👋 Good Wednesday morning!
Congrats to the Milwaukee Bucks and co-owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens on winning the NBA Finals last night, the club’s first title in 50 years. They beat Robert Sarver’s Phoenix Suns in six games.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II will meet with Senate lawmakers on Capitol Hill today and is likely to face questions about the extradition of Ahlam Tamimi, a conspirator in the 2001 Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. citizens. The Jordanian monarch will be on the Hill on Thursday to meet with House members.
In a back-and-forth at the State Department on Tuesday, the AP’s Matt Lee pressed State Department spokesperson Ned Price on the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to no longer sell its products in the West Bank. Price said he wasn’t going to weigh in on the decisions of a private company, but reiterated the administration’s opposition to the BDS movement, saying that it “unfairly singles out Israel. We will, consistent with the First Amendment rights of the American people, always work to be a strong partner to Israel and work with Israel to counter efforts to delegitimize it around the world, just as we work with our partner Israel to further its economic prosperity.” More on the Ben & Jerry’s brouhaha below.
Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT)introduced a bill that would significantly roll back presidential national security powers, requiring strict congressional oversight over foreign military action, arms sales and national emergency declarations.
The senators argue that the bill constitutes a restoration of powers granted to Congress in the Constitution that have been eroded over several decades. “This shift in national security power to the president has resulted in endless wars, reckless levels of arms sales and national emergencies that seem to have no termination,” Murphy said at a news conference.
Israel would be exempt from new regulations proposed in the bill requiring affirmative congressional approval for nearly all foreign arms sales, but it does give Congress an additional five days to pass resolutions blocking arms sales to Israel and other top allies.
Nonprofit Security Grant Program awards to Jewish communities grew 92% compared to last year, according to the Jewish Federations of North America, providing around $115 million total. That’s roughly on pace with the total grant fund’s growth — it doubled from $90 to $180 million this year.
Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, told JI that the fact that the full $180 million fund will be expended and some organizations that applied did not receive grants highlights the need for increased funding again this year. “I’m sure [the amount of grants that were applied for] will have greatly exceeded the $180 million that was available,” he said, “so we will be working with our allies in Congress to have NSGP funded at a higher level in FY22.”
Likud’s Nir Barkat calls Bennett-Lapid coaltion ‘interim’ government
Israeli MK Nir Barkat, a member of the Likud party with aspirations for party leadership, referred to Israel’s new coalition government as an ineffectual “interim government” in an interview with Jewish Insider on Tuesday.
Put down: “They have no vision. They have no ideology. They have a mutual veto between the left and the right,” Barkat, the former mayor of Jerusalem, said of the new Naftali Bennett-led government. “And they agree to only do things that are not controversial. Therefore they can’t really make any bold moves. They start legislation and never finish a lot of it,” Barkat explained. “Nobody expects anything from them.”
On the Hill: The former Jerusalem mayor spoke to JI while visiting Capitol Hill on Tuesday to push back on Biden administration efforts to reopen the shuttered East Jerusalem consulate, which previously functioned as a hub for U.S.-Palestinian relations. Barkat met with eight lawmakers — split between parties — on Monday and Tuesday to discuss what he said was Israeli opposition to the consulate. Israeli opponents argue that a consulate serving Palestinians in Jerusalem would undermine the goal of a united Jerusalem as the undisputed capital of Israel. Barkat did not meet with any of the nine Democratic senators who wrote a letter to President Joe Biden in support of reopening the consulate.
Fighting back: “I’ve been conveying my views and the understanding of the Israeli public — 75% of the public in Israel does not support such a move,” Barkat said, citing a poll that showed that 72% of Israelis oppose a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians. U.S. lawmakers “understand that this is something that the Israeli public is strongly against” he added. “It’s a move you don’t want to make without thinking. And they understand that this is a process that America respects, as a democracy.”
In progress: In addition to his diplomatic efforts in the U.S., Barkat is pursuing legislation in the Knesset to block any foreign government from opening a mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem. “It’s similar to if there’s a lawsuit against something, you just wait for the courts to decide. You don’t want to sneak a decision knowing that there’s a legal procedure… happening in Israel,” Barkat said.
In Canada, a Jewish party leader is left out of a government conference on antisemitism
A national summit on antisemitism is scheduled to be hosted by the Canadian government today in a virtual gathering whose attendees will include a diverse array of activists, academics, political leaders and Cabinet members. But on Tuesday, Green Party leader Annamie Paul disclosed on social media that she had not yet received an invitation with less than a day remaining until the virtual summit — a curious omission given that Paul is the first Jewish woman to helm a federal party in Canada as well as the first Black party leader in Canadian history. “I certainly would rank high on the list of Jewish people in Canada who receive regular antisemitic attacks,” the 48-year-old lawyer and party leader told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. “Being able to share my experience and being able to hear from me about what some of the solutions I think might exist based on my experience, my lived experience, I think, would be beneficial to everyone.”
Gov POV: Aidan Strickland, a spokesperson for the minister’s office of diversity, inclusion and youth, emphasized in an email to JI on Tuesday night that the Canadian government “understands that the responsibility to combat antisemitism and Islamophobia is a non-partisan issue.” Strickland said that invitations had been sent to an array of individuals. “The Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat has been working quickly and diligently to ensure anybody who wants to be there, can be. At this time, all four leaders of the opposition have been invited to participate as observers, to ensure the summit remains a space where community members can express their opinions and ideas.” Strickland did not respond to a follow-up email seeking information on when an invite had been extended to Paul and whether it had been issued after her recent Twitter statement.
Party problems: The Green Party leader has also found herself increasingly alienated by members of her own party following the recent flareup in the Middle East. During the conflict in Israel and Gaza this past May, Paul issued an evenhanded statement, urging “restraint” and calling “on those in positions of authority to do all in their power to prevent further injury or loss of life.” But to Jenica Atwin, then a Green Party MP in New Brunswick, Paul’s message did not go far enough in condemning Israel’s “unthinkable air strikes in Gaza,” as she wrote in a since-deleted Twitter message defiantly rebuking the party leader. “End Apartheid!” Atwin declared at the end of her comment. Last month, Atwin broke with her party and joined the Liberal caucus, citing tensions resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a motivating factor, and subsequently reducing the Green Party’s already slim representation in the House of Commons to just two seats.
And on Thursday: The Canadian government will also hold a national summit on Islamophobia on Thursday, to which Paul hasn’t been invited, either. “There just seems to be a feeling that this sort of thing can be done without any consequences at all, and also that my contribution does not have sufficient value to be worth including me,” she asserted. “That is a very frustrating thing. It is something that has happened more than once. I mean, this is just the latest example of that.”
In ice cream wars, focus shifts to state anti-BDS laws
Following Ben & Jerry’s announcement on Monday that the ice cream company will cease sales of its products in what it called the “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” states that have enacted legislation opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel are being urged by Jewish community leaders and Israeli officials to enforce the laws, some for the first time, reports Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss.
Blame game: Most states are unlikely to have contracts with Ben & Jerry’s, but some do with Unilever, which acquired the Vermont-based ice cream company in 2000. An NBC News report revealed that Unilever had pushed out the Monday statement about the halting of sales without sign-off from Ben & Jerry’s board, members of which opposed including a sentence that the company would continue to sell its product in Israel. “Any chance that Unilever had to walk away from this and put it on Ben & Jerry’s and say, ‘Oh, well, Ben and Jerry’s, their board makes these social impact decisions,’ they kind of shot themselves in the foot,” said one person familiar with statewide efforts to push anti-BDS legislation. “It’s now very clear that Unilever has the ultimate say.”
On the horizon: While many states do not publicly list the companies associated with their pension funds, an individual with knowledge of the state-by-state legislation confirmed that Texas includes Unilever in its pension portfolio. Unilever’s subsidiaries sell a range of products including food, cleaning products and personal care items. “I’m sure there’s lots of soap, dishwashing detergent and Lipton iced tea and other products in the Unilever umbrella, that are purchased by state prisons, state hospitals, state universities and other state entities that would very much be called into question as the boycott takes hold,” William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told JI.
Hill hullabaloo: Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) tweeted in support of Ben & Jerry’s, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) liked Bush’s tweet. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who recently announced his candidacy for governor, called on Albany to “follow the 2016 Executive Order that prohibits state agencies from conducting business with institutions or companies that promote BDS.” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told JI on Tuesday afternoon that she’d considered tweeting about the issue, but ultimately held off because “at the end of the day, it’s ice cream,” she said. “If [Ben & Jerry’s is] going to have a boycott over [oppressive] policy, they have a lot more countries to go,” Wasserman Schultz said. “The fact that they seem to have started with Israel, and the West Bank and Gaza, just shows you that it’s not a well thought-out policy. It’s irresponsible. And it’s not grounded in morality.”
Bonus: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that he “will not be eating any more Cherry Garcia for a while” — referring to one of the brand’s best-known flavors — and called the decision “sad.” He continued, “BDS is a movement that will undermine peace in the Mideast. It’s as simple as that. You cannot have peace if you undermine the economic reality and create divisions. I just believe that’s absolutely the wrong approach and Ben and Jerry shouldn’t be doing that.”
AIEF delays August House trips to Israel due to COVID
The AIPAC-affiliated American Israel Education Foundation has delayed two planned August trips — one for first-term House Republicans and one for members of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees — due to concerns about the resurgent COVID-19 Delta variant, Jewish Insider has learned.
Change of plans: The group of GOP freshmen will now travel in February 2022, an individual familiar with the plans told JI. The AIEF trip for freshman Democrats, originally scheduled for next February, is expected to go on as planned. The Armed Services and Homeland Security trip has not yet been rescheduled.
On the rise: “Given Israel’s increased concern over the Delta variant and the likelihood of further travel restrictions, we decided it was not possible to offer Members of Congress a comprehensive and informative program in the midst of the current challenges,” AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittmann said. “Enthusiasm for traveling to Israel remains high among these members of Congress, and we look forward to them visiting Israel with AIEF.”
On the roster: Eleven House Republicans had confirmed to JI in recent weeks that they planned to join the August trip, and several others told JI they were unable to attend due to scheduling issues in August. This is the second major AIPAC event in recent weeks to be affected by COVID— last week the organization canceled its 2022 Washington, D.C., policy conference.
🤹🏽 Tipping Point: Writing in The Washington Post, Kate Woodsome argues that the Biden administration is nearing a “tipping point” as it attempts to negotiate both a nuclear deal and the release of hostages with Iran. “While hostage negotiations are separate from the nuclear talks, a deal on one is unlikely without the other. Hostages’ families had hoped for good news before Iran’s Aug. 5 inauguration of a new ultraconservative president with limited experience overseas. But after six rounds, the talks are paused indefinitely, and Iran is steadily approaching what [U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Rob] Malley calls the ‘tipping point,’ where its nuclear know-how will make it impossible to return to the terms brokered in 2015.” [WashPost]
🍋 Remembering Lemonade Man: The Washington Post’s Scott Allen profiles Bruce Rosenberg, a beer vendor at Nationals Park, whose older brother, Marc, a famed lemonade vendor in Baltimore’s Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium “where he delighted fans with his crazed calls of lem-lem-lem-LEMONADE and a zestful dance routine that accompanied every 20-ounce cup he sold,” died six weeks ago from stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After Marc got sick, Bruce became the primary caretaker for his brother, skipping last year’s baseball season. The Orioles will honor Marc at Friday’s game against the Nationals, giving Bruce 50 tickets to distribute to vendors and other staff. “On a rare day off for Bruce, the celebration will be a testament to the impression his brother left on his co-workers and customers.” [WashPost]
Around the Web
📱 Contact List: A number of heads of state, including French President Emmanuel Macron, were listed on a leaked document reportedly showing phone numbers of world leaders targeted by Pegasus spyware, a sophisticated hacking software licensed to foreign governments by the Israeli firm NSO.
🚨 Warning: Former head of the IDF Northern Command warned that unusual occurrences on the Lebanon-Israel border, like Tuesday morning’s rocket fire, “almost always [happen] before a major eruption.”
🙇♂️ Faux Pas: Fashion podcaster Recho Omondi apologized after facing accusations of antisemitism for calling fashion blogger Leandra Medine Cohen a “Jewish American Princess” and making other generalizations about Jewish people two weeks ago.
👀 20/20 Hindsight: Radio host Charlamagne Tha God sought to explain his year-old antisemitic statements, saying he was “culturally clueless to the Jewish culture.”
🕵️ Secret Agent Man?: Businessman and Trump ally Thomas Barrack was arrested and charged with obstructing justice, making false statements and violating foreign lobbying laws after allegedly conspiring with two others to act as agents of the UAE between 2016 and 2018.
🙋♂️ Attack Aftermath: ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in a busy market in the Iraqi capital on Monday that left 30 dead and 50 wounded.
🚘 I’m Walking Here: Israeli self-driving software developer Mobileye announced on Tuesday that it has begun testing its camera-only self-driving cars on the ultra-challenging streets of New York City.
📷 Picture Perfect: An Orthodox feminist organization is building a picture bank of stock photos of religious women, who are traditionally not represented in advertisements, media and other public avenues.
⚖️ Guilty: Former nursing student John Earnest pled guilty to all charges in relation to his 2019 shooting rampage at the Chabad of Poway that left one dead and three others wounded, including the congregation’s rabbi.
🧳 Go West: Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was extradited from New York to California on Tuesday to face additional charges of sexual assault and rape.
🧭 Go East: The 70th Miss Universe competition will be held in the Israeli resort town Eilat in December, organizers announced.
🎬 Magic Media: Adam Rosenberg, former co-president of MGM, is joining Oscar-winning actor Rodney Rothman to debut a new media company, Modern Magic, which will focus on “event entertainment.”
🖼️ New Exhibit: An exhibition at the Illinois Holocaust Museum explores the stories of the 20,000 Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during the Holocaust.
📽️ Film Future: Debra Granik is set to direct “Like No Other,” a film based on a contemporary “West Side Story” theme that captures the story of a Hasidic girl and a secular boy who fall in love.
🕯️ Remembering: Founder of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers Law School and general counsel to the ACLU Frank Askin died at 89. Ruth Pearl, mother of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, died on Tuesday, according to a Twitter post by her husband, Judea Pearl.
Pic of the Day
Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Bryan Glazer and all-time great quarterback Tom Brady present President Joe Biden with a jersey during the team’s visit to the White House on Tuesday. Biden called the Glazer family “good friends” in his speech welcoming the team.
Professor of astronomy at MIT and winner of MacArthur genius award, Sara Seager turns 50…
President at Admar Group, Henry Dean Ostberg turns 93… Chilean-born classical music composer and professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University, Leon Schidlowsky turns 90… Escondido, Calif., resident, Leonard Simon Zoll turns 85… Retired CEO of Sony/ATV, Martin Bandier turns 80… Professor emeritus in the Department of Physics at Bar-Ilan University, Shlomo Havlin turns 79… Director of the Center for the Political Future at USC, Robert Shrum turns 78… Noted criminal defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman turns 73… Former member of the U.K. Parliament, now in the House of Lords, Baroness Susan Veronica Kramer turns 71… U.S. Senator (R-WY), John Barrasso turns 69… Chairman and CEO at Quantitative Financial Strategies, Sanford “Sandy” Jay Grossman turns 68… Professor at Columbia Law School and daughter of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jane Carol Ginsburg turns 66… Irene Ostrovsky turns 65… Comedian and actor, best known for his five seasons on “Saturday Night Live,” Jon Lovitz turns 64… Chief rabbi of Moscow since 1993 and president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt turns 58…
Literary agent and the co-head of William Morris Endeavor book department, Eric Matthew Simonoff turns 54… Actress and producer, Alysia Reiner turns 51… Brazilian fashion designer best known for avant-garde designs and eclectic prints, Alexandre Herchcovitch turns 50… Executive chairman of Fanatics and a minority owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils, Michael G. Rubin turns 49… Founder, president and CEO of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) and the Electrification Coalition, Robbie Diamond turns 47… Rabbi of Congregation Bais Naftali and teacher at Mesivta Birkas Yitzchok, both in Los Angeles, he is a popular motivational speaker, Rabbi Yoel Gold turns 40… Online media personality and product manager on the Adobe Spark team, Veronica Belmont turns 39… Youth and teen engagement coordinator at Manhattan’s B’nai Jeshurun, Aniko Gomory turns 29… Writer and political activist, Chloé Simone Valdary turns 28… Research intern at INSS Israel, Zachary A. Marshall turns 28… Talent acquisition partner at Drizly, Rachel Elizabeth Nieves turns 27… Attorney in Madrid and secretary general of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, Elias Cohen…