News Roundup for October 30, 2020

October 29, 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

In the US elections, Jewish voters have concerns other than Israel, The Jerusalem Post
“Polls show Biden leading Trump among Jewish voters with between 70% to 75% of the vote, with most American Jews firmly ensconced in the Democratic camp. The quarter of American Jews who vote Republican, especially for Trump, tend to be Orthodox and most concerned with religious freedom and Israel […] Grunewald noted that JEI polls do not indicate that Jews are more divided in 2020 than in previous election cycles. ‘Our JEI polling does not indicate any significant wedge in the Jewish community, a finding supported also by polls that were released in the past few weeks by the American Jewish Committee, Pew Research Center, and J Street,’ he added.”

Top News and Analysis

Stephen Miller is reportedly readying immigration orders for a second Trump term. He also advanced a QAnon-esque claim about Joe Biden., JTA
Stephen Miller, the senior adviser to Donald Trump, is reportedly preparing for a possible second Trump term by readying executive orders that would further curb immigration to the United States. On a briefing call with reporters Wednesday about border policy, Miller also baselessly claimed that a Joe Biden administration would lead to a sharp increase in child smuggling, in an allegation that closely echoes the QAnon conspiracy theory that is shaping contemporary politics.

Rivlin: 25 Years After Rabin Assassination ‘Hatred Is Simmering,’ Israel Split Into Two Camps, Haaretz
President Reuven Rivlin, speaking Thursday at the ceremony marking 25 years to the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, said hatred is rampant in Israel as it is torn into two hawkish camps.

US announces citizens born in Jerusalem can now list Israel on their passports, Times of Israel
The United States will now allow US citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their country of birth on passports and other consular documents, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday.


Tel Aviv square lights up with 25,000 candles 25 year after Rabin assassination, Times of Israel
Thousands of candles were lit Thursday in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to mark the 25th anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was shot dead by a Jewish extremist as he pursued peace with the Palestinians.

Scoop: Secret Israel-Sudan contacts enabled deal sealed by Trump, Axios
While the U.S. officially brokered the Israel-Sudan normalization deal, it was Israel that facilitated talks between the U.S. and Sudan on the broader deal that included Sudan’s removal from America’s state sponsors of terrorism list.

The good cop’: Joe Biden and Israel during the Obama years, JTA
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency spoke with half a dozen people who saw the Biden-Israel relationship up close during the years that Biden served under President Obama as vice president. What emerges is a picture of a man who did little to innovate policy but who was a loyal lieutenant to Obama and remained a friend to Israel — and he was often left to use the negotiating skills he honed through decades in the Senate to bridge the divide.

Two prominent evangelical Trump advisers square off over alleged Holocaust survivor scam, Washington Post
Two members of President Trump’s evangelical advisory group are locked in a nasty legal dispute involving allegations of a multimillion-dollar Holocaust fundraising scam.

Palestinians denounce inclusion of settlements in US-Israel scientific pact, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday condemned the US-Israel agreement to extend scientific cooperation to areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, describing it as a first step toward American recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank.

Why Trump’s Jewish supporters say he’s been a ‘dream come true’ on Israel, JTA
“If your worldview is such that these things are unbelievable accomplishments and things that you’ve waited your whole life to see happen, this president is a dream come true,” Richard Goldberg, a former Trump administration official, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency earlier this year.

Opinion and Analysis

Yitzhak Rabin’s true legacy is trust, Times of Israel
Yair Lapid writes, “He pursued a simple truth: We need to keep trying to bring about peace. It angered a lot of people, it led to his assassination.”

We’re Orthodox IDF veterans. We’re voting Biden because Trump has endangered Israel, The Forward
Meir Brooks and Oz Ben-Ami write, “We realize that we are an anomaly in our milieu. In fact, we understand why many fellow Israel supporters are drawn to Trump, thanks to achievements like moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. But a closer examination of his record reveals something a little more complex: that Trump’s achievements in the Middle East have been largely symbolic, while he’s also presided over a series of dangerous, even disastrous developments that have caused true harm to Israel.”

Donald Trump Has Split the Jewish People, Perhaps Forever, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Before Trump, American Jews were either Democrats (a large majority) or Republican. But next week, a full spectrum of Jews will be voting for Joe Biden: there’ll be Republican Jews, progressives, liberals – all rejecting the incumbent. Those voting for the Republican candidate will be Trump Jews. Their identification with him is complete.”

For Jews of color, this election is about our right to exist, The Forward
Aaron Mitchell Finegold writes, “And as a queer, Korean, and Jewish American, my identity naturally straddles multiple, distinct communities. One of the ‘prices’ of this intersectionality is being subjected to short-sighted interpretations of your own identity. I was one of many Jews of color who had to suffer through the Jewish press’s endless debates about whether white Jews are white, for example.”

The US starts an arms race over Israel normalization and calls it ‘peace’, Responsible Statecraft
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos writes, “The arms bazaar began back in August when news started trickling out that the F-35 deal to UAE had been accelerated by chief White House peace dealer Jared Kushner in hopes of guaranteeing Abu Dhabi’s buy-in on normalization. Reports also indicated that the UAE would also get access to billions of dollars in drones and other weaponry.”

The Israeli right’s new vision of Jewish political supremacy, +972 Mag
Raef Zreik writes, “The settlement project’s success has led to an intertwined Jewish and Palestinian population, reviving the problem Israel tried to solve through expulsion in 1948. Now, the right’s priority is segregation.”

The Right Must No Longer Pretend Rabin’s Murder Was a Tragedy, Haaretz
Ravit Hecht writes, “It’s not groundless to assume that in a few years, the rightists will be explaining why the murder was actually expedient, and claim ‘self defense.’”