👋 Good Monday morning!
Welcome to election week in America. Despite the off-cycle year, several closely watched national and state seats are up for grabs Tuesday in what could be a bellwether for the 2022 midterms and control of Congress. In a special elections episode of Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast,” National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar and JI’s Matthew Kassel preview the races.
In Florida’s 20th Congressional District, 11 candidates are vying to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). “[Hastings] left a really large void in the district that none of the candidates have really been able to suggest they’ll fill. A lot of them are vowing to advance his legacy, but he was Alcee Hastings,” Kassel said. Kassel also spoke about new polling data showing a tight race among the top three candidates, with a plurality still undecided. More below.
Hastings’s longtime support for Israel and relationship with the local Jewish community — highlighted by his conversational knowledge of Yiddish — has become an issue in the campaign, as state Rep. Omari Hardy drew national headlines for stating his support of BDS and conditioning aid to Israel in an interview with JI. “These open races in heavily Republican and Democratic districts are often very consequential when it comes to the makeup of Congress, and especially when it comes to Israel policy and the Jewish community more broadly,” Kraushaar noted.
“Virginia, Virginia, Virginia,” Kraushaar said is where his attention will be focused come Tuesday. In perhaps the most closely watched race this November, Republican Glenn Youngkin and former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe compete for the governor’s mansion in the Old Dominion. “One of the fascinating issues is that Youngkin has been able to make up ground with some of the moderate, anti-Trump but pragmatic-minded voters by… capitalizing on the lows that Biden is facing down the river in Washington.”
New FL-20 poll suggests three-way race between Cherfilus-McCormick, Holness and Sharief
New polling on South Florida’s crowded special House election, obtained by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel, suggests a three-way race between healthcare executive Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Broward County Commissioners Dale Holness and Barbara Sharief. The election is on Tuesday.
In the lead: Cherfilus-McCormick, who is spending millions of dollars from her personal funds on advertising to prop up her campaign, leads the pack at 15%, with Holness just a point behind at 14% and Sharief at 13%.
Background: The poll was conducted by Expedition Strategies, which surveyed 500 likely Democratic primary voters between Oct. 20 and 24. Respondents included those who had already voted and those who had yet to vote. The margin of error is 4.38%.
Up for grabs: A plurality of voters — 27% — remain undecided as 11 candidates vie for support in the divided race to succeed the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) in Florida’s 20th Congressional District, which includes parts of Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Hastings, the longest-serving member of Florida’s congressional delegation, died in April at 84. In fourth place is state Sen. Perry Thurston, at 10%. The poll puts state Reps. Bobby DuBose and Omari Hardy at 6% and 5% respectively. Former state legislator Priscilla Taylor and retired Naval officer Phil Jackson both garnered 2%.
200 House Republicans sign letter opposing Jerusalem consulate
All but 12 House Republicans, led by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), including all members of the party’s leadership, have signed onto a letter to President Joe Biden opposing the administration’s plan to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem that served Palestinians, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. The letter, dated November 1st and signed by 200 Republicans, argues that reopening the consulate, which was shuttered by the Trump administration in 2019, “would be inconsistent” with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. That bill directed the president to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognized Jerusalem as an “undivided city” and the capital of Israel.
Pushing back: “The Biden Administration’s shameful move would have the unconscionable effect of undermining the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and signal support for dividing Jerusalem,” Zeldin said in a joint statement with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX). “Moreover, the Administration’s insistence is wrongly creating a rift between the United States and Israel, one of our closest and most important allies, and moves the region further away from peace.”
Eleven new books to read in November
In the third installment of a new series exploring new and upcoming books, the team at Jewish Insider previews 11 new titles coming out in November:
Both/And: A Life in Many Words, by Huma Abedin (Nov. 2): The memoir from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior aide explores her early life in Saudi Arabia, turbulent marriage to former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and travels to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Our Country Friends, by Gary Shteyngart (Nov. 2): When COVID-19 hit, Shteyngart turned attention away from the book he had been working on to write a pandemic novel about a group of friends who retreat to a country home in upstate New York at the start of the pandemic.
Misfire: Inside the Downfall of the NRA, by Tim Mak (Nov. 2): The exposé of the NRA looks at the waning influence the special interest group carried in Washington under the leadership of CEO Wayne LaPierre.
Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World’s Most Contested City, by Andrew Lawler (Nov. 2): Lawler’s third book takes a look at the 150-year history of the complicated and sometimes controversial archeological digs — oftentimes conducted by amateurs with a taste of adventure and finding treasure — under the city of Jerusalem.
Lightning Down: A World War II Story of Survival, by Tom Clavin (Nov. 2): In his 10th book, Clavin tells the harrowing but true story of 22-year-old Joe Moser, a WWII fighter pilot shot down over France and taken to Buchenwald, instead of a POW camp.
Presented by Sapir
The articles released by SAPIR today offer perspectives on the Jewish future drawn from the diverse experiences of European and Russian-speaking Jews.
Antisemites Forever? Annika Hernroth-Rothstein offers sobering reflections on life for European Jews. “European Jews live in fear and, to some extent, in hiding. They do not trust their governments to protect them. In the 76 years since the Holocaust, hating Jews has again become politically expedient and socially acceptable in Europe. A clear line has been drawn: The dead Jews of the past are good, while those who insist on staying alive and staying Jewish—especially those who support the State of Israel—are evil. We Jews bond together like refuseniks, fighting for survival in a place that has never stopped trying to get rid of us.” Read here.
Russian Lessons: Izabella Tabarovsky draws on the experience of Jews from the former Soviet Union and what Americans might learn from them. “Going against the general American trend over the past decade, [Russian-speaking Jews] have ‘thickened’ their Jewish identity, reimagined their narrative, and become committed stakeholders in their own future and the future of American Jewry as a whole… They remember what it is like to be oppressed as Jews. Their experiences endow them with authentic voices and arguments with which to address some of the most crucial issues facing American Jewry today. They bring new immigrants’ wisdom and courage to the community. Significantly, they are no longer on the outside looking in.” Read here.
🕍 Misrepresentation: BuzzFeed’s Joseph Bernstein looks at the rising popularity of Netflix programming that showcases religious Jewish life and the controversy around how the content is created — and by whom. “But because narratives of Haredi Jews who have left their communities are the easiest to find, their stories are inevitably overrepresented. That’s a complaint common among Orthodox Jews who engage with the secular world, and who worry perhaps more than their most closed-off coreligionists about their depiction. The new shows capturing the public’s attention may feature accurate details and stories based in reality, but they only represent a sliver of Haredi life. In turn, this sliver comes to represent the whole of Haredi Judaism in the algorithmically driven classificatory imagination.” [BuzzFeed]
🎶 Music Mogul: The Financial Times‘s Ludovic Hunter-Tilney smokes cigars with Lyor Cohen, head of music for YouTube, and discusses the streaming industry and the music industry executive’s rise to success in the rap world. “In the Def Jam offices, Cohen was called ‘Little Israel’. As a white Jewish man in a mainly African-American musical culture, he was an outsider. ‘I never had any friction. None at all. It was all love,’ he says. ‘I never came up against anti-Semitism.’ Another name he was given in New York rap circles was Lansky, after the notorious Jewish mobster Meyer Lansky. ‘I said to them, I understand what you’re trying to say and I’m thankful for it. But I would rather you called me Albert Einstein than Lansky. They were trying to be flattering to me. But I always corrected them. I tried to explain to them what it means to be Jewish. I just didn’t like the references to money and this and that, and I’d stop them and educate them. All the shop owners in Harlem were Jewish, so that was their experience.’” In the piece, Cohen and Hunter-Tilney are asked on the street if they have had a chance to shake the lulav that day. Cohen replied, “I did, thank you.” [FinancialTimes]
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Around the Web
🙅♂️ Pressure Campaign: Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Jim Risch (R-ID), the top members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken to coordinate additional sanctions on Lebanon with the European Union.
🔥 Cabinet Crunch: Lebanese officials are under pressure to remove a cabinet member whose comments on the war in Yemen have inflamed tensions between Beirut and Saudi Arabia.
📺 Now Playing: A new Netflix docuseries explores the 1986 killings of four Israeli family members from Ein Kerem by their youngest son.
🧳 Dubbing a New Life: The new Israeli film “Golden Voices” spotlights — with humor and seriousness — the challenges of Russian immigration to Israel after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
🎞️ Bad Boycott: Two hundred celebrities — including Mila Kunis, Helen Mirren and Neil Patrick Harris — penned a public letter opposing a boycott of the Tel Aviv International LGBTQ Film Festival.
✋ On the Agenda: Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he is confident that Israel’s 2021-2022 budget will receive Knesset approval this week.
🗣️ Speaker Circuit: Former Vice President Mike Pence and former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) spoke at a National Council of Resistance of Iran conference in Washington, D.C., last week.
🙅 False Parallels: A Kansas state lawmaker equated racism, antisemitism and vaccine mandate measures during a legislative session on Friday.
😂 Name Game: The announcement by Mark Zuckerberg that Facebook is changing its name to Meta was met with ridicule by Israelis who noted that the word translates to “dead” in Hebrew.
🛫 Aerial Allies: Recent images from a multilateral circumnavigation of the Arabian Peninsula show Israeli fighter jets escorting an American B-1 bomber around the Gulf.
💬 Israel Interview: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett talks COVID-19, climate change, Iran, tech, politics, diplomacy and Israel’s relations with Arab countries in an interview with The Sunday Times.
✈️ Last, Last Afghan Jew: Tova Moradi, an 86-year-old Afghan woman now believed to have been the last remaining Jew in the country following the departure of her distant cousin, Zebulon Simentov, fled the country and is now in Albania.
🏠 Vicious Vandalism: A paper copy Torah scroll was damaged in a vandalism incident at a George Washington University fraternity house over the weekend.
💗 Bashert in the Gulf? The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities has launched the region’s first Jewish dating site, called JSG, short for “Jewish Singles in the Gulf.”
☢️ Nuke Negotiator: Iran tapped its former ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency under then-President Hassan Rouhani to be deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, ensuring he will continue to engage foreign powers in nuclear talks.
🇮🇷 Atomic Area: President Joe Biden indicated at the G-20 summit that nuclear talks with Iran will likely move forward.
🏘️ Housing Crisis: Israel announced a new plan to tackle its housing crisis by lowering land taxes, instituting restrictions on property to be leased over Airbnb and cutting red tape.
🕯️ Remembering: Mimi Levin Lieber, whose use of focus groups defined marketing for a generation, died at 93. Sociologist Pauline Bart, whose research focused on the effects of gender biases on women, died at 91.
Song of the Day
Israeli-American rapper Nissim Black has released his latest single, “Higher,” an anthem to spiritual seeking.
Actress, born in Odessa, best known for her roles on “All My Children,” “Days of Our Lives” and “General Hospital,” Alla Korot turns 51…
French economic and social theorist, he is the author of The Economic History of the Jewish People, Jacques Attali turns 78… Rabbi of Baltimore’s Beth Tfiloh Congregation for over 40 years, Mitchell Wohlberg turns 77… Country singer-songwriter, novelist and humorist, Richard Samet “Kinky” Friedman turns 77… Founder of Lotus and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mitch Kapor turns 71… Founding rabbi, now emeritus, at Beit T’Shuvah Jewish addiction treatment center and synagogue in Los Angeles, Mark Borovitz turns 70… Retired management analyst at the U.S. Department of Energy, Les Novitsky turns 64… CEO of security equipment manufacturer Safariland, Warren B. Kanders turns 64… Pinchus Hikind turns 62… President of an eponymous auctioneering firm specializing in antique Judaica, Jonathan Greenstein turns 54… Managing director for national affairs at AIPAC, Elliot Brandt turns 53… Principal at Calabasas, California-based CRC-Commercial Realty Consultants, Brian Weisberg turns 49… Israeli director, screenwriter and actress, Dikla Elkaslassy turns 42… Associate in the D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Clare F. Steinberg turns 33… AIPAC’s director of Westchester County (NY) and nearby Riverdale, Annie Peck Watman turns 32… Reporter and producer for CNN’s political unit, Marshall J. Cohen turns 30… Law student in his third year at University of Chicago Law School, Mitchell Caminer turns 28… Pitcher for Team Israel, Gabe Cramer turns 27… Actor since childhood, Max Burkholder turns 24…