News Roundup for November 4, 2016

November 4, 2016

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J Street in the News

Race narrows for Florida candidates who differ on Israel, Jerusalem Post

“Pro-Israel groups are split in their support for the candidates: The Republican Jewish Committee strongly supports Rubio, while J Street, the pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby, has been Murphy’s top-financial backer throughout the race….Murphy has been J Street’s candidate all the way. The goal of the organization, which does not make endorsements at the presidential level, is to unseat incumbents who opposed the Iran deal, like Sen. Mark Kirk (R) in Illinois and Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in Wisconsin. ‘It’s very likely that come next Tuesday, when we look at the outcome of races across the country, we’ll see that almost every single incumbent supporter of this deal will have won despite the fact that they had folks sitting across from them in their offices saying, ‘You can support this deal, but it’s a political third-rail and this will be the end of your political career,’ J Street national political director Ben Shnider said.”

Russ Feingold Battles To Hold Lead in Hot Comeback Senate Race, Forward

“Feingold, a progressive, has the support of the political action fund connected to the left-wing pro-Israel group J Street, which has run an ad against Johnson.”

Mendacious ex-Democrat slanders J Street as ‘pro-Iranian lobby’—after seeking its endorsement!, Daily Kos

“Earlier this year, after O’Connor received an understandably less-than-warm welcome from Granite State Democrats, he abandoned his bid for the party’s nomination in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District and decided the best way to prove his progressive bona fides would be to run as an independent—and thus undermine the chances of the real liberal in the race, ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter….[I]t’s no surprise that O’Connor, who’s been polling in the low double-digits, has ramped up his bizarre and offensive behavior, calling the progressive pro-Israel group J Street a “pro-Iranian lobby” and demanding that Shea-Porter return donations the organization has bundled for her over the years….But what makes this truly obnoxious, though, is that last year, back when he was still a Democrat, O’Connor traveled to J Street’s offices in D.C. and sought the group’s endorsement! For him to turn around now and tell rank lies about an organization whose support he tried to earn is truly craven. J Street ultimately endorsed Shea-Porter in her race against GOP Rep. Frank Guinta, and fortunately, Democrats and Republicans alike seem to think her odds of victory are strong.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel: troops kill Palestinian who tried to stab soldier, Star Tribune

The Israeli military said its forces shot and killed a Palestinian on Thursday who it said attempted to stab a soldier near a West Bank Jewish settlement. The Palestinian had a knife and tried to stab the soldier as he was guarding a bus stop near the settlement of Ofra, the military said. No soldiers were injured.

Israel Has Failed the Jewish People Over Its Inaction at the Western Wall, Haaretz

Rabbi John Rosove writes, “The arbitrary rules of the Kotel plaza disallowing the use of any Torah other than those approved by the Chief Rabbinate of the Wall and the denial of the rights for women to pray using tallitot, tefilin and to read Torah are unreasonable, unfair, unjust and discriminatory. Enough is enough. The Kotel should not be an ultra-Orthodox synagogue. It is the most sacred site in all of Judaism and belongs to the entire Jewish people….The Israeli government has failed the Jewish people, but it is not too late to do what it should have done ten months ago – go forward and implement this historic, fair and visionary agreement. If not now, when!?”

Angry at Abbas, West Bank Refugee Camp Becomes Violent Power Vacuum, Haaretz

“To an increasingly large extent, the future of Palestinian politics and the fate of Abbas, now 81 and in power for 11 years, are being forged in Balata, a heartland of both the first and second Palestinian uprisings against the occupation. The camp of nearly 30,000 people, all refugees or descendants of refugees from the 1948 war that followed Israel’s founding, is one of the most destitute places in the West Bank. Over the decades, through intifadas and Israeli security clampdowns, the population has grown ever angrier and more marginalized, its struggle to escape poverty ever harder. During Arafat’s time that frustration was directed squarely at Israel, with Balata’s young men willing recruits to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the armed wing of the Fatah Party that Abbas now heads. These days most of the wrath is aimed at Abbas himself and his failure to keep his promises.”


Israeli Army Prevented American Diplomats From Visiting Jordan Valley Palestinians, Haaretz

The Israeli army on Thursday prevented American consular diplomats from entering an area in the northern Jordan Valley where a Palestinian shepherds’ encampment was recently demolished and a new and illegal settler outpost is being built. The diplomats were scheduled to visit the area of Tel al Hema with activists from the all-female Machsom Watch group, which monitors army checkpoints.

Soldier lightly wounded in West Bank shooting, Times of Israel

An IDF soldier was lightly wounded in his knee Thursday night in a shooting attack at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Trump Wins Early U.S. Voting in Israel, but GOP Support Slumps, Says Expat Voter Group, Haaretz

Though early voting in Israel has reportedly gone in Donald Trump’s favor, support for the Republican Party has taken a serious, almost unprecedented hit, early exit poll data presented on Thursday suggested. According to so-called exit polls conducted by iVote Israel – a right-leaning group that helps American expats vote in Israel – Trump won 49 percent of the Israeli-American vote, while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton claimed 44 percent, ahead of Election Day on November 8.

Israel postpones again temporary expansion of Gaza fishing zone, Ma’an

Israeli authorities once again postponed the expansion the northern besieged Gaza Strip’s fishing zone on Thursday, pushing it back three days. The head of the media unit at the public committee of the Civil Affairs Ministry, Muhammad al-Maqadma, told Ma’an that Israel decided to postpone the expansion of the fishing zone from six to nine nautical miles to Sunday.

Opinion and Analysis

Can battle over public broadcasting bring down Netanyahu?, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit observes, “According to some political sources, Netanyahu recently said privately that he would have no qualms about calling an election over the dismantling of the public broadcasting corporation. If he can’t break up the public broadcasting corporation, he’ll break up the coalition instead….The law has already been approved and passed, and it is now being implemented. If Netanyahu plunges the Knesset into a new round of elections, he will effectively be ensuring that the new corporation is established. No one can ensure that Netanyahu will return to the Knesset with 30 seats — as was the case in the 2015 elections — nor can anyone even guarantee that he will win the election again. That is the core of the complex dilemma faced by the prime minister.”

Ann Kirkpatrick represents true best interests of Arizonans, Arizona Jewish News

Larry Gellman writes, “We can choose representatives committed to using American power wisely to keep us safe and strengthen our ties with our allies around the world. Or we can elect those who prefer outlandish rhetoric and reckless threats to serious policy-making. For Arizonans, the choice should be clear. Ann Kirkpatrick is the Senate candidate who understands how to make us safer and stronger. John McCain is the candidate who has proven himself to be one of the most reckless hawks in Washington – and until recently has stood behind the outrageous ‘foreign policy’ of Donald Trump.”

Attacks on the Iran Deal Can’t Slow Down Carol Shea-Porter in NH, J Street Blog

Kalyani Grad-Kamal writes, “In New Hampshire’s First District, where social security, jobs and the heroin and opioid crisis are major voting issues, it’s clear that diplomacy in the Middle East is also on the ballot. Recent polls show O’Connor running far behind Shea-Porter. Creating a false choice between pro-Israel and pro-diplomacy stances is not helping him move up in the polls. Nor is attacking Shea-Porter for her principled stances on foreign policy.”

Is Jewish Vote Pushing Hillary Clinton’s Early Vote Numbers Up in Florida?, Forward

Nathan Guttman reports, “The Clinton campaign has made early voting a top priority, viewing it as a potential advantage for the Democratic candidate in states like Florida, where the decision could go down to the wire. Jewish voters are seen as an important part of a Democratic firewall, aimed at ensuring a Clinton victory by locking down as many votes as possible before November 8….According to data provided by the Florida Division of Elections, the counties with the largest Jewish populations are leading the state in early voting numbers. And most of these early voters are registered as Democrats.”

After the March of Hope, J Street Blog

Hamutal Gouri writes, “We are serious. As serious as the giants who paved the way for women as equal and engaged agents of change. As serious as the giants who fought for women’s voting rights; as serious as the giants who fought and are fighting for gender, social and racial justice and for human rights. We are serious and we will not stop until there is a peace agreement. We are serious about creating a new political discourse based on mutual recognition and care. We are serious about putting peace-making and peace-building at the heart of the work of our communities.”

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