👋 Good Thursday morning!
Israel and Turkey announced on Wednesday the restoration of full diplomatic ties between the two nations following more than a decade of strained relations. The two countries will exchange ambassadors and consuls general.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone after the announcement of the restored ties was made. According to a Turkish press release, Erdogan “expressed his pleasure over the advancement of the relations.” The two leaders “agreed that this latest development is an important additional level in the strengthening of relations that will lead to many achievements, especially in the fields of commerce and tourism,” according to an Israeli statement.
In March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Turkey — the first visit by an Israeli leader to the country in 14 years — and met with Erdogan, who has been eager in recent months to improve Turkey’s global standing amid an economic crisis at home and ahead of elections in the country next year.
“It’s not an isolated development. It is Ankara’s latest move to overcome its isolation in the Middle East. Over the last year, Turkey has been trying to mend its relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” said Aykan Erdemir, director of international affairs research at the Anti-Defamation League and a former Turkish lawmaker. “This definitely is a significant move.”
In a statement to Jewish Insider, a State Department spokesperson praised the development. “We welcome and fully support the announcement of full normalization of relations between Turkey and Israel,” the spokesperson said.
The international fallout over comments made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday in Berlin that Israel has committed “50 holocausts” against the Palestinians continued on Wednesday. “Not only of course is it a lie, but we know that Holocaust distortion can have dangerous consequences and can fuel antisemitism,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a press briefing, adding that “it is the sort of thing that we would raise” with the Palestinians, but noting that he was “not aware” that any such conversations had happened.
Lapid, who had condemned Abbas’ remarks earlier this week, said that he spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who had shared the stage with the Palestinian president when the comments were made. Scholz did not respond to the comment at the press briefing but later issued a condemnation on social media. “I thanked him for this condemnation as Israel’s Prime Minister and the son of a Holocaust survivor. We also discussed the Iranian threat. Iran cannot be allowed to buy time in Vienna endlessly,” Lapid tweeted.
the doctor is in
Dr. Oz greets Republican Jews in Philadelphia
Hoisting signs reading “Pro-Israel, Pro-Oz,” “Jews for Oz,” “Fetterman is the Squad” and “Oz” in Hebrew and English, several hundred guests of the Republican Jewish Coalition welcomed Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz at an event in Philadelphia last night, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports from Pennsylvania.
Policy prescription: In remarks to the audience, Oz analogized his approach to Israel policy — allowing Israel to manage its affairs, particularly toward the Palestinians, as it sees fit without U.S. pressure — to the approach to health that he supported on his long-running television show. “I believe that people should have autonomy to make the important decisions in their lives, like I do with your personal health,” Oz said. “I think people… should be able to do what they think is best for their countries. And I don’t think… that it helps our nation’s sovereignty for us to interfere with that.”
Friendly Friedman: The Republican Senate candidate appeared at the RJC event alongside former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Friedman, who served as ambassador from 2017-2021, on Wednesday night called a two-state solution an “existential risk” to Israel and expressed support for “the rights of the Jewish people to live anywhere within their biblical homeland.” During the event, Oz praised Friedman’s “brave moves” in the Trump administration, and said that he does not think Israel should “give up any territory,” garnering applause from the audience. Friedman, who formally endorsed Oz during the event, suggested that the candidate would have a “unique ability” to help expand the Abraham Accords. Jeff Bartos, who ran against Oz in the primary and is Jewish, said in his own remarks that he was struck by the “power that a secular Muslim United States senator could have advocating passionately for the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
Pennsylvania predictions: Despite recent polling showing Oz trailing Fetterman, RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks told reporters after the event he feels “very confident” Oz “is definitely going to win,” predicting a final margin of “within one or two points either way.” He said the race is RJC’s top priority in the Senate field, given the group’s concerns about “J Street John Fetterman… who will basically be another Squad member,” but declined to preview the group’s plans. Brooks also dismissed the idea that the onslaught of negative press for Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano — relating to Mastriano’s connections to Gab founder Andrew Torba, who has frequently expressed antisemitic sentiments — could impact Oz’s electoral prospects.
SUNY New Paltz students file bias federal complaint against administration
Two students at The State University of New York at New Paltz filed a federal civil rights complaint against the university, alleging that administrators did not adequately address issues of antisemitism and discrimination against Jewish and Israeli survivors of sexual violence on the upstate New York campus, Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss reports.
Background: The complaint, filed by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law on behalf of Cassie Blotner and Ofek Preis, stems from an incident in which Blotner, a co-founder of New Paltz Accountability (NPA), an unofficial campus group that called for awareness and accountability around sexual assault, posted a viral pro-Israel graphic on Instagram that read “Jews are an ethnic group who come from Israel. This is proven by genealogical, historical and archeological evidence. Israel is not a ‘colonial’ state and Israelis aren’t ‘settlers.’ You cannot colonize the land your ancestors are from.”
Back and forth: Following her Instagram post, Blotner, who helped to found the group after she was sexually assaulted on campus in 2020, was messaged by members of NPA to participate in a conversation about her social media post. After first declining to discuss her personal stance on Israel, Blotner suggested a conversation that included the participation of the school’s Jewish Student Union. NPA’s leaders rebuffed the offer. What followed, Blotner alleges in the complaint, was a pattern of anonymous online harassment and bullying, and inaction by university administrators. She shared with Jewish Insider screenshots of messages posted on the social media site Yik Yak, in which users post anonymously within their geographic areas. One Yik Yak user posted, “this dumb b*tch [email protected] is literally a zionist like ur supporting mass genocide !!!!!!!” A message from another Yik Yak account instructed a poster, who had written that they were currently in a social setting with Blotner, to “spit on her.”
Redux: Weeks after Blotner first posted the image, Preis shared the same social media post. “I saw nothing political about it,” Preis explained to JI. “It was just simply stating historical facts. I reposted it because I’m an Israeli international student. I see nothing wrong with that. And I saw solidarity with the other Jewish survivor in [NPA].” Preis soon discovered that she had been locked out of accessing NPA’s shared Google files, and no longer received invitations to NPA’s regular Zoom meetings. She resigned from the organization. “I said that I will not be a part of a club that is run by anti-Zionists and anti-Semites,” she told JI.
Dangerous discrimination: That Blotner was pushed out of the organization she co-founded, Denise Katz-Prober, the director of legal initiatives at the Brandeis Center, told JI, “is a very stark, horrifying example of the kind of antisemitic discrimination that we’re seeing, unfortunately, increasingly, on campuses throughout the country… These women were shunned and isolated by the very people to whom they had turned to for support as sexual assault survivors, and they were excluded merely because they expressed pride in the Jewish people’s ethnic and ancestral connection to Israel.”
📜 Fatwa’s Latest Chapter: The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian dissects the decades-long fatwa on author Salman Rushdie, calling the attempt by a New Jersey man to assassinate him “an attack on the very idea of a free and open society,” and arguing that Iranian intolerance has changed little in decades. “Although levels of tolerance have eroded in the United States, we can’t ignore the role the intolerant ideology of the Islamic republic and its mouthpieces may have played in the attack, directly or indirectly…Arguments by pro-engagement officials and observers claiming that the death mark on Rushdie ceased to be official Iranian policy are irrelevant. More so now after Iran’s statement. I know what it means to be a target of this brutal propaganda machine, and there is nothing subtle about its intent to do harm.” [WashPost]
🎥 Putting Himself First: As reported by Variety, actor Jonah Hill announced he will refrain from promoting his upcoming films in a move to protect his mental health, citing “media appearances and public facing events” as anxiety triggers.“I usually cringe at letters or statements like this but I understand that I am of the privileged few who can afford to take time off. I won’t lose my job while working on my anxiety. With this letter and with [upcoming documentary] ‘Stutz,’ I’m hoping to make it more normal for people to talk and act on this stuff. So they can take steps towards feeling better and so that the people in their lives might understand their issues more clearly.” [Variety]
🗽 N.Y. Culture War: In New York magazine’s “Intelligencer” column, Ross Barkan details the contentious race for New York’s redrawn 12th Congressional District between longtime Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY). “The race has not only pitted two prestigious lawmakers against each other but also rammed together two distinct, if gentrifying and homogenizing, cultures: Daniel against Zabar’s, Carl Schurz against Riverside, Gossip Girl against Seinfeld. Staunchly liberal, the Upper West Side has, over time, shed some of its distinctly Jewish and socialist character, though it’s still easy enough to corner a red-diaper alte kaker on Broadway. The East Side, traditionally patrician enough to have its old congressional seat nicknamed the Silk Stocking District, has grown much more Democratic over time. Even the celebrities — those who pay attention to politics, at least — have taken notice. ‘It’s what I call bagels versus croissants. Whether it’s real or not, it’s important to make that notation,’ says Alec Baldwin. ‘There’s still a perceived culture gap between the two spots.’” [NYMag]
Around the Web
👨💻 Troll Time: In a series of confusing posts on his social media platform, Truth Social, former President Donald Trump appeared to endorse impeachment attorney Dan Goldman and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for Congress in New York’s 10th and 12th Districts, respectively. Both Goldman and Maloney made statements soon thereafter rejecting the endorsements.
🗣️ Debate Time: Moderators at a candidate debate in New York’s 10th Congressional District — citing JI’s reporting last month — pressed Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou on her views on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Niou said she would oppose any legislation or resolution opposing BDS.
🗳️ In Klain Speak: White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said that Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) primary defeat to a Trump-backed challenger indicated that “the American people are going to have to fight for their democracy.”
🤭 Attacker’s Hubris: The 24-year-old man who attempted to assassinate writer Salman Rushdie last week said in a jailhouse interview that he was “surprised” by the writer’s survival and referred to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a “great person.”
✅ Adams Endorsement: New York City Mayor Eric Adams endorsed a candidate for state Senate who once referred to a state assemblyman as a “snotty Jewish politician.”
🔥 Hotel Hullabaloo: A fire at the shuttered Grossinger’s resort in the Catskill Mountains destroyed a three-story building on the vacant property.
🚴♀️ Big Bike Bucks: Annual cycling fundraiser Bike4Chai has raised over $12 million for Chai Lifeline, with more to come after Wednesday’s event.
🛫 New Exodus: One in eight Russian Jews have reportedly fled the country since it invaded Ukraine beginning in February.
⚔️ Rules of Engagement: In response to the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Biden administration called on Israel to “review its ‘rules of engagement’” when operating in the West Bank.
🇸🇾 Syria Cynicism: Syria denied responsibility for American journalist and veteran Austin Tice’s 10-year disappearance from the country, despite President Joe Biden’s recent assertion of the government’s involvement.
🇨🇳 Pressure Tactics: Chinese officials urged Israel to ignore American pressure against diplomatic relations between Beijing and Jerusalem.
🔀 Prisoner Swap: An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says the country is willing to negotiate a prisoner swap with the U.S. in exchange for the release of certain Iranian-American citizens.
Pic of the Day
A man repaints a memorial at the former dormitory that housed Israel’s 1972 Olympic team in Munich on Wednesday, days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas compared the Holocaust to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Eleven Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists 50 years ago at the Munich Games.
Dramatist, screenwriter and poet, Winnie Holzman turns 68…
Baltimore resident, Jerome Seaman… Retired teacher of Talmud at Jerusalem’s Yeshiva Torat Shraga, Rabbi Noam Gordon, Ph.D…. Former two-term mayor of San Diego and the first Jewish mayor of San Diego, Susan G. Golding turns 77… Former chair of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, John D. Goldman turns 73… Partner in Chazan-Leipzig Consulting, Cindy Chazan… Judge of the Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Court of Common Pleas, Gary S. Silow turns 71… President at Benefit Connections, Raphael Schwartz… President of the Touro College and University System, Alan H. Kadish, M.D. turns 66… Labor law attorney in the Los Angeles office of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, Stuart Douglas Tochner… Former U.S. Treasury secretary, now president of Warburg Pincus, Timothy Geithner turns 61… CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, Jules Polonetsky turns 57… Executive director of the Maccabee Task Force, David Brog turns 56… Criminal defense attorney and media personality in Las Vegas, Dayvid Figler turns 55… Award-winning comic book writer and artist for both Marvel and then DC Comics, Brian Michael Bendis turns 55… Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Jason Furman turns 52… Sarah Bronson… Conservative political talk radio host on the Sirius XM Patriot channel, Andrew Steven Wilkow turns 50… Greek Orthodox priest, he serves as a judge in Israel’s religious court system, Gabriel Naddaf turns 49… Best-selling author Nicole Krauss turns 48… Writer, actress and stand-up comedian from New York City, Jessi Ruth Klein turns 47… Washington director of the Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, Roger Zakheim… Actor, comedian, writer, producer and musician, David A. J. “Andy” Samberg turns 44… Fellow at The Jewish People Policy Institute and managing partner of theMadad website, Noah Slepkov… Editor of Moment Magazine, Sarah Breger… Founder of Dot Dot Dot, Laurie Segall turns 37… Justice Department reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Sadie Gurman… Israeli judoka who won Olympic medals at the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics, Or “Ori” Sasson turns 32…
BIRTHWEEK: Senior fellow at the Urban Institute, Mike Pergamit…