News Roundup for October 10, 2018

October 10, 2018

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street in the News

U.S. Midterms 2018: 41 Jewish Democrats Running Are Divided on Israel, While the 14 Republicans Can’t Agree on Trump, Haaretz

“[California Senator Dianne Feinstein] has been endorsed by the political action committee affiliated with J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, as well as JACPAC, the Chicago-based Jewish PAC that backs liberal domestic policies….This year, [Maryland Senator Ben Cardin] spoke at J Street’s national conference, a signal that he was edging toward the more Israel-critical posture that the group favors….[Nevada Senate Candidate Jacky Rosen] is an “On The Street” candidate for J Street’s PAC, which means she does not accept the PAC’s money but does allow it to direct individual donors her way….[Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders] has the endorsement of J Street’s PAC and was the star of J Street’s annual conference this year. While critical of Israel, Sanders opposes BDS and emphasizes his demand that Arab states recognize Israel’s existence.”

Top News and Analysis

The audacity of unchecked power in Khan al-Ahmar, +972 Magazine

B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad writes, “The international order is under attack these days on multiple fronts. Khan al-Ahmar is an example of one place we must stand strong and insist on the core principles of international law and basic human decency. Palestinian communities must not be abandoned and left to crumble. An entire Palestinian village is facing destruction. The threat is real and imminent. What follows will dictate the fate of Palestinian communities all over the West Bank. Now is the time for action. If not now, when?”

Iran Widens an Already Huge Rift Between Europe and U.S., The New York Times

Steven Erlanger writes, “Of all the issues dividing Europe and the Trump administration, Iran has become the sharpest, with the Europeans actively working against United States policy, placing them in league with Russia, China and Iran. Since earlier this year, when it pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal that was a centerpiece of former President Barack Obama’s diplomacy, the Trump administration has pressed ahead with punishing sanctions against Tehran. The leading countries of Europe, meanwhile, trying to preserve the nuclear accord, are looking to set up an alternative payment mechanism that would sidestep the American-dominated banking system, and Washington’s new sanctions. As they do so, they are pressing Iran to adhere strictly to the terms of the nuclear agreement, to avoid giving the United States and Israel a pretext for starting a war — an increasing concern.”

The Woman Who Could Be Israel’s Next Leader, Atlantic

Yonit Levi profiles Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.


US student barred from Israel over alleged BDS to fight case in court, Guardian

Lara Alqasem, a US citizen with Palestinian grandparents, arrived at Ben-Gurion airport last week with a valid student visa, but authorities barred her from entering and ordered her deportation. An immigration authority spokeswoman, Sabine Haddad, said late on Tuesday that Alqasem would contest the ban in court.

Merkel talks with Palestinian leader after Israel visit, Associated Press

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by telephone days after saying she would push him to return to negotiations with Israel. Neither leader indicated Tuesday that they discussed a renewal of peace talks, but both voiced support for a two-state solution to the conflict.

Israel set to deport hundreds of Congolese asylum seekers, i24NEWS

The Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority announced on Tuesday that asylum seekers in Israel who are citizens of the Democratic Republic have been given 90 days to leave the country.

Kahlon says he’ll bring down government if Netanyahu indicted, Times of Israel

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Tuesday said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot continue to lead Israel if he is charged in a series of corruption probes, as talk of early elections gathered pace.

With Haley’s Exit From UN, pro-Israel Groups Lose Their Favorite Trump Official, Haaretz

With Haley’s departure, the “pro-Israel” community in the United States – meaning organizations that support the current Israeli government – has lost its favorite Trump administration official.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Tolerance Is Tested and Found Wanting, Bloomberg

Zev Chafets writes, “Israel likes to see itself as a tolerant, brave and smart country. But in the case of the American student Lara Alqasem, these virtues have not been on display. Alqasem is a 22-year-old student from Florida who has been locked up for a week in a detention facility at Ben-Gurion Airport. She is accused of being an activist in BDS, the Palestinian movement dedicated to fomenting international boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions against the Jewish state….This is not a case of mistaken identity. As an undergraduate at the University of Florida, Alqasem headed a chapter of National Students for Justice in Palestine, an affiliate of BDS. She now says the chapter was small — just four or five members — and ineffective. Her most radical activity was boycotting an Israeli brand of hummus (the company survived). Alqasem also claims that she no longer believes in boycotting Israel. As evidence, she offers the fact that she has enrolled in graduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.”

Why is Israel Scared of This Young American, The New York Times

Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss write, “Detaining people like Ms. Alqasem also does little to stem a worrying trend among young American Jews, who are increasingly alienated from Israel because of its hard-line policies. But the principled case against this paranoid policy is even more important. Theodor Herzl’s vision for a Jewish state was not the ‘ethnostate’ of Bannonite fantasy but an open, pluralistic society. Liberal societies thrive not by expelling critics but by tolerating and even assimilating them — and therefore defanging them.”

The Two Way Street: Mar Cheshvan — The Bitter Month, J Street Blog

Rabbi John Friedman writes, “We must work harder for the two-state solution, which is essential for the normalization of life in an Israel with recognized borders and Palestinian neighbors who can govern themselves in peace and dignity. We must stand for stronger US action against relentless Israeli settlement expansion. We must help address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, which continues to deteriorate and threaten Israeli security.”