👋 Good Tuesday morning!
As the U.S., E.U. and Iran inch closer to inking a new nuclear agreement, Israeli and U.S. officials are keeping plans for Mossad chief David Barnea’s upcoming trip to Washington — scheduled for next week — under wraps. We can confirm that Barnea’s primary meeting will be with CIA Director Bill Burns.
Reuters reported Monday that a newly installed cluster of advanced centrifuges has begun enriching uranium at the Natanz nuclear site in Iran, even as the U.S. waits for an Iranian response on American comments about the nuclear negotiations.
“We’re certainly not going to negotiate in public,” State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said at a press conference when asked if the U.S. is concerned about this development. “What I will reiterate, and what others from the department have said, is that a mutual return to full implementation is in America’s national interest.”
Biden administration officials confirmed that Iran sent a shipment of military drones to Russia, part of an agreement Tehran said was inked prior to Moscow’s February invasion of Ukraine. Some of the drones, however, experienced technical difficulties, frustrating Russian officials.
rocky mountain matchup
Will Colorado’s Joe O’Dea help Republicans reclaim the Senate?
With Senate Republicans suffering from, in the words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), “candidate quality” issues in several key battleground states that had once been seen as likely to flip red, Republicans have honed in on Joe O’Dea, once viewed as a long shot candidate against two-term Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), as giving them an opportunity for victory in Colorado, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Breaking the mold: In breaking with a number of first-time GOP Senate candidates this cycle, O’Dea, 60, is a self-described “moderate” who supports allowing abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy and opposes the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, accepts the 2020 presidential election results and has said he does not want former President Donald Trump to seek a second White House term in 2024.
Joining the field: “My wife and I have been blessed, we’ve really been able to live the American dream here in Colorado,” O’Dea, a businessman and political novice, told JI on Monday. “I’ve been watching our country and I really don’t like the direction that it’s headed. They’re taking away our freedoms, the policies in place have promoted record inflation, record price on gas, record crime. I just think we can do better.”
Cutting both ways: Despite his criticisms of the former president, O’Dea described the recent FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago as a “political stunt” that is “undermining” Americans’ faith in the federal bureaucracy. “The American people really want to know what’s going on,” O’Dea said. “If it was something wrong, he should be held accountable. If it’s just another political stunt by the Biden administration, which is what it looks like, that should come out as well.”
Dealmaking: O’Dea described Israel as a “great ally,” explaining that the country’s “security is dependent on us, and our security is dependent on them to some extent.” O’Dea supports a two-state solution, and said the U.S. needs to “encourage the dialogue” between Israel and the Palestinians, but opposes sending U.S. aid to the Palestinians. “My business career has demonstrated [the importance of dialogue] throughout it. Here I am running a construction company that deals with mostly municipalities. And so in order to get a good project, to get a good outcome, you need both parties at the table and you need to negotiate a tough deal,” he explained.
Bonus: The New York Times described O’Dea this morning as “a welcome relief for Senate Republicans,” noting his chances of flipping the seat red.
race to watch
Yuh-Line Niou adds Israel policy to website, mulls possible third-party run
Yuh-Line Niou, the runner-up in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary for an open House seat representing Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, drew intense scrutiny as the only candidate in a crowded field to express support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports. Her endorsement of BDS last month, in a statement to JI, is almost certain to face renewed attention if she runs on the Working Families Party line in the November election — a possibility that Niou, a progressive state assemblymember, has yet to rule out.
Third-party prospect: Niou was endorsed by the Working Families Party and is now weighing a third-party challenge in New York’s redrawn 10th Congressional District, after losing the Democratic nomination to Dan Goldman, a former Trump impeachment prosecutor who narrowly prevailed by a margin of two points, with 95 percent of the vote reported. The Associated Press has called the race for Goldman, but Niou has not conceded, insisting, “We must count every vote.” Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), who lost his bid for another term, was removed from the Working Families Party ballot on Monday, opening up a possible avenue for Niou.
Site specific: While Niou had explicitly backed the BDS movement in an email to JI, however, she has since vacillated in her approach. Earlier this month, for instance, Niou’s campaign site quietly added a section on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its issues page, according to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which recorded the change. “While Yuh-Line has not personally participated in the BDS movement, she supports the free speech rights of BDS activists,” the site reads. “Yuh-Line believes that protest rights are fundamental to a free society, and we must never enact laws that punish the free exercise of those rights. At the same time, Yuh-Line does not agree with all of the BDS movement’s demands nor does she embrace all of its tactics.”
Political position: Meanwhile, Niou makes no mention of BDS in an Israel policy paper drafted for her House campaign and recently obtained by JI. The paper touches in brief detail on such issues as a two-state solution, Israeli settlement expansion and legislation introduced last year by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) that would place restrictions on U.S. military aid to Israel. “Israelis, like all people, deserve to live in safety and security, and I support genuine efforts to ensure that this is the case, including defensive military aid,” Niou writes. “Our tax dollars should always have transparency for how they are used. They should never be used for harm or violations against human rights.” That passage, like several in the paper, matches almost word-for-word with comments Niou gave during a phone interview with JI in early July.
How the Orthodox Union is keeping kosher baby formula coming during the formula shortage
Among the Americans hit hard by the ongoing baby formula shortage is the Orthodox Jewish community, which has over double the average U.S. birth rate and only uses kosher-certified formulas (deemed to be in accordance with Jewish dietary law) – meaning, more mouths to feed with fewer choices of formula. So the Orthodox Union is operating an emergency team of rabbis to quickly certify overseas factories and get kosher formula to the U.S., reports Lev Gringauz for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Big fish: The OU is working with Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson Nutrition, two of the largest manufacturers of baby formula in the world, to kosher-certify production. “This is really to the credit of these companies,” Rabbi Moshe Elefant, CEO and chief rabbinic coordinator of OU Kosher, said. “They are strongly working on getting product into the country, but they’re very much sensitive to the kosher community to make sure that the product is kosher certified, recognizing the needs of our community.”
Speedy process: Kosher certification takes about two to three weeks, with rabbis checking both the ingredients of the formula, and what other ingredients are handled by factory equipment to avoid contamination with non-kosher material. Elefant likens the attention to detail to cooking a kosher chicken. “You could go to the store and buy a kosher chicken, and the kosher chicken is perfectly kosher,” he said. “But if you take it home to a home that’s not kosher, and that chicken is cooked in a non-kosher pot, you can’t eat that chicken, because it now became non-kosher. Same thing goes for [baby formula production equipment].”
End in sight?: “What will happen when the domestic production gets back up to snuff, and they’re able to produce enough?” Elefant said. “Will [companies] still be anxious to bring their product in? I don’t know. I really can’t answer.” The OU will likely find out soon, as Abbott’s Sturgis, Mich., factory is restarting operations to produce baby formula, though it will take another six weeks for the product to hit shelves. “If that facility opens up, and that facility is an OU-certified facility…that will alleviate the shortage, I would say very quickly,” Elefant said.
🚓 Crime and (No) Punishment: Tablet’s Armin Rosen looks at New York City’s rate of prosecution of crimes targeting the Jewish community. “When irreconcilable visions of equity are in conflict — when it’s a stark choice between punishing a criminal and protecting a targeted group, for instance — a bizarre inertia prevails. Homeless encampments will be made permanent with the help of well-meaning aid groups and public service agencies, as in Los Angeles and San Francisco; public drug use will be turned into a supposedly manageable feature of city life even as living conditions plummet, as in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. Focusing all of society’s attention on the scourge of bigotry, only to refrain from prosecuting a spiking number of hate crimes, is the inevitable default position when no one tries to reconcile the gaps between people’s everyday needs and ascendent notions of fairness.” [Tablet]
🗳️ Good as Gold(man): On Substack, Ross Barkan argues that New York state Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, who is considering a challenge to NY-10 Democratic nominee Dan Goldman from his left, may rally some progressive voters but would not receive the groundswell of support necessary to beat Goldman in November. “No congressional campaign can argue, with any seriousness, it has built a large movement, the kind that inspires intense interest or devotion on the level of Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter. The Niou campaign, which won 15,380 votes to Goldman’s 16,686, is certainly nowhere close. She ran a strong race. That does not mean she can now, with the help of WFP [Working Families Party] and NYPAN [New York Progressive Action Network] and all the rest of the alphabet left, work miracles in the fall. Goldman, once he is certified the victor of the Democratic primary, will have the endorsements of most of the city’s House delegation, large labor unions, and Chuck Schumer. Nancy Pelosi and Kathy Hochul, the New York governor, have already endorsed him. He is going to raise many more millions of dollars. There is no path to beating him.” [Substack]
☢️ Keeping Watch: In Foreign Policy, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Andrea Stricker and Anthony Ruggiero urge the International Atomic Energy Agency and its head, Rafael Grossi, against closing its investigation into Iran’s undeclared nuclear sites. “Iran demands the permanent closure of the IAEA’s four-year-old investigation before a new deal can unfold, aiming to keep its nuclear weapons work hidden from the prying eyes of inspectors. The IAEA has already given in once: In 2015, the so-called P5+1 group of countries — the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China — joined the rest of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors in a unanimous vote to close the agency’s inquiry into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA, led by then-Director-General Yukiya Amano, took this step despite Tehran’s untruthful answers to the agency’s questions. Thankfully, Grossi has refused to bow to political pressure and repeat his predecessor’s mistake. Now, he must prepare for a potential showdown not just with Iran, but also with the rest of the IAEA’s member countries, including those negotiating the new nuclear deal.” [FP]
Around the Web
🎾 Causing a Racket: Sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer and former President Bill Clinton sent the internet into a tizzy after the official U.S. Open Twitter account tweeted a photo of the two at last night’s match featuring Serena Williams.
👩 Funny Girl: In a New Yorker interview, comic Amy Schumer describes the antisemitism she faced as a child, recalling classmates dubbing her “Amy Jewmer.”
⚖️ Legal Action: Yeshiva University asked the Supreme Court to block an order from a New York appeals court requiring the school to recognize an LGBTQ student group.
🎓 Campus Beat: Jewish community leaders in Colorado are calling for the University of Denver to take action against a professor who suggested that Mossad agents had recruited the man who attempted to assassinate writer Salman Rushdie.
⛰️ Mountain of Trouble: A resident of western Oregon filed paperwork to change the name of Swastika Mountain, a remote peak in the state.
👮 Murder Motive: A Jewish man in France was killed by his Muslim roommate, who turned himself into police, saying the attack was motivated by a debt and because the victim was Jewish.
🎯 Strategic Strikes: The U.K.’s special envoy for Syria reportedly told Israeli officials that Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in the embattled country are “probably the only thing that works in Syria.”
🕯️ Remembering: Attorney David Povich, who rose to partner at Williams & Connolly, died at 87.
Pic of the Day
In Basel, Switzerland, for the Zionist Congress, Israeli President Isaac Herzog reenacts the photo of Theodor Herzl taken in the city in 1901.
Corporate communications strategist, investor and author of best-selling First Friends: The Powerful, Unsung (and Unelected) People Who Shaped our Presidents, Gary L. Ginsberg turns 60…
Author and genealogist, she served on the board of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Judith R. Frazin turns 80… Basketball star in both the U.S. and Israel, a first-round pick of the Baltimore Bullets in the 1965 NBA draft, Tal Brody turns 79… Israeli actress known for her role as Chaja Dresner in “Schindler’s List,” Miri Fabian turns 79… Israeli activist and a former mayor of Kedumim, Daniella Weiss turns 77… Stand-up comedian, Lewis Niles Black turns 74… Author of the novel Dead Poets Society, Nancy H. Kleinbaum turns 74… Hasidic Rebbe of Zvhil-Mezhbizh, based in Boston, Miami and Jerusalem, Rabbi Yitzhak Aharon Ira Korff turns 73… Producer for “CBS News,” Murray Weiss… Israeli vocalist who sings in Hebrew, Turkish and Spanish, he was a judge in the inaugural season of “The Voice Israel” on Israeli television, Shlomi Shabat turns 68… Actor, comedian and television director, David Paymer turns 68… Rosh yeshivah at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa and the rabbi of Kibbutz Lavi, he served as a member of the Knesset for the Meimad party, Rabbi Yehuda Gilad turns 67… Co-founder of Maoz, a civil society leadership network in Israel, Deborah Cogen Swartz… U.S. senator (R-NC), Thom Tillis turns 62… Business manager of the Perth Amboy (N.J.) Free Public Library, Herschel Chomsky… Partner at N.J.-based law firm, Rubenstein, Marucci & Shinrod, Richard B. Rubenstein… Member of the U.K.’s House of Lords, former executive editor of The Times of London where he remains a weekly political columnist, Baron Daniel Finkelstein turns 60… Associate producer at Fox News Channel, Eldad Yaron… Israeli television presenter, actor and singer, Tal Mosseri turns 47… Director of search and analytics for Politico, Mitchell Schuler… Politician who founded the anti-Trump resistance movement Daily Action, Laura Moser turns 45… Principal at Neuberger, Quinn, Gielen, Rubin & Gibber, Simon Marciano… Political fundraiser in Massachusetts, Julia Hoffman… Actor, following in the footsteps of his father Dustin Hoffman, Max Hoffman… Member of the New York City Council from Brooklyn, Inna Vernikov turns 38… Senior manager of policy and public affairs at Favor, Margy Levinson… Project manager at Shalom Bayit Construction in Beverly Hills, Mati Geula Cohen…