👋 Good Thursday morning!
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the third-ranking Democrat in the House, said on Wednesday night that he was unsure his party will be able to hold onto their slim majorities in the House and Senate after the 2022 midterms. Jewish Insider‘s Marc Rod captured the South Carolina Democrat’s remarks at an event last night hosted by the Charleston Jewish Federation. More below.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) defended a parent who used a Nazi salute at a school board meeting in protest of the school’s policies.
Cruz said, “My god! A parent did a Nazi salute at a school board because he thought that the policies were oppressive. General Garland, is doing a Nazi salute at an elected official protected by the First Amendment?” Garland responded that it is.
Cruz doubled down on Twitter after the hearing: “The parent was doing the Nazi salute because he was calling the authoritarian school board Nazis — evil, bad & abusive. And yes, calling someone a Nazi is very much protected by the First Amendment.”
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), speaking at a virtual event to mark the three-year anniversary of the Tree of Life attack, called on the Biden administration to host a listening session with Jewish community leaders on antisemitism in the U.S., arguing that “existing hate crimes legislation gives us tools that we… need to use” and that “the Jewish community needs to be involved in its implementation.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) added that she, Deutch and partners from an international task force aimed at combating online antisemitism, are working on legislation — within the bounds of each country’s laws — to regulate social media companies and “what crosses the line when it comes to your First Amendment rights” online.
Rep. Jim Clyburn sounds alarm about midterms amid Democratic Party divisions
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the third-highest ranking Democrat in the House, warned on Wednesday night that his party is not currently positioned to maintain its majorities in the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections due to divisions among the party’s various factions, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Quotable: “We are not going to do what we need to do next year until we build enough intestinal fortitude to start operating a little outside or beyond our comfort zones,” Clyburn told a virtual audience from the Jewish Charleston Jewish Federation “We’re not there yet. I’m hopeful that we can get there. Will we ever get there? That remains to be seen.” He added, “I think we can. I’m not sure we will. My dad used to say to me all the time, ‘Wherever there is a will, there is a way.’ I’m not too sure that Democrats have yet developed the will to win in 2022.”
Fractured: The South Carolina Democrat characterized the current ideological divides in his party as the major threat to its tissue-thin majorities in the House and Senate. “Progressives have got to feel like they can take a chance on moderates. Get outside of their comfort zone. Moderates have got to feel the same way about progressives,” Clyburn explained. “And between those two, you’ve got the New [Democrats], you’ve got the Congressional Black Caucus, you’ve got the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, you’ve got the Asian and Pacific Islanders, all of us operating within our comfort zone.”
Waiting game: When asked by the moderator about the ongoing negotiations over the infrastructure and social spending bills, Clyburn replied, “We ain’t there yet.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) set a deadline of Oct. 31 to pass the infrastructure bill.
Not enough: Addressing wider fault lines in the country, the House Democratic whip added that Congress and the country as a whole are “not doing enough” to address antisemitism, racism and other divisions. “I don’t think you’re going to solve this problem with elected officials,” he continued. “I think that the forces outside the electoral process are the forces that it’s going to take to solve this problem because we just have to stop tolerating certain things… [We’ve] got to stop tolerating and stop making excuses. And we do it on both sides of this issue.”
DMFI PAC hits Omari Hardy on BDS in FL-20 race
Democratic Majority for Israel is making a last-minute foray into South Florida’s special congressional primary, with just days to go until the Nov. 2 election, reports Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. On Wednesday, DMFI’s political arm released an attack ad hitting state Rep. Omari Hardy, a progressive candidate from Palm Beach County, over his opposition to supplemental Iron Dome funding as well as his support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Fighting words: “Omari Hardy supports the anti-Israel and antisemitic BDS movement,” reads the ad, which was published in the Oct. 27 print edition of South Florida’s weekly Jewish Journal. “Omari Hardy said he would have voted AGAINST funding for the lifesaving Iron Dome. Over 96% of Democrats in the House voted YES and EVERY Senate Democrat will vote yes. But Hardy announced he’d vote NO.” The full-page ad features an image of Hardy, a 31-year-old Democrat, superimposed over a pair of rockets fired into the sky.
More to come: A source familiar with the effort told Jewish Insider that the print ad is one element of a broader independent expenditure aimed at opposing Hardy that DMFI intends to roll out in the coming days. DMFI’s late entrance in the 11-candidate race highlights the dearth of national attention from political action committees and Democratic leaders who have eschewed direct involvement.
On the ground: At the local level, the race has kept something of a low profile as polling sites throughout the district remain eerily quiet. “In-person voting is very slow right now,” said candidate and Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, speculating that voters are burned out after an exhausting 2020 election cycle. “People have no clue that this election is going on,” she said.
‘Start-Up Nation’ finally begins tackling its own climate crisis
When world leaders gather next week for COP26, the United Nations’ Conference on Climate Change, in Glasgow, Scotland, Israel hopes to use the forum to position itself as a world leader in providing viable solutions to the global climate crisis. But the self-declared “Start-Up Nation,” known for its advanced greentech innovation in fields such as agriculture, water preservation, clean energy and the growing industry of alternative proteins, lags far behind other countries in tackling climate change and has set itself unambitious targets for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. There are some signs, however, that the current government is now taking major steps to catch up, Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash reports.
Security risk: In recent weeks, Israel’s environmental challenges have burst into public view, with President Isaac Herzog establishing an Israeli Climate Forum and the state comptroller, the nation’s watchdog, releasing a stinging, in-depth report that seeks to serve as a blueprint to improving Israel’s approach. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who will attend next week’s conference, formally declared climate change a matter of “national security” and released a 100-point plan that includes an allotment of some $225 million to improving energy efficiency, bolstering solar energy production and encouraging innovative greentech.
Stopping short: However, Bennett, who will lead a delegation of more than 100 Israeli ministers, Knesset members, government officials, diplomats, experts and industry leaders to Glasgow, stopped short of committing to cutting emissions to net-zero by 2050, which would bring Israel in line with the Biden administration and other Western countries and fulfill the goals of the conference. A spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s Office said there would be further announcements in this sphere from Glasgow next week.
New approach: “We need a change of direction,” former Knesset member Dov Khenin told Jewish Insider. “We are in a state of emergency and the decisions we need to make are not what will happen in 2030 or 2050 but what will affect us today and tomorrow.” Khenin, who will head the president’s climate forum, said the country’s challenges were multifold and included an urgent need to move from an overwhelming reliance on private vehicles to improving public transport; a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy; and more sustainable planning for large infrastructure projects.
Crisis and opportunity: At an event at his residence on Monday for members of the Israeli delegation heading to the climate conference, Herzog showcased, and sampled, some of the Israel’s top innovations in artificial protein production — plant-based vegan eggs developed by Zero Egg and the first-of-its-kind cultured meat made by Future Meat. He was also presented with a “carbon footprint” calculator, which calculates the quantity of greenhouse gases an individual emits into the atmosphere, and tasted Watergen’s water, manufactured from humidity in the air. “[I]f I had to summarize in two words our participation as the State of Israel at the climate summit in Glasgow next week, I would choose not only the word ‘crisis,’” Herzog said at the event. “With your permission, I would add the word ‘opportunity.’ This is an opportunity — precisely because there is a massive crisis on our doorstep.”
Bonus: The New York Times’s Thomas Friedman suggests that climate change is shifting traditional alliances in the Middle East and forcing on-the-ground change. “[T]here may be a day, very soon, where the United States will need to return to active Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy — not based on land for peace, but sun and fresh water for peace. EcoPeace Middle East, an alliance of Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian environmentalists, recently put forward just such a strategy called the ‘Green Blue Deal.’”
Presented by Sapir
Reclaiming Continuity: SAPIR: A Journal of Jewish Conversations launches its third issue today on the theme of Continuity. Though the term has fallen out of favor in much of the community, the journal seeks to offer a variety of perspectives on how to ensure a vibrant Jewish future. In his Publisher’s Note, Mark Charendoff writes: “Without compelling content, we are going to have a hard time making the case for continuity. The essays in our third volume of SAPIR aim to fill this breach – to give us a sense of what we ought to care about, what we might do, and why it matters.” Read here.
Whither American Jewry: Editor-in-Chief Bret Stephens opens the issue with a fundamental question: Is there a future for American Jews? “Given the tightrope the Jewish community has tried to walk,” he writes, “perhaps the real miracle is that more Jews haven’t fallen off. At least not yet….Jewish Americans live most of their lives outside the gates of their Jewish homes, synagogues, and communities. That is where the battle for the future of Jewish America will have to be waged.” Read here.
❄️ Brewing Storm: In The Washington Post, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt argues that antisemitism emanating from the political left is becoming a larger problem, citing the recent decision by the Washington chapter of the Sunrise Movement, a leading environmental group, to cease collaborating with Jewish groups that support Israel. “To use an analogy that Sunrise and its supporters should understand, right-wing antisemitism is the lethal category-5 hurricane threatening to bring immediate catastrophe. Antisemitism on the left, however, is more akin to climate change: Slowly but surely, the temperature is increasing. Often people don’t perceive the shift, or they choose to ignore it even in the face of once-uncommon storms. But the metaphorical temperature is rising, and the conditions threaten to upend life as we know it.” [WashPost]
✍️ Bilingual Script: In Haaretz, Oded Ben Yehuda explores the concept of Aravrit, a script combining Hebrew and Arabic, which is featured prominently in Israel’s Expo2020 pavilion in Dubai. “Two weeks ago, at the exposition’s dedication ceremony, the distinguished guests to the Israel pavilion found a surprise. The entry ramp (designed to emulate the desert sand dunes in the Holy Land and the Middle East) led to a unique typographic sculpture. The sculpture, 13 meters long and five meters tall, with an aluminum skeleton, a plexiglass coating and LED lighting, bears the name of the pavilion: El Hamahar (‘Towards Tomorrow’). Just as surprising as the size was the script, which combines Hebrew and Arabic letters, so that it can be read simultaneously in the two languages. The sign uses a unique writing system dubbed Aravrit: a combination of aravit and ivrit, i.e., Arabic and Hebrew. It is the work of font designer Liron Lavi Turkenich, 36, who graduated from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, and holds a master’s from England’s University of Reading.” [Haaretz]
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Around the Web
🕺 Diplomatic Dance: Senate Democratic leaders are exploring options for approving ambassadorial nominees, in an attempt to circumvent the hurdles Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has placed in an effort to get the Biden administration to impose sanctions on a Russian-backed company.
🗳️ On the Ballot:New York Times commentator Nicholas Kristof launched a run for governor of Oregon.
✡️ Unorthodox Views: The New York Times interviews women in Monsey, N.Y., who are pushing back on the narrative driven by the Netflix series “My Unorthodox Life,” saying the show misrepresents Haredi life.
⛔ No to Hate: San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg condemned antisemitic demonstrations in the city, which he said “endanger the spirit of our entire city.”
👨 FaceTime: After a photo of actor B.J. Novak was mistakenly put in the public domain, companies from the U.S. to Uruguay have used the shot in promotional materials.
🕍 A Shul Divided: Congregants at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue are divided over the abrupt firing of Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt, who served as the shul’s assistant rabbi for a decade.
🍝 Taking Reservations: A former “Chopped” contestant — who cooked with kosher ingredients on the show — has opened a kosher Italian restaurant in Teaneck, N.J.
👗 Dressed to Impress: Rent the Runway, founded by Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss, raised $357 million, giving it a market value of $1.3 billion.
💸 Booming Business: SoftBank Vision Fund 2 announced it will invest $25 million in Israeli VC firm OurCrowd.
🚌 Fuming on Fifth Avenue: A plan to create a busway on New York City’s Fifth Avenue was reportedly spiked after Vornado CEO Steven Roth expressed concern to Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this month.
💰 Shell Game: Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC took a stake worth more than $500 million in Royal Dutch Shell.
📛 Sordid Setting: The upcoming G-20 summit will take place in the Roman EUR neighborhood, which was designed by Benito Mussolini as a showcase for fascism during the 1942 World’s Fair.
☢️ Vienna Verizons: Iran’s top nuclear negotiator announced the country is ready to return to the negotiating table next month for a new round of talks to address the country’s nuclear program, after months of stagnation.
⛽ Blame Game: Iran blamed a “foreign country” for a cyberattack this week that compromised gas stations around the country.
😷 Opening Up: Israel dropped restrictions on outdoor gatherings as the country’s fourth coronavirus wave subsided.
🔨 Retiring Rap: Ahead of his retirement, Rep. David Price (D-NC) talked to Haaretz about his views on U.S.-Israel relations and a two-state solution.
✋Permission to Open: A senior official in the U.S. State Department told senators on Wednesday that Israel’s permission would be required before the United States could reopen its consulate in Jerusalem serving Palestinians.
🕯️ Remembering: Arnold Hano, editor, novelist, biographer and journalist, best known for his nonfiction work, A Day in the Bleachers, died at 99.
Song of the Day
British singer Alex Clare, who ditched a tour with Adele and was dropped from Island Records in 2011 because he prioritized his Jewish faith over his career, is now enjoying success with his new hit single “Why Don’t Ya.”
“They said, ‘It seems like you’re more into your religion than you are into your career,’ and that really wasn’t the case,” Clare told the BBC. “I really was focused on my career, but personal lifestyle choices, whatever they are, haven’t always necessarily been so tolerated. I’m not unique – historically this has been a running theme, not just for Jewish people but anyone who makes commitments elsewhere.”
Manager of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, after a 10-year career as an MLB catcher, Bob Melvin turns 60…
Redondo Beach resident, Larry Berlin turns 90… Rabbi at the Moscow Choral Synagogue, Adolf Shayevich turns 84… Spiritual leader of the Village of New Square and Hasidic Rebbe of Skverer Hasidism, Rabbi Dovid Twersky turns 81… Former member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Sofa Landver turns 72… Anthropology professor at NYU, Faye Ginsburg turns 69… Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Hamden, Conn., Benjamin Edidin Scolnic, Ph.D. turns 68… Four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and assistant secretary for health, Rachel Leland Levine turns 64… Former member of the Knesset for Likud, he currently serves as mayor of Beit She’an, Jackie Levy turns 61… Executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky, Mindy Haas turns 58… Actress and co-owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Jami Gertz turns 56… Owner of a Chick-fil-A franchise in the Houston area, he was a collegiate and an NFL football coach, Tony Levine turns 49… Film and television director and actor, Jacob “Jake” Kasdan turns 47… Israeli singer who sings in the Mizrahi style, Yaakov “Kobi” Peretz turns 46… Former member of the Knesset for Likud, Oren Hazan turns 40… Scottsdale, Ariz. attorney, he was a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives, Adam Kwasman turns 39… General counsel at Aurora Health Network, Elliot Schwab turns 36… Director of product management at Optum, Tali Warburg Goldstein turns 30…