👋 Good Friday morning!
Ed note:The Daily Kickoff will return on Tuesday morning.
For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent JI stories, including: In the District, Judaism, politics and college hoops come together for Bryan Knapp; Pence confidant Tom Rose on the former vice president’s 2024 prospects; Aryé Elfenbein wants to revolutionize how we consume fish; Morgan Harper’s entry into Ohio Senate race shakes up Democratic primary; and Family of slain teenager makes headway in decades-old terror funding lawsuit. Print the latest edition here.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, 49, received his third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday morning, as Israel expanded its booster campaign to include those over 40 amid a renewed outbreak of the virus fueled by the Delta variant.
After months of quiet, behind-the-scenes communications, United Arab Emirates National Security Adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed al Nahyan met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday, marking a sea change in what had been cool relations between their respective countries in the years following the Arab Spring. Turkey has sided with the Muslim Brotherhood while the UAE has been a vocal critic.
Turkish officials told reporters that Abu Dhabi feels increasingly isolated against what it perceives as the threat of Iran. “They cannot stand alone against Tehran,” one Turkish official said. “They are extremely nervous about the U.S. withdrawal from the region and they are recalculating their standing.”
David Makovsky, the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was skeptical that other issues were not at play. “Turkey’s Erdogan has been mercurial as a regional actor and therefore any step should be seen as a move for now versus a long-term trajectory,” he said. “It is no secret that the UAE has been perhaps the most implacable Arab foe of the Muslim Brotherhood while Erdogan has been a big regional Muslim Brotherhood booster. Therefore, I have to believe there are quid pro quos that Turkey pledged re: quality of relations with the Muslim Brotherhood in order to warrant any reciprocal move by the UAE. Hopefully we will know more about what is the quid for the quo.”
Aykan Erdemir, senior director of the Turkey Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former member of the Turkish parliament, told JI that “Turkey’s growing isolation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, [President Joe] Biden’s election as president, and his administration’s attempts to negotiate a deal with Iran have prompted Turkish President Erdogan to tone down his confrontational policy toward the UAE and other rivals in the region. Ankara’s reachout to the UAE followed earlier rapprochement attempts with Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Erdogan hopes that such positive posturing will help ameliorate Turkey’s regional isolation, win the Biden administration’s good will, and attract Gulf capital to Turkey’s struggling economy.”
Erdemir added that as a key patron of the Muslim Brotherhood, Erdogan has “no sympathies” for leadership in Egypt, Saudi Arabi and the UAE — all of whom oppose the group. “However, he feels the need to be pragmatic in international relations during the current conjuncture. Whether these rapprochement attempts succeed or not, Erdogan believes that these gestures will help improve relations with the Biden administration, which has been vocally critical of Ankara’s transgressions at home and abroad, especially compared to the Trump administration.”
Erdemir predicted that Ankara would attempt more overtures in the region. “It is also important to note that the presence of Sedat Peker, a Turkish mob boss-turned-whistleblower, in Dubai, and the damage he has caused the Erdogan government with his confessions over the last few months, have also been a factor forcing Turkey to look for ways to improve relations with the UAE for damage-control reasons. As long as Erdogan’s feeling of diplomatic, political, and economic vulnerability continues, he is likely to continue to look for ways to build pragmatic relations with Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”
President Joe Biden said the U.S. will “try to get” all Americans out of Afghanistan before his Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline, but left the door open for potentially extending the mission, saying, “if we don’t, we’ll determine at the time who’s left.”
Fifty-five bipartisan senators sent a letter to Biden urging him to evacuate all U.S. allies in Afghanistan. Sixteen Republicans sent a separate letter urging the president to use “all means necessary” to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan partners, amid mounting pressure on the administration to expand the U.S. perimeter around Kabul’s airport and send troops to retrieve evacuees.
State Department staff are also reportedly seeking thousands of dollars from some passengers hoping to leave Afghanistan, including both U.S. citizens and non-American evacuees.
Gottheimer takes center stage amid budget, infrastructure face-off
The House is set to return from its summer recess next week to vote on the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution — which the Senate passed earlier this month along party lines. But it’s unclear if House leadership will have the votes to pass the budget blueprint, as a group of nine moderate Democrats threaten to withhold their votes, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Coalition: Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) led a group of eight other Democrats — Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA), Jared Golden (D-ME), Ed Case (D-HI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) — in sending a letter last week threatening to withhold their votes on the budget resolution until the Senate-passed bipartisan package is signed by President Biden. So far, Democratic leadership has brushed off the attempt — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly referred to it as “amateur hour” in a recent leadership call. But if the group holds firm, it could halt movement on the budget resolution, since Democrats can only afford to lose three votes on party-line issues.
Pushing ahead: “We’re all talking and trying to find a way forward,” Gottheimer told Jewish Insider on Thursday evening. “I think we’ll figure it out. And I’m really confident that we can come to a resolution to get this passed, and to move forward on reconciliation. So I believe we’ll figure out how to get there.” It’s not clear what that path forward looks like unless one wing of the House Democratic Caucus wavers. The House Progressive Caucus announced that a majority of its 96 members — it did not provide an exact number — will not vote for the infrastructure package until the Senate passes the budget with a range of progressive spending priorities, seemingly leaving neither package with enough votes to move forward.
Blame game: The New Jersey congressman, a co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, blames these colleagues for jeopardizing progress on the two spending packages. “The real question is why are some of my colleagues holding up the president’s infrastructure package? It passed the Senate with 50 Democrats, including [Sen.] Bernie Sanders [I-VT]… and also 19 Republicans,” he said. “The Senate passed infrastructure one day and then 24 hours later passed the budget resolution to get the ball rolling there, officially. Now all we’re saying is let’s just do the exact same thing.”
Under pressure: Gottheimer said he’s been receiving consistent pressure from his district to push through the bipartisan package. “I can’t tell you how many calls I’m getting that just say, ‘Let’s get this infrastructure package done,’” he said. “It’s two million jobs a year. Local labor is calling daily — all the different unions — to get this passed as soon as possible so we can get shovels in the ground.”
Torres calls for review of nonprofit status of extremist groups
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) will send a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig today, asking them to review and consider suspending the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt status of several “extremist and hate groups” highlighted in a recent Anti-Defamation League report.
Called Out: The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Jewish Insider, references several organizations identified in the ADL report as potentially “misrepresenting themselves,“ including the Oath Keepers Educational Foundation, American Phoenix Project and American Patriot Vanguard III% MC/RC — militia groups with ties to the January 6 Capitol riot — and the Sovereign American Project — a white nationalist group.
Quotable: “These organizations crowd out legitimate 501(c)3 protections and fuel social discord,” Torres wrote in his letter. “Allowing this critical program to be used by bad faith actors reduces tax revenue, abuses our regulatory system, and could empower bad actors by providing them a tax advantage.”
Outside Support: “Domestic violent extremism is on the rise, and hate groups may be abusing tax laws to enrich themselves and amplify their hate,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “This letter from Congressman Torres is a perfect example of just the type of action we need to take clear, precise action to mitigate the extremist threat. I thank Congressman Torres for his leadership.”
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS
RJC’s November bash an early stop for 2024 hopefuls
Some potential 2024 presidential candidates have been spotted at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this week. Others have made their way to Silicon Valley to hobnob with tech billionaires. A few, including former President Donald Trump, have already hired veteran campaign staff. In November, three years before the next presidential election, several likely GOP presidential hopefuls are scheduled to appear at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual Las Vegas conference, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Who’s who: Announced speakers for the event, set to take place November 5-7, include former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
New Hampshire meets Iowa: “The Republican Jewish Coalition [gathering] is a little bit like New Hampshire and Iowa combined and rolled into one,” said Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary under George W. Bush and is a member of RJC’s board of directors. “It’s a must-travel, must-see, must-talk-to meeting for anyone who wants to become president.”
Trump card: “There are going to be other speakers that I think will fall into that category,” said RJC executive director Matt Brooks, referring to, as he put it, “people who may or may not be interested in running in 2024.” He told Jewish Insider he would not comment on other confirmed speakers, and he declined to say whether Trump — who has not ruled out a 2024 run — received an invitation to the event. (Last year’s event was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.) RJC does not endorse Republican primary candidates.
Vegas without Adelson: In past years, RJC’s Las Vegas conference has been an opportunity for Republican politicians to meet with Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and influential Republican donor who also served on RJC’s board of directors. Adelson died in January at age 87. His wife, Miriam Adelson, appears set to continue his political tradition. In April, Adelson introduced Pompeo at a World Values Network event in New York. She donated to Haley’s political action committee this year. Haley was the keynote speaker at a June conference hosted by the Adelson-owned Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom.
Read more here.
🛫 Unintended Consequences: The Atlantic’s Caitlin Flanagan pens a tongue-in-cheek assessment of the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan — which had been a liberal rallying cry for years despite the gains Afghan women made during the two decades of American boots on the ground. “We did in Afghanistan what we always do when we have lots of troops, an apocalyptic amount of firepower, and no brief on what to do with them. We killed a lot of people, destroyed a lot of things, and lost many of our own young women and men. We never did find bin Laden there. He had ‘slipped away,’ we were told, as though he was a considerate dinner guest in a Noël Coward play. But while our soldiers were in that country, America spent nearly $790 million supporting the health, education, and well-being of Afghan women and girls.” [TheAtlantic]
🥵 Can’t Stand the Heat: In the Wall Street Journal, Tripp Mickle looks at the recurring problem encountered by those who inadvertently and unknowingly set their ovens to “Sabbath Mode,” and the chaos that ensues. “In her effort to bake brownies, Ms. Glasscock, of Athens, Ga., discovered that she inadvertently turned on ‘Sabbath Mode,’ a feature designed to freeze an oven’s settings so observant Jews can abide by religious law restricting electricity on holidays. The Glasscocks tried to skirt that doctrine by flipping the circuit breaker—a trick Sabbath mode is designed to override. They later turned to the Talmud of appliances, the manual, and pressed bake and broil buttons simultaneously for three seconds to revive the oven. ‘I pray to God I never do it again,’ said Ms. Glasscock, a Presbyterian.” [WSJ]
Around the Web
🤝 Deal or No Deal: U.S. Iran envoy Rob Malley told Politico that the fate of the nuclear deal with Iran is “just one big question mark” amid a lack of Iranian engagement, and discussed possible alternatives. “We have to be prepared for a world in which Iran’s intentions are not to go back into the [pact], at least not in a realistic way,” he said.
💣 Bomb Scare: Capitol Police and other law enforcement engaged in a five-hour standoff with a North Carolina man who claimed to have a bomb in a truck parked in front of the Library of Congress. In a Facebook live stream, he complained at length about President Joe Biden and cast himself as part of a “revolution.” After the man surrendered peacefully, a search of his vehicle found no bomb but did turn up possible bomb components.
🔓 Open Up: Fifty-three House Democrats, led by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) sent a letter to Secretary of State Tony Blinken encouraging him to pressure Israel and Egypt to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.
🎙️ Making History: Singer Barbra Streisand’s latest album, “Release Me 2,” came in at #15 on the Billboard 200 chart, making the singer the only woman to release a new top 20 album every decade since the 1960s.
❓Insults, for 500: Mike Richards, who was recently announced as the new host of “Jeopardy!,” is under scrutiny for past misogynistic and antisemitic comments he made as a podcast host in 2014. The Anti-Defamation League said the “pattern” of “disparaging remarks” warrants investigation.
😎 Facebook Fiends: Facebook will not share data about misinformation spread on the platform with the White House, causing frustration within the Biden administration about how to combat false information about COVID-19 and vaccines.
🇨🇦 Oh no, Canada: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned antisemitic vandalism on campaign posters for Liberal candidates Rachel Bendayan and Anthony Housefather, saying he is “disgusted and angry” about the “completely unacceptable” attack.
💰Financial Flow: Israel announced it will resume allowing Qatari humanitarian aid payments to Gaza, under a new system in which money will travel through the U.N. directly into civilian bank accounts, ensuring the funding is not intercepted by Hamas leaders.
🩸 New Rules: Israel has removed its restrictions on gay men donating blood, announced Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, who himself is gay.
☀️ Solar State: Israel received bids from 11 companies for a public-private project to build a solar-powered electricity generation plant in the southern city of Dimona to meet the country’s energy needs.
💸 Money Matters: The Bank of Israel will keep interest rates at current levels, amid a backdrop of rising inflation and economic rebound.
🚨 Red Alert: France, Britain and Germany all expressed serious concern over a new report about Iran’s nuclear activity.
🛢️ Fuel Rule: An Iranian oil shipment left for Lebanon on Thursday as part of a Hezbollah-brokered deal to supply the country with oil from the Islamic republic.
Pic of the Day
Thirty years ago this week, New York Police Department officers stand guard outside the Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn during the tense days of the Crown Heights riots, which saw stores looted and Jewish men assaulted. One yeshiva student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was killed in the riots.
Former British ambassador to Israel, the first Jewish U.K. ambassador to be posted to Tel Aviv, he is now the CEO of NHSX, Matthew Gould turns 50…
FRIDAY: Laguna Hills, Calif., resident, Phoebe Bryan turns 80… Director of the National Economic Council during the Trump administration, Larry Kudlow turns 74… Former secretary of labor for the State of Kansas, Lana Goodman Gordon turns 71… Chair-elect at Golda Och Academy in West Orange, N.J., he is a past president of the United Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest (NJ), Steven H. Klinghoffer turns 71… Born in Rehovot, Israel, he served as the mayor of Winnipeg, Manitoba, from 2004 to 2014, Samuel Michael “Sam” Katz turns 70… Managing director of equity derivatives at Rice Financial Products, Jay A. Knopf turns 65… Democratic congressman from Illinois, Brad Schneider turns 60… Former national campaign chair for the Jewish Federations of North America, Suzanne Barton Grant… Vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard, he was previously the U.S. trade representative, Ambassador Michael Froman turns 59… U.S. Senator (R-MT), Steve Daines turns 59…
Founder and controlling shareholder of the Altice Group, he acquired Sotheby’s in 2019, Patrick Drahi turns 58… Executive director of A Wider Bridge, Ethan Felson turns 56… Israeli writer known for his short stories and graphic novels, Etgar Keret turns 54… Film director and screenwriter, Mark Levin turns 53… Ethiopian-born, former member of the Knesset for Kulanu, Asher Fentahun Seyoum turns 50… Director of communications at the Center for Democracy & Technology, Ari Goldberg turns 48… Executive director of Lisa Stone Pritzker’s LSP Family Foundation, Abigail Michelson Porth… Deputy director and one of the founders of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, Karen Brunwasser… Rachel Lea Fish, Ph.D. … Partner and director managing the Iowa office of Cornerstone Government Affairs and executive committee member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, David Ryan Adelman turns 40… Canadian television and film actress, Meghan Ory turns 39… Real estate agent, author and television personality as an original cast member on the show “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles,” Josh Flagg turns 36… Triathlete and Miss Israel 2019, Sella Sharlin turns 25…
SATURDAY: Retired owner of Effective Strategy Consultants, Irwin Wecker turns 86… Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Judge Ilana Kara Diamond Rovner turns 83… President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, L. Rafael Reif turns 71… Israeli-born pawnbroker and star of the reality television series “Beverly Hills Pawn,” Yossi Dina turns 67… Businessman and collector of modern and contemporary art, Mitchell Rales turns 65… U.S. Senator (D-MT), Jon Tester turns 65… Israeli physician and a former member of Knesset, he now serves as mayor of Ashdod, Dr. Yehiel Lasri turns 64… Co-founder of BlueLine Grid, he was previously an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles and a member of the Los Angeles City Council, Jack Weiss turns 57… Director of school strategy and policy for the UJA-Federation of New York, Chavie N. Kahn… Global head of public affairs at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Ken Mehlman turns 55… Co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin turns 48… MLB pitcher for nine teams in a long career (2000-2015), he was the starting and winning pitcher in three of Team Israel’s first four games in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Jason Marquis turns 43… President at Core Decision Analytics, Adam Rosenblatt turns 36… Associate foundation director at Usher 1F Collaborative, Erica N. Miller turns 36… Assistant editor at Simon & Schuster, Tzippy Baitch… Lynn Sharon… James Barton…
SUNDAY: Emmy Award-winning television news journalist, Morton Dean turns 86… Former director of Prozdor, Margie Berkowitz turns 78… Founder and co-CEO of Elliott Management Corporation, Paul Elliott Singer turns 77… Dermatologist in Beverly Hills, Joyce Naness Fox, MD turns 75… Author, he founded the magazine American Lawyer and the cable channel Court TV, he also co-founded NewsGuard, Steven Brill turns 71… Former chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby turns 71… Chairman of Israel Military Industries, and a former member of Knesset, Yitzhak Aharonovich turns 71… Robin Elcott turns 65… Former MLB outfielder, then investment banker, he was the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and has served as president of B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, Fla., Ambassador Mark Gilbert turns 65… Former investment banker who left his job to run a Los Angeles-based homeless service provider, now a professor at USC, Adlai W. Wertman turns 62… Chairwoman of Israel’s Strauss Group, Ofra Strauss turns 61… Co-founder of Marquis Jet and part owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Jesse Itzler turns 53… Director of strategic partnerships at the Paul E. Singer Foundation, Deborah Hochberg… Deputy mayor of Lawrence, N.Y., political consultant and investor, Michael A. Fragin turns 48… Director of operations at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel, Rachel Saifer Goldman turns 47… Partner in the Century City office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Stuart A. Graiwer turns 46… Co-executive director of Christians United for Israel, Shari Dollinger Magnus turns 44… Principal at CSR Operations LLC, Claire Stein-Ross turns 33… Outfielder in the San Francisco Giants organization, Braden Adam Bishop turns 28…