👋 Good Thursday morning!
The Washington, D.C., chapter of the Sunrise Movement, an activist organization focused on climate change, announced in a tweet that it would no longer take part in a voting rights march from West Virginia to Washington planned to start today due to what it referred to as the “participation of Zionist organizations.” More below.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding for several joint space projects on Wednesday. Israel’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Orit Farkash HaCohen and Emirati Minister of State for Advanced Technology and chairwoman of UAESA Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri agreed on the joint projects, including a shared lunar mission to plant both countries’ flags on the moon.
The agreements aim to support education and tackle pressing regional challenges such as desertification and climate change. They also include the two countries working together on “Beresheet 2,” Israel’s second attempt to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface, after its first ship crashed-landed on the moon in 2019. The UAE has seen some success with its space program. In February 2021, its Hope Probe was successfully inserted into orbit around Mars.
Sunrise Movement’s DC chapter boycotts event due to ‘participation of Zionist organizations’
A large voting rights rally set to take place on Capitol Hill this weekend has become steeped in controversy after the Washington chapter of the Sunrise Movement — an influential progressive environmental advocacy group — released a statement on Tuesday announcing it would not take part in the event “due to the participation of a number of Zionist organizations.” The statement also announced that the movement would no longer join coalitions with Zionist organizations, naming the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA), Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Not democratic: “This idea that you are told that you have to reject your support for Israel to participate in American public life on issues that you care about, that is what’s antisemitic and anti-democratic,” said Joel Rubin, the executive director of American Jewish Congress who previously served as Bernie Sanders’s Jewish liaison during his 2020 presidential run.
Standing by it: Sunrise DC rooted its reasoning in its support for Washington, D.C., statehood. “We will continue to fight for statehood for DC in the United States and for the liberation of Palestine,” the chapter’s statement said. Sunrise Movement DC has stood by its statement in the face of criticism from Jewish activists and organizations that it is antisemitic. The national staff of the Sunrise Movement did not respond to multiple requests for comment to clarify whether they support the Washington chapter’s position.
Elephant in the room: In separate statements to Jewish Insider, senior leaders at the RAC, NCJW and JCPA expressed commitments to dialogue and coalition-building but did not criticize the Sunrise Movement by name nor call the group’s stance antisemitic. When asked specifically what they thought about the Sunrise Movement statement and its language about Zionism, all three declined to elaborate.
Congressional quiet: JI reached out to the offices of all the current members of Congress endorsed by the Sunrise Movement, asking whether they agree with Sunrise Movement DC’s position. None of those members of Congress — Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO), Marie Newman (D-IL), Mike Levin (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Mondaire Jones (D-NY) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY); and Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — responded to JI’s requests for comment.
Bobby DuBose wants to bring his Tallahassee experience to D.C.
Bobby DuBose, a Florida state representative who serves as co-leader of the Democratic House minority caucus, believes his experience navigating a charged political climate this past legislative session sets him apart in the crowded special election to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). “We had a very toxic session in Tallahassee that was very similar to D.C.,” DuBose, 50, told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kasselin a recent interview, referring to a series of controversial Republican-backed efforts targeting protesters in Florida, as well as the state’s voting infrastructure that his party has decried as draconian. “But I was still able to pass key legislation.”
Battle-tested: The term-limited state lawmaker, who represents Fort Lauderdale, is optimistic that voters in Florida’s 20th Congressional District, which also includes West Palm Beach, will feel that his vision aligns even more broadly with their priorities as early voting begins on Saturday. The Nov. 2 primary is all but certain to indicate who will head to Congress next year because the district is heavily Democratic. “Bobby has a history of working across the aisle to pass legislation that is important to his constituents,” said Justin Day, a Democratic strategist in Florida who has contributed to the DuBose campaign but is otherwise uninvolved in the race. “He doesn’t surrender his principles, but has an understanding of the legislative process, and the ability to build relationships that have led to his success.”
Priorities: DuBose, a former Fort Lauderdale city commissioner and vice mayor who entered the race last April shortly after Hastings’s death at 84, said his top three priorities are healthcare, public school funding and criminal justice reform, a cause to which he has long been devoted as a lifelong member of the NAACP. That some of the civil rights group’s founders were Jewish, said DuBose, who is Black, has only deepened what he describes as a longstanding commitment to forging similar coalitions as an elected official. “Collectively, we’re still in this together, even in this modern-day America,” DuBose told JI. “I get it historically. I understand. We’ve always kind of acknowledged the connection and the relationship.”
On Israel: DuBose said he recognizes that Middle East foreign policy is a particularly salient issue among the sizable minority of Jewish community members who make up a population of 41,000 voters in the mostly Black 20th District, according to a recent report from the Jewish Electorate Institute. “I don’t think they would have to worry about my stance,” DuBose told JI. The congressional hopeful supports the continuation of U.S. military assistance provided to Israel through a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding and rejects calls to condition aid that have increased since the conflict last May between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. In addition, DuBose said he agreed with the majority of House Democrats who voted in favor of sending Israel $1 billion to replenish its Iron Dome missile-defense system, despite resistance from an outspoken yet small faction of left-wing party members who objected to the measure.
Foreign Policy: He also opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel, characterizing the effort as “antisemitic” in a position paper. DuBose signed on to a House resolution condemning the movement in 2016, and, according to a candidate questionnaire solicited by JI, agrees with public efforts to divest from companies that engage in BDS, such as a recent effort in Florida that placed Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, on a list of “scrutinized companies that boycott Israel.” In the position paper, DuBose lauded the Biden administration’s ongoing effort to reenter the Iran nuclear deal, but cautioned against lifting sanctions “as a gift to open negotiations.” While Hastings opposed the deal in 2015, DuBose broadly pledged to continue the congressman’s legacy on foreign policy matters as they pertain to Israel.
on the hill
Emanuel highlights father’s service in Israel’s ’48 war during nomination hearing
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel discussed his family’s Jewish immigrant history at his confirmation hearing for his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Japan on Wednesday, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Quotable: “Dr. Benjamin Emanuel immigrated to this country in 1953 with just $13 in his pocket after fighting in Israel’s War of Independence,” Emanuel said of his father. “The drive and values that I have come from my parents who have always loved and supported me — even though I did not become a doctor like my older brother,” he said, referring to Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a leading bioethicist. “For my mother and father, America was a place of possibility,” he continued. “In his wallet, my father carried a picture of the boat that brought him to the United States. That photo represents what he instilled in me and my two brothers: the beacon of hope, possibility and endless opportunity this country is to the world.”
Hot button: Emanuel also defended his handling of the 2014 police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald during his tenure as Chicago mayor. Some progressives have accused him of attempting to cover up the incident, and a group of Chicago activists led by congressional candidate Kina Collins sent a letter to the committee ahead of the hearing advocating against his confirmation. A group of Illinois politicians also sent a letter urging the committee to closely examine Emanuel’s record. Emanuel explained that he followed city law and policy regarding the investigation, but acknowledged that such procedures “run headlong into… the deep suspicion, mistrust and skepticism that exists in the community about the authorities investigating the authorities.”
Butting heads: The most contentious moments of the hearing came during an exchange between Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Emanuel over the case. “You are saying you had no idea of the circumstances of the shooting?” Merkley asked Emanuel. “No one had told you that a child had been shot 16 times or that the child was lying on the ground or that a revolver was reloaded?” Merkley did not respond to a question from JI about how he would vote, but indicated during the hearing that he believed Emanuel would be confirmed.
Making friends: Following the hearing, Foreign Relations Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-ID) indicated he’s likely to join a small group of Republicans voting for Emanuel. Risch told Jewish Insider he thought both Emanuel and entrepreneur Jonathan Kaplan — the nominee for ambassador to Singapore, who testified alongside Emanuel — “did well,” stating that he’ll “probably” vote for them. On Tuesday, ahead of his confirmation hearing, some Democratic senators were reportedly less solid in their support for Emanuel — Sens. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) said they had not yet decided how they would vote.
heard last night
Former envoys talk antisemitism, with focus on campuses
Ira Forman and Elan Carr, two former State Department special envoys to monitor and combat antisemitism, discussed the fight against antisemitism at an event hosted by The George Washington University Chabad on Wednesday night, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Looking east: Forman, who served under former President Barack Obama, said he is most concerned about governments that “play the game of antisemitism — they use it for their own political purposes,” naming Hungary and Poland in particular. “Neither of them are antisemitic… but they utilize it. They use it as a political tool. Both of them falsify history to say that what happened during the Holocaust is only about the Nazi Germans, and to mitigate what happened with their own government, in the case of Hungary, or their people,” Forman explained. “Both governments play off one part of the Jewish community with another to weaken the Jewish community in general and particularly anybody who criticizes them.”
Fighting back: Carr, who served under former President Donald Trump, acknowledged antisemitic threats from “ethnic supremacists on the far right, the Israel haters and anti-Zionists on the radical left and militant Islamists,” but focused his opening remarks squarely on antisemitism on college campuses. He urged students to push for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism; to “show up” to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, including by mobilizing turnout for student government elections; and to “play offense” by proudly expressing their Jewish heritage. “You go on the offense and you drive a philo-semitic narrative that inculcates, that breeds, that teaches a respect, an admiration, and understanding of the Jewish story, a beautiful story millennia old, and what that has meant for the United States and what it has meant for our world,” Carr said.
meet the founder
The influence of the Holocaust on MasterClass’s founder
In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, Tad Friend profiles MasterClass and its CEO David Rogier. Friend details how Rogier grew up in a family of Holocaust survivors and how that influenced his entrepreneurial path.
“Rogier grew up in Los Angeles, in a house where learning was a torch against the darkness. His father’s parents met in Auschwitz. His mother’s mother, Janina, escaped the Nazis because she was on vacation when they invaded Kraków; her father wasn’t so lucky. When David was in second grade, Janina, whom everyone called Yanka, told him that she’d come to America with nothing and managed to become a pediatrician. “Education,” she declared, “is the only thing that can’t be taken away from you.” He named MasterClass’s holding company after her: Yanka Industries.”
📚Book Ban: Gershom Gorenberg, writing in the Washington Post, takes on Irish author Sally Rooney’s decision not to allow an Israeli publisher to translate her latest novel into Hebrew. “The best novels do what manifestos and, alas, opinion articles cannot: They make us see people more fully, in all their contradictions and dimensions. They demand subversive empathy. A novel placed elsewhere and else-when may do this more effectively, because it lowers our defenses. Jane Austen’s world was utterly different from mine, but she pushes me to question my own pride and prejudice. The doomed lovers of Dorit Rabinyan’s ‘All the Rivers’ are an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man, but the book can make readers in faraway countries question belonging, enmity and boundaries. If Rooney believes in her own writing, she should want Israelis to read it.” [WashPost]
🗳️ Full House: The New York Times’s Jonathan Weisman interviews several House Democrats who have announced their retirements ahead of the 2022 midterms, complicating the party’s efforts to keep control of the chamber after next November. “In interviews, the three representatives who most recently announced their retirement said personal issues were paramount in their decisions — they have served 72 years in the House between them. But they also cited three political factors: redistricting ahead of the 2022 elections, Donald J. Trump’s continued power over Republicans, and the rising Balkanization of the Democratic Party, that they said had made governance increasingly difficult and frustrating.” [NYTimes]
💸 Call for Sanctions: In the Washington Post, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley urges both the Biden administration and Congress to enact sanctions against China for its role in helping Iran evade its own sanctions, warning that Beijing’s support of the Islamic republic is emboldening Tehran’s efforts to sow discord in the region. “The Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping know that supporting Iran is good for Beijing and bad for America. Iran is an important part of the CCP’s Belt and Road Initiative, through which China gains trade access in exchange for infrastructure funding. There’s no world in which China’s involvement in the Middle East makes the United States safer.” [WashPost]
👶 Prolific Papa: In Esquire, Rachel Monroe profiles Ari Nagel, a Jewish math teacher from Monsey, N.Y., and sperm superdonor. “Amidst a historic shortage at sperm banks nationwide, a new means of donation is on the rise: Facebook groups. Elaine Byrd got involved in the community first as a moderator, then as a recipient. That’s how she met Ari Nagel, aka the Sperminator, a superdonor with nearly a hundred biological children and counting. But could he possibly live up to his own hype?… Over the past decade, he’d had more than fifty donor children and was something of a celebrity in the world of sperm donation. He didn’t offer his services in the groups because he didn’t have to; women sought him out.” [Esquire]
Around the Web
😎 Best Buds: Investor Nelson Peltz said he speaks to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) weekly, calling him “the most important guy in D.C. Maybe the most important guy in America today.”
🪖 Demoted and Discharged: The U.S. Army quietly demoted and discharged a reservist with a “Hitler mustache,” who colleagues said had made antisemitic and racist comments, over his alleged involvement in the Capitol riot.
📜 Enlistment Law: A government bill to increase ultra-Orthodox enlistment to the IDF was submitted to the Knesset on Wednesday.
🤐 No Talk: David Barnea, the new head of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, Mossad, has warned its former senior intelligence officials to keep their mouths shut, reports SpyTalk.
✡️ Never Again: At a school board meeting in Southlake, Texas, where an official recently came under fire for proposing that schools teach opposing viewpoints about the Holocaust, a former student described experiencing antisemitic harassment while attending the school.
📅 Table Talk: A Maine school district voted 7-1 to table a discussion on removing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur from its calendar of observed religious holidays.
⚖️ In the Courts: The D.C. attorney general added Mark Zuckerberg to a consumer protection suit against Facebook, which accuses the social media behemoth of misleading users about their privacy on the site.
🎉 Party Time: WeWork co-founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey are hosting a party in New York City on Thursday morning with more than 100 of the startup’s earliest employees to celebrate their former company going public, following a long-running dispute between Neumann and one of WeWork’s top backers.
🛡️ Cyber Talk: Hari Ravichandran, CEO of cybersecurity company Aura, talks about the company’s latest round of funding from investor Jeffrey Katzenberg, which has placed it at a $2.5 billion valuation.
📘 Book Shelf: Walter Russell Mead reviews Martin Indyk’s new book Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy, which traces the influence of the former secretary of state to Immanuel Kant and prescribes Kissinger’s realism as the approach world leaders should embrace today.
📖 High Price: A 700-year-old Jewish prayer book from Germany, offered for sale by a French Jewish organization to shore up its finances, sold at an auction on Tuesday for $8.3 million.
🤝 America Abroad: An Axios report Wednesday said the U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint commission to address the U.S.’s decision to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem that works with the Palestinians.
🤝 Decisive Weeks: The next few weeks will be “decisive” in determining whether the United States and Iran can return to indirect negotiations, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday.
👮 Spy Games: Turkey arrested 15 people it says were spying for the Mossad.
💼 Gazan Gates: In an effort to sustain the cease-fire with Gaza that was established in May, Israel will allow an additional 3,000 merchants to travel through the Erez Crossing out of the Gaza Strip, bringing the total number to 10,000.
🛰️ Drone Deal: Israeli and South Korean aerospace companies inked a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a loitering munitions program, a new class of weapons that combines drone and missile capabilities.
🕯️ Remembering: Richard Wexler, the former chair of both Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and United Israel Appeal, died at 80.
Pic of the Day
Israeli singer Yuval Dayan released her latest single today, “Until Longing Passes.”
Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, Kate Widland Gallego turns 40…
Emmy Award-winning reality courtroom personality, “Judge Judy,” Judith Sheindlin turns 79… News anchor who worked for 36 years in Philadelphia and author of three books on the Beatles, Larry Kane turns 79… Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University, Shaye J. D. Cohen turns 73… Beverly Hills resident, she is a national board member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Terri Smooke… Former prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu turns 72… Novelist, screenwriter, journalist and film producer, Amy Laura Ephron turns 69… Cardiologist and medical director at the Center for Women’s Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center, Nieca Goldberg, MD turns 64… Legislative director for Massachusetts state Senator Jo Comerford, Brian Rosman turns 63… Managing principal and chief investment officer at Penso Advisors, Ari Bergmann Ph.D. turns 60… Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla turns 60… Austin-based commercial insurance consultant, Mitchell B. Davis turns 59… Principal at Viewpoint Worldwide LLC, David L. Bernstein turns 55… Emmy Award-winning television producer best known for her work on “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” Marci Klein turns 54… Folk and folk rock musician, he serves as the treasurer of the William Davidson Foundation, Ethan Daniel Davidson turns 52… Russian-born classical composer and pianist, she emigrated to NYC at four years old and is a graduate of Julliard, Lera Auerbach turns 48… Israeli musician, model and actress, Ninet Tayeb turns 38… Director of Jewish community relations and government affairs at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Joshua Sayles turns 37… Non-profit manager previously at Soaringwords and Areivim Philanthropic Group, Dori Tenenbaum… Chief information officer at Aish Global, Dan Hazony turns 34… Jerusalem-based journalist, Eliana Rudee turns 30… Actress, model and writer, Hari Nef turns 29… Fourth-year medical student at the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Stuart “Shimmy” Jesin turns 27… Occupational therapist, Yael Applebaum…