by Netanyhau’s Run-in With the Truth, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “With Israeli defense minister’s claim that PM hid major security decision on F-35 jets from the defense establishment, and the submarine affair still lurking in water, Netanyahu is looking increasingly rudderless.”

Sudan-Israel ties ‘only achieved with pressure’, DW
Sudan has normalized ties with Israel and been removed from the US list of terror sponsors. The diplomatic thaw resulted from financial incentives and pressure from Washington, said Middle East expert Kristian Brakel.

Would Mideast leaders prefer Trump or Biden to deal with Iran?, Al-Monitor
Staff writes, “Whoever wins the election, a new Iran deal would require a regional consensus and some tough diplomacy with Putin.”

Human Rights NGOs in letter to Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs: Stop the ministry’s harassment of United Nations OHCHR staff, B’Tselem
B’Tselem writes, “In an unprecedented move, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to stop issuing visas for foreign nationals employed by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). OHCHR has been operating in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) since 1996. In light of Israel’s complete control over entry to the Occupied Territory, OHCHR staff require visas issued by Israel.”

Trump Is Bullying Sudan Into Embracing Israel. It Won’t End Well, Haaretz
Yonatan Touval writes, “Trump has zeroed in on Khartoum for another diplomatic ‘win’ before November. But his maximum pressure campaign is a disaster in the making – both for Sudan and for Israel.”