News Roundup for October 8, 2018

October 8, 2018

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J Street in the News

A New Wave of Democrats Tests the Party’s Blanket Support for Israel, The New York Times

“In California, Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican under indictment on charges of campaign finance violations, is trying to tar his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, with a grandfather who masterminded the 1972 terrorist attack on Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich. Israeli commandos killed Mr. Campa-Najjar’s grandfather long before Mr. Campa-Najjar was born. The liberal Jewish group J Street condemned that effort on Wednesday as ‘one of most ugly, racist campaign ads we’ve ever seen.’”

Beto O’Rourke Runs the Israel Gauntlet, Moment Magazine

“Jews make up less than one percent of the Texas population. And yet the ‘Israel question’ has reared its head in this year’s most-watched Senate race between up-and-coming Democratic hopeful Beto O’Rourke and former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, both considered by many to be the faces of their parties’ futures….In O’Rourke’s current bid to unseat Cruz, J Street PAC has endorsed him and is raising money for him, citing his support for the Iran deal and describing him as a ‘reliable source of support for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.’ The Republican Jewish Coalition’s PAC, on the other hand, endorsed Cruz, a ‘a consistent voice of moral clarity and support for Israel.’ The group praised Cruz’s tough stance on Iran and claimed in a fundraising email to supporters that J Street has raised $140,000 for O’Rourke, ‘specifically because they fear Cruz’s bold pro-Israel voice in the Senate.’ Since then, J Street donations to O’Rourke have reached more than $160,000….O’Rourke has succeeded in offering a new model for politicians: engaging on the tricky issue of Israel, breaking with establishment conventions, and still raising just as much pro-Israel campaign dollars as his rival, if not more.”

Glenn Grothman and Dan Kohl battle over who’s the real politician in Wisconsin congressional race, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“With a month until election day, Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman and Democrat Dan Kohl are swapping jabs about who is a career politician….Grothman, who spent 21 years in the Legislature before he was elected to Congress, believes Kohl is more a pol than he is. Kohl of Mequon formerly worked for J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group in Washington, D.C.”

J Street Horrified by Killing of Two Israelis in West Bank Terror Attack, J Street

“J Street is horrified by today’s terror attack near the West Bank settlement of Barkan, in which a Palestinian attacker shot and killed two Israeli civilians and wounded another. There is no excuse or justification for this kind of violence. In the wake of this attack, our thoughts and condolences are with the victims and their loved ones.”

Top News and Analysis

Following Attack, Israeli Defense Officials Fear Collective Punishment Could Ignite West Bank, Haaretz

Yaniv Kubovich reports, “The attack that killed two Israelis in a West Bank industrial park Sunday poses a challenge for political and military leaders: How to respond without increasing the risk of a renewed escalation in the West Bank….[Now] Israeli intelligence agencies fear the mood in the West Bank could provide fertile ground for lone-wolf terror attacks like the wave that happened three years ago. Starting in October 2015, lone-wolf assailants unaffiliated with any terror group carried out numerous stabbing, car-ramming and shooting attacks that killed dozens of Israelis. They were inspired mainly by social media, where the perpetrators of the attacks were glorified.”

Lifestyle of Israeli prime minister’s wife under scrutiny as she goes on trial, Washington Post

Ruth Eglash reports, “A relaxed and smiling Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared before a Jerusalem judge Sunday for the first hearing in a long-anticipated trial that is likely to shed light on what critics often describe as the couple’s opulent lifestyle….The prime minister is not directly named in the case, but a public trial of his wife could have far-reaching implications for his political standing and could harm his image at a time when he is said to be considering an early election. There will also be echoes from his first term as prime minister, 1996 to 1999, when his wife was under constant scrutiny for her behavior.”


Manhunt continues for Palestinian who killed two Israelis in Barkan shooting, i24NEWS

Israeli security forces were continuing their hunt on Monday for the Palestinian terrorist who shot dead two Israelis in an industrial zone in the northern West Bank a day earlier, detaining members of his family for interrogation.

Greenblatt tells ToI: US won’t propose Israel-Jordan-Palestinian confederation, Times of Israel

The US administration’s forthcoming peace proposal does not call for a tripartite confederation consisting of Israel, Palestine and Jordan, Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations, said.

Netanyahu says will meet Putin soon on Syria security coordination, Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin soon to discuss security coordination over Syria, amid friction with Moscow over Israel’s air operations.

After Hours of Waiting, Israeli Lawmakers Allowed to Visit American Student Detained at Airport, Haaretz

The Population and Immigration Authority prevented opposition lawmakers from visiting an American student who is detained at a facility at Ben-Gurion Airport after she was denied entry to Israel over her alleged activism for the boycott, sanctions and divestment movement….Four hours later, the three lawmakers were allowed in to visit the student, thanks to the intervention of Interior Minister Arye Dery, who conditioned the visit on a long-delayed escort.

Netanyahu reportedly prepping cabinet for possible offensive in Gaza, i24NEWS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday is said to have told his cabinet that a military operation in Gaza would be imminent should violent tensions worsen, according to a local media report.

Palestinians say Israeli troops kill three, including a child, at Gaza protest, Reuters

Israeli forces killed three Palestinians including a child at a border protest in Gaza on Friday, Palestinian officials said.

Opinion and Analysis

Extraordinary Measures, Intercept

Amos Barshad reports, “In 1991, when Gabriella Blum was 16 years old, the Israel Defense Forces suggested she go see the world. She’d skipped first grade and subsequently graduated high school in Tel Aviv early — too early to start the mandatory military service all Israelis begin at 18. So the IDF told her to check out Chiang Mai and Mumbai, and to call them in two years. Instead, she joined the IDF’s Academic Reserves, which allows young Israelis to study toward law degrees and eventually work as IDF lawyers….Nearly two decades ago, [Blum] helped hash out the details of targeted killings. Now, she has reservations.”

Free Lara Alqasem, the U.S. Student Detained at Ben-Gurion Airport, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, “Lara Alqasem, a 22-year-old American student who arrived in Israel last week to start a master’s degree program at Hebrew University, is entering her sixth day of detention Monday at Ben-Gurion Airport. Her ‘crime,’ according to the Strategic Affairs Ministry, is that while studying for her bachelor’s degree in Florida, she was president of the state’s chapter of a group that promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a way to battle the occupation….The amendment to the Law of Entry to Israel, sponsored by MK Roy Folkman (Kulanu), which blocks entry to those who support boycotts of Israel or the settlements, was born in sin and should be repealed. There is no consolation in the criterion that limits refusal of entry to ‘central activists.’ Alqasem, who in any case was not a “central activist,” should be released immediately and Erdan’s secret thought police eliminated. This must be done before boycott activists have another excellent reason to call Israel a benighted country.”