👋 Good Monday morning!
The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, which for half a century allowed for women across the country to receive abortion services, dominated headlines and agendas throughout the weekend.
In her remarks on Friday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) quoted from the poem “I Have No Other Country,” by Israeli poet Ehud Manor.
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement, Jewish organizations sent out statements, the majority of which denounced the decision. Others linked to donation pages for abortion providers, including the National Abortion Federation.
The American Jewish Committee said that the ruling “denies individuals health care options consistent with their religious beliefs, including many in the Jewish community, thereby presenting issues of religious freedom and privacy,” while the National Council of Jewish Women organized a virtual vigil within hours of the ruling that was joined by upwards of 1,100 attendees.
The Jewish Democratic Council of America called the ruling “antithetical to this historical and legal precedent and a betrayal of our values,” noting that the group is “determined to see this draconian decision overturned.”
When a draft of the decision was leaked earlier last month, we spoke to some Orthodox Jewish organizations, which have historically aligned with conservative Christian groups on legal matters.
After Friday’s ruling, the Orthodox Union reiterated its statement from May, saying that it “is unable to either mourn or celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade. We cannot support absolute bans on abortion — at any time point in a pregnancy — that would not allow access to abortion in life-saving situations. Similarly, we cannot support legislation that does not limit abortion to situations in which medical (including mental health) professionals affirm that carrying the pregnancy to term poses real risk to the life of the mother.”
Agudath Israel of America, which told JI in May that it would “have to review the precise nuances of the final decision itself — how, for example, it treats abortion rights when the ‘mother’s life or health is endangered’ or when the ‘mother’s sincerely held religious beliefs allow or require’ her to seek an abortion,” issued a statement on Friday that it “welcomes this historic development.”
A recent survey by the Jewish Electorate Institute — which was put into the field before the draft opinion leaked — found that three in four Jewish Americans had expressed concern that the ruling would be overturned.
A poll conducted by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist immediately following the decision found that a majority of Americans (56%) opposed the decision, and that a slight majority (51%) said they would vote for a candidate who supports federal legislation to restore abortion rights.
The ruling came the same day as lawmakers in Germany overturned a Nazi-era law that outlawed the advertising of abortion services.
bdb backs away
Bill de Blasio says he no longer supports AIPAC and wishes Nina Turner was in Congress
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing scrutiny from local Jewish community leaders over recent comments in which he came out forcefully against AIPAC and said he no longer supports the pro-Israel lobbying group because of its opposition to a friend and fellow progressive Democrat, Nina Turner, in a Cleveland-area House primary last month, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports.
‘Unacceptable’: “They have changed in a way that is unacceptable to me because they have attacked people I believe in,” de Blasio, who is now running for an open seat in New York’s redrawn 10th Congressional District, said last Wednesday during a virtual candidate forum hosted by Our Revolution and the New York Progressive Action Network. The attacks against Turner from a new AIPAC-affiliated super PAC, United Democracy Project, were “horribly unjustified” and “deprived our nation of someone who could have been a huge difference-maker in terms of our progressive movement,” de Blasio argued.
Pro-Israel promise: In an interview with Jewish Insider on Sunday afternoon, de Blasio stuck to his remarks. “I have a tremendous sense of personal loyalty to the Jewish community. I have a tremendous sense of personal loyalty to the State of Israel and support for the State of Israel. But I also have real personal loyalty to Nina Turner as a friend,” he explained. “That doesn’t mean I agree with every statement that she’s made… I believe in supporting Israel and providing the defense support that Israel needs. From my understanding, Nina Turner thinks aid should be conditioned. I disagree with that. I think we have to protect Israel.” De Blasio insisted that he “can simultaneously be a very proud progressive and a very proud supporter of Israel and opponent of BDS,” using the abbreviation for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting the Jewish state. “I don’t see any contradiction.”
Rebuttal: Marshall Wittmann, a spokesperson for AIPAC, suggested in a statement to JI that de Blasio’s comments were misguided. “It is unfortunate that Bill de Blasio has not been consistent in his commitment to the pro-Israel cause and his past support for our work to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship,” he said. “He has now reversed course and is taking the side of those who would weaken our alliance with Israel. We will not be deterred in our efforts to support pro-Israel candidates – including scores of progressives and candidates of color – and oppose those who are detractors.”
Meet Israel’s next prime minister
After a week of tumultuous politics, Israel will soon have a new prime minister: Yair Lapid. A man who has long eyed the country’s top job, Lapid will replace Naftali Bennett and become the 14th prime minister of Israel when the Knesset is dissolved in the coming days. Although he will serve only as a caretaker until a general election that is likely to take place in the fall, Lapid will be in a prime position to showcase his talents and make the argument to Israelis that he is a leader worthy of their support, Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash reports.
Unlikely candidate: Lapid’s rise from a journalist and media personality — whose credits include a “Top Gun”-style commercial for an Israeli beer company — to Israel’s most powerful political figure is unusual and, for many, unexpected. Unlike most of the country’s previous leaders, he has no significant security or military background, holds no academic degrees and, although over the past decade has held positions such as foreign minister, finance minister and opposition leader, he does not have professional roots in politics. “It is unusual that an Israeli person with no security background can become prime minister,” Aviv Bushinsky, former media advisor and chief of staff for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told JI. “This is the first time in Israel that something like this has happened. In Israeli society, you are respected if you are [an army] general, but if you don’t have that and you don’t have an academic background, it’s awkward.”
Against the odds: After the last election in March 2021, Lapid, alongside Bennett, again surprised analysts by strategically pulling together a broad coalition of eight ideologically conflicting parties from across the political spectrum, including for the first time an Arab-Israeli Islamist faction. “When Lapid consulted me before he entered politics, I told him that he must join an existing party,” said Professor Gideon Rahat, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute and a member of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem faculty. “He did not want to do it and what he is doing now is against all odds.” Rahat pointed out that in the past parties led by a “personality” have only been successful once or twice. After that, he said, “they disappear.” “He has managed to strengthen his support and his position as leader of the anti-Netanyahu camp, and he did so within 10 years, which is quite meteoric,” Rahat said of Lapid. “He has succeeded against all odds and he might continue to surprise us.”
Bonus: Al-Monitor’s Ben Caspit argues that Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s best chance of holding onto the premiership after the fall elections is by tapping former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot as his running mate.
An Emirati majlis on Washington’s National Mall
On a scorching summer afternoon in Washington, D.C., tourists from around the world came to relax yesterday in the shade of the makeshift wooden majlis, Arabic for sitting room,on the National Mall. The Washington Monument towered in the background. Children picked up brushes to paint watercolor pictures of flowers, and women sampled natural perfumes from the other side of the world. An Emirati preteen held a falcon on her wrist, demonstrating the Bedouin discipline of handling the predatory bird. The Circuit’s Gabby Deutch visited the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which this year spotlights the culture of the United Arab Emirates.
Overseas delegation: More than 90 participants flew in from the United Arab Emirates to showcase the nation’s vibrant culture. (No special plane was needed for the falconry participants; travelers on Etihad Airways can bring a caged bird with them on the plane.) The festival runs from June 22-27 and again from June 30-July 4.
More than Dubai: To the extent that foreigners are familiar with the Persian Gulf nation, home to 10 million people, they probably know about the towering skyscrapers of Dubai, the country’s thriving global business hub. But the booths, stages and majlis on the Mall aim to showcase something different: the unique, diverse culture of the coastal desert nation in which almost 90% of the inhabitants are expatriates belonging to more than 200 nationalities.
Sense of place: “When [festivalgoers] read about the UAE, they will remember meeting these people, and seeing that they have a warm and relatable experience, and that they will be curious to go to the UAE,” said Michele Bambling, the co-curator of the festival and a professor at New York University’s campus in Abu Dhabi. “They’ll read about the UAE with a sense of this place, of its creativity and its history, of their sense of belonging.”
Generation to generation: The center of the festival is the wooden majlis, which is a house-like structure that contains several comfortable sitting rooms for visitors to walk through and learn about different aspects of UAE culture. In one room, decades-old Arabic music plays on a vintage record player. In the next, a man weaves a detailed, ornate woven tapestry. Mona Haddad, a young woman mixing scents to create perfumes, learned the craft from her mother. “She learned from her mother. Her mother learned from her mother. It’s like something that goes through family,” Haddad told JI.
race to watch
In Illinois, a test of Trump’s endorsement clout in incumbent-on-incumbent race
The Republican primary election in Illinois’ redrawn 15th Congressional District this week is set to serve as the latest showcase of the GOP’s internal divisions and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to remain a kingmaker within the party, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. The rural, deeply Republican seat pits Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who previously held a much more competitive seat, against Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), a Freedom Caucus member endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Red flag: Trump was in Illinois over the weekend to stump for Miller at a rally that drew thousands of attendees. Miller’s remarks at the event provided another jolt to the campaign — speaking about the Supreme Court’s Friday decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Miller appeared to call the decision eliminating the federal right to abortion a “victor for white life.” Her campaign said later she intended to say “right to life,” as was written in her prepared remarks. It was the latest gaffe from the freshman congresswoman, who had appeared at a rally in Washington, D.C., the day before the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, where she invoked Adolf Hitler in a speech in which she said that the German leader “was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’”
On the record: While both Davis and Miller have broadly pro-Israel voting records, Davis has co-sponsored more legislation surrounding the issue than Miller in the current congressional session. Davis has supported the Israel Relations Normalization Act, as well as legislation calling for reform to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, supporting increased U.S.-Israel cooperation, seeking to shut down the U.N. Commission of Inquiry investigating Israel and aiming to block international financing to Hamas. Davis has also signed letters calling for increased funding, up to $360 million, for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program; Miller has not.
Last-minute moves: Chicago political strategist Frank Calabrese said that as of a few weeks ago, he had anticipated a Davis victory given the longtime congressman’s longer history in office, stronger campaign infrastructure and superior fundraising. But Trump’s in-person visit to the district could help swing the race in Miller’s favor. “It’s a big difference between when Trump does a tweet or endorsement and actually going and doing rallies,” Calabrese said. “Now, I just think it’s a toss-up. Because Trump, when he comes into these districts and when he says that ‘I am supporting this person’… we’ve seen that actually really does influence Republican primaries.”
Alternate perspective: An Illinois strategist with knowledge of the race took an alternate view, predicting a narrow Davis victory. “I would be surprised if it’s a dramatic swing especially this late in the game,” he said. He also noted that Trump’s remarks about the race on Saturday were limited and tepid — he did not mention Davis and only briefly mentioned Miller. The strategist, who said Miller has associated herself largely with the far-right fringes of the Republican Party, continued, “I think it’s going to be a nail-biter either way. I do think Rodney Davis will pull it out, but it’s going to be close.”
🇩🇪 Full Circle: The New York Times’ Katrin Bennhold interviews U.S. Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann, whose father fled Nazi rule in Germany almost a century ago. “Ms. Gutmann was sworn in on the Hebrew Bible her German grandmother Amalie, for whom she was named, had brought with her from Germany… Her father, an Orthodox Jew who fled Germany when he was 23 and later organized the escape of his parents and four siblings, barely spoke to Ms. Gutmann about his own past, but he taught her about the Holocaust. ‘He clearly did not want me as a child to know — let alone to carry forward — his emotional trauma, but he definitely wanted me to carry the lessons of “never again” forward,’ Ms. Gutmann recalled.” [NYTimes]
🗳️ Empire State Politics: Politico’s Anna Gronewold profiles Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), the frontrunner in the Republican gubernatorial race in New York, ahead of Tuesday’s primary. “The Republicans were expecting their candidate to face [former Gov. Andrew] Cuomo, not Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is running for reelection after she took over when Cuomo resigned in August amid sexual harassment allegations. Hochul is now cruising toward likely victory in the Democratic primary, also being held on Tuesday. ‘We thought through this race from 100,000 different dimensions and — it’s in our TV ads. I’ve said it during rallies,’ Zeldin said. ‘I feel it personally even when I don’t express it publicly: I’m all in; losing this race is not an option. I believe that winning this race for us is the only option, and every day that goes by I am more confident in the plan.’” [Politico]
🎓 Campus Beat: In the Harvard Crimson, Gemma Schneider, an associate editorial editor at the student paper, reflects on the decision of the Crimson’s editorial board to pen a piece endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. “The Board admits, still in line with past precedent, that BDS is a ‘blunt tool.’ I believe that this tool is finer than we realize. It has been sharpened by societal forces, and historical precedents, in order to wage what is, at its core, not a fundamentally economic war of boycotts and sanctions — but a more sinister and violent ideological one. People like me — a ‘f-cking Zionist,’ a ‘smelly Jew,’ a modern-day ‘Elder of Zion’ — are not simply ‘collateral damage’ in this war. We are targets — directly wounded by signals and signs of rhetorical weaponry, and dismissed when we respond to what we know has historically been the writing on the wall. Writing this has not been easy — not just because of the complicated history, to which I have personal ties. It has also been difficult because BDS is the embodiment of everything that I have known the Board to stand against — and, in light of the Board’s failure to recognize that, I can’t help but feel a strange mix of sadness, disappointment, and fear.” [HarvardCrimson]
✡️ Menschy Mayor: In City & State Pennsylvania, Ari Mittleman pays tribute to the Keystone State’s first Jewish governor, born Milton Jerrold Shapiro before changing his name. “Shapp’s early years embodied the ‘American Dream.’ His grandparents fled antisemitic tyranny in Europe to launch a new life in the U.S. To help his family make ends meet, he taught himself how to drive a truck. During the Great Depression, he would drive longer routes taking in the diversity of America. The antisemitism and racially motivated hate crimes that the U.S. is facing now are seldom manifested by thugs in white hoods. However, back then the risk was quite clear and Shapiro decided it would be wise to change his name to Shapp.” [City&StatePA]
🔍 Historical Lens: Politico’s Michael Schaffer spotlights an upcoming State Department event honoring a diplomat whose opposition to a Nixon administration foreign policy placed him at odds with then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, who would go on to be secretary of state. “Kissinger, meanwhile, remains one of the most famous figures in America, but the makeup of his admirers has changed, for reasons relevant to the [Archer K.] Blood story. Always loathed on the left, in the past couple decades he fell out of favor on the right, too, first as Republicans embraced democracy-promotion during the George W. Bush era. (Ironically, when Bush’s moralistic neocons were riding high, the Foreign Service — Blood’s home — was derided for allegedly preferring a more cold-blooded, Kissingerian approach.) The GOP swung in a radically different direction during the Trump years, but Kissinger the globetrotting advocate of alliances, balance-of-power and global order was never going to be an idol for the America First set.” [Politico]
Around the Web
🗓️ On the Agenda: A White House official told Axios that President Joe Biden is likely to meet with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month during his trip to the region.
🏗️ Marking the Day: On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the condominium collapse in Surfside, Fla., that led to the deaths of 98 people, survivors and victims’ families gathered at the site of the collapsed building to pay respect and remember the lives lost.
⚖️ Court Case: Hatchet Speed, a Navy reservist and defense contractor whom prosecutors allege is a neo-Nazi, was charged for his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
🤭 Art Apology: The Indonesian curators of a German art show apologized for a display that included an antisemitic drawing.
💍 Matchmaker, Matchmaker: The New York Times spotlights the wedding — officiated by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) — of Adam Topper and Jordan Manekin, who were set up by two women they refer to as “the yentas.”
👋 Bennett’s Goodbye: In what was likely his last cabinet meeting as prime minister, Naftali Bennett thanked his coalition partners and touted his government’s achievements at the weekly Sunday meeting.
💸 Funding Figures: Donors pledged about $160 million to fund UNRWA, the U.N.’s body administering aid to Palestinians, yet the agency said it was still short $100 million to fund its operations and that the funds could run out as soon as September.
✍️ Green Light: The Israeli cabinet signed off on a plan to issue 3,500 extra permits for Palestinian workers, as the country contends with a national labor shortage.
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: Israel’s Azrieli Group is reportedly buying a data center operator in London for $64 million.
🌊 Energy Encounter: Israeli officials met with U.S. Energy Envoy Amos Hochstein as part of U.S.-mediated negotiations concerning a maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon.
🔬 Tactical Tool: Business Insider reports on new military technology, called the Xaver 1000 and produced by Israel’s Camero-Tech firm, that can see people and objects through walls at a high resolution.
🤝 Secret Meeting: The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. quietly convened military officials from Israel and a number of Arab countries in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in March to discuss the growing nuclear threat posed by Iran.
☢️ Back to the Table: E.U. foreign policy head Josep Borrell, who visited Iran over the weekend, said that stalled talks in Vienna aiming to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will resume in coming days, as an Iranian media advisor told reporters that Qatar will host indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran aimed at rejoining the agreement.
😡 Trip Tussle: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid slammed Borrell’s trip and efforts to engage with Tehran, noting the recent Iranian plots to abduct Israeli citizens traveling in Turkey.
🗣️ Mideast Moves: Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday in a bid to revive talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
🚀 Three, Two, One, Takeoff: Iranian state media reported that Iran launched a solid-fuel rocket into space yesterday.
💼 Transition: Former Attorney General Bill Barr is joining the Hudson Institute as a distinguished fellow.
🕯️ Remembering: Investment banker Michel David-Weill, who survived the Holocaust as a child when his family went into hiding and converted to Catholicism, died at 89.
Pic of the Day
Israeli singer Noa Kirel performs on the Israel float at the New York City Pride Parade on Sunday.
Creator of multiple TV series including “Felicity,” “Alias,” “Lost” and “Fringe,” and director and producer of many films, Jeffrey Jacob “J.J.” Abrams turns 56…
Co-founder of Taglit Birthright, the first chairman of the United Jewish Communities, and former owner of MLB’s Montreal Expos, Charles Bronfman turns 91… Brooklyn resident Meyer Roth… Former member of both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature, Constance H. “Connie” Williams turns 78… Former commander of the Israeli Navy and head of the Shin Bet, Amihai “Ami” Ayalon turns 77… New Jersey resident Kenneth R. Blankfein… Democratic member of the Florida legislature: House of Representatives and Senate (since 2018), Lori Berman turns 64… Managing director at Osprey Foundation, Louis Boorstin… and his twin brother, SVP at Albright Stonebridge Group, Robert O. Boorstin, both turn 63… British historian and award-winning author, he is a great-great-nephew of Sir Moses Montefiore, Simon Sebag Montefiore turns 57… Woodland Hills, California-based accountant, Susan M. Feldman… Gordon Gerstein… Reporter for The New York Times on the climate desk, Lisa Friedman… Member of the Knesset for the United Torah Judaism alliance, Yoel Yaakov Tessler turns 49… Senior fellow and director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute, Ilya Shapiro turns 45… Israeli judoka, best known for his default victory at the 2004 Summer Olympics when his Iranian opponent refused to fight him, Ehud Vaks turns 43… Director of stakeholder advocacy at Ford Motor, Caroline Elisabeth Adler Morales… Executive talent partner at Greylock Partners, Holly Rose Faith… Associate at the Asia Group, Charles Dunst…