👋 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: Bloomberg: Both major parties ‘coddling antisemites,’ not condemning them; NYTimes replaces ‘anti-Semitism’ with ‘antisemitism’ in updated style guidance; Ritchie Torres endorses Jazz Lewis in Maryland’s 4th; The ball’s in Alex Lasry’s court in Wisconsin; Steven Olikara’s next act: A Senate bid; A new cooking app has roots in Upper West Side Jewish cuisine; and Post-Knesset, Stav Shaffir’s new cause. Print the latest edition here.
Michael Herzog and Princess Lalla Joumala, the Israeli and Moroccan ambassadors to the U.S., respectively, celebrated the one-year anniversary of Morocco and Israel’s normalization agreement on Thursday night at a dinner at the Watergate organized with the help of the American Jewish Committee.
The dinner, jointly created by Israeli chef Nir Sarig and Moroccan chef Riyad Bouizar, featured menu items including “red snapper kebab with chef pula in harissa served on an olive tree branch skewer” and “mrouzia slow-cooked lamb with warm spice flavors of Ras al-Hanout paired with dried figs stuffed with toasted almonds and honey.” Dessert was coconut-nougat ice cream paired with Moroccan almond cigars.
Attendees included Yael Lempert, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), Deputy Israeli Ambassador Benjamin Krasna, Mira Resnick, Aaron Keyak, Shirin Herzog, Ken Weinstein, Jason Isaacson, David Harris, Jacques Cohen, Elliott Abrams, Rob Satloff, Malcolm Hoenlein, Jonathan Greenblatt, Dennis Ross, Mark Mellman, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Paul Packer, Robert Wexler, Abbe Lowell, Dan Mariaschin, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Joel Rubin and Elad Strohmayer.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Washington yesterday. The two discussed the Abraham Accords, with Gantz expressing hope that more countries would enter into normalization agreements with Israel.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday at a hearing on legislation to regulate social media companies. Expert witnesses called for increased transparency and reforms to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, among other measures.
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) told faith leaders during a faith advisory board call — in response to a question from Hadassah’s Director of Government Relations Karen Barall — that he and Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who co-chair the Senate’s bipartisan task force for combating antisemitism, are supporting and working to advance Deborah Lipstadt’s nomination to be antisemitism envoy.
Tom Friedman contrasts Middle East approaches: ‘Trump did crazy well, Biden doesn’t do crazy’
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman warned that President Joe Biden’s inability to “do crazy” in the Middle East could cost him, during an appearance on Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast.”
Important: “‘Crazy’ is a very important strategic verb in that part of the world,” Friedman explained to co-hosts Richard Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein.“The Iranians always think that they can out-crazy you. One thing they know: They can’t out-crazy the Israelis. Hezbollah learned that in 2006 and so did Hamas. Basically, they cannot play the Israelis.” Friedman contrasted Biden’s approach with that of former President Donald Trump: “Trump’s greatest advantage as a president was he’s the first president we’ve had in a long time who did crazy really well,” he noted, adding “Biden just doesn’t do crazy really well. He just doesn’t do crazy.”
Iran deal error: “I thought it was just a giant strategic error that [Israeli Prime Minister] Bibi Netanyahu co-authored,” Friedman said of the decision to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “Everyone knows now that the Israeli military was not comfortable with this, but all of them were really afraid to speak up while Bibi was there. And now, after he’s gone, you see everybody’s coming out of the woodwork — Bogie [Ya’alon], the [former] chief of staff — and all saying ‘we knew this was stupid.’”
No strategy: At the time of the withdrawal from the JCPOA, Friedman admitted, he offered a more sanguine assessment. “If you read my reporting on Trump, anytime he’s done something I thought was right I supported it — UAE deal most notably, and I would support him on things on China. So I was just watching to see what they would do. I said, ‘I wouldn’t have done that. But maybe they’ve got a strategy.’ It turned out he had no strategy at all.”
Foreign dispatches: Friedman, who won three Pulitzer Prizes early in his career for his reporting from Beirut for UPI and Jerusalem for the Times, considered his trajectory as a Minnesota Jew to the epicenters of Middle East and foreign policy reporting. “This was 1979. That’d be very important. They’re vintage years in history, just like there are vintage wines, where the first two stories I cover are the Iranian revolution, and the takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in Saudi Arabia,” Friedman said of his first assignment in Beirut, for UPI. “Little do I know [at the time] that those two stories will shape the region and really my whole career for the next 40 years.”
Breaking the taboo: By the time he moved to the Times two years later, Friedman had established himself as a Middle East correspondent. But that did not fully qualify him in the eyes of his new editors. “It was not easy because at that time The New York Times wouldn’t send a Jew to Israel, let alone a Jew to the Arab world,” Friedman recalled, citing a longstanding taboo in the newsroom that considered it difficult for a Jewish reporter to remain objective covering the Middle East. “I had to persuade Abe Rosenthal, who was an executive editor, who literally said to me, ‘How do I send a Jew to Beirut?’ I said, ‘Well, the good news is, I’ve already done it, because UPI had done that,’” Friedman remembered.
Plan for controversial Jerusalem neighborhood halted, for now
Plans for the building of a controversial new Israeli neighborhood in East Jerusalem were delayed this week, but questions remain about why Israel’s new government, which has sought to avoid clashes with the U.S. on sensitive issues — and which includes two political parties that actively support a two-state solution — allowed such a proposal to be drafted and proposed, Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash reports.
Haredi neighborhood: Monday’s decision by the Jerusalem District Planning Committee to halt the project pending an environmental survey comes following a warning last week from Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who asked Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a phone call to “refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution, including settlement activity.” It also comes after Israeli officials reportedly notified the White House that the plan would not move ahead. Yet, somehow, representatives from a range of government ministries spent several hours on Monday hearing the specific details of an already drafted plan, which aims to build multiple 12-story apartment blocks for the city’s burgeoning Haredi community, redesign the entire public transport system in Northeastern Jerusalem and turn the airport’s former terminal building into a boutique hotel.
Coalition politics: Jerusalem officials, such as Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nachum, say the plan is crucial for a rapidly growing city of nearly a million residents. “We need more neighborhoods for young people to be able to buy and stay in the capital,” she told JI. But analysts and activists say the reasoning goes beyond the housing crisis, sitting at the core of a broad and fragile coalition which, after only six months in power, is doing everything it can to stay together, and is part of Israel’s complex political game. When the coalition was formed last June, agreements eked out between eight parties with wildly opposing political ideologies purposely refrained from addressing the thornier issues such as settlement building. Instead, the focus was on ensuring former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not return to power.
Creeping annexation: Retired Col. Shaul Arieli, an expert on Israeli-Palestinian affairs, said this plan – and similar ones being pushed quietly in and around Jerusalem – are being driven by right-wing elements in the coalition, including Bennett, who want to safeguard Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem and firmly reject the creation of a Palestinian state. “The reason for this plan is, of course, for internal benefit — for Bennett, [Justice Minister Gideon] Sa’ar and [Finance Minister Avigdor] Liberman and others who believe this is a way to keep Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty,” Arieli said to JI. “They do not believe in a two-state solution, and this is one more step in creeping annexation.”
Ongoing challenge: Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, said that the issue of settlements is likely to be an ongoing challenge for this government, but it would not be enough to break it up or create a wedge with the U.S. administration. “No new settlements will be built in the West Bank, but there will be continued dialogue about what natural expansion of the existing settlements means,” he said. “No one has an interest right now in breaking up this government because no one has a realistic alternative to it.”
on the hill
Foreign Relations Committee members debate Islamophobia envoy bill
House Foreign Relations Committee members sparred over the proposed creation of a State Department office and envoy to combat Islamophobia in a committee meeting on Thursday, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Background: The new legislation, introduced by Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), is modeled after the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, a position Congress created with unanimous support in both chambers in 2004, and upgraded to ambassador rank in 2020 with just one member of Congress — then-Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI) opposed.
On one side: Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) said that the office would “invariably become a taxpayer-funded office for [propagating] antisemitism that does nothing to counter cases of anti-Muslim persecution” and would become an institution, like the United Nations Human Rights Council, that attacks Israel. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) said that establishing the Islamophobia office would create a “dangerous false equivalence” between Islamophobia and antisemitism that “could be used by some extremists to actually justify further antisemitic activity.”
On the other: “This is not about pick[ing] one. We should of course and will continue to condemn antisemitism,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) said. “Absolutely no one is suggesting equivalence. We have a responsibility to protect everyone from discrimination based on religion, whatever that faith is.” Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) added that the antisemitism and Islamophobia envoys could be effective partners to combat the two forms of bigotry sometimes spread by “the same people.”
What’s next: The committee did not complete deliberations on the bill on Thursday, and will return this morning to vote on a series of amendments and on the bill as a whole. If it passes the committee, House leadership announced it intends to bring the legislation to a full House vote next week, reportedly as a response to recent comments by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) insinuating that Omar is a terrorist.
🏀 Center of Attention: In The Atlantic, Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom, who became a U.S. citizen last month, reflects on his experiences over the last half-decade, after Turkey revoked his citizenship and his family severed ties with him over his vocal opposition to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration. “[The U.S.] has given me all the opportunities in the world. Friends, teammates, journalists, politicians, and activists became my new family, united in our struggle for justice, equality, human rights, and democracy. When I started the process of becoming an American citizen, I realized that life is bigger than basketball. I decided to dedicate the power and privilege of my platform to the causes that matter — to be a voice for the voiceless.” [TheAtlantic]
🕍 They’ve Got the Rabbi: The Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein spotlights a new effort by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, who until recently led D.C.’s Ohev Sholom-The National Synagogue, to create a yeshiva open to Jews of all denominations and backgrounds. “‘Yeshivas are geared to people in the know,’ Herzfeld said. ‘There’s a disconnect between yeshivot and people I want to reach. In 99 percent of Orthodox yeshivas, women aren’t welcome. Gay people and trans people aren’t welcome. The key way to shape the Jewish future is through study, and we’re not competitive at all. We’re losing people.’” [WashPost]
🇲🇲 Mishpacha in Myanmar: Joanna Marchi’s photo essay in Vice showcases the Jewish community of Myanmar, the country’s sole synagogue and its caretakers. “Myanmar’s Jewish community has never been great in size, reaching its apex in 1940 when there were around 2,500 Jews in what was then known as Burma. The population consisted largely of the descendants of Iraqi and Indian migrants who moved to Myanmar in the mid-19th century. The Japanese invasion of the country in 1942 led to the reverse happening, with the Jewish population dwindling as a result of Jews fleeing to countries like India as the conflict escalated. By 1969, the last rabbi in Myanmar had left the country. Today there are about 20 Jews living in a country with a population of 55 million people.” [Vice]
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Around the Web
✍️ Lone Ranger: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced a resolution on Wednesday “Affirming the historical connection of the Jewish people to… Jerusalem and condemning efforts at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to deny Judaism’s…ties to Jerusalem.”
🎂 Happy Birthday: Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) introduced a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of Bahrain’s independence and praising the kingdom’s Jewish community and relations with Israel.
🗣️ Then and Now: The Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein compares today’s efforts by the Democratic Party to win over voters to the challenges faced by Democrats in the mid-’90s, as the party engages in internal debates over its position on a range of social and cultural issues.
🗾 To Tokyo: Rahm Emanuel, the Biden administration’s pick to be ambassador to Japan, is expected to be confirmed before the end of the year, owing to bipartisan support for his nomination.
👨 Bay State Ballot: Massachusetts State Sen. Eric Lesser is reportedly weighing a run for lieutenant governor in 2022.
🗳️ Ohio Opposition: Shay Hawkins, a former aide to Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) announced his candidacy in Ohio’s newly drawn, open 13th Congressional District, where he will challenge former Trump administration staffer Max Miller for the GOP nomination.
🧾 Ethical Lapse: An ethics panel in Florida determined that gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried violated state law by not properly disclosing her income.
🧀 Dairy Dilemma: Junior’s, the New York eatery known for its cheesecake, halted production of its signature dish for several days due to the ongoing shortage of cream cheese that has hit bakeries and bagel shops alike.
🖼️ What’s in a Name: The Metropolitan Museum of Art will remove the Sackler name from more than half a dozen exhibition spaces over the family’s connection to the country’s opioid crisis.
🎓 Campus Beat: Students at NYU’s Steinhardt School for Culture, Education, and Human Development are pushing administrators to rename the institution following an agreement Michael Steinhardt, for whom the school was named in 2001, made to return upward of $70 million in looted antiquities.
📺 TV Talk: Variety’s Claudia Eller and Cynthia Littleton spoke to Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav about the challenges facing the company ahead of its groundbreaking merger with WarnerMedia.
💰 Aiming High: Apollo Global Management is setting a $25 billion goal for its next flagship buyout fund.
🎨 On Display: On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the Minneapolis Institute of Art will display a new exhibit featuring Jewish artist Mauricio Lasansky’s “Nazi Drawings,” which depict witness testimony from the trial.
🎭 Across the Pond: Two law firms withdrew their financial backing of the Royal Court, after the theater faced accusations of antisemitism over a play featuring a character with a Jewish name whose behavior matched unflattering Jewish stereotypes.
🇨🇱 Hurtful History: A recently uncovered ID card reveals that the German-born father of Chilean presidential hopeful Jose Antonio Kast was a member of the Nazi party, contrary to claims the right-wing candidate has made throughout his campaign.
🏦 Serious Sanctions: The United States is sending a delegation to the UAE warning about the potential consequences for Emirati companies that don’t comply with American sanctions targeting Iran.
⚖️ Behind Bars: Israeli billionaire Benny Steinmetz is stuck in Greece awaiting an extradition hearing that will determine whether Greece will send the business tycoon to Romania, where he awaits bribery charges.
🤝 Pareve Partnership: Israeli lab-grown meat company Aleph Farms will join forces with Wacker Chemie, a chemical lab, to improve growth protein production.
✈️ Grounded: Israel’s presidential plane, “Wings of Zion,” was cleared to fly this week, but there are no plans for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to use the aircraft in the near future.
Pic of the Day
Moroccan Ambassador to the U.S. Princess Lalla Joumala and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog celebrate the one-year anniversary of the normalization between the two countries on Thursday night at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Head of Bloomberg Beta venture fund, Roy Bahat turns 45…
FRIDAY: Baltimore-based dairy cattle dealer, Abraham Gutman turns 77… Founder of the Texas Jewish Historical Society and rabbi emeritus of Congregation B’nai Israel in Galveston, Texas, James Lee Kessler turns 76… Board director at Perella Weinberg Partners, Ivan Seidenberg turns 75… Owner of Judaica House and Cool Kippahs, Reuben Nayowitz turns 75… Political activist Margery Tabankin turns 73… Founder and CEO at Seppy’s Kosher Baked Goods in Pueblo, Colorado, Elishevah Sepulveda turns 68… Florida real estate entrepreneur, Jeff Greene turns 67… U.S. senator (R-AR), John Boozman turns 66… Top NYC real estate investor and developer, Joseph Chetrit turns 64… Senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy and former deputy special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism at the State Dept, Ellie Cohanim turns 49… Actress, born in Montreal to a Sephardic Jewish family, known for her roles in HBO’s “Entourage” and CBS’s “The Mentalist,” Emmanuelle Chriqui turns 44… Managing director for private-equity firm TPG, Marc Mezvinsky turns 44… General partner at Andreessen Horowitz, David A. Ulevitch turns 40… Screenwriter Nicole Perlman turns 40… Managing editor for CNN Business, Alex Koppelman turns 39… Co-founder of single-origin spice company Burlap & Barrel, Ethan Frisch turns 35… Disability rights activist, Ari Daniel Ne’eman turns 34… Ukrainian-born R&B, jazz and soul singer and songwriter, she performs as “Mishéll,” Irina Rosenfeld turns 33… Senior manager of corporate communications and public relations at Capital One, Mitchell Rubenstein turns 33… Associate rabbi at The Great Synagogue in Sydney, Australia, Philip Kaplan turns 31… Co-founder at Dojo, Daniel Goldstern turns 30… Actress, musician, fashion model and talk show host, Rachel Trachtenburg turns 28…
SATURDAY: Former U.S. secretary of state and now U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry turns 78… Lumber and wood products executive in Bethany, Conn., Stuart Paley turns 76… University professor of Jewish history and Jewish thought at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter turns 71… Professor of international economics at Princeton University, Gene Grossman turns 66… Senior attorney in the environmental and natural resources division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Perry Rosen turns 66… Speech language pathologist in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Joanne Ring turns 63… Best-selling author, Ayelet Waldman turns 57… Partner in Pomerantz LLP and trustee of Manhattan’s Beit Rabban Day School, Gustavo F. Bruckner turns 54… Visiting professor at Georgetown and former member of the Knesset, Einat Wilf turns 51… Senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, Shira Efron, Ph.D. turns 43… Israeli poet and founder of the cultural group Ars Poetica, Adi Keissar turns 41… Hasidic rapper known as Nosson, Nathan Isaac Zand turns 40… Director of public affairs and marketing at Englewood (NJ) Hospital and Medical Center, Michael Chananie turns 32… CEO at DC-based Brown Strategy Group, Josh Brown turns 32… D.C.-based reporter for ESPN, Kelly Cohen turns 31… Reporter at Politico who covers the U.S. Senate, Marianne LeVine turns 30… Director of alternative investments at CAIS, Judah Schulman turns 30… Co-host of “What A Day” at Crooked Media, Gideon Resnick turns 29…
SUNDAY: Attorney, lobbyist and commentator, Lanny Davis turns 76… Chairman of Full Stop Management representing recording artists, Irving Azoff turns 74… Two-term former congressman from Wisconsin, he is a physician who founded four allergy clinics, Steven Leslie Kagen, M.D. turns 72… 2007 Nobel Prize laureate, he is a professor of economics at Harvard University, Eric Stark Maskin turns 71… Associated Press science writer and adjunct professor at NYU’s academic center in Washington, Seth Borenstein turns 60… Israeli-born real estate developer active in Los Angeles, partner in Linear City Development, Yuval Bar-Zemer turns 59… Afternoon anchor on the Fox Business Network, Elizabeth Kate “Liz” Claman turns 58… Minnesota secretary of state, Steve Simon turns 52… Actress, game show host and neuroscientist, Mayim Chaya Bialik, Ph.D. turns 46… Account director at Lewis Global Communications, Sarah R. Horowitz turns 35… Field producer for ABC News, Rebecca “Becky” Perlow turns 34… One-half of the duo known for their YouTube channel h3h3Productions, Hila Hakmon Klein turns 34… EVP at Targeted Victory’s public affairs practice, David Pasch turns 33… Director of strategy and consulting at Fidelity Investments, Jeffrey S. Goldstein turns 32…