👋 Good Friday morning!
Victims of the 1972 Munich massacre that left 11 Israeli athletes and coaches dead were remembered in a moment of silence at the start of the Olympics opening ceremony in Tokyo this morning.
New York State is looking into whether Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever, violated the state’s anti-BDS executive order, signed in 2016 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an aide to the governor told JI last night.
Can Unilever override Ben & Jerry’s? Possibly, according to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission at the time of the corporation’s acquisition of the ice cream company in 2000 — but it will cost them.During the 2000 acquisition, Unilever agreed to continue the ice cream company’s “social mission.” Any action that puts Unilever in breach of the initial agreement, would force the company to pay an additional 3% royalty fee to Ben & Jerry’s. Read more below.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with members of House leadership and the Foreign Affairs and Appropriations committees yesterday.
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) told JI, “It’s always wonderful meeting with King Abdullah, who understands the challenges and opportunities of the region better than anyone. Chairman [Greg] Meeks held an excellent meeting.”
At 1 p.m. ET, the White House is hosting “a special Jewish leaders briefing” to discuss “President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.” Of note: The White House has yet to appoint a Jewish liaison to coordinate these events.
New poll puts Shontel Brown within five points of Nina Turner in tightening OH-11 race
Following a slew of high-profile endorsements, Shontel Brown appears to be gaining on Nina Turner in Ohio’s increasingly competitive special election, according to new polling from the Mellman Group obtained by Jewish Insider. The poll puts Brown, a Democratic Cuyahoga County councilwoman and party chair, at 36%, just five points behind Turner, a former Ohio state senator and progressive stalwart, who leads the race with 41%.
PAC poll: The Mellman Group survey was conducted between July 13 and 17 on behalf of Democratic Majority for Israel’s political action committee, which endorsed Brown in February and is spending heavily on TV advertising and direct mailers in the weeks leading up to the Democratic primary.
Building momentum: In a July 19 memo accompanying the poll, the Mellman Group attributes Brown’s new five-point deficit to a number of mitigating factors, including recent endorsements from House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and the Congressional Black Caucus PAC as well as an ad campaign launched by DMFI’s PAC in late June — though some of its advertising has been accused of misrepresenting Turner’s record.
Positive polling: The new survey follows two other recent polls that indicate a narrowing race. An internal poll, produced for Brown’s campaign in early July, showed the Cuyahoga councilwoman trailing Turner by seven points, with 36% of the vote. And a separate early-July poll, conducted by TargetPoint Consulting, suggested that Brown and Turner were locked in a statistical dead heat, with both candidates pulling in 33%.
Dollar game: Still, Brown lags behind Turner in fundraising, pulling in $1.4 million last quarter, according to new filings from the Federal Election Commission, while Turner raised more than $2.3 million. “Turner is still slightly better known than Brown,” with a six-point lead in “hard name identification,” the Mellman Group writes. But “with some of that difference in higher unfavorable ratings for Turner,” the firm adds, “the race between the two is exactly tied among those who know both candidates.”
DAIRY & POLITICS
Will Ben & Jerry’s lose its kosher stamp of certification?
As many members of the American pro-Israel community have looked for a way to register their disapproval of Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling its ice cream in what it referred to as the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” some have called on the Teaneck, N.J.-based Kof-K, one of the largest kosher certification agencies in the country, to rescind its certification of the company’s products. Kof-K has not yet decided whether to cease its kosher certification of Ben & Jerry’s products, an employee told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch on Thursday.
Complicated contracts: “We do have a contract that cannot just be arbitrarily broken, so it’s not so simple,” said a person who picked up the phone at the Kof-K but declined to give his name. “We are definitely doing stuff to address it,” the Kof-K employee said. “We have reached out to the Yesha Council” — the organization representing Jewish settlers in the West Bank — “we’ve spoken to them. We’re trying to speak to the Prime Minister’s Office, which we will probably get through today. We’ve got calls and emails back and forth with the president of Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s.”
Not too complicated: One person with knowledge of kashrut certifications told JI that they expect the Kof-K to find a way out of the contract with Ben & Jerry’s. “While likely contractually complicated, Kof-K will probably find a way to drop them as a client for their kosher certification,” the source said. “If that were to happen, the company will probably scramble to find some third-rate kosher certifier as a fig leaf — showing that, despite their anti-Jewish boycott, they somehow care about Jews.”
Growing campaign: The campaign to decertify Ben & Jerry’s follows other actions taken this week against the company. Several kosher supermarket chains have announced that they will no longer stock Ben & Jerry’s. The Vaad Harabonim of Queens, the Orthodox religious authority in the New York borough, sent an email to the local community urging people “not to purchase any Ben & Jerry’s product” and praising “those stores who make the courageous decision to not stock any Ben & Jerry’s product.”
Reaching too far: “Were I a Ben & Jerry’s customer,” said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), who noted that he has not tried the ice cream because its American products do not have the more stringent Cholov Yisroel certification, “I would stop buying it.” But Shemtov expressed concern that removing the hechsher, or kosher certification, from Ben & Jerry’s products that meet kashrut guidelines brings politics into a realm where it does not belong. “A kashrut authority or a hechsher determines whether whatever’s in the container is kosher to eat, because kashrut authorities shouldn’t do politics, nor should they do issues beyond the kosher certification of the contents,” Shemtov explained. “So I understand the Kof-K choosing to maintain the hechsher despite Ben & Jerry’s politics.”
States look at options for enforcing anti-BDS laws in wake of Ben & Jerry’s pullout
At least four states with laws targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement are assessing whether the recent decision by Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever, to cease selling the ice cream company’s products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” runs afoul of anti-BDS legislation enacted in recent years. Officials in New York, Florida, Illinois and Texas are looking into whether Monday’s announcement forbids them from including the companies in their pension portfolios, Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss reports.
Empire State investigation: Jake Adler, director of Jewish affairs for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, told Jewish Insider that “New York State is currently doing a legal review” to assess what, if any, measures need to be taken in response to the 2016 executive order signed by the governor that called on the state to divest public funds that support the BDS movement. On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called on the State Board of Administration to “immediately place Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever on the Continued Examination Companies that Boycott Israel List and initiate the process to place both companies on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List.” In Illinois, an individual familiar with state boycott efforts confirmed to JI that “Illinois’ board has begun its process to investigate Unilever,” referring to the independent committee that determines whether companies run afoul of its boycott laws. In Texas, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Thursday that his office will review state law to determine if Ben & Jerry’s or Unilever had taken “specific action” that would violate the Texas Government Code.
C-suite: Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations CEO William Daroff told JI that he spoke to corporate executives at Unilever on Tuesday about the potential fallout from the decision to pull Ben & Jerry’s products. “It was very positive,” he said of the meeting. “They were very much trying to assure us that it wasn’t Unilever [that made the decision], that it was this board at Ben & Jerry’s, and they were somewhat apologetic but also mostly in listening mode.”
Community response: The assessments come as American Jewish organizations mount a united effort to push states to implement the anti-BDS laws that have been adopted by 33 states since 2015. On Thursday, the Conference of Presidents sent a letter cosigned by a number of national groups to the 11 governors whose states have passed laws addressing pension portfolios. Jewish Community Relations Councils, local federations, Christians United for Israel, American Jewish Committee, StandWithUs, B’nai B’rith and Hadassah were all part of the effort, Daroff told JI.
Escape clause: Unilever may be able to override the decision by the Ben & Jerry’s board, according to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission at the time of the corporation’s acquisition of the ice cream company in 2000. Citing the license agreement, the statement said that “Unilever has agreed to undertake activities related to the ‘social mission’ of the Company in connection with the Unilever Affiliates’ activities under the Ben & Jerry’s trademark” and lists a number of activities, including commitments to purchasing fair-trade products and using unbleached paper products, that could fall under that agreement. If Unilever is in breach of the agreement, according to the filing it must pay an 8% in royalty fees to Ben & Jerry’s, a 3% increase from the percentage agreed upon by both parties.
Bonus: Unilever CEO Alan Jope said on Thursday the company was “fully committed” to continuing to sell its products in Israel.
🎵 Face-Off: The New York Times’s Roger Cohen examines a new viral Hebrew rap video, “Let’s Talk Straight,” which features Jewish Israeli Uriya Rosenman and Palestinian Sameh Zakout rapping insults and ethnic slurs over a table filled with hummus and pita. “By shouting each side’s prejudices at each other, at times seemingly on the verge of violence, Mr. Rosenman and Mr. Zakout have produced a work that dares listeners to move past stereotypes and discover their shared humanity,” Cohen writes. [NYTimes]
📺🗳️ From Media to Public Office: In The Atlantic, British journalist Helen Lewis warns Americans about the dangers of the journalist-turned-politician. Referencing rumors that Fox News’s Tucker Carlson may run for president and news that New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is reportedly mulling a run in Oregon’s gubernatorial election, Lewis draws upon the story of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson — who began his career as a reporter — to highlight the problems caused by former journalists who run for office: “Journalists make dangerous politicians because they can talk their way out of trouble, have an eye for an arresting phrase and an appealing narrative, and know how to win over a crowd.” [Atlantic]
Around the Web
📜 Seized Scrolls: The acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced the seizure of 17 Jewish scrolls and artifacts taken during the Holocaust — which were found at the office of a Park Avenue consigner and Brooklyn auction house.
🤝 Circle of Friends: The New York Times’s Emma Fitzsimmons and Katie Glueck chart the advisors surrounding Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for New York mayor.
💰Campaign Connections: FEC records reveal Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) campaign and PAC paid over $100,000 to the grassroots organizing firm Unbought Power, which was founded by anti-Israel activist Rasha Mubarak.
🦠 Retrospective: Former Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) reflected on his time working at the Pentagon as a COVID-19 advisor in an interview with The New York Times.
🦷 Spotlight: The Washington Post examines Paul Gosar’s (R-AZ) transition from mild dentist beloved by his patients to far-right member of Congress, accused associating with white supremacists.
🛑 Disqualified: Kentaro Kobayashi, the director of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, was fired after footage of a Holocaust joke he made at a comedy show in 1998 resurfaced.
🏝️ Island Paradise: After a year in seclusion, Google co-founder Larry Page has reportedly been spotted living in Fiji, whose strict pandemic rules has made the billionaire difficult to reach.
🫖 Brewing Tensions: Disney exec Bob Chapek is reportedly frustrated with fellow Disney chief Bob Iger amid Iger’s stalled departure, as Chapek is eager to seize full control of the company.
🛂 Back to Green: Israel announced it will resume its “green passport” system of only allowing verified vaccinated individuals or those who recently tested negative into closed spaces.
🚢 Set Sail: Two Iranian ships, supposedly headed towards Venezuela, are now on their way to Russia via Baltic Sea. The positioning of the ships indicates they are likely headed to St. Petersburg for Russia’s Navy Day events.
💥 Market Blast: On the third day of Eid al-Adha, a blast tore through a market located in Gaza City. The explosion, which killed one and wounded 10, was not connected to the IDF.
⌛ Judgment Time: Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was selected to lead an inquiry into possible war crimes committed by Hamas and Israel during the May conflict.
🤷 Forfeit: Algerian judoka star Fethi Nourine officially withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics after he was paired against Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul.
📈 Joining The Big Leagues: Tel Aviv-based Gefen International A.I. Limited, which develops digital tools for insurance, real estate and finance companies, joined the Australian Securities Exchange yesterday.
🪑New Post: Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton has appointed Israel’s former Consul General in New York Dani Dayan to be chairman of Yad Vashem.
🗣️ Public Spat: Meghan McCain, co-host of “The View,” accused Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on air of remaining silent about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and not being vocal in his condemnation of antisemitism. Schumer responded saying, “I’ve condemned all of these attacks over and over again.”
💣 Airstrike Accusation: Syria accused Israel of an airstrike early Thursday — the second attack within Syria’s borders this week.
🕯️Remembering: Dr. Paul Auerbach, a pioneer in the field of wilderness medicine, died at 70.
Wine of the Week
JI’s wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews the Lueria 2018 Syrah Special Reserve:
“Sitting atop the hill overlooking my favorite getaway, Locanda Rossa in Capalbio, Italy, I see the remarkable vines of a winery I soon hope to make kosher. Unable to enjoy the current vintage, I opened an outstanding bottle of Shiraz from Israel instead. Shiraz is one of the varietals I hope to produce in Capalbio.
“The Lueria 2018 Shiraz is 100% Shiraz and is aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels. The heavy wood delivers an amazing one-two punch on the front-palate and keeps as a motif through the long and luscious finish. The color is deep violet, the scent engulfs your inner sinus with strong ripe plum overtones and pepper; if you are allergic to pepper, I caution against drinking this wine. This bottle will last for at least seven more years. Enjoy with aged salami.”
Song of the Day
Israeli singer Yuval Dayan released her latest single, “Hand in Hand,” earlier this week.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Lawrence Frey turns 40…
FRIDAY: U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Michigan and a past president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Judge Avern Levin Cohn turns 97… Banker who distributed $60 million to his 400 employees when he sold City National Bank of Florida in 2008, Leonard L. Abess turns 73… Former U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, she is the chair of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Fay Hartog-Levin turns 73… Retired appellate court judge, born in Bucharest, Romania, raised in Los Angeles, he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at age 35 by President Reagan, Judge Alex Kozinski turns 71… Businessman and real estate investor, Alexander Rovt turns 69… Academy Award-winning film producer, Jon Landau turns 61… Proprietor of Oy Vey Jewish Bakery and Delicatessen in Terre Haute, Indiana, Chavah Stair turns 55…
Freelance journalist, she is the widow of Daniel Pearl and wrote a book about his kidnapping and murder in Pakistan in 2002, Mariane Pearl turns 54… Director of the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Museum, Rachel Eva Goslins turns 52… U.S. senator (D-GA), Raphael Warnock turns 52… Dov M. Katz turns 51… Freelance writer and author of two books, Joel Stein turns 50… Psychologist in private practice in both Manhattan and Great Neck, Long Island, Lynn Glasman, Ph.D. turns 50… Activist and fashion designer, Monica Lewinsky turns 48… Music producer and songwriter, Jonathan Reuven “J.R.” Rotem turns 46… Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, Itai Grinberg turns 46… Reporter for The Washington Post covering education issues in the District of Columbia, Perry Stein turns 32… Starting right fielder for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Zach Borenstein turns 31… Joseph Stern…
SATURDAY: Former U.S. ambassador to Romania and senior counsel at Covington and Burling, Alfred H. Moses turns 92… Founder and chairman at The Habitat Company, Daniel Levin turns 91… Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who worked for ABC News and CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Lowell Bergman turns 76… Israeli physician, author and playwright, he is the younger brother of former PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Iddo Netanyahu turns 69… Political consultant known for his role in both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns, Joel Benenson turns 69… Los Angeles-based attorney, Michael Jeffrey Bordy turns 69… Radio anchor and reporter on both CBS nationally and NYC’s WCBS, Michael Sugerman turns 67… Member of Congress (D-FL), Charlie Crist turns 65… Russian real estate investor and the chairman of the Board of Patrons of the Conference of European Rabbis, Boris Mints turns 63… Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Judge Patty Shwartz turns 60…
Director of the AIPAC Fellows program for the Florida regional office, he is a retired NFL player who played for the Packers and the Cowboys where he won in Super Bowl XXVII, Alan Shlomo Veingrad turns 58… Partner in the Kentucky-based law firm of Frost Brown Todd and author of The Liberal Case for Israel, he was the first-ever Jewish statewide elected official in Kentucky, Jonathan Miller turns 54… President of Access Computer Technology in West Bloomfield, Mich., he is a rabbi, entrepreneur and social media expert, Jason Miller turns 45… Rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom in the San Fernando Valley, next January he will become CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Noah Zvi Farkas turns 42… Chief financial officer of Morgan Stanley, Sharon Yeshaya turns 42… Actress, screenwriter and director, Lauren Miller Rogen turns 39… Co-founder and partner at Orfin Ventures, Adam Finkel turns 35… Senior account executive at RpR Marketing Communications, Sarah Citrenbaum turns 31… Law clerk for Judge Steven J. Menashi on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Shlomo Klapper…
SUNDAY: Journalist, writer and author, Midge Rosenthal Decter turns 94… Cinematographer Peter Suschitzky turns 80… Member of the New York City Council, Alan N. Maisel turns 75… Entrepreneur and film producer, he produced “The Woman in Red” and “Weekend at Bernie’s,” Victor Drai turns 74… Former IDF brigadier general and member of Knesset, now president of Genie Oil and Gas, Efraim “Effi” Eitam turns 69… Voiceover artist, Peter Grossman turns 64… Chairman of Vibrant Capital Partners and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, Philip Darivoff turns 64… Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist, she is a staff writer at The Atlantic, Anne Applebaum turns 57… Retired MLB pitcher from the small Jewish community in the Dominican Republic, José Bautista turns 57… Israeli journalist, television news anchor and author, Oshrat Kotler turns 56… National director and CEO of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, Rabbi Steven Weil turns 56… NYC-based criminal defense attorney, Arkady L. Bukh turns 49… Head coach of the men’s basketball team at Kent State University, Rob Senderoff turns 48… Senior director of PR at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Erin Seidler turns 39… Baseball pitcher on the Israeli national baseball team, Joseph “Joey” Samuel Wagman turns 30…