Good Monday morning!
In New York yesterday, 25,000 people marched in the “No Hate, No Fear” solidarity march across the Brooklyn Bridge. More below.
The American Jewish Committee has declared today as #JewishandProud Day, urging Jews of all backgrounds to wear something to identify themselves as Jewish and post it on social media.
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DRIVING THE CONVO — Iran ramps up rhetoric after Soleimani killing
The regime in Tehran announced on Sunday that it will no longer comply with the restrictions on enriching uranium under the 2015 nuclear deal, following the killing of Qassem Soleimani on Thursday.
Stern warning: President Donald Trump threatened to strike 52 sites in Iran should the Iranian military retaliate for the U.S. killing of Soleimani. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the U.S. could also target additional Iranian leaders. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump defended his declaration about targeting Iran’s cultural sites amid criticism. “They’re allowed to kill our people,” he said. “They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.”
Advice from a general: David Petraeus, former CENTCOM commander and CIA director, suggested in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the U.S. should initiate a diplomatic plan “and talk about getting back to the nuclear agreement” after re-establishing deterrence. “We truly do want to de-escalate,” Petraeus said. “Everyone is going to lose if this continues to ratchet upward.”
Behind the scenes: Trump reportedly originally rejected the idea of killing Soleimani on December 28, but later reversed his decision after watching the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, stunning Pentagon officials. The administration officials reportedly most in favor of the targeted assassination were Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence.
On the Hill: Facing criticism for his classified notification to Congress of the strike, President Trump insisted that his tweets served as sufficient notice to satisfy all requirements of the 1973 War Powers Act. The House Foreign Affairs Committee responded on Sunday, writing in a tweet “You’re not a dictator.” Meanwhile, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers called for President Trump to consult with Congress before any further military action against Iran.
In the Senate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) filed a resolution to debate ending military operations against Iran. In the House, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced a similar resolution that would require a Congressional vote prior to further conflict with Iran.
Hot takes:New York Times columnist Tom Friedman described Soleimani as “the dumbest man in Iran and the most overrated strategist in the Middle East.” Former Sen. Joe Lieberman writes in the Wall Street Journal that Trump’s decision “deserves more bipartisan support than the begrudging or negative reactions it has received” from Democrats. Alan Dershowitz argues in WSJ that the killing was clearly lawful.
On the trail: The prospect of another war in the Middle East was the topic of the day as 2020 candidates campaigned throughout Iowa ahead of next month’s caucuses, moving the issue of national security to the forefront of the presidential primary.
Shifting message: Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is now using his military service as a shield against criticism of his lack of political experience. If elected, Buttigieg — an Iraq war veteran — would be the first Democratic president since Jimmy Carter to have served in the military. Elsewhere, former Vice President Joe Biden defended his record on the Iraq war and the killing of Osama bin Laden during a rally in Des Moines on Saturday.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Trump was “deserving of all esteem for taking determined, strong and quick action.” Ben Caspit, writing in Al-Monitor, said Israeli officials feel a “sense of satisfaction and elation” but have to react with restraint out of fear of provoking an all-out war. An Iranian official threatened yesterday that Tehran’s response would include Israeli military targets and the city of Haifa.
Slip of the tongue: During the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu described Israel as a nuclear power — something widely believed, but never officially confirmed. Netanyahu acknowledged the mistake with a smile and a nod before correcting himself by saying Israel is becoming an “energy power.”
Bonus: Richard Goldberg, a foreign policy expert who was brought on by former NSC Advisor John Bolton to serve in the National Security Council as director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction, is leaving the job for personal reasons, Bloomberg reported.
ACROSS THE BRIDGE — 25,000 show up to march against antisemitism
New York’s elected officials — led by Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — and community leaders joined some 25,000 people at a solidarity march against the rise in antisemitic violence across the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Singh Grewal also marched yesterday.
Message against hate: “The primary message of this rally is that an attack against visibly Orthodox Jews is an attack against all Jews, is an attack against all New Yorkers and against all people of goodwill,” Eric Goldstein, CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York, told JI. “We are coming from Manhattan across the bridge into Brooklyn, the scene of the vast majority of the violent incidents of antisemitism in the New York area, to say that the current environment is absolutely unacceptable.”
Stepping up: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters, “We will not only speak and march, but we will act… Antisemitism, bigotry is now a national crisis. The nation must join New York in rising up and doing a lot more about it, and I aim to lead that fight.”
Walking the walk: Ahead of the march, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an additional $45 million in funding to strengthen security measures at religious institutions and non-public schools. Cuomo also announced that state police will continue increased patrols and security in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods across the state.
Notable attendee: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) joined her New York colleagues to rally against antisemitism. Ocasio-Cortez told Israeli Channel 12 reporter Yuna Leibzon that it was “incredibly important” for her to attend “to make a very strong and unequivocal stance against the rising tide of antisemitism” and “coming out in love, fellowship and allyship of our Jewish neighbors, brothers and sisters and community here.”
Clear message: Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told JI’s Jacob Kornbluh that the march is “a clear message of unity” among the Jewish American community to fight prejudice and hate. “My hope is that it is an inflection point. We have seen Jews murdered in the synagogues where we pray, we have seen Jews murdered in the supermarkets [where] we shop, and we have seen Jews literally attacked in the homes [where] we celebrate, and finally, the Jewish community and the world is saying, ‘Dayenu, enough!’ Greenblatt stressed.
Wake up call: Greenblatt, who recently decried the lack of national media attention to the dramatic rise in antisemitic attacks across New York City, said that “it’s a shame that it requires dead Jews to get the attention of the press. That needs to change now.” He added, “I am encouraged by the amount of press here today, and I hope that we will see more going forward.”
Missing from the count: While several Orthodox Jewish leaders, including from the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel, joined the march in their personal capacities (they declined to co-sponsor the event, JI learned), there was very little presence of Hasidic Jews at the march. Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) tweeted, “It’s a stark reminder of the work we still need to do to build bridges.” Organizers insisted that there was “significant outreach to organizations” in the community most affected by the current wave of antisemitic attacks. “But they had their considerations — whether it was fitting with their cultural and religious sensibilities,” one of the organizers told JI.
Rabbi David Niederman, a leader of the Satmar community in Williamsburg, delivered a video message to the rally goers. Chaskel Bennett, a co-founder of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, highlighted the online hatred against members of the Hasidic community in his remarks at the rally. David Greenfield, CEO of Met Council, explained that per longtime custom, “the Hasidic community doesn’t attend rallies unless there is a religious component to them.”
Avi Greenstein, CEO of the Borough Park JCC, said he felt it was his obligation to represent the Orthodox Jewish community, the primary target in recent attacks, as a show of unity. “There are still bridges to build, both within and [outside] the greater Jewish community, and today was an important step in that direction,” he said.
Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, tells JI, “I was happy to see Orthodox and Hasidic Jews marching alongside such a wide range of Jews (and some non-Jews) from a diverse set of backgrounds, denominations, and affiliations. Our diversity is our strength, and the message today was certainly one of acceptance and solidarity from the entire community.”
Step one: “Bridges aren’t built in one day, but we must start somewhere and we are taking a first step today,” UJA’s Goldstein said during a post-march rally at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn. “Building bridges means putting aside political differences, putting aside — for this day — religious differences, and calling out antisemitism and all forms of hatred wherever we see it, and particularly in our own community, in our own political party.”
New York Times staff editor and opinion writer Bari Weisscited global antisemitism and the attacks in Pittsburgh, Poway, Jersey City, Monsey and Brooklyn in her speech at the rally, calling out “leaders who speak boldly while failing to take the actions necessary to protect our community.” Read her full remarks here.
Solidarity from New Hampshire: Pete Buttigieg tweeted from the trail, “I stand in solidarity with all those marching in response to recent attacks. We must unite against this scourge and build a nation where all are safe and all belong.”
Jerusalem scene: Hundreds participated in a rally to show solidarity with the New York march at a gathering yesterday outside the Jewish Agency in Israel’s capital. [Pic]
Shining a light: New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and more than a dozen Democratic elected officials attended a Unity Shabbat at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, N.Y. on Friday evening. The event was organized by State Senator Anna Kaplan. [Pic]
LEARNING CURVE — Democratic Jewish group warns party against adopting Corbynism
The defeat of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K. election last month has prompted the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) advocacy group to warn Democratic party leaders of similar consequences if it embraces Corbyn’s views.
Data crunch: In a report, expected to be sent to party leaders and activists and shared in advance withJewish Insider, DMFI maintains — based on post-election analysis and polling data — that Corbyn’s record on handling antisemitism was a key factor in Labour’s defeat. “A few U.S. Democrats have put Corbyn on a pedestal and expressed a desire for our party to follow the path he traversed, including his anti-Zionist antisemitism,” the report says. “While such a move would be morally reprehensible, the British election results strongly suggest it would also be politically suicidal.”
Mark Mellman, a pollster and CEO of the organization, said in an interview with JI’s Jacob Kornbluh that — without naming names — the people calling Corbyn a positive model for Democrats to follow are in the minority. Nonetheless, “it was also a relatively small minority when Jeremy Corbyn started out. It wasn’t that long ago you had Tony Blair as one of the most pro-Israel prime ministers in history, and in a relatively short time his views on these issues have been completely repudiated and replaced by the Corbyn view. So it was a dramatic change in a very short time.”
Red light warning: Mellman said that he spoke to several MPs who quit Labour last year, noting that they acknowledged that the change within the party happened quickly. “‘And you,’ they said to me, ‘should be very wary, because we believe that we’re seeing the beginning of what we saw in the U.K again in the Democratic Party in the U.S.’”
Looking ahead: Mellman said while he expects there to be a fight over the party’s 2020 platform later this year, “I don’t expect the outcome to be a Corbyn platform under any circumstances. But the further the party moves in that direction, the worse it is for the party, and we are making every effort to prevent those changes from happening.”
TROUBLE IN PARADISE — Trump reportedly yells at Lauder over Jewish support
President Donald Trump has reportedly expressed disappointment in Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress — considered a Trump whisperer early on in the administration — for not helping him in his re-election effort. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman reports:
“On Sunday, Dec. 29, hours after a stabbing at the home of a rabbi in Monsey, N.Y., Mr. Trump, from his golf club in West Palm Beach, called one of his oldest acquaintances and major Jewish supporters, the cosmetics billionaire Ronald S. Lauder, to yell that Mr. Lauder should be doing more to ‘support’ him, according to three people briefed on the call… Mr. Trump said that he had done more for Jews than any other president and that he could still lose the Jewish vote. The president never mentioned campaign contributions, but advisers and others briefed on the call said he left the clear impression that was referring to financial support.”
Lauder told the Times that he has had “many candid, positive and forward-looking conversations with” Trump, who he said “deserves a great deal of support from the Jewish community for his fantastic record on Israel and his proven support of the Jewish people here at home.”
Worth noting: Lauder recently launched a $25 million initiative, the Anti-Semitism Accountability Project (ASAP), devoted to rooting out antisemitism in American politics. The effort is spearheaded by strategist Bradley Tusk, who managed 2020 candidate Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 New York City mayoral campaign.
📖 Holy Women: Isabel Kershner reports in The New York Times from Israel about the growing numbers of women who are completing the 7.5-year Daf Yomi Talmud study cycle, many aided by podcasts, apps and other technology. [NYTimes]
⛪ Studying Hate:New York Post reporter Princess Jones tried to learn more about the Black Hebrew Israelites — a group tied to the Jersey City and Monsey attacks — recalling a three-hour sermon she attended last year at the Israelite Church in Harlem. [NYPost]
✍️ Sounds Familiar: Abigail Shrier penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal linking the recent wave of antisemitic violence Al Sharpton’s incitement against the Crown Heights Jewish community in 1991, and how it is little surprise that “ultra-Orthodox Jews find themselves sitting ducks again.” [WSJ]
AROUND THE WEB
🛡️ Security Measures: In a memorandum issued Thursday, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf ordered an internal review of measures meant to address violence against religious communities.
🏗️ Facelift: San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El, one of the oldest synagogues in California, will begin a $79 million renovation of its temple, expected to finish in 2025.
📣 Paris Protest: Hundreds of people rallied in Paris on Sunday demanding justice for Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman murdered in 2017, after a court found her killer not criminally responsible.
🕯️ Tragedy: At least four people died over the weekend in Israel as a result of heavy rainfall and flooding, including a young couple who were killed when they became trapped in a flooded elevator in Tel Aviv.
🚬 Import/Export: Israeli medical cannabis producer InterCure — led by chairman former Prime Minister Ehud Barak — received its first imported shipment from a Canadian producer aimed at alleviating a shortage in Israel.
🚗 On the Road: Mitsubishi is joining Israeli startup Otonomo’s car-data marketplace, the first Japanese manufacturer to do so.
🏨 Big Buyer: Real estate developer Brian Friedman indicated that he will bid to acquire the lease on Trump’s luxury hotel in downtown D.C.
🏷️ For Sale: Jimmy Finkelstein, owner of The Hill, is reportedly looking for potential buyers or investors for his publication.
🎅🏽 Christmas Miracle: In honor of the Eastern Orthodox Christmas, the Israeli Tourism Ministry brought dozens of Michigan-trained Santas to Jerusalem over the weekend.
👮 Police Blotter: In Queens, police are searching for a man accused of spitting at a woman after attempting to enter a nearby yeshiva. In Brooklyn, a man yelled antisemitic slurs at a 61-year old Jewish man.
🎓 Campus Outreach:The New York Timesdetails the rise of Dennis Prager’s PragerU, a right-wing website that uses snappy, short videos to target and engage Generation Z.
🎨 Art Critics: In Germany, 20 activists from the Performance Art Committee were stopped by Berlin police from removing an urn — said to contain the ashes of Holocaust victims — outside the Reichstag in a controversial art installation.
⛷️ Wartime Bravery: The BBC takes a look at the never-before-told story of a Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis at a French Alps ski resort — something the small resort town is reluctant to discuss today.
⌨️ Under Fire: Delaware’s Sussex County Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Nelly Jordan is facing calls to resign after a Facebook rant against “Jews in name only.”
🎉 Mazel Tov: The first-ever wedding of two Ugandan Jews in Israel took place on Saturday in Jerusalem.
|Canadian businessman, investor, author and philanthropist, Seymour Schulich turns 80…|
Retired EVP and senior counsel of the Trump Organization, perhaps best known as one of the advisors on the NBC reality television program, “The Apprentice,” George H. Ross turns 92… Professor of chemistry (now emeritus) at the University of Chicago since 1957, member of the Board of Governors at Tel Aviv University, Stuart A. Rice turns 88… Co-founder of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Henry R. Kravis turns 76… Chairman, president and CEO of Phibro Animal Health Corporation, Jack C. Bendheim turns 73… Yiddish-language author, journalist, playwright and lyricist, he was the editor in chief of the Yiddish edition of The Forward (1998-2016), Boris Sandler turns 70… Attorney general of Oregon, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2016, she was previously a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals (2005-2011), Ellen Rosenblum turns 69… Retired television executive and political commentator, Mark E. Hyman turns 62…
Former president and editor-in-chief of Rewire, she is a co-author of ten books and served previously as director of advocacy at American Jewish World Service, Jodi Lynn Jacobson turns 61… Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and president of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Oleksandr Feldman turns 60… Daniel Slatopolsky turns 56… VP of worldwide sales and marketing at Living Popups Augmented Reality, Sarah Beth Rena Conner turns 53… Actor, painter and fashion designer, he is the nephew of fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Greg Lauren turns 50… Founder and CEO at GTTFP Holdings and the founder of Regal Wings and Jewish dating sites Harei At and Jedding, Eli Ostreicher turns 36… Political and investigative reporter at WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham, both of his parents are rabbis, Jonah P. Kaplan turns 34… Head of business development at Goldman Sachs Investment Partners (a venture capital group), Anna Phillips… International campus director at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Aviva Slomich Rosenschein… Deputy news editor at The Forward, Aiden Pink…