Good Monday morning!
In Jerusalem, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is meeting for the second day in a row with Israeli leaders to discuss a compromise on annexation. More on the annexation debate below.
Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen is reportedly set to embark on a tour of Gulf states to meet with several moderate Sunni Arab leaders to lobby them on annexation.
Eight Democratic Senate candidates in battleground states are expected to issue statements against annexation later today. See below for our exclusive reporting.
The Republican Jewish Coalition released a string of endorsements yesterday, backing the re-election of Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Don Bacon (R-NE), and announcing the group’s support of eight Senate and House candidates.
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-PA) lost his bid to become the Republican nominee in Virginia’s 5th district to Liberty University official Bob Good, a move that could boost Democrats’ chances in the once Republican stronghold.
Georgia congressional contender Carolyn Bourdeaux has surpassed the 50% of the vote needed to avoid a runoff for the Democratic nomination, despite earlier projections, though thousands of uncounted absentee ballots remain.
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spirit of giving
The wine magnate fighting BDS in Congress and in wine shops across the country
Rep. David Trone (D-MD), the co-founder of Total Wine & More, is a major donor to both AIPAC and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). But in recent years, Trone has had to choose between the two groups because of his vehement opposition to the BDS movement. “We’re categorically opposed to BDS,” Trone told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel in a recent interview.
Taking sides: Trone is believed to be the first sitting member of Congress who is an AIPAC “minyan” donor, which requires a minimum annual gift of $100,000 and is the highest membership level in the pro-Israel group. Trone has also donated millions to the ACLU, establishing the Trone Center for Justice and Equality. While AIPAC supports legislation that bars companies from participating in boycotts targeting Israel, the ACLU opposes such efforts on free speech grounds — something Trone disagrees with.
Purchasing power: Total Wine, which operates more than 200 stores across 24 states, is the largest retailer of Israeli wine in the U.S., according to the congressman. “Israel makes great wines,” he told JI, praising the wineries in the Golan, a region he characterized as an up-and-coming wine destination akin to Austria’s Wachau Valley. The company has “worked hard to have one of the best selections in the country of Israeli wines,” Trone said. “And not just kosher, but Israeli wines themselves, some of which are kosher.”
Communal ties: Trone has long supported Jewish causes — at least since he married his wife, June Trone, who is Jewish and insisted their four children be raised in the religion. “I told him, I want to raise my family Jewish, so if that was something that he wasn’t interested in, we shouldn’t pursue this,” June recalled to JI in a rare interview. Trone said he was intimately attuned to the recent uptick in antisemitic violence in the United States. He lived in Pittsburgh for 15 years, and his oldest daughter, Michelle, received her Hebrew name at the Tree of Life Congregation, the site of a 2018 shooting that killed 11 people.
Giving back: Trone — who is aware that he is fortunate to have self-funded both of his campaigns — now wants to help out other aspiring candidates during a year in which the Democrats are hoping to flip the Senate while maintaining their hold on the House. “It’s very hard for them, in today’s environment, to hold fundraisers and really get the money that it takes to run a campaign,” he told JI. “So if we’re able to step up because we’ve been fortunate financially, and help them out, that’s certainly, I think, the right thing to do.” Trone is dispersing his money among more than 40 candidates, according to his wife, who is also making donations. “It’s crucial to be there to help,” he said.
Driving the convo
Klobuchar and Smith join growing list of Democrats cautioning against annexation
Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) have joined 26 Senate Democrats in publicly warning Israeli leaders against unilaterally annexing portions of the West Bank. In individual letters sent last month and made public over the weekend, both senators — Klobuchar addressed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Smith wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz — posited that annexation would undermine efforts to attain a two-state solution.
Growing list: Last month, 19 Democratic senators sent a letter to Netanyahu and Gantz urging them not to move forward with the effort. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) sent individual communiques to Netanyahu and Gantz, similarly opposing the move, and Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Maggie Hassan✎ EditSign (D-NH) addressed the matter in letters to Pompeo. In addition, Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) issued statements against annexation, and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) indicated to Jewish Currents that he would “communicate directly with [Israeli] Ambassador [Ron] Dermer and Israeli officials to express his concerns.”
2020 watch: Later today, eight Senate candidates in battleground states are expected to join the list expressing their opposition to the move. In statements provided to J Street✎ EditSign and shared with Jewish Insider, the candidates — Cal Cunningham (North Carolina), Sara Gideon (Maine), Teresa Greenfield (Iowa), Al Gross (Alaska), Jaime Harrison (South Carolina), MJ Hegar (Texas), John Hickenlooper (Colorado), Amy McGrath (Kentucky) and Jon Ossoff (Georgia) — emphasized that annexation would place the future of a two-state solution at risk.
Taking credit: “Democratic leaders have now made absolutely clear that they do not and cannot support unilateral annexation in the West Bank,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami told JI. “For annexation to move forward in the face of this overwhelming opposition would be incredibly harmful to the future of Israelis and Palestinians and to the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
Clearing the air: Former White House Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt suggested in an op-ed that while he’s glad U.A.E. Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba chose to speak directly to the Israeli public, the message from his widely reported op-ed in Yediot Aharonot against annexation “potentially undermines my efforts and those of the Trump administration” to bring peace between Israel and its neighbors. Billionaire Haim Saban reportedly advised Al Otaiba on publishing his op-ed.
Look before you leap: Washington Institute executive director Rob Satloff expresses concern that Israel would lose its respect in key global capitals by moving forward with the plan. Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi implores Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to be “the voice of the sober center” in Israel and block the annexation. Joel Rosenberg maintains that Trump has no incentive to greenlight annexation to excite his evangelical base because most of them already believe Trump is the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history. And Bloomberg’s Eli Lake explains that AIPAC is smart to sidestep the issue of annexation with Democratic lawmakers.
Susan Rice as Biden’s VP? Her friend Abe Foxman weighs in
Susan Rice, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a national security advisor under President Barack Obama, has reportedly emerged as a leading contender to be Joe Biden’s running mate. According to an Associated Press report on Friday, Rice is among six serious candidates who advanced to the second round of vetting for potential vice presidential nominees.
Stamp of approval: Abe Foxman, the retired longtime national director of the Anti-Defamation League, developed a close relationship with Rice before stepping down in 2015. In an interview with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh on Sunday, Foxman spoke about the former diplomat’s qualifications. He suggested Rice would “do well” with key voters if she’s on the ticket, adding “she’s experienced, she’s smart, [and] she’s tough.”
Personal relationship: Foxman described his relationship with Rice as friendly and honest, despite disagreements on several policy matters. “We had differences, but she was always there and listened,” he said, citing the rocky relationship between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “She served Obama — so she was true to his worldview, but I found her to be fair. She understood Jewish history, and she was a friend of Israel.”
Package deal: Foxman suggested that if picked as running mate, Rice would be a friend of Israel and of the Jewish community in the mold of a Biden presidency. “Jews who didn’t like Obama won’t like her, but Jews who don’t like Obama can still like Biden,” he concluded.
Bonus: Rabbi Michael Beals, who is considered to be Joe Biden’s rabbi, tellsThe Washington Post’s Matt Viser that the stay-at-home orders and campaigning amid COVID-19 is challenging to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. “He’s so intimate, and it’s hard for him,” said Beals, who recently attended a Biden roundtable on racial inequality.
IEvan Bernstein to lead Community Security Service as organization ramps up preparedness
The Community Security Service, which trains volunteers to protect Jewish communities across the United States, has tapped longtime Anti-Defamation League staffer Evan Bernstein to serve as its new executive director, reports Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss.
On the ground: Bernstein worked for seven years at the ADL, most recently as vice president of the group’s Northeast division, and has a heightened awareness of the security issues facing Jewish communities around the country. In December 2019, he was on the ground in the aftermath of the attacks on a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, NJ, and a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, NY, as well as a string of incidents targeting Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn. The experience, Bernstein said, was “surreal.”
European model: Bernstein said American Jewish communities need to become more vigilant, and pointed to the model in European Jewish communities, which rely on local volunteers to aid in security efforts. “That is a very unique thing that in Europe has been a best practice for over 50 years,” he said. “That is just not ingrained in the American culture. And that’s something that’s my goal.”
Empowered: “I now realize how important it is that we as Jews start taking our own security more seriously than we ever have,” he said. “As great as law enforcement is — and they’re amazing — and as effective as private security can be, it’s critical that Jews, empowered on their own, start taking responsibility for their own security.”
📱 Wrong Track:Wall Street Journal reporter Benjamin Mullin takes a look at the rocky relationship between Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman ever since Quibi’s bumpy start in April, including Whitman’s claims that Katzenberg had been dictatorial and demeaning toward her. [WSJ]
✡️ Bubbe Meises: The New York Times’s Michael Grynbaum profiles “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace, who was born to Jewish parents but attended Episcopalian prep school after their divorce. It was then that he learned the Yiddish term “oy gevalt” after his grandmother saw him in a uniform bearing a small cross. [NYTimes]
🎙️ Opinionated: In AirMail, William D. Cohan profiles Scott Galloway, the fast-talking NYU professor with two podcasts, a new Vice show and a series of bestselling books, who has made headlines for his bold takes on higher education, social media giants and modern masculinity. [AirMail]
🎓 Ancient Hatred: In The Wall Street Journal, Cynthia Ozick argues that campus antisemitism “dressed in the sheep’s clothing of social justice” is the modern-day echo of the “intellectual anti-Semite,” propagated by leading academic institutions. [WSJ]
Around the Web
🗣️ Heard Yesterday: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the growing challenge of China to the U.S. and Israel and touted Trump’s unequivocal support for Israel in an address to the American Jewish Committee’s virtual conference on Sunday. Pompeo is slated to speak to European foreign ministers today, with Mideast peace high on the agenda.
🔥 Keep Bernin’: After almost three months in isolation, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke withThe Washington Post about his quarantine experience and his return to Capitol Hill, where he intends to kickstart the legacy-shaping portion of his political career.
✈️ Sent Packing:Israel has ordered the deportation of Brandon Korff, the son of ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone, for violating quarantine orders to see his girlfriend, Israeli model Yael Shelbia, during a trip approved by authorities for Korff to visit his brother serving in the IDF.
🎁 Birthday Gift: The Israeli cabinet approved yesterday plans to create a 300-family settlement in the Golan named after Trump.
💸 Helping Hand: Netanyahu has requested permission to receive an NIS 10 million donation from Michigan real estate magnate Spencer Partrich in order to fund his legal defense.
📉 Hard Hit: The cancellation of Birthright and Masa trips to Israel is expected to cost the Israeli economy $200 million this year.
💉 Buying Health: Israel is reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a coronavirus vaccine from Moderna Inc.
🏕️ Camp Controversy: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing backlash after Friday’s decision to close sleepaway camps in the state over the summer.
😡 Defending Rights: A group of Orthodox Jews and Catholics have filed a lawsuit against Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over a “blatant double standard” in allowing protests but restricting prayer services.
🇲🇽 Protect its Own: As the Mexican government was slow to react to COVID-19, the country’s Jewish community adopted its own digital response to the pandemic.
🌊 Under Water: A former Nazi submarine base has been transformed into the world’s largest digital art gallery.
🕯️ Remembering: The Washington Post highlights the life of Otilia Levi, a Jewish Romanian refugee who worked to hide other Jews from the Nazis through a network of monasteries and churches, and died last month at 97.
Gif of the Day
Chief Rabbi of Poland Rabbi Michael Schudrich turns 65…
Swedish author and Holocaust survivor Hédi Fried turns 96… British Baron David Alliance turns 88… Co-founder of Astral Media Ian Greenberg turns 78… Former president of the Jewish Community Foundation of Phoenix Stuart C. Turgel turns 72… Past president of the National Rifle Association Sandra S. (Sandy) Froman turns 71… Professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School Laurie Zoloth turns 70… Estonian entrepreneur Alexander Bronstein Ph.D. turns 66… President of PR firm Edelman Richard Winston Edelman turns 66… Israeli Druze member of the Knesset for Likud, Fateen Mulla turns 60… Novelist and screenwriter Jill Eisenstadt turns 57…
Los Angeles attorney Daniel Brett Lacesa turns 55… Attorney and board member of The Washington Institute For Near East Policy, Jeffrey I. Abrams turns 53… Associate managing editor and Metro editor at The New York Times, Clifford J. Levy turns 53… CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash (born Dana Ruth Schwartz) turns 49… Retired news anchor for Israel Public Broadcasting, Geula Even-Saar turns 48… Former White House speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, she wrote a 2019 book about her Judaism journey, Sarah Hurwitz turns 43… Ethiopian-born Israeli marathon runner, Zohar Zimro turns 43…
Senior global affairs analyst at CNN, Bianna Golodryga turns 42… Co-founder of Evergreen Strategy Group Daniel Baum Schwerin turns 38… Director of corporate communications and public affairs at Google, Rebecca Michelle Ginsberg Rutkoff turns 35… Birthright Israel Foundation’s Jaclyn “Jackie” Saxe Soleimani turns 34… Director and senior recruiter at UBS, Victoria Elian Edelman turns 34… On the foreign affairs team for “PBS NewsHour” Ali S. Weinberg Rogin turns 33… Director of American Values at The Paul E. Singer Foundation, Joel Winton… Finance major at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Elli Sweet turns 20… Jimmy Ritter…