Tuesday, September 22nd 2020   |

The Tell by Ron Kampeas

Trump’s Jewish campaign


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Last week we scanned Joe Biden’s Jewish campaign for trends and themes. Now it’s Donald Trump’s turn.

Our reviews are impressionistic, not comprehensive — left out of last week’s accounting were prominent Jewish Biden supporters including former ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, former Obama Jewish liaisons Sarah Bard and Matt Nosanchuk, former deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken and Texas fundraiser Marc Stanley.

If a...

These are Biden’s Jews


WASHINGTON (JTA) — We’ve been gone two Thursdays because of the Passover holiday. Lots to catch up on.

Biden’s Jews Heading into Passover, Bernie Sanders set Joe Biden free: The Vermont senator ended his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on April 8, hours before the holiday began, leaving the former vice president the presumptive nominee.

Sanders’ formal endorsement five days later made Biden the lone candidate...

How to survive a pandemic, Jewish community edition


The $2 trillion-plus stimulus bill has passed and the relief for nonprofits sought by Jewish and other groups are in.

The big news is that nonprofits are eligible to tap into the $349 billion in payroll protection loans for small businesses administered by the Small Business Administration, as well as some other opportunities for relief. Applications for the SBA loans open Friday.

“[Apply] soon,” Eric Fingerhut, the...

Moving the lobby into the home office


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Ben Chouake is an emergency physician with a side gig: He leads NORPAC, a leading pro-Israel political action committee.

I check in occasionally with Chouake to see how the New Jersey-based PAC is doing, what’s on its agenda. It’s a right-leaning pro-Israel group, taking its cues from AIPAC and groups to that lobby’s right. NORPAC can directly deliver only a legal maximum of $10,000...

In Israel, the pandemic becomes an instrument of preserving power



WASHINGTON (JTA) — Politics goes on in a time of fear and quarantine, and each shapes the other. In my world, the coronavirus outbreak has led to at least three interesting developments over the past couple of weeks:

1. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is drawing sharp criticism from political foes for what they say is his using the pandemic to preserve his hold on power,...

Bernie’s ideas (including on Israel) aren’t going anywhere


Bernie Sanders lost big for the second set of Democratic primaries in a row, including in Michigan, where his 2016 win made him a viable candidate. In a press conference on Wednesday he all but conceded the presidential nomination contest to Joe Biden.

So is it bye-bye Bernie? Probably, sooner rather than later. But the Vermont senator’s ideas, including his sharp criticisms of decades of U.S. Israel...

How Biden’s Super Tuesday Success Changes the Jewish Campaign


Bernie Sanders was the bogeyman at the AIPAC conference earlier this week for skipping the event, which he called a platform for bigotry. Multiple speakers called out Sanders by name and referred to him as the leader in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“[Y]ou have Bernie Sanders, who calls people who support this movement bigots and is critical!” GOP strategist Alice Stewart said.

And this...

The AIPAC conference: Who’s in and who’s out (besides Bernie)


You probably don’t need this column to point you to the biggest topic of conversation in the American Jewish political world this week — everything that happened after Bernie Sanders, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, declared on Twitter that he wouldn’t attend next week’s AIPAC conference.

Sanders could have cited his busy schedule. Instead he chose to take aim at the pro-Israel lobby itself,...

A strange place for AIPAC: Left of a peace plan


The Kushner plan puts AIPAC in an odd place: For the first time in its history, the largest Israel lobby in the U.S. finds itself to the left of a Middle East peace plan.

AIPAC has sustained its backing for a two-state solution, while the Trump administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have retreated from it.

President Donald Trump’s recently released plan restores...

AIPAC is coming, but no one knows who’s speaking


Just about two weeks before the activists come to town for the largest U.S. Israel lobby’s annual conference, AIPAC has no speakers listed on its convention website.

(The formal start is March 1, but informal events will begin two days prior.)

It’s pretty accurate to call the conference an elite crash course in U.S. Middle East policy, albeit viewed through the tint of AIPAC’s pro-Israel outlook. And...