Good Monday morning!
The saga at The New York Times’ editorial page came to a head over the weekend. After initially defending the decision to publish a controversial op-ed last week from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger announced yesterday that James Bennet, who has overseen the opinion section since 2016, was resigning effective immediately.
The Quincy Institute — backed by the Koch brothers and George Soros — was quick to target three other members of the Times opinion section: Bret Stephens, Bari Weiss and Adam Rubenstein (formerly an editor at JI). The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan initially singled out Weiss and Rubenstein to be fired but later deleted his tweet.
Meanwhile, Ben Smith writes in his latest NYT column about the revolts inside newsrooms as some staffers push for positions of fairness over the appearance of neutrality.
Today, President Donald Trump is holding a roundtable with law enforcement officials to discuss police reform. Former Vice President Joe Biden will meet with the family of George Floyd in Houston ahead of Floyd’s funeral on Tuesday.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)marched in a Black Lives Matter protest yesterday in Washington. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he could not support Trump this November because he has “drifted away from the Constitution.”
AIPAC released a public statement on Sunday — following a letter the organization’s chief executives sent last week to its African-American members — calling for an end to “the scourge of racism, intolerance and inequality.”
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This South Carolina former football star wants to tackle the divide in Congress
At first glance, former University of South Carolina Gamecocks football captain Moe Brown may not seem like a conventional candidate for Congress. But the 32-year-old is poised to pick up the Democratic Party’s nomination this week to take on Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) in November in South Carolina’s 5th congressional district, reports Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod.
Early life: Brown was born to a 16-year-old single mother, and his family struggled with financial instability throughout his childhood. He excelled in football from a young age and earned a spot on the University of South Carolina’s team, becoming the first in his family to attend college. When his dreams of playing professional football did not pan out, Brown took a position in the South Carolina Department of Commerce under then-Gov. Nikki Haley.
Role models: As Brown reflects on his childhood, he does not focus on the hardships, but rather the support and encouragement he received from his family and faith leaders. “What I did have was a lot of people who love me, and a lot of people who pushed me and, I think the most important thing was, a lot of folks who held me accountable,” he said in an interview with Jewish Insider. “That helped shape me into the person that I am and how I fundamentally see life. Be a person of your word, and keep your word.”
Bipartisanship: In Congress, Brown said he’d prioritize bridging partisan divides to find solutions on issues like healthcare affordability and accessibility — particularly in rural areas — employment, increasing education funding for rural areas and infrastructure in rural areas, including broadband access. “The continuing bickering and the hyperpartisan nature that we’ve seen in our politics I think goes against the fundamentals of what our country was built upon,” he said. “It was clear to me that well, Moe, you feel so strongly about this and you want to see a better America. Do something about that.”
Honest broker: “I know that the two-state solution is really the only solution that will allow Israel to remain both a national homeland for the Jewish people and a democracy,” Brown said. “I believe the United States has a role to play in that. We’ve got to make sure that we can be an honest broker.” Brown said restoring U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority will help facilitate peace efforts. “It will just tamp down some of the conflict that you’re seeing in the area,” he said. “If they’re not getting aid, and they’re in just desperation, conflict will just go on the rise. So I think we do need to give that aid back to them. I think it’s in our best interest.”
ADL taps longtime FBI official as new vice president for law enforcement
The Anti-Defamation League has tapped longtime FBI official Gregory Ehrie to oversee the group’s relationship with law enforcement.
Unique position: “Moving on from the Bureau, I can’t think of a better organization I’d want to join,” Ehrie told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod in a recent interview. “I think my background in law enforcement and my interactions with them really puts me in a unique position to enhance and forward the ADL mission.” Ehrie’s role places him in charge of the organization’s efforts to build partnerships between law enforcement and both the ADL and the public at large. “I want to get to know both sides,” he said, “and hopefully [I] can translate the languages so we can better not only protect our communities but have a more respectful relationship.”
Community ties: Ehrie said he has “a great affinity” for the Jewish community, fostered by his work in and with the community over several decades. In 2005 and 2006, he spent a year living on the Ramat Rachel kibbutz in Jerusalem learning Arabic for the FBI. He described his time in Jerusalem as “one of the highlights of my life,” and said the people he met were “some of the most caring people and… so welcoming, so open.” Last year, he led the FBI’s Newark office during the investigation into the December attack on a kosher supermarket in Jersey City.
Repairing damage: Ehrie arrives at the ADL at a time when the relationship between the public and law enforcement is under severe stress. More than a week of protests against police brutality around the country have, in many cities, elevated tensions between community members and authorities. The relationship between the public and law enforcement “is a marriage without divorce, as we like to call it,” Ehrie said. “So I hope… that I can in some way assist the ADL whose mission is to help these communities… to assist them in making this better and repairing this damage.”
Bruce Jay Friedman’s cartoonist son reflects on his father’s legacy
Drew Friedman didn’t have an average childhood. Not every New York kid can say he rubbed elbows with celebrities at Elaine’s, hung out at Groucho Marx’s house and watched his dad get into a fistfight with Norman Mailer. But that was the norm for Friedman, the son of novelist, playwright and screenwriter Bruce Jay Friedman — who died last week at age 90 — he told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel in an interview reflecting on his father’s legacy.
Role model: “He had just this incredible work ethic, which I picked up on early in my life,” Friedman, an accomplished illustrator who came to prominence in the 1990s as a caricaturist for The New York Observer, told Jewish Insider. “He’d come home and then spend time with us — with his sons and the family — then work at night.” As busy as his father was, Friedman recalled, he always made time for his kids. “He was just a great dad,” said Friedman, whose parents divorced in the 1970s. “He always had time for my brothers and I… he was my role model.”
Pretty good: Bruce Jay was perhaps most well known for his screenplays. In the early 1980s, he wrote “Stir Crazy,” starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, along with “Splash,” the hit romantic comedy featuring a young Tom Hanks alongside Daryl Hannah. But he came to prominence in the 1960s when he wrote a series of darkly comic fictional works. Though Friedman didn’t read his dad’s work as a kid — he mostly studied the covers, he said, visually attuned as he was — he would come to appreciate the oeuvre. “Later on, I started reading his stuff and realizing like, well, you know, I think Dad is pretty good.”
Sunny outlook: Bruce Jay came to be associated with black humor, though Friedman was resistant to the idea that it should define him. “It was more like honest humor, dealing with the world he was dealing with back then and the people he encountered,” Friedman told JI. Bruce Jay was more upbeat and sunny than his work may have let on. Though he suffered from neuropathy and couldn’t use his hands — even to type — he never complained, Friedman said. “It should be part of his legacy,” he said. “Even with such a sad situation going on, it just never really affected him.”
🖥️Cyber Battle: In Foreign Policy, Gil Baram and Kevjn Lim take a close look at the cyber war heating up between Israel and Iran. “The latest skirmish appears to mark the beginning of a shift in the Israeli-Iranian cyberconflict, one that will likely be more public than clandestine going forward.” [ForeignPolicy]
🦸Secret Hero: Julian Ryall of The South China Morning Post has uncovered a second “Japanese Schindler,” who worked to save Jews fleeing Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. Saburo Nei, a little-known figure, defied government orders to issue travel documents to Jews who had escaped from Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railway. [SCMP]
💸What If?Rich Bockmann explores in The Real Deal the impact of a potential bankruptcy filing by WeWork. “In the most extreme scenario, WeWork would fail to convince its creditors of a successful path forward. In that case, liquidation may be the only option.” [RealDeal]
Around the Web
🚶Tough Crowd: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was met with loud boos and chants of “go home, Jacob, go home!” after telling a group of protesters on Saturday that he did not support abolishing the city’s police department. On Sunday, the Minneapolis City Council announced it had a veto-proof supermajority to defund and disband the police department.
📱Poor Posts:Five GOP county chairs in Texas are under fire from their own party for sharing racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories about George Floyd.
🕯️Life Lost: Recent OSU graduate Sarah Grossman was reportedly killed by tear gas sprayed by police during a protest in Columbus, Ohio, late last month.
😠 Taking to the Streets: Thousands of Israelis, some holding Palestinian flags, protested Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexation plan in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Saturday. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) sent a recorded message of support.
⚠️ Red Light: Jordan is reportedly considering canceling its peace agreement with Israel and recalling its ambassador if the Israeli government moves ahead with a plan to annex parts of the West Bank. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will visit Israel this week to caution Israeli leaders against the move.
⏲️ Rush Against Time: U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov is trying to arrange a meeting of the Quartet “as soon as possible” to discuss the peace process before the July 1st annexation target date.
👨 The Other Cabinet: A report in Yediot Aharonot today revealed that Breitbart’s Aaron Klein is again advising Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the proposed annexation date.
🎤 Sharing Thoughts:At the start of yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu called the shooting death of an unarmed autistic Palestinian man in East Jerusalem last week a “tragedy.”
⚰️ Final Destination:Ramadan Shallah, the former head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement who was on the U.S.’s most wanted list, died at age 62 after a three-year coma and was buried in Damascus.
🤝 More Deals: The Iranian regime indicated on Sunday it is ready for more prisoner swaps with the U.S. following the release of Navy veteran Michael White last week.
🏡 Going Large: Entertainment mogul David Geffen is in talks to buy the Beverly Hills home of Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee president Casey Wasserman, which is listed at $82 million.
💄Revolt: More than 100 employees of Estee Lauder Companies are calling for the ouster of board member Ronald Lauder over his support for President Donald Trump.
🧑🤝🧑 One People:Israeli Consul General to New York Dani Dayan criticized Israeli cabinet ministers who refuse to visit Reform congregations during their official visits to the U.S.
🕍 Pray as You Wish:Houses of worship in New York will be allowed to open for services up to 25% capacity in phase two of the reopening process, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
🙏🏻 Baby Steps: The U.K. government will allow places of worship to reopen for private individual prayer under new guidelines starting June 15, but Jewish and Muslim leaders criticized the move, saying it was not relevant to their practices.
⚾ Sports Blink: Cincinnati baseball players are leading a call to remove former Cincinnati Red’s owner Marge Schott’s name from the University of Cincinnati baseball stadium due to her long history of racist and antisemitic comments.
Pic of the Day
An Orthodox Jewish family holding up handwritten signs in support of racial equality during a George Floyd solidarity march on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, N.Y. yesterday.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) turns 50…
Nobel Prize laureate Robert Aumann turns 90… Former Ohio State Senate president, Stanley J. Aronoff turns 88… Family Dollar founder Leon Levine turns 83… Alternative medicine guru Dr. Andrew Weil turns 78… Diamond magnate Nicholas F. (Nicky) Oppenheimer turns 75… Hedge fund manager Selwyn Donald Sussman turns 74… Detective novelist Sara Paretsky turns 73… Crisis manager Michael Sitrick turns 73… Classical pianist Emanuel Ax turns 71… UCLA Jewish Studies Mary Enid Pinkerson turns 69… Former member of Knesset Yosef “Yossi” Yona turns 67… Barbara Panken turns 67… O2 Investment Partners Rob Orley turns 65… Journalist and stand-up comedian Aaron Freeman turns 64… Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago’s Patti Frazin turns 59…
Genesis Prize co-founder Stan Polovets turns 57… “The Good Wife” actress Julianna Margulies turns 54… Actor and screenwriter Daniel Paul “Dan” Futterman turns 53… Actor and producer Mark Feuerstein turns 49… Consulate Health Care’s Daniel Frenden turns 47… AJC Global’s Daniel Elbaum turns 46… Massachusetts governor’s staffer Michael Emanuel Vallarelli turns 41… Hillel at ASU’s Suzy Stone turns 40… Art collector and investor Dasha Zhukova turns 39… Wilmington corporate litigator Daniel Kirshenbaum turns 38… SVP of social media for CBS Eric J. Kuhn turns 33… CEO of the Bnai Zion Foundation, Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm turns 33… Offensive tackle for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, his Hebrew name is “Mendel,” Mitchell Schwartz turns 31… Executive director of Hillel 818, Matt Baram…