Daily Kickoff: Schumer looking into federal law modeled after Cuomo’s anti-BDS efforts | Muhammad Ali’s complicated relationship with Jewish community
KAFE KNESSET — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took off for Moscow this morning on a three day visit that will mark 25 years since the establishment of Israel’s diplomatic ties with Russia. Netanyahu will meet President Putin during this visit, in what will be their fourth meeting since last October – double the amount of meetings the Prime Minister has had with President Obama during the same period. A sign of the times, perhaps.
While the Prime Minister is in Moscow, the American ambassador here, Dan Shapiro, is expected to attend the weekly meeting of the right-wing “Jewish Home” faction at the Knesset. For Shapiro, this will be an opportunity to expresss the views and policies of the administration, and also to demonstrate his commitment to interact with political players from all sides in Israel (in the past he attended a similar meeting with the ultra-orthodox Shas party, and even participated in a meeting of the multi-party “Greater Israel lobby” in the Knesset).
For the the Jewish Home Party’s leader, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the visit will be an opportunity to distinguish himself from the Prime Minister, after attacking him in a speech yesterday for saying different things about the two-state solution in Hebrew and in English. Bennett’s line is that Israel should frankly tell its friends where it stands on the issue of Palestinian statehood, and he will likely say it – albeit with a smile – to the ambassador today. [Pic]
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Cuomo Signs Executive Order to Fight BDS” by Jacob Kornbluh: “In New York, we lead by example. We are also a place of action. We want to take immediate action because we want Israel to know that we are on their side,” Cuomo said during a speech attended by Jewish leaders at The Harvard Club. “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you.” Following his speech, Cuomo marched in the Celebrate Israel parade on Fifth Avenue, alongside a truck blaring Israeli music. “I am the first governor in the country to sign an executive order saying we oppose the boycott of Israel. I am proud of it and I hope other states follow our lead,” Cuomo told reporters before marching.” [JewishInsider; NYT; BuzzFeed]
Asked by JI’s Kornbluh if he has responded to President Obama’s April letter requesting that New York State lift sanctions against Iran, Cuomo said: “I would have to check. I don’t know if we have.”
Spotted at Cuomo’s announcement: Outgoing Israeli Consul General Ido Aharoni (Cuomo: “What are we going to do without you when you leave? Can we appeal to someone and make you stay? How do we do that?), Malcolm Hoenlein who introduced the governor (Cuomo: “First, to Malcolm Hoenlein, who for so many years has been such an outstanding leader. Literally, generations have learned from Malcolm and he’s done a beautiful job), AIPAC Chairman Bob Cohen, Stephen Greenberg, Michael Salberg, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Councilmembers David Greenfield and Rory Lancman; Assemblymembers Phil Goldfeder and Todd Kaminsky, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Rabbi Joe Potasnik, Deputy Consul General Amir Sagie, Eric Goldstein, Allen Fagin, Stuart Appelbaum, Jason Koppel, Talia Alter, Nili Shalev, Jeff Leb, Jake Adler, Ezra Friedlander, Kalman Yeger, David Lobl, Shimon Mercer Wood, and Yeruchem Silber.
Sen. Chuck Schumer: “I think what the governor has done is an excellent idea. I think that the state (of New York) should not do any business with any company that participates in BDS, and I am looking at introducing a federal law to do the same thing. BDS is a movement that is just totally unfair to Israel. They hold Israel to one standard and hold the other countries, including those who are sworn enemies to Israel, to another standard.”
DEEP DIVE: “How California’s anti-BDS bill became ‘no longer a pro-Israel bill’” by Jared Sichel: “Pro-Israel groups say they won’t support AB 2844 in its new form… The bill was initially named the “California Combating the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel Act of 2016”… But on May 27, by the time the bill came to a vote in the Appropriations Committee, it had been renamed, “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Recognized Sovereign Nations or Peoples,” and all mention of Israel had been deleted. The defeat of AB 2844, or its passage in its current version, would be a significant setback for supporters of Israel hoping for a major anti-BDS victory in California.” [JewishJournal]
TOP TALKER: “Congressional Candidate Deluged With Anti-Semitic Harassment” by Rosie Gray: “Erin Schrode is a 25-year-old Democrat running an underdog campaign to unseat Rep. Jared Huffman in California’s second congressional district. Schrode said commenters on the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi blog, posted her cell phone number and personal email, and said she had received a “deluge” of anti-Semitic abuse this week — and that she ultimately had to alert law enforcement to the matter. The harassment began after several outlets profiled Schrode, who would be the youngest member of Congress if elected.” [BuzzFeed]
Schrode wrote on Facebook Saturday night: “Indiscriminate hatred. Pure evil. I woke up yesterday and today to hundreds of such vile messages. I was told to keep my mouth shut, that this wasn’t the time or place to speak out against anti-Semitism, that such messaging wouldn’t serve me well as a candidate three days away from the California congressional primary. But here’s the thing: this is not about me. Sure, the hatred has now turned personal, targeting me because of the simple fact that my mother is Jewish, that I am Jewish. And yes, my personal email, cell phone, and social media handles were published in Neo-Nazi chatrooms alongside photos of me wearing the yellow JUDE star, a badge forced upon Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, among other nauseating permutations of images.”
“This unspeakable vitriol goes far beyond anti-Semitism. It is not merely an attack on me or on one people, but rather an attack on any individual or group who is targeted because of faith, race, nationality, gender, ability, orientation or other arbitrary classification… I cannot and will not remain silent. I have never been much good at standing idly by in the face of injustice. I am not writing these words to spark an outpouring of sympathy, but rather to call attention to the fact that pointed, blatant hatred is rampant and on the uptick at this moment in history, particularly in the context of a fear-based election cycle… Just because I cannot do everything does not mean I will not do something. So this is my something right here, right now: calling out hatred by name.” [Facebook]
Top Democratic Party Strategist Ann Lewis emails us: “I was outraged to learn of the vile anti-semitic attacks against Erin Schrode. This kind of hate-filled rhetoric should be unacceptable at any time; to see it in 21st century America is appalling. Congratulations to Erin for speaking out.”
TEXTBOOK of how not to answer a question about a fellow millennial challenger running in the same party and in an entirely separate district and state, let alone on the opposite coast of the country: JTA to 25 year-old Alex Law, Jewish candidate for Congress in New Jersey: “Erin Schrode, a fellow 25-year-old running for a representative seat in California, has said that Congress doesn’t have enough young voices. Is that another reason you’re running at 25?”
Alex Law: “It’s always a good thing to have diversity there, but as for Erin and I, our campaigns are very different. We’ve been running for 18 months, Erin’s been running for two or three months. And we’re running against someone who voted with Republicans more than any other Democrat in the state of New Jersey, who is tied to a tremendous amount of corruption and graft and cronyism. I don’t think the same could be said about Erin’s opponent. For us, the real reason we’re running, it isn’t about diversity, it isn’t about vanity, it isn’t about me. It’s about how do we make sure South Jersey stops getting taken advantage of by our government leaders.” [JTA]
Related: “Debate canceled, candidate blamed” by Jim Walsh: “In a statement late Wednesday night, the Gloucester County NAACP alleged an attempt by Democratic challenger Alex Law “to hijack the debate by engaging in campaign charades.” NAACP’s Loretta Winters told NJ Pen that she felt hassled by Law’s repeated calls for booking a larger venue, streaming the event live and offering tickets to the public, saying the she felt personally “disrespected.” An organizer with the Jewish Community Relations Council of South Jersey told PolitickerNJ that the debate is unlikely to be rescheduled before the primary next week.” [CourierPost; PolitickerNJ]
SPOTTED at AIPAC in Boston last night: Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Carolina House Representative Bakari Sellers. [Pic]
TOP TWEET — Jeffrey Goldberg: “Far-right on Twitter is telling me to move to Israel. Far-left is telling me to get out of Israel. They should coordinate better.” [Twitter]
Julia Ioffe: “I’m really uncomfortable with people putting their own names in anti-Semitic parentheses. I get why you’re doing it, but my skin crawls.” [Twitter]
HEARD YESTERDAY — Yossi Klein Halevi speaking at the AJC Global Forum: “I need your help in holding the Israeli center against the easy solutions of left and right, the purity of the extremes. I need partners in anguish, who share the two nightmares of centrist Israelis. The first nightmare is that there won’t be a Palestinian state, and the status quo will continue indefinitely; the second nightmare is that there will be a Palestinian state, and we may not be able to adequately defend ourselves from the borders of June 4, 1967. I believe that, despite the growing strength of the anti-democratic right in Israel and the rising disaffected leftwing voices among American Jews, a majority of both communities still hold centrist instincts. But the ethos of the center needs to be clearly defined – transformed from a mood into a worldview.” [YouTube; Transcript]
“J Street calls for ‘balanced’ Democratic platform on Israel, Palestinians” by Nahal Toosi:“A left-leaning Jewish American advocacy group is urging the Democratic Party to establish a “balanced position” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as its crafts its platform this year, including acknowledging Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem. “The overall tone of the document should establish the party’s deep commitment to meeting the essential needs of both Israelis and Palestinians,” says a J Street memo being circulated among members of the platform drafting committee.” [Politico]
“James Zogby: Changes to Dem Platform Not Just About Two-States” by Jacob Kornbluh:“This is the first presidential candidate since [Jesse] Jackson in 1988 that has made a point of advocating justice for Palestine and not just a two-state solution that everyone talks about. He talked about compassion,” Zogby said during a campaign rally organized by Arab Americans for Bernie Sanders in New Jersey on Thursday. [JI]
“My Role With the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee” by James Zogby: “I wasn’t going to write about this subject, but something happened yesterday over lunch that prompted me to reconsider. I was having a peaceful meal with my wife when two men sat down in the next booth. In loud voices they began to discuss the state of the presidential contest. At one point, the gentleman directly behind me said, “and Sanders picked that Cornel West and that guy who’s the head of the Arab League who has it in for Israel…” That did it. I spun around and said, in a polite but firm voice, “I’m that guy. I’m not the head of the Arab League and I’m asking you to change the subject now.” Shocked, the man responded “you’re him!” and began asking me questions.” [HuffPost]
Chuck Schumer to reporters in New York: “I believe that the Democratic Party’s platform will be as strong for Israel this year as it has been in the past years. The vast majority of the Democrats believe in a strong Israel, believe in an independent Israel, and know that she is beleaguered by terrorists left, right and center. Sanders put one of two people on his part of the platform committee who don’t have the views of the vast majority of Democrats, but they don’t have a majority of votes on the platform committee and I don’t think they will get their will.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler tells Jewish Insider: “The most incendiary and disgusting thing that Sanders said at the debate in Brooklyn, when he said that Israel had a ‘disproportionate response’ when they were being bombarded by Hamas. I was there (in Israel) then. I saw those missiles. The fact that there were more Palestinians killed than Israelis does not say anything about a disproportionate response. It’s not the issue. This ‘disproportionate response’ doctrine is an attempt to handcuff Israel from responding to aggression, from fighting in defensive wars. And that’s wrong. Bernie is very guilty of that.” [JewishInsider]
“Hillary Clinton’s New Attack on Donald Trump Cheers Her Allies and Worries His” by Amy Chozick and Jonathan Martin: “Her campaign’s decision was to seek to disqualify Mr. Trump on terrain that is Mrs. Clinton’s comfort zone: foreign policy. But billing her San Diego speech on Thursday as a foreign policy address was also something of a ruse: It turned out to be an acidly funny takedown of Mr. Trump and his temperament, giving him the same sort of belittling treatment he had used on his opponents to great effect.” [NYT]
Chemi Shalev: “Hillary Clinton and the (Electoral) Curse of Shimon Peres: She is more polished, more professional and more levelheaded than Sanders or Trump, but somehow the Democratic frontrunner fails to click.” [Haaretz]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Fire, floods, theft: Plagues of 740 Park, the world’s richest building” [NYPost] • “WeWork, the coworking startup valued at $16 billion, is cutting employees and freezing hiring” [BusinessInsider] • “Israeli Check Point Trouncing Palo Alto Networks as Investors Dump Growth Stocks” [Bloomberg] • “Roman Abramovich Israel visit fuels Golan acquisition talk” [Globes]
TALK OF OUR NATION — Muhammad Ali’s complicated relationship with the Jews: “Adopting Arab causes after his retirement from the ring, ‘The Greatest’ frequently clashed with the Jewish people, accusing ‘Zionists’ of world domination, even as some notable members of the U.S. Jewish community were his fervent admirers.” [Haaretz]
Noah Feldman: “Muhammad Ali Transformed the Image of Islam” [BloombergView]
“Hamas founder’s grandson: I believe in the American Dream” by Laurie Segall: “A year ago, John Calvin faced deportation to the West Bank and what he said was “imminent death.” Fast forward eight months, and he’s living freely in New York City. It’s the first time he says he’s living without fear. Calvin, who changed his name to protect his identity, is the grandson of one the founding members of terrorist group Hamas. His uncles are linked to several suicide bombings, according to Israeli authorities.” [CNN]
SCENE LAST NIGHT: Approximately 200 guests gathered at the Hudson Institute’s new HQ on Pennsylvania Avenue for Kesher Israel’s annual dinner honoring Hudson CEO Ken Weinstein & Amy Kauffman and Rami & Rebekah Genauer. In introducing Ken, Judah Rose remarked “Despite all of his accomplishments, Ken’s very modest… I don’t understand it, but I’m reporting it nonetheless.” Ken proceeded to joke, “We’re looking forward to meeting this couple you’re honoring this evening. Whoever you’re describing… It’s obviously not us.” On the Hudson Institute: “It’s hard to believe, but I actually do not have a seat on the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.”… Ken to outgoing Kesher President Elanit Jakabovics: “You will soon learn the happiest words in the English language: ‘I am the immediate past president of a major Jewish organization.'”
Spotted: Leon Wieseltier, Ambassador Norm Eisen — who tweeted a mincha selfie — & Lindsay Kaplan, Tevi Troy, Steve Rabinowitz, Mark Isakowitz, Mark Mellman, The Kosher Baker Paula Shoyer & Andy Shoyer, USHMM General Counsel Gerard Level, Kesher Rabbi Dr. Avidan Milevsky & Ilana Milevsky, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Andrew Jakabovics, SAFE’s CEO Robbie Diamond & Shari Diamond, John Donvan, and Professor Jeremy Rabkin.
NYC SCENE — Outgoing Consul General Ido Aharoni hosted the Consulate’s annual Independence Day reception at Chelsea Piers. The event also served as a goodbye party before Aharoni’s return to Israel in July. During his remarks, Aharoni held up the pen used by New York Gov. Cuomo that morning to sign the executive order against BDS. “Gov. Cuomo, basically, sent a message to every person, every institution and every movement that’s calling to boycott, divest or sanction Israel, a very simple message – that says the following: If you mess with Israel, you’re messing with New York.”
The pen was later used by Israel Bonds’ Israel “Izzy” Tapoohi to sign his name under a symbolic check of $1.2 billion, the amount of Israeli bonds sold in the U.S. in the past year. Kathie Lee Gifford, who was also the Grand Marshall at the Celebrate Israel Parade, was honored with the “Builder of Israel” award. Spotted: Amir and Michal Sagie; State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Richard Hirsch, Ze’ev Rubinstein, Michael Miller, Michael Salberg, Alisa Doctoroff, Eric Goldstein, Uri Steinberg, MK Oren Hazan, Rabbi Joe Potasnik, Rabbi Marc Schneier and Simi Teitelbaum, Chemi and Nili Shalev, Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, Jeff Wiesenfeld, Leora Kaufman, Eitan Behar, Eve Stieglitz, Melissa Jane, Pinny Ringel, Joel Eisdorfer, Jacob Eisdorfer, and Danielle Ziri.
BIRTHDAYS: Former Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, now Vice Chairman and managing director at Moelis & Co., turns 53… Philanthropist Eli Broad, the only person to build two Fortune 500 companies in different industries, turns 83… Glover Park Group’s Jonathan Kopp… Michael Goldfarb of Orion Strategies (h/t Playbook)… Steve Patner… Comedienne, political critic, musician and author, Sandra Bernhard turns 61… Senior Director at Black Rock Group, formerly press secretary for Carly Fiorina campaign, Anna Epstein… Tony Award winning actor and writer, Harvey Fierstein turns 62… Israeli conductor and musician, Nir Brand turns 55…