👋 Good Wednesday morning!
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation, effective in two weeks, yesterday. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will replace him, becoming the first woman to hold the governorship. More on Hochul and her ties to the Jewish community below.
The Senate unanimously adopted an amendment introduced by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) to the Democrats’ $3.5 billion budget reconciliation resolution expressing support for “preventing terrorist actions against the US & its allies, and to ensure US tax dollars do not benefit terrorist organizations such as Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid arrived in Morocco today, the first visit by a high-ranking Israeli official since 2003. The historic two-day trip comes less than a year after the signing of a normalization agreement between the countries and includes the inauguration of an Israeli liaison office in Morocco’s capital, Rabat.
Lapid, who is being accompanied by Israeli Minister of Welfare Meir Cohen, a native of Morocco, and several other Israeli officials, is also scheduled to meet with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.
New York Jewish leaders recognize a familiar face in Kathy Hochul
As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to resign amid an escalating sexual harassment scandal, the spotlight is now on his immediate successor, Kathy Hochul. The Democratic lieutenant governor, 62, will become the first female governor of New York when Cuomo steps down in two weeks. Despite a low profile, the mild-mannered lawmaker from Buffalo is a familiar face among Jewish leaders, with whom she has forged strong statewide connections since 2014. “She understands the importance of really advocating for every group of people,” Anna Kaplan, a state senator from Long Island, told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. “I believe she will be a big advocate for the Jewish community.
‘Widely liked’: David Greenfield, CEO of the Met Council on Jewish Poverty and a former New York City councilman, echoed that view. “Kathy Hochul has spent her years in office cultivating relationships with the leadership of the Jewish community,” he told JI. “I vividly remember during the start of the pandemic how she reached out to me to offer to be helpful fighting food insecurity at Met Council. She’s accessible, transparent and is widely liked.”
Lending an ear: In February 2020, Hochul sat down with Ezras Nashim, the all-female Orthodox paramedic group whose bid to secure an ambulance in Brooklyn had been denied at the city level. Later that year, the emergency medical group found that its request had been approved — an outcome Ezras Nashim attributes to its meeting with Hochul. “We walked out of there feeling like we were heard,” Michael E. Pollock, the organization’s director of intergovernmental affairs, said. “I don’t know what the female [version] of mensch is, but I’m saying this in all sincerity: I genuinely like her.”
Pro-Israel credentials: Michael Miller, CEO emeritus of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, said Hochul displayed a “firm grasp of the challenges Israel was facing” at the nonprofit organization’s annual meeting during her first term as lieutenant governor. He credits that knowledge, in large part, to her short stint as a congresswoman representing a traditionally conservative district in Western New York about a decade ago. “Her identification with Israel, her knowledge of Israel — its challenges and its needs — was very up to date,” Miller told JI.
Longstanding ties: While Cuomo developed strong Jewish ties during his time in office communal leaders emphasized that Hochul will be sworn into office with her own unique set of longstanding relationships. “This is someone who’s not going to have to learn on the job the issues and needs of the community,” Maury Litwack, the executive director of Teach Coalition, a nonprofit educational advocacy group affiliated with the Orthodox Union, told JI.
on the hill
Additional Iron Dome aid now up to Congress, Biden admin says
With the Biden administration voicing “unequivocal support” for Israel’s request for additional funding for its Iron Dome missile-defense system, the responsibility to fulfill the request now lies with Congress, administration officials told a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday. During the hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterrorism, intended to examine U.S. security assistance throughout the Middle East, senators questioned the U.S.’s current military aid posture throughout the region, although Israel aid went uncontested, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Changing hands: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Dana Stroul told committee members that Israel’s request for resupply for the Iron Dome is now in Congress’ hands, as it must approve the additional appropriations. “We have unequivocally stated our support for supplemental appropriations and support of replenishing and expanding the system. We have consulted extensively with Congress and provided information paperwork to you all to support how you choose to proceed in funding the request,” Stroul said.
Increase or decrease? Subcommittee Chair Chris Murphy (D-CT) questioned whether, instead of providing increasing aid to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the U.S. should instead be seeking to deescalate the Middle East arms race, referring to his discussions with Iranian officials. “I think there’s some truth to one of the things they consistently say, which is that our missiles are primarily pointed at the Saudis. And every time you sell them more — every time you give them and the Emiratis more equipment and more lethality and more capability, we invest more in our own,’” Murphy said. Ranking Member Todd Young (R-IN) argued that U.S. deterrence against Iran has failed, citing the country’s spate of aggressive regional activities, and suggested that reestablishing deterrence might involve increasing aid. “Foreign arms sales can be one tool that assists in that overall endeavor,” he said.
Reevaluating: Murphy also probed U.S. aid to Egypt, which has seen ongoing government oppression and human rights violations, some of which the Egyptian military has participated in. “Isn’t there a risk at some point that if there’s no consequence for a country like Egypt to continue this crackdown on political dissent and speech, that it compromises our ability to lead the world when it comes to the advancement of democracy and human rights?” Murphy asked. He also questioned whether U.S. aid is still “necessary in order to prompt Egypt to achieve a detente with Israel,” or if that relationship, and the U.S.-Egypt relationship, would persist unchanged if the U.S. withdrew a portion of its aid.
Bonus: The Senate unanimously adopted an amendment introduced by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) to the Democrats’ $3.5 billion budget reconcilian resolution expressing support for “preventing terrorist actions against the U.S. and its allies, and to ensure U.S. tax dollars do not benefit terrorist organizations such as Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
lens of history
Jewish groups hear echoes of Hitler’s Games in run-up to 2022 Beijing Olympics
After the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games came to an end last week, a number of Jewish organizations in the U.S. and abroad are seeking to call attention to another Olympic Games hosted by a country widely known for human rights violations. In 1936, it was Adolf Hitler’s Summer Games in Berlin. This time, it’s China — and instead of hosting an opening ceremony with swastika flags in the background, Beijing will welcome athletes from more than 200 countries in the February 2022 Winter Games against the backdrop of its widespread persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. A number of Jewish organizations in the U.S. have begun to speak out against the Olympics, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Berlin to Beijing: “It was very clear that there are similarities with what’s happening in Beijing to what was happening in Berlin in 1936, leading up to what would be the beginning of a horrific Nazi era that would lead to death and destruction for millions of Jews and millions of other people as well,” said Serena Oberstein, executive director of Jewish World Watch, a Los Angeles-based human rights organization. Jewish World Watch is a leading member of the Berlin-Beijing Coalition, a Jewish-led interfaith network demanding a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Games.
New position: The American Jewish Committee, which has spoken out against China’s treatment of the Uyghurs but has not previously announced a stance on the Beijing Olympics, told JI that the organization would support a diplomatic boycott of the Games. “The 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing is an opportunity for the United States to lead in protesting China’s treatment of the Uyghurs and Hong Kong. The U.S. government should not send any official representation and discourage American spectators from attending,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “NBC and other media should cover fully the human rights abuses situation in China. American athletes, who have trained hard for years, however, should be allowed to compete, and bring home medals.”
Bully pulpit: Irwin Cotler, an international human rights lawyer and Canada’s special envoy on preserving Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism, told JI that democratic countries and institutions were slow to speak out because of China’s global influence. “It wasn’t only Jewish community organizations, but I would say the community of democracies that was slow to reach that position [against China’s treatment of Uyghurs],” Cotler argued. “It was because China was using its economic power in an asymmetrical way to bully the democracies.”
Bonus: BuzzFeed News reported yesterday that Chinese goods from a Xinjiang company sanctioned by the U.S. for its connection to the mass detention of Uyghurs may have evaded regulators and made their way to U.S. stores and consumers.
🍨 Meltdown: Bret Stephens weighs in on the Ben & Jerry’s controversy in his New York Times column, connecting the company’s actions to broader corporate attempts at staying “woke.” The company’s co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are “the godfathers of Woke Inc., pioneers of a unique marketing magic that seeks to get people to believe that buying a high-fat, high-sugar product that contributes to diabetes and obesity also makes us more virtuous,” Stephens writes, concluding, “To have to write a whole column about the Ben & Jerry’s founders’ personal political views shouldn’t be necessary. Too bad their sanctimonious, inept, and dishonest attempt at foreign policy makes it so.” [NYTimes]
📕 New Hate: In the Washington Post, Dana Milbank argues that Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) use of bigotry is copied directly from former President Trump’s playbook, which he used to attack minorities — including Tlaib. “It’s a classic Trump move: Blame a minority group for a sinister conspiracy, then deny responsibility when your supporters act on your baseless claim. Work ’em into a lather, rinse and repeat,” Milbank writes. “Her antisemitism is dumb politically. At a time when views on race fuel partisanship more than any other factor, she’s driving a wedge between Jews (the vast majority of whom are progressive) and others on the left.” [WashPost]
⚰️ Respecting the Dead: In The New York Times, Ruth Graham observes the handling of Jewish funeral preparations and burials for victims of the Champlain Towers South collapse. “The brute facts of the tower’s collapse made many Jewish laws and customs about preparing bodies for burial and the period of mourning challenging to follow. It took more than a month to recover the remains of all those who were killed — and many bodies were not intact. Still, those rules, improvised where necessary, helped bring comfort to dozens of families coping with nearly unspeakable grief.” [NYTimes]
🔎 Retrospective: Writing in the International Business Times, Peter Martell spotlights the saga of Jewish refugees incarcerated by the British in Cypriot camps. The camps, which held 52,000 Jews hoping to enter Mandatory Palestine after the Holocaust in the years following World War II, did not feature the same grueling conditions as the Nazi death camps, but were traumatic nonetheless. “The English weren’t starving us, and they weren’t killing us like the Germans,” one refugee reflected. “But it was so traumatic, that the very same people who had freed me just a short time ago now incarcerated me.” [IBT]
Around the Web
✉️ Weighing In: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Grace Meng (D-NY) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) sent a letter to the speaker of the lower house of Poland’s parliament urging her to stop legislation limiting Holocaust restitution claims.
🗣️Talking Points: Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), former head of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, released a new report advising swing district Democrats to focus on local issues in order to differentiate themselves from the party’s national brand, which could potentially be damaging in purple districts.
💻 Offline: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) each received weeklong suspensions on Twitter for posting false or misleading information about the coronavirus.
🗞️ Going South: Following former President Donald Trump’s retreat to Mar-a-Lago, a wave of conservative pundits, strategists and political insiders from the Trump era have moved to Florida, fueling a renewed tabloid culture.
📰 Fine Line:The Atlantic’s Emma Green interviews former Associated Press reporter Jonathan Katz about balancing experiences on the ground — and how to describe those experiences in accurate terms — with unbiased reporting.
📜 Shopping List: The New York Timesexplores the history — and relevance — of the ethnic food aisles in many grocery stores, which were originally created to sell products to newly returned WWII soldiers but have evolved into a default area for products from mostly non-European countries.
🏢 Partnership Push: Hudson’s Bay Co., the owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, is teaming up with WeWork to convert some of its unused retail space into a co-working office space. Separately, WeWork is negotiating with the commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield over the creation of a $150 million partnership to provide office real estate as workers return to the office.
💰Big Money: Israeli startup OwnBackup, led by CEO Sam Gutmann, announced a $240 million Series E investment at a $3.35 billion valuation.
🚏Road to Recovery: The Associated Press’ Josef Federman talks to residents of the southern Israeli city of Sderot, close to the Gaza border, where daily life has been punctuated with warning sirens and rocket fire for more than a decade.
🛫 New Paradigm: Russia’s new Checkmate jet fighter prototype rivals the American F-35 planes and could remove America’s global monopoly on premier air power, which currently provides American allies — including Israel — with the world’s best fighter jets, argues Brett Forest in the Wall Street Journal.
🖥️ Digital Deception: New research from the cybersecurity firm FireEye found that Chinese hackers, who broke into Israeli government systems, posed as Iranians to confuse Israel into thinking the attack had come from their regional rival.
🍿 Big Moves: “Fauda” and “Hit and Run” star Moran Rosenblatt signed a deal with A3 Artists Agency and Cavalry Media.
Pic of the Day
A flotilla of Israeli Naval ships welcomed the arrival of the newest vessel, INS Atzmaut, to Israeli waters Tuesday. The German-built Sa’ar 6-class ship is the third of four commissioned in an effort to protect Israeli shipping lanes across the Mediterranean Sea.
Political, cultural and social science commentator for The New York Times, David Brooks turns 60…
Architect best known for the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin and the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Peter Eisenman turns 89… Former CEO of CBS Records for 15 years, Walter Yetnikoff turns 88… Former Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives for New York’s 16th district, Brooklyn DA and NYC comptroller, Elizabeth Holtzman turns 80… Principal of Investors Research Group based in Los Angeles, Jacob S. Segal turns 75… Consultant for non-profits, she was an SVP for international affairs at the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, Lois Weinsaft… Co-founder and co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group, he serves as chairman of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, David Rubenstein turns 72… Former U.S. trade representative, she retired this year as the chair of the international trade group at WilmerHale, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky turns 71… Senior counsel for benefits and employment at the D.C.-based law firm of Keightley & Ashner, Linda E. Rosenzweig turns 69… Lenore Solomon turns 68… Artistic director and choreographer of an eponymous dance company based in Union, N.J., Carolyn Dorfman… CEO, chairman and major shareholder of the Russian gas company Novatek, Leonid Mikhelson turns 66… Former member of the Massachusetts Senate, he is the founder of Cape Air airline, Daniel A. “Dan” Wolf turns 64…
Publisher of Yated Ne’eman, a weekly English-language Haredi newspaper, Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz turns 63… Co-founder and partner of MizMaa Ventures and the weekly wine columnist for Jewish Insider, Isaac “Yitz” Applbaum turns 61… Member of Knesset since 2015 for the Likud party, David “Dudi” Amsalem turns 61… Chief of Israel’s Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman turns 61… Chairman at Duty Free Americas, Simon Falic turns 61… Emmy Award-winning producer at NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Ilana Marcus Drimmer turns 50… MLB pitcher (1994-2002) for seven teams, he is the pitching coach for Team Israel, Andrew Lorraine turns 49… NFL offensive lineman for four seasons, he is now the managing partner of Oakland-based North Venture Partners, Alex Bernstein turns 46… Co-founder and CEO of Israeli interactive video firm Eko, Yoni Bloch turns 40… Chief investment officer of Toronto-based investment firm Murchinson, Marc Bistricer turns 39… NFL punter for seven seasons with the Jaguars and Bears, he is now a broker in the Jacksonville office of Merrill Lynch, Adam Podlesh turns 38… Journalist and copywriter, Yelena Shuster turns 34… General surgery resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Sara Ginzberg turns 30… Management consultant at Accenture Federal Services, Daniel Weitz…