👋 Good Wednesday morning!
After months of stalled nuclear negotiations, Iranian and Western negotiators appear to be moving toward an agreement, despite pushback from Israeli officials.
Tehran appears open to dropping several of its prior negotiating positions, including that the U.S. drop the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and that the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog end an investigation into undeclared nuclear material at its sites.
The U.S. is expected to respond to Iranian comments on the latest draft proposal by Wednesday, triggering another round of negotiations to finalize a possible deal.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, are increasingly cautioning the U.S. against rejoining any nuclear agreement. Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata was in Washington yesterday to meet with his American counterpart, Jake Sullivan, and will meet with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman today. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is slated to travel to the U.S. this week for meetings with CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael Kurilla as well as Sullivan.
Democratic skeptics of the talks are mostly remaining mum. Jewish Insider contacted more than 40 congressional Democrats who have, in various forms, expressed reservations about the renewed nuclear talks or the original 2015 deal. Only two provided comment by this morning.
“It is essential that the IAEA continues to investigate Iran’s undeclared enrichment and that the IRGC remains a designated foreign terrorist organization,” Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) told JI. “This proposal, as it stands, fails to address key challenges. Under this proposal, Iran would benefit from immediate sanctions relief in return for getting back into a flawed deal that expires soon. The U.S. must demand a stronger agreement to prevent the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.”
“Iran’s corrupt leaders are habitual offenders, sponsors of terror, and a threat to U.S. national security, Israel and other our allies in the region, and stability around the world,” Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) told JI, hours before the Florida legislator’s nomination as the Democrats’ Senate candidate. “I continue to support all efforts to destroy the Iranian government’s terror networks, break up their ballistic missile program, disrupt their meddling in Latin America and gut their nuclear program.”
On the Republican side, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to President Joe Biden arguing that Congress is not being adequately briefed on the negotiations, and demanding briefings “as soon as possible.”
And in the Senate, 10 Republicans sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas questioning changes earlier this summer allowing people who have offered “insignificant” or “limited material support” to terrorist groups entry into the United States. They speculate that this could allow current and former members of the IRGC or its affiliates to enter the U.S.
empire state politics
In New York, Goldman, Nadler secure primary victories
Tuesday’s long-awaited, delayed primary brought victory to moderate Democrats in two high-profile races with the victories of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and Dan Goldman. The other New York Maloney — Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) — fell short in her bid against Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
NY-03: Democratic National Committee member Robert Zimmerman beat former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman by around 10 percentage points with 36% of the vote. Nassau County legislator Josh Lafazan, seen as the stronger challenger to Zimmerman going into the race, came in at 20%. In a potential wild card for November, progressive activist Melane D’Arrigo, who will appear on the Working Families Party line in November, picked up 16% of the vote.
NY-04: Former Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen handily won victory with more than 60% of the vote, trailed by nearly 40 points by state legislator Carrié Solages. Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett, who had been seen as Gillen’s main competition, fell more than a dozen points behind Solages.
NY-10: New York City’s Jewish delegation in Congress will double following last night’s victory by impeachment attorney Dan Goldman in the 10th Congressional District. Goldman received more than 16,000 votes — 26% — over state Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou’s 24%. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), who moved to Brooklyn after redistricting divided up his Westchester County district, finished third with 18%. Patrick Dorton, a spokesperson for the AIPAC-affiliated United Democracy Project told JI following Goldman’s win that the group had contributed $350,000 to New York Progressive, Inc., a new super PAC formed Aug. 4 that ran attack ads targeting Niou’s opposition to an affordable housing project. “We decided it was more effective to contribute to a local [Super PAC] run by political operatives with strong knowledge of the district.” Dorton said. When the attack ads first circulated, a Goldman spokesperson said the campaign “reject[s] all SuperPAC activity in this race.”
NY-11: For the third time, voters in Staten Island will choose between former Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) after Rose’s primary victory over Brittany Ramos-DeBarros. While the original map was drawn to favor Rose, the new map gives Republicans an advantage in November.
NY-12: In one of the most bruising member-on-member primaries, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) handily won his primary over Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Suraj Patel. Nadler’s decisive win over Maloney — 55% to 24% — secures his seat in the next Congress.
NY-16: Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) secured a wide margin of victory over Westchester County legislators Vedat Gashi and Catherine Parker, picking up 57 percent of the vote — outpacing Gashi and Parker’s combined total.
NY-17: With 67% of the vote, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) was declared the winner over state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who ran to the DCCC chair’s left, in the Hudson Valley District. In his victory speech, Maloney declared, “Tonight, mainstream won.”
NY-19: Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan proved recent polls wrong when he eked out a victory against Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in the special election to replace Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado in the 19th District. Ryan, who was mounting his second bid for Congress, had come in second to Delgado in a high-profile 2018 primary in the district, and will now serve out the remainder of Delgado’s House term. Both Ryan and Molinaro will be on the ballot in November — but will not be facing off against each other. Due to redistricting, Ryan is running in the newly drawn 18th District, while Molinaro will run in the new 19th District, which includes swaths of Central New York.
NY-23: Scandal-plagued far-right gadfly Carl Paladino, who called Adolf Hitler “the kind of leader we need,” was defeated by state Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy by less than 2,000 votes, a blow to House Republican leader Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who had endorsed Paladino.
Maxwell Frost cruises to victory, Webster holds on in primary fight against Loomer
There were few surprises in Florida’s primaries last night as results began to roll in shortly after polls closed. Incumbents including Reps. Daniel Webster (R-FL) and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) claimed wins against primary challengers early in the evening, and projected frontrunners largely secured their party’s nominations. Rep’ Charlie Crist’s (D-FL) victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary sets up a battle with Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.
FL-10: Gun safety activist Maxwell Frost, who has described the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as “problematic” and argues in support of unrestricted aid to Israel, is poised to become the first Gen Z member of Congress after an early and decisive victory — Frost won 35% of the vote, followed by Randolph Bracy at 25% — in the crowded Democratic primary in the Orlando-area district.
FL-11: Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) beat back a primary challenge from right-wing provocateur Laura Loomer, 51-44%. Loomer refused to concede the race, alleging voter fraud.
FL-20: Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), who defeated Dale Holness by five votes in a special election earlier this year, won a rematch against the Broward County commissioner in one of the first races called last night.
FL-23: Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who had been the frontrunner throughout the race to succeed Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), beat out former Anti-Defamation League staffer Hava Holzhauer and Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Ben Sorensen with 61% of the vote.
Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) easily beat Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Inside the efforts to build a Tree of Life memorial
Nearly four years after 11 people were killed in a mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the congregation remains shuttered. A nonprofit that is redeveloping the Tree of Life site wants to ensure that worshippers return — alongside tourists, community members, mourners and more, if a memorial-museum complex planned for the site moves forward, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports. Tree of Life, the nonprofit overseeing the project, recently enlisted a team of 10 lobbyists from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to help secure federal funding for the project.
Make or break: “It can have the effect of making or breaking where we need to be,” Michael Bernstein, chair of Tree of Life’s interim governance committee, said of the federal money. Bernstein declined to share the budget for the project, which will include a memorial, a museum focused on antisemitism and a synagogue. Last year, the state of Pennsylvania awarded $6.6 million to the nonprofit, and major local philanthropies including the Hillman Family Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation have contributed undisclosed amounts. Tree of Life intends to begin a national fundraising campaign soon, but the federal funds will contribute to major costs like security.
Federal helper: Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) told JI that he intends to advocate for Tree of Life on Capitol Hill in its search for federal resources. “Nearly four years ago in Pittsburgh, we witnessed the most deadly act of violence against the Jewish community in American history,” Casey said. “As Tree of Life works to honor those who lost their lives while rebuilding and moving forward, I will continue to stand with them against antisemitism and help connect them with federal resources.”
Survey says: The goal of Tree of Life’s Washington lobbying blitz is to do “a broad survey of what opportunities might exist on the federal appropriations front,” said one person familiar with the lobbying effort, “and also helping to identify what federal grants are accessible, and helping them navigate that process so that they can secure the funds that are necessary to break ground here in short order.”
💰 Banking on Crypto: The Wall Street Journal’s Alexander Osipovich details crypto-tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried’s efforts to single-handedly save the sinking digital industry by investing his own billions. “The chief executive of cryptocurrency exchange FTX Trading Ltd. has appointed himself the industry’s savior — and crypto investors are closely watching his moves after months of market carnage. This year, he bailed out a troubled digital-currency lender and tried to stabilize another. He acquired crypto exchanges in Canada and Japan. He appeared in magazine ads opposite supermodel Gisele Bündchen in a bid to keep mainstream investors enthusiastic about crypto despite the downturn.” [WSJ]
🗺️ Regional Relationships: In the Wall Street Journal, David Cloud and Ghassem Adnan look at Iran’s waning influence in neighboring Iraq, where it has supported Shiite factions that are increasingly at odds with each other. “The reluctance to be linked to Iran reflects a widespread weariness with Tehran, a potential threat to its strategy to limit U.S. influence in Iraq and to use its neighbor’s territory and airspace to move weapons and other supplies to Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. Protesters have shouted anti-Iran slogans. Many Iraqis blame Tehran for empowering powerful militias that fought the so-called Islamic State but are now perceived as armed wings of Shiite political factions and, to some, as enforcers of a corrupt status quo. It is those militias that make the crisis so volatile, raising the prospect that a fight so far waged mostly peacefully turns violent.” [WSJ]
🇮🇷 Tehran Trouble:The New York Times’ Bret Stephens argues against moving forward with nuclear negotiations with Iran as it continues to target Americans and dissidents abroad for assassination. “The Islamic Republic has been carrying out a campaign of assassination, kidnapping and intimidation of its critics from its earliest days. Those who argue that these efforts are merely responses by Iran for wrongs done to it — the Trump administration’s 2020 assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of the Revolutionary Guards, for instance — have cause and effect backward. Suleimani was targeted after a career spent killing others, including, according to the Pentagon, hundreds of Americans. How does all this bear on the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program? The conventional wisdom is that it doesn’t — that Iran’s record of fanaticism and murder have nothing to do with its willingness to limit its atomic ambitions in exchange for economic incentives.” [NYTimes]
Around the Web
🎓 Campus Beat: The University of Southern California announced it will implement the recommendations in a report authored by the Advisory Council on Jewish Life, which was formed in January to address concerns of the school’s Jewish community about incidents of antisemitism on campus.
🖼 Coat of Many Colors: A Jewish community in Burlington, Vt., restored a 112-year-old mural at the site of a former synagogue, after the artwork had been hidden behind a wall for decades.
👮 Searching for a Suspect: D.C. police identified a suspect in the shooting death of 25-year-old father and Camp Simcha counselor Aryeh Wolf, who was killed earlier this month while at work installing solar panels.
🤨 Conspiracy Theory: University of Denver professor Nader Hashemi claimed during an interview on Saturday that the stabbing attack on author Salman Rushdie had been influenced by an undercover Mossad agent.
💸 Rising Rates: The deputy governor of the Bank of Israel said that Israel will continue hiking interest rates until inflation is under control.
🇷🇺 Russian Reproach: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned Israel for recent missile attacks in Syria.
Pic of the Day
Archeologists in Israel found the ruins of a 1,200-year-old mansion in Rahat, a Bedouin town in the Negev Desert.
Head coach of the Duke basketball team, Jon Scheyer turns 35…
Professor at UCSD and the 1990 Nobel Prize laureate in Economics, Harry Max Markowitz turns 95… Dean of the Yeshiva Gedola of Passaic, Rabbi Meir Stern turns 87… Rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, he also teaches at Cardozo Law School, he is also the rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jehuda (The Yorkville Synagogue) in NYC, Rabbi J. David Bleich turns 86… Author, speaker, geriatric care manager and online counselor for seniors in Scottsdale, Ariz., Lois G. Tager… Co-founder and president of Infinity Broadcasting, Mel Karmazin turns 79… U.S. senator (D-WV), Joe Manchin turns 75… Celebrity furniture designer known for his eponymous furniture brand, Dakota Jackson, Inc., he was born in Rego Park, Queens, N.Y. as David Malon, Dakota Jackson turns 73… President of Harvard University, Lawrence Seldon Bacow turns 71… Rabbi of the Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire, England, Dr. Jonathan Romain turns 68… Senior counselor to the secretary of Homeland Security, Ricki Seidman turns 67… Former governor of Arkansas and twice a candidate for U.S. president, Mike Huckabee turns 67… Co-chair of the real estate practice and the infrastructure practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, he is the vice-chair of Birthright, J. Philip Rosen… Essayist and long-time staff writer for The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik turns 66… Actor, producer and director, Steve Guttenberg turns 64… President of Pace University, Marvin Krislov turns 62… Professor of otolaryngology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Jonathan E. Aviv turns 62… Member of the board of directors of the Washington DC Police Foundation, Zev Lewis turns 62… President of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, Marc Terrill…
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