Good Tuesday morning!
Primary races are being held today in Florida, Alaska and Wyoming.
Last night at the Democratic National Convention, Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed that electing Joe Biden will stop “the coddling of white nationalists, the racist dog-whistling, the religious bigotry and the ugly attacks on women.” This evening, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and former President Bill Clinton are slated to address the DNC.
White House senior advisor Jared Kushnertold reporters yesterday that the Trump administration will hold back from greenlighting Israeli annexation for “some time.” In an interview with “Fox & Friends,” President Donald Trump said: “You’re going to end up with… real peace in the Middle East.”
Trump suggested the UAE-Israel accord will boost his reelection by appealing to his base: “It’s incredible for the evangelicals, by the way. The evangelicals love Israel,” he said. Later in the day, during a campaign stop in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Trump boasted that he “moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem… for the evangelicals.”
During a campaign stop in Mankato, Minnesota, Trump wondered “how the hell” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) won her primary last week. “How does a woman who hates our country, who says nothing but bad things about our country and Israel and other of our allies, how does this woman win?”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on local candidates seeking the support of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to decline a pledge not to visit Israel if elected.
Jaime Harrison, who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in South Carolina, shared his views on the two-state solution, antisemitism in the U.S. and the future of U.S. engagement in the Middle East in response to a JI questionnaire. Read his responses and those of other Senate and Congressional candidates here.
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Noa Tishby to publish Israel explainer with Simon & Schuster
For years, Noa Tishby has been drawing impromptu maps of Israel and whipping out facts in defense of her homeland at dinner parties in Hollywood. Now, the Israeli-American actress and producer is putting her arguments in writing as she gears up to publish a concise explainer on Israel for Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
Book shelves:Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth, is slated to hit bookshelves on April 6, 2021. Tishby, who has split her time between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv for close to 20 years, said she was “shocked by the misperceptions about Israel” she regularly encountered in California. And after a decade of hands-on pro-Israel activism online and among her circle of friends and coworkers, Tishby decided to put her well-honed arguments down on paper.
Easy read:“There isn’t anything like this out there,” she told Jewish Insider’s Amy Spiro in a recent phone conversation from her home in Los Angeles. “If you want to educate yourself about Israel, you need to go ahead and read extensive books with a lot of details.” Instead, Tishby has penned an approachable take on the history of the state, interspersing her own family history with the story of Israel’s founding and its ongoing struggles and conflicts.
Personal tale: “I’m telling the story of the country through the story of my family,” said Tishby, whose grandmother was one of the founders of Israel’s first kibbutz, Degania Alef, and whose grandfather, Hanan Yavor, was an envoy to several African nations. “In order to tell an interesting story you have to make it personal… I’m attempting to tell the world the intentionality of why [Israel] was born, how it was born, and explain why their opinion is skewed.”
Steadfast: The thesis of the book, Tishby added, is: “if you believe in democracy, freedom of speech, human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and especially if you’re a liberal and a progressive — and you’re not supporting Israel within the context of the Middle East, you’re an idiot.” While Tishby is certain her book will “ruffle the feathers” of a variety of groups, she is steadfast in her positions and approach. “I’m fearless about it, I’m armed with the facts,” she told JI. “I can break down any argument that anybody has.”
Laura Loomer’s latest stunt
Laura Loomer shot to fame in far-right circles as a kind of viral stunt performer who seemed unusually intent on staging random acts of provocation. In 2018, for instance, Loomer handcuffed herself to Twitter’s New York headquarters after she was kicked off the site for a series of incendiary tweets. “I’m literally the most censored person in the world,” Loomer claimed in a recent interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel, noting that she has been banned from virtually every mainstream social media platform.
Congressional bid: Now, the deplatformed candidate is hoping she can pull off what may be her biggest stunt yet: running for Congress in South Florida’s solidly blue 21st congressional district, which includes President Donald Trump’s official Palm Beach residence, Mar-a-Lago. The seat is currently held by four-term incumbent Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL).
Primary chances: Despite Loomer’s fringe status, experts believe she has a solid shot at winning today’s Republican primary. Loomer has racked up endorsements from the likes of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Roger Stone. Though Trump has not made an endorsement, he has tweeted in support of the candidate. And Loomer has outraised all of her opponents, having pulled in nearly $1.2 million, according to the latest filings from the Federal Election Commission.
Background: Born and raised in Arizona, Loomer attended Barry University in Miami Shores. Previously, she worked for James O’Keefe’s guerilla journalism outfit, Project Veritas, as well as Rebel Media, a right-wing Canadian news operation, and moved to Palm Beach about two-and-a-half years ago. Loomer decided to run for Congress because of her experiences being booted from online platforms. “I do believe that big tech censorship is the most pressing issue this election cycle,” she said, “along with restoring law and order.”
Looking ahead: Even if Loomer advances beyond her primary, she will have a hard time defeating Frankel in a district rated “solid Democratic” by The Cook Political Report. Steven Schale, a Democratic strategist in Florida, was emphatic in his appraisal of Loomer’s chances. “Do I think a candidate whose views and public statements are so absurdly loony that she’s even been banned by basically every platform imaginable — she can’t even get food delivered by Uber Eats — do I think she can beat Lois Frankel?” he told JI. “Let’s just say I have a better chance of being named the starting quarterback for the Jaguars.”
Leckey adopts contrasting tones on BDS in surveys, Jewish outreach event
Ihssane Leckey, a Democratic congressional candidate in Massachusetts’s 4th district, took a hard line on Israel in two candidate surveys for progressive organizations, but moderated her tone on issues like BDS and visiting the Jewish state in her first campaign event dedicated to Jewish voter outreach Monday night.
BD but not S: In a survey for the Boston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, Leckey said she supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, but clarified in a later section: “I support the ending of the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, including supporting the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement, but do not support sanctions.” In a separate survey for Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA), Leckey said she opposes anti-BDS legislation, including last year’s House anti-BDS bill. During the event Monday, Leckey took a different approach, saying she does not want to be “pigeonholed” on BDS, without specifying whether she supports the movement.
Taking a trip: In the MAPA survey, Leckey also said she would decline to participate in the Israel trip offered to all first-term members of Congress by the AIPAC-affiliated American Israel Education Foundation, but said during her event that she would “love” to visit Israel. Leckey added in the MAPA survey that she would “refuse donations/sponsored gifts from the pro-Israel lobby.”
Peace through democracy: Leckey said during her event on Monday that the U.S. could serve a role in the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians by promoting democracy. “We have to make sure that people have the democratic process to choose for themselves,” she said. “The Israeli people and the Palestinian people should have a safe democratic process to vote and decide on how they want to solve their problem. And our role would only be to be a facilitator.”
Two states:In responses to a Jewish Insider questionnaire, Leckey elaborated on her vision for a two-state solution. “If the Israeli and Palestinian people vote for a two-state solution under democratic conditions, I will support it, and believe it will be necessary to make sure Area C (under Oslo Accords) is returned to Palestinian control and Israeli settlements are not used as grounds for illegal annexation,” she said.
Antisemitism: Leckey condemned antisemitism and said it is not limited to any particular party in her responses to JI’s questionnaire, but pointed only to examples from the Republican Party. “We are seeing white supremacist and white nationalist language thinly veiled in the rhetoric of our elected officials in the Republican Party, and we are seeing the president defend neo-Nazi rallies and retweet white nationalists,” she said. “We are seeing anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish members of Congress and Jewish philanthropists, and we are seeing age-old double-loyalty tropes lobbed at Jewish people from the president of the United States.”
Top Jewish Dems ‘optimistic’ about party’s Israel stance under Biden-Harris
During a Zoom call hosted by the American Jewish Committee yesterday, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) maintained that the foreign policy agendas of some far-left members of Congress were being rejected by the vast majority of the Democratic Party — now led by former Vice President and presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden as the party standard-bearer.
Not a silent majority: “There is this enormous amount of attention paid to a very tiny percentage of the Democrats in the House and even in the freshman class,” Deutch said. “What I would suggest to those of us who care deeply about the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship is [to] look to the vast majority of not just the Democratic Party but these freshmen in particular. Under a pro-Israel platform and in a Biden administration that is committed to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship and enhancing American diplomacy around the world, those members will have an even greater opportunity to help feed in and usher in this new generation of wonderful pro-Israel leadership in the House.”
Biden’s party: Wexler pointed to the Israel plank of the DNC 2020 platform as an indication of Biden’s influence over the party. “It is not a coincidence that it’s a pro-Israel platform. It was literally written by Joe Biden himself. He made the decisions in terms of whether or not to include the type of language that illustrates decades of strong Democratic Party and bipartisan consensus favorable to Israel,” Wexler explained. “This isn’t someone who just got elected to Congress yesterday or didn’t have eight years as the vice president. And even if four decades of solidly straightline pro-Israel activity wasn’t sufficient for you, his most important pick in terms of what he’s doing now is his vice presidential nominee and [Sen. Kamala] Harris clearly stands in the Biden wing of the Democratic Party in terms of Israel,” Wexler stressed.
Bonus: Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich suggested in an interview with BuzzFeed ahead of his speech at the Democratic National Convention that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is getting “outsized publicity that tends to define” her party.
⚾ Play Ball:The race to purchase the Mets is heating up as final bids for the team are due at the end of August. The Financial Times spotlights the buyers in the running, including Jennifer Lopez and her fiancé Alex Rodriguez; hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen; and billionaire team owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, of Apollo Global Management and Blackstone respectively. [FT]
🇸🇦 Moving Closer:Saudi Arabia has been notably silent over the Israel-UAE peace accord, notes AFP’s Anuj Chopra, but covert ties between the Gulf nation and Israel are likely to increase. “Despite the official silence, the pro-government Saudi media has repeatedly tested public reaction by publishing reports advocating closer ties with Israel.” [AFP]
👰 Mazel Tov: Brides.com spotlighted the recent Pakistani-Jewish wedding of Monis Alan and Corey Burr, which combined the couple’s religious and cultural heritages. “They hosted a mehndi party in Pakistani attire and broke the glass after the ceremony,” and used a custom logo featuring a crescent moon and a Star of David on all their wedding materials. [Brides]
Around the Web
🍽️ Podcast Playback:The New York Times‘ Mark Lander recounts a March 2018 dinner party at Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C. when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had an impromptu private encounter with United Arab Emirates’ Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba.
💸 Waiting Game:Emirati businesses are responding cautiously to offers from Israeli companies as UAE public opinion remains skeptical of Israel.
☎️ Olive Branch: Omani Foreign Minister Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah spoke to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi yesterday to express support for the Israel-UAE deal.
💵 Open Wallet: Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced a plan to spend $60 million to defend some of the 20 freshman Democrats he helped elect in 2018.
👨 Shifting Positions: Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, has taken a leave of absence from the DLA Piper law firm.
🛢️ Dig Deep: Weeks after its purchase of Noble Energy, which includes extensive gas field holdings in Israel, Chevron is eyeing a major Iraqi oil field.
⛓️ Let Go: Israel released Palestinian BDS activist Mahmoud Nawajaa from detention without charge after his arrest two weeks ago on unspecified “security offenses.”
🎤 Going Viral: A video of 11-year-old Abdel-Rahman Al-Shantti rapping outside of his school in Gaza City about war and hardship has gone viral.
⚖️ In Court:A judge ruled yesterday that a lawyer for Les Wexner can be forced to testify in a defamation suit filed by Alan Dershowitz against his accuser and Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre.
🤳 Tick Tock: Larry Ellison’s Oracle is reportedly in talks to buy Tik Tok’s operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
🚑 On Wheels: Brooklyn’s Ezras Nashim, the first all-female hasidic EMT group, is shopping for a bargain deal on an ambulance after winning its ambulance license appeal last week.
👩💼 Transition:Melissa Schwartz, COO at the Bromwich Group, has joined the Biden presidential campaign as senior advisor to Dr. Jill Biden.
👨💼 New Head: Friends of the Israel Defense Forces appointed Rabbi Steven Weil, former senior managing director of the Orthodox Union, as its new national director and CEO.
🥯 Bagels and Lox: Shaw’s All-Purpose pizzeria in D.C. is serving as Delikatessen, a Jewish deli popup, on weekends, offering house-cured lox, potato latkes, and whitefish sandwiches.
Gif of the Day
The Israeli Defense Forces published a video recording of an Israeli combat aircraft entering German airspace for the first time in Israel’s history to take part in joint military exercises with the Luftwaffe.
Founder of Dot Dot Dot, a new media venture exploring technology through the human lens, Laurie Segall turns 35…
Baltimore resident, Jerome Seaman turns 87… Retired teacher at Jerusalem’s Yeshiva Torat Shraga, Rabbi Noam Gordon, Ph.D. turns 76… Former two-term mayor of San Diego, Susan G. Golding turns 75… Partner in Chazan-Leipzig Consulting, Cindy Chazan turns 70… Judge of the Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Court of Common Pleas, Gary S. Silow turns 69… Dramatist, screenwriter and poet, Winnie Holzman turns 66… President at Benefit Connections, Raphael Schwartz turns 65… President of the Touro College and University System, Alan H. Kadish, M.D. turns 64… Partner in the Los Angeles office of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, Stuart Douglas Tochner turns 61… Former U.S. Treasury Secretary, now president of Warburg Pincus, Timothy Geithner turns 59… CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, Jules Polonetsky turns 55…
Executive director of the Maccabee Task Force, David Brog turns 54… Criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas, Dayvid Figler turns 53… Comic book writer and artist for both Marvel and then DC Comics, Brian Michael Bendis turns 53… Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, he served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration, Jason Furman turns 50… Sarah Bronson turns 48… Conservative talk radio host on the Sirius XM Patriot channel, Andrew Steven Wilkow turns 48… Writer, actress and stand-up comedian from New York City, Jessi Ruth Klein turns 45… Washington director of the Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, Roger Zakheim turns 43… Actor and comedian, David A. J. “Andy” Samberg turns 42… Fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, Noah Slepkov turns 39… Justice Department reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Sadie Gurman turns 35…