Good Tuesday morning!
Today marks the second anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh that left 11 Jews dead.
In a New York Times op-ed commemorating the tragedy, Bret Stephens posited “that when it comes to anti-Semitism, neither left nor right nor Black nor white has any kind of monopoly.”
The Trump administration issued fresh sanctions yesterday on key figures in Iran’s oil sector.
President Donald Trump said during a campaign rally in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, that, if he is reelected, Iranian leaders would be the first to call him to accept a new nuclear deal.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is reportedly seeking to delay a decision on initiating early elections — as the already-delayed deadline to pass a 2021 budget nears — until there is a clear winner in the U.S. presidential election.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) told “Axios on HBO” that if Biden wins, she expects that she and other progressive lawmakers will have “a future in his administration.”
Last night, the Senate confirmed the nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Amy Coney Barrett by a vote of 52-48.
Correction: In yesterday’s Daily Kickoff item on the article titled “Justice Dems boosted this candidate until she disagreed with them on Israel,” it was stated that DMFI’s Mark Mellman “also works as a pollster for [Georgette] Gomez.” Mellman told JI that he himself does not work as a pollster for Gomez but that other employees of his firm, The Mellman Group, do. The article has been updated.
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Gottheimer, Mast drafting bill to provide Israel with bunker busters
Details: The bill would open the possibility of transferring the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) — designed to take out targets deep underground — to Israel if Iran accelerates its nuclear program and reaches breakout capabilities. The measure would require the Department of Defense to confer with Israeli officials and report to Congress on Israel’s deterrence abilities, as well as the strategic benefits of a transfer. The legislation will also seek to re-emphasize U.S. support for Israel’s qualitative military edge and Israel’s security in the face of the Iranian threat.
Threat from Tehran: “We must ensure our ally Israel is equipped and prepared to confront a full range of threats, including the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. That is why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to defend Israel from Iran and Hezbollah and reinforce our historic ally’s qualitative military edge in the region with ‘bunker buster’ munitions,” Gottheimer said in a statement to JI. “Iran and its terrorist proxies throughout the region must never be able to threaten the U.S. or Israel with a nuclear weapon.”
Read more here.
Bonus: Israel is reportedly seeking to purchase F-22 stealth jets, the most advanced fighter plane in the world, from the U.S. in order to maintain its military advantage after the expected U.S. sale of F-35 jets to the UAE. But one analyst noted that such a sale is unlikely, since the F-22 is no longer in production, and the U.S. Air Force is unlikely to give up its own aircraft.
A congressman’s daughter looks to build on his political legacy in upstate New York
When Michelle Hinchey, 32, announced her bid for a New York State Senate seat last year, many recognized a familiar name. Her father, the late Democratic congressman Maurice Hinchey, was an institution in upstate New York, establishing himself as an early progressive and a staunch advocate for environmental reforms. Now, Michelle Hinchey, who is emerging as a rising star in the state’s Democratic circles, is hoping she can further her father’s legacy. “If I can now try to pick up that mantle and work to help even more people and pick up where those things left off in a moment where we really need that kind of leadership, I feel the onus is on me to do that,” she told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel in a recent interview in Kingston’s historic Stockade District.
Record on Israel: Given that ambition, it is only natural that those in the Jewish community would want to know where Hinchey stands on issues involving the Jewish state, an area where her father was often one of the lone dissenting votes in Congress on pro-Israel legislation. As a member of Congress, Maurice Hinchey cast a number of votes that have been regarded as negative toward Israel. In 2009, he was among just 36 House members to vote against a resolution condemning the United Nations’s Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of war crimes. He also voted against the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act and opposed a bill imposing sanctions on Iran that was approved by all but 12 in the House.
Hemming and hawing: But on this issue, the younger Hinchey appears hesitant to make her own views clear. When asked about her thoughts on three bills passed in the State Senate in recent years countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, Hinchey demurred. “I’d have to look at the exact bills,” she said. “I mean, I’m not for BDS. But I don’t know what their exact language was.” Hinchey, who is Jewish on her mother’s side, was equally reluctant to speak about her father’s views on Israel. “No, it wasn’t something that we talked about,” she said. “I’m here to talk with you more about our race and running for upstate and being a young person doing that.”
Conflicting views: Jewish community members in Ulster County, where Maurice Hinchey lived, voiced conflicting views on the congressman’s relationship to the Jewish state. Michelle Tuchman, who worked on Hinchey’s second congressional campaign and later lobbied him on behalf of AIPAC, described Hinchey as a man who did the bare minimum when it came to Israel, but added: “I do believe in his heart he was a supporter of the State of Israel.” Rabbi Jonathan Kligler of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, where Hinchey attended services with his family, said the congressman was “definitely not anti-Israel,” noting that he was most aligned with the dovish advocacy group Peace Now. “Even if I disagreed with Maurice on some of those votes,” Kligler told JI, “I knew that I was dealing with a thoughtful and well-informed congressman.”
Upstate issues: The political aspirant makes clear that she is focused on local concerns, including building out the district’s broadband infrastructure and expanding green jobs. Hinchey is confident that she can prevail on November 3, despite her observation that the district is gerrymandered to favor Republicans. If she wins, Hinchey would hold a position similar to one her father, who represented a district that leaned conservative, previously occupied. “People, I think, want change,” she said. “They’re ready for someone who shows up and someone who they can listen to and who is accountable and who’s transparent.”
Read the full feature here.
Malcolm Hoenlein on his burgeoning friendship with Nick Cannon
Three months after coming under public scrutiny — and his highly publicized firing from ViacomCBS — for making antisemitic comments on his podcast, actor Nick Cannon has worked to make amends with the Jewish community: He has devoured Bari Weiss’s How to Fight Anti-Semitism, hosted rabbis on his podcast and toured a Holocaust museum. Cannon has also fostered a growing friendship with Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Hoenlein spoke with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh about his relationship with Cannon in an interview yesterday.
Reaching out: The pair first began talking, Hoenlein said, shortly after controversy erupted over Cannon’s podcast with rapper Richard Griffin, who was kicked out of Public Enemy in 1989 for making antisemitic comments. Cannon and Griffin engaged in back-and-forth commentary that included clear antisemitic tropes. “Somebody close to him connected us, and then he reached out to talk to me and to begin a dialogue that has continued steady throughout this kind of for months now,” Hoenlein told JI. “It’s led to many hours of discussion.”
Breaking bread: “He came even to Friday night dinner at my daughter’s house” in Teaneck, N.J., Hoenlein said, believing it was Cannon’s first Shabbat experience. “He spent hours talking with my family — my children, grandchildren.” Since then, Hoenlein has met with the actor numerous times, including a dinner at Manhattan’s UN Plaza Grill last week. Hoenlein and Cannon were also photographed holding up a poster that read “stop Jew hatred now.”
Sticking up for a friend: In the interview with JI, Hoenlein praised Cannon for his commitment to not only engaging with the Jewish community, but also learning from his missteps. “He made a mistake,” Hoenlein said, “but he has faced up to what he did and publicly spoke about doing t’shuvah. This guy is anything but an antisemite. He fasted on Tisha B’av. Because he didn’t know it started at night, he fasted until the next morning. He speaks whole Hebrew sentences, because he studies it. I have fought antisemitism for five decades. I see one and I know somebody who is not.”
Read more here.
heard last night
In Ohio, Morgan Harper’s grassroots campaign hobbled by coronavirus pandemic
High-dollar donors at the Jewish Federations of North America’s first all-virtual General Assembly tuned into a special event Monday evening featuring political scientist Robert Putnam, author of the recently released The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again. Putnam, a convert to Judaism, drilled down into some of the ideas showcased in his latest book, which tracks a century’s worth of cultural and societal trends.
Learning from the past: In the book, Putnam points to the hyperpartisan, polarized environment of the late 19th century as evidence that a society can pull itself together. “If you look at the course of the last half-century, things have been going downhill. America has been in a bad place in many different ways in terms of politics, economics, social relations, culture. And if you start the story then… in 1970, say, you could be pretty pessimistic. But it turns out actually, if you begin the story 125 years ago, not just 50 years ago, you can get a quite different impression, because that enables you to look back at the last time we were in a situation like this — a very extreme polarization, extreme inequality, extreme social isolation, extreme self-centeredness. And you can see that they got out of it. And you can see sort of how the people of that generation — who are sort of like us — what lessons can we learn from their experience?”
Jewish values: “I think it’s important for us… to kind of constantly weave back and forth between things that are especially true of Jews, and things that are true of us as Americans,” Putnam said. “The values that are at the heart… our sense of community, our sense of ties to one another, and our values. And the values that are at the core of Judaism are also relevant here,” he added, citing the prophet Isaiah, who described Jews as a light unto the nations. “Being a light unto the nations means we have… a role, but maybe even an obligation, to try to be a model for non-Jews [with] the role that community plays in our lives.”
Next generation: “Empirically, a lot of the people who are the most creative — not just the people who were just rabble-rousing, but people were most creative actually — were these young people at the turn of the century,” Putnam said, citing two reasons for his assertion. “One is they were actually organized on the ground. But secondly, they were the people who were most caught up in this idea that we have to take morality more seriously than it had been taken during the Gilded Age… they, often themselves coming from very wealthy homes, said to themselves and then to everybody else, ‘look, morality is more on this is really important.’ That’s the lesson that I would take from that period.”
📖 Book Shelf: In an excerpt from his upcoming memoir, A Promised Land, featured in The New Yorker, former President Barack Obama details the early battle with Congress over the Affordable Care Act and the feeling among some Democrats that he and then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seemed to be “catering to the whims of Joe Lieberman” on healthcare reform. [NewYorker]
⛔ Shadow Cabinet: Foreign diplomats stationed in D.C. are being met with a “cone of silence” from Biden’s foreign policy team, report Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer in Foreign Policy, reflecting “concern that Biden advisors could expose themselves to even hints of allegations that they are meddling in the foreign policy of a sitting president.” [ForeignPolicy]
👨🏻💼 The Doctrinaire: In Vox, Zack Beauchamp takes a closer look at how Yoram Hazony, president of the Herzl Institute think tank in Jerusalem, became one of the most influential theorists of President Donald Trump’s “America First” nationalist approach among conservatives. [Vox]
Around the Web
🎰 On the Market: Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. is reportedly exploring selling off some of its Las Vegas casinos for $6 billion.
😠 Awaiting Answers: Clients of Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management are demanding answers over his connection to Jeffrey Epstein.
🕵️ Under Probe: The Office of Special Counsel is investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech to the Republican National Convention while on an official visit to Israel in August.
📺 On Air: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pouring $15 million into last-minute pro-Biden advertising in Texas and Ohio.
👨⚖️ Talk of the Town: A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations against Maryland’s anti-BDS executive order, ruling that the plaintiff did not have legal standing to sue.
🎤 Calling Out: Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan blasted the United Nations during its monthly U.N. Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for “ignoring” the recent normalization deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
🕊️ Pushing Peace: Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki repeated a call for an international peace conference next year, something U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft said was an option but Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan rejected.
🍷 L’Chaim: Wine from the Golan Heights Winery is slated to go on sale in the UAE this week.
✈️ Frequent Flyer: Israir is set to launch daily flights from Tel Aviv to Dubai beginning December 2, and is in talks with Etihad over an Abu Dhabi flight training facility.
🤝 Startup Nation: Venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners is in talks to set up an innovation hub in the UAE.
💻 Set Free: Hamas released activist Rami Aman yesterday, who was arrested in April for organizing video chats with Israelis.
💰 Finance Fighting: A series of officials in Israel’s Finance Ministry have resigned over clashes with Finance Minister Israel Katz, accusing him of operating out of political considerations.
🏺 Called Off: The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem has called off a planned Sotheby’s auction at the last minute after the Israeli Culture Ministry and President Reuven Rivlin sought to intervene.
🤨 Controversial Pick: The nomination of former right-wing lawmaker Effi Eitam as the next chairman of Yad Vashem has sparked outrage from some Holocaust survivors.
⚖️ Case Dismissed: The daughter of a Holocaust survivor who appeared in the new “Borat” film withdrew her lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen and Amazon after a judge refused to issue an injunction against the movie.
🎥 Hollywood: Actor Oscar Isaac is reportedly in talks to star as the Jewish Marvel superhero Moon Knight/Marc Spector, drawing ire from some fans over casting a non-Jew in the role.
🎓 Campus Beat: The University of California, Berkeley has frozen and disavowed a fund supporting research into eugenics that was active until at least 2018.
💼 Transitions: The Religious Zionists of America, the U.S.-based branch of World Mizrachi, has tapped Rabbi Ari Rockoff of West Hempstead, N.Y. as its executive vice president. Seth Baron, executive director of the Friends of IDF’s Southeast region, has moved to head the group’s newly created Eastern region, which includes Washington, D.C. and Delaware.
Pic of the Day
Jeff Goldblum appeared alongside other celebrities last night during a Get Out The Vote rally for Joe Biden organized by Young Jewish Americans for Biden and the creators of the “Saturday Night Seder.”
Author, actress and comedian, Fran Lebowitz turns 70…
Professor emeritus of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, Jeremiah Stamler turns 101… Pacific Palisades resident, Gordon Gerson turns 84… Producer and director of popular films including “Animal House,” “Meatballs,” “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters” and “Twins,” Ivan Reitman turns 74… Rabbi emeritus at Miami Beach’s Temple Beth Sholom, Gary Glickstein turns 73… Founding CEO of Israel Experience, Inc., Joel M. Schindler turns 70… CEO of Jewish Creativity International, Robert Goldfarb turns 69… Television writer, director and producer, best known as the co-creator of “The Nanny,” Peter Marc Jacobson turns 63… Specialist in Middle Eastern affairs at the Congressional Research Service, Dr. Kenneth Katzman turns 61… Co-owner of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and English soccer club Manchester United, Bryan Glazer turns 56…
New York State senator and candidate for Manhattan borough president, Brad Hoylman turns 55… Creator and editor of the Drudge Report, Matt Drudge turns 54… Partner in HR&A Advisors, Andrea Batista Schlesinger turns 44… Television meteorologist, currently working for The Weather Channel, Stephanie Abrams turns 42… Deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations, founded by his father George Soros, Alexander F. G. Soros turns 35… Israeli actress best known for playing Eve in the Netflix series “Lucifer,” Inbar Lavi turns 34… Senior foreign policy advisor to U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Elizabeth (Liz) Leibowitz turns 32… Executive producer of online content at WTSP in St. Petersburg, Florida, Theresa Collington turns 31… Senior strategist at Red Balloon Security, Andrew J. Taub turns 31… Co-founder of NYC-based Arch Labs, Ryan Eisenman turns 28…