COVERAGE OF THE COVERAGE — Amidst the hundreds of pieces that proliferated this week surrounding the latest Ilhan Omar controversy, one article in particular struck a nerve in the pro-Israel community: The New York Times’ Congressional correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s story titled Ilhan Omar’s Criticism Raises the Question: Is Aipac Too Powerful?
The thrust of Stolberg’s piece was that, although her language was clumsy, Omar’s concern about AIPAC’s ‘power’ is legitimate. To support her thesis, Stolberg found a local ‘activist’ in South Florida, Steven Fiske, who, according to sources familiar with AIPAC, is not well-known within the national organization. While AIPAC likely encouraged some of its high-profile allies to cooperate with Stolberg, Fiske, to be sure, was not speaking on behalf of the group when he suggested that Democratic freshmen Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “are three people who, in my opinion, will not be around in several years.”
Yet, that was enough for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to claim in a fundraising pitch emailed to supporters on Thursday, “It’s official – AIPAC is coming after Alexandria, Ilhan and Rashida.”
“The [NYTimes] article read like an opinion piece that was written before it was reported,” complained one activist. In fact, for many individuals in the pro-Israel community we heard from this week, it was difficult for them to stop at just a single appraisal of Stolberg’s story.
Several questioned why the article retold well-reported tales from AIPAC’s past while all but ignoring the history of dual loyalty accusations and why they are problematic. Others were upset that the article featured an image of the South Florida activist donning phylacteries, something they contend was a ‘cheap ploy’ intended to portray him as something of a religious fanatic. One Twitter user also took the opportunity to complain that the ‘paper of record’ should refer to the group by its uppercase acronym AIPAC, not Aipac.
But more troubling was that the story further exposed Stolberg’s eagerness to play sympathetic defender to the Democratic freshmen whom she’s supposed to be covering objectively. Two weeks ago, Stolberg declared in the lede of an article: “In the 116th Congress, if you’re a Democrat, you’re either a socialist, a baby killer or an anti-Semite. That, at least, is what Republicans want voters to think, as they seek to demonize Democrats well in advance of the 2020 elections by painting them as left-wing crazies who will destroy the American economy, murder newborn babies and turn a blind eye to bigotry against Jews.”
Perhaps an equally appropriate headline for an article could read: Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s recent articles raise the question: Is she too cozy with the new progressive Dems?
How Influential Is AIPAC? Less Than Beer Sellers, Public Accountants, and Toyota ― by Armin Rosen: “Omar’s allegations linger, with The New York Times publishing a story seriously examining Omar’s premise and wondering “Has Aipac—founded more than 50 years ago to ‘strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship’—become too powerful?” In the online edition of the article, the question was positioned directly below an image of a pro-Israel activist in tefillin… In reality, AIPAC is a public affairs committee and not a political action committee; as a result, the group itself donates nothing to candidates or campaigns… For the period between 1998 and 2018, AIPAC didn’t make a dent in the Center for Responsive Politics’ list of the top-spending lobbying groups.” [Tablet]
Jonathan Greenberg, a Senior Fellow at Haym Salomon Center who served as AIPAC’s Midwest political director from 2008 to 2011, tells Jewish Insider: “The piece really is trash. She clearly comes at it from a particular point of view. Omar’s comments have revived the debate on whether or not AIPAC has too much power. I’ve literally, the only places I’ve ever heard that debate go on are in the beaver-swamps of the Jew-hating left and the beaver swamps of the Jew-hating right, and apparently at the New York Times. She’s inventing this debate that’s going on so that she can write this.”
ARGUMENT — AIPAC Conference Was Going to Be All About the Benjamin — Then Ilhan Omar Came Along — by Amir Tibon: “There was a moment when it seemed the ground was shifting beneath Netanyahu’s supporters in the U.S. Jewish community. But now, all of that has changed. The theme of this year’s conference will very likely become unity in the face of anti-Semitism, and Omar, a freshman lawmaker with no legislative achievements, will be the ‘star’ of the show.” [Haaretz]
Ilhan Omar Is Hurting the Palestinian Cause — by Hussein Ibish: “This plays into the hands of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing the most serious political crisis of his career… Mr. Netanyahu can now mobilize Israelis and American Jews by claiming that they are under attack by Democrats, pushing those constituencies toward himself and his Republican allies. Worse, enmeshing Democrats in a divisive, embarrassing internal struggle is a huge gift to Trump because it deflects attention from the impact of his destructive policies.” [Bloomberg]
DRIVING THE CONVO — House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) drew widespread criticism on Thursday for suggesting that Rep. Ilhan Omar’s experience as Somalian refugee is ‘more personal’ than Jews whose parents lived through the Holocaust.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on Clyburn to “apologize and retract” his statement. “It’s offensive to diminish the suffering of survivors and the continuing pain of Jews today,” the group said on Twitter.
Abe Foxman tells Jewish Insider: “There is out there this notion that victims can’t be bigots. How can someone who suffers bigotry be an antisemite and a racist? That’s a nonsense notion. You know, they just can be bigots and sometimes they’re worse bigots than people who haven’t suffered. And so, when you take this notion that someone who suffered bigotry can’t be a bigot, and you add to it ignorance about our tragedy and her tragedy and you conflate it, it becomes an abomination. The problem here is, he’s not any ‘Tom, Dick, and Harry.’ He is a respected member of his community, he’s a respected member of Congress, and he holds a very serious position. And if he is so infected with ignorance and a lack of sensitivity, wow, it’s scary.”
Foxman on how the Democratic leadership handled the Omar situation: “It is very clear in my mind that Nancy Pelosi knows the difference between criticism of Israel and antisemitism. There’s no question in my mind that Steny Hoyer knows the difference. What this is all about is politics, political expediency, and jockeying. All of a sudden, antisemitism has become a political football, and we’ve been held hostage to the political football that’s going on. I don’t think it serves us, the Jewish people. I think for us to be the issue doesn’t help us.“
“I believe that the democratic process should work. Each party has the means and the capability of giving perks and promoting or not promoting its members. Each party can make it very clear to its members whether their positions are in sync with the policies of the party or not. And eventually, pretty soon there’ll be a democratic process accounting. Her constituents are going to have to make a decision whether all her antics, her antisemitism served the purposes of her constituents in Minnesota. I’m not sure you achieve it by resolutions in Congress. We need to stop engaging in a hysteria that if there is no Congressional resolution acceptable to us we have lost the Democratic Party on Israel and on anti-Semitism. Three members of Congress even if supported by a few others are not destroying America’s and Democratic support for Israel and for Jews.”
Jim Clyburn’s leadership tested as he defends a colleague accused of anti-Semitism — by Emma Dumain: “Clyburn released a statement later in the day Thursday clarifying he never meant to diminish the legacy of the Holocaust. ‘Every student of history, which I consider myself to be, recognizes the Holocaust as a unique atrocity which resulted in the deaths of six million Jews. It should never be minimized; I never have, and I never will,’ he said. But as the House prepared to adopt the resolution in response to Omar’s rhetoric, many Jewish members were left with bad feelings that the measure singled out hateful speech and actions against minorities of all stripes — a compromise Clyburn helped broker.” [McClatchyDC]
Meghan McCain Breaks Down in Tears Over Ilhan Omar’s ‘Scary’ Israel Comments — by Matt Wilstein: “‘With the rise of antisemitism in this country, is it more important to defend party politics or is it more important to [object to] antisemitism?’ McCain asked on The View. ‘If what Ilhan Omar were saying for the past few weeks were said by a white Republican male, how would you be reacting to it right now?’ … ‘I take this very personally,’ McCain said. ‘I would go so far as to say I probably verge on being a Zionist as well.’ While she doesn’t have Jewish family, she began to tear up as she described former Sen. Joe Lieberman and his wife Hadassah as her family.”[DailyBeast; Video]
ON THE HILL — Historic resolution condemning antisemitism and Islamophobia masks unease in Democratic party — by JI‘s Laura Kelly: An historic resolution passed the House of Representatives on Thursday which, on its face, condemns hate and bigotry but did little to mask conflict among Democrats over one members’ failure to recognize antisemitic comments and the pain it caused. The vote passed 407 to 23 in the House, with Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), one of two Jewish Republican member’s of Congress, marking his dissent.
“If a Republican Member was pushing the antisemitism that Rep. Omar keeps peddling, this resolution would name names, and be solely, emphatically focused on anti-Semitism and that member would be removed from their committee assignments,” Rep. Zeldin said on the floor. “The double standard motivating this decision by the Speaker and the moral equivalency filling this watered down text is spineless and disgusting.” [JewishInsider]
HEARD ON THE HOUSE FLOOR — Before the vote, Jewish Democratic lawmakers expressed their disappointment that the antisemitic rhetoric of one member wasn’t elevated as a separate and unique issue of hate and violence.
“There is too much hatred, too many other people that are targeted and we need to support all of them, but we are having this debate because of the language of one of our colleagues,” said Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) in a floor speech earlier in the day. “Language that suggests that Jews like me… that we are not loyal Americans. Why are we unable to singularly condemn antisemitism?” [CSPAN]
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), also gave an impassioned speech about how charges of dual loyalty are a personal offense. “I’m a Jewish American woman who served for 20 years in uniform and continue to serve in the United States Congress… Am I to look back on my military career and the sacrifices it meant for my family and remain silent in the face of people questioning my loyalty to our country?” She questioned in her floor speech.“The recent accusations of dual loyalty call into question the equal footing of Jewish members in elected office and by extension all Jews living in America. I’m proud to vote on this resolution in condemnation of this rhetoric.”
— “I was very disappointed we weren’t able to have a separate resolution that condemns anti-Semitism,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) during floor debate on the measure.
The Democrats’ Dilemma — by Tim Alberta: “All of this proved agonizing for Omar’s constituents, particularly those in the Somali community. Her arrival in Congress was meant to bring them legitimacy and representation. Instead, almost immediately, it invited controversy and humiliation. ‘I was shocked. I don’t like her on Twitter,’ Ali Aden tells me. ‘She’s very smart, and I didn’t think she would talk that way. It was an embarrassment for me as a Somali-American, because we do not like extreme left or extreme right. But she will do better. This is new to her—she will learn how to handle it.'” [Politico]
SCOOPLET — Next move: Jewish Insider has learned that Sen. Cruz (R-TX) is circulating a clean resolution that just condemns antisemitism. He intends to introduce it early next week. A source familiar with the plan said that “it’s just a condemnation of anti-Semitism. There’s nothing extraneous. The entire thing clocks in at just over a hundred words.”
HEARD YESTERDAY — The wife of Bob Levinson, the longest-held American hostage in Iran, pleaded with President Trump to meet personally and plead her husband’s case, as Saturday marks the 12th anniversary of his kidnapping by the Islamic republic. “He doesn’t know us, he doesn’t understand how difficult it has been for our family because he hasn’t talked to us,” Christine Levinson told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Thursday. “We need to make sure that everyone in the U.S. government, at the highest level, knows how difficult it is for any family to be away from their loved one and unable to resolve it themselves.” [Pic]
2020 WATCH — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) became the first 2020 candidate to criticize Omar on Thursday after three presidential candidates, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), issued statements defending the Minnesota representative from criticism. “Those with critical views of Israel, such as Congresswoman Omar, should be able to express their views without employing anti-Semitic tropes about money or influence,” Gillibrand said in a statement.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) avoided addressing the issue when asked about it during a press conference on the Hill.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, a possible 2020 candidate, slams Ilhan Omar — by Nolan Hicks: “‘Let me be really clear, suggesting that support for Israel is beholden to a foreign power is absolutely unacceptable — and it’s illogical too,’ de Blasio said at an unrelated press conference at City Hall. ‘I believe strongly in the state of Israel. I don’t feel beholden one bit to a foreign power… There’s a long anti-Semitic tradition associated with that kind of comment.'” [NYPost]
HEARD ON CABLE — ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt criticized the 2020 candidates for defending Omar on CNN’s At This Hour with Kate Bolduan: “I think these presidential candidates are flat out wrong. One more time, there is nothing wrong with criticizing policies in government. We do it at the ADL. The issue here is not about its policies, the issue is prejudice here in America right now. And I would actually go so far as to say that those who suggest we can’t have a conversation about this, they’re the ones stifling our ability to get into a better conversation that recognizes people of all faiths, again, of all walks of life to fully participate in our democratic process.”[Video]
Sanders seizes pro-Omar lane in 2020 — by Marc Caputo and Holly Otterbein: “The Vermont senator, the only Jewish candidate in the Democratic primary, embraced the African-American, Muslim congresswoman and called out House Democrats for ‘stifling’ debate about Israel… No other presidential contender came out as quickly — or as forcefully — as Sanders, who laid down a clear line in the crowded Democratic field between those running as true progressives on foreign policy and those who support an existing U.S. policy that tends to favor Israel over Palestine.” [Politico]
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced on Thursday that he will not run for president in 2020 following a tour of early caucus and primary states… New generation of campaign managers brings diversity to 2020 presidential bids… Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), who led a failed attempt to block Nancy Pelosi as speaker, is running to challenge Trump on national security.
TALK OF THE REGION — Palestinian negotiator calls for boycott of new U.S. embassy unit: “Palestinian official Saeb Erekat issues a statement Thursday calling upon the diplomatic community ‘not to engage in any kind of formal relationship or collaboration’ with the new Palestinian affairs unit, which will take over the responsibilities of the shuttered U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.” [AP]
USAID chief open to fixing law that closed operations in the West Bank and Gaza:“U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Mark Green said last week that USAID is open to Congress amending the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act… ‘We welcome the chance to continue discussions with you on the future of West Bank/Gaza assistance,’ said Green in a hearing at the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs.”[JNS]
REPORT — Embassy Staffers Say Jared Kushner Shut Them Out of Saudi Meetings — by Erin Banco: “Officials and staffers in the U.S. embassy in Riyadh said they were not read in on the details of Jared Kushner’s trip to Saudi Arabia or the meetings he held with members of the country’s royal court last week… The lack of insight into Kushner’s visit to Saudi Arabia has frustrated members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, who told The Daily Beast that they are actively trying to learn more about the conversations between senior U.S. administration officials and Saudi Arabia.” [DailyBeast]
ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Jason Greenblatt urges outside parties to support peace plan — and not to undermine it — by Ron Kampeas: “‘It really is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians; they’re the ones who will have to live with the consequences of the plan,’ Jason Greenblatt told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview… Greenblatt confirmed that the plan would not see the light of day before the Israeli elections on April 9, but would not set a deadline for how much longer afterward it would come out.”[JTA]
— Trump’s Aides Are Imitating His Aggressive Twitter Diplomacy. The Results Are Mixed — by Mark Landler and Katie Rogers: “Jason D. Greenblatt, Mr. Trump’s Middle East envoy, has taken to Twitter dozens of times to debate or chide Palestinian leaders… Mr. Greenblatt’s tweets have done little to repair the rift with the Palestinians or lay the groundwork for his long-anticipated peace plan… Experts on the Middle East said Mr. Greenblatt’s decision to engage on Twitter had merit but was flawed in two respects. First, the Trump administration’s policies have so alienated the Palestinians that it was difficult for Mr. Greenblatt to overcome the hostility… Second, critics said Mr. Greenblatt was not explaining the administration’s policies to a skeptical Palestinian audience.” [NYTimes]
Former Shin Bet director Ami Ayalon, Gilead Sher, former Chief of Staff for Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Israeli entrepreneur Orni Petruschka call on Trump to release the Mideast peace plan ahead of the April 9th election: “Israel’s election offers Trump’s Mideast team an opportunity, enhanced by the creation of a merged center-left party which is more amenable to a two-state solution… If Trump’s team presents a balanced plan now, it would become the key policy issue in the election. If it offers Israelis a path to a secure, Jewish, democratic state, a strong majority would support it, and vote accordingly.” [Newsweek]
ROAD TO THE KNESSET — Former TV news anchor set to become first Druze woman in Israel’s parliament — by Rami Ayyub: “Gadeer Mreeh, who is running for the centrist Blue and White party led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, is all but guaranteed a seat in the Knesset… ‘I was the first non-Jewish woman to anchor a Hebrew-language news broadcast,’ Mreeh, 34, said from her village of Daliyat al-Karmel, a major population center for the Druze.” [Reuters]
BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Netanyahu Is Fighting Ghosts — by Yossi Klein Halevi: “Netanyahu is running against the ghost of the left. Israeli politics is no longer a contest between right and left but between right and center… It is a measure of just how formidable an opponent Netanyahu remains that it requires no less than three former IDF commanders to try to bring him down—the democratic equivalent of a military coup.” [TheAtlantic]
Alan Dershowitz writes… “Are Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged ‘crimes’ really crimes?: Netanyahu is a controversial prime minister, but no one can dispute his strength in defending Israel’s security, or his many achievements over a long tenure. The allegations against him have been spelled out. His fate belongs in the hands of voters, not investigators or the courts.” [LATimes]
** Good Friday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Kushner Cos. Launching First Miami Project: A $550M Apartment Complex [BisNow] • House Democrats may probe Kushner family’s massive New York City real estate deal [Axios] • BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Says Modern Monetary Theory Is ‘Garbage’ [Bloomberg] • Gett CEO Preparing Employees For IPO [Calcalist] • It’s Always Sunny at the Davos of the Private Equity Industry[Bloomberg]
STARTUP NATION — Israeli and Palestinian architects and planners seek common ground on innovation, entrepreneurship: “These venture partners are among six architects and urban planners who participated in Our Generation Speaks (OGS), a fellowship program based at Brandeis University. OGS was founded in 2016 by Ohad Elhelo, an Israeli entrepreneur, as a way to bring young Israelis and Palestinians to a neutral space beyond the regional conflict, where the common bond of entrepreneurship could unite them and help build relationships. MITdesignX, a venture accelerator created three years ago in the School of Architecture and Planning, and MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) partnered this year with OGS to focus part of the program on architects and planners.”[MITNews]
Even Israel Is Getting the Trump Treatment on Trade — by Ivan Levingston: “Donald Trump’s drive to reshape global trade won’t spare one of his country’s closest allies and its oldest free-trade partner — Israel. U.S. trade negotiators are traveling to Israel next week for advanced talks to upgrade their agricultural trade pact and reduce barriers for American farm exports to the Middle Eastern country… Changes are expected to include some reduction on agricultural tariffs for American exporters, though negotiators are still discussing what those concessions will look like.” [Bloomberg]
SPOTLIGHT — The Crown Jewels Of Trump’s Fortune Are 2 Skyscrapers He Didn’t Want — And Doesn’t Control — by Dan Alexander and Chase Peterson-Withorn: “Since Vornado bought into 1290 Avenue of the Americas and 555 California Street, Steven Roth has invested millions in renovations to squeeze out bigger profits long term. In 2012 and 2013, Vornado put $31 million into upgrading the New York office tower, freshening up the storefronts, elevators and lobby. Those changes helped lure new tenants, at higher rates… Rents at 1290 Avenue of the Americas have continued to increase during the past two years, even as the broader midtown market has declined. Forbes estimates the president’s 30% stake is worth $100 million more today than it was when [Trump] took office.” [Forbes]
Out of the shadows: Loyal money man swept into Trump probes — by Bernard Condon: “Allen Weisselberg has no Twitter or Facebook account, though he does maintain a LinkedIn page with one ‘connection’ listed — Matthew Calamari, a former bodyguard turned Trump Organization’s chief operating officer. He has bought a few properties over the years besides a home in Wantagh, New York. He has a vacation home in Boynton Beach, Florida, that he purchased 17 years ago for $282,000. He bought two condominiums at Trump-branded buildings in Manhattan but sold them. Weisselberg barely merits a mention in the many Trump biographies, nor in the many written by the man himself. He doesn’t appear in ‘The Art of the Deal,’ for instance… Weisselberg is likely to know the answer to the biggest question since his boss pulled off his surprise election to the presidency: Just how much is Trump worth.” [AP]
TALK OF THE TOWN — Thousands Of Israelis Now Call Berlin Home And Make Their Cultural Mark — by Daniel Estrin: “At least 10,000 Israelis are estimated to have moved to the German capital in the past decade, according to Tal Alon, the Berlin-based editor of the Hebrew-language magazine Spitz… They are helping drive Berlin’s blossoming culinary scene, with several high-end Israeli restaurants in the city including Layla, opened last fall by Tel Aviv celebrity chef Meir Adoni… ‘If somebody would tell me 10 years ago that one day I will live in Germany, I will speak German, and I would think about applying for [a] German passport, I would say they are crazy,’ said Israeli food designer Itay Novik, sitting at a Berlin café with an Israeli friend.”[NPR]
REMEMBERING — Sam Miller, co-chair of Cleveland’s Forest City Enterprises and philanthropist, passed away at 97 — by Henry J. Gomez: “Miller grew up to become one of the country’s most savvy businessmen – a plucky, crackerjack real estate developer who hobnobbed with prime ministers, Pavarotti and a pope. He emerged as a political powerbroker, a reputation bolstered when his backing propelled longshot candidate Michael R. White to three terms as Cleveland’s mayor. His fundraising skills also helped causes close to his Jewish faith and the Catholic Church. His literal rags to riches life ended Thursday. Miller was longtime co-chairman and treasurer of Cleveland’s Forest City Enterprises Inc., the real estate development company he helped build into a national giant.” [Cleveland]
WINE OF THE WEEK — Carmel Limited Edition Cabernet 2014 — by Yitz Applbaum: “People often ask me whether Kosher wine is as good as non-Kosher wine. Of course, at the highest level we still have approximately 200 years of missing experience to catch up to the French First Growths. In general, there are many great kosher wines which are competitive with similarly priced wines in the non-kosher world. There was no better time to test this theory than last week when I was invited to a non-kosher dinner in London with some very upper crust folks who drank and ate at the highest levels. The caterer made sure that the kosher meal paralleled the non-kosher meal and that the wine we were served could go toe to toe with the non-kosher wine.”
“The wine they chose for us was the Carmel Limited Edition Cabernet 2014. An elegant, supple, and wide-ranging wine. There is a huge amount of mid-palate fruit. Well tamed, not overpowering, along the lines of a fresh young Bordeaux. This wine is composed of 65% percent Cabernet, 17% Petit Verdot and the rest a mixture of Merlot and Cab Franc. The juice from each grape varietal was aged separately and then blended and aged again in French oak. This process allowed for a consistent flavor of black currants and Belgium butter from start to finish. This wine is ready to drink now but let it breathe for an hour to give the Petit Verdot grapes time to absorb some oxygen and drink with spicy food.”[CarmelWines]
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain (1991-2013), member of the House of Lords, philosopher, scholar and winner of the 2016 Templeton Prize, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks turns 71… Jazz pianist Dick Hyman turns 92… Democratic US Representative for California’s 47th congressional district, Alan Lowenthal turns 78… British television executive and businessman, chairman of the BBC (2004-2006), member of the House of Lords, Baron Michael Grade (family name Winogradsky) turns 76… Former attorney at Seyfarth Shaw who is now the ‘Judaism and Science’ blogger, Roger Price turns 75… Lyricist, singer and philanthropist, Carole Bayer Sager turns 72… Licensed clinical psychologist and director of couple therapy training at the Chicago Center for Family Health, Dr. Mona Fishbane turns 72… Senior Fellow on national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress, Alan Makovsky turns 69… Brenda Krantz turns 69… Former Governor of Virginia (1994-1998) and US Senator (2001-2007), whose mother was from a Sephardic Jewish family in Tunisia, George Allenturns 67… Retired in 2016 after 28 years as the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester NY, Larry Fine turns 67… Managing editor of the WNYC radio program “On the Media” which is syndicated nationwide to over 400 public radio outlets, Brooke Gladstone turns 64… DC-based labor and employment attorney at Bredhoff & Kaiser, he clerked for Justice Brennan at the U.S. Supreme Court (1983-1984), Bruce R. Lerner turns 62… Emmy and Golden Globe award winning actress, best known for her role as a lawyer on the television series “The Practice,” Camryn Manheim turns 58…
Founder and CEO of 32 Advisors, LLC, he was previously President of UBS Investment Bank, Robert Wolf turns 57… Talent acquisition executive at Sageview Consulting, specializing in placements at Jewish federations and non-profits, Colorado Springs resident, Carin Maher turns 56… VP for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, with a Ph.D. in Chinese politics from Stanford University, he was a high-ranking State Department official (2001-2009), Evan A. Feigenbaum turns 50… Albany Reporter for New York’s news channel NY1, covering state politics, Zack Fink turns 46… Member of Congress since 2017 (D-NJ-5), former speechwriter for Bill Clinton, Joshua S. Gottheimer turns 44… Alexis C. Rice turns 41… Principal for corporate communications at PJT CamberView , he was the communications director for NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Eric Louis Sumberg turns 37… Deputy Executive Director and EVP at American Press Institute, Jeff Sonderman turns 37… Director of public policy and advocacy at Washington Nonprofits in Seattle, David Streeter turns 32… Actress and comedian, she is best known as the perky store manager Lily Adams in a three year series of AT&T television commercials, Milana Vayntrub turns 32… Senior digital and marketing associate at Catalist (a voter data service for progressive organizations), Lauren Farber turns 31… Student at Harvard Law School, he was a special assistant to the director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, Nathaniel Sobel turns 30… Texas Hold ‘Em enthusiast and author of the forthcoming “A Girl’s Guide to Poker,” she worked in DC for The Israel Project and the ZOA, Amanda Helen Botfeld turns 26… Program analyst at Mathematica Policy Research, Karen Katz… Fellow at Venture For America, a two-year entrepreneurship fellowship, Charleston native, Lexi Chavin…
SATURDAY: Mayor of North York, Ontario (1973-1997), then Mayor of Toronto (1998-2003), founder of the Bad Boy Furniture chain, Melvin Douglas “Mel” Lastman turns 86… Co-founder of Sunbeam Television (owner of TV stations in Miami and Boston) and developer of a 400 acre business park in Broward County, Florida, Edmund Ansin turns 83… Professor of sociology and Jewish studies at the University of Toronto (1974-2012, now professor emeritus), best known for his work on German Jewry, Y. Michal Bodemann turns 75… Sag Harbor-based painter, sculptor and printmaker, Eric Fischl turns 71… Radio and television journalist and author who hosts Public Radio International’s popular program, Science Friday, Ira Flatow turns 70… Rhodes Scholar, Harvard Law graduate, political journalist and commentator, contributing writer for Vanity Fair, he was previously co-host of CNN’s Crossfire and editor at large for The New Republic, Michael Kinsley turns 68… Moroccan-born member of Knesset (since 1998) now representing the Zionist Union party, previously Minister of Defense (2006-2007) and leader of the Labor Party, Amir Peretz turns 67… President and CEO of NYC’s flagship public TV station WNET, he was previously the president of NBC News and the executive producer for Dateline NBC, Neal Shapiroturns 61…
CEO of NYC-based Gotham Media, he holds an MA in Russian history from the London School of Economics and a JD from Harvard Law, Gordon Platt turns 57… CEO, chairman and controlling shareholder of Quontic Bank based in New York, Steven Schnall turns 52… Director of Research at Facebook, David I. Ginsberg turns 44… Chief of Staff and Deputy US Trade Representative, Matthew Vogel turns 41… CEO of the Trevor Project, he was a management consultant in the NYC office of McKinsey & Company and a reporter for the Washington Post, Amit Paley turns 37… Co-founder and CEO at ImpactTechNation, he is also a co-founder of Wake-Up Jerusalem (Hitorerut B’Yerushalayim party), he served on the City Council of the Municipality of Jerusalem, Hanan Rubin turns 37… Israeli-born singer, now one-half of the world music duo Shlomit & RebbeSoul, Shlomit Levi turns 36… Communications director for North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Alissa “Sadie” Weiner turns 32… CEO at New Orleans-based QED Hospitality, Emery Whalen turns 32… Founding partner of Mothership Strategies, a DC-based firm using digital strategies for organizational fundraising and activism, he was previously at the DCCC, Jacob “Jake” Austin Lipsett turns 26… Israel and antisemitism education coordinator at the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, Marla Topiol turns 26… Private equity and venture capital investor, Howie Fialkov… Stephen Lent...
SUNDAY: Long Beach, California general surgeon, Leonard M. Lovitch, MD turns 75… Author and publisher of the Phoenix Scottsdale Jewish Friendship Trail Guidebook, Michael A. Ross turns 72… Record producer, former co-president of Columbia Records and a co-founder of Def Jam Records, Frederick Jay (“Rick”) Rubin turns 56… Peabody Award-winning financial journalist and market news analyst for CNBC and one of the co-hosts of its morning show “Squawk on the Street,” David Faber turns 55… CEO of the National Honor Society Scholarship Fund, he was previously CEO of DC-based International Lifeline Fund, president of both the Genesis Prize Foundation (2013-2015) and Hillel (2006-2013), Wayne L. Firestone turns 55… Stage, screen and television actor, he is the son of novelist Norman Mailer, Stephen Mailer turns 53… Investigative reporter for The New York Times, Danny Hakim turns 48… Deputy assistant secretary at the US State Department, she was previously a senior policy advisor to U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Carrie Filipetti turns 30… News editor of Mishpacha magazine, Binyamin Rose… Chief Executive Officer at Strategy3i Ltd., he was previously at Gaithersburg, MD-based BroadSoft and a consultant to Israeli start-ups, Jeffrey Kahn …
HAPPENING TONIGHT — Robert Kraft was slated to be honored at the U.S. Navy Seals Foundation Gala in NYC this evening. We’re told Kraft is no longer planning to attend the event as he apparently did not want to create a distraction for the cause. Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis will serve as the evening’s keynote.
ALSO IN NYC TONIGHT — Megadeveloper Harry Macklowe is set to marry Patricia Landeau, president of the French Friends of the Israel Museum. According to the NYPost, the entire 78th floor of Macklowe’s Park Avenue tower has been gutted to be transformed into a “massive ballroom.”
AT SEA ISLAND — White House senior advisor Jared Kushner will speak at the American Enterprise Institute’s annual weekend confab in Sea Island, Georgia tonight. Kushner, who is expected to roll out the administration’s Mideast peace plan next month, will appear in conversation with Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen.
ON THE HILL — by JI’s Laura Kelly: House Democrats have tasked the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) with drafting a resolution meant to respond to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) antisemitic remarks, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told Politico Wednesday evening.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), who led the drafting of the first resolution and sits on the HFAC, told Jewish Insider that Democrats “are focused on making sure we’re able to come together on a strong statement condemning antisemitism.”
While the first draft of the resolution laid out explicit examples of antisemitic characterizations, members disagreed on Wednesday morning over which types of bigotry, in addition to antisemitism, should be included in the resolution. “I’ve been in arguments all day long” about the historical context of antisemitic beliefs and misunderstanding among members, said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA). “I’m starting to realize with some of my younger colleagues there is a generational divide that sometimes they don’t understand the language they’re using necessarily.” It’s unclear what language the final draft will include, but according to Vargas, adding more examples of other offensive hate speech detracts from the serious consequences of antisemitic rhetoric.
Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), a former synagogue president, said he takes antisemitism very seriously but expressed deep discomfort with the treatment of Rep. Omar. “I’m working with people to build understanding, respect, and make sure that we don’t have antisemitic statements coming from people, and certainly antisemitic actions, and also working to fight against Islamophobia and intolerance and knee-jerk reactions,” he said.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), a member of the HFAC, told Jewish Insiderthat Rep. Omar should be stripped of her committee assignments. “Same thing as Steve King,” he said.
HOW IT PLAYED — House Democrats splinter over the response to Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitism — by Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade: “In a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting Wednesday morning, lawmakers debated whether to vote on an anti-hate measure in response to Omar. The session quickly became rancorous, reflecting splinters over wider issues… Plans for a quick vote appeared to fade amid the uproar… Walking into the meeting, Pelosi said the Omar situation ‘would be resolved’ and chastised the news media… Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) was among the first members to speak up in the meeting, asking, ‘Why are we doing this?’ Afterward, she said any resolution would be “redundant and unnecessary.’”
“Omar attended Wednesday’s Democratic caucus meeting but did not speak… Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)… rose to defend it and… grew emotional. He said his colleagues needed to understand that these words were hurtful to people like himself who had dealt with them all their lives… At one point during the meeting, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a close Pelosi ally, pleaded with Democrats: ‘Everyone stop tweeting!'”
“Later Wednesday, the Congressional Black Caucus met to discuss how to handle the issue, but the group’s chair, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), said it would not take an official position on a response to Omar. ‘People within the caucus are kind of all over the map,’ she said… [WashPost; RollCall]
— “By Wednesday afternoon, several had taken to blaming the media for covering Omar’s remarks… ‘We have to do better across the board,’ said Rep. Max Rose (D-NY)… ‘We also have to acknowledge the incredible hypocrisy you all are showing — that I did not see you guys trailing [Rep. Kevin] McCarthy — over and over and over again, there has been an unequal treatment.'”[DailyBeast]
— “Other Democrats said the decision to pursue the resolution was a surrender to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” [Bloomberg]
Rep. Omar’s Israel Comments Drag Democrats’ Quiet Divisions Out in the Open[Time] • Pelosi left with no good options for how to address Rep. Ilhan Omar’s controversial Israel comments [WashPost] • Ilhan Omar Controversy Caps a Month of Stumbles for Democratic Leaders [NYTimes]
SCENE — “Some Democrats hugged Omar… during the meeting… She’s also received powerful boosts from fellow Democratic freshmen Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.” [AP]
— Omar declined to meet with leaders of Neturei Karta, an anti-Israel Orthodox Jewish group, who showed up at her office to express their support for her, according to Jonathan Allen. “She did not and has no plans to,” Jeremy Slevin, Omar’s communications director, told NBC News. [Pic; Pic] • The group also stopped at Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s office [Pic]
HEARD ON CABLE — Mary Bruce, a Congressional correspondent for ABC News, on Good Morning America: “This is exposing a real family feud. A generational and ideological divide between sort of the old guard, older more established House members, House Democrats, and these younger freshmen, more liberal members.” [Video]
THE LEADERS SPEAK — President Trump tweeted on Wednesday: “It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference. Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters: “I don’t think this is just about comments by Congresswoman Omar, which I do not think were intentionally anti-Semitic… It has raised interest in having some resolution about [denouncing] anti-Semitism, of course, always, anti-Islamaphobia, always… We will see what the [House Foreign Affairs] committee comes up with. They have an array of concerns and priorities they are addressing.”[WashExaminer]
Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) defends Omar due to ‘personal’ experience — “I just think that we lose too many battles up here arguing over the stuff that’s kind of silly to argue over,” Rep. James Clyburn… said during an interview… Her experience, Clyburn argued, is much more empirical — and powerful — than that of people who are generations removed from the Holocaust… ‘I’m serious about that. There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her,’ Clyburn said. ‘I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.'” [TheHill]
Several 2020 candidates also commented — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said criticism of Omar and efforts to get her taken off the House Foreign Affairs Committee are aimed at stopping a discussion about U.S foreign policy toward Israel… Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said that while there was a “responsibility to speak out against anti-Semitism” she was “concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk.”… Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said that “branding criticism of Israel as automatically anti-Semitic has a chilling effect on our public discourse” and makes “it harder” to achieve peace…
JDCA’s Halie Soifer tells Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh: “Clearly, there has a been a robust discussion within the party about the best way to go forward with this condemnation and it appears as though there will be wide support for a condemnation of antisemitism, along with the addition of a denunciation of other forms of hatred. So I don’t want to feed into this, what I think is a false narrative, that somehow Democrats who wanted to see this resolution expanded in any way were opposed to denouncing anti-Semitism. I don’t think that’s the case. It is very important that the provisions with regard to denouncing antisemitism not be watered down. By defining these antisemitic tropes, I hope people will be more careful in the language that they use when engaging in political debate to avoid using antisemitic references going forward.” [JewishInsider]
RJC’s National Chair Norm Coleman: “The sad reality is that the Democratic party is shifting further to the left, and one of the casualties of that shift is Israel and support for the state of Israel. So, I lament that. I don’t celebrate it. I lament it because I think Israel has consistently benefited from bipartisan support in the Congress. The Democratic leadership, Pelosi and Hoyer, I give them credit for attempting to stand with Israel. But they’re, unfortunately, dealing with the sad reality that a big portion of their base is not in the same place. They’re struggling because their base is reacting negatively and their base is, unfortunately, not supportive of Israel. Is the response too muted? Yeah, it’s muted because, at this point, they can’t even get a simple resolution on the floor that condemns antisemitism. It shouldn’t be that difficult.”
Coleman on Democrats criticizing President Trump on antisemitism: “The president moved the embassy to Jerusalem. The President finally dealt with the scourge of antisemitism reflected in the UN. I mean, the president’s actions in regard to Israel and supporting Israel and rejecting antisemitism have been very strong. And when he was not as strong as he should have been on Charlottesville, he was criticized. He was challenged on that. But his actions have shown that without a doubt, the strongest support Israel that we’ve seen. Let’s judge the President by his actions, and every one of those actions have been such that he should be praised.”
Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro: “There is a lot more that unites Democrats, and I think most Americans, than meets the eye here. The vast majority reject Rep. Omar’s suggestions that Americans’ support for Israel is driven by money or reflects a dual loyalty, which echo antisemitic tropes. The vast majority believe we can have a full and open debate on our Middle East policy, or disagree with given Israeli policies, without crossing those lines. The vast majority believe that anti-Semitism from any side needs to be condemned and ruled out of bounds, as do other forms of racism and bigotry, including that which has been aimed at Rep. Omar and other Muslims, and which have too often been fueled by the President’s rhetoric. This is less complicated than it seems.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel writes… “I’ve faced the charge of dual-loyalty. It was anti-Semitic then, and it’s anti-Semitic now: “No one is questioning the right of members of Congress and others to criticize Israeli policies. But Omar is crossing a line that should not be crossed in political discourse. Her remarks are not anti-Israel; they are anti-Semitic. Whether consciously or not, Representative Omar is repeating some of the ugliest stereotypes about Jews—tropes that have been unleashed by anti-Semites throughout history. She is casting Jewish Americans as the other, suggesting a dual loyalty that calls our devotion to America into question.”[TheAtlantic]
TOP OP — Tom Friedman writes… “Ilhan Omar, AIPAC and Me: “AIPAC is a self-appointed lobby that does not represent my feelings as an American Jew. But neither does Representative Omar. Everything I have heard from her leads me to conclude that she dislikes AIPAC because she dislikes Israel, because she does not really believe the Jewish people have a right to an independent state in their ancestral homeland. She seems to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel… Which only reinforces a fundamental rule I have: I love the Israelis and the Palestinians, but God save me from their American friends. When they recreate and fuel their conflict here in America, and on college campuses, they only sow more division, distrust and make things worse.” [NYTimes]
Ilhan Omar Shouldn’t Get a Pass — by Yascha Mounk: “Those who refuse to criticize Omar on the grounds that Trump and his outriders are attacking her are allowing the president to set the terms of the debate. It is undoubtedly discomfiting to be on the same side as racists and Islamophobes. But the right answer cannot be to forgive anyone’s faults if the wrong people so happen to point them out; after all, a standard we are willing to abandon as soon as someone we dislike invokes it is no standard at all.” [Slate]
Ilhan Omar Knows Exactly What She Is Doing — by Bret Stephens: “It says something about the progressive movement today that it has no trouble denouncing Republican racism, real and alleged, every day of the week but has so much trouble calling out naked antisemite in its own ranks. This is how progressivism becomes Corbynism… If Pelosi can’t muster a powerful and unequivocal resolution condemning antisemitism, then Omar will have secured her political future and won a critical battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. At that point, the days when American Jews can live comfortably within the Democratic fold will be numbered.” [NYTimes]
Matt Nosanchuk, a former White House Jewish Liaison for President Obama, tells Jewish Insider: “There is still a strong bipartisan consensus in Congress that supports Israel, but it’s also the case that there are now members of Congress who hold a different perspective and have expressed that perspective on occasion using unfortunate language that invokes antisemitic tropes. And when language like that is used, it’s appropriate to call it out. But an all-out war within the Democratic Party that divides pro-Israel progressive Democrats from other progressives only serves to play into the hands of those who have been trying for a number of years now to make support for Israel into the exclusive purview of the right. Democrats should not be lured into this self-destructive mode and should stand strong in their support for Israel and for robust policy debates.”
Andrew Weinstein, a leading Democratic donor from Coral Springs, emails: “While the ‘Dems in disarray’ narrative makes for an interesting news cycle, it does not reflect the reality inside the caucus. There is strong support for Israel among Democratic House members and there has been absolutely no effort to change that. There is no question that Rep. Omar’s comments were inappropriate and unacceptable, but the GOP’s efforts to capitalize on her remarks and drive a wedge between Jewish voters and the Democratic Party is hypocritical and beyond shameful.” Read more here [JewishInsider]
PODCAST PLAYBACK — Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Advisor for President Barack Obama, discussed Omar’s remarks and the House resolution on the Pod Save the World podcast with Tommy Vietor:”I want Ilhan Omar to succeed. I think she’s talented. I think she’s earnest. I do not think Ilhan Omar is an antisemite. She’s just been very careless in her language about certain stereotypes… I welcome a diversity of views on Israel in the Democratic Party… She’s more critical than even I am of the Netanyahu government. Fine. Let’s have a big tent of views on these things, but she should be making her case about policies.”
“The reality is if you’re only going to call out a black Muslim woman for making comments about Israel and you’re not going to call out a lot of other behavior, then that’s not a great look. And so either you’re going to have to do these resolutions over and over again every time somebody says something or you’re basically indicating that you, you’re singling this one member out when she’s far from the only member of Congress who said something offensive.” [PodSaveTheWorld]
KAFE KNESSET — Lapid Says Israel in Midst of National Crisis — by Neri Zilber: At an overflow public appearance last night at the Zionist Organization of America House in Tel Aviv, Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid slammed the current government for a host of missteps, in particular Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attacks on many of the state’s democratic institutions — “freedom of speech, the courts, the police and free media” — and warned that Israel was “in the midst of a national crisis.” The English-only remarks came as part of an election series organized by the Tel Aviv International Salon, with Times of Israel editor-in-chief David Horowitz engaging Lapid in conversation before the crowd — primarily young immigrants — had a chance to ask their questions. A confident, easy-mannered Lapid explained the genesis behind Blue and White’s creation two weeks ago (with his Yesh Atid faction merging with Hosen Le’Israel, led by Benny Gantz) and said adamantly that he didn’t have “an ounce of remorse” for giving up the top spot to Gantz. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset newsletter by subscribing here [KafeKnesset]
Netanyahu’s Opposition Offers Bibiism Without Bibi — by Eli Lake: “If Netanyahu loses power next month, the government that replaces him is likely to continue most of his national-security policies. Call it Bibiism without Bibi… Despite Netanyahu’s reputation as a hawk, he has managed to govern Israel for a decade without getting into a major war. That may seem like a low bar. But in a region beset by revolutions, failed states and an emboldened Iran, it’s the kind of success that even Netanyahu’s opposition seeks to emulate.” [Bloomberg]
2020 WATCH — Biden’s 2020 plan is almost complete. Democrats are impatient… Bernie Sanders’ campaign says he will keep his pledge to not go negative in ads for 2020… Howard Schultz hopes to benefit from Michael Bloomberg’s decision not to run for president.
** Good Thursday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg sees Facebook’s future focused more on private sharing than public content [WSJ] • With loans from billionaires Eli Broad, Francois Pinault and Dan Loeb, Basquiats worth $1 billion on display at Brant Foundation show [Bloomberg] • WarnerMedia Content Chief Robert Greenblatt Says Competitors ‘Are Eating Our Lunch’ [WSJ] • Disney’s Bob Iger seat on Apple’s board could be at risk as both companies plan to launch video streaming service later this year [9to5Mac]• Hapoalim Sets Aside Another $246 Million for U.S. Tax Probe [Bloomberg]
STARTUP SPOTLIGHT — Fourpost Faces Its Next Big Test: Mall of America After the Holidays — by Amanda Ostuni: “Created by Mark Ghermezian, whose family owns the largest malls in North America, including MOA, Fourpost invites emerging brands to test their concept in a store setting without the usual build-out and long-term commitment that can make premium mall space cost-prohibitive for small companies. Fourpost offers six or 12-month leases for around $3,200 per month, including assistance with staffing, merchandising, and marketing. In comparison, rent starts at $7,500 per month for a 1,000-square-foot MOA storefront.” [TwinCities]
HOLLYWOOD — Texts Reveal Warner Bros. CEO Promoted Actress Amid Apparent Sexual Relationship — by Tatiana Siegel: “At 12:10 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2013, Australian billionaire James Packer texted a 21-year-old British actress named Charlotte Kirk… Packer, who was a partner with director Brett Ratner in the film production/finance company RatPac Entertainment, was saying she was about to catch a major break. ‘I have the opportunity of a lifetime for u,’ Packer wrote in a text message… He promised an introduction to ‘the most important man u can meet.’ Packer did not identify the man by name, but based on hundreds of texts, emails and a draft settlement agreement obtained and reviewed by THR, the late-night introduction was to Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara.” [HollywoodReporter]
ACROSS THE SEA — Socially Acceptable Anti-Semitism — by Eliot Cohen: “On Sunday, a float rolled down the streets of Aalst, a Belgian town, for carnival. It featured two grotesque caricatures of Hasidic Jews, hooked noses, hands reaching out for money, and a rat sitting on money bags. That’s 2019. A second float, pictured above — in Marburg, Germany, in 1936 — featured celebrants dressed as Orthodox Jews.”
“It is not merely ‘the socialism of fools,’ as the German social democrat August Bebel famously put it at the turn of the 20th century. It is a confession of weakness and fear, a belief in occult forces that explain why you or your group has failed in some way — whether it is in securing a foreign policy guided by realpolitik or justice for a group you feel for, or a lost election, or the fact that the bond markets occasionally go against you. Antisemitism is, in short, the religion of people too lazy to accept the complexity of reality, who hunger for enemies whose power excuses their own deficiencies, and who cannot take responsibility for why their side has not won.” [TheAtlantic]
What I learned from donating a kidney to my 70-year-old father — by Ilan Goldenberg: “Two summers ago, my father asked if I would give him one of my kidneys. He was 70 at the time, suffering from kidney disease. I was 39 with a wife and two young kids… For me, that summer conversation with my father led to one of the most complicated decisions of my life. I am 100 percent certain I made the right call.” [Vox]
TALK OF THE TOWN — Moishe’s East Village kosher bakery has closed after 42 years — by Michelle Cohen: “Moishe’s, the beloved kosher bakery on 2nd Avenue, instantly recognizable by what the New York Times called its “stopped-in-time storefront,” has served its last hamantaschen. Owner Moishe Perl told local photographers James and Karla Murray that yesterday was the bakery’s last day, and that the entire building has been sold. In business since 1977, everything was baked on the premises daily… Hamantaschen was the signature item at the all-kosher establishment.” [6SQFT]
DESSERT — A fond, musical farewell to Jaffa’s beloved Anna Loulou Bar — by Naomi Zeveloff: “The language of Anna Loulou was not Hebrew, or Arabic, or even English — which the multilingual staff used to communicated over WhatsApp — but music. On any given night, a rotating cast of DJs played tracks from the world over, especially the Middle East and North Africa, with a heavy dose of American hip-hop. According to Marwan Hawash, Anna Loulou provided a platform for Palestinian artists and DJs who lacked other places to perform in the Tel Aviv area, or found themselves tokenized as Arabs when they did. These DJs included people from inside the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Israel controls freedom of movement. The bar closed for quotidian reasons.” [RoadAndKingdoms]
BIRTHDAYS: Nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Times since 1984, Suzanne Bregman Fields, Ph.D. turns 83… Biologist, president of the California Institute of Technology (1997-2006) and 1975 Nobel laureate in Medicine, David Baltimore turns 81… Former bureau chief for the AP in Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, London and Tokyo, president of the National Press Club in 2014, since 2005 a journalism educator at George Washington University, Myron Belkind turns 79… Former chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company (1984-2005), Michael Eisner turns 77… Geneticist and 2017 Nobel Prize laureate in Medicine, his parents were immigrants who had fled Nazi Germany in 1938, his father was the cantor of Boston’s Temple Ohabei Shalom, Michael Rosbash turns 75… Retired media executive who was a member of the first co-ed class at Yale College in 1969, Ruth Barbara Jarmulturns 70… Chairman and general trust counsel of Fiduciary Trust International, Gail Ehrlich Cohen turns 63… Award-winning freelance journalist, author and adjunct professor at Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland, Anne Farris Rosen turns 63… British public law and human rights barrister and a member of the House of Lords, he is the long-time chair of the British Legal Friends of Hebrew University, Baron David Pannick turns 63…
Executive director of Academic Exchange, promoting understanding of the Middle East within the international academic community, he was previously with Aish HaTorah Los Angeles, Rabbi Nachum Braverman turns 61… Democratic political strategist, he was an SVP at TruBlu Politics (2016-2017), Lewis H. Cohen turns 59… Professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and the author or editor of several books about Baruch Spinoza, Yitzhak Yohanan Melamed turns 51… Academy Award winning actress, Rachel Weisz turns 49… Assistant News Director for DC’s NBC4 News, adjunct professor of journalism at American U, Matt Glassman turns 49… Brooklyn-based political consultant and attorney focused on media relations, formerly director of intergovernmental affairs for Senator Schumer (2001-2005), Michael Tobman turns 46… Television news anchor, author and businesswoman, she is the host of Hatched, a business competition show on The CW Network, Nicole Lapin turns 35… Author, popular science writer, spaceflight historian, YouTuber and podcaster, best known for writing Breaking the Chains of Gravity, Amy Shira Teitel turns 33… Staff writer for U.S. News & World Report covering energy, the environment, STEM and hospitals, Alan Neuhauser turns 32… Attorney in Reno, Nevada, Sasha Ahuva Farahiturns 31… Press manager at NBC News since 2017, she was previously a senior publicist in the media relations group at MSNBC, Rachel Zuckerman turns 30… Jake Hirth… Yaakov Spira…
2020 WATCH — Michael Bloomberg Will Not Run for President in 2020 — by Alexander Burns: “Michael R. Bloomberg… has decided not to challenge Mr. Trump as a candidate in the 2020 election. Rather than entering the race himself, Mr. Bloomberg intends to plow his political energy and immense personal fortune into other efforts to thwart Mr. Trump and his agenda.” [NYTimes]
Bloomberg explained his decision in an op-ed in Bloomberg News: “I know what it takes to run a winning campaign, and every day when I read the news, I grow more frustrated by the incompetence in the Oval Office. I know we can do better as a country. And I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”
From this morning’s DealBook newsletter — “Mr. Bloomberg’s decision may weigh on Howard Schultz, the other centrist, pro-business billionaire considering a presidential bid. If Mr. Bloomberg, with an established political brand and an estimated $55 billion fortune, doesn’t think he can spend his way to victory, critics will ask how a less-famous, less-wealthy billionaire could.”
Hank Sheinkopf, a New York Democratic campaign consultant, tells Jewish Insider: “Here is the case of no good deed goes unpunished. Michael Bloomberg used his own resources, his own staff and his own time to help the Democrats take back the House of Representatives. He played an important role in that. The reward is that the party pays no attention to him. He’s operating, as he always has, to do what he thinks is right, because he doesn’t need the power. He’s had the power. Just by withdrawing, he proved his value. As an American, as someone who cares deeply, it was not about power. It was about what was right. Pretty extraordinary.”
“He could have beaten Donald Trump. The problem is getting through the primary, and his withdrawal should be an indication of Democrats, who have many delusions whatsoever, that they’re preparing to do what they do best, which is to eat each other before they get to the general election so there’s nothing left. They’re really good at that. Anybody who gets joy out of Mike Bloomberg’s self-removal from the presidential contest is really foolish.”
Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, the co-chairman of Miami’s effort to land the 2020 Democratic convention, blasts DNC’s ‘massive’ convention delay… Mark Cuban is strongly considering running for president in 2020 as a third-party candidate… John Delaney preaches moderation in bid to win Democratic race…
DRIVING THE DAY — On Tuesday,Democratic leaders moved to broaden a resolution condemning anti-Semitism to encompass other types of religious bigotry after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and lawmakers from the Congressional Black Caucus bristled at the attempt to reprimand Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for her anti-Semitic comments.
ON THE HILL — by JI’s Laura Kelly: Democratic leadership convened on Tuesday to discuss the ‘Resolution rejecting anti-Semitism’ ahead of its introduction, pushed back to later in the week as members discuss what should be included in the text.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said that he “obviously” believes statements made by Rep. Ilhan Omar are wrong — particularly the statement that pro-Israel groups push for allegiance to a foreign country — but that he needed to “evaluate the resolution” before committing to supporting it. Jeffries declined to comment Tuesday evening after leaving a meeting with leadership to discuss the text of the resolution.
Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) told Jewish Insider that he rejected Rep. Omar’s statements. “Obviously, I think that’s not what we want to be saying at all, I disagree completely with that.” While he hasn’t seen the text of the resolution, he’ll likely vote in favor he says, “I’m sure I’ll be supporting it, it’s a priority for me of course.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told Jewish Insider that he plans to vote for the resolution and also called out the racist poster equating Rep. Omar and Muslims with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “I equally condemn and deplore the anti-Muslim statements that were made against her,” the congressman said. “I condemn and deplore attempts to impute dual loyalty of Jews and we have to stand against all forms of bigotry, that attacking Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, everybody.” He said he hadn’t seen the text of the resolution, which circulated online Monday, and said that any pushback from fellow Democrats “depends on the final text.”
Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) said he would “most likely” also vote for the resolution.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) called the move by Democrats “virtue signaling” and an attempt to cover themselves without actually punishing Rep. Omar. “What they really should do is take Ilhan Omar off the Foreign Affairs Committee. That would actually be a rebuke of her very clearly, anti-Semitic views. That’s what I would say about that.” Rep. Crenshaw earlier tweeted that “At some point, Dems just need to accept that @IlhanMN has deeply held prejudices about the Jewish people. Stop explaining her comments away and “asking for dialogue.” It’s clear an apology from her is hollow.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WI) said she “absolutely” condemns Rep. Omar’s statements. “I think she ought to be stripped of her membership on the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” the House Republican Conference Chair said. “I think it is a disgrace that Democratic leaders have refused to take real action. You’ve seen some statements of condemnation and then Speaker Pelosi turned around and embraced her on the cover of Rolling Stone just this week. I think that what they’re doing is abhorrent. Anyone who recognizes the history realizes that we have to call evil, evil, and we have an obligation and a duty to do that. The fact that Representative Omar has not only been allowed to serve on that critical committee but is now being supported by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who have now called themselves some sort of a squad in defense of her comments, I just think is an absolute appalling disgrace. I cannot imagine that the leaders in the Democratic Party in the house aren’t willing to take action and say ‘enough is enough and we’re going to strip her of her committee membership.’ And frankly, I think her constituents ought to recognize the damage she’s doing and the damage she’s doing to the United States of America.”
OVERNIGHT — Ocasio-Cortez blasted ‘racist tropes’ and ‘white supremacy’ in a midnight tweetstorm [NYPost]
HEARD ON CABLE — Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) on CNN’s Outfront with Erin Burnett: “Look, you hope that people who get elected to office and they grow. I would hope the same thing would happen to [Omar], but I’m not going to sit silent as long as there are people who are yelling out anti-Semitic tropes or anti-anything tropes, by the way… I’m hoping that she’ll grow and she’ll change. I’m hoping. Some people change their beliefs, I’m hoping she’ll change hers. I think what she said was wrong and hurtful. I think she should understand that.”
Burnett: At what point do you say to her, ‘Congresswoman Omar, look, you are not on this [House Foreign Affairs] committee anymore. You are stripped of your seat.’ Are you close to that or at that point?
Engel: “No. I am not close to it. First of all, it’s not up to me. This is done by the leadership. I don’t know that that would do anything except exacerbate the situation even more. I’m looking to get rid of anti-Semitism, not looking to punish anybody.” [Video]
Of note: NORPAC is hosting a fundraiser forEngel in Teaneck, New Jersey on Sunday. In the last event hosted by the pro-Israel political action committee in January, Engel had already faced questions about the Democratic leadership’s handling of Omar and her colleagues Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
WATCH — Chuck Todd in a monologue on his daily show, MTP Daily, on MSNBC says he’s “obsessed” with the rise of anti-Semitism and the “game of whataboutism being played now by both parties. Stop It! You both have a problem.” [Video]
— Omar’s remarks were also the topic on panel discussions with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi and Chris Hayes.
Can Anti-Semitism Split Democrats Like It Split Labour? — by Jonathan Chait: “Contrary to Omar’s insinuation, at least some Democrats do criticize Israel and its domestic supporters in harsh terms without leaning on anti-Semitic tropes. An easy way to do this is to recognize that advocating for a strong American alliance with another country is not a form of disloyalty… The Democratic Party is far more resistant to anti-Semitism than the Labour Party ever was. But the speed at which the virus has spread among progressive activists in the wake of Omar-gate has been a depressingly illuminating experience.” [NYMag]
— Jeremy Corbyn accuses MP Margaret Hodge of ‘breach of trust’ after she secretly recorded their meeting and insists aides acted ‘in good faith’ over anti-Semitism cases in leaked fiery letter [DailyMail]
Ilhan Omar’s Anti-Israel Nativism Will Haunt Democrats — by Eli Lake: “What is surprising is that many Democrats are still demanding an apology. Why do they think a third apology will make a difference? It won’t… In an era that rewards politicians for taboo-busting controversy, Omar’s pandering is understandable. In this sense, it’s not that different from the kind of venom spewed by President Donald Trump when it comes to immigrants, Latinos and Muslims… This much, however, is clear: Democrats have to do more than demand another apology. If the party wants to make a credible case against a nativist president, it cannot look the other way at the nativism of its own members.” [Bloomberg]
Former Amb. Daniel Kurtzer writes… “How Ilhan Omar is setting back legitimate debate of Israeli policies: Only Omar knows what is in her own heart. But the rest of us hear loud and clear what she says. Omar may truly believe that her comments are legitimate forms of opposition to Israeli policy. But if that is the case, she is naïve, and as an elected official, she has a duty to acquire a basic understanding of the likely inferences drawn from the things she says.” [NYDailyNews]
JI INTERVIEW — Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and the author of Antisemitism: Here and Now, discussed with Jewish Insider the Right vs. Left antisemitism, and how one should discuss it in America.
Q: So on Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent comment about “foreign allegiance” in the context of pro-Israel Americans, and in discussion of her Jewish colleagues; what do you make of it? Is this textbook antisemitism?
Lipstadt: “Sadly, I believe it is. ‘Dual loyalties’ is part of the textbook accusations against Jews. They are cosmopolitans, globalists, not loyal to their country or fellow citizens. (That is why so many people were shocked when Stephen Miller used it at a press conference about DJT’s critics.) I don’t remember a time when there was such sustained attacks from both the right and the left simultaneously. I think it is that phenomenon that leads to the ‘whataboutism.’” Read the entire interview here [JewishInsider]
GOP chairman eyes move to lock in Trump’s Iran deal withdrawal — by Rebecca Kheel: “Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said Tuesday he’d like to include language in the annual defense policy bill that codifies President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal… Inhofe said he found [during a recent trip overseas] that countries such as Iran were ‘waiting Trump out.’ … To address that, Inhofe argued, Congress needs to codify what it can of actions Trump has taken.” [TheHill]
AT THE UN — U.N. again defers report on companies with Israeli settlement ties — by Stephanie Nebehay: “Publication of a U.N. database of companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank has been delayed again… Michelle Bachelet, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Tuesday that despite progress made since launching the study, further work was needed due to the ‘novelty of the mandate and its legal, methodological and factual complexity.’ Her office aimed to finalize and issue the study ‘in coming months,’ she said in a letter to the Human Rights Council.”[Reuters]
TALK OF THE REGION — Fears grow of rift between Saudi king and crown prince — by Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Nick Hopkins: “King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are understood to have disagreed over a number of important policy issues in recent weeks… These tensions increased dramatically in late February when the king, 83, visited Egypt and was warned by his advisers he was at risk of a potential move against him… His entourage was so alarmed at the possible threat to his authority that a new security team, comprised of more than 30 hand-picked loyalists from the interior ministry, was flown to Egypt to replace the existing team.”
“The crown prince, who was designated ‘deputy king’ during the Egypt trip, as is customary, signed off two major personnel changes while the king was away. They included the appointment of a female ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, and that of his full brother, Khalid bin Salman, to the ministry of defense… The Guardian has been told the king and his team learned about the reshuffle via television.” [TheGuardian] • Cloistered Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Aims to Ease Entry for Tourists [WSJ]
Is a new Arab Spring on the way? — by Ishaan Tharoor: “In recent weeks, there have been sustained mass protests against two long-ruling autocratic leaders south of the Mediterranean… Analysts caution against declaring the advent of a new Arab Spring, not least because the unrest in Sudan and Algeria is taking place in rather different contexts. But across North Africa and the Middle East, the conditions for greater upheaval remain — indeed, they may be worse.” [WashPost]
The Trump Musical: ‘Anything Goes’ — by Tom Friedman: “When America, the world’s most influential democracy, has a leader without shame, who is backed by a party without spine willing to prostitute itself to Trump no matter how low he goes… it becomes a hunting license for leaders everywhere to go after their own domestic opponents and cross any human rights redline to stay in power.”
“And we’re talking about some close allies. Last week, Israel’s attorney general recommended that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu be indicted on charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust… This comes just after Netanyahu forged a political alliance with an openly racist, anti-Arab party… These are the people Netanyahu wants to bring into his government. Why not? Bibi knows that no matter how low he sinks, Trump will always have his back.”[NYTimes]
POMPEO TO ISRAEL — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Israel ahead of election: “Pompeo will visit Israel ahead of its April 9 election but will not be involved in the country’s domestic politics, the State Department said Tuesday… State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said Pompeo’s trip was not intended to send any message. ‘Israel is an ally,’ Palladino said. ‘We’re not going to get involved in the domestic politics of another country.'” [YahooNews]
— “A visit by the secretary of state in a country during an election campaign is a bit unusual… The visit is unusual also because Prime Minister Netanyahu will visit Washington four days later and meet President Trump at the White House… It’s unclear if [Pompeo] is going to meet Netanyahu’s main political rival — retired Gen. Benny Gantz… Unlike previous secretaries of state, Pompeo has not met any members of the opposition during his trips to Israel.” [Axios]
ROAD TO THE KNESSET — Gantz pledges allegiance to Diaspora Jewry — by Gil Hoffman: “The Blue and White Party of former IDF chiefs of staff Benny Gantz, Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi and former finance minister Yair Lapid will make Diaspora affairs a top priority, sources in the party revealed on Tuesday… The platform talks about the importance for all Jews to feel welcome and at home in Israel. After years of rifts between Netanyahu and progressive U.S. Jews, Blue and White vows to ‘build on and reinforce the bridge between Israel and different communities around the world.'” [JPost; ToI]
Could Ayman Odeh Determine Who Becomes Israel’s Next Prime Minister? — by Elhanan Miller: “‘Our main goal is to change the government in Israel,’ Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List, told a Jewish audience at a packed event in Jerusalem this week… ‘If we see a minimum of goodwill on these issues, we will study the matter seriously and decide which candidate to recommend to the president [as prime minister],’ Odeh said. ‘We are here to make a difference and influence government. If we find a partner, we would love to become influential in Israeli politics.'” [Tablet]
REPORT — President pressured staff to grant security clearance to Ivanka Trump — by Pamela Brown and Kaitlan Collins: “President Donald Trump pressured his then-chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump a security clearance against their recommendations… After concerns were raised by the personnel office, Trump pushed Kelly and McGahn to make the decision on his daughter and son-in-law’s clearances so it did not appear as if he was tainting the process to favor his family… After both refused, Trump granted them their security clearances.” [CNN]
** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Blackstone slaps golden handcuffs on Bennett Goodman [FinancialTimes] • Tough Year For Superrich As Hundreds Drop Out Of Ranks [Forbes] • A healthcare investment fund has become one of Israel’s largest with a $660 million close [TechCrunch] • Israel market regulator sees room for cryptocurrency trading [Reuters]
SPOTLIGHT — A Rare Find In Silicon Valley: A New Woman Billionaire In Tech — by Angel Au-Yeung: “Safra Catz, the media-averse and once reluctant co-CEO of software behemoth Oracle, debuts on Forbes’ definitive ranking of the wealthiest people on earth with a net worth of $1 billion. Though she owns less than 1% of the company, her option grants—which form the majority of her fortune—have pushed her to the top 1% of the world. In 2017, Catz received $135 million in total realized pay, according to the company’s latest proxy, making her one of the world’s highest-paid female executives. She is one of only 61 self-made female billionaires in the world, who make up less than 3% of the billionaires on the list.” [Forbes]
MUELLER WATCH — Alan Dershowitz hasn’t written a word of his new book. It’s selling fast — by Nestor Ramos: “Selling for $9.37 in paperback, or $9.99 on Kindle, ‘The Mueller Report: The Final Report of the Special Counsel into Donald Trump, Russia, and Collusion’ is already the number three best seller in Amazon’s Civics and Citizenship category… The problem, of course, is that nobody knows when (or even if) the Mueller report will be made public — a decision that appears to be mostly up to the attorney general… ‘My intention is to drop everything’ when some version of the report is released, Dershowitz said in an interview on Monday. ‘I’m a fast reader, and a fast writer. Even though I’m 80 years old, I still do things quickly.’ Fact check: True. Approximately 3 seconds elapsed between the time I sent Dershowitz an e-mail and my phone rang. Dershowitz said his publisher, Skyhorse, came to him with the proposal.”
“’I’m not doing this on behalf of Donald Trump or the Republicans,’ Dershowitz said. ‘I may be supportive of the Mueller report. I have no pre-disposition about it.’ … Dershowitz said he wasn’t sure how many copies had been pre-sold, and was surprised to learn that it was already labeled a best-seller.”[BostonGlobe]
PROFILE — The Renegade Street Photographer Of Boro Park — by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt: “I first meet Kaye at Boro Park’s Cafe Paris, a popular lunch spot, frequented that afternoon by Hasidic housewives. He shows up in a velvet yarmulke and a v-neck sweater, cleanly-shaven and around the age of forty — and asks me to please refer to him as ‘Avi Kaye,’ and not by his real name. ‘In order to achieve my goal of documenting Hasidic life, it’s best for me to keep my identity private,’ Kaye tells me over coffee. ‘If my identity was revealed, it would go viral among the Hasidim, and that would affect my ability to do what I do.'” [Forward]
TALK OF THE TOWN — $6.3M Raised for Synagogue Massacre Families, Survivors: “A $6.3 million fund established in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre will primarily be split among the families of the dead and survivors of the worst attack on Jews in U.S. history. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s ‘Victims of Terror Fund’ took in donations from more than 8,500 people, companies and organizations in 48 states and at least eight countries. Organizers say about $5.3 million will be given to those most directly impacted by the attack. Most of the balance will go to the three impacted congregations, with some of the money funding repairs to the heavily damaged synagogue.” [NYT]
SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT — “On Monday, March 4, some of history’s most unforgettable characters descended upon the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York City when, as part of Lincoln Center Theater’s annual benefit, a one-night-only concert of the classic musical Camelot was staged, directed by Bartlett Sher and featuring actors including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Solea Pfeiffer, Danny Burstein, Ruthie Ann Miles, and more. The evening also drew an impressive group of guests to both the performance and the dinner held after at the Grand Promenade of David Geffen Hall. Among those in attendance were Hillary Rodham Clinton, Laura and Lloyd Blankfein, Fareed Zakaria, and Daryl Roth as well as the evening’s co-chairs, Andy and Betsy Kenny Lack, Brooke and Daniel Neidich, and Caryn Zucker.” [TownAndCountry]
SPOTTED IN DC — Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) with Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) leaving Morton’s on Connecticut Avenue last night. [Pic]
SCENE LAST NIGHT — The Jewish Book Council hosted the 68th annual National Jewish Book Awards last night at Bohemian National Hall in NYC. The event, hosted by Unorthodox podcaster Stephanie Butnick, awarded the Book of the Year to Hunting the Truth by Beate and Serge Klarsfeld.
SPOTTED: Jane and Stuart Weitzman, Joseph Telushkin, Carol and Jerry Levin, Wayne Hoffman, Naomi Firestone-Teeter, William Daroff, Francine Klagsbrun, Edith Everett, Alan and Constance Kadish, Abe Steinberger, Lynn Schusterman, Louise Mirrer, Alana Newhouse, Ami Eden, Andres Spokoiny, Cindy Spiegel, Jack Wertheimer, Alan Mittleman, Ari Mittleman, Erika Dreifus, Dana Raucher.
ALSO IN NYC — IfNotNow co-founder Simone Zimmerman, Avi Mayer, Assistant Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, and Carly Pildis participated in a panel discussion moderated by Bari Weiss at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan last night. [Pic]
BIRTHDAYS: Centenarian, known as “Philadelphia Phil,” the founder of a successful advertising agency, he achieved fame during the Eagles 2018 run to a Super Bowl championship, Philip Basser turns 101… Former chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States (1987-2006), Alan Greenspan turns 93… Writer, lecturer and emeritus professor of Jewish communal service at HUC-JIR Los Angeles, Steven Windmueller turns 77… Actor, writer, director, producer and political activist, he directed “When Harry Met Sally” and “A Few Good Men,” Rob Reiner turns 72… Television personality, author and libertarian pundit, known for his career on both ABC News and Fox Business Channel, he is a winner of 19 Emmy Awards, John Stossel turns 72… Musical theatre lyricist and composer, winner of three Oscars, three Grammys and received six Tony Award nominations, Stephen Schwartz turns 71… Actor, comedian and sports show host, he converted to Judaism upon marrying Roseanne Barr in 1990, Tom Arnold turns 60… Aliza Tendler turns 54… Founder of Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto which he sold to Unilever in 2014, he has since co-founded Iris Brands, Joshua Hochschuler turns 46…
Head of Innovation Communication at Bloomberg LP, Chaim Haas turns 44… Senior director for business development and client services at NYC-based Jewish Communal Fund, Michelle Lebowitz turns 43… Former football quarterback who played on six NFL teams (2001-2012), he is member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Sage Rosenfels turns 41… Managing director at Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm, he was the body man (2001-2006) and then deputy chief of staff (2008-2009) for former President George W. Bush, Blake L. Gottesman turns 39… Fourth generation developer, owner, and operator of commercial real estate throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, Daniel Klein turns 38… Director of marketing and communications at Zionist Organization of America, Natalie Lazaroff turns 30 (h/t Playbook)… Israeli fashion model who has appeared in international campaigns for many world-wide brands, Esti Ginzburg turns 29… Artist Tova Suissa turns 28… 3L student at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, she was a member of the Israel Project’s Tower Tomorrow Fellowship, Riley Clafton turns 24… Theodore Furchtgott… Sandra Brown… Nelson Katz…
WASHINGTON – The House Foreign Affairs Committee will vote next Wednesday on the Taylor Force Act, a critical step in advancing the legislation into law, a Congressional aide…
Spotlight on Dermer: Investigations against the PM and his associates have accelerated this week, along with news reports about some of the suspicions. As Netanyahu’s confidants, lawyers Isaac…
The Submarine Affair: After two days of guessing and hinting as to whom the Police detained in their investigation of the Submarine Affair, the court-imposed gag order expired…
The noose tightens around Bibi: Netanyahu never really gets any quality time off. And, as has happened in the past, his historic visit to London was disrupted by…
Just as PM Netanyahu took off to London, two new television-sponsored polls were published, giving him some troubling news for the weekend. If elections were held today, both…
Netanyahu’s off to London: After an extravagant Australian celebration marking 100 years since the Battle of Beersheba, the Prime Minister is heading to more historical festivities. Netanyahu and…