News Roundup for October 25, 2018

October 25, 2018

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J Street in the News

Reframing Of Israel Support As Midterms Loom, Times of Israel

“[President Barack Obama’s] election coincided with the formation of J Street, which bills itself as “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans” who favor policies leading to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was formed in response to what some perceived as a rightward shift by AIPAC, the bipartisan lobby group created to strengthen and promote the U.S.-Israeli partnership….Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, said she was ‘not surprised by the results.’…’There is a clear reason that American Jews have been moving towards groups like T’ruah, J Street and the New Israel Fund, which are all organizations that are invested in Israel and therefore invested in changing the policies that are threatening it. … It is clear that most American Jews are invested in a two-state solution and understand that [President Donald] Trump’s policies — as well as his basic lack of knowledge about the politics of the area — are endangering that possibility.’”

Top News and Analysis

Pompeo’s Dangerous Delusions, Foreign Affairs

Colin H. Kahl writes, “In the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlines President Donald Trump’s strategy for ‘confronting Iran.’Pompeo describes an Iranian regime hell-bent on dominating the Middle East, and he argues that Trump is determined to overturn the supposed inclination of past U.S. administrations—especially the Obama administration—to accommodate the mullahs in Tehran. In particular, Pompeo reiterates the Trump administration’s critique that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated between the Obama administration, other members of the so-called P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom), and Iran failed to permanently prevent the Islamic Republic from pursuing nuclear weapons. Pompeo also asserts that the loosening of U.S. sanctions under the deal enriched and enabled the Iranian regime—and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in particular—to more aggressively pursue its destabilizing agenda in Afghanistan, Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. In contrast, Pompeo contends that Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure”—including the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement in May, the re-imposition of economic sanctions, credible military threats, and efforts to expose the regime’s corruption and human rights abuses—will reverse all this, producing a better nuclear deal, isolating Iran, and rolling back Iran’s nefarious activities across the Middle East. This is a dangerous delusion.”

Netanyahu losing his diplomatic ‘magic touch’, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit writes, “After a long period of time in which it seemed that all of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dreams were coming true, the winds have shifted in recent weeks. Netanyahu’s magic touch has eroded, and clouds are starting to darken the prime minister’s horizons on almost all sides. These include his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, freedom of action on the Syrian front, the stinging crisis with Jordan and the Khashoggi affair. To all of this, we add the first sounds of discord from the Washington-Jerusalem axis and an additional heating up of Israel’s southern front; the latter has elicited sharp criticism from Netanyahu’s right-wing base, criticizing his seemingly restrained approach to Gaza.”


US envoy says he’s an ‘unapologetic right-wing defender of Israel’, Times of Israel

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman called himself an “unapologetic right-wing defender of Israel” Wednesday during a speech to North American Jewish leaders.

Iron Dome fails to down rocket fired at Israel from Gaza, Associated Press

Israel’s military says a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel, the first since a missile hit a house in the city of Beersheba a week ago.

Ex-minister Rejects Netanyahu’s Conspiracy Allegations: Provide a ‘Shred of Evidence’, Haaretz

Former Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegations that he conspired to oust him from office.

Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after rocket fire, Associated Press

The Israeli military says it has struck several Hamas militant sites in Gaza following a rocket attack on southern Israel.

Liberman: We Must Turn Over Every Stone Before Confronting Hamas, Jerusalem Post

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that there is no escaping confrontation with Hamas, in an interview on Army Radio Thursday morning. However, the defense establishment  “must turn over every stone before any confrontation, so they will not say that I’m dragging Israel into battle because of my own agenda,” he added.

Liberman rejects Russian ‘restrictions’ on Israeli strikes in Syria, Times of Israel

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday rejected reported demands by Moscow that Israel give the Russian military additional warning before carrying out airstrikes in Syria.

Netanyahu says West Bank benefits from Israeli military presence, i24NEWS

The Palestinian Authority benefits from Israel’s presence in the West Bank, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview at the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly Wednesday. “Guess who benefits from that? It’s not only us, it’s the PA. They’d be overrun in two minutes,” Netanyahu said pointing to a purported plot by Hamas to assassinate PA President Mahmoud Abbas

Opinion and Analysis

What The Khashoggi Case Means For Israel, National Public Radio

Daniel Estrin reports on the implications of the Jamal Khashoggi killing for Israel.

We Must Stop Helping Saudi Arabia in Yemen, The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders writes, “The likely assassination of the Saudi critic and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi underscores how urgent it has become for the United States to redefine our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and to show that the Saudis do not have a blank check to continue violating human rights. One place we can start is by ending United States support for the war in Yemen….The administration defends our engagement in Yemen by overstating Iranian support for the Houthi rebels. But the fact is that the relationship between Iran and the Houthis has only strengthened with the intensification of the war. The war is creating the very problem the administration claims to want to solve.”