👋 Good Friday 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 Florida 20 special election, one candidate declares opposition to Iron Dome funding; A Black Muslim candidate in Florida’s 20th casts herself as a strong supporter of Israel; Sounding a diverse tune at the opening of Dubai Expo’s Israeli Pavilion; How reporting on the Middle East prepared one journalist to cover Facebook; Fernando Lottenberg takes on antisemitism across the Western Hemisphere; David Friedman aims to boost Muslim tourism to Jerusalem; and Andrew Yang marches forward. Print the latest edition here.
The U.S. rejoined the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday, three years after the Trump administration withdrew from the body, a move it attributed at the time to the council’s bias against Israel and selection of human rights abusers to serve as council members.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haleycalled the move “embarrassing” and “dangerous,” adding, “If President Biden truly cared about human rights, he would keep us far away from the cesspool that is the U.N. Human Rights Council.”
Secretary of State Tony Blinken and current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield both pledged to take on the council’s “disproportionate attention on Israel,” in statements released on Thursday.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrapped up his visit to Washington on Thursday, summarizing it as “three days of optimism, hope and cooperation.” His final day of the trip included meetings with AIPAC and leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as well as Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA).
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will attend COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which begins on Oct. 31, his office announced on Friday. Bennett met with climate experts last August, who urged him to set a more ambitious target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Israel.
During the conference, the prime minister will present Israeli initiatives in the field of climate change and will hold meetings with foreign leaders. He will be accompanied by Energy Minister Karin Elharar and Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, Bennett’s office said.
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and U.N. Gilad Erdan touted the ties between Israel and Indiana that led to groundbreaking yesterday of the Mammoth Solar Project in Knox, Ind., JI’s Jacob Miller reports.
The collaboration between the Hoosier State and Doral Renewables will result in the construction of the largest planned solar field in the U.S. — capable of powering 170,000 households annually.
Erdan was in Indiana yesterday for the groundbreaking. “If our relationship is the Indy 500, then we are only on the first lap,” he said.
Andrew Yang marches forward
Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur and former presidential longshot, said his experience navigating the fraught politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last spring as a Democratic candidate for New York City mayor — when escalating violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza coincided with an uptick in antisemitic incidents — informed his decision to launch a third party that he hopes will act as a moderating force in American politics, he told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel in an interview.
‘A natural response’: Yang, who recently registered as an independent after decades as a Democrat, recently revealed that he was starting the Forward Party in an effort to reshape what he views as an entrenched political system in thrall to various forms of extremism and groupthink. The announcement appears in the final chapter of his eponymously titled new book, Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy, published by Crown. “I believe the Forward Party is, in many ways, a natural response to many of the concerns of the Jewish community,” Yang told JI.
False narrative: Yang described a “strong narrative” among some progressive Democrats “that tries to separate everyone into either oppressor or oppressed… In this narrative, the people of Israel are the oppressors, and what’s interesting is that when you have conversations with other people in other contexts, you could make the case that Jews are actually historically the most oppressed people in the history of the world.” Yang indicated that he had “encountered people who very much held” that view when his mayoral campaign overlapped with the conflict between Israel and Hamas. As violence intensified last May, Yang weighed in with a supportive statement for the Jewish state — and found himself subject to intense scrutiny.
Targeted communities: Yang, who is Taiwanese-American, believes that Jews and Asians in particular represent a natural coalition for the Forward Party amid a rise in hate crimes against both groups. “A lot of this stuff I discovered during the mayoral [campaign],” he said. “I didn’t realize how tied together the Jewish community is with my community and the survival of the system… Jews and Asians are kind of in a similar boat in terms of, like, we need a functioning system of integrity to stand the test of time or else our communities are among those that will be targeted.” Yang recalled attending a rally against anti-Asian hate when he was running for mayor that helped clarify why he now believes forming a third party is necessary. “People started chanting ‘defund the police,’” he told JI. “I said to a friend at the time, ‘If someone thinks that defunding the police would be a good thing for Asians, they need to have their head examined.’”
Dem disenchantment: As he embarks on his latest political project, Yang said he has spoken with Jewish supporters who are disenchanted by the Democratic Party. “They’ve expressed a number of concerns that have made them excited about the Forward Party,” he told JI. “Number one, they see that there is a strain within the Democratic Party that will make support for Israel more and more contentious moving forward — a stream that does, unfortunately, include antisemitism.” The other element, he said, “is that they see that right now the system is not designed for success, and it’s subject to very negative and authoritarian impulses.”
on the hill
‘The Jewish people are being used as a pawn right now,’ Kentucky Jewish leader says
Two Kentucky Jewish leaders who spoke with Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) office this week said the senator’s aides told them it was up to the Jewish community to lobby against Afghanistan aid if they wanted supplemental Iron Dome funding to move forward quickly, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Responsibility: “What [Paul’s office is] suggesting is it’s the Jewish community’s responsibility to convince Congress to stop funding Afghanistan, so that that money can go to Iron Dome. I’m flabbergasted by that suggestion,” Daniel Grossberg, a Jewish political activist in the state who participated in a call with Paul staffers on Tuesday, told Jewish Insider. “These are two unrelated issues… They are suggesting that the Jewish people are responsible for defunding potential terrorism in Afghanistan in order to secure their existence in the Jewish homeland.”
Caught in the middle: Mindy Haas, executive director of the Louisville-area Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass, who was also on the call, echoed Grossberg’s assessment of the message conveyed by Paul’s staff. “We don’t feel that it’s fair that the Jewish people are being used as a pawn right now. We need to make sure that we are able to protect the people of Israel,” Haas said. “Nobody likes what’s going on [in Afghanistan], but we have to protect the people of Israel. And it’s not just Jews in Israel, it’s all people in Israel.”
Tell me why: Grossberg added that Paul’s staff failed to provide a satisfactory explanation of why the senator was linking the two issues. “[Paul’s state director, Rob Givens,] kept reiterating that the senator’s stance is clearly supportive of Iron Dome, but he is quite insistent on marrying it to defunding Afghanistan,” he said. “They couldn’t give me any good explanation of what one has to do with the other.”
House hostilities: Paul’s actions are also garnering criticism from the House Democrats who led the charge on the stand-alone Iron Dome funding bill. “Just as I denounced the political stunts in the House by members of my own party, I denounce the Republican opposition to passing the funding for Iron Dome in the Senate,” Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) said. “We must honor our commitment to Israel and drop these stalling tactics before it’s too late.” Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) told JI earlier this week that Paul’s actions are “abhorrent” and he should “let it go.”
👨👩👧👧 Community Ties: In The Washington Post, Lynda Schuster recounts what happened when an Israeli Druze family traveled to Pittsburgh to seek life-saving medical treatment for their son shortly after the Tree of Life attack in 2018. “The Falahs were everything the Pittsburgh shooter had railed against on social media: They spoke a different language, ate different foods, practiced a religion other than Christianity. But it was precisely their humanity — the very thing the shooter sought to obliterate — that made so many here want to help them. And in helping the Falahs, they seemed to have helped themselves.” [WashPost]
💣 Short on Time: The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin looks at the quagmire facing Biden administration officials as they seek to contain Iran’s nuclear capabilities amid a collapse in talks to reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “The Biden team must quickly decide — and then announce — what it actually intends to do to prevent Iran from ramping up its nuclear program. The United States needs to act before Iran reaches the point where Israel responds and draws the United States into a conflict. This new strategy will surely have diplomatic components, require European buy-in, necessitate security adjustments and include measures to enhance regional deterrence. All these things take time and can’t wait any longer.” [WashPost]
🤝 Strategy Session: In an essay in The Wall Street Journal adapted from his upcoming book, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk suggests the Biden administration take a page out of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s playbook vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and focus on slow, steady progress rather than major gains. “Since Kissinger’s time, U.S. leaders have repeatedly fallen into the same trap. They pursue a final status agreement that is bound to fail, and when it does, they damage U.S. credibility and compound the regional disorder. If the Biden administration were now to follow Kissinger’s lead, on the other hand, it would press for a return to the step-by-step, incremental process that Israel and the PLO agreed to in the Oslo Accords, in which they were required to make modest, reciprocal economic and political concessions.” [WSJ]
🏫 On the Case: A case before the Supreme Court regarding Maine’s use of tuition dollars for nonsectarian education in school districts without their own public schools will challenge the First Amendment’s separation of church and state, Kimberly Wehle writes in The Atlantic. “The technical question in Carson comes down to whether the law is drawing a distinction based on the religious status of a school (which is not allowed under the Court’s current precedent) versus one made based on a school’s proposed use of public funding for religious purposes (presumptively okay). In other words, a state cannot refuse to use money in ways that benefit schools merely because those schools are religious, but it can refuse to provide funds that religious schools will then use for religious education.” [TheAtlantic]
Around the Web
📚 Classroom Confusion: A school administrator in Texas told educators that if they plan to use books about the Holocaust, they should also provide an “opposing” perspective, citing a new state law that requires teachers to include alternate perspectives when teaching about controversial topics.
🌩️ Weatherman: A Washington, D.C., council member who has made antisemitic comments announced he is running for mayor of the nation’s capital.
💲 Risky Business: Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick denied allegations that he used intimidation and threats to force the sale of a Cantor-owned mortgage lender to another Cantor-owned subsidiary.
🏦 It’s the Economy, Stupid! A new book by Nicholas Wapshott chronicles the 20th-century battle between free market theories of economists Milton Friedman and Paul Samuelson.
🛢️ Energy Exports: An Israeli government agency will not recommend the country increase its energy exports until more reserves are found, in a bid to satisfy long-term national demand.
🚑 Violent Outbreak: At least six people were killed in clashes in Beirut during a protest organized by Hezbollah.
🤰 Lost in Translation: In The Washington Post, Danya Ruttenberg and Katey Zeh argue that new Texas legislation on abortion is due, at least in part, to a single word in the Book of Exodus that they claim was mistranslated more than 2,000 years ago.
🕯️ Remembering: Physicist Myriam Sarachik, who escaped Nazi Europe as a child, died at 88.
Pic of the Day
The UAE’s ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba, hosted U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for dinner at his home following a day of trilateral meetings earlier this week.
“Governments make agreements. People make peace. Diplomats at dinner. Happy to host friends @ABZayed, @yairlapid and @SecBlinken last evening,” Al Otaiba wrote on Twitter.
Former U.S. Treasury official, he is reported to have been the first Hasidic Jew to hold a Senate-confirmed administration position, now at the World Bank, Mitchell “Moyshe” Allen Silk turns 60…
FRIDAY: Real estate developer and owner of MLB’s Washington Nationals, Theodore N. “Ted” Lerner turns 96… Retired from the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1996, he is a mediator and arbitrator, Judge Jack Newman turns 82… Founder and dean of the Talmudic University of Florida in Miami Beach, Rabbi Yochanan Zweig turns 79… Former vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, after an eight-year term at the helm of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer turns 78… Media mogul and producer of Power Rangers, Haim Saban turns 77… President at Air Pegasus Heliport, Inc., Abigail Trenk… Miami-based mental health counselor and senior executive producer of the My Survivor Film Project, Mindy Hersh, Ph.D. turns 66… Owner of Los Angeles-based Harissa Restaurant, Alain Cohen turns 66… Founder and CEO of Refinement Services, Neil Kugelman turns 61… Founder and CEO of Olam Corp. and founding partner of Equalitas Capital, Andrew Fawer turns 57… Partner at Gotham Government Relations & Communications, Shai Franklin turns 56… Founder and chief executive of the global investment firm Citadel, Ken Griffin turns 53… Former press secretary to then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, now a political communications strategist, Stu Loeser turns 48… Director of tennis at Boca Bridges and former professional tennis player, Jesse Levine turns 34… SVP at SKDKnickerbocker, Elizabeth Kenigsberg turns 33… Second baseman on Israel’s National Baseball Team, Mitch Glasser turns 32… Director of strategic initiatives at the Modern Art Museum in Shanghai, Heiko Stoiber…
SATURDAY: Israeli attorney, chairman of Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball, Shimon Mizrahi turns 82… Retired CFO of Amtrak, Midway Airlines and Airlines Reporting Corporation, Alfred Altschul turns 82… National president of the ZOA, Morton A. Klein turns 74… Film director and creator of The Naked Gun franchise, David Zucker turns 74… Professor of economics at Smith College, Andrew S. Zimbalist turns 74… Director of policy and government affairs at AIPAC, Dr. Marvin C. Feuer turns 71… Director of Clark University Hillel, Jeff Narod turns 66… Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, David Linsky turns 64… Bestselling French novelist, Marc Levy turns 60… General partner at Battery Ventures Israel’s office, Scott Tobin turns 51… Actress Kala Lynne Savage turns 43… Professional basketball player for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, she has five Olympic gold medals, Sue Bird turns 41… Founder and CEO at Social Studies, Inc., Brandon Jared Perlman turns 40… Four-time U.S. Army light-middleweight boxing champion who boxed with a Star of David on his trunks, Boyd “Rainmaker” Melson turns 40… Senior product manager at The Washington Post, Jason Langsner turns 40… West Coast regional director at Foundation for Jewish Camp, Margalit C. Rosenthal turns 36… Deputy director of operations at NYC Health + Hospitals, Avi Fink turns 36… Assistant commissioner for external affairs at the New York City Police Department, Devora Kaye turns 35… Account executive at Joele Frank, Sam Ginsberg…
SUNDAY: Rheumatologist and founder of the San Diego Arthritis Medical Clinic, Dr. Michael Keller turns 76… Rochester, N.Y., resident, Peggy Futerman turns 64… Movie and television producer, Lawrence Bender turns 64… Rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University and Rebbe of the Talne hasidic dynasty, Rabbi Mayer E. Twersky turns 61… Professor of economics at Harvard, he served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Jeremy Chaim Stein turns 61… Northwest regional director of J Street, Andrew Straus turns 61… Ramsey, N.J.-based licensed professional counselor, Shemsi Prinzivalli turns 60… Co-founder of AQR Capital Management, Cliff Asness turns 55… Founder of Maniv Investments and Maniv Mobility, Michael Granoff turns 53… U.S. senator (D-NM), Martin Heinrich turns 50… CEO and founder of Crosscut Strategies, Kenneth Baer turns 49… Author and staff writer at The New Yorker, Ariel Levy turns 47… Head of US public policy at TikTok, Michael Beckerman turns 43… Co-founder and CEO at Merit, Tomer Kagan turns 38… Deputy director of government relations at CARE, Katharine Nasielski turns 32… Executive director and co-founder at OpenMind Platform, Caroline Mehl turns 31… Member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Dalya Attar turns 31… Senior software engineer at Zocdoc, Adam Greenspan turns 27…