News Roundup for November 9, 2018

November 9, 2018

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J Street in the News

Where Does the US Jewish Vote Lie in 2018?, i24NEWS

“J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami discusses the election results and J Street’s polling of American Jewish voters.”

This Jewish Congressman Can Stop Trump Building That Wall, Haaretz

“Yarmuth has long donated his congressional salary to dozens of groups and causes close to his heart, including the local Jewish Federation….More recently, he went on two congressional trips – one organized by pro-Israel lobby AIPAC; and the other, more to his liking, leading a J Street one. Today, Yarmuth is at the forefront of Democratic disillusionment with Israel’s leadership. ‘Unfortunately, Israel has lost a lot of support,’ he says. He has dubbed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘the Dick Cheney’ of Israel – ‘willing to say or do anything to scare his crowd into supporting him.’”

More than 75 percent of Jews voted for Democrats in the midterms, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

“A poll conducted by GBA Strategies, a Democrat-aligned pollster, and commissioned by the liberal Israel lobby J Street, found that 76 percent of Jewish voters voted for Democrats, while 19 percent voted for Republicans….Liberal Jewish groups are also celebrating. JStreetPAC, the political action committee affiliated with the liberal Mideast policy group, spent $5 million in midterm contributions and saw 128 of its 167 endorsees — all Democrats — win their races, including 22 new House members and 14 of 17 senators they endorsed….“We like to think of it as pulling the emergency brake on the out-of-control administration and president we’ve been under for the past two years,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s president, said on the conference call. He noted that more than half of the House’s incoming class is endorsed by J Street.”

Survey: Jewish voters partly blame Trump for synagogue shootings, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Seventy-two percent of Jewish voters say President Donald Trump is at least partly to blame for inspiring the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill last month, according to a new poll. ‘That number was stunning to me,’ said Jim Gerstein of GBA Strategies, the Democratic polling firm that conducted the survey. ‘For people to say that the president of the United States’ comments and policies were responsible for the shooting, that’s a stunning place for people to be.’ Thirty-nine percent of respondents said the president’s comments and policies made him very responsible. Another 33 percent said he was somewhat responsible. Sixteen-percent of respondents said Mr. Trump was not at all responsible and another 12 percent said he was ‘not really’ responsible….The pro-Israel advocacy group J Street commissioned the poll of 1,139 Jewish voters across the country on Election Day. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. Eighty-one percent of respondents said they have been more concerned about anti-Semitism since Mr. Trump took office while 14 percent said they are less concerned. Seventy-eight percent said they believe anti-Semitism is increasing while 6 percent believe it is decreasing. Jewish seniors – 91 percent — were most likely to say it is increasing….J Street spokesman Logan Bayoff said those leaders – including Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and Naftali Bennett, who leads The Jewish Home Party — don’t speak for American Jewish voters, whose views were reflected in the poll. Many Jewish Americans believe the president has created an atmosphere that legitimizes fear, hatred, and bigotry, and they are concerned, Mr. Bayoff said. ‘Given that the Pittsburgh shooter was motivated in part by his obsessive fear about immigrants coming over to threaten white supremacy, and the fact that he targeted a Jewish group that helps refugees, there’s a connection there,’ he said.”

High Jewish Voter Turnout—and They Don’t Like Trump, Rewire.News

“Jewish votes matter. No, not due to anything nebulous like ‘the Israel lobby’ or ‘money.’ It’s voter turnout. In general around 52 to 54 percent of the American electorate bothers to vote. For American Jews, it’s 85 percent. In this fraught moment of broad political tensions and razor-thin margins, those votes become even more important. This morning, J-Street, the progressive organization advocating for a two-state solution to Israel-Palestine, released ‘The 2018 Jewish Vote,’ its post-election survey of the midterms conducted with GBA Strategies’ strategist Jim Gerstein. It’s an interesting snapshot even if it holds few surprises. American Jews voted Democrat by a 76 to 19 percent margin—for one reason because most American Jews are already left-leaning; the second being their distaste for President Trump. Seventy-five percent of American Jews disapprove of how Trump is doing his job, compared to 54 percent of Americans at large.”

Top News and Analysis

Trump Bet Conservatives Wouldn’t Denounce His Racist Ad. He Won., Atlantic

Peter Beinart writes, “In the Trump era, when every day brings fresh insanity, looking back is hard. But it’s worth remembering what Donald Trump did in the final days before Tuesday’s midterm elections. It’s worth remembering because it’s a template for what he may do in 2020. And for how mainstream conservatives will respond. According to CNN, Republican officials wanted to close the campaign with an upbeat “Morning in America”–style commercial touting the country’s strong economy. Trump disagreed. He demanded that Republicans end by demonizing immigrants. On October 31—six days before the midterms and four days after a man enraged by Jewish support for the immigrant caravan murdered 11 people in Pittsburgh—Trump tweeted out an ad about the caravan. When Paul Ryan called him the Sunday before Election Day to implore him to talk about the economy, Trump instead boasted that his focus on immigration was rousing the GOP base. He was probably right. Trump does appear to have incited Republican fury over immigration, which likely helped the GOP match the Democrats’ high turnout. His strategy worked, in part, because he understood something about the respectable people in his party: They wouldn’t challenge his bigotry, no matter how blatant it was.”

Donald Trump, Pittsburgh and the lessons of Kristallnacht, Washington Post

Joshua Shanes writes, “Today we commemorate Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” a pogrom against Jews throughout Germany and Austria in 1938 that signified a sharpening of Nazi persecution. Mobs destroyed or vandalized hundreds of synagogues, as well as thousands of Jewish homes, schools, businesses and cemeteries. Nearly 100 Jews were murdered, and more than 30,000 Jewish men were put in concentration camps. The move toward the “Final Solution” — the effort to murder every last Jew — would follow just a few years later.

Kristallnacht was not an aberration. It was the culmination of decades of anti-Semitic politics and agitation, mostly expressed and exploited by men who never intended to act on it. And therein lies the lesson for today. As anti-Semitic attacks surge in the United States, the media has puzzled over President Trump’s responsibility. Many have concluded that as grandfather to Jewish grandchildren, he could not possibly be anti-Semitic. But what Trump feels in his heart is far less important than what he says and does. And this, too, has historical precedent.”


Accompanied by Israel’s President, Gaza Border Youth Protest March Reaches Jerusalem, Haaretz

President Reuven Rivlin joined thousands of students from Gaza border communities and other communities across the country at a rally in Jerusalem on Thursday, the culmination of a five day march to protest the tension and hostilities along the border.

In Jerusalem, new envoys from Cairo and Amman recommit to peace with Israel, Times of Israel

The incoming ambassadors of Jordan and Egypt on Thursday recommitted to their respective countries’ peace agreements with Israel, while stressing the need to achieve progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In West Bank, Family of First Palestinian-American Woman in Congress Cheer Her On, Haaretz

The entire world was awaiting the results of the U.S. midterm elections, but interest was especially high in one Palestinian village in the West Bank. The small agricultural community of Beit Ur al-Fauqa, west of Ramallah, was eager to find out whether Rashida Tlaib had won her bid to represent Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gabbay Calls for Netanyahu to Resign Over Submarines Affair, Jerusalem Post

Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign after police Thursday recommended indicting David Shimron and former commander of the Israel Navy Eliezer Marom, as well as four others, over Case 3000, also known as the Submarines Affair, Israel media reported.

Israel’s economy minister invited to high-tech conference in Bahrain, i24NEWS

Israel’s Economy Minister Eli Cohen received an invitation from Bahrain to participate in an international high-tech conference, Ynet reported on Wednesday, as the Jewish state pushes for unprecedented public rapprochement with the Arab region.

Midterms Bad For Bipartisanship, Good For Peace Process, Ex-Ambassador Says, Jerusalem Post

The results of the midterm elections will make it more difficult for Israel to maintain bipartisan support among American politicians and the public, Deputy Minister and former ambassador to the US Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. But they have likely strengthened US President Donald Trump’s resolve to reach a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the “deal of the century” he has drafted, Oren said.

Opinion and Analysis

Russia’s envoy says plane downing still rankles, blames US for fatal Gaza riots, Times of Israel

Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov speaks to the Times of Israel.

Rising Terrorism in West Bank Overshadows Optimism Around Gaza-Israel Deal, Haaretz

Amos Harel writes, “In the territories, the Palestinians seem to be having difficulty reconciling themselves to Netanyahu’s absolute conviction that the conflict regarding the occupation is over and done. Appearing before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee earlier this week, the head of the Shin Bet security service, Nadav Argaman, warned about the possibility of a steep increase in terrorism in the West Bank. Within the past several days, two Israeli were lightly injured by gunfire in the West Bank, on a bus north of Ramallah, and two stabbing attempts were foiled. Separate visits to two regional brigade commanders in the West Bank within a week paint a similar picture. The number of rock-throwing incidents has been on the rise, as have the number of attempted terrorist attacks and the number of intelligence warnings of attacks in the planning stages.”