👋 Good Tuesday morning!
Two rockets were fired from Lebanon last night, leading to sirens across Northern Israel. The IDF confirmed one rocket was intercepted and the other landed in an open area.
Vermont-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, announced in a tweet yesterday that it will cease selling its products in West Bank settlements and seek to change its licensing agreement with a factory in Southern Israel.
In a statement, the company wrote, “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” but added that the ice cream would still be sold in Israel.
According to an NBC News report, Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever, which acquired the ice cream company in 2000, added the sentence at the end of the statement saying that “Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement.” Ben & Jerry’s board chair Anuradha Mittal told NBC that her board — which maintains discretion over company values and policy — wanted to release a statement that made no reference to continued sales in Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke to the head of Unilever on Tuesday, calling the move a “clearly anti-Israel step.” Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan tweeted that he reached out to the governors of the 35 states that have recently enacted anti-BDS laws, calling on them to take action against the company.
This isn’t the first time ice cream and Jewish politics have overlapped. Häagen-Daz — now owned by General Mills — was founded in the Bronx by Ruben and Rose Mattus who, according to The Washington Post, were financial supporters at one point of Meir Kahane. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), profiled in Jewish Insider in 2019, was an early investor in Josh Hochschuler’s ice cream startup Talenti, which is now also owned by Unilever.
President Joe Biden met with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House yesterday. The White House would not say whether the two discussed Ahlam Tamimi, the Jordanian woman convicted for her role in the 2001 Sbarro suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed two Americans, but a State Department spokesperson confirmed that she remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. “The United States continues to seek her extradition and will continue to work to ensure she faces justice,” the spokesperson told Jewish Insider.
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), a member of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, told Jewish Insider she was “not that familiar” with some of Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) picks for the committee — announced yesterday — but said “my hope is that we can do a serious investigation… and leave partisanship at the door.”
Pressed on whether she expected some of the picks known for high-profile partisan clashes, like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), to change their behavior on this committee, Luria quipped, “Is that a rhetorical question?”
She then said, “Myself and the other members that were appointed by the speaker… are taking this very seriously,” adding, “I can’t speak for any other members. Obviously they haven’t been finally approved yet.”
Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) told reporters that his committee will hold a public hearing with Biden administration officials about repealing the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force before scheduling a committee vote on the issue.
The committee held a classified hearing on the issue last week but said “some members of the committee would like… to have the opportunity to [ask] the question in public, get the administration on the record in public about some of their concerns,” regarding counterterrorism and other issues.
road to washington
Daniel Hernandez wants to be the next pro-Israel progressive in Congress
As a vocal supporter of Israel in Arizona’s House of Representatives, Daniel Hernandez, a 31-year-old Tucson lawmaker now running for Congress, says he has increasingly found himself at odds with Democratic colleagues over America’s Middle East policy. “I’ve been taken to task by folks who disagree with me,” Hernandez said in a recent interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. “They don’t think that this is an important issue to be working on when you’re a state legislator.”
Pushing back: Hernandez remains uncowed, even as he recognizes that he may be carving out something of a lonely path on the left. “There are people who say you can’t be a progressive and support Israel,” Hernandez scoffed. “I push back on that because I’ve been doing it for a decade.” In his bid to represent Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, Hernandez is hoping that he can bring those values to the federal level.
Personal dimension: “This is a district that’s important personally,” said Hernandez, who is running for the seat occupied by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) a decade ago. As a college-age intern in the congresswoman’s local legislative office, Hernandez was credited with saving Giffords’s life when she was shot in the head by a gunman at a meet-and-greet outside Tucson in 2011.
Pro-Israel favorite: Just two months into his campaign, Hernandez is already emerging as the pro-Israel favorite in the race. Earlier this month, Pro-Israel America announced its support for Hernandez, and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) told JI that he is backing Hernandez in the primary as well. “I see myself in Daniel: a pro-Israel progressive who has been drawn to public service by the power of his own lived experience,” Torres explained to JI on Monday. “As a survivor of gun violence, he will have a uniquely powerful voice on one of the greatest crises affecting our nation.”
Mutual admiration: “We have a very similar profile as two openly gay Latinos who are progressive and still care deeply about that U.S.-Israel relationship,” Hernandez said of his sense of connection with Torres. “He’s definitely a model of somebody that I admire and look up to. It’s difficult and it can be tricky, because you’ll have colleagues who say you can’t be this if you support that, and that’s not the reality. Progressives, by nature, are people who care about freedoms, whether it’s LGBTQ freedom, whether it’s women’s rights. These are issues that I care about a lot.”
evening the field
Documenting an Olympic battle for equal pay
Eighty-nine cents on the dollar. That stark figure — representing what members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team earn relative to the men’s team, and a reminder of the gender bias that persists, even for World Cup champions — lit a creative fire under producer Abby Greensfelder. The result is a new documentary that is at once a sports story and a political manifesto. “I hope that people watch this and are pulled in and feel entertained, both by the movie but also by the soccer, by their athleticism and by their power,” Greensfelder told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch.
Untold stories: “LFG,” the acronym of the team’s unofficial rallying cry, “Let’s F***ing Go,”tells the story of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s quest for pay equity amid a long-running legal battle with the team members’ employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation. The top-ranked USWNT takes the field against Sweden tomorrow for its first 2021 Summer Olympics match. Greensfelder, the film’s producer, is the founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios, a production company focused on telling women’s stories. “I felt like there was a dearth of places where women’s stories were being told,” Greensfelder said. “There were lots of areas, sports being one of them. I think politics is one [and] history, science, exploration.”
Shared passion: “LFG” is Everywoman Studios’s first feature documentary, and the film is somewhat of a passion project for Greensfelder, who is known for shows including “Say Yes to the Dress”and “MythBusters.” Decades ago, Greensfelder played travel soccer as a kid, Now, she is an avid Premier League fan and her two daughters play soccer, too — and her husband, The Atlantic staff writer Franklin Foer, is the author of a popular 2004 book about the sport.
Groundhog Day: The timing of the film’s release was meant to coincide with the Summer Games — last year’s Summer Games, which were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Greensfelder hoped to end the movie with the USWNT triumphant, both on the field and in the courtroom. Neither has happened yet. “This film is coming out just as they’re going into the Olympics, and here they are, it’s like Groundhog Day,” Greensfelder said. “They still haven’t settled their case. They still haven’t won their case. And here they are, again, going to prove their worth on the field.”
Local angle: Greensfelder was born in Washington, D.C., and lived there throughout her career, often traveling to New York and Los Angeles — cities that are better known for filmmaking than the nation’s capital. But for Everywoman Studios, being situated in Washington has been an asset. “I do think being an impact content company as we are, D.C. is a very interesting place to be because this is where issues meet policy and move progress,” she noted.
The Naval officer who found her rabbinic legs at sea
The Navy’s recruiting poster proclaims, “Join the Navy and See the World.” Kanaan Goldstein joined and the native of Norman, Okla., not only spent six years seeing the world, she found her calling. “I had beautiful relationships, saw the world, met people from all different walks of life and learned things about myself,” Goldstein, 29, told Stewart Ain for Jewish Insider. “I decided I wanted to become a Jewish lay leader and to lead services on the ship.”
Connecting at sea: When at sea, Goldstein would hold weekly Shabbat services onboard. But there was one problem – there was only one other Jewish sailor on her ship. The service morphed into Torah study, but quickly became a safe space for others on the ship to come and speak with her about whatever was on their minds. There was no other space for those kinds of discussions on the ship. “We had prayer books, but this became a place for human connection,” said Goldstein. “And it was through this thing we created that I was feeling extremely fulfilled. People would come to me during the week and say, ‘I need to talk to you about something.’ I was connecting with them.”
Next step: After completing her six-year Naval tour, during which she served as the fire control technician responsible for the operation and maintenance of advanced electronic equipment dealing with guided missile systems and underwater weapons, she enrolled in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pa. Because of the pandemic, all classes last year were held virtually; she plans to attend in person this year. Earlier this month, Goldstein was named a 2021 Tillman Scholar, the first rabbinical student to receive the prestigious honor since the scholarship was founded in 2008. She is one of 60 veterans, U.S. service members and military spouses named this year.
Backstory: Goldstein entered the Navy with her parents’ permission at the age of 17. She had decided to enlist a year earlier after meeting with a Naval recruiter who came to her high school. “He gave me a beautiful speech about having control of your life, discipline and great adventures,” Goldstein said. ”I began going to meetings of the delayed-entry program and hanging out at the office. My grandfather and an uncle had both served in the Navy, and I saw the Navy as a place where I would have independence. In the Navy I would do my own thing.”
By the numbers: Goldstein plans to graduate in 2025. She aspires to “be in the Navy Reserves as a Naval chaplain, and to work as a chaplain during the week with a police department, hospital or any place that might need a chaplain.” There are now 22 Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis serving as reservist chaplains in the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force who are accredited through the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, according to Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz, its director of operations. “Their calling as rabbis is to serve beyond just Jews,” she said. “They want to serve Americans.”
💉 Data Dump: The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake looks at Israel’s catch-22 as the country pioneering data on COVID-19 vaccinations at a time of increased vaccine hesitancy and misconstrued data. “Israel dropped from a high of around 10,000 new daily cases in January to a seven-day average of as low as 10 last month. It began logging some days with zero deaths in April, and has recorded about 100 confirmed deaths in the last three months. If there is one country that reinforced the efficacy of the vaccines, it became Israel. And if there was one country that epitomized the sloppiness of the anti-vaccine movement, it, too, was Israel.” [WashPost]
✝️ Next Gen: A changing of the guard in both Israel and the U.S. may herald in a new era for relations between Christian Zionists and the Jewish state, reports Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch. The ousters of former President Donald Trump and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came “at a time when evangelical Christians had reached the zenith of political power in Washington, shaping U.S. policy on human rights, abortion, reproductive health care, LGBT rights, and increasingly Israel, where they helped build political support for Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It also coincides with a growing generational split in the evangelical church, with an increasing proportion of younger evangelicals viewing Israel more critically than their elders.” [ForeignPolicy]
⚾ Double Header: In the Wall Street Journal, Andrew Beaton spotlights Eric Brodkowitz, the Yale graduate who joined the Israeli national baseball team for a longshot bid at the Olympics while keeping his day job as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. “He would have to become an Israeli citizen. He would have to travel to countries like Bulgaria and Lithuania just so the team could qualify for the chance to qualify for the Olympics. He would have to move to Idaho and pitch for an independent-league team to stay in shape. And there was no guarantee that he would make the team even if Israel did somehow make the Olympics.” [WSJ]
Around the Web
🛑 Stop Sign: Twelve senators wrote a letter to Polish President Andrzej Duda urging him to push for the withdrawal of a bill limiting Holocaust restitution clams or veto it if it passes Poland’s senate.
🤝 Baby Steps: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and discussed a mutual goal of taking trust-building steps, the first high-level contact between the new government and the PA.
◀️ Walk Back: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett clarified that Jewish worship at the Temple Mount is still forbidden, after comments made over the weekend suggesting Israel would protect “freedom of worship” at the holy site.
♻️ Green Tax: Israel introduced a plan to drastically increase tax rates on disposable plastic, in a bid to cut use of the environmentally unsustainable material.
📞 Call Time: Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke with Iranian dissident journalist Masih Alinejad, the target of a kidnapping plot intercepted by the FBI.
⛔ Prisoners’ Dilemma: Iran insisted that it agreed to a prisoner exchange with the U.S., after American officials denied that such an arrangement had been agreed to.
🛢️ Vienna Talks: The U.S. is considering sanctioning Iranian oil sales to China in a bid to pressure Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal.
👩 New Gig: Tamara Cofman Wittes was nominated to the post of assistant administrator for the Middle East at USAID.
🪓 You’re Fired: Google fired its developer relations vice president after he posted a 10,000-word manifesto describing his past antisemitism.
💻 High School Hacker: A former high school student in Connecticut was charged with computer crimes after hacking his former school’s computer database and changing two seniors’ yearbook quotes to a Hitler quote (which he misattributed to George Floyd) and a quote from one of the Boston Marathon bombers.
🖥️ Good Connection: Carlyle is reportedly planning to acquire LiveU, the Israel-based startup that provides streaming technology, for $400 million.
💽 Tech Reckoning: In Calcalist, Hagar Ravet argues that one of Israel’s strengths — its thriving tech and innovation scene — has also provided an avenue for less-savory business practices, and that the Israeli tech world may be approaching “the point in which the damage caused to Israel’s image outweighs the benefits produced by this industry.”
💸 Pivot Purchase: Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Tontine will change strategy in its efforts to acquire a stake in Universal Music amid pushback from the S.E.C.
🎞️ Opening Night: “How It Ends,” a pandemic-era comedy from Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, hits theaters today.
🥫 Helping Hand: Yad Ezra, the only kosher food pantry in Michigan, has expanded its mission and brought on a new executive director in its efforts to provide more support to the communities it serves.
🍚 On the Menu: Husband-and-wife pair John and Katianna Hong are attempting to fuse Korean cuisine with the feel of a Jewish deli in Los Angeles with Yangban Society, a restaurant and market set to open in September.
🥘 Knish Nosh: A newly opened knishery in Portland, Maine, with flavors like “the everything” and the eponymous “BenReuben,” hopes to bring “new life to old family recipes.”
Pic of the Day
Ahead of its trip to Japan for the Olympics, Israel’s national baseball team played an exhibition game against the Cal Ripken League All Stars in Aberdeen, Md., last night in front of 2,069 fans at Ripken Stadium. From a large kosher tailgate to mincha services and tefillin courtesy of Chabad, the gathering featured plenty of Jewish moments.
We collected some of the best comments overheard at the game:
1. “Is that a radar gun?” asked one fan behind home plate. “No it’s a space laser,” answered his friend.
2. “Really digging the Jimmy’s Crab Cakes banner in center field”
3. “What ice cream do you sell that’s not Ben and Jerry’s?”
4. “You paid $40 for that yarmulke?!”
The team has a final exhibition game scheduled this Wednesday at Long Island’s Bethpage Stadium before flying to Tokyo.
Retired after 30 years in the U.S. Senate (D-MD) following 10 years in the House of Representatives, Barbara Mikulski turns 85…
President of the National Endowment for Democracy since its 1984 founding, Carl Gershman turns 78… Long-time Israeli diplomat, he served as a consul to Hong Kong and ambassador to Germany, Yoram Ben-Zeev turns 77… Former commissioner on the Civil Rights Commission, assistant secretary of HUD in the Clinton administration, presently vice chair of the Bank of San Francisco, Roberta Achtenberg turns 71… U.S. District Court judge in Massachusetts, Judge Patti B. Saris turns 70… New York Times columnist, author and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Thomas Loren Friedman turns 68… Molecular geneticist at NYC-based Rockefeller University and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Jeffrey M. Friedman turns 67… Broadcast and digital media executive, based in Baku, Azerbaijan, Farrell Meisel turns 66… Professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Barbara Risman turns 65… Past president of the Women’s Department at the Jewish Federation of Detroit, Marcie Hermelin Orley turns 62… Los Angeles-based wardrobe consultant, Linleigh Ayn Richker turns 60… Member of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party, Nira Shpak turns 55… Member of the Knesset for the United Torah Judaism party, Yitzhak Ze’ev Pindros turns 50…
Attorney Jack Achiezer Guggenheim turns 49… Political director of CNN, David Marc Chalian turns 48… Co-author of Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame, he is a staff writer at The Atlantic and a fellow at the New America Foundation, Franklin Foer turns 47… Midwest regional director at AIPAC, David Fox turns 45… Singer who burst on the scene as a finalist on the fifth season of “American Idol,” Efraym Elliott Yamin turns 43… Group leader at lobbyist Capalino+Company, Fred Kreizman turns 43… Managing partner of the communications and branding firm of Main & Rose, Beth Doane turns 38… Co-founder and co-executive director of the progressive Indivisible movement, Ezra Levin turns 36… Third baseman for Team Israel, Ty Kelly turns 33… Comedian and featured player on “Saturday Night Live,” Chloe Fineman turns 33… Software engineer at Home Chef, Ashley Abramowicz Gibbs turns 32… Anesthesiologist at UCLA, Sheila Ganjian Navi turns 31… Special assistant in HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Etan Raskas turns 29… VP at BlackRock in San Francisco, Jonathan Tamir Alden turns 29… Actor and comedian, Joey Bragg turns 25… Goldie Fields…