Good Friday morning!
Major Hollywood donors including Bob Iger, Steve Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg have contributed large sums to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Jewish groupsreacted yesterday to the Israel plank — and the omission of the word “occupation” — in the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform that was first reported by Jewish Insider. Biden is slated to address the nation’s largest Muslim American PAC on Monday.
Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI), a former Republican who left the party last year, confirmed he will not seek re-election this fall.
TV host Nick Cannonannounced yesterday that he would take a break from his radio show to “commit to deeper, more thorough reflection and education” amid his ongoing antisemitism scandal. Cannon met in person yesterday with the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper.
Israel has instituted a new set of weekend restrictions to fight its sharp rise of COVID-19 cases, warning that a stricter lockdown could be on the way.
Jewish Insider’s ‘Jewish Nielsen’ reports are back after a brief summer hiatus. Check out the latest rankings to see which webcasts people tuned into over the past three weeks.
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A LIFE JOURNEY
She fled Tehran at age 4. Now 44, Tali Farhadian Weinstein is running for Manhattan DA
Tali Farhadian Weinstein has just digitally launched her campaign, joining the crowded race to challenge Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., who has yet to indicate whether he will run for reelection next year. Farhadian Weinstein sat down with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel yesterday for a socially distanced interview in Manhattan’s Tompkins Square Park to discuss her life story and her bid for office.
Background: A Persian Jew born in Tehran, Farhadian Weinstein fled the Islamic Republic with her family at the age of four in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. After a 10-month sojourn in Israel, her family settled first in New York and then northern New Jersey. She attended yeshiva day school at the Moriah and Frisch academies but notes that her family wasn’t strictly Orthodox. She graduated from Yale University and then won a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford, where she studied Arabic and Farsi. She switched paths after her time in England, returning to the U.S. to get her law degree and scoring two coveted clerkships with Judge Merrick B. Garland and former Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Farhadian Weinstein also worked for former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder who narrated her campaign launch video. Most recently, she served as the general counsel to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
Here and now: Farhadian Weinstein believes this moment is as opportune a time as any — if not more so — to jump into the fray. “Why not now? I mean, we’re actually engaged in a really robust conversation, I think, about what fairness and safety are supposed to look like, and this campaign is about being a part of that conversation.” The 44-year-old lawyer said she would bring to the role “the work that I’ve done in thinking about immigrants in the criminal justice system, how noncitizens fare,” she told JI, “just to make sure that we’re really delivering for everybody, including for them.”
Goals: If elected, Farhadian Weinstein said she would work to reform the criminal justice system as mass protests against systemic racism have swept the nation, but she believes that calls to defund the police are misguided. “I don’t like the word ‘defund,’” she said. “I think it’s inflammatory and actually not particularly solution-oriented.” She said she would build a new bureau to handle “gender-based violence,” focusing on sexual assault, stalking, nonconsensual pornography and domestic violence, which she described as “a pandemic before the pandemic.”
Strong backing: Farhadian Weinstein is in a strong position as she enters the race given that she can self-fund her campaign. She is married to Boaz Weinstein, the wildly successful founder of Saba Capital Management, a hedge fund that has seen high returns amid the coronavirus pandemic. The couple lives on the Upper East Side with their three daughters, who are currently staying in Long Island with Farhadian Weinstein’s parents. “He’s just always been unbelievably supportive of me,” she said of her husband. “We’re going to start the hashtag #prosecutorhusband instead of #hedgefundwife,” Farhadian Weinstein quipped.
Bonus — a plug for UJA dating: Farhadian Weinstein first met her husband about 12 years ago after attending a book party at the UJA-Federation of New York, where she just finished a term of service as a board member. “I went and talked to some people and came home, and then a week later this guy Boaz calls me,” she recalled. “He said that he saw me across the room at this party, and he thought that we made eye contact — I think that he might kill me for telling you this story — and that I smiled when we looked at each other and would I go out on a date with him, and the rest is history.” “I still cannot confirm or deny whether that happened,” she said when asked if they had indeed made eye contact.
Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers respond to criticism of Hall of Famer’s post with Farrakhan
More than 36 hours after posting a photo with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, basketball Hall of Famer Allen Iverson addressed the maelstrom of criticism he faced for appearing to show support for a man who has spouted antisemitic and homophobic conspiracy theories for decades.
No offense intended: In a second Instagram post, published Thursday, Iverson — who has not removed the photo with Farrakhan — wrote: “I have always had the highest love and respect for all of my fans, regardless of their race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, political designation or personal or political views… My post wasn’t meant to offend anyone.” He added that he does “not support antisemitic or homphobic views from anyone,” but noted that “I respect Louis Farrakhan’s strong voice on behalf of Black people and his impact on the Black community.”
Condemning bigotry: In a statement provided to Jewish Insider, the Philadelphia 76ers — for whom Iverson played for a decade — addressed the retired player’s social media activity. “When we were made aware of Allen’s post on social media yesterday, we reached out to him to understand it. When he learned the post had caused hurt and offense, Allen expressed a continued commitment to standing for equality and opposing antisemitism, racism and homophobia. Now more than ever, we must come together to condemn bigotry of any kind. This includes embracing dialogue on these subjects and learning from each other, no matter how uncomfortable.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver told JI: “The NBA has a long history of standing up for the principles of equality and the importance of respecting a diversity of viewpoints but we condemn all forms of hate speech, racism or antisemitic behavior no matter where it comes from.”
Bonus: Rabbi David Wolpe, who joined former NBA player Stephen Jackson for an Instagram live conversation about racism against both the Jewish and Black communities following Jackson’s defense of an antisemitic social media post by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, expressed a willingness to continue engaging in conversation, even after the retired basketball player commented positively on Iverson’s post.
Wolpe told JI, “If the opportunity presents itself, I would absolutely speak with him [again]. I do not believe, if we are serious about changing hearts and minds, that one conversation suffices. This will have to be an ongoing engagement, and it may not work, but it surely will not help if we stop talking. Dialogue does not preclude rebuke and does not imply approval. It means we continue to talk and see if we can move forward,” he explained. Wolpe also praised a recent op-ed denouncing antisemitism written by basketball great Kareem Abdul Jabbar as “gratifying.”
FOR THE RECORD
Tlaib claims her Middle East views have been ‘misinterpreted’
In an interview with a Detroit Jewish news outlet ahead of her primary next month, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) defended her stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and rejected charges of antisemitism.
Where I come from: Tlaib claimed her position on Israel has been “misinterpreted or not fully understood” by the media. “If people saw me more as a granddaughter, versus a Congress member, they would understand why I have said we need to push for true equality and justice in Israel,” she explained in an interview with The Detriot Jewish News. “The lens I bring to the issue is something I hope people welcome because I don’t think there has ever been a member of Congress with a living grandmother or relatives in the occupied territories of Israel. I hope people see an opportunity, not something negative.”
Doubling down: Tlaib defended her support of a one-state solution — which led J Street to withdraw its endorsement of her during the 2018 campaign — claiming that current conditions in Israel make a two-state solution unviable. “The two-state [solution] is almost impossible now around the racist policies of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu… [a] two-state would be impossible without actually hurting Israelis,” she said. While Tlaib said she does not believe supporting the BDS movement is a prerequisite for being progressive, she added that she doesn’t think opposition to Israeli annexation without a call to leverage aid is likely to be “effective.”
Tough battle: Tlaib faces a competitive primary against Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones on August 4. Jones came close to beating Tlaib in the 2018 Democratic primary. Major Jewish donors were expected to throw support behind Jones in 2020, but that has not materialized — something many have attributed to Jones’s outspoken support for controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
What the people are saying:The Detroit Jewish News spoke to a variety of local Jews about their mixed feelings on the freshman congresswoman.
HEARD LAST NIGHT
Stu Eizenstat and Tevi Troy recount Jewish moments at the White House
Stuart “Stu” Eizenstat, one of former President Jimmy Carter’s closest aides, and Tevi Troy, who served as White House liaison to the Jewish community under President George W. Bush, discussed their experiences during a conversation on Thursday with Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of the American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) in Washington, D.C.
Carter’s Seder: “Only a few weeks after [Carter] brokered the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, we had a Passover Seder with the president and the first lady, and my parents and family,” Eizenstat, author of President Carter: The White House Years, recalled. “He sat through the whole Seder, and how moving it was to go through the Haggadah about the Jews leaving as slaves from Egypt — and here’s the president that helped negotiate the agreement between Israel and Egypt. One very funny incident at the Seder, when it came time to let the prophet [Elijah] in, I [went] to the front door and the Secret Service [agent] jumps on me and says, ‘You can’t do that. We’ve secured the house for the president.’ I had to negotiate to have the back door open. It was the only time the prophet came through the back door.”
Party to remember: Troy, author of Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump, highlighted how the White House Hanukkah party under Bush became “the absolute hottest ticket in town.” Troy quipped that once the guests got into the White House reception, “that was the place they wanted to stay and not depart from.” Troy said that Josh Bolten, Bush’s chief of staff in his second term, once joked that “the Jews are so persistent in staying at the parties, even beyond the time that the party was scheduled for, that he was once afraid that the military aides were going to have to unsheath their ceremonial weapons to encourage the guests out from the Hanukkah party.” Troy, who was sitting in at the senior staff meeting, spoke up and said it reminded him of the old joke, “Gentiles leave without saying goodbye; Jews say goodbye and they never leave.” Troy said that White House senior strategist Karl Rove “howled with laughter at that joke” and later requested Troy write it down for him so he got it exactly right in the future.
Recipe for success: Both Eizenstat and Troy noted that in order to have an impact on policy, White House Jewish liaisons shouldn’t come with an agenda to serve just the Jewish community’s interests. “If you have the confidence of the president, and the recommendations you make come from Jewish values and Jewish backgrounds that can be fitting into the president’s agenda and philosophy, then you can have an impact,” Eizenstat said.
❤️ Love Not Hate:Tablet magazine’s Yair Rosenberg spoke with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Zach Banner about his recent outspoken support for the Jewish community after antisemitic comments from several athletes. “I made the video to defend my friends. I didn’t expect the whole Jewish community to have my back.” [Tablet]
🧕 New Path: In The New York Times, Seyward Darby profiles Corinna Olsen, a woman who was once an active and vocal part of the white supremacist movement in the U.S., but renounced it years ago and converted to Islam in 2018. [NYTimes]
🕵️ Dangerous Plot:Dexter Filkins writes in The New Yorker about an apparent Saudi plot to target former FBI agent Ali Soufan, which has been linked to the same government officials involved in the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi. [NewYorker]
🤴 On the Town: Harriet Ryan and Matt Hamilton delve deep in The Los Angeles Times into the story of Qatari Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the playboy prince who took Los Angeles by storm and received extraordinary “special treatment” while a student at USC. [LATimes]
Around the Web
🤭 Book Tour: Mary Trump, President Donald Trump’s niece who just released a book about her family, told The Washington Post that growing up she witnessed frequent “knee-jerk” antisemitic expressions from family members, including Trump.
🏨 Families Feud: Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty is battling with a company owned by the Nakash family over a $1 million deposit tied to a failed purchase of a dozen condos in Miami Beach.
⚾ Planning Ahead: Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez met with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his son, Jonathan, to discuss a potential partnership if they end up buying the Mets.
✈️ One Day: American Airlines has announced a new JFK-Tel Aviv flight set to launch in late 2021.
📺 Hollywood:Apple TV+ has ordered a U.S. adaptation of the hit Israeli show “When Heroes Fly.”
🤷♂️ Fake Hacking: The BBC reported yesterday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not part of the recent high-profile Twitter hack, despite many reports to the contrary.
⏲️ Not Now: Netanyahu’s annexation plans appear to have stalled as Israel waits for a response to its proposal from a distracted White House.
👨 View from Foggy Bottom: Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker urged Netanyahu to express support for the creation of a Palestinian state amid annexation talk.
💣 Open Window: A former Israeli defense official and a current E.U. official suggested to Business Insider that recent blasts in Iran are an Israeli attempt to draw Tehran into a military confrontation while Trump is still in office.
🚢 Shore Up: Israel is moving ahead with a plan to auction off the Haifa seaport in the hopes of raising some $583 million.
👩 On The Hill: Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) implored her colleagues not to “succumb to the pervasive partisanship” in Washington as she presided over her last spending bill meeting at the House Appropriations Committee.
📝 Fact Check: Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and David McKinley (D-WV) sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming the State Department heavily underreported the number of attacks against Israelis in the West Bank in its 2019 human rights report.
🎤 On Attack: Pompeo unveiled a report from the new Commission on Unalienable Rights yesterday, suggesting that more rights does not mean more justice.
📈 No Rush:Billionaire investor David Rubenstein is warning against jumping into a volatile stock market.
🤳 Trend Hopping: Facebook is set to launch Instagram Reels, a short-form video app, to compete with TikTok, as the Trump administration considers a ban on the Chinese app.
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle has stepped down from the shadow government, claiming he was victim of a campaign by rightwing media after he apologized for his comments about Israel and transgender people.
🕯️ Remembering: Bertram Wallace Korn Jr., a journalist and longtime activist in the Philadelphia Jewish community, died at age 64 of COVID-19.
Song of the Day
The new Israeli show “Tehran,” about a young female Mossad agent who sneaks into Iran, is already receiving rave reviews and was recently picked up by Apple TV, which will air the show in 135 countries. Israeli musician Mark Eliyahu shared the show’s theme song earlier this week.
Interactive designer, author and artist, married to Caroline Kennedy, Edwin Arthur “Ed” Schlossberg turns 75 on Sunday…
FRIDAY: Travel writer and publisher, Arthur Frommer turns 91… Israeli politician and historian, Shlomo Ben-Ami turns 77… Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Charley Steiner turns 71… Retired VP and assistant general counsel of The Hartford, Robert K. Yass turns 69… Rabbi at Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA, Lance Jonathan Sussman, Ph.D. turns 66… Managing general partner of Pitango Venture Capital and chair of The Peres Center, Chemi Peres turns 62… Co-chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Stacy Helen Schusterman turns 57… Quorum’s business development officer, Steven Lebowitz turns 55…
Treasurer of Australia, Joshua Anthony “Josh” Frydenberg turns 49… Founder and CEO of Zeta Global, David A. Steinberg turns 50… Stand-up comedian, Gary Gulman turns 50… VP of communications at Hillel International, Matthew E. Berger turns 42… Former CNN and NPR producer, Shannan Butler Adler turns 41… Member of the Knesset, Boaz Toporovsky turns 40… Healthcare reporter for Barron’s, Josh Nathan-Kazis turns 35… Corporate advisor at Institutional Shareholder Services, Jared Sorhaindo turns 34… Senior associate at JPMorgan Chase, Melanie Beatus turns 30… Arabella Rose Kushner turns 9… Middle East analyst and columnist at Yediot Ahronoth, Shimrit Meir…
SATURDAY: Cognitive therapy psychiatrist, Aaron Temkin Beck turns 99… Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry in 1981, Roald Hoffmann turns 83… President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County, Jan Meisels Allen turns 75… Former mayor of Edmonton, Alberta, Stephen Mandel turns 75… Former prime minister of Peru, Yehude Simon Munaro turns 73… Executive director of the MLB Players Association and then later at the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr turns 72… Beverly Hills resident, Felisa Bluwal Pivko turns 69… Finance and nursing home executive, Leonard Grunstein turns 68…
Former Israeli Police spokesman and talk-show host, Elihu Ben-Onn turns 66… Seattle area consultant, Elihu Rubin turns 66… Former deputy finance chairman of the RNC, Elliott B. Broidy turns 63… Former minister for congressional affairs at the Embassy of Israel in DC, Martin Peled-Flax turns 62… Creative director and co-founder at Let’s Bench, Yitz Woolf turns 45… Assistant Professor in the Cyber Science Department at the U.S. Naval Academy, Jeffrey Michael Kosseff turns 42… Australian writer and lawyer, Alexander Ryvchin turns 37… Graphic designer at Acronym, Lauren Friedlander turns 31… EVP of Hazon, Shuli Karkowsky turns 37… Former VP at World Jewish Congress, Yosef Tarshish…
SUNDAY: Johannesburg resident, Monty Lasovsky turns 85… Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Uriel “Uri” Rosenthal turns 75… Hotelier, Ian Schrager turns 74… Co-founder of Limmud FSU, Sandra F. Cahn turns 72… Past president of the UJA/Federation of Westport, Weston, Wilton, Norwalk, CT, Linda Meyer Russ turns 70… Sportswriter for The Athletic, Jayson Stark turns 69… Chairman emeritus of Starbucks, Howard Schultz turns 67… Retired judicial assistant at the Montgomery County (PA) Court of Common Pleas, Deenie Silow turns 67… Rabbi of Congregation Beth Abraham in Bergenfield, NJ, Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger turns 65… Dean of the Kollel at Baltimore’s Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Rabbi Ezra Neuberger turns 63…
Former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings, Edward Scott “Eddie” Lampert turns 58… Former Pulitzer Prize winning NY Times reporter, Eric Lichtblau turns 55… Israeli actress and film producer, Yael Abecassis turns 53… Spokesperson to the Arab media in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office, Ofir Gendelman turns 49… Co-Chairman and CEO of CheckAlt, Shai Stern turns 46… Growth strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company, Alexis Blair Wolfer turns 36… President of Ohio Operations at Brightside Academy, Ezra David Beren turns 35… ProPublica reporter, Isaac Arnsdorf turns 31… Former EVP and CEO of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, Dr. George Ban… Henry Emmanuel Hublet… Zach Houghton… South Africa director for Innovation: Africa, Caroline Mendelsohn…