Good Monday morning!
Ed. note: In celebration of Sukkot, the Daily Kickoff will return on Thursday.
Dozens of nations will boycott Durban IV, a banner United Nations General Assembly event taking place Wednesday in New York to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism. Israel and the U.S. walked out of the initial conference in Durban, South Africa in 2001, protesting antisemitic overtones and a final draft document singling out Israel by equating Zionism with racism.
Twenty countries — the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, France, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, New Zealand, Slovenia and Slovakia — have already announced they will not attend the event. Israeli media reported that an additional 11 states were also planning to pull out from the conference but had yet to issue official statements.
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. and U.N. Gilad Erdantweeted Monday that he was working to ensure that as many nations as possible understood that the original Durban Conference, as well as the follow-up events, were “fundamentally rotten.” “31 countries will boycott the shameful event marking this antisemitic conference, more than twice the number of countries that have boycotted in the past,” he wrote in Hebrew.
Former Staten Island Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) is reportedly planning a bid to retake the seat currently held by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY). The redrawing of New York’s congressional districts could shake up the makeup of the district, which Malliotakis took by six percentage points over Rose in 2020.
And in Ohio, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, announced he will not seek a third term in 2022. Gonzalez was facing a primary challenge from former Trump administration staffer Max Miller.
The House Rules Committee will meet today to decide which of the hundreds of proposed NDAA amendments will receive floor consideration later this week. More than a dozen of them relate to Israel and Iran.
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan donate $1.3 million to Jewish groups
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are donating $1.3 million to 11 Jewish organizations in a sign of their deepening connection with the Jewish community, Helen Chernikoff reports for eJewishPhilanthropy and Jewish Insider.
Learning and giving: The couple has also been meeting with rabbis, historians and scholars to learn more about Judaism and the Jewish community, a spokesperson for the Chan-Zuckerberg family office told eJP. “Mark and Priscilla have made some personal commitments in the past, but these new grants reinforce their interest in learning and deepening their connections with the community,” the spokesperson said. Eleven organizations, most of which serve families and young people in the couple’s San Francisco Bay area community, received the funding, which comes not from the couple’s foundation — the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) — but through their family office.
Act local: They include three schools: Contra Costa Jewish Day School in Lafayette, Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto and the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, as well as three California summer camps: URJ Camp Newman, Camp Ramah in California and Camp Tawonga. The local Jewish Family and Children’s Services and Jewish Community Relations Council, in addition to the Oshman Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, received support, as did two national organizations — OneTable, which helps young Jews host Shabbat dinners, and PJ Library, which provides free Jewish books to families.
Fighting antisemitism: “Mark and Priscilla are proud to support the important work each of these organizations does in building communities, education, celebrating traditions and faith, and giving people a voice — especially in fighting antisemitism,” the spokesperson said. The couple’s public philanthropic vehicle is CZI, founded in 2015 with $95 million in proceeds from a sale of Zuckerberg’s Facebook shares. CZI underwent a major overhaul in January when Zuckerberg and Chan launched a new, $350 million group focused on criminal justice reform. When the couple launched CZI, they also pledged 99% of their Facebook fortune to philanthropic causes, estimated to amount to $45 billion over the span of their lifetimes.
new in town
An interview with Michael Herzog, Israel’s incoming ambassador to the U.S.
In his first interview since being approved earlier this month as Israel’s next ambassador to the U.S., Michael Herzog acknowledged the fraying ties between Israel and some segments of American Jewry and offered an outstretched hand. “I would like Jews in America to feel that when we talk about Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people that they are, in one way or another, stakeholders,” he told Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash. “I think what needs to be done is to foster a dialogue with as many Jewish groups as possible — the tent is a big one and we have to talk to everyone inside the tent. I want to bring a message of dialogue and building bridges.”
Family ties: Herzog, the grandson of Israel’s former Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Halevy Herzog, the son of Israel’s sixth President Chaim Herzog and older brother of Israel’s current President Isaac Herzog, will need every bit of his pedigree as he takes up Israel’s most important diplomatic posting at a perilous time in the relationship between Israel and the U.S., and Israelis and American Jews. “My background is relevant in more ways than one,” Herzog told JI. “I grew up in a family where my grandfather was chief rabbi, my father president — elements of Jewish destiny and solidarity were a fundamental part of my education.”
Hitting the ground running: “It is a great honor to do this job, I do not take it lightly. I am preparing for this job very seriously and since there are some open and very pressing issues, I will have to hit the ground running,” he said. “We are at a junction where there will or won’t be a [nuclear] deal [with Iran] and there will be a dialogue and specific strategies, so that will be a main issue for me to deal with vis-a-vis the administration.”
Rebuilding bipartisan support: Herzog, 69, a former chief of staff to four former defense ministers and a longtime peace negotiator, also said he would also focus on “the need for broad bipartisan support for Israel in the U.S.,” as well as countering the “international campaign to delegitimize Israel, which is also prevalent in the U.S.” He told JI, “My message is going to be really showing Israel’s diversity. We are a very diverse, open society and certainly far away from the stereotypes [associated with Israel], and we need to make that very clear.”
‘Peril’ episode reveals Sanders’s fear of ‘authoritarianism’
On Feb. 3, a few weeks after he proposed a sweeping $1.9 trillion pandemic aid plan, President Joe Biden met with a group of leading Senate Democrats in the Oval Office. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who was present, got to business. “If we cannot deliver, authoritarianism may be on the march,” he told Biden, according to an account of the meeting detailed by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their forthcoming book, Peril, an advance copy of which was obtained by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. The book is published by Simon & Schuster and comes out on Tuesday.
Working-class pitch: Sanders argued that passing a major rescue bill would demonstrate to working-class voters — who he believed former President Donald Trump had largely lured away from the Democratic Party — that the federal government was capable of improving their lives for the better, according to the book. “The future of democracy depends on which party is the party of the working class,” the authors paraphrase Sanders as saying in the Oval.
Democracy at stake: Following the deadly Capitol riot less than a month earlier, Sanders had reason to believe that American democracy was in serious jeopardy. But as the Brooklyn-born son of a Jewish immigrant father from Poland whose family members perished in the Holocaust, Sanders was also concerned that the insurrectionists Trump had incited to breach the halls of Congress — one of whom was photographed wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt — were merely a prelude to future acts of violence.
Invoking the Holocaust: “As a kid, I read a lot about the Holocaust and Germany in the 1930s,” Sanders “told others” after the meeting, according to Woodward and Costa. “Germany was one of the most cultured countries in Europe. One of the most advanced countries. So how could a country of Beethoven, of so many great poets and writers, and Einstein, progress to barbarianism?” Sanders, who turned 80 earlier this month, went on: “How does that happen? We have to tackle that question. And it’s not easy.”
‘More horror’: According to statistics released last month by the FBI, Jews are the target of more than half of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the United States. But by the time he walked into the Oval, Sanders — who rarely seems to have invoked the Holocaust throughout his long career in politics — was likely more apprehensive about the future of the republic than his own personal safety. “He told Biden and his colleagues they could not take anything for granted after January 6,” Woodward and Costa write. “Who says more horror could not happen here?”
Annamie Paul puts it all on the line
Last month, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election for Sept. 20, the Liberal leader presented Jewish candidates with an inconvenient timetable. The final weeks of the election have coincided with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The election itself takes place on Monday. Sukkot begins at sundown on Monday evening. The Canadian Green Party leader Annamie Paul — the only Jewish federal party leader in Canada — has found herself thwarted by the ill-planned election. “This is what happens when we don’t have enough diversity in politics,” Paul, 48, lamented in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. “We miss things.”
‘Laser-focused’: Such grievances are perhaps the least of Paul’s problems following months of party infighting in which Green members have conspired to remove her as leader, revoke her party membership and deprive her of campaign funds in the lead-up to what may represent the most consequential election in recent Green Party history. Now, Paul is wagering her future with the party as she vies for a seat in the House of Commons. “Because it is such a short and intense election cycle, because we did start the election cycle at a disadvantage,” Paul said, “I’ve had to try to be as laser-focused as I can.”
Conflict over Israel: No issue has been more troublesome for Paul than than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As violence escalated between Israel and Hamas in May, Paul weighed in on the party’s behalf, urging “restraint” in comments that were received with hostility by party members who took a more critical view of Israel. It was the opening salvo in a bitter feud that has seriously hobbled Paul’s standing as a Green — and just the latest flashpoint in a contentious battle that has long been festering within the party.
Fighting back: Paul acknowledges the stakes but deflects blame for the breakdown that has occurred on her watch, characterizing efforts to remove her from the party as racist and sexist. “It’s been very difficult,” she told JI. “It was an individual situation with an institution. I underline that because we say, generally, in Canada, that we recognize that there are things like systemic discrimination and so forth, and then we never seem to apply that to actual situations.”
Staying positive: Paul isn’t conceding defeat just yet. But she is largely clinging to the belief that her persistence may clear a path for aspiring candidates who feel discouraged by a lack of diversity in Canadian politics. “I really wanted to show that, as a Black Jewish woman, despite all of those challenges, that I did make it to the debate phase,” she told JI, “that I could make it through.”
🔫 Modern Warfare: In The New York Times, Ronen Bergman and Farnaz Fassihi delve into the “straight-out-of-science-fiction story” — first reported earlier this year by the Jewish Chronicle — of the November 2020 targeted killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which was conducted by a remote operator. “The operation’s success was the result of many factors: serious security failures by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, extensive planning and surveillance by the Mossad, and an insouciance bordering on fatalism on the part of Mr. Fakhrizadeh. But it was also the debut test of a high-tech, computerized sharpshooter kitted out with artificial intelligence and multiple-camera eyes, operated via satellite and capable of firing 600 rounds a minute.” [NYTimes]
📗 What’s Old is New: In Tablet, Javier Sinay spotlights a Yiddish-language compendium authored by journalist Pinie Katz that focuses on Jewish journalism in Argentina around the turn of the 20th century, which was recently translated into Spanish for a wider audience. “In his book, Pinie Katz told us about those restless Quixotes and their newspapers, their reports, their intrigues, the debates they prompted within the community, and their relationship to Argentine society. However, over the years Katz and the pioneers he chronicled became figures blurred by time, or as in most cases, completely forgotten. This was especially true given that they wrote and published in Yiddish, which isolated them from anyone who didn’t speak the language.” [TabletMag]
😋 On the Menu: Eater LA’s Farley Elliott looks at efforts to save Los Angeles’s famed Diamond Bakery, which was run for a half-century by Holocaust survivors and became a staple in the city’s Jewish community before being sold to Doug Weinstein and Brian Hollander last year. “Next up: How to shepherd Diamond Bakery toward a prosperous future that integrates customers old and new. The shop itself has gotten some updates, and there are ongoing discussions about what to keep (and what to lose) from the bakery’s pastry cases. ‘How do we maintain the tradition, but then start adding stuff so that young people who have no idea what Jewish baking is will see something tasty and familiar,’ Weinstein says.” [EaterLA]
⚖️ Ignoring History: On NBC News, Jewish Federations of North America board chair Mark Wilf criticizes a new Polish law — which went into effect on Yom Kippur — curbing resitutition rights for Holocaust survivors. “Holocaust victims suffered expropriation of their property twice — first by the Nazis in the Holocaust and then, after the post-war Polish government nullified Nazi takings, a second time by the communist authorities. To many Holocaust survivors, seeing their struggle culminate in this legislation under a democratic Poland is akin to their property being taken a third time.” [NBC]
Around the Web
⚔️ On the Hill: An amendment included in the House Armed Services Committee’s markup of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Pentagon to examine selling or transferring an Iron Dome battery to Ukraine.
⚕️ On the Mend: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) confirmed that he was diagnosed with early-stage chronic myeloid leukemia last year and has undergone treatment.
⚭ Mazel Tov: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis married his longtime partner in a Jewish ceremony.
🧑⚖️ In the Courts: The assailant in an attack on Chabad of Poway (Calif.) that killed one person and injured three others pleaded guilty on Friday to federal hate crime charges.
🚔 Apprehended: A New Jersey man wielding a hammer was arrested after entering a pediatric office and then a laundromat, asking patrons if they were Jewish.
🚫 ‘Zero Tolerance’: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul responded to antisemitic graffiti found on Manhattan’s FDR Drive. “I want our Jewish neighbors to know that we have zero tolerance for these repugnant acts of hate that are meant to instill fear in our communities,” she added in a follow-up tweet.
👮 Crime Time: An NYPD police officer is facing felony burglary charges after being arrested for vandalism at Camp Young Judaea in upstate New York that occurred on Rosh Hashanah.
🏫 Fresh Start: Hillel of San Diego broke ground on a new complex for students at the University of California, San Diego, following a two-decade-long fight to construct the center for Jewish life.
🥪 Coming Soon: Buffalo, N.Y.’s Bloom and Rose will open its first brick-and-mortar shop, a Jewish-style deli, after winning a year’s free rent from the city.
📜 Making the List: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was named to Time Magazine’s TIME100 list of most influential people. United Arab List leader and MK Mansour Abbas wrote his entry.
☀️ Summer Fun: NPR spotlights Camp Be’chol Lashon in California, the only summer camp designed for Jews of Color.
🚨 Crisis Averted: German authorities arrested four people in connection with a foiled plot to attack a German synagogue on Yom Kippur.
🚓 Case Closed: Nearly two weeks after six Palestinians escaped from an Israeli prison, security forces in the West Bank city of Jenin apprehended the two prisoners who remained on the run.
🎤 Singer’s Revelation: Sarit Hadad, one of Israel’s most iconic singers, opened up about being gay in an Instagram post on Sunday as she released her latest song, “A Love Like Ours,” which she said was dedicated to her longtime partner.
🇳🇱 Holocaust in Holland: The Netherlands paid tribute to more than 102,000 Dutch victims of the Holocaust on Sunday, with King Willem-Alexander unveiling a new memorial in Amsterdam’s Jewish Quarter.
💼 Transition: IsraeliPrime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office on Sunday announced thatElad Tene was appointed as Israel’s incoming head of public diplomacy.
🕯️ Remembering: Toymaker Reuben Klamer, who created the modern version of the popular board game “Life,” died at age 99.
Pic of the Day
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (center) hosted Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad (left) and the UAE’s National Security Advisor Tahnoun bin Zayed (right) on the Red Sea on Friday.
Wealth management advisor, he won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers during his eight-year career as a tight end, C. Randy Grossman turns 69…
After a 40-year career at The New York Times, he helped launch The Hill and later Politico, Martin Tolchin turns 93… Florida real estate developer, he acquired 785 acres of mostly swamp land in South Florida for $6 million in 1967 and converted it to Aventura and Turnberry Isle Resort, Donald Soffer turns 89… Author, television personality and philanthropist, Carole Gene “Candy” Spelling turns 76… Dean of the Yeshiva of Greater Washington, Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky turns 68… Senior chairman of Goldman Sachs since 2019, prior to which he was Goldman’s CEO for 13 years, Lloyd Blankfein turns 67… Co-founder of Broadcom and owner of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, Henry Samueli turns 67… Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, Yosef Elron turns 66… Insurance agent in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lawrence M. Schreier turns 64… Real estate developer, sports agent and boxing promoter, Marc Roberts turns 62… Former rabbi of Congregation Beit Torat Chaim of Jakarta, Indonesia and the founder and director of Outreach Judaism, Rabbi Tovia Singer turns 61…
Assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas, he was the goalkeeper for the U.S. field hockey team at the 1984 Summer Olympics, Randolph B. “Randy” Lipscher turns 61… Attorney, author and legal analyst on NBC, Lisa Bloom turns 60… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, Keren Barak turns 49… Founder of PFAP Consulting and special advisor for the Efrat Development Foundation, Melissa Jane Kronfeld, Ph.D. turns 39… Republican policy director at the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, James Mazol turns 35… Senior reporter and deputy team leader at Bloomberg LP, Drew Singer turns 34… Director of business development at the Abu Dhabi Investment Office in Israel, Emily Grunewald turns 34… Director of membership for the Sacramento-based California Solar & Storage Association, Carter Lavin turns 33… Director of digital strategy and executive communications at Sony Music Entertainment, Alison Bogdonoff turns 32… Community and field marketing manager at Sakara Life, Zoe Plotsky turns 29… Manhattan resident, Isabel Eliana Tsesarsky turns 27… Lauren Ackerman…