Good Friday morning!
On Capitol Hill, the Senate impeachment trial could wrap up this evening following an announcement by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a key swing vote, that he would oppose calling witnesses in the trial.
Yesterday, the House passed two measures, introduced by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), that would repeal the 2002 Authorization for the use of Military Force in Iraq and prohibit the administration from using federal funds without authorization to strike Iran.
In New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an additional $25 million in security grant funding yesterday for organizations vulnerable to hate crimes at the inaugural “No Hate In Our State” conference at the Jacob Javits Center.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)reportedly has $7,1 million cash-on-hand in his campaign war chest, making him the most successful House fundraiser in New Jersey political history. To date, Gottheimer has also raised $1.8 million for House Democrats.
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PRINCIPLES ABOVE PARTY
RJC withdraws support from House GOP members who voted against Holocaust education bill
The Republican Jewish Coalition is withdrawing its support from four incumbent Republican House members after they voted against the bipartisan Never Again Education Act, legislation to authorize new funding to help schools teach students about the Holocaust and antisemitism.
Details: The legislation passed 393-5 in the House on Monday. Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Tom Rice (R-SC) and Justin Amash (I-MI) were the only members of Congress who voted against the bill. In a press release, Norman cited his “views on the role of the federal government and its lack of fiscal restraint” as the reason for his vote.
Speaking out: RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks tells Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh that his group’s congressional affairs office got in touch with the offices of Norman and Arrington and were told that their “no” vote was process-related. “But from our perspective, there comes a time when you have to take votes that go beyond process,” Brooks stressed. “And, I think, especially now with this time of rising antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world, the symbolism of this and the importance of the government standing up and showing its support for Holocaust education outweighs any process concerns.”
Not an excuse: Brooks said there were likely “a large number of others in the Republican caucus who may have had similar misgivings or concerns about this process, but they did the right thing and looked beyond that to stand up against antisemitism and to stand with the Jewish community. So we remain disappointed in their votes. We think that they voted absolutely the wrong way on that, no matter how they want to justify it.”
Pay the price: Brooks tells JI that in wake of this vote, the RJC, which generally supports incumbents for re-election, will not be backing the four Republicans against their challengers. “We don’t think that this vote is a reflection of their views on antisemitism,” he stated, “but it makes it so that we will not be supporting any of those individuals going forward.”
on the trail
Buttigieg vows to maintain military aid to Israel
Former South Bend Mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said on Wednesday that he would preserve military aid to Israel following the release of President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan.
Not on the table: During a town hall meeting in Ames, Iowa, Buttigieg emphasized that he would push back against Israel annexing settlements in the West Bank without resorting to leveraging aid. “I’m not talking about withdrawing aid, or withdrawing our support for Israel,” he told an IfNotNow activist. “But what I will say is that in my administration, the Israeli government will get the message that we are not going to support those kinds of steps.”
Flashback: Last October, during an appearance at J Street’s national conference in Washington D.C., Buttigieg said that he would limit U.S aid as a means to discourage Israel from attempting to annex parts of the West Bank.
Pete’s pledge: In the feisty exchange on Wednesday, Buttigieg told the activist: “If you’re asking me whether in light of the president’s proposal, I would withdraw aid to Israel, the answer is no.” But, he added, “we have to make sure that we’re a force to prevent that from happening.”
Bonus: During a recent appearance in New Hampshire, Buttigieg told a Democratic Majority for Israel supporter that people should be able to talk about and criticize Israel “without getting anywhere near echoing the kind of antisemitic tropes that are flying around freely.”
Eye on Iowa: New poll data released yesterday by the Pew Research Center show that Jewish voters are most inclined to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden (31%), followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (20%), Buttigieg (13%) Sen. Bernie Sanders (11%) and Michael Bloomberg (8%).
At odds with White House, Netanyahu seeks new route on annexation
A source close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Thursday that the delay in bringing the annexation of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea to a vote at Sunday’s cabinet meeting is due to “technical” difficulties.
All at once: The Israeli official told reporters on board Netanyahu’s flight from Moscow to Israel that “there is no argument over substance.” Israel, the official said, wants to approach annexation in several stages, while the White House wants it to happen all at once, “because they don’t want to extend recognition several times.”
Palace intrigue: Haaretzreported that Netanyahu’s declaration on Tuesday that he would immediately move forward with plans to annex the West Bank was done at the urging of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, but without the approval of Jared Kushner, the architect of the plan.
Behind the scenes:McClatchy’s Michael Wilner details Kushner’s final push to get reassurances from Netanyahu, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and U.S. allies in Europe that they would be on board before the plan was released. According to Wilner, Friedman, who briefed the Israeli leaders about the plan, gave Kushner the go-ahead as he was stuck in Davos due to bad weather. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also gave their seal of approval.
What if? Former Ambassador Dennis Ross tells Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh that if a Democrat enters the White House in 2021, they could reverse the Trump peace plan even if Israel moves ahead with annexation. “In December of 1981, Menachem Begin extended Israeli jurisdiction and administration to the Golan Heights, interpreted by everyone as meaning annexation. And yet, Netanyahu was prepared to negotiate with the Syrians on returning the Golan in a peace deal,” Ross pointed out during a media briefing at The Washington Institute in D.C. “So you can take these steps, it doesn’t mean they are not reversible.” Rob Satloff, the think tank’s executive director added, “Don’t think annexation is the end of the story. It’s just another phase of the story.”
What to watch for at Sunday’s Super Bowl
The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will face off Sunday afternoon at the Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Jewish Insider has a guide to everything you should know ahead of the big game.
Starting line: Kansas City Chiefs lineman Mitchell Schwartz didn’t start playing football until high school — because he had to focus on his bar mitzvah studies. Now the Southern California native will be a starting offensive lineman during Sunday’s game. In 2016, together with his brother Geoff — a former offensive guard for the Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants — Schwartz authored a book called Eat My Schwartz: Our Story of NFL Football, Food, Family, and Faith. Geoff has credited a hefty diet that includes matzah ball soup and latkes with helping the brothers bulk up.
Representing: In an interview with NFL Network this week, Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Terrell Suggs, whose grandfather is Jewish, can be seen sporting a Star of David necklace. If Suggs seems a little lighter in his step these days, it’s because he cut out one of his favorite dishes — gefilte fish — in an effort to drop a few pounds.
Cashing in: The Miami Dolphins won’t be competing in the Super Bowl but that isn’t stopping owner Stephen Ross from cashing in. Sunday’s game will be played at Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Dolphins during the regular season. The team will make $4 million under an agreement with Miami-Dade County that gives the Dolphins annual bonuses based on the tourism the venue attracts.
Prime-time products: Sabra will air its first-ever Super Bowl commercial this year, featuring a number of reality stars and performers, including rapper T-Pain, cast members from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and contestants from “Ru-Paul’s Drag Race.”
Dueling ads: Both President Donald Trump and 2020 Democratic hopeful Michael Bloomberg have purchased ad time during the game with very disparate political messages. One of Trump’s 30-second ads boasts of low unemployment and military strength, while the second will be revealed only during the game. Bloomberg’s 60-second spot tells the story of a 20-year-old football devotee killed by gun violence.
🗳️ Iowa Watch: Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has quietly redirected its ad spending from New Hampshire and South Carolina to focus on Iowa. The 2020 hopeful is counting on votes, delegates and — perhaps most crucially — fund-raising power from the result of Monday’s caucus. [NYTimes]
🤝 Bernie’s Chevra: In Tablet, James Kirchick takes a closer look at Bernie Sanders’ supporters and surrogates, describing them as people who see the senator as “an ATM that dispenses free passes for anti-Semitic bigotry (and campaign cash).” [Tablet]
🗞️ Media Watch: Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined The Atlantic as a contributing editor last year. The Washington Postexamines how his tenure ended almost before it began after a letter of protest from black staffers at the magazine. [WashPost]
Around the Web
💣 Talk of the Region: U.S. intelligence officials braced for strikes on American troops after the targeted killing of Qassim Soleimani — and many believe a further, more insidious response from Iran is coming.
🎬 Starring Role: A New York Timesarticle on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s bitterness over losing the Brooklyn Dodgers notes that he once played the role of “Rabbi Manny Shevitz” in a 1999 comedy titled “My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception.”
🗒️ Database: The Anti-Defamation League launched an online tracker on Thursday of recent reported cases of antisemitic incidents to help monitor acts of hate against Jews across the U.S.
🕍 Stepping Up: Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced new legislation aimed at battling hate groups. Herring made the announcement Wednesday in a speech at Temple Rodef Shalom, the largest synagogue in Virginia.
✡️ Never Again: Ottawa Police are investigating the recent defacement of the National Holocaust Monument as a hate crime.
🖼️ Miffed Museum: The partners in the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews are urging the Polish government to end the ongoing standoff over the museum’s director.
🤭 Word Choice: Tampa City Council member Orlando Gudes said he is “not racist” and regrets telling a reporter that the city was “getting Jewed” in building a new community center.
⚾ Foul Ball: B’nai B’rith International is criticizing Major League Baseball for sponsoring ticket pre-sales for the concert tour of Roger Waters, who the organization called “an avowed antisemite.”
👀 Extra Eyes: Reuters takes a look at the patrolling and training that the neighborhood watch group Guardian Angels has been conducting in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.
🤳 Over the Top: Far-right commentator Katie Hopkins’s Twitter account was temporarily suspended on Thursday after TV host Rachel Riley urged Twitter representatives to take action against her racist tweets.
⚖️ On Trial: Harvey Weinstein’s use of the Israeli firm Black Cube became a key topic in his New York rape trial yesterday.
🦸 To the Rescue: A new exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Belgium traces the Jewish roots of some of America’s best-known superheroes.
📺 Hollywood: HBO released a trailer yesterday for the upcoming adaptation of the Philip Roth novel The Plot Against America, which imagines Charles Lindbergh winning the 1940 U.S. presidential election and Nazism taking root in America, told through the lens of a Jewish family in Newark.
✈️ Rerouting: El Al joined dozens of airlines canceling its flights to mainland China as the Coronavirus outbreak spreads. The Israeli Health Ministry has ordered all travelers returning from China to remain in home isolation for two weeks.
🍷 Scene in NY: At a salon hosted by the Shabtai Society in New York, writer Adam Gopnick discussed how antisemitism is set apart from other forms of hate because it “involves wildly overestimating” the targeted group, while other types of bigotry work by underestimating the group.
Pic of the Day
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara welcomed Israeli-American backpacker Naama Issachar at the airport in Moscow yesterday after she was granted a presidential pardon by Russian President Vladimir Putin and released from prison. Issachar flew back to Israel with the prime minister’s plane.
Executive vice chairman since 1986 of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm I. Hoenlein turns 76 on Saturday…
FRIDAY: Cardiologist and the co-inventor of the automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator, Morton M. Mower, M.D. turns 87… Scion of a leading rabbinic family in pre-WW2 Poland, former sssistant U.S. solicitor general, now a private attorney with an active Supreme Court practice focused on religious liberty issues, Nathan Lewin turns 84… Classical music composer as well as acclaimed movie score composer, Philip Glass turns 83… Associate professor emeritus of Talmud and rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary, chairman of the Joint Bet Din of the Conservative Movement, Mayer Elya Rabinowitz turns 81… Corporate strategist, she is the chairperson of global management consultancy Bain & Company, Orit Gadiesh turns 69… Founder of social change organizations in Israel to promote peace, he was Chief Rabbi of Norway while also serving as a member of Knesset (1999-2009), Michael Melchior turns 66… Founder and CEO of pr firm MWWPR and a top “bundler” for the Democratic party, Michael W. Kempner turns 62… Co-founder, chairman and CEO of Meridian Capital Group, a Manhattan-based commercial mortgage brokerage, Ralph Herzka turns 58… Fourth-generation real estate developer and a founding partner of Redbrick LMD, Louis Myerberg Dubin turns 57…
Classical cellist, born in Hadera, Israel, she moved to Toronto at six years old, her debut in Carnegie Hall was in 1982, Ofra Harnoy turns 55… Host of NPR’s news quiz “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” playwright, screenwriter, actor and marathon runner, his older brother is a rabbi, Peter Sagal turns 55… Canadian-born businessman, best known for founding American Apparel, where he served as the CEO from 1989 until 2014, Dov Charney turns 51… Mayor of Efrat and chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council (the umbrella organization of mayors throughout Judea and Samaria), Oded Revivi turns 51… CEO of Atlas Obscura, an online magazine devoted to discovery and exploration, David Plotz turns 50… Security technology executive at NYC-based DGA Security Systems, Daniel J. Oppenheim turns 44… Managing director of BerlinRosen’s New York office, Michael Rabinowitz-Gold turns 42… VP of sports insights and measurement at NBC Universal Media, Matthew Gottlieb turns 37… Film producer and founder of Annapurna Pictures, four of her movies have been nominated for Academy Awards as Best Picture, Megan Ellison turns 34… Singer, who won Israel’s Kokhav Nolad (A Star is Born) song contest in 2008, Israel Bar-On turns 31… Director of business development at 25madison, a NYC-based startup studio investing in and incubating early-stage businesses, Grant Silow… Director of External Affairs at MassChallenge, Clara Scheinmann turns 29… J.D. candidate in the Harvard Law School class of 2022, Eli Nachmany turns 24…
SATURDAY: Actor Stuart Whitman turns 92… Partner in LA-based law firm, Fredman Liebermann Pearl, Howard S. Fredman turns 76… Midtown Manhattan physician, affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital, specializing in nephrology and internal medicine, Mark H. Gardenswartz, MD turns 70… Composer and conductor, he is the laureate conductor of the Chappaqua Orchestra since 2002, and author in 1994 of “The Jewish 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Jews of All Time,” Michael Jeffrey Shapiro turns 69… Far Rockaway, N.Y. resident, Maurice Lazar turns 69… Lakewood, N.J.-born, president and part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Stan Kasten turns 68… Publisher of Baltimore Jewish Life, Jeff Cohn turns 66… Painter, Born in Derbent, a predominantly Muslim city in Southern Russia, now living in Albany, N.Y., he is an artist whose canvas paintings have many Jewish themes, Israel Tsvaygenbaum turns 59… Deputy director for policy and government affairs at AIPAC, David Gillette turns 59… EVP and chief program officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Becky Sobelman-Stern turns 58…
One of Israel’s top soccer players of all time, now chairman of Beitar Jerusalem, Eli Ohana turns 56… 25-year veteran of the Israeli foreign service, now a scholar-in-residence at American University in Washington, Dan Arbell… Actor, comedian, director, writer and producer, Pauly Shore turns 52… Chair of Perkins Coie’s political law practice and advisor to the DNC, DSCC, DCCC and the DGA, Marc E. Elias turns 51… Partner in RK Equity Group and founder of soon-to-open Birch Hill Recovery Center in Kent, Connecticut, Ari Raskas turns 42… Experimental jazz guitarist, bassist, oud player and composer, Yoshie Fruchter turns 38… Actress and comedian, best known for co-creating and co-starring in the Comedy Central series “Broad City,” Abbi Jacobson turns 36… Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for AIPAC, Tara Brown… Senior director of client partnerships at Axios, Andrew Friedman turns 33… District director for Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila James Kuehl, Stephanie Beth Cohen turns 31… Senior writer at Smore, an Israeli firm focused on online marketing and newsletters, David Aryeh Leshaw turns 29… Television and movie actress and model, Julia Garner turns 26…
SUNDAY: Chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, Barry Diller turns 78… Former mayor and city councilman of Irvine, California, Larry Agran (family name, Agranowsky) turns 75… Author, host of the Food Network program “Barefoot Contessa,” and former OMB staffer for Presidents Ford and Carter, Ina Rosenberg Garten turns 72… Actor, best known for his portrayal of the android, Lieutenant Commander Data, in the “Star Trek” series, Brent Spiner turns 71… Journalist and author, Michael Zelig Castleman turns 70… Washington Secrets columnist at the Washington Examiner, Paul Bedard turns 63… Rabbi at the Pacific Jewish Center (the Shul On The Beach) in Venice, California, he is also a practicing attorney, Shalom Rubanowitz turns 54…
Sportscaster who currently does the play-by-play for all four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), Kenny Albert turns 52… Movie and theatre actress and screenwriter, Jennifer Westfeldt turns 50… Tony Award-winning actress, Marissa Jaret Winokur turns 47… Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Mayer Hawthorne (born Andrew Mayer Cohen) turns 41… Assistant professor at Clemson University, Rebecca Shimoni Stoil, Ph.D. turns 40… Senior web producer for Government Executive Media Group, Ross Gianfortune turns 39… Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, now living in Boston, political commentator David Pakman turns 36… Managing partner and co-founder of Bluelight Strategies, Aaron Keyak turns 35… Actress and musician, starring as Shoshanna Shapiro on the HBO original series “Girls,” Zosia Mamet turns 32…