👋 Good Thursday morning!
Today is Veterans Day in the U.S., and Remembrance Day in the U.K. and Commonwealth countries.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield is scheduled to travel to Israel next week with Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan, where she will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Congressional delegations to Israel led by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) met separately with Lapid yesterday.
The Cardin/Hoyer delegationalso met with Herzog.
The J Street-organized congressional delegation visited children in Hebron in the West Bank, yesterday.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) tweeted after that meeting, “There are streets they cannot walk and places they cannot go, simply because they are Palestinian. When I asked about their dreams, their answer was simple: freedom. The occupation must end.”
The Yeshiva University Maccabees won their home opener against Eastern Connecticut State University 99-69, bringing their winning streak to 39 games, the longest streak across all levels of men’s college basketball.
inside the stacks
An inside look at the Library of Congress’s Hebrew treasures
Before the pandemic, visitors to the Library of Congress’s ornate Jefferson Building could pop into a reading room and ask to see almost anything in the Library’s collection. While tours have recently resumed, visitors can no longer show up at a reference desk unannounced, asking to see archival treasures. But in an interview last week in a sun-filled, empty reading room, Hebraic specialist Ann Brener and senior reference librarian Sharon Horowitz showed Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutchsome of the Hebraic section’s most important books, including some of the oldest printed Hebrew books to be found anywhere in the world.
Worldly outlook: “If you’re going to be a country of great scholars, you can’t really be parochial in your outlook, and the Library of Congress is now the largest library in the world, with all languages and all subjects,” Brener said. The section is known for its Hebrew and Yiddish books, although it also has books in related languages such as Ladino, Aramaic, Coptic and Amharic. “You’re asking why Hebrew, but the point is, why not?”
Wandering bookseller: The Hebraic section was established in 1912 during a period of international expansion for the institution. Financier and philanthropist Jacob H. Schiff, a German Jewish immigrant to the U.S., donated nearly 10,000 books and pamphlets to the Library. The items had been collected by a prominent bookseller named Ephraim Deinard. “He went wandering into the marketplaces of Iraq. He went to people’s basements. That’s how you collected manuscripts and books in those old days. It’s all different now,” explained Brener.
Common story: Brener held up a 16th-century book, a large volume and the first book printed in the Ottoman Empire in Hebrew. Printed in Safed, this was a commentary on the Book of Esther, which is read every year on Purim. Brener offered a theory on the book’s topic: Jews in Safed had “fled Spain. They had been forced to flee or forced to become Catholics, or to pretend that they were Catholics when they were really Jews. And I think they felt a deep connection to this Biblical story because it is really the story of Esther, and she was like them. She was forced to hide her Judaism. She had to pretend to be something else.”
Congressional status symbol: It has become rather trendy for members of Congress and other political appointees to request unorthodox, historical books for their official swearing-in. “It’s gotten to be a big status symbol to request a non-standard thing to be sworn in on,” said Horowitz. “Some people request a very old edition of the Constitution. That’s apparently OK. Muslim members of Congress request very old editions of the Quran. So the Library of Congress, on swearing-in day, brings a whole cart of things.”
Rep. Jake Auchincloss warns of ‘casual mainstreaming of antisemitism’
The Republican and Democratic parties need to be “on guard” against the “causal mainstreaming of antisemitism” lest it become as pervasive as it has within the U.K.’s Labour Party, Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) warned on Wednesday during a virtual event hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Across the pond: “What I’m seeing today is the casual mainstreaming of antisemitism, where people say things or people dig into tropes without actually even sometimes understanding the genesis of their opinions,” Auchincloss, who is Jewish, said. “We’ve seen this happen to the Labour Party in Great Britain, where antisemitism was casually mainstreamed… The Democratic Party in the United States needs to be introspective that that could happen to us too. It could happen in the Republican Party, same thing.” Auchincloss was referring to former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was suspended from the party amid widespread allegations of antisemitism within its ranks, later corroborated by an independent government report.
Overstatement: Auchincloss posited, however, that the public may be overestimating the extent of antisemitic sentiment within the Democratic Party today. “There can be a little bit of a warped perspective on where the Democratic Party is on Israel and on antisemitism. It is still the bedrock mainstream consensus point of view within the Democratic Party that we support strongly Israel’s security… and that we recognize the dangers and evils of antisemitism,” he said.
Thumbs up: Auchincloss praised Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government for its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I think that this current Israeli administration has tried to shrink the conflict as much as possible,” he said. “There are obviously existential issues that are not going to be solved right now, but they don’t have to pervade every aspect of the economy, of civil society, of diplomacy. And they are trying to shrink that conflict, find other ways, other channels to work with their Palestinian neighbors. And I think that’s a healthy first step.”
Schooled: Auchincloss also weighed in on primary and secondary education — currently a hot-button issue in U.S. political discourse that many analysts see as having driven Democratic losses in last week’s elections. “I’ve been very clear about this for the last year and a half — we’ve got to recognize that kids need to be in school full-time. We cannot close the schools again,” he said. “And that’s important academically but perhaps even more importantly, it’s a critical socio-emotional function for young kids in particular to be with one another.”
N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul gives first public address to the Jewish community
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul emphasized her administration’s commitment to combating antisemitism and deepening ties with Israel during her first public address to the Jewish community, hosted virtually by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York last night.
A community under assault: “I’ve spoken at countless events, not just now, but as a member of Congress, in support of the Jewish community, because for so long, the community has been under assault,” Hochul said. “And we talked about the rise in hate crimes against individuals who should never have that fear in their hearts. I visited a number of yeshivas recently, and this was at a time when there were more attacks going on in the streets and people feeling anxious. A young boy said to me, ‘I was told I shouldn’t wear my yarmulke, because that means I’m going to be a target, that someone could attack me. What do you think I should do?’ I said, ‘Young man, wear that proudly. This is a sign of the strength and the resilience that is part of your DNA.’ We’ve always fought back, Jewish people have always had to fight back. But it makes them stronger and more united together.”
Jewish resiliency: The governor, who took office in August, noted that her first public address to the Jewish community came on the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht. “The images that go through our minds of what happened on that night are part of what I’m talking about — the resiliency of the people to stand up to oppression and fight back. And think about the ‘Ethics of the Fathers’ that says — there’s a verse from that — ’It is not your duty to finish the work. But neither are you limited to neglect it.’ As governor of the state of New York, I cannot neglect any community or any issue that comes to my attention. That is my moral responsibility. That is my philosophy of government. We’re going to continue building on what we’ve done in the past, but recognizing that all communities are facing unique challenges right now.”
Going national: “As a member of Congress a decade ago, I stood firm with Israel when they were under assault,” said Hochul, who served in the House from 2011-2013. “And even more recently, as a Democrat… I reject the individuals in my party who are making this an issue and questioning our commitment to Israel… No one will ever question our commitment to Israel.”
N.Y.-Israel ties: Hochul noted that her family had planned a trip to Israel for this fall, which was ultimately postponed when she succeeded former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor said she is looking forward to leading a trade mission to Israel in the next year. “We also have opportunities to do much more in trade and research and development and find more partnerships and relationships so we can innovate the new technologies, but also in healthcare. There’s a lot of things happening in Israel that we need to take advantage of and bring our experts together.”
🥂 Nightlife Mayor: In Vanity Fair, Charlotte Klein describes a buzz of excitement surrounding the victory of New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams and his penchant for partying with celebrities, P.R. execs and CEOs that would make perfect tabloid fodder. “‘We’re trying to get our nightlife up and operating,’ Adams told NY1 the next morning when asked about the appropriateness of partying with the city’s boldface names, a firmly unapologetic stance to expectations of how a mayor should behave that has reporters excited for what’s to come. ‘Covering New York City Hall might be the most fun job in American journalism,’ said Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey. ‘I think it’s going to be a particularly rollicking ride under this mayor.’… Tao Group CEO Noah Tepperberg, for one, welcomes Adams keeping later hours than his predecessor. ‘This is exciting. You have a mayor that realizes what makes the city tick,’ said Tepperberg, a Zero Bond member who has met Adams multiple times through P.R. executive Ronn Torossian, his friend since their days at Stuyvesant High School. Torossian, an unofficial adviser and confidant to Adams — and the person who brings him to the private club as a guest — organized the victory party at Zero Bond.” [VanityFair]
🤝 A New Model: In World magazine, Philos Project President Robert Nicholson explores lessons learned from the Abraham Accords and how they could be applied elsewhere. “The problem in Afghanistan was that we hoped for too much, believing that our power could change hearts and minds given the right intentions. The Abraham Accords offer a humbler approach better suited to the texture of the region, less complete than we would like but nevertheless responsible for increased stability and hope for millions of people. We would be wise to study its lessons — and learn from them.” [World]
🤔 Fact Check: The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler explores the claim made by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and based off of Robert Caro’s biography of Robert Moses that Moses, who was responsible for many of the public areas and transportation routes in and around New York City, intentionally designed highways and overpasses to make it difficult for Black families to reach his parks and beaches. “Obviously this cannot be easily resolved. Caro quotes one of Moses’s top aides as saying the height of the bridges was done for racist reasons, but increasingly that story has been questioned as not credible. Buttigieg should tailor his remarks to reflect what is historically unimpeachable — and we should be more careful to double-check on the latest views of historians. Even a Pulitzer Prize-winning book is not always the last word on a subject.” [WashPost]
⚠️ Neighborhood Watch: Saeid Jafari writes in a post for the Atlantic Council that Iran is at risk of losing influence in the region as it seeks to repair relations with its neighbors without addressing broader foreign policy issues. “Contrary to the argument pushed by the Raisi government, Iran will not be able to significantly improve relations with regional countries without resolving its global problems. If Tehran continues to balk at resolving its differences with the US over returning to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, for example, even Iranian friends could further turn their backs on the Islamic Republic.” [AtlanticCouncil]
Around the Web
✋ Diplomatic Delays: With just 9% of his ambassadorial nominees confirmed by the Senate, President Joe Biden lags behind former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, who had 77% and 70% of their nominees, respectively, confirmed at this point in their presidencies, due to procedural hurdles put in place by Republican senators over unrelated foreign policy issues.
💸 Interparty Party: GOP billionaire Ken Langone intends to hold a fundraiser for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) after saying it took “guts and courage” to block portions of the Biden administration’s agenda.
🇺🇸 America Abroad: The Washington Post‘s Josh Rogin reviews Bernard-Henri Levy’s new book, The Will to See: Dispatches from a World of Misery and Hope, which argues for American intervention abroad to mitigate humanitarian catastrophes.
🔨 Guilty Verdict: Two top leaders of the Lev Tahor sect were convicted of child sexual exploitation and kidnapping for their roles in the abduction and transport to Mexico of a 14-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy.
📱 Meta Moves: Meta announced that the social media behemoth will end a program that allowed advertisers to target messaging to users based on their digital profile, which ProPublica found included ad categories for “how to burn Jews” and “Jew hater.”
💲 Soaring Deal Valuations: Apollo Global Management Inc. Co-President Scott Kleinman said near-zero interest rates are causing valuation multiples to rise “incredibly dramatically,” during a discussion with Bloomberg News’s Jan-Henrik Foerster at the SuperReturn conference in Berlin on Wednesday.
🔍 Job Search: The Biden administration is reportedly looking for a position for former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, after his loss last week to Republican Glenn Youngkin in the Old Dominion’s gubernatorial race, Punchbowl News reported this morning.
🔥 High Honor: Paul Rudd, born to British-Jewish parents, was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive.
📚 Bookish Investment: The New York Public Library raised $5.8 million at a gala this week, the library’s president Tony Marx told guests, making special mention of Steve and Christine Schwarzman, the gala’s executive co-chairs.
📄 Never Again: In a new report, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum found “reasonable basis” to conclude that China is committing “crimes against humanity” in its persecution of Uyghur Muslims.
💵 Money Matters: Israel Englander’s New York-based hedge fund, Millennium Management, will return $15 billion to investors while it separately fundraises to create a more stable asset base.
🤔 Across the Pond: A new survey from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany found that more than half of Britons do not know how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, while a majority believe that “something like” the Holocaust could occur again.
🏫 Campus Beat: British Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi stated that Oxford University owes its Jewish students an explanation for why it accepted donations from a fund created by the son of notorious anti-Semite Oswald Mosley.
⚖️ Justice Served: The man who killed 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in France in 2018 was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
👋 Stepping Down: Isaac Benbenisti, who joined NSO Group two weeks ago as CEO, is stepping down following the announcement that the U.S. Department of Commerce is adding the firm to its list of companies operating against U.S. interests.
💉 Vaccination Nation: Israel’s pandemic advisory board greenlit the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
🏥 Viral Variant: Israel will assess preparedness for an outbreak of a potential COVID-19 variant by conducting the world’s first practice drill, which will take the form of war games.
🪖 Be Prepared: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel is “working all the time to prevent a war” with Iran, but is simultaneously preparing for a military confrontation.
⏲️ Ticking Clock: Amos Hochstein, the American mediator in a maritime dispute between Israel and Lebanon, announced that March 2022 is the deadline for the two nations to hammer out an agreement resolving their conflict.
🎤 Tough Audience: Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi, who has a history of controversial comments from his time as a television host, is caught in the middle of a diplomatic row between Beirut and Riyadh.
🕯️ Remembering: Peter Zimroth, former chief legal counsel for New York City, died at 78.
Gif of the Day
Israeli actress Gal Gadot tells a joke in Hebrew on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” this week.
Businessman and former diplomat, he is the father of Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Donald Mayer Blinken turns 96…
Retired psychiatric nurse in Surprise, Ariz., Shula Kantor turns 94… Attorney in Los Angeles, Gerald I. Neiter turns 88… Retired sports broadcaster, Warner Wolf turns 84… Former Democratic U.S. senator from California, Barbara Levy Boxer turns 81… Author, best known for her 1993 autobiographical memoir Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen turns 73… Television personality, Marc Summers turns 70… Founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Ken Grossman turns 67… Founder and president of DC-based Plurus Strategies, David Leiter turns 67… President at American Built-in Closets in South Florida, Perry Birman turns 64… Aish HaTorah teacher in Los Angeles, author and co-founder of a gourmet kosher cooking website, Emuna Braverman… Talk show host and president of Talkline Communications, Zev Brenner turns 63… Founder of NYC-based alternative investment firm Portage Partners, Michael Leffell turns 63… Professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Steven M. Nadler turns 63… Senior fellow at Brookings and CNN legal analyst, Ambassador Norman Eisen turns 61… Russian-born billionaire, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and physicist, Yuri Milner turns 60… Founder and executive director of Los Angeles-based IKAR, Melissa Balaban… Israel’s Commissioner of Police, Kobi Shabtai turns 57… Emmy Award- and People’s Choice Award-winning television producer, Jason Nidorf “Max” Mutchnick turns 56… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, Orly Levy-Abekasis turns 48… Tel Aviv-born actor and screenwriter, Eyal Podell turns 46… Defender for the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, Daniel Steres turns 31… Associate consultant at Boston Consulting Group, Shelly Tsirulik turns 24… Survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and an advocate against gun violence, Cameron Kasky turns 21…