Good Friday morning!
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied claims in leaked portions of former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s book that the prime minister “was dubious” about Jared Kushner’s qualifications to tackle Middle East peace efforts.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Bolton a “traitor” who is “spreading a number of lies.”
Check out Jewish Insider’s latest ‘Jewish Nielsen’ report to see which webcasts people tuned into over the past week.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company has committed to increase people of color in leadership positions by 30% over five years and will invest $100 million in black-owned businesses this year.
Today is Juneteenth, the day celebrating the final emancipation of all slaves in the Confederacy — more than two years after the end of the Civil War. The day is gaining increased attention and observance amid a nationwide reckoning on systemic racism.
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Eliza Orlins’s Amazing Race
When Eliza Orlins announced her bid for Manhattan district attorney on March 5, she had no way of predicting that the entire city would be on lockdown within a matter of weeks. “This has certainly not been the campaign I anticipated running,” the 37-year-old public defender told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel.
On the ground: Instead of knocking on doors and handing out pamphlets ahead of the 2021 election, Orlins has been attending anti-racism demonstrations in Brooklyn and Manhattan almost every day since late May. “It felt like a necessity to be there,” Orlins said, noting that she has long been involved in such demonstrations. “It’s actually unbelievable how issues that I’ve cared about for so long are finally getting the national attention that they deserve. I love seeing the possibility of massive change happening right now.”
Long race: Whether Orlins will be the one to help effect such change — at least at the legal level — depends on her chances of defeating Cyrus Vance, Jr., the powerful Democratic incumbent who has held the district attorney’s seat in Manhattan since 2010. Orlins has a long and challenging race ahead of her in a crowded field that includes New York Law School professor Alvin Bragg and civil rights lawyer Janos Martin.
First hand: As an attorney at the nonprofit Legal Aid Society for the past decade, Orlins, who recently took a leave of absence to focus on her campaign, has represented more than 3,000 people charged with crimes but unable to afford a lawyer. That experience has provided her with a granular view, she told JI, of an unjust system at work. “The reality is if someone’s locked up for three years, three months, three weeks or even three days, they’re exponentially more likely to reoffend or get rearrested,” Orlins said, calling out Vance’s office for its “incredibly punitive” approach to sentencing.
Screen time: Outside of her legal work, Orlins has been a regular contestant on reality TV shows. At 21, she made her first appearance on “Survivor,” and returned for a second shot on the show three years later. More recently she competed on “The Amazing Race,” which aired last year, though she says it is not a significant part of her identity. “The truth is, I’ve spent far more of my time in the trenches in front of judges than I’ve spent in front of cameras,” she said. “It’s a very small part of who I am, and I think that I’ve dedicated over a decade of my life to being a public defender and fighting for people who are charged with crimes.”
UPDATE FROM MINNEAPOLIS
Antone Melton-Meaux says George Floyd’s killing ‘has amplified’ his campaign message
The Democratic primary race to represent Minnesota’s 5th congressional district has shifted in tone since December, when Antone Melton-Meaux first announced his campaign against freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). In recent weeks, the mood in the district has transformed from anxiety and grieving over COVID-19 to anger at systemic racism and racial inequality amid the killing of George Floyd and the aggressive police response to the nationwide protests that followed. In an interview with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh, Melton-Meaux maintained that the incident will only strengthen his campaign message.
Now more than ever: “We have spoken about the institutional systemic racial inequities from the beginning of our campaign,” Melton-Meaux told JI. “It’s one of the reasons I decided to run for Congress. So the tragedy of George Floyd has amplified that component of our campaign, so that we can demonstrate the leadership that the people are hungry for… We are making sure as a district that we are bringing people along so their voices are heard and that we are building bridges, not burning bridges.”
On air: This week, Melton-Meaux’s campaign released two televised ads highlighting his background as a mediator — a skill set, he says, he wants to bring to a divided Washington. “The political culture in Washington is toxic,” Melton-Meaux says in one of the ads. “We don’t need more dividers… I will bring people together and get things done for our community.” In the other ad, the candidate discusses the hurdles he faced growing up and the current challenges of protecting his children from racial injustice. Campaign officials told JI that the campaign will launch an integrated marketing strategy in the coming weeks in an effort to deliver Melton-Meaux’s message to voters.
Growing support: In recent weeks, Melton-Meaux has managed to keep the momentum going as he seeks to raise his profile, according to political observers. Nonpartisan pro-Israel groups like NORPAC and Pro-Israel America have hosted virtual fundraisers for the candidate. “I am very pleased to have the support of the pro-Israel community, as well as many other communities that have seen the value of this campaign,” Melton-Meaux told JI. “We are doing well with our fundraising so that we can be competitive with the congresswoman.”
ON THE Hill
Steny Hoyer and 115 House Dems sign letter opposing annexation
At least 115 Democratic members of the House have added their names to a letter cautioning Israeli leaders against unilaterally annexing portions of the West Bank, according to a list reviewed by Jewish Insider on Thursday evening.
Carefully worded: The letter, authored by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and David Price (D-NC), warns the new Israeli government that annexation will complicate both Israel’s diplomatic standing and efforts to achieve Middle East peace. It is a milder version of a similar letter signed by 19 senators — which was updated several times before being sent — that cautioned Israel about the risk to its security and the possible impact on the bipartisan U.S.-Israel relationship.
Democratic consensus: The signatories to the House letter include Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), retiring Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee; Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), who last year authored a House resolution reaffirming U.S. support for the two-state solution (H.R. 326); Rep. Ro Khanna, (D-CA), who served as national co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, among others.
Runs the gamut: A Democratic congressional staffer who was involved in drafting the letter told JI that the list “runs the gamut from J Street Democrats to AIPAC Democrats.” The staffer noted that despite broader national political conversations and the coronavirus pandemic, “you still have a broad coalition of Democrats in the House who are expressing their voice here.”
Inbox: More than 600 rabbis, cantors and seminary students have signed on to a public letter warning that annexation “would be a catastrophic mistake.”
Sending a message: Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi made an unannounced visit to Ramallah on Thursday, warning that annexation “will destroy all the foundations of the peace process.”
🤳 Digital Voice:The Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov profiled 29-year-old New York native Tamar Schwarzbard, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s head of new media and the voice behind Israel’s quirky official Twitter account. “We are trying to reach young people, especially millennials,” she said. [JPost]
👨🏾💼 In the Spotlight: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim congressman and the first black politician elected statewide in Minnesota, is the man many are turning to amid a national spotlight on racial inequity after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. [WashPost]
🇦🇪 On the Ground: Members of the U.A.E.’s Jewish community spoke to Emily Judd for Al Arabiya English about life in the Arab nation, with one proclaiming that the country can be a “model to the world when it comes to acceptance, diversity, and multiculturalism.” [AlArabiya]
Around the Web
🎓 Sticking Around: Student leaders at Florida State University voted on Thursday to allow student senate president Ahmad Daraldik to retain his position despite the discovery of multiple antisemitic social media posts.
📱Push of the Button:President Donald Trump retweeted and then unretweeted Max Blumenthal — a prominent BDS supporter — slamming former National Security Advisor John Bolton over his upcoming book.
🚫 Old Playbook: Facebook has removed a series of Trump campaign ads blasting Antifa and “far-left mobs” that featured a symbol once used by the Nazis. The ADL implored the Trump campaign to take greater caution when attacking opponents.
🇵🇱 Political Allies: Trump will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda next week, just ahead of a divisive presidential election in which the Polish leader has been using anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and pushing antisemitic conspiracies to rally his base.
✈️ Incoming: Israeli officials are predicting a wave of immigration following COVID-19, pointing to a rise in those opening aliya files with Jewish Agency offices.
🏳️🌈 Milestone: The Israeli Knesset will soon have a record six openly gay MKs, after the passage of a law which allows ministers to resign their seats and make way for junior lawmakers to be sworn in.
💄 Moving Up: Jane Lauder, the daughter of Ron Lauder, has been elevated to the role of executive vice president of the Estée Lauder Companies.
🚀 Shoot for the Moon: Sam Altman, an investor and the CEO of OpenAI, is launching an initiative to fund “moonshot” startups in areas such as healthcare, education and housing.
💻 Fake Emails: The campaign of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) is calling on authorities to investigate emails attacking her for voting in favor of the anti-BDS House resolution last year under the subject line “Don’t buy from Jews,” but bearing her campaign logo.
💰 War Chest: Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman and Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon have donated to the congressional campaign of Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who is challenging Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in the Democratic primary.
🎙️ Talkin’ God: Former NBA star and current Maccabi Tel Aviv player Amar’e Stoudemire discussed Judaism and his life in Israel in an interview with comedian and actor Ramy Youssef.
😂 Kitchen Table Talk:New York Times reporter Dave Itzkoff previews Eric Andre’s new standup special “Legalize Everything” where the comedian and actor talks about being “blewish,” the son of a black father and white Jewish mother.
🎒 Personal Connection: New York City speech pathologist Tova Itzkovitz, the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, has found a way to connect to her high school students while discussing racism in America by sharing her own family history.
🏕️ Talk of the Town: A group of owners of Jewish sleepaway camps has filed a lawsuit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his decision to ban them from operating this summer.
📚 Book Shelf: Author Jennifer Steil speaks to the Christian Science Monitor about her latest novel, Exile Music, which features Jewish refugees living in Bolivia.
🚴 Sports Blink: Cyclist Chris Froome is reportedly in talks to join the Israel Start-Up Nation team after being offered a three-year contract by owner and Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams.
🕯️Bidding Farewell:The Associated Presspaid tribute to Saadya Ehrenpreis, a Yeshiva University student with Down syndrome who died of COVID-19 in April.
Pic of the Day
Gidi Grinstein, founder of the Reut Group, celebrated his bar mitzvah on his 50th birthday on Monday with Rabbi Levi Shemtov at the Ohel of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Queens, NY. Conference of Presidents CEO William Daroff was also in attendance.
Wine of the Week
JI’s wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews a special bottle from Mayacamas:
“This past Shabbat, a friend graciously invited me over to share a rare bottle of wine from the historic and regal winery: Mayacamas. The Schottenstein family from Columbus, Ohio, purchased the Mayacamas Vineyards in 2017 and the winery now produces four different kosher wines for the family and their dear friends.”
“While the Mayacamas 2015 Cabernet was Wine Spectator’s number 2 bottle of 2019, the 2016 Cabernet that my friend served is an epic wine in its own right. The grapes are grown on the slopes of Mt. Veeder and the juice is tantalizing. The color is deep ruby. The front palate is supple, the mid-mouth is earthy, and the finish is deep like a great French Bordeaux. This wine is drinkable now, and in 10 years will be an all-time classic. If you can get your hands on a kosher bottle, enjoy with hanger steak and potato knishes.”
Birthweek: Partner and on the management committee at Goldman Sachs, former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor, Dina Powell McCormick celebrates her birthday this week.
FRIDAY: Former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Geri M. Joseph turns 97… Binnie Stein turns 81… Former deputy mayor of NYC Kenneth Lipper turns 79… Rabbi emeritus of Anshe Emeth in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rabbi Bennett F. Miller turns 72… Owner at Wenkert Healthcare Services Harry E. Wenkert turns 64… President and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jay Sanderson turns 63… Broker at Morgan Stanley Inna N. Zalevsky turns 63… Overland Park, Kansas, resident Kathi Shaivitz Rosenberg turns 61… Comms director for New York State Assembly member Steven Cymbrowitz, Adrienne M. Knoll turns 60… North Base Media’s Marcus Brauchli turns 59…
Russian activist Valery Engel, Ph.D. turns 59… Reproductive endocrinology and infertility physician Jessica Rosenberg Brown, MD turns 59… Co-founder of Centerview Partners, Blair Effron turns 58… Singer-songwriter and television personality, Paula Abdul turns 58… Former member of Knesset Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin turns 50… Chairman and CEO of GreatPoint Energy, Andrew Perlman turns 45… Staff writer at The New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner turns 38… Executive director at Greater Philly Hillel Network, Tslil Shtulsaft turns 37… Founder of JSwipe, David Austin Yarus turns 34… Senior program officer at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Anna Langer turns 34… Founder of Kahal: Your Jewish Home Abroad, Alex Jakubowski turns 28… Director of client services at M/O Strategies, Cydney Couch turns 25…
SATURDAY: Weston, Florida resident Harold Kurte turns 91… Writer Dan Greenburg turns 84… Former member of Knesset Ran Cohen turns 83… Owner of Schulman Small Business Services, Alan Schulman turns 71… Detroit-based pawnbroker and reality TV star, Leslie “Les” Gold turns 70… Co-host of public radio’s “On the Media,” Bob Garfield turns 65… Assistant managing editor for politics at NBC News, Gregg Birnbaum turns 60… Founder of Brilliant Detroit and of Riverstone Communities, James Bellinson turns 60… Incoming EVP of the Orthodox Union Rabbi Moshe Hauer turns 55… Senior legal affairs contributor at PoliticoJosh Gerstein turns 50… Attorney General of Pennsylvania Josh Shapiro turns 47… Journalist and EMT in NYC Maggie Shnayerson turns 39… VP of corporate communications at Juul Labs, Josh Raffel turns 36… Jennifer Bernstein turns 35… Sara Pearl Kenigsberg turns 32… Chief campus officer at Hillel Ontario Beverley Shimansky… Director of Civic Initiatives at The Teagle Foundation, Tamara Mann Tweel, Ph.D… Legislative Assistant for Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Daniel Bleiberg…
SUNDAY: Former congresswoman and Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law, Marjorie Margolies turns 78… Former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Charles L. Glazer turns 77… Ingeborg Rennert turns 77… Co-founder of the largest advertising agency in the world, Baron Maurice Saatchi turns 74… Former UK cabinet minister, Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind turns 74… Creditors rights’ attorney at Chicago-area Blitt & Gaines, David Stephen Miller turns 70… Former journalist with The Washington Post, Peter Perl turns 70… Member of the Knesset Mickey Levy turns 69… Susan Gutman turns 66… CEO of Amir Development Company in Beverly Hills, Keenan Wolens turns 62… Washington Institute fellow and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS, David Makovsky turns 60…
Director of media relations at American Jewish World Service, David L. Marcus turns 60… Co-founder and executive editor of Axios, Mike Allen turns 56… National education reporter for The Washington Post, Laura Meckler turns 52… Green Bronx Machine’s Tanya Rebecca Singer turns 47… Public affairs consultant Sam Nunberg turns 39… First Druze woman to become a Member of the Knesset, Gadeer Kamal Mreeh turns 39… Co-founder and CEO of Kaggle Anthony Goldbloom turns 37… Manager of publicity at Netflix Jackie Berkowitz turns 36… Executive director at Hunter Hillel, Merav Fine Braun turns 34… Director at Saban Capital Group, Amitai Raziel… Deputy editor for programming and social media at CNN Politics, Madeleine Morgenstern… Daniel Padilla… Singer-songwriter Jeryko, Yaniv Hoffman…