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Ed. Note: Ladies and gentlemen, the Daily Kickoff is going on vacation for the week of July 4th. In the unlikely event of breaking news, check JewishInsider.com before other websites. Please turn off all personal electronic devices, including laptops and cell phones, and enjoy the holiday!
For less-distracted reading over the long weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent JI stories. Print the latest edition here.
In Boston, a local rabbi is in stable condition at Boston Medical Center after being stabbed eight times outside of Shaloh House synagogue in Brighton. Khaled Awad, 24, was taken into custody on charges of assault and battery for stabbing Rabbi Shlomo Noginski.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted last night, “Rabbi Noginski and his family are in my prayers tonight… Antisemitism is a clear and persistent threat to our communities.”
Without making further changes, the House Appropriations Committee voted 32-25 to advance the 2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs funding bill to the full House. While some Republicans voiced concerns during Thursday’s meeting about conditions on aid to Egypt, none introduced amendments on the measure.
Senators advocate funding boost for State Department antisemitism envoy office
With antisemitic incidents on the rise globally, a bipartisan group of senators is calling for a $250,000 funding boost for the office of the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism in 2022, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Letter writing: Twenty-eight senators urged Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — the two ranking members of the Senate Appropriations State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs subcommittee — to provide a total of $1.25 million for the office in the 2022 budget, up from $1 million in 2021, in a letter sent June 28. The House Appropriations Committee approved a draft 2022 State and Foreign Operations budget bill Thursday afternoon, including a recommendation for at least $1 million for the office.
On the rise: The senators point to the recent global rise in antisemitic incidents, as well as the envoy’s elevation to ambassador status last year. “Providing additional funds in [fiscal year] 2021 will ensure the State Department has the resources to… continue building on United States leadership in combating antisemitism internationally,” the letter reads. “Specifically, these funds would support the Special Envoy’s efforts to improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities, combat online radicalization, ensure public officials and faith leaders condemn anti-Semitic discourse, and strengthen judicial systems in their prosecution of anti-Semitic incidents.”
Quotable: Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who led the letter with Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), told JI: “We can put a stop to these hateful and threatening acts, but we must do so forcefully and with clear resolve… We must ensure that this post is properly funded, and that the United States maintains its leadership role in combating global antisemitism. I am proud to lead my Senate colleagues in this bipartisan effort to fund the fight against antisemitic hate.”
Sign here: All but two of the signatories — Rounds and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) — are Democrats. They are Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT).
Leah Goldin’s years-long crusade to bring her son home
Leah Goldin, whose son Hadar was attacked by a Hamas ambush during Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge and is presumed dead, has not been able to give her son a proper funeral. Hamas has held the remains of 23-year-old Hadar for nearly seven years as Goldin has traveled the world seeking assistance. Now, as conversations begin over rebuilding Gaza, Goldin believes the U.S. government — which brokered the cease-fire during which her son was killed — has a “very narrow window of opportunity,” she told Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss, to condition the assistance on the return of her son’s body.
Assigning responsibility: As world and regional powers begin discussions on rebuilding Gaza following May’s 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas, Goldin argues that the U.S. should condition any aid on the return of the bodies of Hadar and Oron Shaul, another soldier who went missing after an attack by Hamas and is presumed dead, as well as two Israeli civilians who went into Gaza in the months after that summer’s conflict and have not been seen or heard from since. “Hadar is actually a victim of a cease-fire, rather than a victim of a war,” Goldin told JI. “And since this cease-fire was brokered by the United States and by the United Nations, supported by the E.U., they should bear responsibility to rectify and to bring him back. Otherwise, what is the meaning of having a cease-fire?”
To Turtle Bay: Several years after her son’s death, Goldin found an ally in then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. Goldin connected with Haley, whose husband was an officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard, on a personal level. “My heart goes out to the Goldin family who have persevered through such hardship. The withholding of remains is one of many barbaric practices of the Hamas terrorists. We must always keep that in mind when dealing with them,” Haley told JI. In December 2017, Goldin spoke at an Arria-formula meeting of the U.N. Security Council. The gathering, named after a Venezuelan U.N. ambassador in the 1990s who invited witnesses and others involved in global conflicts to meet informally with members of the U.N. Security Council, was convened by Ukraine and provided Goldin an opportunity to share her plight.
Human rights violations: Also speaking at the 2017 meeting was Irwin Cotler, the former Canadian justice minister and founder and chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. Cotler laid out a number of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that Hamas was committing in refusing to repatriate Hadar Goldin’s remains. Among the violations were Hamas’ refusal to provide information about the soldiers’ situation and status and refusal to allow their families to provide a proper burial. “Hadar Goldin, in particular, was abducted and murdered in the course of a U.N.-mandated, E.U.-supported, U.S.-brokered humanitarian cease-fire,” Cotler told JI. “So the very abduction and murder was itself a standing violation, and a violation of U.N. principles regarding protective international peace and security.”
Bottom Line: Cotler is hopeful that Goldin will be successful amid a change in both Israeli and U.S. administrations. “There’s enormous pain and suffering, [there’s] human faces behind all this,” he said. “So we can talk about resolutions… The Goldin family suffers every day. And it is true, also, for Oron Shaul’s family, and it’s true for the civilians’. So we’re talking about human tragedies here. Families should have a right to be able to bury their sons in dignity, according to Jewish law.”
The battle raging over antisemitism and Israel in the kid’s literature world
“It’s a bunny-eat-bunny world.” This is an oft-repeated, only-sort-of-joking phrase in the world of kid’s literature — or “kidlit,” as those in the business call it — a vast category that includes novels for children, toddlers and young adults, in genres ranging from fantasy to romance to sports. Loosely translated: The adult authors who write books for kids can, and often do, tear each other apart on social media. The siloed drama of the kidlit industry was blown into the mainstream this week, after the leading membership organization for children’s book writers issued a controversial statement that appeared to walk back a June 10 condemnation of antisemitism that was released in response to an uptick in harassment and physical attacks on Jewish communities and institutions around the country. Multiple Jewish authors who write for children and young adults told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch that the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ handling of its antisemitism statement and the attacks on it that followed are a symptom of a larger problem in the industry: a focus on diversity that often does not include Jewish writers and books.
What they said: “I would like to apologize to everyone in the Palestinian community who felt unrepresented, silenced, or marginalized,” read the June 27 letter from SCBWI’s executive director, Lin Oliver. “SCBWI acknowledges the pain our actions have caused to our Palestinian and Muslim members.” Some Jewish writers said they were disappointed to see what felt to them like a reversal of SCBWI’s previously strong stance against antisemitism. “This statement was ‘all lives matter,’” one writer told JI.
Israel not included: Oliver’s apology made it appear as though SCBWI had concluded that condemning antisemitism was antithetical to condemning Islamophobia, or that antisemitism could not be addressed without also referring to politics in the Middle East. But SCBWI’s initial statement on antisemitism had not mentioned Israel. (After exchanging numerous emails with JI, senior leadership at SCBWI stopped responding without offering a comment on recent events.)
The back story: What happened in the two weeks between the two statements was more complicated than some initial news reports let on. A Palestinian American writer and activist named Razan Abdin-Adnani expressed concern that anti-Muslim hatred was not addressed by SCBWI, but in the process, SCBWI’s accounts deleted some of Abdin-Adnani’s comments on an SBCWI Facebook post and blocked her on Twitter. Several writers expressed concern that some of her comments were hostile to Israel and at times antisemitic. “It’s upsetting. Our entire team has had our stomachs in knots all week, reading the hate she is spewing about our organization, its ‘Zionist’ ties and more,” said Tzivia MacLeod, a Canadian-Israeli author who is one of the leaders of SCBWI’s Israel regional chapter.
Whisper network: “Everybody’s afraid to speak up. There’s a whisper network of Jewish authors, and the ones who have spoken up, they get a swarm of Twitter attacks,” said another author who asked to remain anonymous and has let their SCBWI membership lapse. But this writer acknowledged that the organization cannot simply be abandoned. “Really, that’s how people break in. It’s very much networking. It’s how you meet agents and editors, and how you learn the trade,” the writer explained.
A budding Senate campaign in North Carolina
Former President Donald Trump threw North Carolina’s contentious Republican Senate primary into disarray when, during last month’s state GOP convention in Greenville, he surprised the audience by announcing his “complete and total endorsement” of Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), one of three leading candidates running to succeed outgoing Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in the 2022 midterms. “It took an unpredictable race and made it positively chaotic,” Chris Cooper, a professor of political science at Western Carolina University, told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel.
Trump boost: “I had a plan to win the primary even without Trump’s very clear endorsement,” Budd, 49, told JI. “But I would say that’s a major accelerator.” A recent poll conducted by Budd’s campaign days after the endorsement suggested that the congressman was trailing by double digits behind Pat McCrory, the former North Carolina governor who announced his Senate bid in April and is widely regarded as a frontrunner with significant statewide recognition. But when voters were informed of Trump’s nod, Budd surged to the front of the pack. While updated quarterly filings from the Federal Election Commission, to be released in mid-July, will provide a clearer picture of Budd’s momentum, Budd’s senior advisor, Jonathan Felt,s told JI that low-dollar donations nearly tripled following the endorsement, “and a lot of folks who were sending us to voicemail are now calling us and requesting meetings.”
Why he’s running: The Senate hopeful, a gun store owner who represents North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, said he entered the race because of what he regards as an encroaching liberalism that poses a threat to his traditional values. “It’s not your parents’ Democrat Party,” he said. “This is a party of progressivism and cancel culture, and I think it’s very destructive to all people regardless of what party. That’s what I’m against… I want to stop socialism and the things that are destroying our country, continue American prosperity, which is part of the American way of life,” he said. “I grew up in a family of small business owners, and we lived on a family farm. I still live on that same family farm, and so the business that we had is a service business.”
Biblical bona fides: Before entering politics, Budd was a seminarian who took five semesters of Greek and four semesters of Hebrew at Dallas Theological Seminary. “We studied it as a written language, so I could sing the ‘aleph, bet’ to you if you’d like,” he said, referring to the Hebrew alphabet. The congressman, who is dyslexic, joked that the experience of reading Hebrew right to left was likely somewhat easier for him than other seminarians who did not struggle with the disorder. “When I talk with those that studied Hebrew or are Jewish and have an appreciation for the language,” he said, “they like that the dyslexic finally found the language that reads from right to left.” Budd, an evangelical Christian, has visited Israel twice, in 1998 and 2013, both biblical tours of the Jewish state. “As they say, from Dan to Beersheba,” he told JI, alluding to the biblical phrase. “From top to bottom.”
Eye on the Middle East: Budd commended Trump’s foreign policy achievements in the Middle East, including the Abraham Accords agreements between Israel and a number of Arab nations that his administration helped broker. Now, Budd believes that President Joe Biden is undoing that progress. “It just seems with the promotion of the Palestinians, it has, you know, as being hostile to Israel, we’ve just seen a lot of unforced errors in the last six months and so much chaos as a result of that,” he told JI. “We were having increasing peace in the Middle East under Trump and a devolving of peace under Biden.” Still, the congressman boasted of his strong relationship with AIPAC, which is invested in maintaining bipartisan support for Israel. “The people that come with AIPAC, they may be Democrats, they may be Republicans, but their central concern is Israel,” he said, “and so we all are allies in that regard.”
⛹️ In Transition: On Monday, Andy Jassy officially takes over as CEO of Amazon. Dave Lee examines in the Financial Times how Amazon is preparing for Jeff Bezos’s replacement. “There is hope within Amazon, according to several people familiar with its political strategy, that Jassy will replace Bezos as the public face of Amazon. The goal is to swap out the world’s most recognizable businessman, who to some is the very embodiment of capitalism’s excesses, for an understated sports fan. Jassy’s stake in Amazon is worth just over $300m, compared with the $175bn fortune of Bezos.” [FinancialTimes]
💻 Tech Trouble: For The Atlantic, Jonathan Zittrain writes how the internet has become a repository for dead links and outdated information. “People tend to overlook the decay of the modern web, when in fact these numbers are extraordinary—they represent a comprehensive breakdown in the chain of custody for facts. Libraries exist, and they still have books in them, but they aren’t stewarding a huge percentage of the information that people are linking to, including within formal, legal documents. No one is. The flexibility of the web—the very feature that makes it work, that had it eclipse CompuServe and other centrally organized networks—diffuses responsibility for this core societal function.” [TheAtlantic]
✋ Helping Hand: In an interview with Religion News Service reprinted by The Washington Post, Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, founder of The Shul of Bal Harbour, near Surfside, Fla., spoke about the efforts he and his staff are making in providing aid, both spiritual and material, to the victims’ families and first responders in the wake of the Champlain Towers collapse. “It’s been 24/7 of having to deal with a multitude of issues. I got a triage of tragedies. From one perspective, life is lost, which is the ultimate tragedy. From another perspective, you don’t know 100%, so there’s a little bit of hope. There are the raw emotions of people living in a bizarre state of twilight….No Jew is left behind. Every Jew is critical and important. Biologically and conceptually we are family. There’s a large non-Jewish community here and we have incredible relationships with them, too. The Shul is like a lighthouse for the community.” [WashPost]
Hiring: The Alexander Hamilton Society is looking to hire a Director of Communications and Marketing.
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Around the Web
🥶 Eating Own: Progressive activists in Congress are reportedly souring on Bernie Sanders and are upset with Sanders’s unwillingness to “raise hell” now that Biden is in the White House.
☢️ Nuclear Fallout: Iran is restricting IAEA access to its main nuclear site at Natanz, citing security concerns after an Israeli alleged breach in April.
👨 New Name: The Iranian supreme leader tapped hardliner Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei to replace the newly elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi as head of Iran’s judiciary.
➡️ Right Turn: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has signaled his government’s approach to contentious issues such as settlements with this week’s handling of the Evyatar settlement.
🏘️ Diverse Coalition: Bedouin MK Saeed Alkharumi is pushing for Israeli recognition of Bedouin neighborhoods and hopes to stop demolitions of Bedouin towns.
💉 Re-Gifting: A deal between Israel and the U.K. to swap one million Pfizer shots in Israel set to expire in July in exchange for future shots from the U.K. has hit a snag over “technical issues.”
🤝 Warm Welcome: Israel warmly received German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as the two countries cooperate in combating rising antisemitism.
⏬ Falling Grades: A newly released State Department report focusing on global efforts to combat human trafficking downgraded Israel from Tier 1 to Tier 2 for backsliding in its anti-trafficking efforts. The move comes with no consequences.
⛔ No Go: The European Court of Human Rights tossed out a criminal complaint by Yasser Arafat’s widow and daughter to investigate the former PLO chairman’s death as a murder.
🏦 Across the Pond: Investment banking brothers Michael and Yoel Zaoui have founded Odyssey Acquisitions, a SPAC focused on Europe’s healthcare, technology and telecommunications sectors.
🐦 Hobbyist: In an appearance on The New York Times’ “Sway” podcast, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain explained his prolific Twitter habits to host Kara Swisher, saying, “Everyone needs a hobby. I guess that’s my hobby.”
⚖️ Oyez, Oyez: In its final opinion of the term, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of groups seeking to overturn a California law requiring nonprofits to provide the state a list of their largest donors.
🙇♂️ I’m Sorry: Washington State Rep. Jim Walsh (R) apologized for wearing a yellow star to a vaccine rally and equating vaccination drives to Jews’ treatment during the Holocaust, saying he “went too far.”
📱 Bad Filter: Facebook said an Instagram filter that appeared to show a swastika did not violate its terms and conditions.
📺 Small Screen: Apple has ordered a new limited series by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage based on “City on Fire” a crime drama set in New York, by Garth Risk Hallberg.
🎙 Podcast Playback: Former HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler joined Yonit Levy and Jonathan Freedland’s podcast “Unholy: Two Jews on the News” to discuss the Israeli television industry.
Pic of the Day
Michael Cernea, 89, an American Jew born in Romania, is pictured visiting the monument of the victims of the Lasi Pogrom at the Jewish cemetery in the city of Lasi, Romania, on June 29, 2021. Cernea was 9 when he witnessed the horrors of the Iasi pogrom and he is one of the very few survivors. Romania commemorates the 80th anniversary of the “Iasi pogrom” initiated by the Romanian governmental forces under Marshal Ion Antonescu in the city of Lasi, northeastern Romania, against its Jewish community. According to Romanian authorities, around 15,000 Romanian Jews were massacred in the pogrom, and many more Jews were deported.
Wine of the Week
JI’s guest wine columnist Kenneth Friedman reviews the Herzog, Special Reserve, Edna Valley, Pinot Noir, 2019:
“Outside the more famous Napa and Sonoma regions in California lies the gorgeous gem Central Coast American Viticultural Area of Edna Valley.”Surrounded by volcanic mountains with rich, oceanic clay soil, the cool Edna Valley AVA boasts one of California’s longest growing seasons, allowing for true varietal character of the notoriously fickle Pinot Noir grape. Pinot Noir, the classic grape of Burgundy, demands a suitable environment to display its brilliance, and Herzog Wine Cellars have captured this fleeting greatness in this wonderful offering. Not since 2006 has Herzog seen fit to produce a Special Reserve Edna Valley Pinot, and thus, great Pinot indeed comes to those who wait.”Dark ruby in the glass, clear, with a medium-intense nose of bright red fruit, spice, and berry cobbler. On the palate, medium-bodied with medium-plus acidity and medium, silky tannins, resulting in a beautifully balanced glass. More red fruit and spice with some loamy earth and a satisfyingly long finish. Herzog has been knocking it out of the park recently with its Special Reserve line. Stock up on this California treasure before another 15 years pass.”
Civil rights attorney known for many high-profile cases, Gloria Allred (born Gloria Rachel Bloom) turns 80 on Saturday…
FRIDAY: Former president of the Canadian Jewish Congress and professor at York University (Toronto) specializing in the history of the Jews in Canada, Irving Abella turns 81… Director of Hebrew Studies (Emerita) at HUC-JIR, Rivka Dori turns 76… Nobel laureate in Medicine in 2004, he is a professor at Columbia University and a molecular biologist, Richard Axel turns 75… Co-creator of the “Seinfeld” television series and star and creator of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry David turns 74… Swedish author and screenwriter, she wrote a novel about Jewish children who escaped the Holocaust, Annika Thor turns 71… Former CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, she also served as a State Department special envoy on antisemitism, Hannah Rosenthal turns 70… Montclair, New Jersey based philanthropic consultant, Aaron Issar Back, Ph.D. turns 65… Israeli Druze politician who served as a member of the Knesset for the Kulanu and Kadima parties, Akram Hasson turns 62… Member of the Knesset for the United Torah Judaism alliance, Ya’akov Asher turns 56… Chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, Peter E. Baker turns 54… Teacher at North Shore School District 112 in Highland Park, Illinois, Stephanie Rubin turns 51… Co-founder and rosh yeshiva at Mechon Hadar in Manhattan, Shai Held, Ph.D. turns 50… Health editor for Thomson Reuters, Michele Gershberg turns 48… Motivational speaker, media personality and CEO at The Ayven Group, Charlie Harary turns 44… Author on a variety of Jewish topics, Elisa Albert turns 43… Israeli journalist, TV anchor and popular lecturer, Sivan Rahav-Meir turns 40… Actress, singer and producer, Ashley Tisdale turns 36… Actress and internet personality, Barbara Dunkelman turns 32…
SATURDAY: Winner of the Israel Prize in 1998, professor of mathematics at both Hebrew U and Rutgers, Saharon Shelah turns 76… Executive director of the Jewish Education Committee of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County (Boca Raton), Leon Weissberg turns 75… Psychologist and board member of many non-profit organizations, Dr. Gail “Giti” Bendheim turns 73… Fellows manager in the northeast region at AIPAC, Suzanne Greene… Pini Herman…
SUNDAY: Trial and appellate lawyer at Kreindler & Kreindler LLP where he has represented plaintiffs in commercial aviation accidents and other mass torts, Marc S. Moller turns 82… Political commentator and former television host, Geraldo Rivera turns 78… Philanthropist and former Wall Street junk bond titan, now chairman of the Milken Institute, Michael Milken turns 75… Activist and writer, Paul Rogat Loeb turns 69… News editor for The Media Line, Marcy Oster turns 54… U.S. circuit judge of the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, David Ryan Stras turns 47… Heiress and businesswoman, Jane Lauder Warsh turns 48… Partner at ICONYC labs, Eyal Bino turns 46… Cardiothoracic ICU nurse at N.Y.U. Langone Health in New York, profiled in The New York Times in 2020 for his religious work with dying coronavirus patients, Yaakov Shereshevsky turns 36…