👋 Good Monday morning!
Michael Herzog will be the next Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Friday. Herzog, the older brother of newly inaugurated President Isaac Herzog and a retired brigadier general, served as an international fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute.
From 2009-2014, Herzog served as an unofficial envoy for then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu involved in quiet negotiations between Israel and Arab nations. His appointment now goes to the Israeli cabinet for approval.
Politico reports that Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) has been courting Oracle founder Larry Ellison, including traveling to Hawaii to meet the mogul. Over the last year, Ellison has donated $10 million to the pro-Scott super PAC, Opportunity Matters Fund. Other donors include hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, whom Politico reports is hosting an event for Scott later this year.
Birthright Israel has postponed trips scheduled to depart after the implementation of new restrictions aimed at curbing the latest wave of COVID-19 in Israel, a spokesperson confirmed to Jewish Insider on Monday morning. The restrictions, which go into effect on Wednesday, bar quarantine-free entry to the country to individuals from a number of countries, including the United States.
Who’s in the majority now?
Democratic Majority For Israel, the formidable pro-Israel PAC founded in 2019, has quickly gained a reputation for its combative presence in a number of congressional races where Justice Democrats-backed far-left insurgents have sought to unseat longstanding House Democrats. “There is a conflict over Israel in the party that plays out in platform fights, that plays out in elections, that plays out on Capitol Hill,” DMFI’s president and CEO and veteran Democratic pollster Mark Mellman told JI. “But at the end of the day, it’s an important fight that we have to wage.” After investing heavily on behalf of Shontel Brown in her eventual upset of Nina Turner in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District’s special election, DMFI appears to have won big. But as in previous races, DMFI’s involvement was not without controversy, reports Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel.
Making it big: DMFI first made headlines last year during the presidential primaries, when it launched an attack ad against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) questioning his fitness for office while highlighting his recent heart attack. Months later, the pro-Israel group angered some progressives with a series of ads blasting former Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse in his failed bid to unseat Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA). In Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, which includes most of Cleveland as well as a slice of Akron, DMFI was accused of misrepresenting Turner’s record as it launched a litany of attack ads in an effort to tip the scales in Brown’s favor. Turner, whose campaign was also criticized for releasing misleading ads, addressed the influx of outside money in her concession speech on election night, without directly naming DMFI. “I am going to work hard to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen to another progressive candidate again,” she said. “We didn’t lose this race, evil money manipulated and maligned this election.”
GOP funnel? “DMFI is a convenient funnel for Republican money to be rebranded as Democratic in order to stave off progressive candidates in primaries,” Waleed Shahid, a spokesperson for Justice Democrats, charged in an interview with JI. “That was true in Jamaal Bowman’s race [in the suburbs north of New York City], and that was true in Nina Turner’s race. If they wanted to have a real discussion about foreign policy, which is what the organization claims to be about, they would run ads about the issue that they’re focused on and have a debate about the issue. But they don’t want to do that because they know their stance is increasingly unpopular with Democratic primary voters given all the recent polling in the past year on U.S. aid to the Israeli government.”
DMFI’s view: Mellman rejected accusations of coziness with the GOP. “Most of us at DMFI are quite progressive in our views. The real question is, are they willing to accept pro-Israel progressives?” he mused. “We are an indigenous Democratic organization,” Mellman said of DMFI. “Everybody who’s on our board, everybody who’s active in our organization, is a long-term Democrat, have raised money for Democrats, have worked in Democratic administrations, have worked in Democratic campaigns. That’s who we are. We are part and parcel of the Democratic Party, and [Justice Democrats’] goal is to expel pro-Israel forces from the Democratic Party…It’s up to them to decide ultimately whether being anti-Israel is their most important concern or whether the rest of the progressive agenda is more important to them.”
Ultimatum: In the summer of 2020, Justice Democrats presented Georgette Gómez, the former president of the San Diego City Council who was then running for Congress in Southern California, an extraordinary ultimatum, two sources familiar with the campaign who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal told Jewish Insider. Fire Mellman, she was told by Justice Democrats, or lose their support. Gómez refused, and the group all but officially revoked its endorsement while putting an end to active fundraising and promotional efforts — likely contributing to her double-digit loss in the general election.
Biden nominates Marc Stanley to be ambassador to Argentina
President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Dallas attorney Marc Stanley to be the next U.S. ambassador to Argentina on Friday, reports Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch. Stanley is the latest political ally of Biden’s to be nominated for an ambassadorship. He was the chair of the “Lawyers for Biden” committee on Biden’s presidential campaign last year, recruiting thousands of attorneys to donate time and legal services.
Jewish Dems: Stanley has close ties to both Jewish and Democratic circles. He previously served for six years as president of the National Jewish Democratic Council (the predecessor to today’s Jewish Democratic Council of America), and was a council member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is a member of Israel Policy Forum’s executive committee.
Quotable: “It is a true honor to be nominated by President Biden to represent the United States in Argentina, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my country,” Stanley told JI. “If confirmed, I hope to build an even stronger relationship between the United States and Argentina.”
From the beginning: Stanley was an early supporter of the Biden campaign. He hosted an event with Biden in Dallas in May 2019, one month after Biden entered the race. “I believe the chaos created by our current president is dangerous and unsustainable,” he told JI at the time. “Importantly, I personally like Joe Biden and appreciate what he stands for.”
in the race
Lamb’s entry into Pennsylvania Senate race ‘changes things dramatically’
Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA), who declared his candidacy for the open 2022 Pennsylvania Senate seat on Friday, enters the campaign in the top tier of contenders given his moderate profile and history of attracting crucial working-class voters, Pennsylvania political analysts told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod over the weekend.
Background: Lamb burst onto the national scene in 2018 after winning a special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, which had gone for former President Donald Trump two years prior and typically leans conservative. (The district is centered in Pittsburgh, in the western part of the state.) Lamb has since become a prominent figure in the moderate wing of the House Democratic caucus.
Jumping in: “Lamb [is] a significant figure who’s proven that he can win elections among working-class voters,” Terry Madonna, a senior fellow for political affairs at Millersville University, told JI. The congressman’s entry “changes [the race] up dramatically,” Ari Mittleman, a political consultant and the host of the “PA Political Podcast,” told JI.
Front of the pack: Madonna rates Lamb among the five most competitive Democrats in the race, alongside Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, State Sen. Sharif Street and Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chair Valerie Arkoosh. Nine Democratic candidates have already announced their candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), and several more are expected to throw their hats in the ring.
➡️ Modern Exodus: Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Allan Jacob examines the migration of Orthodox Jews from New York to Florida, which he attributes in part to the Sunshine State’s private education opportunities and an approach to local governance that is more hands-off than in other states. “Many young families up north are enticed by Florida’s robust menu of state-supported private-school scholarships, worth on average about $7,500 a year, as well as expanded benefits for children with a wide range of disabilities. These programs make private-school tuition far more affordable in Florida than in New York and New Jersey.” [WSJ]
👟 Gold Standard: Most of the 16 Olympians representing Qatar in Tokyo were drafted from other countries, writesThe New York Times‘ Hannah Beech, who explores how the Gulf nation, which imports up to 90% of its labor and gives citizenship and lucrative benefits, also offers training to foreign-born athletes who may not have the same opportunities in their home countries. “They include athletes originally from Mauritania, Egypt, Sudan and Morocco. To represent Qatar, where Arabic names are common, many have shed their original names for purposes of competition. But they earn salaries and opportunities that would be impossible in their countries of origin.” [NYTimes]
💃 Diplomatic Dance: Foreign Policy’s Michael Hirsh suggests that the Biden administration’s reliance on Pakistan to reign in the Taliban and pressure the militant group to engage in peace talks in Afghanistan will not produce the expected diplomatic outcomes. “Still, some Pakistani civilian officials fear they may have helped create a monster in the Taliban that will no longer answer to Islamabad and is spreading its extremist ideology back across the border.” [ForeignPolicy]
🪤 Efficiency Trap: In the Wall Street Journal, Oliver Burkeman explores the “efficiency trap,” that being more productive will inevitably lead to more work. “The problem with trying to make time for everything that feels important is that you definitely never will. The reason isn’t that you haven’t yet discovered the right time management tricks or applied sufficient effort, or that you need to start getting up earlier, or that you’re generally useless. It’s that the underlying assumption is unwarranted: There’s no reason to believe you’ll ever feel ‘on top of things,’ or make time for everything that matters, simply by getting more done…That’s because if you succeed in fitting more in, you’ll find the goal posts start to shift: More things will begin to seem important, meaningful or obligatory. Acquire a reputation for doing your work at amazing speed, and you’ll be given more of it.” [WSJ]
Around the Web
☎️ On the Line: Columnist Peter Beinart spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a conference call that was hosted by Ben & Jerry’s for its franchisees.
✍️ Cover Story: Jennifer Senior wroteThe Atlantic’s September cover story about one family’s loss of their son in the Sept. 11 attacks and their struggle to move on.
🎒School Blues: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) has called for an investigation into antisemitism in New York City public schools, following an open letter penned by NYC educators that was blasted for antisemitic overtones.
🎨 Art Wars: Charlie English’s new book, The Gallery of Miracles and Madness: Insanity, Modernism, and Hitler’s War on Art, details how Hitler — who was twice rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna — despised modern artwork and extended his ideas about racial purity to the world of art.
💸 Good Trade: One year since the establishment of the Abraham Accords, trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates exceeded $570 million, a figure expected to reach $1 billion by the end of 2021 and $3 billion in three years.
🎞️ Silver Screen: Aurélie Saada’s film “Rose,” tells the story of a Sephardic Jew exploring life in the aftermath of her husband’s death.
🧯Helping Hand: Israel joined a coalition of European countries aiding Greece’s response to raging wildfires, which have killed eight people and injured dozens more.
🚀 Blame Game: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the Lebanese government was to blame for recent rocket attacks by Hezbollah originating from within the country.
💼 Staffing Up: Keren Hajioff is reportedly being considered for the role of Bennett’s foreign press spokesperson.
🛢️ In Denial: Iran denied G-7 allegations that it was responsible for attacking an Israeli-managed oil tanker — a claim buttressed by a U.S. military report examining drone fragments found on the ship after the strike.
🚢 Sea Moves: The U.S. is reportedly monitoring Iran as it replaces the Saviz spy ship, which was damaged in an April attack, with a new ship in the Red Sea.
😋 Nosh: Hannah Goldfield reviews Contento, a Peruvian restaurant opened by accomplished sommelier Yannick Benjamin in East Harlem that is designed to accommodate staff and diners with disabilities. Among the wines available are bottles from Kishor Vineyards in the Galilee, which employs Israelis with intellectual disabilities.
🕯️Remembering: Nach Waxman, owner of Kitchen Arts & Letters, a bookstore devoted to culinary books, died at 84. Former NBC executive Herbert Schlosser died at 95. Fashion icon Ilona Royce Smithkin died at 101.
Pic of the Day
Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram scored a gold medal in the all-around contest on Saturday, beating reigning Russian champions Dina Averina and her twin sister, Arina, and sparking outrage over what the Russian gymnasts claimed was unfair scoring.
Reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel turns 46…
Prominent Sephardic rabbi, he was a member of the Knesset for the Shas party and served as deputy minister of education and culture, Rabbi Moshe Maya turns 83… Physicist and venture capitalist, co-founder and general partner emeritus of New Markets Venture Partners, Donald M. “Don” Spero, Ph.D. turns 82… Comedian, actor, writer, director and author, son of a rabbi, David Steinberg turns 79… Romance novelist with 22 books on the NYT bestseller lists, Barbara Delinsky turns 76… Author of 36 Jewish-themed books, Seymour Rossel turns 76… Chattanooga, Tenn., telecommunications consultant, Mark Shapiro turns 75… Psychologist and bestselling suspense novelist, Jonathan Kellerman turns 72… Southern California resident, Faith Schames turns 70… Brigadier general (IDF reserves) in the Israeli Air Force, Amir Abraham Haskel turns 68… Director of the Steinhardt Family Foundation in Israel, Tova Dorfman… U.S. senator (R-KS), Roger Marshall, M.D. turns 61…
Member of the Minnesota State Senate since 2007, following four years in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Ron Latz turns 58… Professor of French at Yale University, he is the inaugural director of the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, Maurice Samuels turns 53… Chief of staff for Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Amy B. Rutkin… Kiev-born, member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 2007 from Montgomery County, Kirill Reznik turns 47… Founding partner of New Deal Strategies, Rebecca Kirszner Katz turns 46… Chair of JEWELS (Jewish Education Where Every Level Student Succeeds), Jules Friedman turns 46… Executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition, Jacob Baime turns 36… Real estate investor based in Cleveland, Amanda Isaacson turns 35… Associate at Ropes & Gray LLP, Isaac Lederman turns 29… Israeli actor, best known for his role as Yanky Shapiro in the 2020 Netflix miniseries “Unorthodox,” Amit Rahav turns 26… South Pasadena, Calif., resident, Giovanna Fradkin… VP at Dezenhall Resources, Fred Brown… Elise Aronson… Dan Zimerman…