👋 Good Tuesday morning!
It’s primary day in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Idaho and Kentucky. We’re keeping an eye on a number of races as results come in tonight. Some of the races we’re watching:
PA Senate (GOP): What had previously been a two-man race between businessman David McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz in the state’s Republican primary has turned into an unexpected free-for-all in the final days of the campaign, with polls showing an 11th-hour surge in support for little-known political commentator Kathy Barnette, who has endorsed and campaigned alongside Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a state senator endorsed by former President Donald Trump. McCormick and Oz have attacked each other relentlessly on the airwaves, seeing their favorables plummet, providing a potential pathway for Barnette.
PA Senate (Dem.): Experts suggest that the race is Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s to lose, with the former mayor besting Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) in both fundraising and in the polls. The progressive Fetterman — who told JI last month that the U.S.-Israel relationship needs “to be safeguarded, protected, supported and nurtured through legislation and all available diplomatic efforts in the region” — has repeatedly said his views do not align with those of members of the Squad, despite his positioning to Lamb’s left. Lamb, for his part, has called for a “delicate balance” on the part of the U.S. when it comes to supporting Israel while criticizing some of its policies on settlements.
NC-04: In the crowded Democratic primary to succeed longtime Rep. David Price (D-NC), three candidates — Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, state Sen. Valerie Foushee and “American Idol” star Clay Aiken — have bolted to the front of the pack. Foushee has drummed up endorsements from the Democratic establishment in the state, as well as financial backing from pro-Israel groups, including the AIPAC-affiliated super PAC United Democracy Project, which spent close to $300,000 in the district this year.
NC-11: Facing a deluge of controversies that have turned many Republican leaders against him in recent months, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), the increasingly embattled freshman congressman from western North Carolina, has found his political future in question as he prepares to go up against more than a half-dozen primary challengers. His most formidable opponent, state Sen. Chuck Edwards, has earned backing from a number of high-profile elected officials across the state who believe that Cawthorn, at 26, has already overstayed his welcome in Congress. While a polling memo obtained by JI in late March suggested that Cawthorn may be “in danger,” it remains to be seen if he has maintained a sufficient level of goodwill among voters in the district to clinch the nomination. If no candidate secures more than 30% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff.
The House passed the Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act — which proposes $500 million in annual funding for the NSGP from 2023 to 2028 and establishes a dedicated office to administer the grant program. The vote was 288 to 129; all of the “no” votes were Republicans.
Last weekend’s mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., perpetrated by an alleged shooter who espoused white supremacist ideas in a hate-filled screed, is prompting renewed calls on Capitol Hill to pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which has stalled amid opposition from Republicans and progressive Democrats.
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), the legislation’s lead sponsor, urged the House to vote on it this week, arguing that “government and law enforcement have failed to catch these signs” of the alleged shooter’s radicalization, “just as Congress has failed to appropriately combat domestic terrorism.” Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) urged attendees at yesterday’s National Council of Jewish Women conference in Washington to call their representatives to demand a vote.
Early unofficial results from Lebanon’s elections show that the terror group Hezbollah is likely to lose its parliamentary majority, in the country’s first elections since a political uprising and a financial collapse. But it is unclear whether that means Hezbollah’s opponents will actually gain power in a significant way.
“People forget that Hezbollah was in the minority in two back-to-back elections in 2005 and 2009,” said Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “It didn’t have the slightest impact on their dominance of the system and their ability to drive the agenda and the politics.” Hezbollah remains “the only coherent bloc,” while its opponents are fractious and fragmented.
New congressional map upends 2022 plans for New York politicians
In the hours following the release yesterday of a draft of a new congressional map in New York created by a court-appointed special master, candidates and current members of Congress began to announce if — and where — they intend to run. The primary, originally scheduled for June, was pushed to August following a decision by a state Supreme Court judge that the original map, which gave Democrats a 22-4 advantage, was unconstitutional. The map proposed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Jonathan Cervas still needs to be signed off on by Judge Patrick McAllister, who ruled the initial maps unconstitutional. McAllister is expected to sign off on the new map by Friday. The new map would likely set up 16 safe Democratic seats, five safe Republican seats and five competitive seats. Veteran Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf described Monday as “the best day in New York State [that] Republicans have had for quite some time.” Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod breaks down the races to watch in the coming days and weeks.
Will Max Rose mount a comeback? In the original map, New York Democrats had drawn the 11th District to give former Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) a stronger chance of regaining his Staten Island seat, which has been largely wiped out in the newly drawn map. The new Staten Island district leans slightly toward Republicans and favors Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY). “It can swing the other way, but it’s a tough climb,” New York Democratic strategist Ross Wallenstein told JI.
Who will represent Manhattan? In the 12th District, Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, who have served in Congress from 1992 and 1993, respectively, will face off in the newly drawn district representing Manhattan. “It’s very unfortunate for the city and for the state in terms of representation in Washington and certainly unfortunate for the caucus,” Democratic strategist and pollster Jake Dilemani said. If Nadler loses, it could mark the first time in more than a century that New York City has no Jewish member of Congress, New York Democratic strategist Stu Loeser noted.
What is happening in Westchester? Freshman Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones could square off in the new 16th District. Jones represents much of the new 17th District, but lives in White Plains, in the 16th. Jones has not yet announced a decision on where he will run. Meanwhile, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, announced shortly after the release of the new map that he will run in the state’s 17th District, forcing Jones to pick between running against Maloney or Bowman. “Sean Patrick Maloney did not even give me a heads up before he went on Twitter to make that announcement. And I think that tells you everything you need [to] know about Sean Patrick Maloney,” Jones told Politico on Monday evening.
Riverdale remains with Ritchie: In the new map, Riverdale moves from the state’s 16th district to the 15th, which is represented by Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY). An earlier map — rejected by the courts — also had Riverdale in Torres’ district, which was drawn to expand northward. Earlier this year, Torres said the addition of Riverdale to his district felt “like a marriage made in heaven.”
Kathy Barnette presents a different side
Kathy Barnette, a Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania who has suddenly leapt into contention ahead of Tuesday’s primary, has argued that America cannot “co-exist with the homosexual agenda” and that “two men holding hands” is “not normal.” Elsewhere, she has written that “pedophilia is a cornerstone of Islam,” amplified the conspiracy that former President Barack Obama “is a Muslim” and likened Islam to Nazism. But the Kathy Barnette who spoke with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel in a brief interview on Sunday presented a different front.
Friends like these: Describing herself as an “unflinching friend to Israel, to Jews” and “to all law-abiding Americans,” Barnette, 50, pledged that she will be “unrelenting toward” those who “are racist or intolerant” if she is elected to the Senate. Her critics might find such promises hard to believe. The author, conservative commentator and Army Reserve veteran has long espoused bigoted views that have recently drawn intense scrutiny amid her unlikely surge in the final weeks of the race.
Nazi analogies: In a pair of previously unreported tweets from 2015, Barnette suggested that American gun control efforts were akin to Nazi tactics, posting an image of Hitler engaged in a Nazi salute above an incendiary message: “All in favor of ‘gun control’ raise your right hand.” Barnette concluded her tweet with two hashtags: “#Jewish #2A.” The Hitler image is the product of an obscure gun-rights nonprofit called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, whose late founder argued that gun control “helped clear the way for Nazi ascendancy.” The group, founded in 1989, has been characterized as a hardline version of the National Rifle Association.
‘Globalist’ attack: Similarly, Barnette — a so-called “ultra-MAGA” conservative who is running neck and neck with two well-funded opponents — has positioned herself to the extreme right of a Republican field that is otherwise almost uniformly aligned with former President Donald Trump. Last month, Trump endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician who for months has been locked in a costly ad war with former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. Barnette, who has been comparatively under-resourced, has derided both candidates as “globalists” and said she has “no intention of supporting” them if either wins the primary. “You can’t help but to see the David and Goliath kind of odds,” Barnette told JI.
Turning the spotlight: “Violence,” Barnette said, “has become an increasing concern for a variety of people, whether I’m talking to Chinese Americans in Chinatown, that’s a significant issue, and likewise with Jewish people, Black people, and all of that.” The Senate hopeful vowed to speak out against “those who want to inflict harm” if she secures the Republican nomination tomorrow and is elected to the Senate this fall. “I will be unflinching,” she said, “in making sure that a spotlight is placed on them.” Barnette made no indication, however, of whether she is willing to turn that spotlight on herself.
Speaking at Warsaw Jewish museum, Yellen urges ‘fierce resistance’ to Putin
In a speech in Warsaw on Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen drew upon the legacy of her family members who were killed in the Holocaust to highlight the importance of American efforts to support Ukraine in its response to Russia’s invasion, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
It’s personal: Speaking at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, located on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto, Yellen shared that most of her father’s relatives were murdered in Sokołów Podlaski, the small town where they lived 50 miles outside of Warsaw.
Fight back: “Yet the region where my relatives lived was also home to resistance,” said Yellen, who praised the Polish resistance fighters who, “in the face of insurmountable odds and almost unthinkable risk,” fought back against the Nazis. “That is part of the legacy I am here today to honor: taking action to confront evil,” she added. That legacy, she said, “is also at the core of the Treasury Department.”
Fierce resistance: Yellen, who was in Europe to hammer out a global tax rate deal, did not announce any new policy initiatives, instead using her remarks to make a moral case for sustained financial support for Ukraine and sanctions on Russia. “Putin’s ongoing attacks on Ukraine require that we think about what we can do to confront brutality,” said Yellen. “We at Treasury are also doing what we can to ensure that Putin’s brutal war is met with fierce resistance internationally.”
Calif. lawsuit targets teaching of ethnic studies in Los Angeles schools
A group of Jewish parents and teachers in Los Angeles is suing the educators behind a public high school curriculum that they allege discriminates against Jews, according to a complaint filed last week in federal court in California, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Allegations: The unnamed “concerned Jewish parents and teachers” have accused a group of L.A. public school teachers, including the teachers union president, of disseminating a curriculum that discriminates against “American and Middle Eastern-American Jews who embrace their religion’s foundational belief in Zionism,” and that they have sought to do this secretly, in spite of state rules requiring new materials to be presented at public meetings.
Legal team: The lead attorney on the suit is affiliated with the Deborah Project, an organization that represents Jewish plaintiffs who believe they were discriminated against in educational settings. Its partner on the suit is Judicial Watch, a conservative legal advocacy group that is known for going after Democratic politicians and policies in Democrat-run states. “As soon as some people see Judicial Watch, their eyes are going to close, their minds will shut and that will be the end of the discussion,” said Marc Stern, chief legal officer at the American Jewish Committee. He added that “the allegations in this complaint ring true, and it’s very disturbing.”
🧊 N.Y. Cold Shoulder: Politico’s Anna Gronewold, Sally Goldenberg and Madina Toure examine the frosty relationship between New York. Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams as Adams weighs making an endorsement in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. “According to an individual familiar with the relationship, Hochul and Adams got off to a rocky start after she appeared on stage at his victory party at the Brooklyn Marriott in November, grabbed his arm and did a victory cheer with him. She had not alerted him to the fact that she was coming. Adams invited her to say a few words at the tail end of his speech, but was surprised, the person said, because Hochul was invited to the party, but not on the stage. Still, one individual in the Hochul administration familiar with the evening’s events said, ‘He didn’t want her to speak and he was being a dick, so we went up there anyway.’” [Politico]
🛋️ On the Couch: The New Yorker’s Alexandra Schwartz spotlights psychotherapist Orna Guralnik, the Israeli-American star of the Showtime series “Couples Therapy,” in which she treats couples seeking out psychological treatment. “Guralnik was born in 1964, in Washington, D.C. Her parents worked at the Israeli Embassy while pursuing their studies—Guralnik’s mother, Nehama, in art history, and her father, Daniel, in aeronautical engineering. ‘They were very typical Ashkenazi Israelis of that generation,’ she said. ‘Super secular. Idealists. They believed in a certain kind of socialistic, Zionistic struggle, and they bought into it very early.’ When she was two years old, Daniel got an offer from Lockheed Martin and moved the family to Atlanta. ‘I was the only Jewish kid in my class,’ Guralnik told me. ‘I remember sitting on Father Christmas’s lap, asking if it’s O.K. for Jews to get gifts.’ When Guralnik was seven, her father was recruited by the Israeli airline El Al, and the family, which now included a younger brother, relocated to Tel Aviv. The result was culture shock. Not long after they arrived, the Yom Kippur War broke out, and Daniel was called up from the reserves. ‘The men disappeared,’ Guralnik said.” [NewYorker]
💻 Family Finances: The Financial Times’ Miles Kruppa looks at the growing number of family offices expanding their investments to the tech startup world. “One of the most active family offices in venture investing is Lauder Partners, managed by Gary Lauder, a grandson of the founder of cosmetics group Estée Lauder… ‘There are times when I invest in something based on a short description, liking the people and not much due diligence,’ he says. ‘If I was a fiduciary [managing other people’s money], I would have to do more due diligence. That would have caused me to miss some good opportunities. Probably, I might have missed some bad ones, too.’ Lauder says he has dodged investment opportunities that were clearly too good to be true. Once, a university professor sent him a proposal for a transportation system that resembled a perpetual motion machine, an impossible concept under the laws of physics. Lauder says he first learnt about Theranos through a friend who had invested in the company and raved about its star-studded board of directors, which included political elder statesmen such as Henry Kissinger. Lauder decided to not pursue an investment in the company, even after later running into founder Elizabeth Holmes at social gatherings. ‘That started and ended there,’ he says.” [FT]
👨 Tough Tech: The Associated Press’ Tia Goldenberg interviews Harel Hershtik, who spent two decades in prison for his involvement in the killing of an acquaintance — time he used to hone his technology skills. His new health tech company, with a variety of backers including Shmuel Shapira and Yaakov Amidror, is set to soon go public. “Neither his conviction for premeditated murder, his lengthy prison sentence nor his parole board-mandated nightly house arrest have obstructed his rise. His partners tout him as a successful case of rehabilitation and second chances. But with his company set to go public, Hershtik’s past is coming under new scrutiny, raising questions about whether someone who took a person’s life deserves to rehabilitate his own to such an extent. It also tells an astounding tale of a life derailed and improbably set back on track through a combination of intellect, drive and guile.” [AP]
Around the Web
💰 Surfside Settlement: The town commissioners in Surfside, Fla., voted unanimously to approve a $2 million insurance settlement — the maximum policy limit — to survivors and families of victims of last year’s Champlain Towers South condominium collapse.
✍️ On the Hill: Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Marie Newman (D-IL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) introduced a resolution recognizing what Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba,” when Palestinians departed their homes during Israel’s War of Independence.
📜 Deadly Diatribe: The Hasidic communities in the heavily Jewish enclaves of Lakewood and Toms River, N.J., were named in the screed written by the white supremacist who killed 10 people at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store on Saturday.
🏗️ Luxury Boxes: The Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. will partner with the Texas Rangers to develop the area around the team’s recently opened ballpark in Arlington.
👩 Madame PM: French President Emmanuel Macron named Élisabeth Borne, whose father was a Russian Jewish refugee who fled to France and survived the Holocaust, as the country’s prime minister, the first woman to hold the post in 30 years.
🛢️ Gas Gift: Israel is increasing its output of offshore natural gas, as part of an agreement with Europe to help supply gas no longer coming from Russia.
✔️ Terror Designations: The U.S. will remove the Foreign Terrorist Organization designations of five now-defunct organizations, including the Gaza-based Mujahidin Shura Council and the Jewish extremist group Kahane Kach.
📱 Spyware Spin: An executive at the NSO Group pushed back against criticism of the company’s Pegasus spyware, saying the technology has been used to prevent terror attacks.
📊 Bad Numbers: Israel’s economy contracted at an annualized rate of 1.6% in the year’s first quarter, indicating the economy’s post-pandemic hot growth period has come to an end.
🤵👰 Mazal Tov: Itay Milner, consul for media and spokesperson at the Israeli consulate in New York, married Egle Lauzonyte in a ceremony on Sunday in Old Jaffa, Israel.
Pic of the Day
A refugee camp in Palanca, Moldova, along the border with Ukraine, is readied to accept refugees fleeing nearby Odesa. Russian bombardment of the port city has increased in recent weeks. Before the war, Odessa was the third-most populous city in Ukraine, with the fourth largest Jewish population in the country.
Israeli judoka, he was the 2019 World Champion, Sagi Aharon Muki turns 30…
President of the Philadelphia-based Honickman Foundation, Lynne Korman Honickman turns 86… Annapolis, Md., attorney, Robert M. Pollock… Randolph Stuart Koch… News anchor for WPVI-TV (ABC Channel 6) in Philadelphia, Jim Gardner turns 74… Canadian philanthropist and the first woman to serve as lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, Myra Ava Freeman turns 73… Corporate and securities attorney at NYC’s Eilenberg & Krause, Sheldon Krause turns 67… Founder and president of ENS Resources, Eric Sapirstein turns 66… Host of “Marketplace Morning Report” on public radio, David Brancaccio turns 62… Author of the 2005 book Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish and a 2017 book about Jewish holidays, she is an honorary president of NYC’s Central Synagogue, Abigail Pogrebin… and her identical twin sister, Robin Pogrebin, reporter on the culture desk for The New York Times, both turn 57… Former general manager for corporate strategy at Microsoft, Kinney Zalesne turns 56… CPA and founder of the Baltimore Hunger Project, it provides food packs for the weekend that are discretely slipped into over 1,600 poverty-stricken public-school children’s backpacks each Friday, Lynne Berkowitz Kahn… Reporter for The New York Times covering campaigns and elections, Reid J. Epstein… Former member of Knesset, when elected in 2013 she became the youngest female Knesset member in Israel’s history, Stav Shaffir turns 37… Digital strategy adviser to Democratic organizations and candidates, Jenna Ruth Lowenstein… Digital strategist and PR consultant, Sarah Sonies… Senior writer at Microsoft’s Future of Work group, Rebecca Rose Nelson Kay… Education director at the Boston Jewish Education Program, Heather Renetzky… External communications representative at Apache Corporation, Katie Keenan…