👋 Good Tuesday morning!
The death toll in the Surfside condominium collapse climbed to 11 on Monday evening, as search-and-rescue efforts enter the sixth day. Authorities identified two more victims — Michael David Altman, 50, and Frank Kleiman, 55 — whose bodies were recovered Monday. Some 150 people are still believed to be missing.
The first round of ranked-choice voting results will be released in New York City today. It’s unlikely that the official winners of some of the city’s most-watched races — including mayor and comptroller — will be known for several more weeks. Some 124,000 Democratic absentee ballots remain uncounted, and the Board of Elections anticipates it will begin certifying results the week of July 12.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid arrived today in the UAE, marking the first Israeli ministerial visit in the country since last year’s signing of the Abraham Accords.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with President Joe Biden and congressional leaders yesterday. Rivlin also met with the UAE’s Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba, thanking him for his role in advancing the Abraham Accords. More below.
The Biden administration defendedthe use of airstrikes Sunday against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria from criticism in Congress over whether the White House should have consulted members.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) defended the rationale for the strikes, saying in a statement, “based on what I have learned so far, I believe these were an appropriate and reasonable use of force.”
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs advanced the $62.24 billion 2022 funding bill to full committee consideration. The bill provides at least $225 million in aid to the West Bank and Gaza — a $150 million increase over last year and $40 million above President Biden’s request.
The bill also includes increased conditions on security aid to Egypt. Subcommittee Republicans expressed concerns about both these provisions, and indicated their intent to debate and oppose them further during full-committee deliberations.
A union representing part-time lecturers at New Jersey’s Rutgers University called on the American Federation of Teachers to divest itself of Israeli bonds and for the U.S. government to cut off all aid to Israel immediately, accusing Israel of “illegal acts” and of having ‘targeted, killed and maimed civilian populations.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) wrote a letter, obtained by Jewish Insider, to Rutgers’s president saying he is “deeply concerned for the wellbeing” of Jewish and pro-Israel Rutgers students and calling on him to “speak out clearly and quickly against this hate-filled misinformation campaign and rhetoric.”
A ‘Justice Democrat’ picks a new fight with a longtime Chicago liberal
Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), the veteran Chicago congressman, has long been regarded as one of the most progressive lawmakers in the House, but in recent cycles he has faced far-left challengers who allege the 79-year-old is complacent. Davis is now preparing to defend his seat against Kina Collins, a gun violence and healthcare activist, in the 2022 midterms. The Chicago native ran unsuccessfully against Davis in 2020 but is confident she will have better luck this time. “People are hungry for new leadership,” Collins, 30, said in a recent interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. “We want to organize the district to help bring that change.”
Progressive push: Collins, who announced her candidacy earlier this month in Illinois’s heavily Democratic 7th Congressional District, may have reason for optimism. Buoying her campaign is an endorsement from Justice Democrats, the formidable national progressive group that is also now backing left-wing challengers running to overthrow established incumbents in New York City and Nashville, Tenn. Last cycle, freshman Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) unseated eight-term Rep. Dan Lipinski, a centrist Democrat, with support from the group.
Left lane: But experts question whether voter enthusiasm is likely to coalesce around Collins, particularly given that the candidates are aligned on several key issues like healthcare and the environment. “You can’t go much to the left of Davis,” said Dick Simpson, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a former Chicago alderman. “He’s still a sort of a moderate progressive, but it seems to me his votes in Congress pretty well represent the district or may be even more liberal than the district.”
Eye on Israel: Collins and Davis also seem to hold similar views on Israel. Collins is in favor of conditioning aid to the Jewish state and opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel while clarifying that she still supports such political expression on First Amendment grounds. The community organizer visited Israel in March 2019 on a two-week trip sponsored by the Israeli consulate in Chicago. Collins argued that Israeli society includes “elements of apartheid,” citing “marriage laws” and “inequities in infrastructure” that she observed traveling through Israeli cities like the predominantly Bedouin town of Rahat two years ago.
Community relations: Davis dismisses such analogies. “No, I don’t agree with that,” he told JI when asked if he would compare Israel to an apartheid state. Still, during his time in office, Davis has taken a tougher stance on Israel than most of his House colleagues. The longtime incumbent voted “present” on a 2019 resolution condemning the BDS movement, and recently co-sponsored a bill seeking to restrict aid to Israel. In a 2018 interview, Davis praised Louis Farrakhan, the antisemitic Nation of Islam leader, as an “outstanding human being.” Despite later walking back his comments following widespread condemnation, the interview remains a point of tension with Jewish community members in Chicago.
on the hill
Luria, Zeldin pursue crackdown on Hezbollah in Lebanon
In a renewed effort to blunt Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon, Reps. Elaine Luria (D-VA) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) are set to introduce a bill today that pushes the State Department to exert new pressure to enforce a U.N. Security Council resolution mandating that the terrorist group be disarmed. The legislation requires a report from the State Department on the extent of Hezbollah’s influence on the Lebanese government and military, among other matters, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Protecting Israel: “It’s important to show that there’s bipartisan support in the Congress for helping protect Israel as our strongest ally in the Middle East,” Luria told JI. “Obviously there’s been a lot of churn around that lately. And I think this is just another way to reiterate that support for Israel remains strong.”
Standing firm: “Like Hamas, Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy that is an imminent and constant threat to our greatest ally in the region, Israel. The United States cannot sit idly by as Hezbollah continues to exert influence within the Lebanese Armed Forces and amass military resources as it seeks to destroy Israel,” Zeldin said in a statement to JI. “We must make it clear to our allies and adversaries in the Middle East and throughout the world that the U.S. stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel and considers its safety a top international priority.”
Multiple tracks: The New York Republican, who represents Suffolk County, introduced another bill last week with similar goals, which includes a provision stripping 20% of U.S. security aid from Lebanon until the White House certifies that the Lebanese Armed Forces are cracking down on military leaders with links to Hezbollah.
Elsewhere: Luria also offered her support for the Biden administration’s strike last weekend targeting other Iranian proxy groups in Iraq and Syria, and pushed back on Democratic critics who speculated that the president is overstepping his legal boundaries. “I think the president is fully acting within authority based off of a credible threat and intelligence and preventing harm to U.S. troops,” she said. “I think that something like an AUMF [Authorization of Use of Military Force] would also be provocatory in a way that I think is not necessarily beneficial at this point.”
Biden to Rivlin: Iran won’t get nukes ‘on my watch’
In a meeting between Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday, Biden pledged to keep Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons as his administration engages in ongoing negotiations over a reentry into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, reports Jewish Insider’s Jacob Miller.
Big promises: “What I can say to you: Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch, as they say,” Biden told Rivlin during remarks before their meeting. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described the Biden administration’s diplomatic overtures to restore the nuclear deal despite its hardline approach to tackle Iranian proxies: “Iran is a bad actor in the region … At the same time … seeking the opportunity to move forward on negotiations to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is in our national interest, and that’s how we will evaluate.”
Bennett-Biden: Following the meeting, Biden pledged to meet with Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett. “We’re working on a date, but don’t have anything to preview at this point in time,” Psaki said about a future Biden-Bennett meeting.
Stop on the Hill: Rivlin met with bipartisan congressional leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), following his meeting at the White House. “We are partners, dear Speaker, we are friends, our nations bound together. Friends may have disagreements from time to time. This will never, never endanger our close relationship,” Rivlin said in remarks ahead of the meeting. “Our shared mission crosses the boundaries of parties and governments. Even when leadership changes, our obligation to each other remains.” His comments come on the heels of intense debates within Pelosi’s caucus over Israel’s policies during its recent war with terrorist groups in Gaza.
Who’s who: Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Greg Meeks (D-NY) and Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA) and David Kustoff (R-TN) were seen entering and exiting the reception area. Deutch and Wilson lead the Foreign Affairs subcommittee focusing on the Middle East. Lee leads the House Appropriations Committee’s State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee and Kustoff is one of two Jewish House Republicans.
🏗️ Miami Dispatch: In Tablet, Armin Rosen reports from the scene around the Champlain Towers condominium in the days after the building’s partial collapse. “The Champlain building collapse is a slow-motion hell, in a place whose natural beauty and relaxed pace of life seem designed for maximal eeriness, as if to provoke reflection on how something so awful could inhabit the same reality.” [Tablet]
🖼️ People, Place and Things: David A. Bell reviews James McAuley’s The House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France for the New York Review of Books, in which McAuley explores French Jews’ assimilation to and rejection by France. “The relationship between self and objects lies at the heart [of the book]… a meditation on the shaping and expression of identities through the acquisition and donation of beautiful things, a glimpse into a world blasted to dust by the horrors of the twentieth century, and a tragic story about the unrequited love of men and women for a country that savagely turned on them.” [NYReview]
🏠 Full House: In The New Yorker, Nathan Heller visits Treehouse Hollywood, a communal living space in Los Angeles that was cofounded by social entrepreneur and investor Joe Green, and has picked up support from investors like Alexis Ohanian. “The dynamics I saw at Treehouse, in its current, small-scale incarnation, were different. The residents weren’t just sharing space; they were woven into one another’s lives. The whole broke into groups, but the groups were overlapping, flexible, and always changing.” [NewYorker]
Around the Web
😷 Masks Only: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel would not return to lockdowns and serious restrictions beyond indoor masking over the country’s recent rise in Delta variant cases of the coronavirus.
💡 Power On: Gaza will continue to receive shipments of Qatari-funded fuel in a tacit agreement between Israel and Hamas, after last month’s escalation between Hamas and the IDF halted the power imports.
🇪🇬 Build, Baby, Build: In a phone call with Bennett, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi discussed the need to rebuild the Gaza Strip.
🇸🇾 Foreign Spat: American forces in Syria came under attack hours after U.S. airstrikes targeted Iranian-backed militias in Syria and Iraq.
😈 Survey Says: A Morning Consult poll found that half of QAnon’s adherents agree with some of the antisemitic claims in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
🇬🇧 Troubling Trend: Last month posted record incidents of antisemitism in the UK, with 460 incidents reported to the monitoring charity Community Security Trust from May 8 to June 7.
⚾ Play Ball: The U.S. and Israeli Olympic baseball teams will face off on July 30 in Yokohama, Japan.
📕 In the Heights: Joan Frank reviews Joshua Henkin’s new novel Morningside Heights, writing, “In remarkably plain and quiet prose, Henkin has explored the exigencies of marriage and families (especially recombined families) through unflinching yet kind depictions of the ways we live now.”
🤭 Uh oh: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), is allegedly participating in a fundraiser with white supremacist leader and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes. Gosar previously spoke at an event alongside Fuentes in February.
🕯️ Remembering: Composer and pianist Frederic Rzewski died at age 83.
Pic of the Day
An Israeli kosher food specialist inspects the stocked storeroom of the Farooj Al Ain Poultry Farm in the UAE last week. In less than a year since the Abraham Accords, the farm has gone from processing 150 orders of kosher chickens every few months to 10,000 orders.
Israeli actress, screenwriter, playwright and film director, Hanna Azoulay-Hasfari turns 61…
Member of the U.K.’s House of Lords, Baroness Sally Ralea Rosengarten Greengross turns 86… Baltimore area gastroenterologist, Marshall Bedine, MD. turns 80… Stand-up comedian and actor, he has appeared in 40 episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Richard Philip Lewis turns 74… Chairman of Carnival Corporation and owner of the NBA’s Miami Heat, Micky Arison turns 72… Dean of Yeshivas Brisk in Jerusalem, Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Soloveitchik turns 72… Resident of both D.C. and Arizona, Helene Carol Resnick Kahan turns 72… Former assistant surgeon general of the U.S. and deputy assistant secretary of HHS for women’s health, Susan Jane Blumenthal, MD. turns 69… SVP and counsel at Columbus, Ohio-based L Brands for almost 30 years, now a consultant, Bruce A. Soll turns 64… CEO of three firms: Aliya Marketing Group, BH Solar and PPE Centers, Joshua Karlin turns 62… Attorney general of Israel, Avichai Mandelblit turns 58… Screenwriter, director and producer, he has won nine Emmy Awards for his work on AMC’s “Mad Men” and HBO’s “The Sopranos,” Matthew Hoffman Weiner turns 56… Senior rabbi of Toronto’s Beth Tzedec Congregation, Rabbi Steven C. Wernick turns 54… Theatre, film and television screenwriter, his credits include the 2017 film “Wonder Woman,” Allan Heinberg turns 54… Israeli political consultant and former chief of staff to then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ari Harow turns 48… Film and television director and writer, known for writing and directing the films “Obvious Child” and “Landline,” Gillian Robespierre turns 43… Former member of the U.K.’s Parliament for the Labour party, Ruth Smeeth turns 42… Israeli actor and male model, Yehuda Levi turns 42… President and dean of Phoenix-based Valley Beit Midrash, he is also the founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz turns 40… Principal at Sard Verbinnen, Andrew Duberstein turns 34… Campaign finance consultant, David Wolf… Jamie Greenfield… Steven Kohn… Sara Sansone… Fred Gruber…