News Roundup for November 10, 2016

November 10, 2016

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J Street in the News

Bewildered, Anti-Trump Jews Resolve to Mourn, Then Organize, Forward

“J Street, the dovish pro-Israel lobby, did not endorse a presidential candidate, but was clear in its strong opposition to Trump. A day after it became clear that their effort did not bear fruit, the group’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami offered an understated response: ‘We are not particularly thrilled with our results at the top of the ticket,’ he said, while vowing to ‘remain vigilant in our opposition to both the Trump platform and the policies.’….Though difficult, J Street found its own silver lining in Tuesday’s elections. The group noted that Senate and House incumbents it endorsed who were attacked for their support for the Iran nuclear deal, all survived the challenges, proving that, ‘anti-diplomacy politics at the congressional level has no traction,’ according to Ben-Ami.”

Jews Reject Trump Even As He Rolls, NY Jewish Week

“The wave of voter discontent with the status quo that swept Donald Trump to a stunning upset presidential election victory Tuesday was not shared by the Jewish community, nearly three-quarters of which voted for Hillary Clinton based on her promise to continue the policies of President Barack Obama. Fully 70 percent of Jews polled said they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president with only 30 percent disapproving, according to a poll commissioned by J Street, a pro-Israel/pro-peace advocacy organization. That same poll found that 72 percent of Jews had an unfavorable opinion of Trump and only 18 percent had a favorable opinion….The people participating in the J Street poll gave Clinton a higher ranking than Trump in her ability to handle such issues as Israel, advancing Middle East peace, and ISIS and terrorism. The economy ranked first in the J Street poll among “issues facing our country today” (35 percent), followed by health care and ISIS and terrorism (both 27 percent); Israel was cited by only nine percent of the Jewish respondees. A separate poll of Jewish voters in Florida, a swing state that ended up in Trump’s column, found that Jews supported Clinton by 68-28 percent.”

Clinton Won Overwhelming Majority of Jewish-American Vote, Polls Say, Haaretz

“The Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton captured an overwhelming 70 percent of the Jewish vote in the election, according to a comprehensive exit poll published Wednesday. It was identical to the percentage of the Jewish vote won by Barack Obama four years ago. The poll, conducted by GBA Strategies, was commissioned by J Street, a pro-Israel anti-occupation organization…..The poll shows that 81 percent of American Jews still support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, virtually unchanged from four years ago. Close to that share (78 percent) said that Israel should stop building in the West Bank settlements. A substantial majority of the Iranian nuclear deal.63 percent of American Jewish voters said they supported the Iranian nuclear deal.”

70 percent of Jewish voters favored Clinton, poll finds, JTA

“Seventy percent of Jewish voters favored Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, with 25 percent opting for Donald Trump, according to a poll. The national survey, which was commissioned by J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, again showed a community that trends more Democratic than the general population….American Jews remain a bedrock Democratic constituency, with overwhelming disdain for Donald Trump,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a conference call with reporters….The numbers were similar in a Florida poll — 68 percent for Clinton and 28 percent for Trump — and voters there scored similar priorities. Trump narrowly won the state. J Street conducted the Florida poll in part to see if last-minute pushes by presidential campaigns in the state in recent elections emphasizing hawkish pro-Israel credentials were justified by a community likely to rate Israel higher. But the results were virtually the same, with Israel rating ninth at 8 percent.”

Naftali Bennett’s Call for Israel to Repudiate Palestinian State is Dangerous, J Street Blog

“A statement from Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the pro-settler Jewish Home Party, calling on his government to seize on the election of Donald Trump as US president to repudiate its support for the establishment of a Palestinian state is foolish and profoundly dangerous. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should reject this call immediately….For decades, Republican and Democratic administrations have acknowledged that the two-state solution represents the only way for Israel and the Palestinians to end their conflict peacefully. As such, it is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a secure Jewish homeland and a democracy. All other formulas, including that put forward by Bennett, are recipes for the continuation and deepening of the conflict with the consequent loss of life, destruction of property and suffering on both sides.”

Top News and Analysis

After Sweeping Election, Trump Invites Netanyahu to U.S. for Meeting, Haaretz

After winning the election on Tuesday, US President-elect Donald Trump invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US for a meeting. The two spoke on the phone on Wednesday hours after Netanyahu congratulated Trump on his surprising win, saying Trump was a “true friend of Israel.” According to a statement by Netanyahu, during their phone call, the two agreed to meet at the “first opportunity.”

In Israel, pro-settlement advocates and rivals of two-state solution are emboldened by Trump victory, Los Angeles Times

“Israelis who support settlement expansion in the West Bank hailed Donald Trump’s election victory, calling it a milestone that offers Israel’s right-wing government a chance to permanently block a two-state solution with the Palestinians. ‘The victory of Trump is a huge opportunity for Israel to immediately announce that it renounces the idea of establishing Palestine in the heart of the country,’ said Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the pro-settler Jewish Home party.  ‘The era of the Palestinian state is over.’….Right-wing Israeli leaders are encouraged by Trump’s pledge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, and by the Republican Party platform, which omits reference to a Palestinian state and rejects the characterization of Israel as an occupying power in the West Bank.”

Trump has ‘every intention’ of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Guardian

“Israeli government ministers and political figures are pushing the US president-elect, Donald Trump, to quickly fulfill his campaign promise to overturn decades of US foreign policy and recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv. Their calls came as one of Trump’s advisers on Israel and the Middle East, David Friedman, told the Jerusalem Post that Trump would follow through on his promise. ‘It was a campaign promise and there is every intention to keep it,’ Friedman said. ‘We are going to see a very different relationship between America and Israel in a positive way.’”

For Netanyahu, Donald Trump’s Victory Is a Trip Into the Unknown, Haaretz

Barak Ravid writes, “On the face of things, Netanyahu should be pleased with Trump’s victory. For the first time during his career as prime minister there will be a Republican in the White House. If that weren’t enough, the House of Representatives and the Senate are also Republican. Ostensibly, Netanyahu has no reason to complain – he’s going to have the whole world on his plate….But Netanyahu has known Hillary Clinton, her family, her big donors and other people close to her for more than 20 years, for better and for worse. He knows how to work with them, how to influence them and how to reach deals and understandings with them. Trump, however, is a trip into the unknown for Netanyahu. It’s impossible to know what he’ll do when he takes office and what his policies will be on the Palestinians, Iran and Syria….In the face of all this, the prime minister’s cautious, minimalist and general congratulatory statement was clear. Conservative status-quo aficionado that he is, maybe Netanyahu doesn’t want to push for a Palestinian state, while at the same time being in no rush to implement Habayit Hayehudi’s platform of a tooth-and-nail fight to annex the West Bank.”

An American Tragedy, The New Yorker

“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety….But despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.”


Republican Jewish Coalition Calls out ADL for Criticizing Anti-Semitism of Trump Supporters, Forward

The day after the Republican presidential victory, the Republican Jewish Coalition suggested that the Anti-Defamation League would have few friends in the Trump White House. The anti-Semitism watchdog might have gone too far in its criticism of Donald Trump and his supporters during the presidential campaign, said Matt Brooks, the RJC’s executive director.

Labor lawmaker says ‘give Trump a chance’ on peace talks, Times of Israel

A senior opposition lawmaker, Labor Party secretary general and Zionist Union MK Hilik Bar, who also heads the Knesset caucus for the two-state solution, also rejects the view that Trump’s election means the end of two-state peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians. Bar says he believes “Trump will understand that for Jews in Israel, it’s important to separate from the Palestinians.”

After Trump victory, rabbis call for unity and tolerance, JTA

As the shock of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory sunk in, rabbis across the country took to social media to share their reactions and address their congregants. Many rabbis encouraged unity and tolerance, and called on Jews to build bridges with their fellow citizens.

23 Jews Elected to House of Representatives — Up From 19, Forward

The Jewish contingent to the U.S. House of Representatives grew from 19 to 23 in Tuesday’s elections, doubling its Republican representation from one to two.

Trump-swastika graffiti found in Philadelphia, JTA

Graffiti with Nazi imagery and the word “Trump” were discovered in Philadelphia on the same day that Donald Trump won the presidential election.

Palestinians Respond to Trump Election With Hope but Few Expectations, Haaretz

Palestinians responded with hope but few expectations on Wednesday to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, in contrast to responses from Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Trump on winning the election, expressing hope that it would be possible to achieve “peace and justice” during his presidency. PLO Secretary General and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that he hoped the new administration would support the two-state solution, insisting that peace and security in the region can only be achieved by the establishment of a Palestinian state of the 1967 borders.

Opinion and Analysis

I Still Love America. But, After Trump’s Victory, I Don’t Trust It, Haaretz

Peter Beinart writes, “I’m not leaving America. It’s my country. I have to fight for it. I have to fight – every American Jew has to fight – to protect the American Muslims who right now must be terrified beyond belief. I have to fight the dozens of American Nazis who have descended on my Twitter feed to celebrate their victory. I still love America to my core. But I don’t trust it in the same way.”

How Far Will Trump’s Unpredictability Disrupt American Policy on Israel?, Haaretz

Mitchell Plitnick observes, “When it comes to Israel, Trump initially indicated that he wanted to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians and that he wanted to be “sort of neutral.” Then, when he decided to go after the conservative Jewish vote, he engaged his current advisors,who align themselves with the settler movement. At that point, Trump moved all the way to Kiryat Arba. He has vowed to police the Iran nuclear agreement with an eye toward voiding it in the hope that Iran will renegotiate it; encouraged Israel to build more settlements;  and said he would move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem….Most Democratic voters, including Jews, want the United States to act in an even-handed manner with Israel and the Palestinians. They want America to ensure Israel’s security, but not to simply enable it to continue its occupation of the West Bank and the siege on Gaza indefinitely. This will be one of the issues party activists will try to advance to bring the Democratic party into line with its stated ideals, and, thereby, make it a party that can promise and deliver real change.”

Netanyahu’s new target: Israel’s media, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit writes, “Now it can be officially declared: Iran has been replaced by the Israeli media. Netanyahu has made a strategic decision to turn the media into a new ax with which to grind his way to the next election victory. It is not only his multipronged and continued effort to overpower the remaining free media outlets in Israel. He has recently made a decision to launch personal, aggressive broadsides against journalists. He issues long reactions to every investigative report aired about him and every piece written about his conduct, usually ignoring the facts or questions that have arisen and focusing instead on the journalists responsible for the reports. Netanyahu, who is addicted to the in-depth surveys he commissions with great frequency, identified the low esteem in which Israelis, especially his constituents, hold much of the media. Now, all that’s left for him to do is to fan the flames of hate.”

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