👋 Good Monday morning!
Vice President Kamala Harris pledged that the Biden administration will “fight antisemitism and hate of all kinds, and call it out wherever it exists,” at the Anti-Defamation League’s virtual Never Is Now conference, which began last night.
“I want to be very clear about this,” Harris continued. “When Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or their identity, when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred: that is antisemitism, and that is unacceptable.” Read more here.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid addressed the gathering by prerecorded video, directly addressing misinformation and incitement on social media. “We must fight back against the world in which the antisemites of the extreme right say, ‘Jews are guilty of causing [COVID-19]’ and the antisemites of the extreme left say, ‘The Jews are guilty of ethnic cleansing,’” Lapid said. “We must fight back against the world in which the algorithm doesn’t care about truth, but about what’s exciting, what shocks.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Mike Herzog is set to arrive in Washington later this week. Read JI’s interview with Herzog from September.
weekend in vegas
At RJC, a glimpse of a party trying to capitalize on recent gains
Buoyed by GOP victories last Tuesday, the Republican Jewish Coalition leadership conference — a key stop for potential 2024 presidential candidates and other party luminaries — over the weekend offered a model for the party’s midterm strategy, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports from Las Vegas. The conference showed a Republican Party that is embracing the policies of the former president, but which is trying to move past Trump as the party’s singular center of gravity.
Trump factor: Trump largely took a back seat during the weekend’s events as speakers talked up their own records on issues like foreign policy and education and bashed President Joe Biden and Democrats. But nearly every speaker, even those most critical of him, was sure to mention and praise the former president, at least in passing. And his aggressive style of politics was clearly on display in some of their remarks. Frequent attacks on Democrats, particularly the far-left “Squad,” consistently garnered cheers from the audience. And chants of “let’s go Brandon” — a shorthand insult to Biden — started by a contingent of college students in attendance interrupted speeches throughout the weekend.
Taking credit: Among the popular speakers at the conference — garnering the loudest applause — were former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. Cruz praised Trump but emphasized his own role in some of the former president’s signature foreign policy moves. “I engaged actively, directly and repeatedly with the president,” Cruz said of his advocacy for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. “I urged the president, I said, ‘Look, if we want to see peace, nothing produces peace more than clarity, than absolute clarity.’”
What happens in Vegas: Haley turned heads with a broadside against pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse AIPAC. “Why do they invite politicians to their conference who strongly support the Iran nuclear deal? Stop rewarding bad behavior. It only gets you more bad behavior,” Haley said. “If you make bipartisanship your whole reason for existence, then you lose sight of the policies you’re fighting for in the first place.”
New playbook: Other speeches from rising stars offered a clearer picture of the party’s likely playbook for 2022 following Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race last week. They focused their speeches on issues such as education and pandemic-related restrictions, more briefly noting traditional Jewish community issues like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and concerns over left-wing antisemitism.
Changing tone: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who gained national attention last year for her fierce opposition to pandemic-related restrictions, exemplified this trend, appearing to have dialed back her rhetoric. “We live in a country that is addicted to being offended… I’m going to ask you to get over yourself,” she said. “There are people in your life that you have quit talking to. You think they are so far gone… I need you to get over yourself and start talking to people again.”
Yair Rosenberg joins the ‘Limited Liability Podcast’
On this week’s episode of Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast,” co-hosts Richard Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein are joined by The Atlantic contributing writer Yair Rosenberg, author of the new “Deep Shtetl” newsletter, for a wide-ranging conversation on social media, last Tuesday’s election results, the BDS movement targeting Israel, and his music career.
Lipstadt nomination: Asked about the delay by Senate Republicans to confirm Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt as State Department antisemitism envoy over past tweets, Rosenberg defended Lipstadt. “There isn’t really a serious case against Deborah Lipstadt’s qualifications for this post. Right after it came out that the Republicans were holding up a confirmation, the [Jewish] federations and the ADL and the Orthodox Union all got together and wrote a letter saying, ‘You’ve got to confirm Deborah Lipstadt. You’ve got to give her the hearing and that she’s eminently qualified.’ This is not a person who plays favorites.”
On this month’s election results: “There were interesting Jewish little carve-outs from these different elections [in Virginia and New Jersey]. People have pointed out that the vote in Lakewood, New Jersey, where there are a lot of Orthodox Jews, swung dramatically towards the Democratic candidate from what it was during the  general election, where it went overwhelmingly for [former President Donald] Trump. And this is likely the result of the Vaad of Lakewood [a leading rabbinic organization] endorsing [New Jersey Gov.] Phil Murphy… Phil Murphy built a real relationship and other members of his administration built a relationship with the Orthodox community. In New Jersey, they went after towns, townships and areas and groups that were basically trying to pass discriminatory laws to keep Orthodox Jews out of their areas… I think people should pay attention to that because I’m sure that Orthodox Jewish voters pay attention to it. And in places where these things are competitive, that can really matter in elections.”
Ultimate goal: “The BDS movement really wants to boycott Tel Aviv. In other words, they don’t just want to boycott the West Bank. And so if people get really behind this idea of boycotting the West Bank, you could look at it as a BDS victory, but it’s certainly not what, say, Omar Barghouti [a co-founder of the BDS movement] wants, and it doesn’t get them where they want to go because they, the BDS movement, certainly the leadership, wants Israel gone. And you can’t boycott only part of Israel’s territory, or in this case Israeli-occupied territory, and succeed in that. And so this is why groups like J Street are comfortable with the Ben & Jerry’s boycott, because they see it as a targeted act that is designed to stop settlements or occupation, but keep Israel. Whereas the BDS movement looks at it, and it says, ‘Well, that happens, then Israel is still around and we haven’t reversed 1948, and thus, it’s a failure.’”
Lightning round: Favorite kosher deli in America? Mr. Broadway in New York. Newsletters he reads everyday? “Snakes and Ladders” by Alan Jacobs; “The French Press” by David French; and JI’s “Daily Kickoff.” Favorite Jewish song? “That’s an impossible question. There are many, many tunes. But I mean, you can’t go wrong with ‘Lecha Dodi.’”
New N.C. map could deny Rep. Kathy Manning a second term
First-term Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) faces an uphill battle to return to Washington after the midterm elections, following the approval of a state redistricting map by the Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly last week, reports Jewish Insider’s Jacob Miller. The new map would split Guilford County, which encompasses Manning’s hometown of Greensboro and comprises most of the 6th Congressional District, among three districts connected to more rural areas of the state, favorable to Republicans. “It would be a significant uphill challenge for Manning to hold on to her seat,” said Michael Bitzer, the chair of political science at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C.
Alternate pathways: Still, Manning could possibly find a path to remain in Congress. “I could see her running in a different district,” said Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University, noting that North Carolina does not restrict office seekers to their home districts. However, he acknowledged, “It’s difficult to know which one would be the best district for her to run in.” Manning could run in the new, solidly-blue 4th District, currently represented by Rep. David Price (D-NC), who announced his retirement last month, but she would have to overcome strong local competitors including state Sen. Wiley Nickel. She could also seek office in the new 2nd District, but she would have to face off against incumbent G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), who has home-court advantage, and whose 1st District is not safely blue either.
Off to the courts: The proposed map is immune to a veto by the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, and will now face challenges in the courts. “If I had to guess, federal lawsuits would be over race, and state lawsuits will be over partisanship,” Bitzer said about the grounds on which the map would be contested. Bob Phillips, the executive director of Common Cause North Carolina, a grassroots organization that opposes gerrymandering and is a co-plaintiff in NAACP v. Berger, a court case opposing the new map, said, “We have a belief that the law is on our side.”
🧢 Merch Master:The New York Times’s Katherine Rosman delves into the professional success of the NBA Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, whose successful sports-merchandise company has propelled the 49-year-old, who hobnobs with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and rapper Meek Mill, to the top echelon of team owners. “The success of the business has put Mr. Rubin at the nexus of nearly every big sports league, an unusual position that not even media executives enjoy, since networks mostly broadcast different sports. It has also made him a billionaire. Fanatics and its new trading card and NFT companies have been valued by investors at a combined $30 billion. Jay-Z is teaming with Mr. Rubin and Fanatics on a forthcoming sports betting division.” [NYTimes]
👪 Family Found: The Wall Street Journal’s Dov Lieber spotlights the story of Bolek Krutz, born in Poland during the Nazi occupation and hidden by a Christian family through the war, as he sought to uncover details about his birth parents. “The process can be an emotional minefield. The tests can rip up long-held assumptions about family bloodlines, uncovering adoptions, infertility and affairs that some would rather leave buried and raising a host of ethical quandaries. Others have found that DNA testing opened up new doors, connecting siblings or cousins who never knew the other existed. In Mr. Krutz’s case, the results breathed new life into a trail that had long gone cold… The data connected Mr. Krutz with three distant relatives in the U.S. and Australia who had also taken DNA tests. And buried in their family trees was Szczycki, pronounced ‘Shztizky.’ The name was real. ‘Oh my goodness. I have someone, I have a family,’ Mr. Krutz recalled thinking to himself when he heard the results.” [WSJ]
🏀 Streak of Success: ESPN’s Gary Belsky looks at the runaway success of the Yeshiva University Maccabees, the basketball team with the longest winning streak in college basketball, attributing the team’s series of wins to a mix of untraditional coaching and ability to tap into a unique talent pool. “Judaism is a religion of streaks. According to tradition, Jews have been circumcising their 8-day-old sons for more than 3,000 years. According to written accounts, they’ve been chanting the Torah in synagogues weekly since at least 2,500 B.C.E. Even smaller observances — the lighting of Hanukkah candles for eight straight nights, the counting of the 49 days of the Omer starting on the second day of Passover, the daily recitation of the Kaddish prayer for 11 months after the death of a parent — are freighted with the pressure of continuity. So it’s interesting to observe the studied nonchalance affected by the people associated with Yeshiva’s news-making winning streak.” [ESPN]
🛸 Life Beyond Earth:Boston Magazine’s Rowan Jacobsen profiles Avi Loeb, the Israeli-born astrophysicist who has “become nothing short of a pop-science phenomenon since the beginning of the year” after his controversial views on extraterrestrial life roiled the science world. “Loeb has been searching for the universe’s hidden truths since he was a child. He grew up on his family’s farm in Israel in the 1960s, raised by a mother who taught him to love philosophy. When he wasn’t chasing chickens, collecting eggs, or tending to his chores, he’d drive the family tractor into the hills and curl up with the existentialist works of Camus and Sartre. Still, he didn’t need these books to appreciate the precariousness of his own existence… His family on both sides landed in Israel to escape the Nazis, and Loeb’s grandfather on his father’s side was the only one of his own 66 family members to flee Germany alive.” [BostonMag]
Around the Web
👱🏽♀️ Back in the Game: Miriam Adelson is back in politics, taking her first political meetings with GOP leaders since the death of her late husband, the influential Republican donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
💵 Reverse Course: Former Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) rescinded a $2,800 donation to Florida state Rep. Omari Hardy, a candidate who lost in the special election held in Florida’s 20th Congressional District this month, over his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
👑 Kingmaker: Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) plans to endorse Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in the Badger State’s upcoming Senate primary.
👨👩👦👦 Freedom Comes: Mendy Levy, a former member of the extremist Lev Tahor sect, recounts his story of his childhood in the cult-like group and eventual escape to Canada to Insider’s Jacob Shamsian.
🖊️ Nazi Problem: Wired spotlights Ksenia Coffman’s efforts to correct the rewriting of Nazi history on Wikipedia.
📸 Snap Shot: Annie Leibovitz’s new book, Wonderland, showcases her fashion photography, despite Leibovitz’s insistence she is not a fashion photographer.
🥪 Kosher Kitchen: CNN explores the evolution of Jewish delis in the U.S. following the hit many took during the COVID-19 pandemic.
😟 I’m Sorry: The Royal Court Theatre in London apologized for showing a play by Al Smith featuring a character resembling Elon Musk with a Jewish name, saying the naming was due to unconscious biases.
⚽ Bad Behavior: English football club West Ham United said it is “appalled” by footage of fans singing an antisemitic song at a Jewish man on a plane.
📗 Book Review: In the Wall Street Journal, Norman Lebrecht reviews the book Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin: Freedom, Politics and Humanity by Kei Hiruta, a “path-breaking study examining her [Arendt’s] relations with the urbane British philosopher Isaiah Berlin [that] depicts their first meeting, in New York in 1941, as hate as first sight.”
🧕 Gaza ‘Guardians’: The Associated Press looks at Hamas’s “male guardianship” law, which prevents women from traveling out of the territory without permission from a male guardian.
☢️ Nuke Nerves: Iranian officials are claiming to have nearly doubled the country’s stockpile of enriched uranium in the last month, as Western powers seek a return to stalled negotiations in Vienna.
🗯️ Consulate Saga: Israeli and Palestinian officials continued to disagree over the proposed reopening of the American consulate in Jerusalem to serve Palestinians, with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett saying on Sunday that there is “no room for another American consulate in Jerusalem” and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki saying Israel “does not have the right to veto” the U.S. decision.
✋ Private vs. Public: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid attempted to distance the Israeli government from the blacklisted NSO group, saying the company was private and had no connection to the state.
👀 Under Surveillance: The Washington Post considers privacy concerns posed by an IDF facial recognition program to monitor Palestinians in the West Bank.
🔍 Border Assessment: The Associated Press‘s Joseph Krauss takes a look at the impact of the Israeli security barrier in the West Bank on the lives of Palestinians, almost 20 years on from when it was first built.
🇮🇱 A Blow to Bibi: in Foreign Policy, Neri Zilber explores the significance of Israel’s recently approved state budget for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s prospects for a comeback.
🪖 Close Cooperation: Senior Israeli and Egyptian military officers met on Sunday in Sinai and agreed to increase the security presence of the Egyptian Armed Forces in the area of the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip.
⌚ Telling Time: Israel is emerging as a luxury watch destination, with an influx of Swiss watch imports and new shops selling high-end brands.
📚 Book Ban: Two of Israel’s largest bookstores are removing books by Irish author Sally Rooney, who announced last month that she would not allow an Israeli publisher to translate her newest work.
📰 Transition:Miami Herald Managing Editor Rick Hirsh will retire at the end of the year after more than four decades with the paper.
🕯️ Remembering: Aaron Feuerstein, known as the “mensch of Malden Mills” for keeping employees of his textile mill on the payroll after the factory was devastated by a fire in 1995, died at 95.
Song of the Day
The music video for Israeli singer Marina Maximillian’s latest song, “Late Bloomer,” shows footage of former Israel pilot Dror Cohen, who, despite losing the ability to walk, fulfilled his dream of driving in the Dakar Rally.
Senior managing director and global head of government affairs for Blackstone, Wayne Berman (pictured with his wife, Lea) turns 65…
Former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, later a U.S. District Court judge, now a criminal defense attorney, Herbert Jay Stern turns 85… Actress, comedian and writer, she played the recurring role of Doris Klompus on “Seinfeld,” her solo theatre shows include “Yenta Unplugged” and “The Yenta Cometh,” Annie Korzen turns 83… CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Ira C. Magaziner turns 74… Chief operating officer at Forsight, Michael Sosebee turns 65… Financial consultant at Retirement Benefits Consulting, Michelle Feinberg Silverstein turns 64… Former Israeli minister of education, now a member of Knesset for the Likud party, Yoav Galant turns 63… Television producer, she is the co-author of Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book Lean In, Helen Vivian “Nell” Scovell turns 61… NYC-area attorney, Charles “Chesky” Wertman turns 59… Principal at Lore Strategies, Laurie Moskowitz turns 57…
Past president of University Women at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Allison Gingold turns 53… Popular Israeli female vocalist in the Mizrahi music genre, Zehava Ben turns 53… Sports journalist for ESPN Deportes, he was born in Ashkelon and has covered both the World Cup and the Summer Olympics, David Moshé Faitelson turns 53… Professional poker player and fashion designer, Beth Shak turns 52… Founder of Ayecha, Yavilah McCoy… Congregational rabbi in Paris and co-leader of the Liberal Jewish Movement of France, Delphine Horvilleur turns 47… Founder and CEO of Gold Star Financial Group, Daniel Milstein turns 46… Israeli singer, Lior Narkis turns 45… Former deputy assistant secretary of state for regional security, Mira Kogen Resnick turns 39… Jewish history department chair at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Aaron Bregman turns 37… Media, strategic communications and branding consultant, Alana Weiner… Allan Waxman…