Good Thursday morning!
For all who inquired, here is the recording of the Fauda Talks webcast we hosted last Thursday with the show’s co-creators Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, along with season three stars Ala Dakka and Marina Maximilian Blumin. Next time, be one of the 1,200 JI readers who joined us live. Stay tuned for future webcasts here…
President Donald Trumphas vetoed the Senate’s Iran War Powers resolution, which would have limited his options for military action against Iran. In a statement to the Senate, Trump suggested the measure was “very insulting” and “dangerous because it could hinder the president’s ability to protect United States forces, allies, and partners, including Israel, from the continued threat posed by Iran and Iranian-backed militias.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly set to visit Israel next week to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and incoming Deputy PM Benny Gantz. This will be Pompeo’s first trip abroad since the coronavirus outbreak. More below.
Israel’s High Court gave a green light last night for Netanyahu and Gantz to move ahead with the formation of a government, unanimously dismissing several petitions against Netanyahu’s right to govern under indictment and against the coalition deal. More below.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) discussed how the recent coronavirus stimulus packages benefit nonprofits and Jewish institutions on a webcast co-hosted by the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center and Agudath Israel of America, yesterday. Schumer ended the call by saying, “As we say in Washington, zei gezunt.” The OU is hosting a call with Dr. Anthony Fauci this afternoon.
The Senate is expected to vote as early as today on legislation to fund expanded Holocaust education resources across the country following its discharge from the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday.
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The Navy SEAL turned congressman who has no patience for outrage culture
Rep. Dan Crenshaw is itching to get back to work. The freshman Republican is hunkered down in Texas as the coronavirus pandemic envelops the United States. But where he really wants to be is Washington. “We want people to get back to their lives and get back to a sense of freedom,” Crenshaw told Jewish Insider’s Amy Spiro in a recent interview from Houston. “We’re fine, of course, it’s the rest of the country that better get back on track.”
Rising star: In less than two years in office, the outspoken political newbie has already made a name for himself among Congress’s diverse freshman crowd. He has become somewhat of a rockstar among young conservatives — amassing more than 1.4 million Instagram followers — and a regular on cable news shows. In his new book Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage, Crenshaw lays out his philosophy for his approach to both politics and life.
Hard lessons: While Fortitude is less a memoir than a call to action, Crenshaw draws heavily from his life experiences and the lessons they imparted. From losing his mother to cancer when he was 10 years old, to losing his right eye in an explosion while serving as a Navy SEAL, the congressman recounts how his own struggles shaped him. “Perspective from darkness, perseverance in the face of adversity, purpose through action, and optimism in the face of failure are foundational antidotes to outrage and victim culture,” he writes. “But more than that, they’re a prescription for a happier life.”
Freshman feud: Crenshaw has repeatedly made headlines during his first term in Congress for his sharp criticism of fellow freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). “You’ve got to call things out as you see them — that’s not outrage culture,” he said. “She’s made so many awful comments,” he added. “You take people’s comments in context. She’s made a ton of terrible anti-American, anti-Jewish comments. This is just who she is.” He would be more inclined to “give her some grace,” Crenshaw said, if he wasn’t familiar with her comments about U.S. soldiers in Somalia, or her accusation that Jewish people have dual loyalties.
Frequent visitor: Crenshaw has visited Israel three times, once on a brief vacation, then with a Harvard student trip in 2017, and most recently on a December 2018 American Israel Education Foundation trip shortly before being sworn into office. Both of the organized trips, he said, “really do try to to allow you to see both sides of the argument with respect to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And it was really eye-opening.”
Read the full profile here.
Facebook announces inaugural oversight board members
Facebook announced on Wednesday the inaugural members of its new oversight board, an assemblage of experts including lawyers and academics that will make binding decisions about whether to remove objectionable content from the site. Four co-chairs selected the initial 20 members, who in turn will appoint 20 more.
Israeli representation:The board members include Emi Palmor, an adjunct lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. Previously, she served as the director general of the Israeli Justice Ministry. Other appointees include Alan Rusbridger, principal of Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall and former editor of The Guardian; Tawakkol Karman, a Nobel Peace Prize winner; and Michael McConnell, a professor at Stanford Law School.
Critique:Some observers are incredulous that Facebook will grant the board autonomy. Sheera Frenkel, a cybersecurity reporter for The New York Times, posited that the social media giant could have elected members who are critical of Facebook, including Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science, and David Kaye, a professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. “These are people who have spent years holding FB to account,” she wrote. “Seeing their names on a board would go a long way towards gaining public trust in the board.”
Flashback: Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained to Facebook that it was targeting his supporters after it twice suspended his campaign’s chatbot for violating Israeli election laws.
New hire: Facebook has appointed Stuart Levey, who was the first undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department in the George W. Bush administration, as head of the company’s digital currency project.
driving the day
Israel’s new unity government slated to be sworn in next week
Ending a year-long political saga, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz announced Wednesday night that the new rotation government will be sworn in next Wednesday. The move coincided with a ruling by Israel’s High Court that it would not intervene in Netanyahu forming the next government, despite his indictments.
Timetable: The Knesset this morning approved the laws necessary to pave the way for the government to be formed by tonight’s midnight deadline. And while the 11 Supreme Court justices unanimously dismissed a series of petitions against the unity government, the court indicated that it could weigh in once the legislation laid out in the coalition deal was passed. Within minutes of the laws passing the Knesset, several bodies filed appeals to the High Court against the deal. The appeals are not expected to prevent the government from being sworn in on schedule.
Pompeo incoming: Channel 13’s Barak Ravid reported yesterday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to embark on a 24-hour visit to Israel next Tuesday to personally meet Netanyahu and Gantz to discuss the Trump administration’s peace plan and other regional issues. During a press briefing at the State Department on Wednesday, Pompeo said, “We’re hoping to get back out and be on the ground to do the things that the State Department needs to do that we physically need to be located in those places for.”
Waiting game: In an online briefing with reporters, Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon said that, in conversations over the past year, Trump administration officials had indicated they are anxiously waiting for the formation of a new government to get things rolling. He noted that Netanyahu had even flown to foreign countries to meet Pompeo to discuss key issues, and “now that we have a government, hopefully, maybe it’s an opportunity to continue the dialogue and follow up on the many issues” in the region.
All about timing: Danon told Jewish Insider that annexation would ultimately be the decision of the Israeli government. He said the timing of that move — which could take place as early as July 1st — would likely be done “in coordination” with Washington and take into consideration the U.S. political climate. “I think once you believe it’s the right decision, you should promote it. The issue of timing is an excuse not to implement your ideology.”
On the ground: The outgoing Israeli government announced a construction plan of some 7,000 homes in the settlement of Efrat on Wednesday.
Bonus: Daniel Pipes, the president of the Middle East Forum, writes in The New York Times six reasons why annexation of parts of the West Bank would ultimately harm Israel.
🔬 Particles and Peace: Wired’s Matt Smith spotlights Sesame, the only particle accelerator in the Middle East, which launched in Jordan in 2017 and provides access to nine member countries including Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Iran. “Sesame isn’t just a science project, it’s a peace project,” says Turkish chemistry professor Emrah Ozensoy. “There’s no politics.” [Wired]
👰 Matrimonial Perspective: Lou Weiss, the founder of a flooring company and father of New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss, writes in the Wall Street Journal that while his daughter Molly’s upcoming wedding won’t be what they planned, some of the best marriages come amid unusual circumstances, from Natan Sharansky to the biblical Jacob. [WSJ]
⛹️♂️ Rising Star:Sports Illustratedshines a light on Deni Avdija, a 19-year-old Israeli basketball phenom who is setting his sights on the NBA and on doing his home country proud. “I’m serving my country for basketball,” he says. “It’s something that every kid dreams of.” [SI]
🚑 Hometown Hero: The New York Timeshighlights the work of Sen. Cory Booker’s chief of staff, Matt Klapper, who for the last two months has moonlighted as an EMS volunteer in northern New Jersey amid an uptick in coronavirus cases in the state. [NYTimes]
Around the Web
🙏🏻 Welcome Home: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was discharged from the hospital yesterday after nonsurgical treatment for a gallbladder condition. Earlier in the day, she participated in a hearing by phone from her hospital bed.
✉️ Guilty by Association: Progressive groups are calling on Joe Biden to drop former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers as an advisor to his presidential campaign and to pledge not to include him in a future administration because of his ties to Wall Street.
💵 Cash Back: Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor is looking to sell part of its minority stake in the firm Epic Games as it seeks to raise at least $100 million in cash.
💼 Cutting Back: The Jewish Federations of North America has announced a series of layoffs and executive salary cuts as it weathers the coronavirus.
😟 Left Alone: Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem fear a coronavirus outbreak in the neighborhood of Kufr Aqab, since there are neither Israeli nor Palestinian police enforcing lockdown.
🕊️ Peace Keeping: Israel is demanding the U.N. peacekeeping mission operating along the border between Lebanon and Israel be granted access to all sites in southern Lebanon.
🇮🇷 Fighting Words: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has vowed a “crushing response” if the U.S. extends an arms embargo on Tehran that is set to expire in October.
📝 Seeking Answers: The Lawfare Project has filed a freedom of information request in New York City to determine whether the Jewish community was specifically targeted in a crackdown against social distancing violations.
💡 Road Ahead: U.K. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis tells ITV News that the “silver lining emerging” from the coronavirus is that society “will turn out to be a far better one.”
👨 Poster Child: Yair Netanyahu has become the face of a campaign by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has latched on to the prime minister’s son’s criticism of the E.U.
🎖️ New Role: Zoom has appointed former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to the company’s board of directors.
🕯️Remembering:Martin Lovett, a English cellist and the last surviving member of the world-famous Amadeus String Quartet, passed away at age 93 due to coronavirus.
Pic of the Day
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz putting together final touches to the rotation deal before announcing a government swearing-in date in the Knesset lobby Wednesday evening.
Founder of JewBelong, she is also the co-founder of Starch Branding, Archie Gottesman turns 57…
Investor who converted Chris-Craft Industries from a small boat business into a large media holding company, then sold Chris Craft to Rupert Murdoch in 2001 for $5.3 billion, Herbert J. Siegel turns 92… Ontario-based politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as leader of the Liberal Party, Stuart Lyon Smith turns 82… Winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989 and professor at Yale University, Sidney Altman turns 81… Member of the New York State Assembly since 1993, representing parts of Westchester and Putnam counties, Sandra R. “Sandy” Galef turns 80… Senior member of the Mobile, Alabama law firm of Silver, Voit & Thompson, Irving Silver turns 80… Napa, California-based media executive and interview host, Jeffrey Schechtman turns 70… Theatrical producer at Press the Button Productions in Monterey, California, Jane J. Press turns 70…
Member of the Knesset almost continuously since 1999, he is a member of the Shas party, Rabbi Meshulam Nahari turns 69… Former Deputy U.S. Secretary of State, currently a professor at Syracuse University, James Braidy “Jim” Steinberg turns 67… Film director Amy Heckerling turns 66… Professional poker player and hedge fund manager, Daniel Shak turns 61… CEO of VC fund Rationalwave Capital Partners, Mark Rosenblatt turns 61… Emmy Award-winning film and television director, Adam Bernstein turns 60… Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from the City of Alexandria since 2016 and host of a nationally syndicated radio program, Mark H. Levine turns 54… Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2010, representing parts of Florida’s Palm Beach and Broward counties, Theodore Eliot “Ted” Deutch turns 54…
Director of floor legislative operations for Speaker Pelosi, Keith Stern turns 46… Member of the Knesset for the Yamina alliance, Ayelet Shaked turns 44… AIPAC national board member, Yana J. Lukeman turns 43… Head of strategic accounts for North America at Stripe, Rob Saliterman turns 38… Communications director for Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Ben Suarato turns 35… State affairs manager in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, Arthur L. Mandel turns 35… Associate publisher at 70 Faces Media, Leo Lazar… CEO of Austin-based Harris Media, Vincent Robert Harris turns 32… Las Vegas-based fashion blogger, model and writer, Bebe Zeva (a pseudonym of Rebeccah Zeva Hershkovitz) turns 27…