👋 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: A dispatch from Colleyville following the Beth Israel hostage crisis; Colleyville attacker ‘bought into those antisemitic tropes,’ hostage survivor remarks; In the aftermath of Colleyville attack, Imam Abdullah Antepli has a message for fellow Muslims; New army program takes on growing mental health issues faced by young Israelis; The Arab influencer pushing the Abraham Accords from Abu Dhabi; For two competing Democratic incumbents in Illinois, one dividing issue: Israel; Former Michigan state legislator mounts challenge to Rashida Tlaib; and Paul Packer calls early dismissal from U.S. commission ‘shocking.’Print the latest edition here.
Scoop this morning: Five senators — Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), James Lankford (R-OK) and Rob Portman (R-OH) — are calling on the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to raise the funding level for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in the wake of last week’s armed standoff at a Texas synagogue. JI’s Marc Rod has the details.
The United Nations passed an Israeli-sponsored resolution yesterday denouncing Holocaust distortion and denial. The resolution was adopted by consensus, bypassing a country-by-country vote. Iran was the only member that opposed the resolution, which was cofacilitated by Germany and cosponsored by more than 100 countries.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a joint statement, “We are extremely concerned by the dramatic increase in Holocaust denial, distortion and revisionism. Deeply troubling is also the phenomenon of comparisons being made between current political disputes and the Shoah.”
“Such comparisons are a perversion of history and an injustice to the men, women and children who were deprived of their rights, persecuted and murdered. Those comparisons are a form of antisemitism and stand in direct contradiction to the IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition of antisemitism as well as the IHRA definition on Holocaust denial and distortion. They prepare the ground for prejudice and hatred ultimately threatening our societies,” they said.
Mark Weitzman, the lead author of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of Holocaust denial and distortion who is now the chief operating officer of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, called the resolution’s passage “hugely important,” noting that “the people who embrace — particularly — Holocaust distortion are those who want to erode the foundations of the post-WWII liberal society.”
Weitzman told JI it was “appropriate” for the U.N. to have adopted the resolution. “It kind of restored the U.N. to its roots.”
The White House Partnerships Office is hosting a “Pre-Shabbat Briefing” with Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, this afternoon.
Shontel Brown: ‘Good won over evil’ in Ohio special election race
On the night of her election win in the primary race to succeed now-HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) — then a former Cuyahoga County Democratic Party chair — made sure to thank “my Jewish brothers and sisters” who had played a role in her victory. “This was an organic, authentic relationship that had been forming for years. I have been working in the community as a legislator for nine years, six of them as a county council representative representing communities with a significantly large Jewish population,” Brown said during an appearance on Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast” on Tuesday.
Local issues: Nationally, last year’s off-cycle primary race was widely characterized as a battle between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party. But speaking on the podcast, Brown maintained that framing had little bearing locally. “I think that the local race was really about results. It didn’t get into this progressive-moderate issue,” she said. “I know the national narrative was different. But it definitely, on the ground, was about who has been doing the work and who has been delivering for the people. And I think that is why I was able to earn the support of so many local elected officials in this race.”
Rough going: Brown’s public support for the U.S.-Israel relationship and her opponent’s critiques of the Jewish state played a prominent role in the race. “It got pretty, I would say, rough at times,” Brown said of the campaign. “But for me, it was an easy, clear decision,” Brown maintained, noting that her 2018 trip to Israel helped her form a better understanding of the region.
High road: Asked on Tuesday about her opponent’s remarks, Brown sought the high road. “I am a person that likes to focus on the positive. I am one that has not really engaged in that type of rhetoric or even acknowledged it in that way, because we know that good, certainly, won over evil in that race,” Brown said. “When I hear things like that, I gotta, you know, just pray for my enemies. That’s all I can say is pray for the enemies and hope that the Lord blesses them in a way that they will be too busy to focus on me,” she added, while acknowledging that a potential rematch with Turner in 2022 is possible.
Lightning round: Favorite Yiddish word? “I like chutzpah.” Favorite Cleveland food? “I am a big fan of lamb chops.” One city or country you hope to visit? “Someplace tropical.”
UAE set to become a global hub for NFTs and crypto
The United Arab Emirates has long been considered a desirable destination for doing business. Now, the Gulf nation appears poised to become a global hub in the burgeoning — but controversial — field of cryptocurrency. As more and more countries seek to ban or impose strict regulatory measures on cryptocurrency, the world’s largest crypto trading platform, the Chinese company Binance, is going all-in on the UAE. At the same time, a surge in the buying, selling and creation of digital assets called NFTs — or Non-Fungible Tokens — is also taking place in the UAE, Rebecca Anne Proctor reports for The Circuit.
UAE’s gain: “The good news about the UAE is that they are welcoming this new technology versus places like America and China — America’s and China’s loss is the UAE’s gain,” Jamil Abu-Wardeh, director and co-founder of METKAF[dot]com, a crypto learn-and-launch company in the UAE, told The Circuit. “The UAE has realized that you need to have the right people and technology in place to make this something you can monitor.”
Exponential increase: While many countries have moved to ban the use of Bitcoin (BTC) and digital assets, UAE regulators have taken a different approach by pushing forward its vision to become a blockchain capital via specific frameworks designed to guide crypto businesses on how to operate within the Gulf nation’s laws. “Binance controls 70 percent of crypto transactions, and the fact that it is being headquartered in the UAE is further proof of how the UAE is becoming a capital for crypto and digital assets,” said Abu-Wardeh. As interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies grows globally, it is increasing exponentially in the UAE as the global economy shifts to include less traditional modes of money transactions, such as digital wallets, that can hold both fiat currency and cryptocurrency.
A whole new world: “I feel like the new generation coming out of school feels like they can’t play in the normal industries: banking, legal,” Liontree founder and CEO Aryeh Bourkoff said on a recent episode of Boardroom’s “Out of Office” podcast. “Like, what’s the point of going through the normal school system? What’s the point of going through the normal banking programs, going into the stock market? Ten percent of people own 90% of stocks. And they’re thinking, what’s the point of entering a race that’s already been won? That is informing the mindset of creating NFTs: a new asset class; crypto: a new currency; Metaverse: a new internet world. It’s not just innovation, it’s creating new worlds.”
Colleyville attack was ‘targeting the Jewish community,’ FBI’s Wray says
The hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, last weekend was a terrorist act specifically targeting the Jewish community, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Thursday during a webinar hosted by the Anti-Defamation League, clarifying an earlier statement from an FBI official investigating the case, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Clear-cut: “Let me clear and blunt: The FBI is, and has been, treating Saturday’s events as an act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community,” Wray said during the webinar. “This was not some random occurrence. It was intentional. It was symbolic. And we’re not going to tolerate antisemitism in this country.”
Pushback: Wray’s comments marked a clear contrast with a statement by FBI special agent Matthew DeSarno last weekend that the incident “was not specifically related to the Jewish community” — a notion that high-level administration officials including Wray, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have pushed back on throughout the week.
Path forward: Wray added that the “enduring threats to the Jewish community” — emanating from a range of actors across the ideological spectrum both internationally and domestically — are “among our very highest priorities.” The FBI director said that he has tasked leadership in all 56 FBI field offices with building relationships with local faith communities.
Related: The gunman reportedly conducted internet searches for influential rabbis, gun shops and Aafia Siddiqui, a convicted terrorist serving an 86-year prison sentence in the days before the standoff.
New poll shows Marjorie Taylor Greene is vulnerable in primary matchup
A new poll obtained by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kasselsuggests that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) may be facing a viable Republican challenger in Jennifer Strahan as the first-term incumbent prepares to defend her seat in the open House primary for Georgia’s newly drawn 14th Congressional District.
Uphill battle: The poll shows that Strahan, a 35-year-old healthcare executive who lives in the southeast portion of the district and entered the race this past September, is in for an uphill battle in her quest to unseat Greene. Among 450 potential Republican primary voters who were surveyed by the GOP consulting firm TargetPoint, 60% said they would vote for Greene if the election were held at the time the poll was conducted between Jan. 13 and 17. Strahan pulled in 30%.
Promising results: But when voters were informed, among other things, of Greene’s history of incendiary comments, including “a number of anti-Jewish statements” as well as her positive statements about the Nation of Islam, the poll showed that Strahan was statistically tied with the freshman congresswoman at 41%.
‘Conservative alternative’: The poll was commissioned by “a group of Georgia Republicans who want to show that there is a viable, conservative alternative to” Greene, according to a Republican political consultant and fundraiser in Georgia who spoke with JI on the condition of anonymity. The consultant declined to provide specific names on the record. There is no other publicly available polling on the race.
On the attack: On Thursday, Greene, posting to her Telegram account, once again likened vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany. Strahan said that such comments were further proof that Greene is unfit to serve in the House. “Rep. Greene’s apologies in the past for similar comments clearly meant nothing to her,” she told JI. “Her behavior embarrasses most Georgians, displays her ignorance of history, and explains why she is so ineffective. Our district deserves new leadership.” A spokesperson for Greene did not respond to a request for comment from JI.
Read more here.
Bonus: The poll also showed Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, with a strong lead over former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who is backed by former President Donald Trump, in the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary. Kemp pulled in 48% of the vote, while Perdue was at 29%.
✍️ Never Forget: On the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, New York Times Berlin bureau chief Katrin Bennhold looks at the efforts to plan the Nazi regime’s Final Solution, the only item on the agenda at the gathering. “To many the anniversary of the Wannsee Conference is less salient than the liberation of Auschwitz or the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, which focus on the victims of Nazi terror. But it stands out as a rare date — and memorial — to focus on the perpetrators of the Holocaust, documenting the genocidal machinery of the Nazi state… When they convened around a table overlooking Lake Wannsee, the genocide was already underway. The deportations of Jews and mass killings in eastern territories had begun the previous fall but the meeting that day laid the groundwork for a machinery of mass murder that would involve the entire state apparatus and ultimately millions of Germans in different roles.” [NYTimes]
🗣️ Trope Talk: Vox’s Zach Beauchamp highlights concerns — amid a rise in antisemitic incidents — over the risks posed to the Jewish community by commonly employed tropes. “What this illustrates, more than anything else, is the protean and primordial nature of anti-Semitism — a prejudice and belief structure so baked into Western society that it has a remarkable capacity to infuse newer ideas and reassert itself in different forms. Today, we are seeing the rise not of one form of anti-Semitism but of multiple anti-Semitisms — each popular with different segments of the population for different reasons, but also capable of reinforcing each other by normalizing anti-Semitic expression. There is no mistaking the consequences for Jews.” [Vox]
📘 The Female Fight: In The Coversationalist, Rokhl Kafrissen reviews Judy Batalion’s book The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos, which shines a light on widely unknown accounts of key roles played by Jewish women in fighting the Nazis. “Only a small percentage of Jewish women took part in armed resistance and combat. Most of them were kashariyot, or female couriers. Couriers were quite literally ‘connectors,’ transporting news, publications, medical supplies, weapons and more between ghettos at incredible personal risk. Over the years, the role of the couriers has been minimized and pushed to the edges of Holocaust resistance narratives. Light of Days brings the stories of the kashariyot back to the center of resistance history.” [Conversationalist]
🧮 Calculated: In an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, Avraham Goldstein, a mathematics professor at the City University of New York, explains why he and five colleagues filed a lawsuit against their faculty union. “In June, union officials — who speak for me under state law — issued a resolution I, and many of my colleagues, view as anti-Semitic. The resolution condemned ‘the continued subjection of Palestinians to the state-supported displacement, occupation, and use of lethal force by Israel’ and required chapter-level discussion of possible union support for the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.” Goldstein resigned from the union but his resignation was rejected and union fees were still taken out of his paycheck. “Under New York law, even if I resign from the union, I will never be free to bargain or speak for myself when it comes to matters of my employment as a CUNY professor. I am forced to rely on a union that says anti-Semitic, hateful things about Israel to negotiate on my behalf.” [WSJ]
👨💻 Reality Check: Cybersecurity industry entrepreneur Idan Tendler writes in CTech that he and his high-tech colleagues in Israel must leave their “bubble,” which he compares to Silicon Valley, detached from the reality of the rest of Israeli society. “The Israeli high tech industry has a crucial role whether or not Israel will become as polarized as the United States. The men and women of this industry need a reality check, and must start thinking outside the box. We need to get off the podium, and take action… There’s a quiet underground current that will leave Israeli hi-tech no longer indifferent to the plight in Israel. We aren’t alone. We need to leave this bubble, and lead reforms to reduce socioeconomic gaps in Israel. We want to infect the Israeli public with our chutzpah and faith that we have the power to change reality. If we help other populations enter the industry — that’s even better. But more importantly, we don’t just want to develop new products or launch unicorns, but make Israel a better place.” [CTech]
Around the Web
👩 Let it Go: The editorial board of Bloomberg called on Senate Republicans to allow Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt’s nomination as the Biden administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism to move forward.
❓ Confusing Comment: Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) asked a group of Jewish visitors to the Capitol if they were doing “reconnaissance.”
👪 Family Matters: A Jewish couple in Kentucky denied foster-parent training services by a Christian state-sponsored adoption agency is suing the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, alleging discrimination under a new state law.
🛫 Sky Honors: NASA veteran Gerald Wittenstein and his wife were given a tearful sendoff from the crew of a recent Delta flight, who read a note from their grandchildren congratulating them on their aliyah to Israel.
🍔 Closing Time: Schmaltz Bros., the Washington, D.C.-area kosher food truck that launched last year, announced it was closing as a result of the challenges of operating during a pandemic.
🕵️ More Details: An FBI raid on the Texas home and campaign office of Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) was reportedly tied to a larger federal probe related to Azerbaijan.
🏨 The Place to Be:Architectural Digest spotlights a handful of new luxury hotels that it describes as “some of the chicest in all of the Middle East.”
🏫 Testing Tactics: Israel will put an end to quarantine for students exposed to COVID-19 and instead will require students to take two tests a week, starting next Thursday.
🏢 Staying the Course: Former White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner reportedly does not intend to leave his new private equity firm, Affinity Partners — which has grown to more than 20 staffers in recent weeks, including four former Trump administration officials — in the event former President Donald Trump is elected to another term in the White House.
☎️ Call Me, Maybe: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid had a phone conversation on Thursday, the first phone call between those countries’ foreign ministers since 2018.
🕯️ Remembering: Laurel Cutler, one of the first female executives in the advertising industry, died at 94.
Pic of the Day
Workers removed excess snow from the ski lift at Mount Hermon ski resort in the Golan Heights.
Wine of the Week
JI’s wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews the Villa Mangiacane Magnificus Toscana:
“Over the past few weeks I set out on an Italy-wide quest to discover extraordinary wineries to produce special kosher runs. Prior to my trip, I reached out to anyone I thought might have some insight into local Italian kosher wines. To my great surprise, there were already wonderful kosher wines being produced, even in the unlikeliest of places.”
“Villa Mangiacane, once home to Niccolò Machiavelli, is where I enjoyed the Magnificus Toscana, a brilliant personification of a super Tuscan wine. This wine is 50% sangiovese and 50% merlot. The opening taste is of fruit, supple like the rolling hills where the grapes are grown. The mid-palate has notes of tobacco leaf. The finish is long, structured and, if you let it settle on the back of your palate, full of aged port notes. This wine should be opened and consumed in the next three years. I recommend pairing this bottle with pasta e fagioli.”
Chairman and CEO of Norfolk, Va.-based Harbor Group International, an $18 billion real estate investment firm, Jordan E. Slone turns 60…
FRIDAY: Writer specializing in modern Judaism and women’s issues, Blu Greenberg turns 86… Co-founder of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Lynn Schusterman turns 83… Owner of the NHL’s Boston Bruins and chairman of Delaware North, Jeremy Maurice Jacobs turns 82… Literary critic and writer, Elaine Showalter turns 81… Eighty-second attorney general of the United States, now a senior counsel at Covington & Burling, Eric Holder turns 71… Actor, director and producer, he is the voice of Beast in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” Robby Benson turns 66… Chairman of the ZOA and chair of the real estate group at Sills Cummis & Gross, Mark Levenson turns 65… U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) turns 61… Executive editor digital at the Washington Monthly, Matthew Cooper turns 59… Chief operations officer of OneTable, Andrea Greenblatt turns 55… Senior fellow at the USC Annenberg School, Cindi Leive turns 55… Born in Trinidad and Tobago, SVP and Washington bureau chief for CNN, Sam Feist turns 53… President and CEO of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Rachel Garbow Monroe… Ramat Gan native, best known as the producer or director of the seven films in the “Paranormal Activity” series, Oren Peli turns 52… Dean of School at Yavneh Hebrew Academy in Los Angeles, Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn turns 43… Peruvian model and TV host, Karen Schwarz turns 41… Congressional reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Jennifer Haberkorn turns 39… Israeli actress, screenwriter and filmmaker, Romi Aboulafia turns 38… Chief of staff at HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration Jordan Grossman turns 36… Samuel Z. Eckstein turns 33…
SATURDAY: Co-founder of the Japanese video game company Sega, David Rosen turns 92… Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry in 2000, Alan J. Heeger turns 86… Los Angeles resident, Ruth Lynn Kopelove Sobel… Managing director and founder of Brave Warrior Advisors, the son of Hall of Fame baseball star Hank Greenberg, Glenn H. Greenberg turns 75… Rabbi Mark Samuel Hurvitz turns 75… Brooklyn-born conductor, friend of Pope John Paul II, for whom he later conducted multiple concerts, Gilbert Levine turns 74… Retired partner and head of the political law practice in the D.C. office of Skadden Arps, Kenneth Gross turns 71… Founder and executive director of the Brooklyn-based Bridge Multicultural and Advocacy Project, Mark Meyer Appel turns 70… Publisher at Chicago Public Square, Charlie Meyerson turns 67… Partner in the Cleveland law firm of Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis, Lisa Arlyn Lowe turns 66… Former director-general of the Israeli Defense Ministry, Ehud “Udi” Adam turns 64… Systems engineer, Charles Ovits turns 63… Member of the Knesset for Likud, Katrin “Keti” Shitrit-Peretz turns 62… Justice on the Supreme Court of Israel, Noam Sohlberg turns 60… Michael S. Marquis turns 57… EVP and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Gideon Taylor turns 57…
Actor best known for his role as Harvey Specter on “Suits,” Gabriel Macht turns 50… Sportscaster and podcaster in Washington, D.C., Bram Weinstein turns 49… Associate rabbi at the Midway Jewish Center in Syosset, NY, Joel Mark Levenson turns 49… Director of the Chabad House in Kathmandu, Nepal, Rabbi Yechezkel “Chezki” Lifshitz turns 48… News editor at Mishpacha Magazine, Yochonon Donn turns 45… Project officer at an International Rescue Committee early childhood development program for Syrian refugee children, Heidi Rosbe turns 42… SVP at SKDKnickerbocker, Kendra Barkoff Lamy… Financial services editor at Politico, Zachary Warmbrodt turns 37… Houston native and philanthropist, Serena Hines… Corporate associate at Covington & Burling LLP, Mark Donig turns 35… NYC-based senior director of strategic partnerships at Politico, Jesse Shapiro turns 31… D.C. government reporter for the Washington Post, she is also a professional balloon twister and was a 2018 contestant on “Jeopardy!,” Julie Zauzmer Weil… Israeli singer known by the mononym Netta, she was the winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Netta Barzilai turns 29… Hockey player in the Maple Leafs organization, he was a first-round pick of the New York Islanders in 2014, Josh Ho-Sang turns 26… 2022 J.D. candidate at the University of Michigan Law School, Matthew Lustbader…
SUNDAY: Real estate developer Bruce Ratner turns 77… Professor of biological chemistry at Weizmann Institute of Science, David Wallach turns 76… Educational consultant and non-profit executive, Peter D. Rosenstein turns 75… Manager of Innovative Strategies LLLP, he is a board member of the Baltimore-based Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, Howard K. Cohen turns 75… U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) turns 75… Israeli archaeologist and professor at the University of Haifa, Estee Dvorjetski turns 71… Former mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa turns 69… Former vice chairman at Citigroup, he was a 2021 candidate for mayor of NYC, Ray McGuire turns 65… Broadway theater owner, operator, and producer, James L. Nederlander turns 62… Former president and CEO of Staples Inc., Shira Goodman turns 61… CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp since 2010, Jeremy J. Fingerman turns 61… Executive editor of The Recount, co-author of Game Change and Double Down, John Heilemann turns 56… Hilary Bangash Cohen… Journalist, screenwriter and film producer, Mark Boal turns 49… Creator and host of Jew in the City, Allison F. Josephs… Strategic communications consultant, Arielle Poleg… CEO of Instagram, Adam Mosseri turns 39… Manhasset, N.Y., native who competed for Israel in figure skating, she was the 2014 Israeli national champion, Danielle Montalbano turns 33… Professional soccer player who plays as a defender for DC United, Steven Mitchell Birnbaum turns 31… New York City native who competed for Israel in pairs figure skating, Hayley Anne Sacks turns 31…