👋 Good Monday morning!
President Joe Biden’s first trip as president to the Middle East last week is being seen as a resounding success by Israelis, a senior Israeli source told Jewish Insider on Sunday. At the government’s weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid proudly hung a framed copy of the newly signed “Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration” on the wall.
Lapid said, “We’ve put up the Jerusalem Declaration for the first time, in the correct location for historic declarations. It joins the rest of the historic declarations hanging here in this room.” The declaration is a roadmap for the U.S.-Israel strategic alliance and covers issues ranging from the threats posed by Iran to the Palestinian question to shoring up and expanding regional peace. Read more about the visit here.
On Friday, following his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, Biden flew directly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he held meetings with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the leaders of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – the countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Israeli-American firm SolarEdge Technologies was one of 13 companies to ink an agreement with a Saudi firm following Biden’s trip to the region, The Circuit reports.
Today marks the 28th anniversary of the bombing at the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds more. The attack was believed to be carried out by Hezbollah operatives under the direction of Iran.
More than 200 Latin American leaders, scholars and advocates met yesterday in Buenos Aires at the Latin American Forum to Combat Antisemitism to discuss the unique ways that antisemitism manifests in Latin America, and to discuss how to fight it. Today, they will attend a memorial to the bombing victims.
“We believe that Latin America is a region which is very different in every aspect from Europe and from America. We have our language, our own culture, our own character and our own style for doing things,” Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, told Jewish Insider. “And also, we have a different style of antisemitism.”
Speakers at the event included U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt, Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan, Organization of American States Antisemitism Envoy Fernando Lottenberg and former Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales.
The primaries to watch in the coming weeks
With some pro-Israel groups pouring significant amounts of money into numerous upcoming primary races, Middle East policy and other issues of interest to the Jewish community are taking on an outsized role in a number of upcoming races in the final weeks of a grueling primary season, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
By the numbers: More than $12 million has been spent by outside groups opposing and supporting candidates in part due to their positions on U.S. aid to Israel, Washington’s relations in the region and the Biden administration’s efforts to rejoin the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Up first: Voters head to the polls on Tuesday in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, where former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) faces former state attorney Glenn Ivey. The AIPAC-affiliated super PAC United Democracy Project has bet big on Ivey, putting its largest spending to date in any individual race — $5.9 million — behind its efforts to boost the former Prince George’s County state attorney and defeat Edwards. Democratic Majority For Israel has also spent $426,000 backing Ivey. J Street has spent $728,000 backing Edwards and opposing Ivey.
By the numbers: UDP and DMFI’s efforts may be giving a boost to Ivey’s chances on Tuesday. A July 6 poll from a pro-Edwards group obtained by Jewish Insider showed Ivey leading by five percentage points over Edwards — 33% supporting Ivey and 28% backing Edwards — a major turnaround from an internal Edwards poll in May that had her leading Ivey by 13 points. Ivey also led Edwards in fundraising at the end of June, $1.2 million to $980,000, and had outspent her $940,000 to $737,000.
Michigan matchup: In Michigan, the state’s Democratic primaries, set to take place on Aug. 2, have also become flashpoints for the pro-Israel community. The sizable Jewish community in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, located in the suburbs around Detroit, has found itself split between Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) in the member vs. member matchup. UDP has spent $2.4 million boosting Stevens, while J Street has spent $728,000 attacking her. AIPAC’s PAC has also bundled $636,000 for Stevens this year. Stevens has outraised Levin, closing out the second quarter with $4.7 million total raised and $1.8 million on hand. Levin trailed, with $2.6 million raised, and has $1.1 million on hand.
New York Minute: On the Upper East and Upper West Sides of Manhattan, redistricting has pitted against each other two veteran New York members of Congress, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), both of whom have long track records with the Jewish community. Former Obama aide Suraj Patel is mounting his third bid for Congress, hoping that Maloney and Nadler will split the vote, giving him a path to victory. While in step on many issues, Maloney has tacked more to the center, including opposing the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, which Nadler supported. J Street has endorsed Nadler, while DMFI and Pro-Israel America have endorsed Maloney. AIPAC and JDCA endorsed both incumbents.
The 25-year-old Jewish day school grad setting his sights on Congress
Like many Jewish candidates for public office, Matthew Foldi says his religious education inspired his foray into politics. Unlike most of those Jewish candidates, Foldi is a mere few years removed from his Jewish schooling. The former journalist, a Republican who is running for Congress in Maryland’s 6th District to take on Rep. David Trone (D-MD), graduated from Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (JDS) in Rockville just eight years ago. If elected, he would be the youngest member of the next session of Congress. “It’s impossible for me to even think about a world in which I’m not Jewish,” Foldi told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch in a recent interviewat a coffee shop on Capitol Hill.
Chadashot man: Foldi, 25, stepped down from a position as a reporter at the conservative Washington Free Beacon in April, soon after Maryland’s 2022 redistricting process was finalized with a map that surprised many by putting incumbent Trone at risk. Foldi’s pitch to voters hinges on his reporting work at the Free Beacon, a job he held for just over a year. (He also once edited the Chadashot, Hebrew for “news,” section of the JDS student newspaper.) “I’ve done an effective job of illuminating the problems. Maybe it’s time to actually be part of the solution,” he explained as his rationale for his House run. “I ran up against the limitations of what I felt like I could accomplish as a reporter.”
Tough road: Before Foldi takes on the Democrat, he has to win the Republican primary on Tuesday. Foldi has racked up endorsements from national Republican figures such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Donald Trump Jr. But he trails competitor Neil Parrott, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, in fundraising. Parrott recently notched the endorsement of The Washington Post.
Family ties: Foldi grew up steeped in a particular world of Washington foreign policy: His mother, Bonnie Glick, started her career as a foreign service officer before serving as deputy administrator of USAID under former President Donald Trump, and Foldi was also close with his aunt, Caroline Glick, an American-Israeli columnist and conservative activist. In 2019, Foldi went to Israel to work for his aunt, who at the time was a candidate for the Knesset in former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party. She did not ultimately enter the Knesset.
Congressional goals: In Congress, Foldi said he plans to make support for Israel a priority. “I don’t think that the role of America is to be neutral in the Middle East. And I don’t think it’s our role to be neutral with regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Foldi, who added that he does not support a Palestinian state. Foldi accused Trone of kowtowing to far-left Democrats in Congress who oppose Israel, and who have, Foldi added, “completely taken over.” But Trone, who is not Jewish but raised his children in the faith with his Jewish wife, is known to be one of the most reliable backers of Israel in the Democratic Party.
Hillel International looks to tackle antisemitism on campus
For many Jewish college students, Hillel is the first introduction to Judaism in their adult lives. But in addition to providing essential Jewish services and community for students across North America, Hillel chapters have been thrust to the forefront in the fight against rising incidents of antisemitism on college campuses. Among the Hillel International leadership, the trend has not gone unnoticed. “If you look at campus trends and broader trends in North American life and, really, globally, we are very much seeing this rise in antisemitism on campus,” Hillel International President and CEO Adam Lehman said during a recent appearance on Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast.”
By the numbers: According to a 2021 survey conducted by Hillel and the Anti-Defamation League, 33% of Jewish students reported personally observing or experiencing antisemitism on campus. Overall, 15% of students said they felt uncomfortable sharing their Jewish identity. “That’s really bad… In some of our surveys, we’ve seen that 15% climb to 40 or 50%. Totally unacceptable,” Lehman said. “Can you imagine if the LGBTQ community was out saying, ‘We cannot express ourselves, we’re gonna actually be undercover.’ Obviously, that’s the way it was for many minority communities, particularly the Black community or Hispanic community. It’s not an option.”
Taking the initiative: In 2021, the organization introduced the Campus Climate Initiative aimed at working with local campus Hillel leaders and administration officials to develop action plans for combating antisemitism, including increasing educating students about the Jewish community. Earlier this year, Hillel announced the expansion of the initiative to 15 additional colleges and universities, bringing the total participating campuses to 40. “We have to engage university leaders in this process. This cannot be just the focus of Jewish organizations and student leaders. We need administrators to take responsibility for taking on antisemitism in the same way they focus on other forms of bias, discrimination and injustice,” Lehman emphasized.
End goal: The ultimate measure of success, Lehman said, comes when Jewish students feel safe and comfortable on campus. To achieve that, he outlined several suggested actions administrators could take to implement change, including incorporating antisemitism awareness into faculty, staff and student trainings and preparing bias response teams to become better attuned to how and where antisemitism appears. “Beyond simply advocating to administrators, we’ve really said, ‘How can we better educate and equip university leaders so that they can be partners in understanding antisemitism and actually making policy change that addresses the issue?’”
🗺️ Getting Kerry-ed Away: In the Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead suggests that the Biden administration hew away from the Middle East positions of former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry as it attempts to contend with soaring energy costs, the conflict in Ukraine and ongoing negotiations with Iran. “Neither Mr. Kerry nor Mr. Obama seems to have understood how their own personal unpopularity in Israel changed the politics of peace among Israelis. As Jews from the former Soviet Union watched Mr. Putin run rings around Mr. Obama on the international stage, as Mizrahi Jews from Muslim countries heard Americans echo the flabby liberal rhetoric of a condescending Israeli establishment that despised them, association with those Americans became toxic. Right-wing politicians saw no reason to conceal their disdain for the Americans and their process; attacking Mr. Kerry in particular brought political dividends. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (2013-16), in conversations with journalists, would mock what he saw as American naiveté, messianic delusions and arrogance. The only thing that will save Israel, he was quoted as saying in 2014, ‘is for John Kerry to win his Nobel Prize and go home.’” [WSJ]
🗣️ Bluff Factor: In The Atlantic, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Behnam Ben Taleblu explores Iran’s history of attacking Israel — both through words broadcast around the world and through its proxies’ actions. “Seen from the perspective of Iran’s Islamist rulers, an anti-Israel stance has both strategic and ideational benefits. Clearly, it has helped Tehran compete for (and in more recent times, against) Sunni Muslim and Arab hearts and minds by claiming the mantle of champion of the Palestinian cause. In so doing, Persian and Shiite Iran has been able to punch above its weight against the established order in the Middle East. But to treat the revolutionary regime’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views as ornamental, or merely a veil for realpolitik or machtpolitik, misses the forest for the trees. Worse, it also risks making the same mistake as analysts did with respect to Putin: to not take the words coming out of a foreign leader’s mouth seriously, and in so doing, robbing an adversary of agency.” [TheAtlantic]
Around the Web
💰 Manchin’s Money: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced a $1 million fundraising haul for the last quarter, during which he received $5,800 — the maximum donation — from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as well as his son, Jonathan Kraft.
🍦 Rocky Road: Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever will enter into mediation over the conglomerate’s decision to sell the rights to its Israel-based operation to a local manufacturer, a year after Ben & Jerry’s first said it was ceasing operations in what it referred to at the time as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
🤨 Bluegrass Blunder: The Bracken County Republican Party in Kentucky is under fire for a Facebook post about Steve Dettlebach, who was confirmed last week as head of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as being part of a “Jewish junta.” The claim originated the day prior in a post by a neo-Nazi podcast host.
🎓 Cambridge Calling: Retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will rejoin the faculty at Harvard Law School, where he taught before taking the bench.
🏖️ TLV Times: The New York Post spotlights director Quentin Tarantino’s low-key life in Tel Aviv, where he lives with his wife and children.
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: The U.K.-based Anne Frank Trust is launching an internal investigation after receiving blowback for inviting a speaker who has espoused antisemitic views.
🖼️ Art Show Fallout: The director-general of a German art exhibit that had come under fire for antisemitic imagery resigned weeks into the exhibition’s run.
🗓️ Solemn Day: France marked the 80th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv roundup, in which 13,000 Jews in Paris were arrested before being taken to internment camps and then Auschwitz.
🛫 Friendlier Skies: Israeli airlines are planning to open up more routes to Asia, following the lifting of Saudi restrictions regarding flying in the kingdom’s airspace.
💼 New Venture: The Circuit spotlights AnD Ventures, an incubator for early stage startups founded by Lee Moser and Roy Geva Glasberg.
🇲🇦 Off to Rabat: Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the chief of general staff of the IDF, is in Morocco today for meetings with defense officials.
✈️ Plane Saga: The Wall Street Journal looks at the curious case of an Iran-owned, Venezuela-flagged cargo airplane seized in Argentina, where it landed last month carrying five Iranians, including a top official, among its 14 crew.
🤝 Tehran Trilateral: Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to travel to Tehran on Tuesday, where he will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
🛰️ Drone Zone: A Russian delegation has reportedly visited an Iranian airfield twice in the last month, where the delegation viewed UAVs that have the ability to carry precision-guided missiles.
☢️ Nuke News: A top advisor to Iran’s supreme leader said the country has the capability to build a nuclear weapon, but has not yet decided whether to move forward in doing so.
🕯️ Remembering: Sumner Feldberg, who co-founded T.J. Maxx and served as chairman of its parent company, TJX Cos., until 1995, died at 98. René Slotkin, one of the few sets of twins who survived the experiments of Nazi physician Dr. Josef Mengele, died at 84. Former World Union for Progressive Judaism President Rabbi Dow Marmur died. Criminal defense attorney Gerald Shargel, who represented members of the mob including John Gotti, died at 77. Leading antiquities expert and dealer Jerome Eisenberg died on his 92nd birthday.
Pic of the Day
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer stopped by the Kotel while he was in Israel covering President Joe Biden’s trip. “I quietly said the Kaddish in memory of my mother’s Yahrzeit, which happened to coincide with my trip to Jerusalem,” he explained to us via email.
Former prime minister of Peru, Yehude Simon Munaro turns 75…
Theoretical chemist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Roald Hoffmann (born Roald Safran) turns 85… Founding partner of NYC-based law firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, Sidney Davidoff turns 83… President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County, Jan Meisels Allen… Former three-term mayor of Edmonton, Alberta, Stephen Mandel turns 77… Executive director of the MLB Players Association for 26 years and since 2010 at the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr turns 74… Beverly Hills resident, Felisa Bluwal Pivko… Finance, real estate and nursing home executive, Leonard Grunstein turns 70… COO of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, Mark Weitzman… Former Israeli Police spokesman, he is now a senior national radio broadcaster in Israel and an international talk-show host, Elihu Ben-Onn turns 68… Seattle area consultant, Elihu Rubin… Former deputy finance chairman of the RNC, Elliott B. Broidy turns 65… Former minister for congressional affairs at the Embassy of Israel to the U.S., he was previously the Israeli ambassador to Belarus, Martin Peled-Flax turns 64… Partner at Clifford Chance, Philip Wagman… CEO and co-founder at Let’s Bench, a publisher of customized keepsake prayer books and benchers, Yitz Woolf… Associate professor of cybersecurity law at the U.S. Naval Academy, Jeffrey Michael Kosseff turns 44… Deputy director of the White House National Economic Council until two months ago, David Kamin… Co-CEO of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Alexander Ryvchin turns 39… Managing editor of The Circuit, Jonathan Ferziger… Editor of Alma, Molly Tolsky… Senior creative strategist at MissionWired, Lauren Friedlander… CEO of Moving Traditions, Shuli Karkowsky… Senior spokesperson at the U.S. Department of Treasury, Julia Krieger… Editorial content director at Gemini, Philip Rosenstein… Vice president of Jewish life at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92Y, Rabbi Joui Hessel… Former chair of the World Union of Jewish Students, Yosef Tarshish… Izi Doenyas… Ted Rosenberg…