👋 Good Friday morning!
Ed note: In honor of Memorial Day, the next Daily Kickoff will arrive on Tuesday morning. Wishing you all a restful long weekend.
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 new soccer field in the Bronx courtesy of the Abraham Accords; Emiratis estimate trade volume with Israel will reach $5 billion in the next few years; Israeli CEOs fly to Casablanca to offer Morocco a dose of startup culture; Cora Neumann’s sweet home Montana; Small-town Michigan mayor Kelly Garrett takes on Rashida Tlaib; Delia Ramirez hopes Springfield will be her springboard to Congress; and Socialist staffer on Jamaal Bowman’s team details congressman’s efforts to placate DSA. Print the latest edition here.
A new study from the Pew Research Center released on Thursday found a softening of attitudes toward both Israelis and Palestinians, with 67% of Americans having a favorable view of the Israeli people, and 52% having a favorable view of the Palestinians, up from 64% and 46%, respectively, when compared to a similar survey in 2019.
But the study also found declining support for Israel in respondents under the age of 30, more of whom (61%) view the Palestinian people more positively than Israelis (56%). The Israeli government and Palestinian Authority fared much worse among the younger cohort, with favorability ratings of 34% and 35%, respectively.
Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Jewish Insider, “Among younger Americans (under 30) the Pew poll reveals a trend line that has been in evidence for some time now – a growing tendency among young Americans not just to look at the Israeli-Palestinian issue with more balance than with a traditionally more reflexive pro-Israeli sensibility, but to actually identify somewhat more with Palestinians.”
The survey found that Americans of all ages were divided on the best possible outcome in the region: 35% support a two-state entity, 27% back a one-state solution with a joint Israeli-Palestinian government and 37% — many of whom fell in the under-30 bracket — said they were unsure what the best outcome should be, which Miller attributed to “the absence of any kind of credible peace process leading to two states in recent years.”
The Pew survey also found that just 5% of U.S. adults have heard at least “some” about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and express support for it, and 2% of U.S. adults strongly support it. Eighty-four percent say they have heard “not much” or “nothing at all” about BDS.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act failed a procedural vote on the Senate floor yesterday amid Republican opposition. The bill was backed by the Orthodox Union, Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Democratic Council of America.
Nathan Diament, executive director of the OU Advocacy Center, told Jewish Insider, “We are disappointed that what started as a relatively modest — but useful — bipartisan piece of legislation to help combat domestic violent extremism became a partisan political football.”
A spokesperson for the ADL told JI the group was “deeply disappointed” by the vote and that “America is less safe because of it.” The spokesperson called on Congress and the administration to pursue alternate paths to combat domestic terrorism.
Halie Soifer, CEO of the JDCA, told JI, “It’s been 12 days since a white supremacist targeted and murdered 10 Black Americans in Buffalo, yet every single Senate Republican had the audacity to oppose legislation that would combat these extreme and dangerous forms of hate.”
Iraq’s parliament passed a law this week criminalizing “normalization with the Zionist entity.” The law is broad in scope, and prohibits all travel to Israel, communication with Israelis and professional partnerships of any kind.
Hussain Abdul-Hussain, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told JI that the legislation does not have significant practical ramifications because “even without the law, [people who call for ties with Israel] are being abused.” The sponsors of the law are “trying to prove that the pro-Iran militias cannot outbid them in being anti-Israel, anti-West, anti-America, anti-Imperial, you name it,” said Abdul-Hussain.
Robert Nicholson warns that Middle East Christians at on-going risk
Christian communities in the Middle East remain at risk of persecution, warned Robert Nicholson, executive director of the Philos Project, a Christian advocacy group focused on advancing pluralism in the Middle East. Appearing on Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast,” Nicholson said that despite “a lot of advocacy for these communities over the last few years, especially since ISIS, [there has been] unfortunately very little in terms of impact.”
History: “Part of our work at the Philos Project is trying to build a community of Christian leaders from different backgrounds [and] denominations to understand better and engage better on Near East or Middle East issues,” Nicholson said of his advocacy work in the region. “[A] big part of that is [the] Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the other big part, as you can probably guess, is the plight of these Christian communities, all of which go back, you know, 2,000 years.”
Restricted freedom: Nicholson specifically cited Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Jordan as the countries of particular focus to Philos. Even in Lebanon, where Christians make up 35% of the population and have in recent years been represented in government, Nicholson, who has been banned from entering the country for life, said the community has been “squeezed” by restrictions. “What you find is that Christians have the technical right to worship — right, you can go to Mass on Sunday morning, [in] most of these places, but the cultural environment, and certainly the political environment, is set up in such a way to either exclude you or even to target you,” he explained.
Top of list: “Even if the American people care about this issue, it is never going to be a top foreign policy priority for any administration, Republican or Democrat,” Nicholson, a former Marine, admitted. “Even [former President Donald] Trump, who arguably did the most on this front, didn’t actually do that much.”
Iran’s foreign minister: ‘The national interests of the United States have been taken hostage by the Zionists’
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian appeared to repeatedly invoke antisemitic stereotypes when discussing the Iran nuclear deal, Jewish Insider’s Jacob Miller reports.
What was said: “The national interests of the United States have been taken hostage by the Zionists,” Amir-Abdollahian said at the gathering in the Swiss resort where world leaders convene annually to discuss global affairs. CNN host Fareed Zakaria, who was moderating the discussion, did not acknowledge Amir-Abdollahian’s comment and proceeded to ask a question about the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Digging heels in: Later in the conversation, Amir-Abdollahian dismissed a Wall Street Journal report that Iran evaded international nuclear investigations using secret U.N. documents, saying, “Unfortunately the Zionists are spreading a lot of lies.” Zakaria did not respond to Amir-Abdollahian’s remark. Amir-Abdollahian also blamed “Zionists” for the stalled talks aimed at restoring the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “I think if the Zionist lobby distances itself from the national interests of the U.S. just a little, Mr. Biden will be able to make the decision required for making a good deal,” he said.
Nuke talk knowledge: Amir-Abdollahian appeared optimistic about the fate of the nuclear talks, which U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley called “tenuous at best” in a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. “We are receiving messages from Rob Malley and some of the officials of the United States at the highest level — Mr. Biden himself — that are a little bit different from the public statements that they make.” He explained that Malley’s remarks may have been influenced by domestic pressures opposing the Iran deal, and that negotiations may prove fruitful. “It is understandable to me that Rob Malley is also considering domestic purposes, and we know how he is speaking before the Congress,” he said.
U.S. warns Israel not to move on Sudan normalization
As Sudan’s relations with Israel remain in limbo following a military coup in the East African nation last year, the State Department is urging Israel not to proceed with normalization until a civilian-led government is restored in Sudan, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports. Sudan signed onto the Abraham Accords in January 2021, during a brief period of relative stability between a 2019 uprising that saw Omar al Bashir, the dictator who ruled the country for 30 years, wrested from power and last year’s coup that led to military control of Sudan.
Strong words: “We strongly encourage the State of Israel to join us and the broader international community in vocally pressing for Sudan’s military leaders to cede power to a credible, civilian-led transitional government,” a State Department spokesperson told JI. Israel has not condemned the coup, which was followed by a violent crackdown against protestors, despite repeated entreaties from the U.S. government. An Israeli military delegation that visited Sudan just before the coup has reportedly stayed in contact with the Sudanese military.
Put on pause: Additionally, the U.S. “will not resume currently paused assistance to the Sudanese government until a credible civilian government is in place,” the State Department spokesperson said of promised financial and debt-related assistance, including “assistance originally committed to Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government in connection with its efforts to improve Sudan’s bilateral relationship with Israel.”
Hindsight: “There was an interest in getting as many countries as possible, as quickly as possible,” Victoria Coates, who worked on Middle East politics first at the National Security Council and then at the Department of Energy in the Trump administration, said of the Abraham Accords. “But in hindsight, that was probably a bridge too far, just for where [Sudan] was in its development.”
on the hill
20 Senate, 63 House Dems urge administration to intervene on Palestinian evictions
Twenty senators and 63 House members — all of them Democrats — called on the Biden administration to work to prevent the evictions of 1,000 Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta region of the West Bank, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Looking ahead: The members joined a letter led by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), which was sent to Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Thursday, ahead of President Joe Biden’s expected trip to Israel next month.
Getting involved: Freshman Stansbury, the letter’s lead House sponsor, has become increasingly active on Israel issues since first launching her bid for office last year, expressing little familiarity at the time with Israel issues in an interview with JI early in her candidacy. In a subsequent candidate interview, Stansbury said she “would support divestment or sanctions initiatives that work towards the goal of a two-state solution” and supported ensuring that “U.S. aid must only be used for security and defense and never for actions against Palestine,” citing annexation of territory in particular.
Coming on board: The Democratic senators who signed the letter include Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Elsewhere on the Hill: A senior policy adviser to Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) continued his efforts to assuage tensions with the Democratic Socialists of America in a second letter to a private DSA message board published in late March, acknowledging that DSA members “are very right to be angry” with the freshman congressman over his recent engagement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “We have work to do, we’re doing it, and it’s going to take a bit of time,” Rajiv Sicora wrote in his letter, which was recently obtained by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel.
🗺️ The World According to Henry and George: In the Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead explores the differing visions of how to handle Russia that were presented by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and billionaire philanthropist George Soros at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Looking at history, the one thing that seems clear is that neither approach yields an infallible guide to success. The French and British leaders who tried to appease Hitler in the 1930s made very Kissingerian arguments about the need to respect German national interests. The neoconservatives pushing George W. Bush to invade Iraq made Sorosian arguments about the totalitarian nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime. As Messrs. Kissinger and Soros would both agree, mechanistically applying any theory of history to the messy realities of international life is a good way to get into trouble.” [WSJ]
🩳 Fashion Statement: The New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman looks at the untraditional style sported by Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, who has sought to make himself an untraditional candidate. “Combined with his shaved head, goatee and tattoos (on his left arm, the ZIP code for Braddock, Pa., the town where he was mayor for 15 years; on his right, the dates when citizens of Braddock were killed by gun violence during his terms in office), the effect practically reeks of that word so beloved of the political class, and so rarely associated with them: authenticity. It’s not that Mr. Fetterman looks particularly à la mode, but that he doesn’t look overly polished, or too fancy, or (yikes) styled. Indeed, he doth protest often that he has ‘negative fashion sense.’ Which, of course, is the point. He looks real, an avatar of the American archetype of the working man who does an honest day’s labor (even though he did go to Harvard for his master’s degree, and his labor is mostly deskbound).” [NYTimes]
Questionable Content: In Politico, Hank Stephenson spotlights controversial Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters, whose past writings have quoted Nazi officials and antisemitic conspiracy theorists. “In addition to signal-boosting Ted Kaczynski, Masters has faced scrutiny for a 2006 essay he wrote for the libertarian site LewRockwell.com that was recently unearthed by Jewish Insider; it included a quote from the high-ranking Nazi official Hermann Goering and argued the U.S. hasn’t been involved in a just war in 140 years. In a statement to Jewish Insider, Masters said he didn’t endorse the Nazi leader’s views and that as an undergraduate anti-war activist, he went ‘too far’ in denouncing so many American wars. But he also hit back at the ‘cheap journalist tactic’ of ‘guilt by association.'” [Politico]
Around the Web
✈️ Security Meetup: Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata will meet with U.S. counterpart Jake Sullivan in Washington next week, where they are expected to discuss Iran talks, President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to the region and relations with Saudi Arabia.
👩 Making the Rounds: Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt addressed the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Thursday before speaking at Yeshiva University’s commencement ceremony.
👪 Nepotism Watch: A State Department watchdog found that dozens of members of panels that determine diplomats’ promotions were unqualified to sit on those panels, and that at least half a dozen were friends or relatives of State Department officials and earned thousands of dollars from their participation.
🇸🇦 Saudi Suggestions: In the Washington Post, Saudi entrepreneur Khalid Aljabri lays out a suggested path for the Biden administration to take to restore relations with Riyadh.
⚖️ Case Denied: The Supreme Court declined two requests to take up a case against protestors who have demonstrated outside a Michigan synagogue for close to two decades.
🗳️ Badger Ballot: In Wisconsin’s Democratic Senate primary, a new internal poll from Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry shows him gaining ground against frontrunner Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes with just over two months to go until the August primary.
📘 Never Again: The Washington Post spotlights teenager Dov Forman, who chronicled his great-grandmother’s Holocaust survival story in a new bestseller, Lily’s Promise.
🎶 Music Man: Matt Pincus raised $200 million from Jonathan Soros’ JS Capital Management, Schusterman Family Investments and LionTree for Music, a new company focusing on investing in the infrastructure of the music industry.
🖌️ Book Shelf: Andreas Kilcher’s new book, Franz Kafka: The Drawings, presents the famed surrealist novelist’s artwork, found scribbled in his many notebook margins, in one volume.
⛔ Overruled: An Israeli appeals court overturned a lower court ruling questioning whether people who are not Muslims can pray at the Temple Mount, preserving the decades-old status quo at the religious hotspot, which prohibits visible Jewish prayer at the site.
🕵️ Probe of Journalist’s Death: An investigation into the death of an Al Jazeera journalist conducted by the Palestinian Authority, which refused to let either Israeli or U.S. authorities examine evidence, concluded that Israeli forces were responsible for the shot that killed Shireen Abu Akleh. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the investigation’s findings “a blatant lie.”
📈 Recent Regulations: Reformed Israeli import controls will enhance competition and reduce prices, according to an official from Israel’s Economy and Industry Ministry.
🛢️ Crude Takeover: U.S. officials confiscated Iranian oil stored on a Russian ship off the coast of Greece and will transport the oil to the U.S.
💼 Transition: Aviva Aron-Dine will replace David Kamin as deputy director at the National Economic Council. Kamin is leaving the post to return to NYU Law School, where he is a professor.
Wine of the Week
JI’s wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews the 2017 Marani Satrapezo Saperavi:
“Georgia, the country, has been the home of winemaking for thousands of years. I have waited nearly as long to taste Georgian kosher wine. Last night I finally had the opportunity and it was well worth the wait! My friend Zurab brought me a bottle of Marani Satrapezo Saperavi to taste, and everything about this wine surprised me on the upside.
“The Saperavi grape was new to me. It is hearty, deep red and astringent. The Satrapezo Saperavi tasted like pomegranate — you could almost feel the seeds on your tongue. The front palate is full of bright red cherry, and the finish is long and luscious. This wine is ready to drink now, although if you open it in five years, your patience will be well-rewarded. This wine should be enjoyed with bone-in veal chops.”
U.S. ambassador to Argentina since earlier this year, he was a Dallas-based class-action trial lawyer and served for six years as chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Marc R. Stanley turns 65…
FRIDAY: National security advisor and secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, he won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize, Henry Kissinger turns 99… Retired professor of international marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Philip Kotler turns 91… Founder of Val d’Or Apparel and Cannon County Knitting Mills, Martin “Marty” Granoff turns 86… CEO of British real estate firm Heron International, Gerald Ronson turns 83… Actor, producer and real estate developer, Zack Norman turns 82… Senior U.S. district judge for the Central District of California, Christina A. Snyder turns 75… Retired school rabbi and director of Jewish studies at The Rashi School, Ellen Weinstein Pildis… Analytical psychotherapist, author, and Jewish Renewal rabbi, Tirzah Firestone turns 68… Former MLB pitcher, now a financial advisor at RBC Wealth Management, Ross Baumgarten turns 67… Emmy Award-winning actor, comedian and director, Richard Schiff turns 67… Owner of a 310-acre plant nursery in Kansas, and a former All Star MLB pitcher, Mark Clear turns 66… Marriage counselor, therapist and author, Sherry Amatenstein… Beverly Hills-based immigration attorney, founder and chairman of the Los Angeles Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, Neil J. Sheff… Political strategist best known as the campaign manager for Barack Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign, David Plouffe turns 55… General manager of Phibro Israel and co-founder of LaKita, a non-profit crowd-funding platform for Israeli public schools, Jonathan Bendheim… Workplace and labor reporter at The New York Times, Noam Scheiber… Actor, producer and co-owner of a wine label called Angelica Cellars, Ben Feldman turns 42… Director of philanthropic initiatives at Touro College, Grant Silverstein… Sports reporter for The Wall Street Journal covering the NBA, college basketball and college football, Benjamin Zachary Cohen… Director of government relations at Raytheon Technologies, Katherina “Katya” Dimenstein… Assistant district attorney for Bronx County, Joshua A. Fitterman… Philadelphia Inquirer‘s reporter covering Pennsylvania politics, Andrew Seidman… Emily Cohen…
SATURDAY: Longtime activist in the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater (Virginia) and past member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, Arnold H. Leon… Founding rabbi of both Lincoln Square Synagogue in NYC and then later the City of Efrat, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin turns 82… Director of UCSF’s Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, he won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Stanley Benjamin Prusiner, M.D. turns 80… Executive director at Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Jerome H. Kadden… Former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani turns 78… Mayor of Toronto, John Howard Tory turns 68… Winnipeg-born attorney and Jewish leader, Gail Sheryl Asper turns 62… U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) turns 51… Member of the Knesset with the Likud party, Ofir Akunis turns 49… Rabbi at Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville, Ala., Eric Berk… Manager of the executive office at The Pew Charitable Trusts, Lauren Mandelker… Singer-songwriter, artist and filmmaker, Adam Green turns 41… Entrepreneur Matthew Pritzker turns 40… VP at lobbying firm Kasirer LLC, David A. Lobl… Founder in 2015 of At The Well, Sarah Michal Waxman… CEO of American Blockchain Political Action Committee, Adelle Malka Nazarian… Freelance journalist Thea Glassman… Harry Weinstein… Named for his father who was the Wall Street Journal bureau chief that was kidnapped and murdered by Pakistani terrorists a few months before he was born, Adam Daniel Pearl… Irwin Weiss…
SUNDAY: Resident of Toronto and Longboat Key, Fla., Paul G. Morton… Former member of the Knesset and later Israel’s ambassador to Japan, Eli Cohen turns 73… Actor, singer-songwriter and record producer, Danny Elfman turns 69… U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) turns 68… Television writer, producer and actor, Mitchell Hurwitz turns 59… Wichita, Kansas, philanthropist, Ellen Ginsburg Beren… Professor at the University of Chicago, co-author of the best-selling books in the Freakonomics series, Steven Levitt turns 55… CEO and executive editor of 70 Faces Media, Ami Eden… Policy analyst at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Yaakov Feinstein… Founding partner of Blandford Capital, Nathaniel Jerome Meyohas turns 48… Fashion designer and the founder and creative director of the fashion label Shoshanna, Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss turns 47… Film producer and former corporate lawyer at Skadden Arps, Edward Frank “Teddy” Schwarzman turns 43… Senior political reporter at The Forward, Jacob Kornbluh… Swedish-born pro-Israel activist, commentator and reporter, Annika Hernroth-Rothstein… Managing director at Hudson Bay Capital Management, Alexander Berger… Jewish liaison for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Jacob “Jake” Adler… Israeli-born baseball player and coach, now working in the Seattle Mariners’ player development program, Alon Leichman turns 33…