👋 Good Tuesday morning!
“Jacob Steinmetz selected by Arizona Diamondbacks, becomes 1st known drafted practicing Orthodox Jew,” read the headline on ESPN last night as Steinmetz was picked 77th overall in the MLB draft. “The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Steinmetz, from the hamlet of Woodmere in Long Island, New York, is a 17-year-old right-hander whose repertoire features a fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and a knee-buckling curveball. He elevated his draft stock considerably while playing for the Elev8 Baseball Academy in Delray Beach, Florida, this year after previously competing for his high school team, The Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway of Long Island.”
The Anti-Defamation League has mounted an intensive lobbying campaign on countering domestic terrorism since early February, including 138 meetings with lawmakers and congressional staff and close to two dozen meetings with Biden administration officials, according to an internal memo obtained by Jewish Insider. ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute has had an additional 64 meetings with policymakers and has four additional upcoming lobbying days.
ADL is working with Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) to reintroduce the 2017 Online Safety Modernization Act and has drafted legislation for Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) to create an independent clearinghouse for online extremist content that it is “optimistic will receive bipartisan support,” according to the memo.
The memo, from the ADL’s Director of National Security Ryan Greer to CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, also argues that the Biden administration’s National Strategy on Countering Domestic Terrorism is “remarkably similar” to the ADL’s own anti-domestic terrorism plan and that the administration has also supported many of ADL’s budget requests.
Citing COVID concerns, AIPAC cancels its policy conference in 2022
AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying giant, will not hold its annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., in 2022 due to continued uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod.
Time’s up: The group, which announced the move to its members late Monday afternoon, generally has to plan the conference a year in advance in order to secure contracts with hotels and venues for the event. Given continued COVID-related issues — highlighted by reimposed restrictions in Israel and the emergence of the Delta variant — it would be both “impossible” and “irresponsible” to plan in-person events for next spring, when the conference typically takes place, an AIPAC source told JI.
Quotable: “Unfortunately, there are still too many questions that remain unanswered to move forward responsibly, and thus we have made the decision to cancel the 2022 AIPAC Policy Conference,” AIPAC President Betsy Berns Korn said in a letter to members obtained by JI. “This decision may seem surprising as we appear to be entering a post-pandemic world. However, with uncertainty around the continued spread of COVID, we still have a fragile and uncertain path back to normal travel and mass gatherings.”
Off the Hill: Though Capitol Hill has begun to reopen to the public, some restrictions on visitors remain in place and it’s unclear when they will be lifted, making uncertain the organization’s ability to hold its keystone lobbying day at the conclusion of the conference, the source told JI. AIPAC held a virtual national council meeting in March, which included 500 virtual congressional meetings with 900 AIPAC activists. The organization will have a similar event again this fall, and will continue other virtual lobbying efforts during the coming year, the source said.
Going virtual: “Our lobbying for pro-Israel legislation will be as robust as in previous years – and even more so – with new and creative ways to engage members of Congress and their staff,” Korn said in the letter, adding that the group will “demonstrate even greater ingenuity and expand on the innovations we introduced over the past year” and that “our lobbying for pro-Israel legislation will be as robust as in previous years — and even more so.”
What’s next: The policy conference’s fate beyond 2022 is also uncertain, the source said, and the group will make that decision when the time comes next year.
Read more here.
Michael Wolff claims Trump impeachment attorney begged off the case
With Donald Trump’s impeachment team in disarray following a rambling introductory speech from one of his top lawyers last February, the former president turned to David Schoen, an Alabama-based attorney who was initially tapped to lead the defense but had been sidelined as the trial commenced. When Trump asked Schoen to take over at the end of the trial, the lawyer shrank from the task, characterizing himself as a “wimp” and a “pushover,” according to Michael Wolff’s new book, Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, an advance copy of which was obtained by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel.
Mounting tension: Before joining the team, Schoen had expressed reservations about signing onto such a high-profile position, according to Wolff. On the first day of the trial, Schoen, an Orthodox Jew who normally wears a yarmulke, had gone viral on social media for the seemingly curious habit of covering his head with his hand while taking sips of water during his opening speech. But his new admission of weakness did not sit well with Trump, who has historically sought legal guidance from such self-assuredly ruthless lawyers as Roy Cohn.
‘I’m a wimp’: “I’m a wimp, sir,” Schoen reportedly told the president. “I’m a pushover. That’s me. I can’t stand up for myself. That’s just who I am.” Trump, for his part, was unsympathetic to his lawyer’s self-assessment. “A wimp?” Trump said. “You’re supposed to be defending me in an impeachment trial? My lawyer’s a wimp? A wimp? Did you just call yourself a wimp? A wimp? I want you to do it. You do it. Man up.” After the talk, Schoen decided that he was going to bail on the trial but was firmly told he couldn’t leave. He ultimately capitulated, delivering his final argument the next day.
Schoen’s response: Asked for comment on Monday evening, Schoen said he was unfamiliar with the passages from Landslide outlining his experience on Trump’s defense team. “Wolff absolutely did not fact check with me,” the lawyer alleged in an email to JI. “He interviewed me but I did not discuss this with him and he never fact checked. I would bet I know exactly where this story came from: the same guy who asked me to give Wolff an interview.” (Schoen would not disclose this person’s name.)
Bibi’s ‘betrayal’: The exchange between Trump and Schoen is one of many revelations in Landslide, Wolff’s third Trump book. Elsewhere in the book, Wolff describes the post-election dynamic between Trump and then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump was incensed when Netanyahu offered his congratulations to Joe Biden after the election was called, viewing Netanyahu’s outreach as “an ultimate betrayal,” according to Wolff. “As in all Trump reactions, a variety of grievances welled up here. There was his belief that he had singularly done more for Israel than any American president — and that therefore he was owed. And now sold out.”
Read more here.
on the hill
The bipartisan duo creating community for Jewish Capitol Hill staffers
It started in Israel: Justin Goldberger and Charlotte Kaye, two Capitol Hill staffers from opposing parties, became friends on a 2019 Birthright trip. And after hitting it off with their trip’s leader, a fellow Hill aide who was stepping down from a stint running the Congressional Jewish Staff Association — a nonpartisan organization that provides programming and mentorship for the hundreds of Jewish Capitol Hill staffers — Goldberger and Kaye took the reins of CJSA at a key moment. In a recent interview with Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutchat a Capitol Hill cafe, Kaye and Goldberger suggested that the vicious partisanship of the past year has amplified the need for CJSA’s cross-party relationship-building.
Networking: Some of CJSA’s bipartisanship is strategic. It’s Washington, after all; young staffers know they need allies to make it in the cutthroat world of Capitol Hill. “The advice I always give entry-level staffers is to build your network, because you never know who will be your first foot in the door,” said Goldberger, senior policy advisor for Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA). “I have friends who are Republicans on the House side, and it’s a lot easier to find sponsors for a bill if you have a relationship with them prior.”
Shared experience: There are no exact numbers on how many Jewish staffers work on the Hill, but CJSA’s email listserv has more than 500 members. Groups like CJSA help young people find community at a workplace that pays little and requires long hours. “My best friends still are people that were miserable answering phones when we first came to D.C. and bonding over that,” said Kaye, a staff member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).
New traditions: Although most visitors are still barred from Capitol Hill because of COVID restrictions, many staffers have begun to return to the Capitol and surrounding offices. At the end of this month, CJSA will hold its first in-person happy hour in a year and a half. “We’re excited to get off the screen,” Goldberger noted. “We saw a drop-off of attendance in our virtual events. People just don’t want to do it anymore,” Kaye added. Also in the works is a mentorship program, where senior Jewish staffers will be paired with a younger aide to mentor. “We have the opportunity to start traditions that we didn’t have before,” said Goldberger. “I know personally I would love a Hanukkah CJSA party… similar to the White House [that] has a Hanukkah or Christmas party — like that, but more for staff.”
Bringing Yenta back: And one goal that they know is a long shot: getting Jewish members of Congress to host parties or Shabbat dinners for Jewish staffers. “I heard that [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer used to have these epic Jewish happy hours to set up Jewish singles on the Hill,” said Kaye. “He’s notorious for setting up a bunch of Jewish singles,” added Goldberg. (This is true — a 2012 report in The New York Times found that 12 couples who met in Schumer’s office had gotten married. He signed a ketubah, a Jewish wedding contract, for one couple, and another named their dog after him. “Forget Master of the Senate. This is the Yenta of the Senate,” The Times wrote.) “We want to have that tradition and camaraderie,” said Kaye, “more so than we’ve ever been able to do in the past.”
🕯️Never Forget: USA Today‘s Jori Epstein, who recently penned a book with Holocaust survivor Max Glauben, draws parallels between the recent rise in antisemitism in the U.S. and Glauben’s pre-war experiences growing up in Warsaw. “How can the country in which I actively embrace and openly discuss my religious heritage while working for a national publication simultaneously harbor the hatred that fueled the vandalism of my mentor’s Maryland synagogue? Jews have been violently attacked, including on the streets of Los Angeles and New York City in May 2021, while wearing a religious skullcap – the same skullcap my brother wears proudly to school and work.” [USAT/AppleNews]
📱Call it Out: Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, nicknamed the “Clubhouse Rabbi,” who gained a following for his participation in Clubhouse chat rooms deemed antisemitic and his ardent attempts to dissuade particpants of their false narratives and facts, details in Tablet the initially successful efforts to get him kicked off the social media platform for defending Israel and critiquing antisemitism. “It’s not just antisemitic rooms that are a problem on Clubhouse,” Litvin, who leads Chabad of the Bluegrass in Lexington, Ky., warns, “If a Clubhouse user’s profile alerts people to their Jewish faith, they are often followed, attacked and harassed in random rooms devoted to unrelated subjects, like television, the weather, or sports. Clubhouse’s near total lack of moderators and transparent speech guidelines may keep the app’s costs down, but it is also creating a platform that rewards vile antisemitism and other forms of hateful ‘engagement’ while turning identifiably Jewish users into targets.” [Tablet]
Around the Web
🤏 Gap Narrowing: In Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, a new internal poll from Shontel Brown has her campaign narrowing Nina Turner’s lead to seven points in the hotly contested race ahead of the Aug. 3 Democratic primary.
🤙 Deicing: Newly sworn inIsraeli President Isaac Herzog spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone on Monday, signaling a possible warming of ties between the two countries after years of tense relations.
🛢️ Back in Trouble: A Wall Street Journal report found that an Iranian oil executive who resigned from the country’s national oil company after being sanctioned by the U.S. government now serves in senior roles at two Iranian energy firms tied to the Iranian government.
🕵️ Crossed: Bedouin businessman and former Knesset candidate Yaqoub Abu al-Qia’an was charged with spying for Iran.
💸 Money Talks: Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron said the bank was studying its inflation-targeting regime after two decades in the current range.
💉 Joint Effort: Israel is partnering with a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company to complete trials and manufacture its BriLife coronavirus vaccine.
🛰️ Launching: Israeli company Spacecom agreed to lease AsiaSat’s satellite for two more years for an annual $14 million fee.
🧳 Going Home: The Israeli Defense Force delegation sent to Surfside, Fla., to assist in rescue-and-recovery efforts at the Champlain Towers condominium complex returned home following a water salute sendoff at Miami International Airport.
🏀 Full Court: Forbes spotlights Yam Madar, the 20-year-old Israeli basketball player hoping to start the upcoming season with the Boston Celtics.
📺 Going Global: In an interview with Deadline, YES Studio’s Managing Director Danna Stern discusses the global appeal of Israeli television and explains how Netflix has provided a launching pad for Israeli shows to air across the world.
📽️ Never Forget: A new Ukrainian documentary draws on archival footage and photographs to tell the story of Babin Yar, one of the deadliest massacres of Jews during the Holocaust.
📑 In-Depth: Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and his wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin, spoke with Bethesda Magazine for a wide-ranging interview on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the impeachment trial and the death of their son late last year.
🗳️ 2024 Watch: As former President Donald Trump teased a 2024 run on Fox News on Sunday, Charles Kushner hosted an event at his Jersey Shore beach house featuring former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. According to Vanity Fair, Kushner predicted she will be “the first woman president” as Haley mulls a run for the GOP nomination.
Gif of the Day
Israel’s Olympic baseball team poses before their first exhibition game at Maimonides Park in Brooklyn, a 12-3 win against the FDNY baseball team on Sunday.
Country music artist, Victoria Lynn Shaw turns 59…
Former teacher for 27 years in the Los Angeles United School District and president of the San Fernando Valley Council of Na’amat USA, Zita Gluskin turns 95… Scottsdale, Ariz., resident and retired teacher, Howie K. Kipnes turns 82… One of the highest box-office grossing actors ever, his maternal grandmother was Anna Lifschutz, a Jewish immigrant from Minsk, he is best known as the title character in the “Indiana Jones” film series, Harrison Ford turns 79… Clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Michael W. Cohen, MD turns 79… Ridgefield, Conn., resident, Louis Panzer turns 75… Lecturer on the federal budget process following 37 years at various federal agencies, Johnny Cahn turns 75… Co-host of “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN since 2001 with Michael Wilbon, Anthony Irwin “Tony” Kornheiser turns 73… Commentator and author of crime and suspense novels, Andrew Klavan turns 67… Manager of regulatory and legislative affairs at PJM Interconnection, Stuart Widom turns 64…
Television executive and producer, she was the president of HBO’s network’s entertainment division until 2008, Carolyn Strauss turns 58… Film director and screenwriter, Shari Springer Berman turns 58… Television writer, David X. Cohen turns 55… Chief legal officer at Aledade, Ilona Cohen turns 46… Owner of the D.C. area franchises of SafeSplash Swim Schools, Jennifer Rebecca Goodman Lilintahl turns 41… Founder of Omanut Collective, Sarah Persitz turns 36… Director of development at the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County (FL), Yishai Mizrahi turns 35… Creator, writer and producer of the TV show “Casual,” Alexander “Zander” Sutton Lehmann turns 34… Aspen-based neuro linguistic programming coach, she is also the CEO and founder of entertainment agency Art of Air, Ariana Gradow turns 33… Managing parter at Surround Ventures, Jared Kash turns 28… Television and film actor, Wyatt Jess Oleff turns 18… Principal at venture capital firm Arc Ventures and co-founder of Kohlmann & Co AG, Eric A. Kohlmann…