👋 Good Tuesday morning!
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will travel to Sochi, Russia, next week to meet with President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Tuesday. This is the first time Bennett, who has spoken to Putin by phone, will meet with the Russian leader. The two will discuss a range of political, security and economic issues affecting their countries, as well as important regional issues, most notably the Iranian nuclear program, Bennett’s office said.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will arrive in Washington this morning for a series of high-level meetings, including a trilateral summit with Secretary of State Tony Blinken and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The three are scheduled to hold a press conference and have dinner together. Lapid is also expected to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and members of Congress.
Iran is set to top the agenda of Lapid’s meetings, as he seeks to encourage the Biden administration to take more action against Iran’s nuclear program.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 101, the state legislation mandating that high school students take one credit of ethnic studies in order to graduate, on Friday. Earlier this year — after nearly two years of debates between minority groups and academics over lesson plans — the state’s board of education approved a model ethnic studies curriculum. The first draft of the curriculum included no mention of antisemitism while featuring praise of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel and some of its supporters, including activist Linda Sarsour. The final curriculum included input from the state’s Jewish community and removed anti-Israel content.
Tyler Gregory, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, told JI that the legislation includes “guardrails” to prevent problematic content from entering classrooms. “The most progressive school districts where we’ve run into the most problems around antisemitism and Israel, most of them have already taught ethnic studies courses as electives,” Gregory, whose organization did not take a stance on AB 101, said. “And now the passage of the bill gives us new tools to work inside the districts to make sure that the courses meet our expectations.”
Several other states, including Massachusetts, are considering similar ethnic studies legislation. Gregory noted that the debate in California was centered around the first draft of the state’s ethnic studies curriculum. “If you’re a statewide official watching this in 49 other states, you want to avoid getting bogged down in a two-year food fight,” he said. “So I think what was a toxic process has turned into a deterrent for other states.”
Kentucky Jews frustrated, caught off guard by Rand Paul’s Iron Dome objections
Members of Kentucky’s Jewish community are feeling “hurt” and “thrown for a loop” by Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) continued moves to block a supplemental funding package for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system from passing quickly through the Senate, political leaders within the community told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod on Monday. Paul is the only senator preventing the $1 billion in additional aid from being fast-tracked through the Senate, demanding an amendment that would fund the supplement by pulling $6 billion in aid to Afghanistan.
‘Hurts more’: Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, who is well-connected and active in Jewish and pro-Israel politics in the state and serves as director of the Chabad of the Bluegrass and the University of Kentucky Jewish Student Center, said he was not surprised that Paul opposes Israel aid. But in the context of what Litvin called “blatantly antisemitic” moves by some House Democrats to strip Iron Dome aid out of a larger government funding bill last month, Paul’s opposition to the Iron Dome support “felt different” to pro-Israel activists. “It hurts more now than at any other point,” Litvin said, recounting recent conversations with Jewish and pro-Israel advocates in the state. “While they intellectually know the senator’s point of view, it hurts more this time.”
Thrown for a loop: Daniel Grossberg, a Jewish political activist with ties to several Jewish community organizations in Kentucky, said that some Jewish activists were “thrown for a loop because [Paul] has repeatedly said that, even though he doesn’t support foreign funding, that he would make [an] exception for Israel….The Jewish community is generally frustrated when people express that they’re going to support and then vote against [Israel aid],” Grossberg, who ran for the Kentucky state House last year as a Democrat, continued. “If they’re going to vote against you, we want to know upfront so that we’re not relying on that support, we’re not expecting it to come.”
Reelection concerns: Paul, who is up for re-election in 2022, could see the vote mentioned during the campaign. But D. Stephen Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky, noted that Democrats might struggle to challenge Paul on this particular issue in the 2022 election, given that expected Democratic candidate Charles Booker’s progressive constituency tends to be less supportive of Israel than more centrist Democrats. “If [Paul] faces a more moderate or centrist Democrat…that sort of mainstream or moderate Democrat could very much try to make foreign policy one of the prongs of an attack on Rand Paul,” he said. While Booker frustrated some in the Jewish community earlier this year with tweets critical of Israel, Grossberg praised him for meeting with Jewish leaders to discuss the issue and said that meeting improved his relationship with the community.
city of peace
David Friedman places Jerusalem at heart of Abraham Accords
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman inaugurated his new nonprofit institute to advance the Abraham Accords on Monday evening at a glitzy gala dinner boasting a Who’s Who of former Trump administration officials and members of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. The Friedman Center for Peace through Strength aims to place Jerusalem at the forefront of the normalization agreements Israel signed last year with four Muslim-majority countries, with a focus on boosting Muslim tourism to Jerusalem, Friedman recently told Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash.
City of peace: “The road to peace goes through Jerusalem,” Friedman told the 500-strong crowd gathered in the new auditorium of the as-yet-unopened Museum of Tolerance, the 185,000-square-foot campus located in downtown Jerusalem. “The key to the Abraham Accords was the trust between a small group of people. The Friedman Center is committed to expanding that trust beyond a small group of people. With trust, there are no limits and with trust, we can and will change the world,” Friedman said. The event, which was co-sponsored by Larry Mizel, chairman of the museum and of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Canadian businessman and philanthropist Sylvan Adams, included the screening of the world premiere of “The Abraham Accords,” a five-part documentary about the agreements. The center also inaugurated its “Peace Through Strength Award,” given to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Peace through strength: “The Roman Emperor Hadrian spoke about peace through strength, President George W. Bush spoke about peace through strength, Ronald Reagan spoke about peace through strength, and the central thesis of our administration was to make sure that America was strong in every dimension,” said Pompeo.
Spotted at the event: Other former officials in attendance included Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and the president of FIFA, the world soccer association, Gianni Infantino. Also spotted at the event were NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and his wife Ashley, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP Chairman Norm Brownstein, Avi Berkowitz and Matan Adelson. Israeli Minister of Interior Ayelet Shaked and former ministers Amir Ohana and Yoav Gallant were also seen. Israel’s former Ambassadors to the U.S. Ron Dermer and Michael Oren, Israel’s former Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor and Netanyahu’s two sons, Yair and Avner, were in attendance. The former prime minister made an appearance towards the end of the event.
Peace in the Knesset: Earlier in the day, the Knesset launched the first-ever Abraham Accords Caucus, chaired by Knesset members Ofir Akunis and Ruth Wasserman Lande.
Bonus: In the interview with Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash, Friedman shared that his new memoir, Sledgehammer: How Breaking With the Past Brought Peace to the Middle East, which includes reviews by Nikki Haley, Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and Dore Gold, is set to be published on Feb. 8, 2022.
as seen on tv
Ben & Jerry co-founders pressed on why they’re not boycotting Texas and Georgia
Three months after Ben & Jerry’s announced it would cease ice cream sales in what it referred to as “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the ice cream company’s co-founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, defended the move in an interview with Axios’s Alexi McCammond. The men reiterated their support for a two-state solution, telling McCammond the decision was targeted at Israeli settlements. Cohen appeared stumped, however, when McCammond asked why the company had not extended a similar sales ban policy to places such as Georgia and Texas, both of which have faced controversy in recent months.
Alexi McCammond: You guys are big proponents of voting rights. Why do you still sell ice cream in Georgia? Texas, abortion bans. Why are you still selling there?
Ben Cohen: [Long pause.] I don’t know. I mean it’s an interesting question. I don’t know what that would accomplish. We’re working on those issues of voting rights and, I don’t know. You know, I mean, I think you ask a really good question, and I think I’d have to sit down and think about it for a bit.
✍️ Never Forget: As the number of Holocaust survivors is declining, Adam Popescu writes in The New York Times, museums that memorialize and teach about the Shoah are updating and expanding their offerings, garnering a range of opinions about the broadening of genocide education. “Of the 16 Holocaust museums in the United States, some are teaming with the Shoah Foundation, with many looking to it for direction — and deciding to also delve into injustice and bigotry. Organizations founded by survivors for Jewish communities are now trying to reach wider, non-Jewish audiences by tackling topics beyond the Holocaust…. David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple, a leading Conservative Jewish congregation in the greater Los Angeles area, said broadening implies that the lessons these museums sought to teach have been learned — and ‘that’s very much not the case.’” [NYTimes]
🎓 Campus Beat: In an interview with The Atlantic’s Emma Green, Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber discusses the challenges facing elite campus communities at a time of social change. “Right now, everybody insists on dividing free speech and inclusivity from one another. They insist on a version of the free-speech ideal that is just about unconstrained expression. But we are not here just to have unfettered expression. We are a part of a truth-seeking enterprise. We try to make a difference in the world by, among other things, distinguishing better and worse arguments. We should want people not only talking at one another, hurling insults, and never learning a thing. That would be fully consistent with the demands of free speech, but it would not do anything in terms of what this university seeks to achieve.” [TheAtlantic]
📺 New Host for $600: The New York Times’s Julia Jacobs looks at Mayim Bialik’s efforts to be named the new permanent host of “Jeopardy!” — a job that requires neutrality — despite criticism that the actress and neuroscientist has taken positions on issues ranging from vaccinations to support for the Israel Defense Forces. “Her job, as she sees it, is to simply deliver the clues, and she has been favoring subdued colors like navy blue over the electric-pink she wore last season. ‘I didn’t want to be distracting — like, “Oh my gosh, there’s that lady!”’ Bialik said in a recent interview. ‘I think a lot about “Jeopardy!” just needs to be very neutral to pleasant.’” [NYTimes]
Around the Web
🗳️ Keystone Race: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, is expected to announce his entrance into the 2022 gubernatorial race to succeed term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf.
🏆 Big Win: Israeli-American economist Joshua Angrist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work using real-world data to test big theories about labor markets, including evaluating the effect of education on later earnings.
👋 Saying Goodbye: KKR co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts will step down as co-CEOs of the private equity firm.
🗣️ All the News: The New York Times’s Ben Smith spotlights a 40-year debate between two Boston journalists over media objectivity, and how it can be applied through the lens of the present.
📚 Funny Friends: Dirk Smillie’s new biography of Harry Guggenheim looks at the businessman and aviator’s friendship with Charles Lindbergh, which continued as Guggenheim worked to save Polish Jews from the Nazis.
🖼️ Guilt by Association: The Zurich Kunsthaus museum has come under fire for opening a new exhibit featuring artwork that once belonged to Emil George Buhrle, who sold arms to Nazi Germany and bought mills from Jews who were forced to sell their assets at reduced prices.
🇮🇱 Lasting Land: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel would retain its sovereignty over the Golan Heights and pledged to double the size of the population there, regardless of the geopolitical climate in Syria.
🤖 Bad Note: Singer Billie Eilish was targeted by anti-Israel bots after posting a video to promote a new album to Israeli audiences.
⛔ No Translation: Irish author and Israel critic Sally Rooney is refusing to let her third novel be printed in Hebrew.
💨 Good Air: Israel’s Ministry of Health approved an air filtration system from Aura Smart Air that destroys airborne coronavirus particles in enclosed spaces.
🧑🎤 Mark Your Calendar: The Red Hot Chili Peppers announced they will be performing in Israel in 2023, after canceling a planned show in 2020 due to the coronavirus.
💉 Booster Bummer: Many young Israelis are hesitant to receive COVID-19 booster shots, raising concerns among experts regarding the continued spread of the virus.
👨🚀 Mars Life: A group of six researchers from the Austrian Space Forum, Israel Space Agency and D-MARS are living under simulated Mars-like conditions in southern Israel’s Ramon crater, as a proof-of-concept test before a possible mission to Mars.
🍷 Fine Wine: A 1,500-year-old winery has been discovered in the city of Yavne in central Israel.
🏃♂️ Likud Race: Israel’s former health minister, Knesset Member Yuli Edelstein, announced on Monday that he will challenge Benjamin Netanyahu for the leadership of Likud, Israel’s largest political party.
👨 Transition: Ronen Bar was confirmed as the new head of the Israel Security Authority (Shabak).
🕯️ Remembering: Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity CEO Jim Fleischer died at 52. Industrial furniture designer Richard Schultz died at 95. Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, who led the country through both the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy and the Iraqi invasion of Iran the following year, died at 88. Eddie Jaku, who survived the Holocaust through a series of camp escapes and ultimately settled in Australia, died at 101.
Pic of the Day
Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning (second from right) was in Jerusalem last night, pictured with (from left) former Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, superlobbyist Norm Brownstein and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
According to a source, Manning is touring Israel this week with his wife Ashley and decided to join a few of his fellow Denverites at the Friedman event last night.
Minority leader of the Florida Senate, Lauren Book turns 37…
Longtime baseball reporter for The New York Times, enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Murray Chass turns 83… Former U.S. ambassador to Italy and co-founder of private equity firm Granite Capital International, Lewis Eisenberg turns 79… Television anchor of “Fox News Sunday,” Chris Wallace turns 74… President of Los Angeles-based Community Advocates, David A. Lehrer turns 73… Former CEO of Wakefield, Mass.-based CAST, a nonprofit whose mission is to transform education for students with disabilities, Linda Gerstle turns 69… Managing director at UBS Financial Services, and recent president of NY’s JCRC, Charles S. Temel turns 68… Dermatologist in Los Angeles, Lamar Albert Nelson, MD turns 67… First female rabbi ordained in Conservative Judaism, Amy Eilberg turns 67… Co-founder and executive chairman of Ares Management and the principal owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Tony Ressler turns 61… Deputy director of the White House’s National Economic Council, Seth D. Harris turns 59…
Editor of The Wall Street Journal‘s Review section, Gary Rosen turns 55… Managing director at Goldman Sachs, Raanan Agus turns 54… Executive director of Start-Up Nation Central, Wendy Singer… Producer, actress and screenwriter, Alexandra Brandy Smothers turns 48… Former member of the Knesset, now co-chair of the Green Movement of Israel, Yael Cohen Paran turns 48… Computer programmer, creator of the BitTorrent protocol and founder of Chia Network, Bram Cohen turns 46… Only son of the current Rebbe of the Belz chasidic dynasty, Rabbi Aharon Mordechai Rokeach turns 46… Israeli actress, model and television anchor, Miri Bohadana turns 44… Host of The New York Times‘s “The Daily,” Michael Barbaro turns 42… Politics and media reporter for BuzzFeed News, Rosie Gray turns 31… Communications and marketing manager at Sesame Workshop, Fatima Fettar turns 30… Argentine fashion model and artist, Naomi Preizler turns 30… Pitcher in the Chicago Cubs organization, he had two relief appearances for Team Israel in the 2020 Olympics, Alex Katz turns 27…