Good Friday morning!
At the U.N., the General Assembly is set to adopt eight anti-Israel resolutions.
In the U.K., Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced he would step down before the next election after the party suffered a humiliating defeat in yesterday’s election, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives captured a decisive parliamentary majority. More below.
In Doha on Saturday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Ivanka Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will attend the annual Doha Forum conference.
In Teaneck, New Jersey, on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is attending a NORPAC fundraiser hosted by AIPAC president Mort Fridman.
Best wishes to former NBA commissioner David Stern after he was hospitalized yesterday following a brain hemorrhage
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U.K. ELECTION RESULTS — Tories win their largest majority since 1987
Details: In a stunningly wide victory, the Conservative Party took a commanding majority in Parliament. With one seat left to declare, the results stand at the Conservatives with 364, Labour with 203, the SNP with 48, and Liberal Democrats with 11. The Conservative majority, the largest since Margaret Thatcher’s win in 1987, gave Prime Minister Boris Johnson a resounding victory. The result all but ensures the finalization of Brexit by the year’s end.
Boris declares victory:Speaking in his constituency of Uxbridge, Johnson declared, “this one nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate…not just to get Brexit done, but to unite this country and move it forward.”
Conceding defeat:Speaking after keeping his seat in Islington, Labour lader Jeremy Corbyn admitted, “this is obviously a very disappointing night.” Corbyn, who surprised many in agreeing to an election, announced his intention to resign as party leader before the next general election.
Media critic: At one point, his voice rising in anger, Corbyn thanked his wife “for all she puts up with because of the way in which the media behaves towards me, towards her, and, indeed, towards my party in this election campaign.”
Dems, take note: Former Vice President Joe Biden pointed to Corbyn’s defeat to tout his electability credentials against President Donald Trump. “Boris Johnson is winning in a walk… Look what happens when the Labour Party moves so, so far to the left. It comes up with ideas that are not able to be contained within a rational basis quickly,” Biden said during a fundraiser hosted by tech entrepreneur Jon Fisher and his wife Darla Fisher in San Francisco.
Love’s Labour lost: Placing the blame squarely on party leadership, the Jewish Labour Movement issued a statement saying “Because of the public rejection of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, the confused position on Brexit, or its total failure to tackle anti-Jewish racism, the Party must truly listen.”
In a statement, Campaign Against Antisemitism Chief Executive Gideon Falter said, “Not for the first time, our nation has stood firm against antisemitism….The faith that British Jews showed in our country has been vindicated.”
On Twitter, Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis, who made the unusual decision to call Corbyn unfit for office, wrote, “This election may be over, but concerns about the resurgence of antisemitism very much remain.”
Trump and Boris, the friendship: President Trump congratulated Johnson in a tweet, saying “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!”
On Thursday, Politico reported how Trump made the calculated move to keep his distance from Johnson during the election.
Disappointing night for some: MP Jo Swinson resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats after narrowly losing her seat to an SNP candidate by 149 votes. Former Labour MP Luciana Berger, who ran as a Liberal Democrat, failed to flip the Tory-held seat in Finchley and Golders Green — deemed to be the largest Jewish district in the U.K. Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who also serves in Johnson’s cabinet, lost to Lib Dem Sarah Olney for the second time, after winning the seat back in 2017.
Blame game: Labour MP Ruth Smeeth, who lost her seat in Stoke, called on Corbyn to quit and blamed his handling of antisemitism for her defeat. “We are the racist party because of the actions of our leader,” Smeeth said.
INTERVIEW — Nir Barkat gets behind Netanyahu in Likud leadership race
Knesset Member Nir Barkat (Likud) discussed the current political crisis in Israel, his future in the Likud party and U.S.-Israel relations in an interview with JI’s Jacob Kornbluh during a visit to the U.S. this week.
Commenting on Israel’s political crisis, as voters are headed to the ballot box for the third time in less than a year, Barkat maintained, “That’s the price of democracy, and unfortunately we’re paying it right now.” The former Jerusalem mayor described the yearlong deadlock as a “sad” moment for Israel and “tough” for him personally. He said he is someone who seeks common ground and unity, and regrets yet another divisive and ugly campaign. “My heart is, in many ways, quite broken — because we wanted to see how we work together,” he explained. “Hopefully it will change, but it’s hard times, really hard times.”
Likud primaries: The former two-term mayor of Jerusalem was elected to the Knesset in the April 9 vote, and is already polling at the top as the next Likud leader. But he will be backing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against a challenge by MK Gideon Sa’ar in this month’s primary out of “respect” to the incumbent leader. While he refused to question Sa’ar’s leadership skills, Barkat predicted that not only will Netanyahu win big on December 26, but his colleague will also “pay a price in the future” because he’s “broken the rules” and violated the “values” of the Likud party by running against Netanyahu.
Next in line? Recent polls place Barkat in first place or a close second to succeed Netanyahu as the next Likud leader among primary voters. He’s a close ally of the prime minister and his wife, Sara. Likud voters appreciate people with demonstrated experience and loyalty to their leader, Barkat said of his dramatic rise in popularity with party voters. “I’m a team player,” he added.
Appealing to American Jews: “As mayor of Jerusalem, I worked with all of the Jewish leaders in a bipartisan way, focusing on the common denominator between all people, and Jerusalem stands as a city that belongs to all people,” Barkat said. “In my heart, I’m a connector. I seek cooperation. I’m not a divider. I am Israeli all my life, but my business orientation is American. I know how to do business in America. And so the goal is to connect all Jews to Israel and to connect Israel to all Diaspora Jews. And I see this as one of the more important roles I will play in the future.”
2020 watch: The hawkish lawmaker said he’s “very optimistic” that Likud will maintain a working relationship with whoever is in the White House, even a progressive Democrat. “The United States and Israel are strategic allies. We have had Democratic and Republican presidents and we had Likud and non-Likud prime ministers, and throughout those times we always found historically the common denominator,” Barkat explained. “And so I believe — and it’s also based on history — that we will always work together as allies in spite of some potential differences here and there. You know, every married couple, sometimes, has their challenges. We must know how to overcome those challenges. I am not concerned.”
COMBATING HATE — De Blasio recommits to protecting NYC’s Jewish community
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged on Thursday to increase efforts to root out hate speech and antisemitism in the aftermath of Tuesday’s terror attack at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey. The attack is being described as the deadliest targeted attack against members of the tri-state Jewish community in history.
Calling it out and acting: “This is a moment to be really, profoundly concerned, but history is not a teacher only of the negative, history teaches us something else, which is these horrible trends, these horrible gathering storms, can be stopped if people stand up and refuse to accept the reality,” de Blasio said during a press conference with Orthodox Jewish community leaders in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. “We need to be in the vanguard of stopping this hatred, turning the tide. And that is what we will do.”
High alert: De Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told Jewish Insider they were committed to increasing police presence around synagogues and Jewish establishments as long as necessary. “Until this investigation is absolutely concluded, we are going to be in a state of high alert,” de Blasio told JI’s Jacob Kornbluh. “And we’re going to assess the broader backdrop — with this new unit focused on racially and ethnically motivated extremism — of what kind of threats may be emerging over the horizon. This presence will be ongoing as we make that assessment.”
Shifting blame: The mayor maintained that the growing threat of antisemitism comes from the political right. “Where have the worst antisemitic attacks — before two days ago — happened in the United States of America in recent memory? Pittsburgh, Poway, and other parts of the country. And who were the perpetrators? White supremacists. We know this,” de Blasio explained to JI.
De Blasio on the White House’s executive order to combat antisemitism on campus: “I have, honestly, mixed feelings about it. I have not read the exact proper document, but I have mixed feelings. Anything that confronts antisemitism, I support. But I worry, at the same time — as an American — about the balance we always strike in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, particularly on college campuses,” he said. “So this one leads me to real questions about whether that balance has been struck properly. Someone who disagrees with the Israeli government on a given policy, I don’t consider that antisemitic. If someone bears hatred in their heart towards the Jewish people, that’s antisemitism. So we have to understand where that line is.”
Hate continues: Hateful graffiti was found scrawled on the wall of the Chabad of Chelsea in New York City on Thursday morning. Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to offer assistance in the investigation.
Local hero: Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, who was killed inside the Jersey City supermarket on Tuesday, gave his life to enable a wounded customer, Chaim Deutsch, to escape.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports, the city is grappling with the ramifications of the attack that “shattered the goodwill” between longtime residents and their new Hasidic neighbors.
According to local news station Westchester 12, the Orthodox Jewish community in New York has raised nearly $50,000 for the family of the detective killed during this week’s attack.
EXCLUSIVE — Senators join bipartisan antisemitism task force
Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and James Lankford (R-OK) will announce today the inaugural group of 26 members on the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, JI’s Jacob Kornbluh reports. The two lawmakers launched the panel in October, on the one-year anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre.
Bipartisan list: Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Carper (D-DE), Rob Portman (R-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tim Scott (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Todd Young (R-IN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Doug Jones (D-AL), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Mike Braun (R-IN).
United together: “With antisemitism on the rise here in the U.S. and around the world, we are taking a stand against this disturbing ideology and violent acts of hatred,” Rosen and Lankford said in a statement shared with JI. “We are proud to be joined by colleagues on both sides of the aisle who are committed to working together to prevent antisemitism before it starts, and to educate, explain, and empower our communities to combat antisemitism.”
DRIVING THE CONVO — Debate continues over executive order on antisemitism
The ramifications of Trump’s new executive order on antisemitism continued to be hotly debated on Thursday across various media outlets.
Legal defense: Law professor Daniel Hemel argued in The New York Times that the executive order has a strong legal basis and precedent. “Jews can suffer national-origin discrimination regardless of whether Jewishness is a nationality,” he writes.
Quashing speech: Masha Gessen wrote in The New Yorker that this move is just the latest in Trump “positioning himself as a pro-Zionist anti-Semite.” Gessen opined that the executive order “will not protect anyone against anti-Semitism, and it’s not intended to. Its sole aim is to quash the defense — and even the discussion — of Palestinian rights.”
Rabbinical take: Writing in The Washington Post, Rabbi Jill Jacobs posits that the executive order is both too narrow and too broad: The measure “is too narrow in training its sights only on academia,” Jacobs wrote. And it is too broad in “threatening to suppress speech that may be reflexively labeled as bigoted if, for instance, it attacks Israel.”
👨💼 Philanthropy Power: In The Washington Post, professor and author Lila Corwin Berman points out how Ron Lauder has changed the pretense of American Jewish philanthropists, who have traditionally operated outside the fray of politics, by launching his new effort to confront antisemitism in American politics. [WashPost]
🧕 Seat at the Table:Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) explains to John Nichols in Progressive Magazine why she sought a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee after winning her primary, and how she convinced Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) — who would become chair of the committee — to grant her the opportunity to influence foreign policy matters. [ProgressiveMag]
🙏 Matters of Faith: Rabbi Michael Gotleib writes in The Wall Street Journal about his experiences teaching and offering counsel at a local church in Los Angeles, while also serving as a full-time synagogue rabbi, saying he hopes that “a revitalized Christianity can help invigorate contemporary Judaism.” [WSJ]
AROUND THE WEB
👩 Vote of Confidence: Oracle Corp. Executive Chairman Larry Ellison said on Thursday that Safra Catz will stay on as sole CEO after the passing of co-CEO Mark Hurd.
🏦 New Opportunities: St. Louis-based Stifel Financial Corp. is opening an office in Tel Aviv to focus on investment banking and institutional services.
🚄 Next Stop: The high-speed Jerusalem-Tel Aviv rail line will finally begin to run next Saturday night, stopping first at Ben-Gurion Airport and arriving in Tel Aviv 32 minutes later.
📺 Hollywood: Amazon has renewed the award-winning “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” for a fourth season.
📉 Jumping Ship? The New York Postreports that top executives at Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor are looking to exit the company after its IPO flopped.
🤝 Warming Ties: Saudi Arabia is quietly trying to ease tensions with Iran amid concerns over its economy, The Wall Street Journal reports.
🕊️ Needs New Friends:Seth Frantzman argues in The Daily Beast that Israel has made bad bets when it comes to Mideast allies, and now finds itself facing down Turkey and Iran without strong regional backing.
💰 Palace Intrigue: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo personally intervened to order the release of about $115 million in economic aid to Lebanon that had been held up due to a divide within the administration. Pompeo and senior officials at the Pentagon argued that the money would help Lebanese institutions fight back against Hezbollah’s influence.
📺 Heard Last Night: Professor Alan Dershowitz refused to confirm that he discussed joining Trump’s impeachment legal team while at the White House Hanukkah party. During an interview with the Jewish Broadcasting Service on Thursday, Dershowitz said, “It would be a great honor to defend the presidency.”
👳 Losing Battle: The Quebec Court of Appeal refused to suspend a law banning the wearing of religious symbols by public employees after the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims argued the law was outside Quebec’s jurisdiction.
🖋️ Top-Op: ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt attacked Fox News for “not willing to take seriously the spread of anti-Semitism on its airwaves,” listing a number of the outlet’s hosts and guests who have employed antisemitic tropes on-air.
🛐 Courting Faith: The Trump 2020 campaign is slated to launch a range of faith-based outreach initiatives next year, including Evangelicals for Trump, Catholics for Trump and Jewish Voices for Trump.
👩💼 Right Hand: Politico profiles Patti Harris, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s longtime right-hand woman who plays an “inextricable role… in all facets of his life.”
🍎 Health Nut: A letter from Mike Bloomberg’s doctor proclaims that the 77-year-old presidential candidate is in “outstanding health.”
👨⚖️ Tough Time: Jailed ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has requested to serve the remainder of his sentence on house arrest, writing in a letter to a federal judge that prison has been a “powerful and painful humbling punishment.”
⌨️ Walk Back: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) deleted a tweet blaming the Jersey City terror attack on “white supremacy” after users pointed out that the killers were Black Hebrew Israelites.
🇦🇹 Across the Ocean: The Austrian Parliament is poised to unanimously vote to condemn the BDS movement as antisemitic next month.
👴🏻 Giving Back: 94-year-old Stanley Chen, a Chinese immigrant now living with his wife in Palo Alto, California, is giving a $20,000 annual gift to support the new Moldaw Residences Employee Education Scholarship Program, to show his appreciation for the Jewish people he has known and worked with since coming to America.
📚 Book Shelf: The New York Times has published a review of Norman Lebrecht’s upcoming book Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947, as the globe “is yet again beset by anti-Semitism.”
WINE OF THE WEEK
JI’s wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews Jezreel Alfa Special Reserve 2017:
“Sitting with old friends and family at the United Nations Plaza Grill in New York City demanded a fitting wine. We needed a wine that would not overpower the light, fun evening of storytelling and planning. I found a wine I had not heard of, but from the winery Jezreel, a winery run by an old friend in Kibbutz Hanaton in Northern Israel. This wine carried the strong recommendation of our sommelier, so I ordered it. It would not have been possible for the glove to have fit better!”
“The Jezreel Alfa Special Reserve 2017 is an explosive wine. The front is infused with tastes of olallieberry. The mid palate packs a cranberry tartness and the finish is well balanced. This wine shows how a masterful winemaker can blend three diverse grapes Syrah, Argaman and Cabernet Sauvignon, into a masterpiece. Drink with a juicy hamburger and open a bottle tonight, if possible.”
Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, now a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Brookings Institution, Ben Shalom Bernanke turns 66 on Friday…
FRIDAY: Former New York State senator (1985-2012), Suzanne “Suzi” Oppenheimer turns 85… California-based real estate developer and former co-owner of the Oakland Athletics, Lewis Wolff turns 84… Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood since 1988 (now emeritus) and a member of the Executive Rabbinic Cabinet of J Street, John Rosove turns 70… Executive chairwoman and chief media officer of Eko, Nancy Tellem turns 67… Academic, hedge fund manager, investor, writer and adjunct professor at Columbia University, Joel Greenblatt turns 62…
Assistant secretary for management at the U.S. Department of the Treasury since 2018, David F. Eisner turns 62… Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2017 (D-MD-8), following ten years as a Maryland state senator from Montgomery County, Jamie Raskin turns 57… Real estate developer and owner of Fontainebleau Development, Jeffrey M. Soffer turns 52… Co-founder and principal of The Lead PR, LLC, a NYC based public relations firm, Jeffrey W. Schneider turns 51… Mayor of New Rochelle, New York since 2006, Noam Bramson turns 50… Manager of global communications and public affairs for Google, Riva Litman Sciuto turns 34… President emerita at UCLA Faculty Women’s Club, Bette Billet…
SATURDAY: Dean emeritus at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and long-time leader of the Young Israel of Mosholu Parkway (Bronx, N.Y.), Rabbi Zevulun Charlop turns 90… President of The George Washington University (1988-2007), he is now an attorney in the D.C. office of international law firm Rimon Law P.C., Stephen Joel Trachtenberg turns 82… Former Commissioner of the San Diego Superior Court (1989-2008), Jerome Edward Varon turns 80… Co-founder and chairman of Creative Artists Agency (1975-1995), then president of the Walt Disney Company (1995-1997), Michael S. Ovitz turns 73… President of Bard College since 1975, he is also music director of the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Leon Botstein turns 73… Retired New York State assistant housing commissioner, he also served as a military chaplain for 38 years, Jacob Goldstein turns 73…
Retired SVP at Warner Brothers, an advocate for Israel on the Platform Committee of the Democratic party on the national and state levels, Howard Welinsky turns 70… Director of government affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Robin Schatz turns 68… Member of Knesset, first for the Kadima party (2006-2012) and more recently for Likud (since 2015), he chairs the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Avi Dichter turns 67… Co-founder of several companies, including Beanstalk, Sixpoint Partners and Vringo, author of NYTimes bestseller “Let There Be Water,” Seth ‘Yossi’ Siegel turns 66… Hedge fund manager John Paulson turns 64… Owner of Bundles of Boston, Sheree Boloker turns 63… Martina Yisraela Rieffer turns 61… Founder of the Center for Class Action Fairness, Ted Frank turns 51… Partner and COO of Chicago-based Resolute Consulting, David Smolensky turns 51… Senior Rabbi of the Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills, California, Kalman Topp turns 47… Safety and special teams player for the NFL’s New England Patriots, Nathan “Nate” Ebner turns 31… Matt Kosman turns 31… Senior media relations associate at Chabad, Tzemach Feller…
SUNDAY: Polish-born violin prodigy, Ida Haendel turns 91… Former member of the New York State Assembly (1970-1993), attorney general of New York (1994) and member of the New York City Council (2002-2013), Oliver Koppell turns 79… EVP of the New York Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik turns 73… Film, stage and television actress and voice artist, best known for her role in the 1990s Fox sitcom “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose,” Melanie Chartoff turns 69… Russian oligarch, a childhood friend of Vladimir Putin, Arkady Rotenberg turns 68… Associate lecturer in religious studies at the University of Wyoming, Seth Ward turns 67…
CEO and founder of BizBash, a resource marketplace for event organizers, David Adler turns 66… Executive chairman of South Africa’s Resolve Communications, he was the leader of the opposition in the South African National Assembly (1997-2007), then South African ambassador to Argentina (2009-2012), Tony Leon turns 63… Actress, singer and songwriter, Helen Slater turns 56… Television and movie producer, Norman J. Grossfeld turns 56… Rabbi serving communities in California’s Central Valley, Paul Gordon turns 49… Actor, writer and musician, Adam Brody turns 40… Mayor of Bal Harbour, Florida, Gabriel Groisman turns 39… Senior account manager at GumGum, Julie Winkelman turns 29…