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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]
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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 …