Good Thursday morning!
Today in New York, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to notify the U.N. Security Council president that the U.S. is invoking the “snapback” mechanism in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. More below.
Last night at the Democratic National Convention, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepted the nomination for vice president. Tonight’s lineup includes former presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Sen. Cory Booker and Mike Bloomberg, as well as Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
The Biden campaign is holding a virtual fundraiser next week geared to members of the Jewish community featuring Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. Co-hosts so far include Anita Friedman, Amy Friedkin, Sam Lauter, Jesse Gabriel, Julie Platt and Sam Yebri.
According to a report in The New York Times, the White House is accelerating efforts to sell F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, despite the objection of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who denied the initiative was linked to the recent Israel-UAE peace accord. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman toldThe Jerusalem Post that any such deal would not undermine Israel’s security.
Meanwhile, Israel has privately expressed its concern to the Trump administration about a nuclear facility being built in Saudi Arabia’s desert with the help of China.
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Can Richard Neal avoid the same fate as Eliot Engel?
With less than two weeks to go until Massachusetts’s primary election, Democratic Majority for Israel is pouring more than $100,000 into advertising against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, a young progressive challenger running against longtime incumbent Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) in the 1st congressional district, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports. If that sounds familiar, it may be because DMFI recently spent nearly $2 million targeting Jamaal Bowman, who went on to defeat Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) in New York’s June primary by 15 percentage points.
Defend the spend: Mark Mellman, DMFI’s president and CEO, isn’t cowed by Engel’s loss, and defended his organization’s effort to boost Neal. “Chairman Neal has consistently supported a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. Mayor Morse does not,” Mellman told JI. According to Mellman, Morse — who supports conditioning aid to Israel — “fails to meet the standard set by over 95% of House Democrats.” Mellman added that Morse had “enthusiastically accepted support from IfNotNow,” a group that Mellman characterized as “an organization that refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, in any borders.”
Morse’s view: Morse, who is Jewish, appeared unbothered by the ad spend at a moment when pro-Israel donors are struggling to adapt to a new campaign finance and advertising landscape. “As a congressman, I will use my voice to amplify the grassroots activism of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis to achieve a just future for both peoples, as well as make sure that U.S. support for Israel is used to address security concerns, not perpetuate human rights violations,” Morse told JI through a spokesperson on Wednesday.
Incumbent’s stance: Neal, for his part, positions himself as a firm supporter of the Jewish state. “Israel is a representative democracy,” he told JI in a recent interview. “They embrace the tenets of a constitutional democracy, free speech, freedom of the press and the right to assemble. And I’ve seen the debate in the Knesset. It’s pretty stormy.” Candy Glazer, a longtime Democratic activist in Massachusetts and an AIPAC national council member, said Neal has been a reliable ally of the Jewish community in western Massachusetts. “We can always depend on Richie Neal,” she told JI, noting that the congressman has been a strong advocate against the BDS movement. “He has just been a very loyal supporter on almost every issue.”
Primary prospects: Morse believes Neal’s time in Congress has run its course, but the 16-term incumbent is confident he will not share the same fate as Engel, with whom he entered Congress in 1989. “The narrative that has been created has not been met by the evidence,” Neal averred. “There are individual circumstances in each congressional district that tend to dictate the outcome. So I think trying to nationalize an answer on that is inaccurate.”
Delaware rabbi with ties to Biden to make DNC appearance
Many in the Jewish community have heard the story, shared by Delaware Rabbi Michael Beals, of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden paying a shiva call to the family of a woman who was a loyal, low-dollar supporter of his for decades. On Thursday, that story will be told to audiences across the country during the final night of the Democratic National Convention. Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh spoke with Beals ahead of his DNC appearance.
One more time: Beals will share what he witnessed close to 15 years ago with millions of Americans who tune in to watch Biden deliver his acceptance speech from Wilmington, Delaware, this evening. The rabbi will be part of an introduction video titled “I know Joe.” In a phone interview on Wednesday, Beals told JI that the story shows Biden’s “multicultural competence, empathy, gratitude and humility.”
Biden’s rabbi: Beals said his relationship with Biden, which mostly involves written correspondence, is casual, but was close enough to garner an invitation to the annual pre-Rosh Hashanah receptions at the vice president’s residence. Most recently, Beals spoke at a roundtable hosted by the former vice president with faith leaders at the Bethel AME Church in Wilmington after the killing of George Floyd. Beals shared with JI a handwritten letter he received from the former vice president after the death of his son, Beau. “You are ‘my rabbi’ and my friend,” Biden wrote in the letter, which was a response to a letter Beals sent urging him to run for president.
The Biden we know: Biden’s sustained outreach to communities in his adopted state has not gone unnoticed. “He’s very nice and very loyal to Delaware,” Beals said. “Delaware is like a little shtetl. He feels such a sense of gratitude, indebtedness and loyalty to the Jewish community. It’s extraordinary.” Beals added: “As good as the African Americans feel about him, and they do, the Jews should feel even more so. I would say that the Jews were responsible for his start, and the African-American community were responsible for saving his presidential bid.”
Saving lives — my life: Beals said Biden’s longstanding record of supporting the Jewish state stands in sharp contrast to President Donald Trump’s Middle East policies. “You can actually trace his record because it’s out there for you — in terms of funding and support,” Beals explained. Beals told JI that he personally experienced the lifesaving effect of the Iron Dome defense missile system when he visited Israel with his family in 2014, and experienced rocket fire from Gaza. “It was that Iron Dome that saved my life,” Beals said. “So I feel that I owe my life and the life of my wife and children directly to Vice President Biden and President [Barack] Obama.”
Driving the day
Trump admin set to trigger snapback sanctions on Iran
At the behest of President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will notify the U.N. Security Council in New York today that the U.S. is beginning the process of invoking the “snapback” mechanism, part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo will also meet this afternoon with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres at his private residence.
The process: Under the 2015 measure (UNSC 2231) endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the U.S. can unilaterally reimpose all sanctions enacted by the international body if Iran violates the agreement. Once notice is given, a 30-day countdown to reimposing sanctions begins without the ability to veto the move. If a resolution to stop the snapback is introduced within 10 days, the body will meet to vote, but risks a U.S. veto. Speaking to reporters in Washington on Wednesday, Pompeo said the U.S.-led action will make it “a fully valid, enforceable U.N. Security Council resolution… it has a set of provisions, it has a set of rights and obligations, and we will be in full compliance with that.”
Congressional backing: Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JI that the Trump administration has more public support following the Security Council’s rejection last week of the U.S. proposal to extend the arms embargo on Iran before it expires in October. “Pompeo offered that diplomatic path, willing to negotiate different languages to get the extension of the arms embargo congressional letter addressed to Pompeo calling to extend the Iran arms embargo. Goldberg suggested Pompeo’s approach allows him to argue that the sanctions are a result of the body’s inaction on the arms embargo. without using the snapback,” explained Goldberg, who served last year as the National Security Council’s director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. In May, 387 members of Congress signed onto a bipartisan
Self-inflicted wounds: Ned Price, who served as a National Security Council spokesperson in the Obama administration, suggested Trump’s hand has been weakened by recent action. “The administration is now holding an even weaker set of cards after its historically humiliating defeat in the Security Council last week,” Price, who is now head of policy and communications at National Security Action, told JI. “What we’ve seen has not been a tactical failure — in other words, there was no maneuver that would’ve better served the administration’s interests. That’s because the table was largely set after the strategically disastrous decision to abandon the Iran deal and set about the course of so-called ‘maximum pressure.’ It’s a strategy that has backfired at every turn.”
Behind the scenes of the tweet that announced history
White House Mideast peace envoy Avi Berkowitz had the honor of posting President Donald Trump’s tweet announcing a groundbreaking normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates last Thursday, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner revealed in an interview with Ami Magazine, a weekly print-only publication widely read in the Orthodox community.
Historic moment: “[Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications] Dan Scavino was sitting in the back, and he let Avi push the button,” Kushner detailed. “Avi has been working around the clock, and it’s really an incredible deal. He did a great job, so we all thought it would be an honor for him to do that.” The presidential tweet came after a 15-minute phone call between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed. Kushner noted that this was the first time Trump had given someone from his wider team the permission to tweet out from his account. “The president never lets anyone do it. It’s always either the president or Dan [Scavino],” Kushner said.
Inside the room: Kushner shared with the publication what went on behind the scenes in the Oval Office ahead of Trump’s public statement. “We made the call in the Oval Office with a bunch of people on our team who wanted to be there. After we hung up, everyone in the room started to applaud. Then the president stood up and started clapping too, because he realized that we were all clapping for peace. As we were getting ready to bring in the media, we sent out the tweet which was all set up and ready to go.”
👫 America’s First: The New York Times’s Sarah Lyall spotlights the relationship between vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, including that he “stomped on a glass” at their Jewish and Indian-tinged 2014 wedding ceremony. [NYTimes]
📚 Giving Back: In Tablet, Emily Benedek interviewed philanthropist Harold Grinspoon, the 91-year-old behind PJ Library, the popular global Jewish book distribution program. “People with wealth have to find a home for their wealth — where they feel good about giving and what’s meaningful to them.” [Tablet]
⚖️ Rare Ruling:Washington Post Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Hendrix explores a recent and rare Israeli Supreme Court ruling preventing the demolition of the house of a suspected Palestinian terrorist, sparking “outrage among conservative Israeli politicians.” [WashPost]
Around the Web
🍽️ Demanding Answers: The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency denies claims that it provided pork-based meals to Muslim detainees at a Florida detention center.
🇸🇦 Careful Remarks: In its first reaction to the Israel-UAE peace accord, Saudi Arabia said it would consider establishing ties with Israel only once a final-status agreement is reached with the Palestinians.
💸 Curtain Raiser:The recent Israel-UAE deal is allowing secret Emirati investors in Israeli companies to emerge from the shadows as business ties between the nations are poised to surge.
😡 Unhappy Base: Angry West Bank settlers toldReuters they feel “duped” by Netanyahu’s backtrack on annexation.
🇱🇧 Border Patrol:Israel is working to convince members of the U.N. Security Council to majorly overhaul the UNIFIL peacekeeping force along its border with Lebanon.
📹 Day in Court: A Florida appeals court unanimously upheld a ruling barring prosecutors from using video evidence improperly gathered by police in the prostitution trial against Robert Kraft.
🏠 Bargain Deal: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s Manhattan apartment is back on the market for $25.75 million, down from an original asking price of $32.5 million in 2018.
🚫 Crack Down:Facebook has banned nearly 1,000 pages and limited the reach of thousands of Instagram accounts as part of an effort to stem the spread of QAnon conspiracy theories.
🕍 Front Row: The Sixth and I synagogue in Washington is offering members the opportunity to purchase a “seat” for High Holiday services, placing photos of donors next to cardboard cutouts of celebrities.
🎬 Hollywood:Disney dropped the trailer yesterday for the upcoming film “Death on the Nile,” starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
🚴♂️ Starting Line: Guy Niv is slated to become the first Israeli cyclist to ever compete in the Tour de France when it kicks off later this month.
🏀 Sports Blink: Duke men’s basketball associate head coach Jon Scheyer has been tapped as head coach of the U.S. men’s basketball team for the 21st Maccabiah Games in July 2022.
🥩 High Stakes: Famed Montreal steakhouse Moishes on the Main won’t reopen after being shut since March — but vows to one day return.
🥪 Fry and Try: A new kosher food truck in the D.C. area, Schmaltz Brothers, is serving up dill pickle-brined double fried chicken challah sandwiches and fried matzah ball bites.
Pic of the Day
A cat peeks out from a crack in the Kotel in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Triathlete and Miss Israel 2019, Sella Sharlin turns 24…
Laguna Hills, Calif., resident, Phoebe Bryan turns 79… Director of the National Economic Council at the White House, Larry Kudlow turns 73… Former Secretary of Labor for the State of Kansas and then a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, Lana Goodman Gordon turns 70… Israel-born former mayor of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Samuel Michael “Sam” Katz turns 69… Senior director at NYC-based investment bank Maxim Group, Jay A. Knopf turns 64… Member of Congress (D-IL-10), Brad Schneider turns 59… Former national campaign chair for the Jewish Federations of North America, Suzanne Barton Grant turns 59… Vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard, Ambassador Michael Froman turns 58… Founder and controlling shareholder of the Altice Group, he acquired Sotheby’s in 2019, Patrick Drahi turns 57… Executive Director of A Wider Bridge, Ethan Felson turns 55…
Israeli writer known for his short stories and graphic novels, Etgar Keret turns 53… Film director and screenwriter, Mark Levin turns 52… Former British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould turns 49… Ethiopian-born, former member of the Knesset for Kulanu, Asher Fentahun Seyoum turns 49… Director of media relations at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Ari Goldberg turns 47… Executive director of Lisa Stone Pritzker’s LSP Family Foundation, Abigail Michelson Porth turns 45… Deputy director and one of the founders of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, Karen Brunwasser turns 44… Founding executive director of Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism, Rachel Lea Fish, Ph.D. turns 41… VP managing the Iowa office of Cornerstone Government Affairs, David Ryan Adelman turns 39… Canadian television and film actress, Meghan Ory turns 38… Real estate agent and television personality, Josh Flagg turns 35… Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat, recently announced as ambassador to Eritrea, Ishmael Khaldi… Jason Horowitz…