👋 Good Monday morning!
President Donald Trump was permanently banned from Twitter on Friday, due to “the risk of further incitement of violence,” the company said. Over the weekend, Twitter deleted thousands of accounts posting content related to QAnon and other far-right conspiracy theories.
Apple and Google Play have suspended Parler, the social networking site home to many far-right activists and extremists, from appearing in their app stores, which could deal a death blow to the platform.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, whose Stop Hate For Profit coalition had been pushing Twitter to ban Trump last week, told Jewish Insider: “In the last 72 hours, we’ve finally seen social media companies take steps that were long overdue.” Greenblatt commended Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Twitch and other platforms for taking “decisive action” but added “there’s still more to be done,” predicting that the spotlight this week will turn to YouTube and other streaming platforms.
Capitol Hill police officer Howard Liebengood, who was working during last week’s riot, died by suicide over the weekend. Jewish Democratic Council of America CEO Halie Soifer, who used to work on the Hill, told JI: “He guarded the door to the staff entrance of Russell [Senate Office Building], where I worked for six years, and he was always smiling. He was an incredibly warm and caring member of the Capitol Police, and he made others feel safe.”
House Democrats plan to bring forward a resolution today calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to remove Trump from office under the 25th Amendment. Under the terms of the legislation, the House will move to impeach Trump if Pence does not respond within 24 hours.
Attorney Alan Dershowitz said he would defend Trump again during a potential second impeachment trial, classifying the president’s comments at a rally prior to Wednesday’s attempted insurrection as “constitutionally protected” speech.
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped William Burns, who previously led the U.S. State Department in secret negotiations with Iran and is currently president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to be his CIA director.
Small cadre of Republicans speaks out against Trump after Capitol riots
Fallout from the Capitol riots last week continued over the weekend, as more members of the Republican Party, including former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) and two new members of Congress, publicly denounced President Donald Trump and his supporters, reports Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod.
American Kristallnacht: Schwarzenegger, a longtime critic of the president, tweeted a video Sunday morning comparing the insurrection at the Capitol to Kristallnacht. “Wednesday was the day of broken glass right here in the United States,” Schwarzenegger said in the seven-minute video. “But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol. They shattered the ideas we took for granted… They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.” Schwarzenegger, who grew up in post-war Austria, also discussed his childhood, “surrounded by broken men drinking away their guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history.”
Off the Trump train: Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), a first-term Republican who served as a campaign staffer during Trump’s 2016 campaign, told The State she no longer supports Trump. “My anger not only stems from the violence last night, where four people died and people were injured, but everything [Trump] accomplished during the last four years of his presidency. That legacy has now been wiped out,” Mace said. “We now have lost the Senate. We did that on our own accord. We did it to ourselves, and we reap what we sow. The rhetoric has got to stop… That is one of the main reasons that we lost people within our party.”
Running scared: Fellow first-term Republican Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) said in a Detroit News op-ed that some of his GOP colleagues supported the election challenges out of concern over their personal safety. “My colleague told me that efforts to overturn the election were wrong, and that voting to certify was a constitutional duty,” he wrote. “But my colleague feared for family members, and the danger the vote would put them in. Profoundly shaken, my colleague voted to overturn.”
Elsewhere: Freshman Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), who was caught on video last week proclaiming that “Hitler was right on one thing,” apologized on Friday “for any harm my words caused.” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) indicated to JI that Miller would not face sanctions within the party for her comments. “Hitler was the representation of pure evil,” Scalise told JI. “Congresswoman Miller’s comments were inappropriate, and I am glad she has since apologized.”
COUNTDOWN TO ELECTION
Israeli politicians scramble to get in fighting shape
With just a few weeks until the filing deadline to run in Israel’s national election slated for March 23, many parties began to fill out their electoral slates with both familiar and fresh faces. Jewish Insider‘s Amy Spiro recaps the week that was in Israeli politics.
Going it alone: Former Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon broke off from Yesh Atid on Sunday evening, announcing that his Telem Party would run independently for the first time. Those joining him include former Blue and White Science Minister Izhar Shay, Hagai Levine, the former head of the Israeli doctors union, and anti-Netanyahu protest leader Gonen Ben-Yitzhak. Ya’alon also introduced and then quickly rescinded the candidacy of attorney Ayman Aburiya, after it emerged that he was facing a bribery indictment. Army Radio’s political correspondent Michael Hauser-Tov called Ya’alon’s lineup an “ideological salad… puzzling even today when ideology seems to barely have any effect on the ballot box.”
Musical chairs: Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid recruited Blue and White Social Equality Minister Merav Cohen to jump ship and join his party last week. The number of MKs leaving Blue and White continue to stack up, leaving Defense Minister and party leader Benny Gantz looking increasingly isolated, and many polls show he won’t garner enough votes to enter the Knesset. Walla News reporter Erez Michaeli suggested Gantz should seriously consider joining up with Gideon Sa’ar’s new party — if Sa’ar should desire such a move — while journalist Yair Tarchitsky predicted Gantz would join Ya’alon now that he has split from Yesh Atid.
Right side: Bayit Yehudi leader Rafi Peretz announced last week that he was quitting politics and would not run again in the national election. His resignation is expected to pave the way for the party to rejoin with Yamina, led by Naftali Bennett. At the same time, both parties are in talks with the National Union faction led by Bezalel Smotrich. Times of Israel reporter Tal Schneider predicted the three right-wing parties would join up ahead of the election: “We might as well just fast forward instead of suffering through all of their spin for the next month.”
COVID caucusing: Israel’s new strict COVID-19 lockdown includes a provision that didn’t exist in the past two lockdowns: travel exceptions for those running in, working on or voting in political primaries. But the Labor Party is expected to be the only faction to hold a primary vote before the upcoming election. The party’s leadership primary is slated for January 24, while the vote on its electoral list is scheduled for February 1 — pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Israeli Supreme Court delayed the next hearing in Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial due to the current lockdown. And Israel’s attorney general has decided to move ahead in indicting Shas leader and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri — who previously served a three-year prison term after a 1999 bribery conviction — on charges of tax fraud.
With fashion brand ‘bubuleh,’ designer Jordan Star honors his heritage
The brim of the Signature Keppie Cap is chock full of Xs and Os and hearts — a fashion love letter with hugs and kisses to designer Jordan Star’s Jewish grandparents. The crew-necked and loose-fitting BH Relaxed Tee is adorned with the letters “b” and “h” in a broad brushstroke, lower-case design — a fashion inside joke for millennials flexing their Yiddishkeit and sense of Jewish pride. Welcome to “bubuleh,” the new retro/modern fashion line recently launched by 27-year-old Jordan Star, who told Ryan Torok for Jewish Insider that his new brand is “handmade with love and just a little anxiety.”
Authenticity: The latter part of that could not be truer: there was anxiety involved merely in determining the spelling of the Yiddish brand name. “I was so stressed out over how to spell ‘bubuleh,’ and everyone spelled it differently, so I just picked one,” Star told JI from Boston, where he has been staying with family during the pandemic. During ordinary times, Star lives in Los Angeles, where his clothing venture — a seamless stitching together of his unapologetic Jewish pride, his LGBTQ identity and his fondness of Yiddish culture — is based. “For me, being Jewish and being gay are two very distinct aspects of my identity — but I see a lot of parallels between them,” he said. “When someone is gay or Jewish, they face unique and intersecting struggles and questions and relationships. It was important to me for that to come across. I want this brand to connect with a lot of people and be authentic to me.”
Celebrating history: The brand is Star’s way of expressing his love for his family, including two grandparents who succumbed to illness during the coronavirus pandemic — one to COVID-19 and one to cancer. And it is also his way of saying something about himself. Star is prone to going up to friends and greeting them with, “Hi bubuleh, how are you doing?” — a welcome, he says, that “comes out of a deep admiration for my family and my culture.” He added: “This brand, for me, was celebrating my family history in lieu of being able to protect them.”
Timeless: Star said he hopes the clothes appeal to people who appreciate the aesthetics of the generations that preceded them. “This is a grandson taking inspiration from his grandparents. Bubuleh is for anyone who is unapologetically proud of who they are, where they come from and love a great outfit with meaning behind it. It can be someone 16 or 70,” he said. “It’s all great with me.”
TRUMP’S MAN IN JERUSALEM
David Friedman talks to the Times about his time as ambassador
“Love him or hate him, and most people who have paid attention fall into one camp or the other” writes The New York Times’s David Halbfinger at the start of a profile of outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman. Halbfinger looks back at the impact the “blunt-spoken rabbi’s son from North Woodmere, N.Y., who relishes an argument and comes across as harboring few inner doubts” made on American policy in Israel.
On his time in Israel:
“There’s no going back on what we’ve been able to do. I’m frankly somewhere between addicted and intoxicated with what I’ve been able to do, and how much joy it gives me… We’ve changed the narrative dramatically.”
On the narrative upon his arrival:
“A flood of refugees into Israel? Never going to happen. Dividing Jerusalem? It’s just never going to happen. Israel giving up certain parts of its biblical heartland? Never going to happen.”
On previous U.S. policy to advocate against expanding Israeli settlements:
“Just to kind of virtue-signal that we think the Palestinians should have something more, made no sense to me.”
Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner on Friedman:
“He set a very ambitious agenda. Quite frankly, toward the end we were almost running out of things to accomplish, because David had gotten done so many things that were unthinkable… He normalized a lot of behavior and a lot of statements where we’ve really shifted U.S. policy.”
Bonus: On Twitter, Halbfinger offered a series of snippets from their two-hour long interview that didn’t make it into the final article, including Friedman’s assertion that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank doesn’t have “anything to do with Israel’s democracy because Israel’s democracy is the function of the citizens, and these are not citizens of Israel.” Friedman also said he had “deep respect” for the Israeli left despite their disagreements, but suggested that the American left, “I think really are not sufficiently educated on the subject and aren’t willing to take the risks. So, I mean, if the American left is wrong, they don’t suffer.”
📖 History Repeats: In The New York Times, historian Timothy Snyder explores the history and effects of fascist movements and their resonance today. “The lie outlasts the liar. The idea that Germany lost the First World War in 1918 because of a Jewish ‘stab in the back’ was 15 years old when Hitler came to power. How will Trump’s myth of victimhood function in American life 15 years from now?” [NYTimes]
🤳 In Plain Sight: The Washington Post’s Robert Klemko interviews amateur sleuths who use the internet to identify neo-Nazis and white nationalists from videos and photos of riots. “If you’ve ever stayed up way too late trying to find your ex’s wedding pictures on Instagram, you can dox a Nazi. It’s the same skill set.” [WashPost]
😢 Living Grief: Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) spoke to The Atlantic’s John Hendrickson about enduring the death of his son and the Capitol insurrection — and leading the charge to impeach Trump ― in the span of one week. “I really felt that my son was with me — and you know, that may sound too mystical and spiritual or religious for some of my rationalist friends, but I felt very much the spirit of my son with me.” [Atlantic]
🧑⚕️ Learning Lessons: In The Wall Street Journal, Felicia Schwartz laid out the lessons that the U.S. can learn from Israel’s rapid COVID-19 vaccination rollout, including repackaging the vaccine into smaller shipments, setting up dedicated vaccination sites and reaching out to minority groups who may be resistant to receiving the shot. [WSJ]
Around the Web
🏗️ Mixed Messages: Israel is expected to give a green light to the construction of 850 new settlement homes just days before Biden is sworn in as president.
💉 Round Two: Israel began administering second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday, and will begin expanding out its vaccine campaign this week to teachers and those over age 55.
🏥 Blame Game: Palestinian Authority official Yasser Bozyeh accused Israel of shirking its duties to vaccinate Palestinians, despite the PA never officially asking Israel for vaccine aid.
🏺 Lost and Found: Thousands of stolen artifacts from around the world, including coins and pottery, were discovered in a series of raids in Israel by the country’s antiquities authority.
⚖️ In Court: The trial of Israeli tycoon Beny Steinmetz on corruption and bribery charges in Guinea opened today in a Swiss court.
🖥️ Reaching Out: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was one of the Israeli leaders who met with AIPAC’s board virtually yesterday.
🛫 High Alert: Residents of Lebanon are on edge as Israel has increased the number of daily low-flying military flights and drone missions in the region in recent weeks.
🇲🇦 First Steps: The U.S. moved yesterday toward opening a consulate in Morocco’s disputed Western Sahara region, working to solidify the normalization deal between Morocco and Israel.
✝️ Safe Again: A shrine on the Jordan River near the site where Jesus was believed to be baptized hosted its first Epiphany procession in 50 years after being declared free of landmines.
⚠️ Warning: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the Jewish People Policy Institute that returning to the 2015 Iran deal could “bring nuclear weapons all over the Middle East.”
☢️ Bad Deal: The Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Richard Goldberg and Mark Dubowitz write in Foreign Policy that lifting sanctions to reenter the Iran deal “makes no sense.”
🔎 ID: CNN identified the man who wore a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt to the Capitol riot as Robert Keith Packer of Virginia, described by an associate as “always extreme and very vocal about his beliefs.”
✡️ Never Again: Holocaust survivors spoke to The New York Times about their horror at images from the Capitol riot, including the man in the “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt.
🚨 No Accident: The Capitol riot was the culmination of a years-long plan by far right activists, according to Daniel Lombroso, a journalist and filmmaker who embedded with neo-Nazi groups.
🖍️ Vandalism: The exterior wall of the Oświęcim Jewish cemetery, near the Auschwitz Memorial, was spray painted with a swastika and the SS symbol.
📺 Bad Reception: Voice of America CEO Michael Pack is under investigation for fraud and misuse of office after a tenure marked by controversy.
🕵️ On the Case: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a hate crimes investigation after a Confederate flag was found tied to the doors of the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Friday.
👩❤️👨 Mazel Tov: The New York Times chronicles the relationship between Irene Sibaja and Hal Karp, who reunited after Karp appeared on a Tablet magazine podcast episode decades after their break-up.
💯 Century Club: Agnes Keleti, a Holocaust survivor and the oldest living Olympian, winner of 10 Olympic gymnastics medals, turned 100 on Sunday.
🕯️ Remembering: William Link, television screenwriter and co-creator of “Murder She Wrote,” died at 87.
Song of the Day
Israeli singer Miri Mesika released a new music video for her song “Ima,” meaning “mother,” directed and choreographed by Oz Morag.
Actress, star of the 2000 comedy film “The Whole Nine Yards,” she wrote a book about a Jewish girl during the Christmas season, Amanda Peet turns 49…
Retired judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, author of 40 books on jurisprudence and economics, Richard Posner turns 82… Violinist and music teacher, Shmuel Ashkenasi turns 80… Film and theater director, best known for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Fat Albert,” Joel Zwick turns 79… Las Vegas resident, Stephen Needleman turns 79… Economist and professor of banking at Columbia University, former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Frederic Stanley “Rick” Mishkin turns 70… Noted gardener, florist and stylist, Lynn Blitzer… Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of experimental medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Jerome E. Groopman turns 69… Former member of the Canadian House of Commons, Susan Kadis turns 68… CEO of Sense Education, Seth Haberman turns 61…
Attorney, author and activist, Brian Cuban turns 60… Partner of beverage investment firm Magnolia Marketing LLC and a former President of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Alan Franco turns 59… Rabbi at Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto (BAYT), he also serves as the president of the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Daniel Korobkin turns 57… Actress and reality television personality, she converted to Judaism in her 20s, Kyle Richards turns 52… Defensive tackle in the Canadian Football League for twelve seasons, he is a co-owner at Vera’s Burger Shack based in Vancouver, B.C., Noah Cantor turns 50… Born in Montreal to a Moroccan Jewish family, former goaltender with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes who also played in six other leagues, Josh Tordjman turns 36… VP and head of strategic partnerships at Penzer Family Office, Mickey Penzer turns 32… French-American actress, Flora Cross turns 28… Founder when she was just 12 years old of Nannies by Noa, a full-service childcare agency serving families in NYC and the Hamptons, Noa Mintz turns 20…