WASHINGTON (JTA) — What a year 2019 has been for, well, everyone, but especially for watchers of Jewish politics — and Jews in politics.
Two elections in Israel (with a third to come), three Jewish candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination (Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson and Michael Bloomberg) and two of Jewish heritage (Tom Steyer and Michael Bennet). Not to mention the too many to mention other Jewish connections among the candidates: Joe Biden’s three adult children have all married Jews; Kamala Harris’s husband is Jewish; Beto O’Rourke’s father-in-law is Jewish; Cory Booker is conversant with Torah; it goes on. Here’s our roundup of the candidates’ Jewish connections and positions.
So it’s been a crazy year, and now we’re all ready to relax… as if!
Here are three events worth watching in 2020:
March 2: Israel goes to the ballot for the third time in a year. Voting coincides with the second day of the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Netanyahu, if he is still acting prime minister, will likely not speak at AIPAC because of the election.
If Netanyahu is on his way out, does AIPAC advance two states more robustly? AIPAC says it is still committed to the outcome but notably did not work to get Republicans to back the House’s two-state resolution. (Five Republicans did vote yea.) Earlier in the year AIPAC, backed a separate resolution targeting the boycott Israel movement, which included an endorsement of the two-state outcome.
March 3: Super Tuesday, when 14 states, American Samoa and Democrats Abroad will have nominating contests. By Wednesday, we’ll be down to the final two or three candidates. How will differences on Israel that emerged among the candidates at the J Street conference in October have played out? (At the conference, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg said they would consider leveraging aid to pressure Israel, while Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Julian Castro rejected the tactic.)
Also, there’s a higher than zero chance that the front-runner is Jewish: Sanders is performing strongly, and Bloomberg’s ad blitz appears to be making an impact. What does that mean for the general election?
Nov. 3: Election day. So much to consider. Trump’s reelection would accelerate the American retreat from the world stage. His vindication after impeachment would place a target on the backs of the lawmakers and others who led the drive for impeachment — many of them are Jewish.
Trump’s defeat could, depending on which Democrat is the nominee, precipitate the prosecution of Trump and his acolytes, including Jewish members of his family. It would reshape the relationship with Israel — expect a return to an expectation that Israel stops Jewish settlement building and take up talks with the Palestinians.
In Other News
Beto’s new beat: O’Rourke has dropped out of the presidential race. What’s he doing to keep busy these days?
Stumping for J Street, for one thing. “Not so long ago, there were issues regarded as off limits by American presidential campaigns,” he says in a fund-raising pitch for the lobby, and he credits J Street for opening up the debate. “Now, with Netanyahu threatening annexation and gearing up for another racist campaign — and Trump as desperate, dangerous and unstable as he has ever been — J Street’s work is more urgent than ever.” O’Rourke’s strident tone is a signal of where one part of the party is headed when it comes to Israel.
The Illinois GOP does see this Nazi coming: Arthur Jones, the neo-Nazi who in 2018 secured the Republican nomination in a suburban Chicago district because the state GOP failed to run anyone in the Democratic-leaning district, wants another go. This time the state party is prepared to stop him.
Worth A Look In the New York Times review of those who left us behind, David Marchese contemplates the legacy of David Berman, the songwriter poet and environmental activist who founded The Silver Jews, the indie rock-country fusion band.
Tweet So Sweet
but uh, turns out the other team had a player named Jrue Holiday and he was having a good night
Kate Havard Rozansky, the director of the Maimonides Studies Program and the Tikvah Institute for High School Students, describes her horror when she heard what she believed was an anti-Semitic, anti-Hanukkah curse at a basketball game. It turns out that it was cursing out the New Orleans Pelicans’ player Jrue Holiday … well, read on.
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