👋 Good Monday morning
Eight people, including five Americans, were injured in a shooting outside of the Old City of Jerusalem on Saturday night. The suspect, a 26-year-old Palestinian man from East Jerusalem, turned himself in to police on Sunday following a manhunt.
Among those injured was a 35-year-old pregnant woman from Borough Park, Brooklyn. She underwent an emergency C-section to deliver her baby shortly after the attack – both remain in critical condition on Monday. The five American citizens were reportedly from Brooklyn, with three members of one family visiting Israel from Williamsburg.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price condemned the attack, saying that U.S. officials “remain in close contact with our Israeli partners and stand firmly with them in the face of this attack.”
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides tweeted: “Deeply saddened to confirm that Americans were injured in this attack. I’ve spoken with the families and will keep them in my prayers. Continuing to monitor the situation.” A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem added, “We are shocked and saddened by the terrorist attack on August 14 outside the Old City of Jerusalem. We strongly condemn all acts of terrorism and actions that exacerbate tensions. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims and we wish all of them a quick and full recovery.” The spokesperson said that the “Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad take seriously our responsibility to protect U.S. citizens abroad.”
In a press conference on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “The news of a Brooklyn family being injured in a terror attack in Jerusalem hits too close to home. It is a deeply disturbing and despicable act that deserves to be fully condemned and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.” Schumer added that his office had been in touch with both the State Department and Jewish community leaders.
Novelist Salman Rushdie, who has been the subject of an Iranian fatwa for three decades, is expected to survive an assassination attempt that occurred at a speaking engagement in Chautauqua, N.Y., on Friday. Rushdie was attacked by a 24-year-old Lebanese-American man who traveled from New Jersey to carry out the attack. Briefly on a ventilator after the attack, Rushdie sustained injuries to his eye, liver and arm.
Iran denied any involvement in the attack, saying the country does “not consider anyone other than [Rushdie] and his supporters worth of blame and even condemnation.”
Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Sunday condemned the “despicable” attack, warning that “Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life.”
The attack came two days after the Justice Department announced charges against an Iranian operative accused of orchestrating an assassination attempt against former National Security Advisor and U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Less than two weeks earlier, law enforcement arrested a man carrying an AK-47 outside the Brooklyn, N.Y., home of Iranian dissident and author Masih Alinejad, who was the subject of a kidnapping plot last year.
room where it happened
Liz Cheney reconnects with AIPAC in meeting with local members
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the embattled Wyoming Republican, has found herself increasingly alienated from all but a few of her traditional allies ahead of her likely defeat to a Trump-backed challenger in Tuesday’s primary. Last week, however, the 56-year-old congresswoman affirmed her relationship with AIPAC during an hourlong conversation with local members in Jackson Hole, Wyo., months after she had condemned the pro-Israel group for endorsing more than 100 GOP incumbents who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports.
Improved relations: Despite her previous criticism, the meeting suggests that Cheney is committed to preserving her long-standing ties to AIPAC, even as its political action committee delayed in issuing an endorsement of her campaign this spring, fueling speculation that the hold-up was politically motivated. “It was wonderful to meet with local AIPAC members at the Jackson Hole Jewish Community Center,” Cheney wrote in a Thursday tweet. “I will never waver in my support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and Israel’s right to defend herself.”
Mutual appreciation: A spokesperson for Cheney’s campaign declined to comment on the meeting, which was held on Monday, Aug. 8, and closed to the press. “We appreciate both the opportunity to meet with Rep. Cheney and her strong support for the U.S.-Israel relationship during her entire career in public service,” Marshall Wittmann, a spokesperson for AIPAC, told JI. He did not address Cheney’s past remarks in which she had argued that AIPAC’s “leadership is playing a dangerous game of politics,” following its first round of endorsements in March. The group endorsed Cheney — who has risen to national prominence as vice chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol — at the end of April.
Elephant in the room: But even as Cheney appears to have put her differences with AIPAC aside in meeting with members last week, the subject of her relationship with the group went unaddressed, according to two attendees. Instead, the congresswoman “spoke and responded to questions only on the topic of Israel, Israel’s U.S. policy and the Middle East,” said Mary Grossman, executive director of the Jackson Hole Jewish Community, which co-sponsors annual meetings with Wyoming’s three federal elected officials. “She has a strong personal commitment to the security of Israel and its relationship with the United States.”
Singular focus: “We don’t bring up other topics,” one attendee, who asked to remain anonymous, told JI. While Cheney fielded questions about the Abraham Accords, affirmed her commitment to defeating Hamas and expressed concern over rising incidents of antisemitism, among other things, the three-term Republican — who is defending her seat against Harriet Hageman, a trial attorney and GOP activist endorsed by former President Donald Trump — also related “that her very first trip to Israel was with her parents when she was 9 years old,” the attendee recalled. “She had not told us that before.”
man on a mission
The new face of Israel’s public relations
When reports surfaced that four children had been killed during the recent round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, Lior Haiat, the newly appointed head of Israel’s Public Diplomacy Directorate, immediately understood that such an event could not only draw sharp international criticism of Israel, it could also change the outcome of the sensitive military operation taking place, Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash reports.
Potential disaster: Effectively the country’s top public relations strategist, Haiat recalled to JI how Prime Minister Yair Lapid called in a select group of top current and former spokespeople late that Saturday night, Aug. 6 – the second day of Israel’s three-day offensive against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – and told them to “deal with it right now.” “We all understood it had the potential of being a public affairs disaster,” Haiat, 48, told JI in a recent interview. He described how his team of specialists quickly reached two key conclusions: one, that Israeli fire hadn’t killed the children, and two, the army had what it said was clear evidence showing that the tragic deaths were, in fact, caused by a misfired PIJ rocket.
Coordinated messaging: Within an hour, Haiat had mobilized the country’s various spokespeople and centralized both the government’s and the military’s messaging. From the Prime Minister’s Office to the Israel Defense Forces to Israel’s diplomats worldwide, all received instructions to release visuals and a statement expressing sympathy for the deaths, but at the same time, sharpening Israel’s position that the country was fighting an unforgiving, murderous enemy that kills its own people.
Immediate action: Whether Israel’s narrative was fully absorbed by media and leaders around the world is hard to ascertain, but one thing is certain – Haiat, a seasoned Israeli government spokesperson, succeeded in avoiding a public relations disaster similar to previous rounds of fighting in Gaza, the most recent of which took place in May 2021. “As professional PR people, we should be able to recognize any event like this as soon as it happens and deal with it immediately,” said Haiat, who also served as Israel’s consul general in Miami, 2016-2019, as well as holding an array of other diplomatic roles throughout his career. “Dealing with it means sharing the truth and putting our own information out there as soon as possible, not only to the Israeli public but to the international public as well.”
from arlozorov to adams morgan
Kosher Israeli street food comes to Washington’s Adams Morgan
Washingtonians eager for more kosher options in the nation’s capital will only have a few more weeks to wait, according to the owners of an Israeli-style falafel joint coming to the District, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports. Oh Mama Grill, which offers falafel, shawarma, schnitzel, sabich, homemade hummus and more, is set to open its second location in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. The restaurant’s first location in Rockville, Md., opened five years ago.
Casual kosher: The only other kosher meat restaurant in Washington is Char Bar, which is more upscale, while Oh Mama Grill offers street food. “People are excited. There is not a lot of… I mean, there is a kosher place, but it is more fancy,” Israeli-born owner Riki Alkoby told JI. “Ours is more casual.” At Oh Mama Grill’s Rockville location, pita and laffa sandwiches range from $11 to $14, with combo plates ranging from $16 to $24.
Waiting for mashgiach: Alkoby said Oh Mama Grill should be open for business soon, pending approval of the local rabbinic council. “I think that we will be ready to go in about two weeks, but we’re waiting for the [Greater Washington] Vaad to find a mashgiach,” Alkoby said, referring to the religious figure who supervises food preparation to make sure it is kosher.
⛔ Hasta la Visa: In the Wall Street Journal, former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Mark Wallace, respectively the 2000 Democratic vice presidential candidate and a former U.S. ambassador, argue that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi should not be issued a visa to attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York next month. “Regime apologists will claim that Washington is obligated to issue visas to heads of government who are invited to speak at the U.N. But Mr. Raisi’s attempts to assassinate Americans on U.S. soil render such obligations void. Mr. Biden’s duty, first and foremost, is to protect the American people. Congress has acknowledged this duty, granting the president authority to deny a visa to anyone for ‘security, terrorism, and foreign policy’ reasons. Mr. Raisi is unlike any Iranian president to seek to visit Manhattan since Ali Khamenei became supreme leader in 1989. Mohammad Khatami and Hassan Rouhani were smiling frontmen for a brutal regime trying to deceive the international community. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a propagandist for the regime. But Mr. Raisi is a hangman who oversaw the star-chamber trials and executions of several thousand political opponents of the regime.” [WSJ]
🇮🇷 Iran Impasse: In The New York Times, Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, suggests that efforts to bring Iran out of isolation are futile and discount the theory that Iran has no interest in aligning with Western nations. “Multiple U.S. administrations have attempted to coerce or persuade Iran to reconsider its revolutionary ethos, but have failed. The reason is simple: U.S.-Iran normalization could prove deeply destabilizing to a theocratic government whose organizing principle has been premised on fighting American imperialism. Herein lies the conundrum. By and large, the United States has sought to engage a regime that clearly doesn’t want to be engaged, and isolate a ruling regime that thrives in isolation. Yet over time, the Iranian regime has shown it’s too influential to ignore, too dogmatic to reform, too brutal to overthrow, and too large to fully contain.” [NYTimes]
🗳️ Hispanic Vote: The Liberal Patriot’s Ruy Teixeira explores why shifting demographics — including an increase in the country’s Hispanic population — don’t necessarily bolster Democratic efforts to pick up voters. “It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Democrats’ emphasis on social and democracy issues, while catnip to some socially liberal, educated voters, leaves many Hispanic voters cold. Their concerns are more mundane and economically-driven. This is despite the fact that many of these voters are in favor of moderate abortion rights and gun control and disapprove of the January 6th events. But these issues are just not salient for them in the way they are for the Democrats’ educated and most fervent supporters.” [LiberalPatriot]
🚀 Rocket Power: In Haaretz, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz and Behnam Ben Taleblu consider why Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s recent rocket attacks on Israel fell short of inflicting significant damage. “However, at present, most of Islamic Jihad’s arsenal remains rudimentary. Israeli and Egyptian interdiction has hampered the terrorist group’s efforts to smuggle factory grade munitions into Gaza through the Sinai and Sudan. This has required its cadres to resort to improvised and Gaza-based production, consulting Iranian-supplied manufacturing blueprints, with water pipes repurposed as rocket casings and fertilizer-mix explosives filling the warheads. As a precaution against Israeli counterstrikes, Islamic Jihad has positioned some of the rockets in small underground silos for future remote activation, though changing weather and soil erosion can impair their aim.” [Haaretz]
Around the Web
☑️ Gray Lady Green Light: The New York Times editorial board endorsed Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Democrat Dan Goldman in their respective New York congressional primaries.
💸 Campaign Cash: The Los Angeles Times looks at FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s political spending, which has expanded beyond climate issues, the first issue around which the crypto billionaire made campaign donations.
🗣️ Hate Speech: The judge who signed off on the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago has faced a deluge of antisemitic threats, including some targeting his synagogue.
👮 Random Act of Violence: Police continue to search for a motive in the shooting death in Washington, D.C., of a 25-year-old Jewish man from Baltimore.
👋 So Long, Farewell: Jeffrey Toobin announced he will leave CNN, where he has been a legal analyst since 2002.
📰 Unfit to Print: The New York Timessevered ties with a Palestinian freelancer and fixer whose social media posts referred to Jews as “sons of dogs” and said he was “in favor of killing them and burning them like Hitler did.”
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: Rishi Sunak, the former U.K. chancellor of the Exchequer who is vying to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson, called for the sanctioning of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps over the attempted assassination of author Salman Rushdie.
🇧🇴 Tin Baron Revelation: The Guardian spotlights the efforts of German tin baron Moritz Hochshild to quietly resettle as many as 22,000 European Jews in Bolivia before and during the Holocaust.
🎉 Party Planning: Former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot will run in the next Israeli elections in a new party with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar.
💻 Blame Game: A senior U.N. official based in East Jerusalem was reassigned after posting a since-deleted tweet accusing Palestinian Islamic Jihad of “indiscriminate fire” and “provoking Israeli retaliation.”
⚖️ Sentence Reversed: The prison sentence of an American lawyer imprisoned in the UAE was overturned by an Emirati court, but the convictions, on tax evasion and money laundering, remain in place.
🎨 Cultural Crossover: A new art exhibit in Tehran showcases American and European works from the 19th and 20th centuries.
🤝 Trade Pacts: Iran’s foreign minister called for the swift implementation of a number of agreements signed earlier this year between Tehran and Doha, during a meeting with Qatar’s assistant foreign minister for regional affairs.
🎯 On Target: Israel struck three Iranian sites in Syria on Sunday that were close to Russia’s main bases near the country’s coast.
🛢️ Gas Field Fracas: Tensions between Israel and Lebanon over a disputed maritime gas field continue to rise in the weeks before Israel is expected to begin pulling gas from the site’s first rig.
🗺️ Road Less Traveled:The Circuitspotlights the 2,800-mile road trip being undertaken by Jewish-American Dubai resident Bruce Gurfein, who is driving from the UAE to Israel and back.
🫂 People-to-People: Despite no official Israeli-Indonesian relations, a group of businesspeople and entrepreneurs from the two countries met in Jakarta to network and collaborate.
🕯️ Remembering: Israeli singer-songwriter Svika Pick, the father-in-law of Quentin Tarantino, died at 72. Holocaust survivor Zofia Posmysz, who spent a combined three years in Auschwitz and Ravensbrück for her work with the Polish Resistance, died at 98.
Pic of the Day
Israeli Nimrod Marcus competes in the Men’s Sport Climbing Lead semifinal at the European Championships Munich on Sunday in Germany.
Emmy Award-winning actress, she played Grace Adler on the NBC sitcom “Will & Grace,” Debra Messing turns 54…
Founder of Slim-Fast which he sold to Unilever in 2000, S. Daniel Abraham turns 98… Philadelphia resident, Irvin Farber… Recently retired associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Stephen Breyer turns 84… Former CFO of The Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg turns 75… Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Limmud FSU, Chaim Chesler turns 73… Economist, CPA, investment advisor and founding member of wealth advisor RVW Investing LLC, Selwyn Gerber… Artist and avid mountain biker, William Crary “Bill” Weidman… Former co-rabbi of Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs, Georgia, Rabbi Mario Karpuj… VP of the Northeastern region for the Birthright Israel Foundation, Margot Atlas Ettlinger… Co-CEO and chairman of the entertainment production company Propagate, Benjamin Noah Silverman turns 52… Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019 (D-VA), Elaine Goodman Luria turns 47… Israeli attorney, he has appeared in the Israeli versions of “The Amazing Race” and “Dancing with the Stars,” Raz Meirman turns 45… National college football reporter for ESPN, Adam Rittenberg turns 41… Student at the Simmons School of Social Work, Rachel Spekman… Executive director of New York’s Transit Innovation Partnership, Rachel Sterne Haot… Member of the Alaska House of Representatives, Grier Hayden Hopkins turns 39… VP of communications for Lemonade insurance, Yael Wissner-Levy… Co-founder of Irenic Capital Management, Adam Jason Katz… Product designer at Stripe, Talia Siegel… VP of technology policy at Retail Industry Leaders Association, Justin Goldberger… Director of product management at Publicis Sapient and founder at Ezra Venture Group, Ezra Mosseri… Real estate and business law attorney in the Baltimore law firm of Rosen Neuberger Lehmann, Meir Neuberger… Joe Farry… David Summer… Israel Policy Forum board member, David Sherman…