2020 Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke defended his criticisms of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while campaigning in Iowa on Sunday, arguing that the U.S.-Israel relationship must "transcend partisanship" and "transcend a prime minister who is racist" in order to preserve the alliance.

Why it matters: O'Rourke's comments come just two days before Israel's high-stakes elections on April. Netanyahu has closely aligned himself with President Trump and has made a series of tactical gambits — like vowing to annex parts of the West Bank if re-elected — to help shore up support among right-wing voters.

  • The comments also come amid a verbal campaign by Trump to paint the Democrats as anti-Israel, following a controversy in which Rep. Ilhan Omar was accused of repeatedly using anti-Semitic tropes.

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Virtual school is another setback for struggling retail industry

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A virtual school year will likely push retailers even closer to the brink.

Why it matters: Back-to-school season is the second-biggest revenue generating period for the retail sector, after the holidays. But retailers say typical shopping sprees will be smaller with students learning at home — another setback for their industry, which has seen a slew of store closures and bankruptcy filings since the pandemic hit.

42 mins ago - Health

The pandemic hasn't hampered the health care industry

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The economy has been tanking. Coronavirus infections and deaths have been rising. And the health care industry is as rich as ever.

The big picture: Second-quarter results are still pouring in, but so far, a vast majority of health care companies are reporting profits that many people assumed would not have been possible as the pandemic raged on.

Column / Harder Line

How climate and business woes are sinking a natural-gas project

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Trump administration recently touted its approval of America’s first terminal on the West Coast to export liquefied natural gas. There’s just one problem: it probably won’t be built.

Why it matters: The project in southern Oregon faces political and business hurdles serious enough that those who are following it say it will be shelved. Its problems embody the struggles facing a once-promising sector that's now struggling under the weight of the pandemic and more.