👋 Good Wednesday morning!
With many of yesterday’s primary races called shortly after polls closed in Illinois, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma and New York, winning candidates — and those backing them — were able to claim decisive wins.
Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL), who was endorsed by both Democratic Majority for Israel and J Street, easily beat Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL)— a first-term member who drew the ire of the pro-Israel community for her intense critique of the Jewish state, including her vote against supplemental Iron Dome funding last fall — in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District. J Street had endorsed both candidates prior to a redistricting effort in the state that saw their districts merge, but threw its support behind Casten earlier this year.
In Illinois’ 1st District, activist Jonathan Jackson, son of Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., is leading the crowded Democratic pack. With 75% of precincts reporting, Jackson leads Chicago alderperson Pat Dowell by nine points.
And in the state’s 3rd District, Delia Ramirez, who was endorsed by J Street, beat Chicago alderman Gilbert Villegas, who was backed by Democratic Majority For Israel.
Longtime Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) pulled off a win against activist Kina Collins in Illinois’ 7th Congressional District, but the race — which had Davis leading by seven points — was closer than their first face-off in 2020, when Davis bested Collins by 46 percentage points.
Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) — a staunch conservative who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump days before yesterday’s primary — defeated the more moderate Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) in Illinois’ 15th Congressional District. Miller, a freshman, has stirred up controversy on multiple occasions — quoting Adolf Hitler while speaking at a rally in Washington, D.C., shortly after taking office, and, more recently, calling the overturning of Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life,” a comment that her team later walked back.
In Colorado, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who has aligned with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC),soundly defeated her primary opponent, moving on to the general election, where she will likely face former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch. Days before the primary, Boebert told church worshippers, “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church,” and added that she is “tired” of the separation between church and state.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who won 44% of New York’s GOP vote in the Republican primary for governor, and his running mate, Alison Esposito, will go on to face Gov. Kathy Hochul and her running mate, Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY), who defeated their closest competitors by margins of 47% and 36%, respectively.
In its sixth public hearing, the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot heard testimony on Wednesday from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.
Ivanka Trump pleaded with her father to put out a statement calling for rioters to peacefully disperse from the Capitol, according to Hutchinson’s testimony. Hutchinson also testified that she had overheard a conversation between Meadows and former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, in which Meadows said that Trump had told them he did not think that the Capitol rioters were “doing anything wrong” and that former Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hanged. She also said Trump was “reluctant” to film a video telling rioters to leave the Capitol.
Meadows and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani sought presidential pardons for their actions leading up to and during Jan. 6, Hutchinson said.
Iran and the U.S. began EU-mediated negotiations in Qatar yesterday aiming to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told JI, “As I’ve said since the beginning of this administration, any attempt to restart JCPOA negotiations with Iran is dead upon arrival,” reiterating his call for increased sanctions and defensive support to regional partners.
Facing Illinois blacklist, Morningstar commits to resolving anti-Israel bias
Morningstar, Inc., the Chicago-based financial services firm that came under fire earlier this month for providing analytical tools that were found to have a bias against Israel, committed to addressing concerns that the company harbors anti-Israel attitudes at an Illinois investing board meeting last week, according to two individuals present, Jewish Insider’s Jacob Miller reports.
Details: In last Tuesday’s meeting, the Committee on Israel Boycott Restrictions subdivision of the Illinois Investment Policy Board (IIPB) voted not to place Morningstar on the state’s “prohibited investment list,” subject to the firm’s implementing of recommendations put forth in a report published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington-based think tank, and a separate independent report commissioned by Morningstar and conducted by New York City-based law firm White & Case LLP.
Concerning company: The concerns raised in the two reports focus on Sustainalytics, a Morningstar subsidiary firm that rates companies based on Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) criteria, metrics that have recently become popular among investors who desire to understand companies’ social effect. Critics assert that Sustainalytics unfairly targets Israeli companies in its ratings and that it supports the BDS movement.
Disputed discussion: Morningstar did not acknowledge that the board vote was conditioned on responding to the FDD-recommended reforms, and told JI that, “ultimately, the IIPB voted not to place Morningstar on the Prohibited Investment List.” A meeting attendee who asked for anonymity to discuss the conversation disputed Morningstar’s characterization of the meeting, which did not address the proposals put forward by FDD, and did not mention the board’s insistence that Morningstar address FDD’s critiques to avoid further legal action. The attendee told JI, “Morningstar is playing fast and loose with the truth to avoid a shareholder backlash.”
Report highlights: The external White & Case study absolved Morningstar of bias charges in its topline findings, but confirmed suspicions that firms were penalized in ESG ratings for being Israeli. The report finds Sustainalytics indiscriminately gives poor ratings to Israeli infrastructure companies and describes a “guidance document on ‘Occupied Territories’” that asserts “in occupied territories where human rights are being systematically violated, any business activity in that region is connected to the violations in some direct or indirect way.”
State Dept. official cites ‘new framework’ for ‘prosperity and security’ in wake of Negev Summit
Following the success of the March meeting of U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain, Washington is spearheading an effort to formalize the new framework for regional cooperation, a senior State Department official familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Greater cooperation: “The Negev Forum is a new framework to enhance regional prosperity and security by promoting greater cooperation in a variety of spheres among its members,” the official told reporters following a Monday meeting of the Negev Forum Steering Committee in Manama, Bahrain. The official’s comments about enhancing regional security come amid media reports of growing military cooperation between Israel and Arab nations, although the official did not offer specifics regarding security cooperation that may come out of the Negev Forum framework.
Palestinian participation: The committee created six working groups that will meet regularly. The groups are meant to increase ties between the six nations. Washington hopes that each group will also produce initiatives that “strengthen the Palestinian economy and improve the quality of life of Palestinians,” said the official, who declined to say if any Palestinian representatives were invited to participate in the Negev Forum, or whether Palestinians should have a seat at the table in discussions over the shifting regional landscape.
Pinch me: Yael Lempert, the principal deputy assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs who attended the Manama meeting, told JI that she sometimes cannot believe the progress of the past few years. “I still sometimes have to pinch myself as I’m sitting in the room with all of these counterparts from across the region, including our Israeli counterparts,” said Lempert. “It’s really just fantastic to see these relationships deepening, and we feel very optimistic about what we’ll be able to do in this forum.”
On the hill
Nearly 100 House members urge administration to mount stronger effort to address antisemitism
A bipartisan group of nearly 100 House members sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday urging the administration to mount a more concerted effort to counter antisemitism, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Quotable: “We are asking you to advocate for a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy, led by your Department, to specifically address the growing problem of domestic antisemitism,” reads the letter, led by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) and signed by 88 other lawmakers.
Coming together: The lawmakers call on the administration to ensure communication between federal, state and local agencies, and provide training and resources to counter antisemitism. It also requests that Mayorkas and representatives from the Departments of Justice, State, Education, Labor and Defense brief the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism about the federal effort to address antisemitism. “We must ensure every facet of our government is engaging with local community partners on the front lines,” the lawmakers argued.
Improvement needed: Dan Granot, the Anti-Defamation Leauge’s director of government relations for antisemitism and international affairs, told JI that the whole-of-government approach the letter advocates is an element of the organization’s “COMBAT Plan,” a multipart advocacy framework it announced on Tuesday morning. ADL worked with the House members on the letter and supported it. “Given that there’s an average of seven antisemitic incidents per day, this is a moment that we can come together and bring together champions from throughout the government,” he continued.
🗳️ From Washington to Jerusalem: The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman compares the situations — and stagnations — in American and Israeli politics, and explores what is at risk for both countries as they look toward uncertain political futures. “Imagine that Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, Larry Hogan, Lisa Murkowski, Charlie Baker, retired admiral Bill McRaven, Joe Manchin, Amy Klobuchar, Mike Bloomberg, Jim Clyburn and Michelle Lujan Grisham were all serving in the same cabinet and you’d have the rough U.S. equivalent of the Israeli national unity government that just died. I believe these kinds of left-right-center coalitions — making pragmatic decisions and trade-offs that transcend the usual ideological poles — are the only way to effectively govern democracies in this era of rapid technological, demographic and climate change.” [NYTimes]
⚖️ Roe Reasoning: Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake looks at late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critique of the landmark 1973 decision and how it accorded with her support for abortion rights. “Indeed Ginsburg’s criticisms of Roe generally had to do with pragmatic and political concerns, rather than saying it was outright wrong. And far from wanting to leave this decision to the states, as Friday’s decision does, she repeatedly sided with the idea that abortion was a constitutional right. She had preferred that right to be phased in more gradually and that it rely more on a different part of the Constitution — the right to equal protection rather than the right to privacy, the basis of Roe.” [WashPost]
🇫🇷 History Lesson: In Tablet, Daniel Solomon explores France’s historical memory and present teaching of the Holocaust. “The ‘lessons of the Holocaust’ have become an article of faith among the continent’s elites. The political center mobilizes Holocaust memory against adversaries to the right and left. The far right’s program of tighter borders and national reassertion draws condemnation as a form of neo-fascism. Marine Le Pen or Eric Zemmour are said not to have learned the putative lessons of the Holocaust; in this case, the necessity to welcome the stranger. Their election could spell a repeat of the most gruesome episodes of the 20th century. The center intones about the dangers of the far left, too: Radical politics can degenerate into mass violence and genocide.” [Tablet]
Around the Web
💸 Treasure Chest: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s PAC — from which the Cabinet official disassociated when he joined the Biden administration — is endorsing a slate of young federal and state candidates ahead of the midterm elections, who will be the recipients of the fund’s $1.6 million reserves.
🎙️ On Air: Radio personality Howard Stern teased a presidential run in 2024 on a platform of abolishing the Electoral College and expanding the Supreme Court.
💰 Big Buy: Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange company FTX is reportedly interested in acquiring financial services platform Robinhood.
🎭 City Stage: “Straight Line Crazy,” the hit London play about controversial New York City urban planner Robert Moses, will debutOff-Broadway in October, with Ralph Fiennes cast in the lead role.
🕺 Stage Cues: The New York Times interviews composer David Lang and choreographer Pam Tanowitz on the eve of the premiere of their latest collaboration, “Song of Songs.”
🎬 Movies for the Mishpacha: Reboot, the Jewish nonprofit, has launched Reboot Studios, which will help to develop Jewish content across the entertainment industry.
⛔ Disney Deal: Disney canceled the exclusive streaming agreement it had inked with Israel’s YES television provider.
📜 Plan Presentation: U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Ahmed Shaheed presented his proposals to combat antisemitism yesterday at a World Jewish Congress meeting.
👎 Disturbing Data: The Department for Research and Information on Antisemitism published a report documenting more than 2,700 antisemitic incidents in Germany last year — including 63 attacks and six violent extremist events — a majority of which could not be attributed to a singular political view.
☢️ Deal Drama: Yossi Kupperwasser, who formerly headed the IDF’s Intelligence Assessment Division, told Fox News that a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal would have “unprecedented devastating consequences.”
🏥 Bed Side: Hamas released a recent video of Hisham al-Sayid, an Israeli Bedouin citizen held by the group in Gaza since 2015, showing the apparently bedridden civilian breathing with the assistance of an oxygen canister.
💼 Transition: Metropolitan Museum of Art President Daniel Weiss announced he will step down from his post at the museum.
Pic of the Day
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff places a stone on the headstone of a fallen Jewish soldier during a visit earlier today to the American cemetery in Manilla, Philippines.
Stand-up comedian and actor, he has appeared in 40 episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Richard Philip Lewis turns 75…
Baltimore-area gastroenterologist, Dr. Marshall Bedine…. Chairman of Carnival Corporation and owner of the NBA’s Miami Heat, Micky Arison turns 73… Rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Brisk in Jerusalem, Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Soloveitchik turns 73… Resident of both D.C. and Arizona, Helene Carol Resnick Kahan… Former assistant surgeon general of the U.S. and deputy assistant secretary of HHS for women’s health, Dr. Susan Jane Blumenthal turns 70… Former SVP and counsel at Columbus, Ohio-based L Brands, Bruce A. Soll… CEO of four firms including MajorGiftsNow, Joshua Karlin… Israeli actress, screenwriter, playwright and film director, Hanna Azoulay-Hasfariturns 62… Former attorney general of Israel, Avichai Mandelblit turns 59… Founder and president of Medallion Financial Corp., Andrew Murstein turns 58… Screenwriter, director and producer, he has won nine Emmy Awards for his work on AMC’s “Mad Men” and HBO’s “The Sopranos,” Matthew Hoffman Weiner turns 57… Senior rabbi of Toronto’s Beth Tzedec Congregation, Rabbi Steven C. Wernick turns 55… Theater, film and television screenwriter, Allan Heinberg turns 55… Israeli political consultant and former chief of staff to then-Prime Minister Netanyahu, Ari Harow turns 49… Consultant, facilitator, trainer and coach, Nanette Rochelle Fridman… Rabbi of the Young Israel of Bal Harbour, Fla.,Gidon Moskovitz… Film and television director and writer, Gillian Robespierre turns 44… Former member of the U.K.’s Parliament for the Labour party, Ruth Smeeth turns 43… Israeli actor and model Yehuda Levi turns 43… President and dean of Phoenix-based Valley Beit Midrash, he is also the founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz… Partner at FGS Global, Andrew Duberstein… Campaign finance consultant David Wolf… Steven Kohn… Sara Sansone… Fred Gruber…