Good Friday morning!
The State Department officially notified Congress yesterday that it plans to sell up to 50 F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates for $10.4 billion.
Defense Secretary Mark Espermet in Israel yesterday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Esper “reaffirmed the longstanding and continued U.S. commitment to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge,” according to a readout of the meeting.
The full Major League Baseball group’s ownership committee is slated to vote today on Steve Cohen’s bid to purchase the New York Mets.
Check out Jewish Insider’s ‘Jewish Nielsen’ report to see which webcasts people tuned into over the past week.
Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday — if you’re in the U.S., don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour.
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Can Marilyn Strickland make history in the Pacific Northwest?
In Washington’s 10th congressional district, two Democrats are competing in an open-seat race seen as representative of the growing ideological rift between moderates and progressives. Marilyn Strickland, the former mayor of Tacoma, has earned establishment support from local and national leaders, while state legislator Beth Doglio has pulled in endorsements from progressive stalwarts. Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel spoke to both candidates about their key positions and what sets their candidacies apart.
No labels: “We are running a very good campaign that highlights the differences between myself and my opponent,” said Doglio, 55, in a recent interview, arguing that her support for such progressive policies as Medicare for All stands in contrast to Strickland’s more measured approach to the issues. But in conversation with JI, Strickland rejected the notion that she is on the moderate end of a binary that many have put forth, she suggested, to create false distinctions. “We love labels because it makes it easy,” said Strickland, 58. “As a woman who is Black and Korean, I’ve been labeled my entire life, or people have been trying to assign a label to me. My lane is left-of-center. There are times when I am very progressive on issues, and there are times when I’m more moderate — it really depends on the needs of the people that I want to represent.”
Israel mind meld: On Israel and the Middle East, however, both candidates seem to hold relatively similar views. Strickland and Doglio both support rejoining the Iran nuclear deal and back a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Neither candidate has been to Israel, but each expressed a strong desire to visit if elected to Congress. Both say that they do not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. While Strickland characterizes BDS as “antisemitic,” Doglio noted that even though she won’t back the movement, she respects BDS as an organizational effort given her background in community activism. “I don’t support what BDS stands for because it would eliminate the Jewish state,” she said, “which is not a two-state solution.”
Pro-Israel support: Doglio, whose Jewish husband has family in Israel, described her “strong connection” to the Jewish state despite never having visited. Doglio said she met with AIPAC about the possibility of going this past December but wasn’t able to make it happen. Still, Strickland appears to have garnered more support from the pro-Israel community, last month earning an endorsement from the grassroots advocacy group Pro-Israel America. Strickland made clear that she was committed unequivocally to pro-Israel policies, which she came to support after having spent time with members of the Jewish community in Washington. “It has just given me the opportunity to learn a lot more about the history,” she said.
Making history: Strickland would be the first Black representative from the Pacific Northwest and also the first Korean-American woman in Congress if she prevails on November 3. Her own identity as a Black and Korean woman, she said, has led her to feel a “shared experience of bigotry and prejudice” with the Jewish people as antisemitism is on the rise. “We just want to make sure that, as I have the chance to serve in Congress, my door will always be open,” she told JI, “and I’m going to be a friend of Israel and a friend of people who want to support Israel.”
minority of a minority
The clusters of New York Orthodox Jews backing Biden
This group of activists often isn’t very vocal within its own community. “Remember, for some, being vocally pro-Biden or anti-Trump can be problematic or even dangerous in certain families/social circles/workplaces/communities,” reads the description of a recently launched WhatsApp group that aims to garner support among Orthodox Jews for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Another group counts more than 100 members “who are deeply concerned about what has happened to our country over the last three plus years.” Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh spoke with the founders and activists behind the two groups.
Background: WhatsApp is a major source of news and coordination among many traditional segments of the Jewish community. These activists are part of a small but committed group within New York’s Orthodox Jewish community, which traditionally votes for Republican candidates in national elections. This year, President Donald Trump is expected to receive well over a majority of the Orthodox Jewish vote in his home state. A recent poll published by Ami Magazinefound that 83% of Orthodox Jews support Trump’s reelection, while a survey conducted for the American Jewish Committee showed a similar result, giving Trump a 74%-18% edge over Biden among Orthodox Jews.
Safe space: Chaim, a resident of the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn — who refused to go on record with his last name for fear of retribution — was motivated to create the pro-Biden group following recent protests opposing state and local government-imposed lockdowns in Borough Park, where some residents had continued to flout social distancing rules. Earlier this month, Chaim launched a Twitter handle, @FrumJews4Joe, and the private WhatsApp group to serve as a “safe environment” for members who “don’t feel safe talking about their convictions or their ideologies, or that they are politically diverse from what’s become mainstream of Orthodox Jewry.”
Not alone: Amy Mosery, 59, a Modern Orthodox Jewish resident of the Five Towns in Long Island, told JI that she was motivated by what she described as a feeling of political marginalization in her social circles — and was “thrilled” to find others in the community who shared the same concerns. “I never in my wildest dreams anticipated that it would grow to the levels that it has grown,” Mosery told JI. On Thursday, her group, titled “Five T and Beyond 4 Biden/Harris 2020,” participated in a Zoom call with Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), who took questions from members. “The majority of the people in this chat had never been engaged in the political process at any level,” Mosery pointed out. “The chat has been that vehicle that has helped them to find a place and find their voice.”
Speaking up: One of the discussions in the group focused on how to gain more visibility and counter the voices in the community organizing pro-Trump rallies. Borough Park resident Rayne Lunger created a hashtag #YiddenForBiden, using a Yiddish word to refer to Jews, for the activists to use to promote their support of Biden on social media. Lunger, 29, describes herself as a progressive Democrat who voted for Clinton in 2016. She told JI she was “disturbed” by what she saw as a campaign of disinformation — and the level of hatred surrounding political issues. “I wanted to create visibility just because I know that there are people who are afraid to speak out,” she said, “and I thought that creating more visibility might make it easier for them to express themselves.”
Legislators, Jewish groups file amicus briefs in SCOTUS art case
Five members of the House of Representatives, as well as the World Jewish Congress, the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (AAJLA) and the women’s organization Hadassah have filed amicus briefs in an ongoing Supreme Court case involving property purchased from a group of German Jews by Nazi agents in 1935.
Background: The descendants of the Jewish art dealers are seeking, under the 2016 Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act, restitution from the German goverment for a collection known as the Guelph Treasure. The medieval art collection was purchased by the Nazi government for what the dealers’ descendants say was well below market value. Each of the briefs filed Thursday supports the heirs against the German government, which is seeking to have the case thrown out.
Letter of the law: The briefs make similar arguments, claiming that the sale constitutes part of the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people and that the case falls within U.S. jurisdiction and should not be dismissed under foreign sovereign immunities legislation. The House members who joined the amicus brief — Reps. Jim Banks (D-IN), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) — argue that previous legislation grants the Jewish families the right to sue in U.S. court in this case, contrary to the German government’s case.
Precedent: The brief from the World Jewish Congress, its president Ron Lauder and the Commission for Art Recovery — which Lauder founded — also casts aspersions on the U.S. government, after the U.S. solicitor general filed a brief in support of the German position. “It is highly improper, even repugnant, for the U.S. to argue that the crime of genocide cannot occur when the carnage, theft, and cultural destruction take place within a state’s own borders and involve a state’s own nationals,” the brief reads. “That was certainly not the U.S. position at Nuremberg.”
Germany weighs in: The amicus briefs come on the heels of a response from Haber to the House members who expressed concerns in the case. Haber’s letter, sent Monday, pushes back on concerns presented in the congressional letter, but does not address the specific facts of the case or questions raised by legislators. “We regret that the submission of Germany as the petitioner in a case presented to the U.S. Supreme Court left questions as to the general position of the German Government on the Holocaust and our approach to dealing with the past,” Haber wrote. “Germany stands by its moral, political and historical responsibility for the Holocaust and Holocaust victims.”
Looking ahead: Oral arguments in the case are set for December 7. “Luckily, when Supreme Court proceedings begin, Germany won’t be able to wiggle away from tough questions,” Banks told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod. “And based on the amicus brief I filed, there will be plenty.”
Getting the Sack
Former Labour leader Corbyn suspended from party following antisemitism report
Former U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended by the party on Thursday for rejecting the findings of a long-awaited report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that found “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination for which the Labour Party is responsible.” The report detailed numerous instances of unlawful behavior, examining at least 70 complaints of antisemitism made since 2016, reports Jewish Insider’s Sam Zieve Cohen.
Findings: The EHRC report, which concluded the party “at best, did not do enough to prevent antisemitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it,” directed a series of changes to Labour’s reporting and investigation process. Under U.K. law, the mandates of the non-departmental government agency are legally enforceable. In addition to finding a persistent culture accepting antisemitism, the report found that the party had a “practice or policy of Political Interference” in responding to internal reports of antisemitism. This included efforts to “smear” complaints as fake, incidents that the EHRC found to have violated the Equality Act of 2010.
Laboured response: In a press conference following the release, current Labour leader Keir Starmer accepted the findings, calling the report “comprehensive, rigorous and thoroughly professional.” Apologizing to the Jewish community, Starmer admitted: “I found this report hard to read and it is a day of shame for the Labour Party… On behalf of the Labour Party, I am truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused.”
Last chance: In a statement released on Facebook, Corbyn, while denouncing antisemitism, claimed “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.” The comment appeared to be the last straw for the Labour leaders. Shortly after Starmer finished answering media questions — and reportedly after the Labour leadership failed to persuade Corbyn to retract his statement — a party spokesperson announced the suspension of the former leader pending an investigation.
Vindicated: In a statement, Gideon Falter, CEO of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), which submitted one of the first complaints to the EHRC, hailed the report as “groundbreaking,” writing that it “utterly vindicates Britain’s Jews who were accused of lying and exaggerating, acting as agents of another country and using their religion to ‘smear’ the Labour Party. In an unprecedented finding, it concludes that those who made such accusations broke the law and were responsible for illegal discrimination and harassment,” Falter continued. “The debate is over. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party became institutionally antisemitic. It drove almost half of British Jews to consider leaving the country.”
Stateside: The suspension sent shockwaves across the U.K. and U.S., where progressive politicians, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), had previously praised Corbyn. Neither Sanders nor Ocasio-Cortez responded to a request for comment, but shortly after news of the suspension, the Democratic Socialist Party, of which the New York representative is a member, tweeted a message of support for Corbyn.
👨💼 Biden’s Jared: The Atlantic’s Saahil Desai interviews Jared Bernstein, Biden’s top economic advisor, who is making the case for the former vice president to skeptical progressives. “[Biden] gets that we’re at this FDR moment in a way, with an existential market failure staring us in the face,” said Bernstein. [TheAtlantic]
✍️ Looking Back: In The Financial Times, Simon Schama draws on lessons from 1965 to issue a call for unity to an increasingly polarized America: “Each side is convinced that the victory of the other spells the end of the republic, so the contest turns into a competition of terminal nightmares.” [FT]
🌳 Olive Branch:Reuters reporters Ali Sawafta and Rami Ayyub spotlight the ongoing clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers over the West Bank olive tree harvest, exacerbated by COVID-19 limitations on outside monitors. [Reuters]
Around the Web
🤝 Round Three: Following a “productive” meeting yesterday, Israel and Lebanon agreed to continue talks next month over a maritime border dispute.
🛫 Runway Row:Officials in Israel are arguing over the best location for Israel’s next airport.
🚢 Bidding War: Israel Shipyards Industries and Dubai’s DP World have submitted a joint bid to control the Haifa Port.
🥕 Seeds of Peace:Produce grown in Israel could hit shelves in the UAE as early as November.
⚖️ Heavy Handed:Justice Department officials allegedly sought to interfere in favor of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan over an investigation into a Turkish bank.
📈 WeWork 2.0:New WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani suggested the company will revisit plans for an IPO once it becomes profitable.
😞 Regrets:Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black said yesterday that his ties to Jeffrey Epstein were a “terrible mistake” which “I deeply regret.”
🧃 Hate Crime: Antisemitic graffiti was drawn on the window of a juice bar in Brooklyn this week.
⚔️ Street Clash: Several Jewish activists were chased and threatened by a handful of protesters during a Black Lives Matter protest in Philadelphia this week.
👩👧👧 Friendly Visit: Ivanka Trump met yesterday with children from the Misameach Organization for kids with disabilities or diseases.
📺 In Session: Eight months after the end of her long-running TV show “Judge Judy,” Judith Sheindlin’s yet-to-be-named series has been picked up by Amazon and IMDb TV.
📰 Media Watch: Insider Inc. has acquired a majority stake in Morning Brew, a daily business newsletter targeted at millennials founded by Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief.
🖥️ Moving On:Glenn Greenwald resigned yesterday from The Intercept, the media outlet he co-founded in 2013, accusing its editors of censorship.
🗞️ Transition: Patrick Kingsley has been named the new Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times.
🏡 On the Market: Ben Shapiro has listed his Los Angeles home for sale for $2.9 million ahead of his company’s move to Nashville.
🤰 Coming Soon: Karlie Kloss and Joshua Kushner announced that they are expecting their first child.
🕯️ Remembering: Dan Baum, a journalist author and Twitter trailblazer, has died at age 64.
Pic of the Day
At the Embassy in Jerusalem on Friday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman presented the first American passport with ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ as the listed birthplace to Menachem Zivotofsky, whose efforts to obtain the listing went before the United State Supreme Court in Zivotofsky v. Kerry and Zivotofsky v. Clinton.
Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert Caro turns 85…
FRIDAY: Law professor, previously the president of the University of Minnesota (97-02), chancellor of the University of Texas (02-08) and president of the University of California (08-13), Mark Yudof turns 76… Actor, best known for his portrayal of “The Fonz” in the “Happy Days” sitcom, Henry Winkler turns 75… NBC anchor and reporter, Andrea Mitchell turns 74… Israeli violinist, violist and conductor, Shlomo Mintz turns 63… Wireless communications pioneer with over 80 patents, he served as CEO of Qualcomm (05-14) and later executive chairman, he is a co-owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Paul E. Jacobs, Ph.D. turns 58… Partner in the DC office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, he served as the attorney general of Maryland (07-15), Douglas F. “Doug” Gansler turns 58…
Partner and co-founder of the Irvine, Calif., law firm of Wolfe & Wyman, Stuart B. Wolfe turns 55… Former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, David Krone turns 54… White House correspondent for The New York Times and a political analyst for CNN, Maggie Haberman turns 47… President of The Gold Standard, LLC, Jeremy Seth Gold turns 45… Partner in the LA and DC offices of Crowell & Moring, Paul M. Rosen turns 42… Communications officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts, Joshua Eric Rosenblum turns 42… White House Senior Advisor Ivanka ‘Yael’ Trump turns 39… Founding director at Tech Tribe and director of social media for Chabad, Mordechai Lightstone turns 36… Politico reporter covering congressional races, Ally Mutnick turns 28… Director at DC-based Targeted Victory, Rebecca Schieber turns 28…
SATURDAY: Actor with a lengthy career in film, television and theatre, Ron Rifkin turns 81… British historian, born in Baghdad, emeritus professor of International Relations at Oxford, Avraham “Avi” Shlaim turns 75… Author, historian and writer-at-large for the UK-based Prospect Magazine, Sam Tanenhaus turns 65… Staff writer for The New Yorker, Susan Orlean turns 65… Managing partner of Arel Capital, Richard G. Leibovitch turns 57… National director for progressive engagement at AIPAC, Marilyn Rosenthal… British lawyer who has served as CEO of the Board of Deputies of British Jews (05-13), Marc Jonathan (Jon) Benjamin turns 56… Founding partner at Lanx Management, former president of AIPAC and chairman of the Orthodox Union, Howard Tzvi Friedman turns 55… Director of development for Foundation for Jewish Camp, Corey Cutler turns 53… Chief innovation officer of Ralph Lauren, David Lauren turns 49… Founder and chairman of Leket Israel, Joseph Gitler turns 46… Member of the California State Assembly, Marc Berman turns 40… Entrepreneur, bestselling author and founder of Pencils of Promise, Adam Braun turns 37… Rabbi-in-residence at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester (NY), she is the founder of Midrash Manicures, combining Jewish education and creative nail art, Yael Buechler turns 35… Senior manager for global marketing campaigns at PwC, Spencer Herbst turns 29… Campaign consultant at Charidy, Masha Shollar turns 28…
SUNDAY: Rabbi of Baltimore’s 1,300-member Beth Tfiloh Congregation, Mitchell Wohlberg turns 76… Country singer, songwriter, novelist and humorist, Richard Samet “Kinky” Friedman turns 76… Pioneering investor in the personal computing industry, founder of Lotus and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mitch Kapor turns 70… Founding rabbi at Beit T’Shuvah, a nonprofit Jewish addiction treatment center and synagogue community in Los Angeles, Mark Borovitz turns 69… Retired management analyst at the U.S. Department of Energy, Les Novitsky turns 63… CEO of Safariland, Warren B. Kanders turns 63… Managing director for national affairs at AIPAC, Elliot Brandt turns 52… Actress, born in Odessa, she is best known for her roles on “All My Children,” “Days of Our Lives” and “General Hospital,” Alla Korot turns 50… Principal at Calabasas, California-based CRC-Commercial Realty Consultants, Brian Weisberg turns 48… Associate in the DC office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Clare F. Steinberg turns 32… AIPAC’s director of Westchester County (NY) and nearby Riverdale, Annie Peck Watman turns 31… Reporter and producer for CNN’s political unit, Marshall J. Cohen turns 29… Law student at University of Chicago Law School, Mitchell Caminer turns 27… Pitcher for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, he formally became an Israeli citizen in 2018 to play for Israel in the 2021 Olympics, Gabe Cramer turns 26…