👋 Good Tuesday morning!
The Aspen Security Forum kicks off this evening in Colorado. We’ll be at the forum throughout the week — email us to let us know if you’re there, too.
It’s primary day in Maryland. Voters in the Old Line State and beyond are eyeing at least two congressional races that have attracted lots of attention — and in one case, lots of outside spending.
Read our interview with Ivey.The race has become the site of the largest spending yet by AIPAC’s United Democracy Project super PAC, which has spent $5.9 million attacking Edwards and boosting Ivey, supplemented by an additional $426,000 from Democratic Majority for Israel supporting Ivey. J Street has spent $728,000 supporting Edwards and opposing Ivey.
A recent poll from a pro-Edwards groupshowed Ivey leading Edwards by five percentage points.
In the state’s 6th Congressional District, former Washington Free Beacon reporter Matthew Foldi is hoping for a Republican primary win that will set him up to take on Rep. David Trone (D-MD) in November.
But congressional races aren’t the only ones we’re watching. Maryland is the latest site of a battle for the heart of the Republican Party. Kelly Schulz, a former commerce secretary under her mentor, outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan, is battling against state Del. Dan Cox, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump.
But be prepared to wait. Maryland election officials only start counting mail-in ballots on Thursday. This means that many of the close races aren’t likely to be decided for days.
eye on 2024
Nikki Haley teases White House run in speech to pro-Israel group
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley teased a potential run for the White House in 2024 in a speech on Monday at a gathering hosted by Christians United for Israel just outside of Washington, D.C., Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Trial balloon: Speaking about the possibility of a new Iran deal at the group’s annual summit, Haley, the Republican former governor of South Carolina, said, with a grin and a wink, “If this president signs any sort of deal, I’ll make you a promise, the next president will shred it on her first day in office” (formatting from a pre-delivery copy of Haley’s speech obtained by JI).
Strong response: Haley’s comments were met with loud cheers and a standing ovation from an audience of more than 1,000. “Just saying, sometimes it takes a woman,” she quipped following the applause, deviating from the prepared remarks.
Tough talk: Haley opined that she did not think President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East last week “went well” and accused the president of being insufficiently willing to use force against Iran to prevent the regime from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Biden said during his trip to the Middle East last week that military force would be a “last resort.” In lieu of a deal, Haley said, “If it ever looks like Iran is close to getting a nuclear weapon, we must act, swiftly and decisively,” and, “At a minimum, we should give Israel everything it needs to defend itself and destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”
Tom Cotton previews plans for federal anti-BDS legislation
In remarks at the Christians United for Israel summit on Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) previewed plans to introduce federal anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions legislation,Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Contractor contacts: The legislation, as described by Cotton, would prevent the military from contracting with any companies that engage in boycotts of Israel, a similar mechanism utilized in many state-level anti-BDS laws. The legislation, if passed, would mark a major step forward in efforts to translate state-level anti-BDS initiatives into federal law.
Lower chamber: Earlier this month, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) introduced an amendment to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that would have required a Defense Department report on whether any Defense Department contractor “participates in or supports any organized effort or organization that, based on a belief that Israel is oppressing Palestinians, promotes a boycott of, removal of investments from or economic sanctions against Israel or any person or entity in Israel.” That amendment, co-sponsored by Reps. Dan Meuser (R-PA), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), David Trone (D-MD) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY), was blocked from House floor consideration last week by a party-line vote in the House Rules Committee.
Go further: Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who also addressed the CUFI summit, expressed her opposition to U.S. reentry into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, arguing that any new agreement needs to carry more weight than its predecessor. “The future agreement needs to be stronger than the JCPOA,” she said, referring to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “We need to be sure that we have rigorous inspections, we need to put a limit on the centrifuges, we need to remove those sunset clauses because we can never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”
At odds: In separate remarks at the summit, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed that the Biden administration is seeking to reestablish a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem to “undermine Israel.” Cruz said, “The entire purpose of that is not to give consular services to the Palestinians, you can do that in Ramallah. The purpose of putting it in Jerusalem is for one reason and one reason only, and that is to elevate Palestinian claims of sovereignty to the city of Jerusalem.”
The Washington outsider at the center of the Trump admin’s Israel policy
Opining about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a cottage industry in Washington, D.C. There are analysts galore, academics, former peace negotiators, think tankers — many appearing as talking heads on TV and writing sharp op-eds on how to resolve the intractable conflict. And then there was Jason Greenblatt, fresh from the Trump Organization’s legal team and with no prior political experience recruited by former President Donald Trump to help bring peace to the Middle East. Now, the ultimate outsider, who served for almost three years as Trump’s Middle East peace envoy, has gotten the last word over Beltway experts in the form of a new memoir, which hits bookstores today. Unlike other Trump memoirs packed with lurid details about a sometimes chaotic administration, In the Path of Abraham: How Donald Trump Made Peace in the Middle East — and How to Stop Joe Biden from Unmaking It describes a level-headed policy process and skips juicy anecdotes for a reasoned explanation of Trump’s decisions, Jewish Insider’s Jacob Miller reports.
Outside in: Arriving in Washington without prior experience in politics or diplomacy, Greenblatt, who now serves on the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board of directors and runs an Israeli crypto investment fund, fit into the “outsider” mold embraced by Trump during his campaign. “I don’t make any secret about me being an outsider,” said Greenblatt, 56, who described his “sincerity” and “devotion to the cause” as qualifying characteristics for picking up the Middle East portfolio. In the book, Greenblatt criticizes the “Washington consensus” with which Trump broke on much of his Middle East policy, explaining that Beltway insiders have failed to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I don’t think there is an Israeli-Palestinian expert,” he said.
People perspective: Greenblatt steers clear of making disparaging claims about his colleagues in the Trump administration and his counterparts in Israel, saving his criticism for Palestinian leaders, such as peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, who died in 2020 (“a master propagandist whose volatile temper could flare with an ill-perceived word or phrase”), and Obama administration officials such as former CIA Director John Brennan, whose reaction to the embassy move Greenblatt compared to the response of the ayatollah of Iran.
Deal of the century: The crowning achievements of Trump’s Middle East policy — the Abraham Accords, which opened up relations with Israel and several Arab countries — concluded after Greenblatt left the administration in October 2019, but Greenblatt catalogs the decisions that led to the historic deals. The Abraham Accords, he suggested, were made possible by “shifting forces in the Middle East” in addition to decisions made by the Trump administration. Critical to the Accords’ success was the decision to pursue “parallel tracks” of diplomacy with the Palestinians and with Arab countries, so that Israeli-Arab reconciliation was linked to but not contingent on a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “We were still going to pursue peace and see where it led,” after the Palestinians had left the negotiating table, Greenblatt explained.
⚖️ Red Lines: In Newsweek, Toby Dershowitz calls on the Biden administration to ensure consequences for Iranian officials who have been involved in terror attacks, and for the global security community to apprehend those on terror watch lists. “After taking office last year, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ensured that having an AMIA-related red notice was career-positive. Raisi appointed [Mohsen] Rezaei and [Ahmad] Vahidi to serve in Raisi’s cabinet, poking his finger in the eyes of [the] world. Forty percent of Raisi’s cabinet is sanctioned by the U.S. or the United Nations. Iran is testing the world to see whether the passage of time has eroded its commitment to accountability. How can we ensure that these men, and Iran itself, are punished for these acts?… Iran is challenging us to see where our limits are. Terrorism should be a red line. Countering it should have no statute of limitations. Impunity of the kind we see today will breed more terrorism. The AMIA families, all Argentinians, and those committed to justice and our national security, deserve better.” [Newsweek]
🍲 Food for Thought: The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney spotlights a traveling exhibition now on display at Los Angeles’ Skirball Cultural Center that focuses on the history of the Jewish American deli. “Museum exhibits are usually based on sights — a painting, a sculpture, a looping video — and sounds. This one had the challenge of conveying tastes and smells, not an easy task in a gallery where food is not allowed. An attempt by food stylists to recreate a facsimile of a deli sandwich out of nonfood ingredients turned into an unappealing mess. ‘We had a minor panic attack about this corned beef sandwich,’ Ms. Mart said during a recent walk-through of the exhibition. Ms. Thurston picked up the story. ‘We asked for a corned beef with mustard, and the mustard looked like thick, thick American cheese, like a fiesta of treyf’ — it mixed meat and dairy, in violation of kosher law. ‘We couldn’t have it out on the gallery floor.’” [NYTimes]
Around the Web
💰 Treasure Chest: FEC filings show that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) lent her campaign $900,000 of her personal money to spend in a member-on-member primary against Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), telling The New York Times that she dipped into her retirement savings to bolster her coffers.
🗳️ Ballot Bounce: New York gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) will not appear on the Independence Party’s ballot line after the Board of Elections determined that 13,000 of the Republican’s 52,000 submitted signatures were invalid.
📚 Classroom Concerns: Jewish groups in Canada are raising concerns over the country’s Holocaust education, following a high-profile trial of a neo-Nazi in which the judge and an attorney debated the definition of Naziism.
💻 Intel Sharing: The Biden administration is seeking to close a loophole limiting the amount of information foreign law enforcement agencies share with the U.S., citing the January attack on a Texas synagogue by a U.K. national.
📺 Netflix News: “Schitt’s Creek” star Dan Levy, who inked an eight-figure deal with Netflix last fall, launched a new production banner, Not A Real Production Company, hiring Megan Zehmer as the company’s head of film and television.
⚾ Reyzing His Game: Louisiana State University standout pitcher Eric Reyzelman was selected as a fifth-round pick by the New York Yankees.
🛰️ Downed Drone: The IDF said it intercepted a drone that had originated in Lebanon, which security officials allege was sent across the border by Hezbollah.
🤝🏽 Trip Talk: Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting today with Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran.
🇮🇷 Sanctioned: Iran leveled sanctions against 61 Americans, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Pic of the Day
Relatives of victims of the 1994 bomb attack at the Jewish community center of the Mutual Israelite Association of Argentina (AMIA) that killed 85 people and injured more than 300, hold photos on Monday during a 28th anniversary event in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Ultra-marathon runner, he performs as a mentalist and magician, Oz Pearlman turns 40…
Retired Israeli airline pilot, he successfully thwarted an in-flight hijacking by Leila Khaled in 1970, Uri Bar-Lev turns 91… Johannesburg resident, Monty Lasovsky… Interactive designer, author and artist, in 1986 he married Caroline Kennedy, Edwin Arthur “Ed” Schlossberg turns 77… Retired professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University, he served in the Dutch Senate and later as the minister of foreign affairs of the Netherlands, Uriel “Uri” Rosenthal turns 77… Hotelier and real estate developer, often referred to as the creator of the boutique hotel concept, he gained fame in 1977 as co-founder of NYC’s Studio 54, Ian Schrager turns 76… Co-founder of Limmud FSU, Sandra F. Cahn… Former co-chairman of the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County, Conn., Linda Meyer Russ… Sportswriter for The Athletic and author of three books on baseball, Jayson Stark turns 71… CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, Howard Schultz turns 69… Retired judicial assistant at the Montgomery County (PA) Court of Common Pleas, Deenie Silow… Rabbi of Congregation Beth Abraham in Bergenfield, N.J., and rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger turns 67… Head of the Kollel at Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Rabbi Ezra D. Neuberger turns 65… Former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings, Edward Scott “Eddie” Lampert turns 60…
Israel’s ambassador to Canada, Ronen Hoffman turns 59… Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter and author of The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men, Eric Lichtblau turns 57… Israeli actress, model and film producer, Yael Abecassis turns 55… Spokesperson to the Arab media in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office, Ofir Gendelman turns 51… Co-chairman and CEO of CheckAlt, Shai Stern… Senior writer and NBA Insider for ESPN, Ramona Leor Shelburne turns 43… Former soccer star at the University of Virginia, he is now a senior director at Unified Women’s Healthcare, Chad Prince turns 43… Former deputy mayor of the city of Haifa, now a real estate developer, Shai Abuhatsira turns 42… Associate partner at McKinsey & Company, Alexis Blair Wolfer… President of Brightside Academy Ohio, Ezra David Beren… Director of capital markets at JSB Capital Group, Yanky Schorr… National political reporter for The Washington Post, Isaac Arnsdorf… South Africa country director for Innovation: Africa, Caroline Mendelsohn… Last year he became the first ever Orthodox Jewish player selected in the MLB Draft, picked number 77 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jacob Steinmetz turns 19… Former EVP and CEO of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, Dr. George Ban… Zach Houghton…