News Roundup for November 2, 2018

November 2, 2018

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J Street in the News

Trump Finds Support After the Pittsburgh Massacre, From the Israeli Government, The New York Times

“When President Trump arrived Tuesday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh to pay his respects to the 11 victims of a mass shooting three days earlier, the only public official standing there to greet him was Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer….By drawing Israel close, some analysts said, Mr. Trump was simply finding another way to play to his political base. ‘The more they wrap themselves in Dermer and Netanyahu and the Israeli flag, the more it seals the 20 to 25 percent of the American Jewish community they already have,’ said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a left-of-center, pro-Israel advocacy group. ‘And it also seals the evangelical base.’”

Top News and Analysis

How Trumpian Nativism Leads to Anti-Semitism, Atlantic

Peter Beinart writes, “The segregationist anti-Semites of the mid-20th century and the nativist anti-Semites of today are wrong about Jews’ motives. Jews didn’t support civil rights then—and they don’t support immigrants’ rights now—because they want to subjugate white Christians. They’re just predisposed—because of their understanding of Jewish history—to identify with outsiders and fear ethnically and religiously exclusive definitions of Americanism. But people who demonize African Americans or Latino and Muslim immigrants notice that predisposition, and it leads them to demonize Jews too. That’s why, in the Trump era, rising nativism and rising anti-Semitism go hand in hand. Before last week, Jewish conservatives might have been forgiven for ignoring this deadly pairing. Now there’s no excuse.”

Trump Shouldn’t Be Shocked Anti-Semitism Persists: Conspiratorial Rhetoric Feeds It, National Public Radio
Tom Gjelten reports, “Analysts who study [anti-Semitism] say it’s important to understand the roots of anti-Semitism, why it continues to flourish, and how political leaders, including President Trump, may nourish it, wittingly or not, through divisive rhetoric. Jeffrey Herf, a historian at the University of Maryland who has written widely on the anatomy of anti-Semitism, argues that particular arguments and habits of thinking underlie its power. Most important, he says, is a willingness to buy into conspiratorial thinking. ‘The core of every conspiracy theory,’ Herf notes, ‘is the basic notion that the world is governed by small groups of people who operate behind the scenes and are enormously powerful and enormously evil.’ A leader who promotes a conspiracy theory, Herf argues, is necessarily implying that, ‘thousands of people are liars and hiding the truth and that he is the heroic one who is revealing the secret of what they’re trying to conceal.’ By that interpretation, President Trump himself has promoted conspiratorial thinking on various occasions. Most notable was his contention before and during the 2016 campaign that Barack Obama may not have been born in the United States. It is a habit he has continued in office.”


Organizer says Friday Gaza protests ‘will be quiet’ amid Egypt, UN talks: report, i24NEWS

The organizers of the weekly Great March of Return demonstrations in on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel are reportedly calling for ‘quieter’ protests Friday in light of Egyptian and UN-led truce which are ongoing.

Israel Bars Entry to Palestinian-American Writer Because She Didn’t Coordinate Her Arrival, Haaretz

The Population, Immigration and Border Authority said that it prevented Susan Abulhawa, an American writer and activist of Palestinian origin, from entering Israel on Thursday because she had not arranged her entry in advance.

Israeli official damns Khashoggi killing but deems Riyadh ally against Iran, Reuters

An Israeli official on Friday called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul “despicable” but said that co-operating with Riyadh against their common foe Iran was Israel’s priority.

Netanyahu to visit another Gulf country amid warming ties with Oman: report, i24NEWS

Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s secret visit to the Sultanate of Oman, it is likely the Israeli leader will visit another Gulf nation in the near future, the London-based Arabic language newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Friday.

Trump mourns loss of ‘tremendous momentum’ for GOP due to pipe bombs, synagogue shootings, Washington Post

President Trump complained, once again, on Thursday that the recent mail bomb scare and Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting had “stopped a tremendous momentum” for Republicans ahead of next week’s midterms.

San Diego-area rabbis denounce attacks against candidate with Palestinian ancestry, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

San Diego-area rabbis have denounced attacks against a candidate with Palestinian ancestry by his Republican opponent.

Opinion and Analysis

Regional Risks of Rising U.S.-Iran Rivalry, International Crisis Group

Naysan Rafati writes, “The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s banking and energy sectors on 5 November is a key element of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May presaged a more ambitious strategic objective: to substantially recast not only Tehran’s nuclear activities, but its domestic and regional policies as well. The result arguably is one of the most audacious U.S. policy plays toward Iran since the 1979 revolution, playing out across a fractured and fragile region.”

Can Israeli Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni Connect With American Jews?, New York Magazine

Abraham Riesman profiles Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni.