👋 Good Tuesday morning!
It’s primary day in South Carolina, Nevada, Maine and North Dakota.
In South Carolina, it’s judgment day for Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), the former Trump campaign staffer who denounced her one-time boss following the Capitol riot, but has since sought to re-ingratiate herself with the former president. Mace, who was endorsed by former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, is facing Trump-backed former state Rep. Katie Arrington.
Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, also faces a Trump-backed primary challenger, state Rep. Russell Fry, as well as five other Republican competitors.
In Nevada’s 1st Congressional District, Latinos for Trump organizer Carolina Serrano, Maccabee Task Force CEO and former Christians United For Israel Executive Director David Brog and military veteran Mark Robertson are the top candidates facing off for the chance to unseat Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV).
Titus herself faces a progressive primary challenger, Amy Vilela, a former campaign staffer for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Nevada’s GOP Senate primary has become unexpectedly contentious, with military veteran Sam Brown mounting a late-stage surge against Trump-backed former Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
“Laxalt should win that but Brown is making it somewhat of a contest. Laxalt has double-digit leads over him, so he should be able to close it out, but it’s been interesting how he’s kind of forced Laxalt to attack a veteran,” Nevada Independent reporter Humberto Sanchez told JI last week.
The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol held its second public hearing yesterday, outlining how former President Donald Trump pursued a range of false claims of election fraud, despite being told by numerous advisors that they were baseless.
In a videotaped deposition, Jared Kushner said that he advised Trump against following the path recommended by Rudy Giuliani, one of the key pushers of election fraud conspiracy theories in Trump’s team.
Ivanka Trump said in her deposition that she did not have “a firm view as to what [the former president] should say” in his remarks on election night. The committee alleged that Giuliani — who other witnesses said was inebriated at the time — advised Trump to preemptively declare victory and call for election officials to stop counting ballots while he remained ahead.
for the record
Alessandra Biaggi distances herself from AOC on Israel
Last week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) endorsed New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in her bid to oust Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), the powerful chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. For Biaggi, the nod was a progressive seal of approval that helps activate a robust grassroots fundraising network as she competes against a well-resourced opponent. But it also comes with some baggage, not least among Jewish voters who view Ocasio-Cortez as hostile to Israel and are wondering where Biaggi stands in relation to the congresswoman, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports in a feature on the race.
Different strokes: In her first interview to address Middle East foreign policy questions since launching her campaign last month, Biaggi, 36, was eager to clarify that she disagrees with Ocasio-Cortez when it comes to Israel, even if the two progressives are aligned on such domestic policy proposals as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. “Just to be really succinct, there are issues that we differ on,” Biaggi told JI last Thursday, “and our position on Israel is that.” (A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to a request for comment.)
Pro-Israel progressive? “I have consistently said, and I will consistently say here, too, that I support Israel,” Biaggi explained. “I support it, not despite being a progressive, but because I am progressive.” Ultimately, she said, her views stem from a sensitivity to the history of Jewish persecution that undergirds what she described as a deeply held appreciation for Israel’s foundation as a Jewish state. “It matters that Israel exists and that we support that existence and allow for Israel to be able to defend itself,” Biaggi said, noting that she is in favor of continued U.S. security assistance with no added conditions, among other things. “The aid that we’re giving to Israel supports the security of not just Israel but the Israeli people.”
‘People are alarmed’: It remains to be seen if such arguments will resonate with the sizable number of Jewish voters in New York’s redrawn 17th Congressional District, which covers the Hudson Valley. In her state Senate district, “a lot of people are alarmed,” said a Jewish leader in Riverdale who supports Biaggi. “Right now, there’s confusion because she is aligned with AOC on other things,” he told JI. But he cautioned against “drawing conclusions” too soon, revealing that Biaggi had committed to making her first trip to Israel this summer. “If you write off the progressive community in totality,” he warned, “it could be very dangerous.”
Delicate balance: Binyamin Krauss, the principal of SAR Academy, a Modern Orthodox day school in Riverdale, said Biaggi has been “very supportive of Israel, believing not only in Israel’s right to exist but to thrive.” Still, he suggested, Biaggi will need to strike a delicate balance as a House candidate. “How she positions herself and how she allies herself in a very polarizing climate,” he said, “is going to be challenging.” Biaggi, for her part, said she is well-equipped to navigate such tensions. “I’m someone who is, number one, fiercely independent in my thinking and my positions,“ she claimed. “When it comes to positions specifically on Israel, my positions are my positions, and so they’re going to be different than some of the other House members.”
Elsewhere: The Working Families Party announced it was dropping its support of Maloney, whom it endorsed in March, and will instead endorse Biaggi in the district’s primary.
ice cream scoop
Ben & Jerry’s requires new employees to watch lectures on Israeli-Palestinian conflict
New employees hired by Ben & Jerry’s are required to watch four video lectures featuring activists discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of their orientation, Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss reports. The videos are part of what the ice cream company dubbed “Scooper Series: Social Mission” and address racism in the U.S. and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to an employee who viewed the videos.
Shakir speaks: In a portion of one of the videos, Omar Shakir, who serves as Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine director, attempts to explain Israel’s policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians. Shakir, who was expelled from Israel in 2019, had reportedly counseled the Ben & Jerry’s board last year, ahead of the ice cream company’s decision to stop selling its products in what it referred to in a tweet as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Neither Ben & Jerry’s nor Shakir responded to a request for comment.
What he said: “If you look at the recent escalation that took place in May of 2021, it started over discriminatory efforts to force Palestinians out of their homes in occupied East Jerusalem as part of this larger policy,” Shakir says in the video. “The policy also extends to the Gaza Strip. Although the Israeli government withdrew its settler population and ground forces in 2005, the Israeli government continues to exercise control over Gaza. And our study of Israeli policy over the last 16 years shows that it sought as [well as] pursued a written policy of separation between Gaza and the West Bank. Its enforcement of this policy largely aims to prevent Gaza residents from moving to the West Bank as part of a policy to remove the large Palestinian population in Gaza — 2 million people living in a 25-by-seven-mile territory — off Israel’s demographic balance sheet.”
State’s rights: The company’s decision to cease sales in some areas, announced in July 2021, set off a flurry of lawsuits, including from the company’s Israeli manufacturer and distributor, American Quality Products, and divestment by numerous states, including New Jersey, Illinois and Florida, from Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company. Last week, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul gave Unilever a final warning before the state divests its $111 million in shares from the U.K.-based conglomerate.
turtle bay talk
Lipstadt: ‘Changes are being made’ at U.N.
Despite its reputation for maligning Israel, the United Nations has shown progress in recent years in its dedication to fighting antisemitism, Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch. “You’ve gotta recognize when changes are being made,” Lipstadt said on Monday after a daylong meeting with antisemitism envoys from the U.S., Canada, Israel, the European Union and a handful of other countries.
Invited guests: The envoys spent 45 minutes with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who “spoke beautifully and was really interested in what we were doing,” said Lipstadt. They were also joined virtually by Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.
Make it operational: Shaheed authored a 2019 report identifying antisemitism as a major global challenge that all governments should confront because it “poses risks not only to Jews, but also to members of other minority communities,” and because it threatens democracy. In May, he released a follow-up report with an eight-point plan to fight global antisemitism. “If we can get that to become operational, that would make a big difference,” said Lipstadt.
Whole picture: Shaheed’s plan to combat antisemitism was released weeks before a U.N. Commission of Inquiry on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict published a report earlier this month blaming Israel for recent tensions in the region. “I think the United States is working very hard to try to control the potential damage it might do,” Lipstadt said of the commission’s report. “But at the same time, we look at Ahmed Shaheed’s report and an action plan and having a focal point, Miguel Moratinos. You’ve gotta look at the whole picture.”
Hard to believe: “Five years ago, if you had told me that there was a report on antisemitism prepared by a special rapporteur which condemned antisemitism and said you have to take it seriously, and you have to understand Zionism,” Lipstadt explained, “I would have said, ‘What are you talking about?’ Not that you should stop there.”
Gulf go-to: Lipstadt, who joined the State Department earlier this spring after after a long confirmation battle, said that one of her early trips overseas will be to the Persian Gulf, but declined to share specifics.
Rights chief retirement: Michelle Bachelet announced she will not seek another four-year term heading the U.N.’s Human Rights Council.
❓ Mystery Man: In Tablet, Matti Friedman explores the nearly forgotten story of Erich Gunther Deutecom, a non-Jewish German man who moved to Israel after WWII, where he constructed parks and gardens as a hobby, and was murdered by Palestinians in 1973. “You can explain Israel with the kind of stories that people are used to, narratives about politics, leaders, or wars. But if you spend enough time here, you meet characters driven by forces that rationalists find it hard to take seriously or even to grasp — forces like the voice of God, for example, as detailed in Scripture if you just know where to look; or the propulsive force of violence perpetrated in different times and places, and the lessons it seemed to teach; or urgent schemes for cosmic repair. The country can’t be understood without people like Deutecom. I spent months trying to unravel his story, one whose ambiguities gestured mutely to the black hole that Germany created at the center of the 20th century, to the aftershocks of that event in this country, and to the chances that humans can ever fix what’s broken.” [Tablet]
🇮🇱 Beating the Odds: In Foreign Affairs, Dahlia Scheindlin spotlights how Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition government has presented a new kind of leadership strategy to the Israeli populace. “Against all odds, an Israeli government that included parties from both the left and the right — and even, for the first time, an independent Arab party — held together for a full year in power. The latest crisis may precipitate its downfall, but for the past 12 months, the current leadership succeeded in transcending Israel’s political deadlock and keeping [former Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu on the sidelines. Along the way, it put forward a fundamentally different style of governance, moving from Netanyahu’s populist antagonism to a spirit of compromise and consensus. In an effort to contain widely disparate political forces, it often settled for grudging cooperation and mere survival. But it also had significant policy accomplishments, including passing a budget for the first time in several years, advancing needed reforms in domestic areas, and establishing a redirected and more pragmatic foreign policy. For these reasons alone, the experiment with coalition rule has opened up a new dynamic, suggesting that it is possible to break what looked like a permanent status quo of unfettered populist, nationalist, right-wing rule.” [ForeignAffairs]
🕵️ Historical Lens: In the Washington Examiner, Tevi Troy looks at the longstanding effects of Watergate on subsequent presidencies — both Democratic and Republican — ahead of the 50th anniversary of the infamous break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters. “That scandal touches on so many aspects of the modern presidency, in terms of how presidents manage their administrations; in the fruitless but unending search for leaks; in the fact that every scandal now ends with a ‘-gate’; in the fear of impeachment, which Watergate revived as a political tool; and in presidents’ interest in their historical reputations. Watergate is long over, but it isn’t going anywhere.” [WashingtonExaminer]
🇵🇰 Pakistan Push: In Haaretz, Pakistani journalist Kunwar Khuldune Shahid makes the argument for normalized relations between Pakistan and Israel. “A decade ago, when some of us found space in local English-language newspapers then willing to push the proverbial envelope, questioning the state’s duplicity over Israel, highlighting the similarities between the two countries, and arguing for ties between them, it was an eccentric opinion that barely anyone would take seriously. Today, it is one of the top-level foreign policy deliberations in Pakistan’s corridors of power. This, of course, is not to suggest that these handful of Pakistani writers penning the occasional piece in local, and more recently Israeli, newspapers have rejigged the national ethos. It is the new geopolitical realities that have transformed what was until recently unthinkable to now being increasingly inevitable.” [Haaretz]
Around the Web
🎤 Heard Yesterday: Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid addressed the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum yesterday.
🔍 Ongoing investigations: The head of the FBI’s Boston office told members of the Jewish community yesterday that the FBI is monitoring and working to gather additional information about the “Mapping Project” but has not yet seen any public threats of violence connected to it. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker became the latest public official to condemn the group, calling the project “hateful and wrong.”
⚠️ Crystal Globe: Harvard economist and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warned that an economic recession within the next two years is “more likely than not.”
📈 Masters’ Moves: A new poll in Arizona has GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters leading the field by five points.
🗳️ Eye on Illinois: Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL), who is running for reelection in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, announced the death of his teenage daughter; Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL), who is locked in a member-on-member primary against Casten, is halting comparative paid ads.
🚨 Endorsement Alert: Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, who served as a representative from South Florida from 2019-2021, endorsed Jared Moskowitz in his bid to succeed outgoing Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL).
✂️ Presidential Politics: The Democratic National Committee cut three applicants — New York, Nebraska and Democrats Abroad — from consideration as early nominating states as it looks to change its presidential nominating process.
🎓 Campus Beat: A University of Illinois graduate was charged with committing a felony hate crime after he threw a rock in the direction of Jewish students at the school’s Hillel center earlier this year.
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: GMB, one of the U.K.’s largest trade unions, unanimously passed a resolution calling for a zero-tolerance policy against antisemitism.
🛂 Back on Track: Lisbon’s Jewish community will resume the issuing of permits for Portuguese citizenship, a process that has been on hold since mid-March.
✈️ Waiver Wait: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides told Israel Hayom that he believes Israel will join the U.S. Visa Waiver Program by 2023.
🧮 Coalition Count: Israeli Knesset member Nir Orbach, of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, quit the governing coalition, leaving the ruling bloc with a minority of Knesset seats and raising the prospect that Israel may head to another election.
✍️ Diaspora Ties: In eJewishPhilanthropy, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll, who is reportedly under consideration to head The Jewish Agency for Israel, penned an op-ed calling for a “paradigm shift” in Israel-Diaspora relations.
👨 Man of the Moment: The Associated Press interviews Hussein al-Sheikh, a top Palestinian Authority official who meets regularly with Israelis and is seen as a potential successor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
🛑 Turkish Travel: Israel again warned its civilians against traveling to Turkey, raising its travel advisory to the highest level, following Iranian threats to abduct Israeli vacationers in Turkey.
🗺️ Border Drawing Board: U.S. Energy Envoy Amos Hochstein is in Beirut to continue negotiations on a gas field claimed by both Israel and Lebanon, and will meet today with Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
🇮🇳 Trade Talks: Israel and India are set to resume free-trade talks, following the arrival to Israel of an Indian delegation to establish a negotiation framework.
💻 Cyber Concern: An Israeli cybersecurity firm alleged that Iranian cyberhackers targeted the emails of former U.S. and Israeli officials, including former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and an unnamed former U.S. ambassador to Israel.
☢️ Blame Game: The New York Times looks at the ongoing “shadow war” between Iran and Israel, following the death of two Iranian scientists who worked on the country’s military and nuclear programs.
🚢 Salvaging Ship: The U.N. launched a crowdfunding effort to raise $5 million to aid in the removal of an oil tanker that has been moored off the coast of Yemen since 2015 and poses a significant environmental risk to the region.
👩 Transition: Julie Platt was unanimously confirmed as the next chair of the board of trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America, succeeding Mark Wilf.
🕯️ Remembering: Famed Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua died at 85.
Pic of the Day
The sanctuary of the Great German Schola Synagogue in Venice, Italy. A new project is underway to preserve the synagogue, built in the Venice ghetto in 1528.
Russian-born businessman and philanthropist, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017, Sir Leonard “Len” Blavatnik turns 65…
Retired Soviet nuclear scientist, now writing from Skokie, Ill., on Jewish intellectual spirituality, Vladimir Minkov, Ph.D. turns 89… Former member of Knesset and twice Israel’s minister of finance, Avraham “Beiga” Shochat turns 86… Retied U.S. district judge for the District of Maryland, Marvin Joseph Garbis turns 86… Dr. Beryl Geber… Joanna Lerner… Senior fellow at Project HOPE, Gail R. Wilensky turns 79… Forty-fifth president of the United States, Donald J. Trump turns 76… Former French diplomat and advisor to former French Presidents Chirac and Sarkozy, Jean-David Levitte turns 76… Television sportscaster and journalist, Len Berman turns 75… Writer, critic, philosopher and editor of Liberties Journal, Leon Wieseltier turns 70… CEO at M+R Strategic Services, William Benjamin “Bill” Wasserman… President of Blue Diamond HR LLC, Michelle “Shel” Grossman… President of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., Maud S. Mandel… VP of media partnerships at Meta/Facebook, Campbell Brown… Singer-songwriter with nine studio albums, Joshua Radin turns 48… Co-founder of Kelp, Daniel M. Gaynor… Australian fashion model and businesswoman, Kathryn Eisman turns 41… Pavel Khodorkovsky turns 37… Former deputy assistant secretary at HUD and then senior advisor at OMB, Paige Esterkin Bronitsky… Campaign coordinator in the recently successful recall election of San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, Lilly Rapson… Copywriter at OnMessage, Julia Cohen… Recent J.D. graduate at Chapman University School of Law, Jacob Ellenhorn… Freelance writer specializing in European and Israeli politics, Liam Hoare…