👋 Good Friday morning!
For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent JI stories, including: Israeli ambassador hosts first Washington event: Lesson of Hanukkah alive today; Amb. Al Otaiba: Ties between Emiratis and Israelis are flourishing; Peace is being written in new Israeli-Emirati art exhibit; A nouvelle rugelach from the Best Damn Cookies guy; Inside Israel’s push to join U.S. Visa Waiver Program; Expectant olim hoping for exemption to allow parents into Israel; Israel’s dilemma as negotiations resume on Iran’s nuclear program; Alex Edelman’s quest for comedy in unfunny places; and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has a GOP challenger in Jennifer Strahan. Print the latest edition here.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) told Jewish Insider yesterday that “if [supplemental Iron Dome funding] is not in the next [continuing resolution], I’m not voting for it.” Following the latest stopgap funding measure passed yesterday, government funding is next set to run out in mid-February.
With nearly all House Republicans opposing yesterday’s short-term funding bill, such opposition could spell trouble for Democratic leadership.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield met with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week to discuss a range of topics, including her recent trip to Israel.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) told JI that she questioned Thomas-Greenfield about her plan to address the U.N. Human Rights Council’s targeting of Israel and was “pleased” by her response, although Malliotakis opposes U.S. membership on the council.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) also questioned Thomas-Greenfield on the issue. He told JI she ”restated yesterday her commitment to Israel’s security… She committed to work together to further strengthen Israel’s position in the world while combating anti-Israel bias in the U.N. and at the Human Rights Council.”
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) said during a Jewish Democratic Council of America Hanukkah Zoom event that it has been “a challenging time for Jewish Americans in particular” due to rising antisemitism which “represent[s] a slide backward toward a dark chapter of the… not-so-recent past.”
Rosen continued, “Some people may not feel like celebrating Hanukkah this year with the same enthusiasm. But I want to tell you that I absolutely disagree with that because I think celebrating the holiday is more important than ever because of the challenges that we face.”
The Democratic Socialists of America’s National Policy Committee decided against expelling Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) over his vote for supplemental Iron Dome funding and trip to Israel last month, but may withhold an endorsement in 2022.
The group also announced plans to overhaul its endorsement process.
good morning georgia
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has a GOP challenger in Jennifer Strahan
Conventional wisdom suggests that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) remains safely ensconced in her northwest Georgia district, despite the behavior that has defined her brief if tempestuous first year in Congress. But one Republican who is challenging her in next year’s primary, Jennifer Strahan, argues that voters are fed up with provocations from Greene that, she says, have only further exposed the congresswoman’s political impotence, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports.
Ready for change: “I think there is a fallacy that Marjorie Greene has a stronghold on northwest Georgia and that everyone thinks the same way that she does,” Strahan, a healthcare executive and visiting assistant professor in the business department at Georgia State University, told JI in a recent interview. “That’s just simply not true.” Presenting herself as a sensible and even-tempered alternative to the freshman flamethrower she has vowed to unseat, Strahan, 35, believes that voters will naturally be drawn to her candidacy as she makes her pitch traveling Georgia’s deeply conservative 14th Congressional District in the coming months. “People are tired of the antics,” she said, “and ready for real progress.”
The field: Strahan is one of three Republicans who have declared against Greene, including Mark Daniel Clay and Charles Lutin, who announced his candidacy just last month. Strahan, who runs a healthcare advisory firm in metropolitan Atlanta, lives in the southeast portion of the district and entered the race in September.
Policy approach: Strahan has never been to Israel but says it has long been “on the list.” In a position paper provided to JI by her campaign, she warns that “Middle East Christian communities are being destroyed by daily threats of terror attacks, imprisonment and even execution,” adding that, if she is elected, “I will raise awareness of the worsening plight of Middle East Christians and work to protect The Holy Land, the shared birthplace of the Jewish and Christian faiths.” Elsewhere in the paper, Strahan expresses support for the Taylor Force Act, which withholds U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority on the condition that Ramallah ends payments to the families of terrorists. “The Palestinians must end the practice of financially incentivizing attacks on innocent Israelis,” she writes, “and the Palestinian Authority should receive no more funding from the United States until that happens.”
How it’s going: Strahan says she is “confident” of her ability “to raise the funds that are needed” as she seeks support. In the months since launching her campaign, she claims to have generated interest throughout the district as well as at the national level, including conversations with Jewish and pro-Israel groups such as AIPAC, the Republican Jewish Coalition and CUFI Action Fund, the lobbying arm of Christians United for Israel, that she characterized as promising.
Glenn Ivey gavels in
When Glenn Ivey moved to the Washington, D.C., region as a child, the place he now calls home felt off-limits to his family. “It was dangerous for Black people to come out here. In fact, they made it known that you weren’t welcome,” Ivey told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch in a conference room at his law office in Landover, Md. He’s now running for Congress in Maryland’s 4th District, hoping to cap off three decades of public service in the majority Black Prince George’s County.
All politics is local: Growing up in segregated Rocky Mount, N.C., Ivey had an understanding of the political process from a young age. “You’d have Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] doing a march somewhere on the other side of the world, as far as I knew as a 7-year-old. But it made a difference here because my mom could now teach in white schools, as well as Black schools,” Ivey said.
Family business: Ivey, 60, will face off against political up-and-comer Jazz Lewis, the chair of the Democratic caucus in the Maryland House of Delegates. Lewis has garnered the endorsement of his former boss, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), however Ivey has a unique host of Prince George’s County political connections; his wife, Jolene, sits on the County Council, and their son Julian serves with Lewis in the House of Delegates. He has been endorsed by municipal leaders across the county.
Down with ‘Defund’: Ivey spent two terms as the county’s top prosecutor. He remains a believer in law enforcement and argues that the “Defund the Police” movement damaged the Democrats. “The slogan that the concept describes is not what people want. They want better policing,” he noted. “They want the policing that you get in other communities where the police comport differently. They behave differently in Bethesda than they do in Glenarden or Landover,” he said, drawing a contrast between largely white suburbs and largely Black ones.
Culinary connection: Ivey has stuck by his support for Israel in this race. He said he would vote to fund Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system: “I didn’t really understand the argument against it, to be real candid.” He also expressed his opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and noted that he opposed the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 but would support reentering under strict conditions. Still, his biggest connection to Israel may be culinary; after a trip to the country in 2005 with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, his kids got him a cookbook with Israeli recipes. “I actually got quite good at it,” he said.
on the hill
Toomey, Cardin introduce new Iran sanctions in response to Brooklyn kidnap plot
Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced legislation on Thursday seeking to sanction Iranian agents and related banks involved in operations targeting Iranian or U.S. citizens who oppose the regime within Iran or abroad, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Inspiration: The bill, titled the Masih Alinejad Harassment and Unlawful Targeting (HUNT) Act of 2021, was named after the Iranian-American activist and journalist whom agents from Tehran plotted to kidnap from her Brooklyn home this summer. Alinejad joined Toomey and Cardin at a press conference announcing the bill. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) is also co-sponsoring the bill.
Crackdown: The legislation would mandate sanctions on Iranian government officials and agents — including those affiliated with paramilitary groups like Hezbollah — who “are knowingly responsible for, complicit in or involved in ordering, conspiring, planning or implementing the surveillance, harassment, kidnapping, illegal extradition, imprisonment, torture, killing, or assassination of citizens of Iran (including citizens of Iran of dual nationality) or citizens of the United States inside or outside Iran” who seek to expose corruption or defend human rights.
Two tracks: The bill is being introduced in the midst of nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna, which Toomey criticized multiple times during his remarks. The Pennsylvania senator denied that the bill is linked to those negotiations. “My purpose in this is not to try to have secondary effects on negotiations that are underway,” Toomey said. “I’m deeply skeptical about the negotiations that are underway, I’ll acknowledge that, but the message I want to send is to the Iranian regime, to the bad actors in Tehran who are guilty and complicit in the outrage.” Cardin said the legislation is important because it addresses areas that the nuclear agreement did not.
Looking ahead: Toomey said he expects the bill to have “extremely broad support in the Senate” and that he is “cautiously optimistic given the early bipartisan support and what I think will be a broad consensus that we’ll be able to get this done.” In a sidebar with Toomey and Cardin following the press conference, Alinejad remarked that the issue “need[s] more Democrats.”
🎥 Hollywood Hater: In The Atlantic, actor Josh Malina questions why major studios and production companies continue to work with Mel Gibson, despite an extensive and well-documented history of racism, misogyny and antisemitism.“If Gibson is welcomed back to direct the latest installment of this beloved franchise [‘Lethal Weapon’], it may be time to stop publishing think pieces about the power of ‘cancel culture.’ Because if he can continue to find big bucks and approbation in Hollywood, cancel culture simply does not exist. Gibson’s political beliefs are — as my father would say — somewhere to the right of Ramses (check out YouTube to see Gibson saluting Donald Trump at a UFC fight). He has said sexist things and yelled racist slurs, and that should have been enough for liberal Hollywood to cut him off. But his reported anti-Semitism has been more consistent, more open, and more egregious.” [TheAtlantic]
👋 Bye Bye Bibi?: In the Financial Times, Mehul Srivastava questions whether former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the ability to mount a political comeback after his ouster earlier this year and amid a corruption trial. “Netanyahu, five-time premier and occasional leader of the opposition, vowed the day he was ousted in mid-June that his exile from power would be shortlived. But, six months later, the man who enjoys a reputation as the Houdini of Israeli politics is struggling to plot a way back to power. His leadership of Likud faces a challenge, as a criminal prosecution for alleged corruption saps his energies and blocks his path back to the head of the rightwing camp.” [FT]
👪 Living History: The Boston Globe’s Laura Crimaldi spotlights a German homeowner whose research into the history of the building she purchased in 2012 led to the discovery — and eventual reconnecting — of descendants of the Jewish family that had lived in the home until WWII. “Once the home was restored, the story of the Jewish family that lived there before World War II emerged from the shadows, coaxed from obscurity by Friederike Fechner, a cellist who purchased and renovated the home with her husband, Martin, an American-born ophthalmologist. What Fechner found was a tale of tragedy and survival on a global scale, extending to New England, Israel, Brazil, the Netherlands, and California, but shrouded in silence. At least 10 members of the Blach family were murdered during the Holocaust. And with those deaths, Fechner learned, the Nazis inflicted another terrible blow.” [BostonGlobe]
💰 Social Climber: New Lines Magazine’s Brian Whitaker looks at efforts by a Saudi billionaire to buy influence in the U.K. through contributions to charities tied to Prince Charles, which resulted in an investigation that shone a light on the ways in which the U.K.’s honors system has been manipulated by opportunists. “Mahfouz is not especially well known in Saudi Arabia, but his family’s company, Marei Bin Mahfouz Group, is ranked 18th among the kingdom’s private sector firms. Established in Mecca in 1965, it has diverse interests in manufacturing, services, real estate and international trade. Mahfouz, his father and three other relatives form its board of directors. His climb up the British social ladder began a decade ago with the purchase of a centuries-old Scottish feudal title that meant he could be legally known as the Baron of Abernethy. The title itself had no real significance, but it may explain why he is referred to as ‘Lord’ Mahfouz on his family company’s website. How much he paid is unknown, though the Scottish Barony Titles website is currently advertising two others for sale — one at $114,000 and the other at $128,000.” [NewLines]
🇮🇷 Diplomacy Drama: For CNN, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Aaron David Miller paints a grim picture of the future of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. “Whatever else happens in Vienna this week, not a great deal of progress is likely to be made. Indeed, if Iran comes back with new and fanciful demands, as its foreign minister and lead negotiator have recently outlined — i.e., that the talks have nothing to do with the nuclear issue, only removing ‘inhumane’ U.S. sanctions, one can imagine a game of gotcha with each side trying to persuade its friends and the rest of the world that it’s the other party who’s being unreasonable. Former Secretary of State James A. Baker called this tactic ‘dead cat diplomacy,’ where he’d lay the dead cat at the doorstep of the most recalcitrant party.” [CNN]
Around the Web
🏠 House Hunters International: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides is living in a rental property near the embassy in Jerusalem, as State Department officials look for a more permanent home that can be outfitted with requisite security needs amid Jerusalem’s booming real estate market.
🧹 Cleaning Up: Meta announced the removal of 141 Facebook accounts, 79 pages, 13 groups and 21 Instagram accounts from the Gaza Strip linked to Hamas.
⚖️ Swipe Settlement: Barry Diller’s Match Group reached a $441 million settlement with Justin Mateen, Sean Rad and other co-founders of Tinder who claimed Match Group undervalued the company during a 2017 acquisition.
🎵 Play It Again: Billboard spotlights eight songs to listen to this Hanukkah.
🏫 COVID Counter: New York City is imposing a vaccine mandate on employees of private schools, including yeshivas, to go into effect Dec. 20.
🎒 Back to School: Bloomberg Philanthropies will launch a $750 million initiative to support and grow charter schools in 20 major U.S. cities.
🤝 Virtual Ventures: Publisher David Steinberger led a group that purchased e-book firm Open Road Integrated Media Inc. for between $60 million and $80 million.
⛔ Bellicose Beat: British rapper Wiley was suspended from Twitter and Instagram after attacking the U.K.-based Campaign Against Antisemitism and using antisemitic rhetoric on social media platforms.
🕵️ Undercover Men: A team of Iranian scientists was recruited by the Mossad to carry out an attack that destroyed part of the Natanz nuclear facility, according to a Jewish Chronicle report.
🔍 Spy Stall: Citing concerns over Chinese spyware, the U.S. is launching an initiative to curb the sale of surveillance technology to authoritarian regimes.
☢️ End Game: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reportedly encouraged Secretary of State Tony Blinken to end negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program on Thursday.
💉 Israeli Immunity: An Israeli doctor who tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has infected just one other person, indicating that individuals with three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are largely protected from contracting the virus.
🎁 Take a Spin: New York Times Rome bureau chief Jason Horowitz gifted Pope Francis gelt and a dreidel and suggested he “play a round with the cardinals.”
🕎 Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah: Spotted at last night’s Bluelight Strategies annual Latkes and Vodkas: Steve Rabinowitz, Aaron Keyak, Elad Strohmayer, Dan Arbell, William Daroff, Elana Broitman, Heather Booth, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Rabbi Hyim Shafner, Rabbi Gerry Serotta, Rabbi Jan Caryl Kaufman, Julia Gordon, Judge Judith Bartnoff, Mark Mellman, Jeff Sosland, Lauren Strauss, Guy Ziv, Laura Gross and Matt Dorf, Matt Berger, Laura Quinn, Laurie Moskowitz, Linda Lourie, Richard Foltin, Aviva Kempner, Lynn Sweet, Michael Wilner, Howard Mortman, Nathan Guttman, Ron Kampeas, Dan Raviv, Cherrie Daniels, Shelley Greenspan, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Ann Lewis, Halie Soifer, Nathan Diament, Jason Epstein, Joel Rubin, Norman Goldstein, Peter Bass, Rob Zucker, Shai Franklin, Tom Kahn and Chris Jones.
Wine of the Week
JI’s wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews the Tassi Brunello di Montalcino 2016:
“This past Shabbat I enjoyed the Tassi Brunello with my dear friends Davido and Laurina. It was all part of my ongoing mission to develop stronger Italian wine credentials by tasting as much kosher Italian wine as I can. I embarked on this mission in anticipation of a future trip to Italy to identify great Brunello wineries to kasher. The Tassi Brunello di Montalcino 2016 is a remarkable expression of sangiovese. The forward is laced with the taste of rose petals. The mid-palate has a strong trace of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and the finish is reminiscent of dark chocolate gelato. This wine can age for at least 10 years, but it is strongly advised to drink now while eating osso buco amongst delightful Italian friends.”
Pic of the Day
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides lights the menorah at Yad Vashem on Thursday night alongside Dani Dayan (left), chairman of Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum.
Member of the House of Representatives (D-NC), she was the founding chair of Prizmah and former chair of JFNA, Kathy Manning turns 65…
FRIDAY: A close associate of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, now among the most influential figures within the Chabad movement, Rabbi Chaim Yehuda “Yudel” Krinsky turns 88… Founder of a wedding gown business and a lifestyle coach, Sandy Stackler turns 84… 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winner and a long-serving foreign correspondent and Washington bureau chief for The New York Times, David K. Shipler turns 79… Member of the New York State Assembly since 1994, Jeffrey Dinowitz turns 67… Painter and art teacher, Heidi Praff turns 65… Miami-based criminal defense attorney, Yale Lance Galanter turns 65… Former editorial page editor at USA Today, William “Bill” Sternberg turns 65… British publicist, music manager and former tabloid journalist, Rob Goldstone turns 61… Member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beytenu party, he is currently a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Eli Avidar turns 57… Member of the California State Assembly from the 43rd district, Laura Friedman turns 55… Malinda Wozniak Marcus turns 51… SVP of strategic initiatives at NBC News, Alison “Ali” Weisberg Zelenko turns 50… Associate professor of Jewish history at Yeshiva University, Joshua M. Karlip, Ph.D. turns 50… French journalist Marie Drucker turns 47… Emmy Award- and Grammy Award-winning comedian and actress, she discovered her Jewish roots as an adult, Tiffany Haddish turns 42… Member of the New York City Council for the 33rd District since 2010, Stephen T. Levin turns 40… Managing partner of E:SIX Strategies, Elizabeth Edelman turns 34… Professional tennis player with a current WTA doubles ranking of 22, Sharon Fichman turns 31…
SATURDAY: Author and winner of the 1980 National Book Award, A. Scott Berg turns 72… Television director and producer, Dan Attias turns 70… Tony Sarif turns 63… Dermatologist in Philadelphia, Merle M. Bari Shulkin, MD turns 61… Founder and lead guide of the Adventure Rabbi program in Boulder, Colo., Jamie Korngold turns 56… Principal of the Fleischman Consulting Group, Jon Fleischman turns 54… Actor best known for playing Stuart Bloom on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” Kevin Sussman turns 51… Co-founder and co-chairman of Knighthead Capital Management, Ara D. Cohen turns 51… Screenwriter and producer, Adam Horowitz turns 50… Principal at Proxima Media and founder of Relativity Media, Ryan Kavanaugh turns 47… Grammy Award-winning violinist, Miri Ben-Ari turns 43… Comedian and host of the ChangeUp baseball program for DAZN, Scott Rogowsky turns 37… Assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Sam Adelsberg turns 35… Campaigns director at The Hub Project, Sarah Baron turns 31… First-round pick in the 2016 National Hockey League draft, he is a center for the NHL’s Nashville Predators, Luke Kunin turns 24… Israeli fashion model, Sofia Mechetner turns 21…
SUNDAY: Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist, Sheldon Lee Glashow turns 89… St. Louis-based luxury senior living developer, Charles J. Deutsch turns 72… Mount Pleasant, S.C., resident, Betti Greenstein turns 70… Professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Stuart Neil Brotman turns 69… Former U.S. ambassador to France and Monaco, Jamie Luskin McCourt turns 68… Southern California resident, Esther Gluskin Winard turns 68… Mediator and arbitrator for JAMS, Michael D. Young turns 68… Venture capitalist, Pascal Norman Levensohn turns 61… NYC-based author and clinical psychologist, Mindy Greenstein, Ph.D. turns 59… Professor at the University of Chicago Law School, Eric A. Posner turns 56… Professor and dean emeritus of Columbia Law School, David M. Schizer turns 53… Ontario-born actress and model, Shalom Harlow turns 48… Urologist at Westchester (NY) Medical Group, Judd Boczko, M.D. turns 48… President of The LS Group, Lisa Spies turns 47… Co-founder and president of Axios, Roy Schwartz turns 46… Israeli-born, acclaimed video game developer, Neil Druckmann turns 43… Director of communications at Vindex, Adam S. Rosenberg turns 41… Former Treasury staffer, now working on Middle East venture capital, Eli H. Miller turns 39… Media correspondent for The New York Times, Michael Mendel Grynbaum turns 37… Senior news assistant on the obituary desk of The New York Times, Alexander E. Traub turns 31… Deputy director of intergovernmental affairs for New York State Attorney General Tish James, Jonathan Shabshaikhes turns 26… Israeli model who represented Israel at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant where her selfie with Miss Iraq set off international buzz, Adar Gandelsman turns 24…