Daily Kickoff

White supremacists working to sow Jewish discord | Michael Oren criticizes Bibi | WSJ profiles Teaneck yeshiva studying classics

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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TALK OF OUR NATION — White supremacists stole my rabbi husband’s identity — Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, an editor at the Forward, writes in The New York Times about an antisemitic incident she and her husband, Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt, experienced after returning from a vacation to Europe. 

As the Goldschmidts landed in New York, Avital said she turned on her phone to find that a Twitter profile under the name “David Goldberg” was using a photo of her husband with the bio reading: “Orthodox Jew against the apartheid state of Israel.” She compared the experience to feeling as if someone in France had shouted ‘Juif!’ at them on the street. The identity theft, Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg reported earlier this week, was part of a larger scheme organized on 4chan — an unregulated online forum that has attracted white supremacists — using the identities of Jews of all backgrounds to promote antisemitic and anti-Israel content. According to the 4chan user behind the movement, the goal was to “subvert Jews themselves” and to “create infighting as righty Jews will accuse lefty Jews of being fake profiles. This creates more division.”

The campaign of letting the Jews “fight it out” was boosted this week by President Donald Trump’s charge of “disloyalty” against American Jews who vote for Democrats, Chizhik-Goldschmidt noted. “Some antisemites want us to be afraid of our physical safety… But others are more insidious,” she wrote. “They don’t beat us or shout at us on the street. Instead they pit our already anxious community against itself.” [NYTimes]

TRUMP’S GAME — The president’s repeated attacks on Jewish Democrats and attempt to paint Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as the face of the Democratic Party have “very little” to do with the Jews, BuzzFeed’s Miriam Elder writes. “The focus on Israel… resonates with Trump’s most reliable voters — white evangelical Christians.” 

Robert Jeffress, the controversial pastor who delivered a prayer at the opening ceremony for the Jerusalem embassy last year, told BuzzFeed, “The reason for our strong support of Israel is we take seriously the words God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12 that ‘I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you,’ and evangelicals want to be on the right side of history when it comes to Israel.”

UNINTENDED OUTCOME — The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reported on Thursday that while Trump is using Israel as a political football and attacks against the media to appeal to his evangelical base, “a growing number of evangelicals are turning to the Internet for information and finding anti-Jewish beliefs there… In churches across America, evangelicals say they don’t believe they can get unbiased facts from any traditional news outlet that Trump has branded ‘fake news’… Instead, they seek news from alternative websites and YouTube videos in which fiery pastors decry Jewish influence.” 

JARED INSIDER — “Ivanka and Jared publicly missing in action again” was the headline on CNN’s website Thursday after it was pointed out that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were silent once again as the president stirred up yet another controversy this week. 

The influential couple — both White House staffers — have been repeatedly out of town when Trump has dealt with the biggest controversies of his presidency. When leaks of infighting within the administration were in the news cycleJewish Insider reported at the time, they were celebrating Passover at the Four Seasons Whistler in Canada. 

According to CNN, Jared and Ivanka returned to D.C. from a weekend family vacation in Wyoming this week, but held a light work schedule. “The White House declined to comment on whether Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner have addressed those comments with the president,” CNN reported

HEARD YESTERDAY — Former MK and former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said on a conference call hosted by American Friends of Likud (AFL) on Thursday that it was unwise of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to not comment on Trump’s “very problematic” statement about American Jews. 

“I would prefer that we would be smart and not just right and and issue a statement saying [that] on one hand, we deeply appreciate everything this president has done for the State of Israel — on Jerusalem and the peace process, in the U.N., on the Golan Heights, and especially on the Iran issue — we deeply appreciate it,” Oren said. “But we would also appreciate not calling into question the loyalty of American Jews who choose to vote according to their conscience, because that’s the nature of democracy.”

But the former ambassador added that this was “a very tough call for the prime minister” to make. “I’m sure that there’s a deep feeling that here, this president has been with us on all of these issues and we should not interject ourselves, as Israelis, into a domestic, American political situation; [that] we should not do anything that in any way may distance him from us, and let’s not lose [sight of] the fact that among the Democrats, they have not truly banished from their midst those people who have expressed extreme anti-Israel, and even antisemitic views. So there’s that consideration as well.” 

Oren also stressed that Trump was not the first U.S. president to drag American Jews and Israel into a deeply polarized political situation. “It was President Obama who, in his speech before the Adas Israel Synagogue in the summer of [2015] — prior to the voting on the Iran nuclear deal — made the case that he represented Jewish values, and [that] if you, American Jews, adhere to Jewish values, then you will support the president and support the Iran nuclear deal. And p.s., [that view was] not shared by the democratically-elected prime minister of Israel.” He added, “This does not, in any way, diminish the problems that aroused by the president’s tweet.”

Dennis Ross and Stuart Eizenstat write… “Israel should resist Trump’s efforts to politicize support: Perhaps any prime minister of Israel would have sought to take advantage of Trump’s readiness to support Israel symbolically, and certainly Benjamin Netanyahu has done so. But at a time when Trump seeks to make Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib the face of the Democratic Party, the prime minister of Israel should not be abetting that policy.” [TheHill]

WATCH — In a video released on Thursday, MK Stav Shaffir (Democratic Union) pleads to U.S. Democrats to join forces with Israeli progressives to counter the BDS movement. “BDS doesn’t want peace, it wants an end to Israel. It sows fear and isolation, pushing people to the right,” she said. “Instead of uniting people who seek peace, the boycott movement divides us and makes the two-state solution harder to achieve… I know, not all Democrats are the same, just like you should know, not all Israelis are Netanyahu… It’s time we build an alliance based on democracy, equality, freedom and peace.” [Video]

HEARD ON CABLE — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday: “As a Jew, I find the idea that the president of the United States would suggest that if I don’t support him, that somehow I’m either being disloyal to Israel, disloyal to the United States… The president is severely misguided if he thinks that his demonstration of such a profound lack of morals, his disdain for the stranger among us, is somehow consistent with Jewish values, or the Jews are a monolithic voting bloc. We’re not. And I think you’re going to find Jews rejecting this president and all he stands for in record numbers.” [Video]

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), told an Alabama radio station this week that the “growing influence of the Islamic religion” in the Democratic Party will eventually lead to the party becoming “very strongly anti-Jewish and anti-Israel.” Brooks said that “Muslims, more so than most people, have great animosity towards Israel and the Jewish faith,” and their influence will “ultimately become the dominant influence within the Democratic Party.” 

REPORT — The Justice Department sent immigration judges a white nationalist blog post with antisemitic attacks — by Hamed Aleaziz: “An email sent from the Justice Department to all immigration court employees this week included a link to an article posted on a white nationalist website… that included antisemitic attacks on judges. The briefings are sent to court employees every weekday and include links to various immigration news items… A letter Thursday from union chief Ashley Tabaddor to James McHenry, the director of the Justice Department’s EOIR, said the link to the VDare post angered many judges.” [BuzzFeed]

TERROR ATTACK — An Israeli was killed and two were seriously woundedon Friday by an explosion near the West Bank settlement of Dolev. Rina, 17, succumbed to her wounds on site, while her father and teenage brother were airlifted to a hospital. Sources indicate that a group of terrorists approached the family from Lod, who were visiting a natural spring, and threw an improvised explosive device at them. The IDF has launched a manhunt to locate the terrorists responsible for the attack.  

TALK OF THE REGION — In an interview with Russian-language Israeli Channel 9, Netanyahu hinted that Israel was behind recent strikes against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq. “We are operating — not just if needed, we are operating in many areas against a state that wants to annihilate us. Of course I gave the security forces a free hand and instructed them to do anything necessary to thwart Iran’s plans.”

The New York Times reported Thursday that Israel was behind a recent airstrike on a weapons depot in Iraq. Two senior American officials told the newspaper that Israel was responsible for several strikes “on munitions storehouses for Iranian-backed groups in Iraq.” The bombings are the first known Israeli airstrike in Iraq since 1981. A senior U.S. official told the Timesthat Israel’s actions “could get the United States military removed from Iraq.”

Netanyahu met with Mark Green, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator, at his office in Jerusalem. The two men “discussed the unwavering alliance between Israel and the United States, and their desire to collaborate more closely on mutual development priorities in the Middle East and Africa,” the agency said in a readout of the meeting. “The two officials also discussed Iran’s malign influence throughout the world.” [Pic]

The Palestinian Authority said on Thursday that Israel handed over just over half a billion dollars (two billion shekels) from frozen tax transfers to help the PA deal with its deep financial crisis. In February, the Israeli government decided to withhold around $10 million per month from the money it collects on the PA’s behalf. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said at the time that he would refuse to accept partial transfers. 

ON THE HILL — New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced on Thursday more than $178 million in anti-terrorism funding to protect “high-threat, high-density” areas. Gillibrand said that the funds will “provide nonprofits and places of worship that are at risk of being targeted with the resources they need to enhance their security and help prevent attacks.” 

SCENE YESTERDAY — Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) met with a group of rabbis in Little Rock, Arkansas on Thursday ”to discuss the United States’ strong relationship with Israel and criminal justice issues.” [Pic]

2020 BRIEFS — Joe Biden’s poll numbers mask an enthusiasm challenge… Kamala Harris raised over $1 million at Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard fundraisers… Bernie Sanders unveiled $16 trillion ‘green new deal’ to avert climate catastrophe and create 20 million jobs. 

** Good Friday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip? 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: Howard Milstein shaking up Golf Magazine [NYPost]• Theater legend Hal Prince leaves behind at least $5.2 million [NYPost] • Taylor Swift says she’ll re-record her catalog after Scooter Braun deal [Billboard] • Samsung leases six floors in Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Town [Globes• Fed up: Major landlords consider exiting New York [Crains]

SPOTLIGHT — Oracle directors give blessing to shareholder lawsuit against Larry Ellison and Safra Catz — by Ron Miller: “Three years after closing a $9.3 billion deal to acquire NetSuite, several Oracle board members have written an extraordinary letter to the Delaware Court, approving a shareholder lawsuit against company executives Larry Ellison and Safra Catz over the 2016 deal… According to Reuters’ Alison Frankel, three board members, including former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, sent a letter on August 15th to Sam Glasscock III, vice chancellor for the Court of the Chancery in Georgetown, Delaware, approving the suit as members of a special board of directors entity known as the Special Litigation Committee.” [TechCrunch]

MEDIA WATCH — New York Times editor apologizes for ‘offensive’ tweets deemed antisemitic — by Jessica Chasmar: “A New York Timeseditor apologized Thursday morning and deleted several ‘offensive’ tweets following a Breitbart News report that accused him of making ‘antisemitic and racist’ posts. ‘I have deleted tweets from a decade ago that are offensive. I am deeply sorry,’ wrote Tom Wright-Piersanti, an editor on The Times’ politics desk.” [WashTimes]

DEEP DIVE — What’s killing Israel’s lone soldiers? — by Judy Maltz and Yaniv Kubovich: “At any given time, close to 3,500 soldiers whose parents live outside the country serve in the IDF. They are known as ‘lone soldiers,’ with about 1,200 from North America, a similar number from the former Soviet Union and the remainder from other countries… Although soldiers whose parents do not live in Israel comprise only 2 percent of all recruits to the IDF, they accounted for a disproportionately high share of military suicides in the past year… a Haaretz investigation reveals that by the time many of them join the army, it is often too late to address their problems.”[Haaretz]

BROADWAY CRITIC — ‘Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles’ Review: Inside a Broadway … Tradition! — by Jason Zinoman: “‘Fiddler’ is at once timeless and a product of its time, but the extent to which it departed from its original source material, the Yiddish stories of Sholem Aleichem, goes mostly unexamined. The same goes for any serious grappling with criticism of the show or its film adaptation, but I never minded. Some shows deserve reverential treatment. And the love letter is, to use a word so associated with this show it influences the way many say it, tradition.” [NYTimes]

Miriam Margolyes and Maureen Lipman lead protest over ‘Jewface’ casting of West End musical — by Naomi Ackerman: “A new West End musical about a Jewish family is at the centre of a row amid claims that only non-Jewish actors have been cast. Miriam Margolyes and Maureen Lipman are among signatories to a letter from Jewish actors and directors raising concerns about ‘Falsettos,’ which opens at The Other Palace theatre next Friday. The letter also refers to casting decisions in other shows that could have led to ‘Jewface’ protests. In New York, ‘Falsettos’ — about a Jewish father who leaves his wife for a man shortly before his son’s bar mitzvah — had actors of both Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds.” [EveningExpress]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Jerusalem meets Athens in New Jersey — by Elliot Kaufman: “Graduates of Heichal HaTorah should be ‘budding Talmud scholars,’ says Rabbi Aryeh Stechler, headmaster of the all-boys Orthodox Jewish yeshiva high school. That’s not all. The boys should also appreciate ‘how unique this country’s values are, and how much America has done for the Jews.’ For two years, Heichal HaTorah has piloted the Tikvah Humanities Curriculum, a Great Books honors track for ninth- and 10th-graders studying Western history, literature and philosophy. The Tikvah Fund, the foundation behind the curriculum, believes Heichal is the only Jewish high school in America with a classical-education program.” [WSJ]

‘There’s going to be a shooting’: As this Jewish community grows, so do antisemitic threats — by Danielle Ziri: “When more than 100 car tires belonging to Jews were slashed in Lakewood, New Jersey, last week, no one in the community was particularly surprised… Orthodox residents have felt tensions grow significantly over the past few months. Much of this unease has been coming from social media, particularly a Facebook page titled Rise Up Ocean County… a scroll through the posts quickly reveals content that includes caricatures of Jews, accusations of laziness and freeloading, bashing and displays of anger toward the Jewish community on a variety of issues.” [Haaretz]

Targeted by antisemitism, Mass. Jewish leaders double down on love — by Christopher Gavin: “After an arsonist lit two fires at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Arlington-Belmont in May, Rabbi Avi Bukiet talks about what’s come out of the surreal months since with optimism… Volunteers within the center lined up to keep watch out front during its Hebrew school classes and events. The Arlington Police Department continues to swing by… In Arlington, the Chabad Center for Jewish Life will soon launch what Bukiet calls ‘the Mitz[v]ah Club,’ a volunteer group dedicated to serving the town wherever help is needed, from soup kitchens to senior centers.” [Boston]

38 former Yeshiva University students file sexual abuse lawsuit — by Ari Feldman: “A major suit has been filed against Yeshiva University by 38 men alleging that they suffered sexual abuse at the hands of school teachers and officials, which was subsequently covered up by the school’s administration. The suit, filed Thursday in a Manhattan civil court, resurrects a previous civil case against Yeshiva University, brought by many of the same plaintiffs and one of the same attorneys, which an appeals court dismissed in 2014 for having been filed after New York’s statute of limitation on such cases had run out… The new suit was filed under the Child Victim’s Act, signed into law in New York early in 2019, which extended the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse.” [Forward]

It took a protest at the husband’s house to get a Jewish woman her divorce — by Lindsay Van Dyke and Jaclyn Skurie: “Jill Robinson, a modern Orthodox woman living in Connecticut, has been waiting for her ‘get’ for over a decade, trapped and unable to move on with her life… Jill is an ‘agunot,’ [sic] the Hebrew term for a woman who’s chained to her former marriage, and the numbers of them worldwide range in the hundreds to several thousands… Enter ORA, the Organization for the Resolution of the Agunot… They use different tactics depending on the case, and in Jill’s case, they decided to hold a protest outside of her husband’s home in Florida.” [VICENews]

WINE OF THE WEEK — Lueria 2015 Shiraz — by Yitz Applbaum: “How often does it happen that you sit down to a meal with a group of friends with a bottle of wine that, after having tried it, everyone immediately agrees was the perfect bottle for that moment? Was it that particular wine that captivated the group, or would the group have perceived any wine as being the perfect one? I can tell you it seemed that the Lueria 2015 Shiraz we drank this Shabbat overlooking Mount Entabeni was the perfect wine for the perfect moment.”

“The Lueria Shiraz is produced 100% from Shiraz grapes. To get a sense for this wine: imagine your nose buried deep in cherry pie filling and your palate engulfed in freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. The long, thick, black currant finish is majestic, and the 16 months in French oak helps to tame the deep tannins of the wine. Drink this wine with friends and you will enjoy it no matter the choice of food.” [LueriaWinery]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Professor Emeritus at MIT and 1987 Nobel Prize laureate in Economics, Robert Solow turns 95… Former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles and owner of many car dealerships, Norman Bramanturns 87… Retired South African hotelier who developed destination resorts and luxury hotels, Sol Kerzner turns 84… Owner of Paper Capers in Livingston, New Jersey, Leslie Mayesh turns 72… Former MLB player (1969-1978), he was the first designated hitter in MLB history and was the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox in the Israel Baseball League, Ron Blomberg turns 71… General Counsel of Eastern Savings Bank in Hunt Valley, Maryland, Richard Zeskind turns 62…

Former member of Knesset, Eitan Cabel turns 60… Cincinnati resident, Bracha (Benita Amedeo) Radin turns 57… Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019 (D-WA-8), Kimberly Merle Schrier turns 51… Founder of Wonga, a British financial technology company, Errol Damelinturns 50… ESPN and ABC sportswriter, Jeremy Schaap turns 50… Rabbi Josh Kohl turns 49… Media editor at BuzzFeedCraig Silverman turns 42… Israeli supermodel, Mor Katzir turns 39… Senior manager in the hospital and healthcare practice of Accenture, Avigail Goldgraber turns 35… Senior advisor for policy and a speechwriter for President Donald Trump, Stephen Miller turns 34…

SATURDAY: Professor at UCSD and the 1990 Nobel Prize laureate in Economics, Harry Max Markowitz turns 92… Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University, he also teaches at Cardozo Law School and serves as rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jehuda (The Yorkville Synagogue) in NYC, Rabbi J. David Bleich turns 83… Geriatric care manager and on-line counselor for seniors in Scottsdale, Arizona, Lois G. Tager turns 78… Co-founder of Infinity Broadcasting, he was also CEO of CBS and Serius Radio, Mel Karmazin turns 76… Celebrity furniture designer, Dakota Jackson turns 70… President of Harvard University, Lawrence Seldon Bacow turns 68… Senior principal at TSD Communications, Ricki Seidman turns 64…

Co-chair of the real estate practice and the infrastructure practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, J. Philip Rosen turns 63… Essayist and long-time staff writer for The New YorkerAdam Gopnik turns 63… Actor, producer and director, Steve Guttenberg turns 61… President of Pace University, Marvin Krislov turns 59… Woodland Hills, California resident, Donna Barwaldturns 57…1986 winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Children of a Lesser God, she is the only deaf performer to have won the award, Marlee Matlin turns 54… Gawker Media founder, Nick Denton turns 53… 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate from Colorado, Andrew Romanoff turns 53… President of the Jewish United Fund in Chicago since last month, previously at the ADL, Lonnie Nasatir turns 50…

CNN political analyst, David Gregory turns 49… President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of MLB’s Texas Rangers, Jon Daniels turns 42… Founder and executive director of the bipartisan group New Politics, Emily Cherniack turns 42… CEO of the JCommerce Group, an e-commerce enterprise that services the Jewish community, David M. Perelman turns 30… Communications director at Steve Bullock for President, Galia Slayenturns 29… Director of operations at fashion brand Maree Pour Toi, Samantha Rose (“Sammy”) Feinstein turns 29… Communications director for SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, Natalie Strom

SUNDAY: Phoenix-based award-winning journalist, Leni Reiss turns 80… British novelist, he is known for writing comic novels that revolve around the dilemmas of Jewish characters, and has been described as the “Jewish Jane Austen,” Howard Jacobson turns 77… Retired after a lengthy career in hotel sales and marketing, Harley Mayersohn turns 70… Born in Haifa, musician and co-lead singer of Kiss, Gene Simmons (his birth name is Chaim Witz) turns 70… Chairman of the Board Emeritus at the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Lorin Fife turns 66… Member of the Knesset for the Blue and White party, he served as a Major General in the IDF, Elazar Stern turns 63… Former program director at the St. Paul, Minnesota JCC, Manfred “Fred” Haeusler turns 60…

Author and founder of NYC-based 5W Public Relations, Ronn D. Torossian turns 45… Assistant director of marketing at UJA-Federation of New York, Suzanne Schneider turns 43… Senior associate at venture capital firm Camber Creek, Nathaniel Loewentheil turns 34… Director of state and local government relations at multinational conglomerate Philips, Evan Hoffman turns 32… Founder and Board Chair of Everybody Dance Now!, Jackie Rotman turns 28… Deputy policy director at the House GOP Conference, Jenna Lifhits turns 26… Adam Friedman turns 25… Program Director at the American Zionist Movement, Alicia Post… Carina Grossmann

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