👋 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: The evolution of Blake Masters; Doug Mastriano’s history of Holocaust comparisons; Israel’s tourism minister is looking to jump-start a battered industry; Boston BDS map of Jewish groups has ‘potential to incite violence,’ Auchincloss says; Change to nonprofit security grant application weighing ‘social vulnerability’ raises questions; Washington remains committed to Middle East, says key U.S. diplomat; and The Israeli folk singer keeping Debbie Friedman’s legacy alive. Print the latest edition here.
The Mapping Project, a Boston-area pro-BDS activist group, is facing criticism from federal lawmakers in Massachusetts and beyond following the release of a map that ties Jewish and pro-Israel groups across the state with government entities, politicians, the police and the media.
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), the assistant House speaker, expressed her concern about the project, telling Jewish Insider, “This ‘mapping’ of Jewish people, schools, organizations and academics is alarming and reminiscent of a dangerous history of identifying and tracking Jewish people. These maps have the potential to provoke attacks against the Jewish community. I condemn antisemitism and strongly urge that this map be taken down.”
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who has frequently been critical of Israel, told JI, “It is not acceptable to target or make vulnerable Jewish institutions or organizations, full stop. There is no doubt that antisemitism and organized, violent white supremacy are at a boiling point in this nation and threaten our communities, so we must be vigilant when it comes to keeping each other safe… I take concerns about the safety of our faith houses and community organizations very seriously. Our community is reeling from acts of targeted violence, including the assault of a visiting rabbi just last summer.”
Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) had earlier this week condemned the map, which he described to JI as “ just chilling,” adding that the map “is tapping into millennia-old antisemitic tropes about nefarious Jewish wealth, control, conspiracy, media connections and political string-pulling.” He called for the group to take down the illustrations and apologize.
Several other lawmakers, including Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also condemned the project, with several calling it a potential danger to the Jewish community.
The House’s select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol held its first hearing — an emotionally charged two-hour event — yesterday evening. During the course of the hearing, members of the bipartisan committee aired previously unseen footage of interviews with top Trump administration officials.
Ivanka Trump said in a taped deposition that amid her father’s efforts to overturn the election results, she accepted then-Attorney General Bill Barr’s judgment that the election was not stolen.
In a separate deposition tape, Jared Kushner dismissed as “whining” threats by former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to quit in response to the former president’s attempts to overturn the election results.
The committee also alleged that Trump told aides during the riot that Vice President Mike Pence “deserved” to be executed for failing to stop the certification of the election results, and that several Republican lawmakers sought pardons from Trump following the riot.
Doug Mastriano’s history of Holocaust comparisons
Doug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator and the Republican nominee in the state’s gubernatorial race, once wrote that making comparisons between the Holocaust and modern events “betrays one’s ignorance of historic fact.” But a review of his past social media posts and public addresses reveals a history of doing just that — comparing the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s in Europe to current political events in the United States, on topics including gun control, election fraud, cancel culture, abortion and the preservation of historical monuments, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Freedom fight?: In August 2019, Mastriano, a military veteran who has a doctorate in history, posted a graphic to his public Facebook page that compared supporters of gun control to the perpetrators of the Holocaust.
Memorial metaphor: A June 2020 Facebook post, shared amid a summer of racial justice protests that led to Confederate monuments being taken down across the country, featured the caption, “Never forget” above an image of Auschwitz. “Over 1.1 million people were murdered in Auschwitz, and it still stands 72 years later,” read the text that appeared underneath the photo. “Why? Because Jews who survived wanted it preserved, as it is a reminder to never let the evil that was Nazism ever happen again. Never tear down memorials!”
Get educated: Robin Schatz, director of government affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, said that he needs to learn why such remarks are problematic. “I don’t think this is coming from a place of deliberately antagonizing the Jewish community. I think, as with many people, it’s not understanding, and hopefully he will sit down with us sooner rather than later,” said Schatz, who added that representatives of the state’s Jewish federations have been trying to arrange a meeting with Mastriano.
No apology: Mastriano, who did not respond to a request for comment, has stood by his use of Holocaust comparisons on at least one occasion. Earlier this month, after The Forward reported that Mastriano once compared gun control policies to actions Hitler took in the 1930s, Mastriano reposted the video of him making those remarks to his Twitter. “Historically, this is accurate,” he wrote.
Abraham Accords Caucus urges integrated Middle East air-defense program
In its first legislative initiative since its founding earlier this year, the Abraham Accords Caucus, comprised of members of both the House and Senate, introduced legislation on Thursday to encourage the U.S. to pursue a joint missile-defense architecture with Israel and the U.S.’s Arab allies and partners in the Middle East — including Saudi Arabia and Iraq,Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Big tent: The bipartisan Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses (DEFEND) Act advances a priority of both lawmakers on Capitol Hill and U.S. military command in the Middle East — building an integrated air- and missile-defense capability among the U.S.’s regional partners and allies to ward off ongoing drone and missile attacks by Iran and its proxies. The legislation calls for Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and other regional partners and allies to be included within this cooperative framework.
Partnering up: “We ultimately believe that Congress will adopt the caucus’s intent for our national security leaders to address the threat from Iran and its proxies by laying the groundwork for security cooperation with our allies and our partners in this region,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said at a press conference on Tuesday. “This bill is about protecting people, infrastructure and our forward-deployed troops from Iran’s regional aggression,” Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) added.
Not smooth sailing: Of the nine proposed Arab participants, only the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt have normalized relations with Israel. Iraq recently passed legislation criminalizing relations with Israel. “It is extremely important that we continue the discussions with them, as well as wrap them into this agreement as part of the DEFEND Act,” Ernst said of the Iraqi policy. “How we move forward on this depends on all of our countries, but certainly we don’t want to discount them; we really do want them to be part of this integrated system.”
Elephant in the room: While Capitol Hill is split on the issue, with some Democrats urging President Joe Biden not to upgrade relations with Saudi Arabia, the lawmakers introducing the DEFEND Act were supportive of improving U.S.-Saudi ties. “It is important that our president is engaging with Saudi Arabia. We know that there have been human rights abuses… but in order for that to change we have to have dialogue,” Ernst said. “I think it’s important that we wrap them into this and that our president continue to work through these issues, have those very uncomfortable conversations.”
Roll call: In the Senate, the legislation is being sponsored by Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), James Lankford (R-OK) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). In the House, it is supported by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), David Trone (D-MD), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Don Bacon (R-NE) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA).
Thomas-Greenfield: U.S. is pushing back on anti-Israel activity at the U.N.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield discussed the U.S.’s efforts to push back against the targeting of Israel by United Nations institutions, particularly the U.N. Human Rights Council, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Commission concerns: Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. was not a member of UNHRC when the Commission of Inquiry investigating Israel was established, but acknowledged that the U.S. may not have been able to block its foundation even if it had been. “But we certainly would have been able to block and push back on this open-ended mandate that they were given,” she said of the COI. “And we worked very, very hard in the Fifth Committee to cut the budget,” she said of the UN committee that deals with administrative and budgetary matters.”We cut it by about 25% and we will be working with other member states to do that.”
Making headway: “We have a meeting on Israel every single month [on the UNHRC] focused on the Palestinians,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “And it is something we disagree with. It is something we are fighting against. And I think at the Human Rights Council you will begin to see that our presence will make a difference. And in the Security Council, I’m pushing aggressively against this unfair targeting.”
Textbook trouble: Thomas-Greenfield also said that she has raised concerns about antisemitic and anti-Israel content in educational materials sponsored by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) with both UNRWA leadership and the Palestinian Authority. “[I] told them that this was really a red line for all of us,” she said. “They hear your voices on this. They hear our voices on this… We will be watching what they do on these textbooks. There are other issues of management that we’re working with them very closely on and have monitored their work.”
Honoring fallen Jewish soldiers, one headstone at a time
In 2014, when Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter visited the American cemetery in Normandy, France, the Jewish historian saw firsthand the thousands of white stone grave markings aligned in neat rows, marking the final resting place for the American soldiers who had lost their lives during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. But Schacter, whose father, Herschel, served as a Jewish chaplain in the U.S. Army and was among the liberators of the Buchenwald concentration camp, noticed the number of Star of David markings did not match the number of Jewish soldiers he knew had died on the beaches below.
Operation Benjamin: The realization prompted the formation of Operation Benjamin, a group dedicated to recognizing the Jewish soldiers buried in U.S. military cemeteries worldwide, many of them under crosses. The group brought together historians and genealogists to sift through the names of long-dead soldiers buried in graveyards scattered across the globe.
Family business: But identifying the Jewish soldiers ended up being the easiest part. “These are very important existential things. But here’s the kicker: No matter how good our research was, it didn’t matter, because a family member has to make the request” for the tombstone to change, Shalom Lamm, CEO of Operation Benjamin, revealed during an appearance on Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast.” “These young men who were killed didn’t have kids. If they had a sister, go find somebody whose last name [was] changed all these decades ago in an age before computers. It was really tough.”
More work to do: Even after the family has asked for the headstone to change, such a request requires the approval of the U.S. government, which owns and administers the cemeteries. So far, 19 soldiers have been approved for headstone replacements, with 16 of those already completed. After recent coverage in The Washington Post and The New York Times, the organization has started to garner more attention and more requests from families. “All of a sudden, the last two weeks, we’ve been getting dozens of inquiries [from] people saying, ‘Hey, I’m 83 years old, my brother-in-law was killed. I have no idea where he’s buried. Can you help me find him?’ or we just got one yesterday, ‘My uncle was killed in the war, he’s buried under a cross, help me,’” Lamm said.
🇸🇦 Regional Reset: Foreign Policy’s Steven Cook assesses relations between Washington and Riyadh, as President Joe Biden seeks a rapprochement with Saudi Arabia after taking a stronger position against the Kingdom during his first year in office. “In early 2021, it was good politics to exact a pound of the crown prince’s flesh. Even Saudi Arabia’s paid spokespeople winced at the mention of Mohammed bin Salman, [murdered journalist Jamal] Khashoggi, or Saudi Arabia’s disastrous intervention in Yemen. Rebuking the Saudis allowed the Biden administration to get off to a good start with members of Congress (especially progressives), and it was a sharp departure from the Trump administration, which did everything it could to shield Riyadh from international opprobrium. It was a seemingly cost-free political win. But Biden and his team overlooked one critical fact: Saudi Arabia was — and remains — a critical regional and global actor.” [FP]
#️⃣ Twitter Talk: In “Deep Shtetl,” The Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg examines Twitter’s refusal to deplatform Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for antisemitic comments. “I certainly don’t think Khamenei’s Twitter feed is the biggest problem facing Jews today. I also don’t think banning it would solve much. Frankly, it’s better that the world be able to see just how unhinged he is in his hate, so that it cannot be swept under the rug. All of which is to say: I’m not highlighting Twitter’s double standard here to pressure them to remove Khamenei. I’m noting it because it says something about our society and its elites, and how seriously they take anti-Semitism — or don’t. The silly substitution of ‘Zionist’ for ‘Jew’ assumes that the audience is stupid and will not figure out what the anti-Semite is up to. When it comes to Twitter, that assumption appears to be correct. But while social-media companies may not care about this bigotry and how it manifests itself, we should.” [TheAtlantic]
✍️ Meet the Press: In the Wall Street Journal, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid rejects accusations that Israeli security forces deliberately target journalists. “If the outrageous claim that Israel targets journalists were true, why would she [Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh] have worked in the region for more than 20 years? How can it be explained that still today hundreds of foreign journalists work in the same place? Al Jazeera, a network run by an Islamist state that is openly hostile to Israel, has permanent staff in Israel who are protected by the state the network slanders on a regular basis? The Israeli-Palestinian conflict receives disproportionate coverage compared with any other conflict on earth. Explain that to yourself however you wish, but everything you know about this conflict is the product of hundreds of journalists who work in the field under the protection of a democratic state that believes with all its heart in both freedom of expression and freedom of the press.” [WSJ]
🙊 Speak No Evil: The Washington Post’s Philip Bump dissects New York congressional candidate Carl Paladino’s recently unearthed comment praising Adolf Hitler’s ability to excite crowds. “I would not have thought this needed to be said, but apparently it does. There are not many people in human history for whom there’s no benefit in pointing out positive qualities, but the man who orchestrated the mass murder of millions of predominantly Jewish Europeans is one of them. The guy who triggered a global conflict between freedom and fascism at a cost of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers is not someone that it’s valuable to treat as having some useful skills. There are other people who effectively energized populations who didn’t also try to murder a lot of that same population. In other words, politicians, I would say this: You do not, under any circumstances, have to praise Adolf Hitler’s ability to rile up a crowd.” [WashPost]
Around the Web
💰 Money Matters: The primary in New York’s newly drawn 12th Congressional District, where Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) will square off in August, is creating an uncomfortable situation for supporters who have donated to both candidates over the years, including Stephen Ross, Jeff Blau and members of the Lauder family.
🗳️ Palmetto State Politics: Politico looks at the primary battle taking place in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, where former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is backing Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who is facing a challenge from Katie Arrington, who is backed by former President Donald Trump.
📊 Show-Me Survey: A new poll has former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens leading the Republican field in the race to succeed outgoing Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).
🚗 What’s in a Name: Wichita, Kan., honored Sol Kohn, the city’s first Jewish mayor, with the naming of a street near the city’s new Jewish Community Center.
📙 Bookshelf: The Financial Times spotlights the new novel The Sidekick, which follows the fictional friendship between a Black basketball player and a Jewish sportswriter from their childhood in Texas to their later years.
🏢 Stepping Up: The U.S. announced that it is renaming its Palestinian Affairs Unit as the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs, giving Palestinians a more direct line to the State Department that does not run through the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) accused the Biden administration of attempting to “undermine America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal and undivided capital” by bringing the Palestinian Affairs Unit out of the U.S. Embassy in Israel’s chain of command.
🚀 Laser Focused: Forbes looks at how the development of the “Iron Beam” laser-defense system could change Israel’s ability to respond to rocket attacks.
⚽ Entry Approved: Israelis will reportedly be allowed into Qatar to attend the 2022 World Cup games later this year, after months of discussions with FIFA.
🛢️ Oil Oy: Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah suggested that Hezbollah is “not afraid of war” in a warning to Israel against drilling in a disputed Mediterranean gas field.
✈️ Plane Pause: Flights in and out of Damascus were paused on Friday following airstrikes in the area that Syrian officials blamed on Israel.
🏖️ Day at the Beach: Internationally funded sewage-treatment facilities off the coast of Gaza are reducing water pollution, allowing Gazans to safely swim in the waters off the enclave.
🕯️ Remembering: Charlotte Frank, who modernized New York City’s educational curriculum, died at 93. Ranan Lurie, who set a world record in the 1980s as the most widely syndicated political cartoonist and fought in several Israeli wars, died at 90.
Gif of the Day
Appearing on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” earlier this week, CNN’s Jake Tapper spoke of celebrating Passover alone while covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including receiving matzah from a local rabbi, even in the midst of a war. “When they get to Mars there is going to be a Lubavitcher rabbi there,” Tapper joked.
President of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami turns 60 on Saturday…
FRIDAY: Author of award-winning books about her experiences before, during and after the Holocaust, Aranka Davidowitz Siegal turns 92… TV journalist Jeff Greenfield turns 79… Physical therapist at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Andrea Sachs… Cathy Farbstein Miller… Senior director of communications for Encore[dot]org, Stefanie Weiss… Former Attorney General and Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer turns 63… Director of business development at Evergreen Benefits Group, Avi H. Goldfeder… Blogger and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, Neil Steinberg turns 62… Film, television and stage actress, Gina Gershon turns 60… Actress and the older sister of comedian Sarah Silverman, Laura Silverman turns 56… Israeli film and TV actress, Avital Abergel turns 45… Veteran of nine NFL seasons as an offensive tackle, Mike Rosenthal turns 45… AVP of strategic partnerships at the Birthright Israel Foundation and director of community education at NYC’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, Rabbi Daniel Kraus… Associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, Yascha Mounk turns 40… Anchorman at Israel’s Channel 10 News, Matan Hodorov turns 37… Publisher of the New York Sun, Dovid Efune… CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, Tyler Gregory… Singer-songwriter Simcha Leiner turns 33… Belgian singer and songwriter, known as “Blanche,” Ellie Blanche Delvaux turns 23… Executive director of Encounter, Yona Shem-Tov…
SATURDAY: Heir to the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, former minister in two British governments under prime ministers Major and Thatcher, Sir Timothy Alan Davan Sainsbury turns 90… Executive director of Citizens Union, Elisabeth A. “Betsy” Gotbaum turns 84… Columbus, Ohio-based retail executive and philanthropist, chairman of American Eagle Outfitters, Value City Department Stores, DSW and others, Jay Schottenstein turns 68… Member of the Knesset for the Agudat Yisrael faction of the United Torah Judaism party, Meir Porush turns 67… Hedge fund manager and owner of the New York Mets, Steven A. Cohen turns 66… Past president and national board member of AIPAC, Lee Rosenberg… Member of the Knesset for the Shas party, Yoav Ben-Tzur turns 64… New Windsor, N.Y., attorney, Barry Wolf Friedman turns 64… Activist and former Illinois state representative, Lauren Beth Gash turns 62… VP of public affairs and government relations for Duke University, Michael J. Schoenfeld… Deputy director of the CIA, David S. Cohen turns 59… Senior advisor at the D.C.-based crisis management firm Quadrant Strategies, Matt Nosanchuk… Founder of Shabbat[dot]com, Rabbi Benzion Zvi Klatzko… Dean of TheYeshiva[dot]net and noted public speaker, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (YY) Jacobson turns 50… Budget director at the City Council of the District of Columbia, Jennifer Budoff… Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist, Nicol Raidman turns 36… Director of communications and programming at Academic Engagement Network, Raeefa Shams… Actor, performance artist and filmmaker, Shia LaBeouf turns 36… Olympic medalist in canoe slalom in London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, Jessica Esther “Jess” Fox turns 28… Israeli attorney and CEO of Dualis Social Venture Fund, Dana Naor… Jennifer Rubin…
SUNDAY: Senior counsel at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Martin Edelman turns 81… Recently retired sportscaster for NBA games on TNT, Marv Albert (born Marvin Philip Aufrichtig) turns 81… Senior partner at Gibson Dunn and former solicitor of labor in the Nixon and Ford administrations, William J. Kilberg turns 76… Israeli statesman and scholar, Yosef “Yossi” Beilin turns 74… Rabbi emeritus at Temple Beth El in Santa Cruz County, Calif., Richard Litvak… British Conservative Party member of Parliament, Michael Fabricant turns 72… Dental consultant and recruiter, Kenneth Nussen… Peruvian banker and politician, José Chlimper Ackerman turns 67… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, Hava Eti Atiya turns 62… CEO of Showtime Networks, David Nevins turns 56… Rosslyn, Va.-based editor of Politico, Carrie Budoff Brown… EVP of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), Rabbi Levi Shemtov… Founder of Singularity Communications, Eli Zupnick… Founder and managing partner of the investment firm Thrive Capital and the co-founder of Oscar Health, Joshua Kushner turns 37… Partner at Enso Collaborative, Hanna Siegel… Co-creator of the Mozilla Firefox internet browser, Blake Aaron Ross turns 37… Canadian tech entrepreneur, television personality and venture capitalist, Michele Romanow turns 37… Health counsel at the House Ways and Means Committee, Zachary Louis Baron… Consultant at MediaLink, Alexis Rose Levinson… Multimodal transportation coordinator in the planning department of Montgomery County, Md., Eli Glazier… Photographer and Instagram influencer, Tessa Nesis… Associate director at Alums for Campus Fairness, Joel Bond…