👋 Good Thursday morning!
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan arrived in Israel yesterday for an official visit to coincide with the second anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid is set to meet bin Zayed today at his office for a private meeting, after which the two are scheduled to deliver statements.
A source close to the Prime Minister’s Office noted to Jewish Insider that Lapid and bin Zayed are close friends, having worked together as counterparts before Lapid became prime minister, and “got along very well.”
“It was largely thanks to their close connection that the Negev Forum was born,” the source said, in reference to the group of foreign ministers from Israel, the U.S., Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain who first gathered in March and seek to hold regular meetings to advance regional prosperity and security. The source also pointed to Lapid and bin Zayed’s participation in the i2U2 summit in July, alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden.
“It’s all happened in such a short time and largely in connection to their vision — they both are trying to fuel the normalization in a practical way and that is what they will be discussing today,” the source said, adding that the two will discuss pushing ties forward and cooperating in the fields of economy, business, water, health and security. The source expects today’s meeting to be a successful one, driven by the “strong connection” between the two leaders.
Upon his arrival in Jerusalem, bin Zayed was personally received by President Isaac Herzog and the first lady. He then signed the guestbook and met with Herzog in his bureau, where he presented Herzog with a letter from the president of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Herzog hosted bin Zayed at an official luncheon earlier today. “We welcome you here with open arms and open hearts. We welcome you to our home as dreamers watch a dream come true. Kindly extend our warmest wishes and salutations to your great leader, your president and brother, and our brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the leader of your country,” Herzog said in remarks.
Bin Zayed, who will also attend a dinner reception at the Ritz Carlton in Herzliya, is traveling with a high-level UAE delegation including Reem Bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, UAE minister of state for international cooperation; Noura bint Mohamed Al Kaabi, UAE minister of culture and youth; and Mohamed Al Khaja, UAE ambassador to Israel.
‘Tangible results’ needed to demonstrate Abraham Accords ‘peace dividend’ to other nations: State Dept. official
Two years after former President Donald Trump signed the Abraham Accords with the leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a top Biden administration foreign policy official pledged to continue to promote and build on the normalization agreements. “I can attest to the fact that it remains a priority, of working on this every single day,” a senior State Department official told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch on Wednesday. The official requested anonymity to speak freely. “We feel very strongly that we need to deliver tangible results. It’s very important that, basically, the peace dividend is demonstrated.” The official pointed to growing trade, tourism and defense ties as examples of those results.
Counter-narratives: Since President Joe Biden took office last year, no additional Muslim-majority nations have joined the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan in normalizing ties with Israel. On Biden’s trip to the Middle East in July, he announced that Saudi Arabia had agreed to open its airspace to all civilian carriers, including flights to and from Israel. Earlier this week, Jared Kushner, a leading architect of the Abraham Accords, claimed the Biden administration has avoided growing the Accords because of animosity toward Trump — “Trump derangement syndrome,” he called it — a narrative that the State Department official asserted was “incorrect.”
From day one: “This administration has been a strong supporter of the Abraham Accords from day one,” the official said. “Our focus has been on the substance of efforts to expand peace and normalization agreements between Israel and Arab and Muslim-majority countries, and we’re going to continue to work on that. I can tell you personally, I’m working very, very hard on that with the full backing of the secretary of state and the president.”
Meeting set: The official said that six working groups created in the wake of the Negev Forum — the March meeting hosted by Secretary of State Tony Blinken with foreign ministers from Israel, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain — will meet for the first time this fall to try to expand a multilateral framework between Israel and the Arab nations with which it has relations, rather than just separate bilateral ties with each country.
Improving lives: Washington is hopeful that the working groups will create projects designed to benefit Palestinians, too. “They need to find ways to tangibly improve Palestinian lives, and they need to do Palestinian-focused initiatives,” the official said. This would be good for the Palestinians, the official said, but it could also show skeptical Muslim nations that they do not need to choose between supporting the Palestinians and having a relationship with Israel.
Bonus: The Reut Group, an Israeli think tank, convened 60 Muslim and Jewish leaders from around the U.S. in Washington yesterday to consider how the two communities can fight hate and build stronger relationships in light of changes brought about in the Middle East by the Abraham Accords. “The summit suggested that the Abraham Accords may provide a surprising opportunity to address social polarization and illiberalism in America,” said Barak Sella, Reut’s deputy CEO.
‘Maybe they should just name Israel after you, Donald,’ Putin told Trump in June 2019 meeting
During a private meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan three years ago, then-President Donald Trump was apparently so eager to impress Vladimir Putin that he unwittingly set himself up for a stinging retort from the Russian president, according to a forthcoming book on Trump’s presidency obtained by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel.
Tough room: Following a tense exchange in which Putin had bragged of acquiring “hypersonic missiles” before the U.S., Trump countered with a self-centered boast, suggesting his popularity outside the U.S. was so strong that Poland was planning a military base in his name. Israel, he gloated, had also just announced a new settlement, “Trump Heights,” in appreciation of his administration’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Putin was unfazed. “Maybe they should just name Israel after you, Donald,” he said.
Baker and Glasser: The cutting exchange is one of several previously unreported details from The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017-2021, a vivid account of the former president’s norm-shattering tenure written by the husband-and-wife reporting team of Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, and Susan Glasser, a staff writer for The New Yorker. The book is published by Doubleday and will come out on Sept. 20.
Bonus: Glasser and Baker write that Ronald Lauder, who had known the president since the two were students at the University of Pennsylvania, was behind Trump’s idea to purchase Greenland from Denmark.
scene last night
Israeli ambassador hosts Rosh Hashanah reception
On Wednesday evening, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog and Shirin Herzog hosted a who’s who crowd of Jewish leaders and Washington officials at the Israeli Embassy’s annual Rosh Hashanah reception. The reception, held at the Herzogs’ new residence overlooking the Potomac River, featured remarks from Ambassador Herzog, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and Kesher Israel’s Rabbi Hyim Shafner. Emhoff thanked Shirin Herzog for the hospitality and quipped how the two had compared notes on what it’s like “to be spouse (laughter), and also a high-powered attorney.”
Three amigos: “As I got out on the trail, and I was campaigning,” Emhoff recalled of the 2020 presidential campaign, “I did a lot of work on the Biden-Harris campaign with a guy named Tony and a guy named Ron. And one guy became secretary of state, one guy became chief of staff, one guy became second gentleman. We were kind of doing all the Jewish events together. And I started to get out there, meeting everybody. And then when we took office, they were really busy. So a lot of this stuff kind of fell on me… outreach into the community. I got to meet a lot of you, I got to speak openly.”
Emhoff on the first virtual White House Seder: “We decided with the vice president, we’re going to do a virtual Seder, and beam it to the entire world, and we have no idea what’s going to happen. But I’ve decided I’m going to live the same way before: openly Jewish in this role. And so the Seder: massive hit. Again, this is not partisan… So my father’s friends in the desert in California, in their 80s, who probably didn’t vote for us, came up to me, shaking my hand, often crying, tears in their eyes, saying, ‘I never thought I’d see the day. I didn’t know how much this would affect me and impact me to see a Jew in this role, and being so open about it.’”
Herzog addressed the crowd about challenges facing Israel: “We have to think, first and foremost, about safeguarding our future, a good future for our kids. So, antisemitism is on the rise in this country and across the globe. It rears its ugly head. And this is less than a century after the Holocaust. Who would have believed [it]? And we all have to unite to fight back against antisemitism… In our part of the world, there are dark forces who deny the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, first and foremost, Iran, with its nuclear ambitions and regional ambitions, threatening the State of Israel to wipe us off the map. And facing this threat, we have to be not only just, but we have to be strong, determined and united.”
Spotted: Attendees included Attorney General Merrick Garland, Lynn Garland, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC), Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Antisemitism envoy Amb. Deborah Lipstadt, State’s Barbara Leaf, NSC’s Anne Neuberger, White House Jewish Liaison Shelley Greenspan, State’s Yael Lempert, State Department spokesperson Ned Price, the White House’s Cynthia Bernstein, State Department’s Aaron Keyak, Israeli Antisemitism Envoy Noa Tishby, Sawsan Natur-Hasson, former Ambassador David Friedman, former Rep. Jane Harman, former Ambassador Sallai Meridor, Norm Brownstein, Steven Demby, Howard Kohr, William Daroff, Nathan Diament, Dianne Lob, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Nechama Shemtov, Rivka Kidron, Julia Schulman, Jonathan Schulman, Ann Lewis, Lisa Eisen, David Makovsky, Michael Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Rob Satloff, Halie Soifer, Marvin Feuer, Eric Gertler, Ken Weinstein, Elliott Abrams, Steve Rabinowitz, Sara Winkelman, Susie Gelman, Michael Gelman, Sarah Stern, Leonard Attman, Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, Lior Weintraub, Hadar Susskind, Ellie Cohanim and Nathan Guttman.
WHITE HOUSE PREVIEW
What to expect at today’s White House extremism summit
The White House is hosting the United We Stand Summit today, an event aimed at countering domestic extremism and hate. The event is set to include speeches from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, new policy moves to counter and respond to hate violence and remarks from various local and religious leaders. Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod caught up with Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt earlier this week to talk about the summit, which ADL has been calling for since the Buffalo, N.Y., mass shooting earlier this year.
Quotable: “Using the White House platform this way, with such high-level people, I think is really significant,” Greenblatt said. “I also suspect that the administration is going to start shining a light on these issues, connecting the communities who are most impacted. I believe the White House is going to announce an ongoing effort to continue to push on this beyond one day. So it won’t be sort of one and done, but rather a long-term commitment.” Greenblatt said he’s hoping to hear officials commit to continuing to expand the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, increasing enforcement of protections for Jewish students on college campuses and continuing to crack down on extremism in the military.
In the program: Planned speakers include Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Rabbis Charlie Cytron-Walker, David Saperstein and Rachel Schmelkin and Joseph Borgen, who was the subject of an alleged antisemitic attack last year.
On the sidelines: As a sidebar to the conference, ADL is also set to announce today the renewal of its bipartisan Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate and Extremism, in collaboration with the United States Conference of Mayors, with 148 mayors signing on.
Abraham Accords Caucus marks second anniversary of agreements with Israel trip announcement
House members of the Abraham Accords Caucus announced plans for a trip to the Abraham Accords countries early next year during an event for civil society leaders from Abraham Accords member nations on Wednesday to mark the agreements’ second anniversary, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Historic effort: “We want to bring members of Congress to see for themselves on the ground the fruits of what is a historic agreement, these Abraham Accords,” Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) told reporters. “So to be able to go to Israel to go to Bahrain, to UAE, to Morocco, meet people who are benefiting from these Accords, talk to those who are realizing those benefits… I think that’s something that would be good for all of my colleagues to experience.” Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) said the group is aiming to schedule the trip for February 2023.
Coming to the table: Schneider and Wagner, as well as Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), David Trone (D-MD), Lisa McClain (R-MI), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY) hosted representatives of Israel-Is, the Mimouna Association, il’Heure Joyeuse, UAE Youth Council, the King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence and the American Jewish Committee, as well as a Fulbright Fellow from Bahrain for a roundtable discussion about the first two years of the Accords at the Capitol on Thursday.
Bonus: Following a classified briefing on Wednesday morning on the Iran nuclear talks, Schneider — who opposed the original Iran deal — told JI that he’s “always had concerns” about the deal but, “I believe that this administration shares the view that Iran can never have a nuclear weapon. And we’re looking for ways to advance our interests and our position to make sure they are never able to acquire that weapon.” He said that, despite apparent Iranian intransigence, he does not think the U.S. should abandon talks. “If we can find a path at the negotiating table to move them away from the threshold and hopefully close down their pathways to a weapon, we should never close that door,” he explained.
🗳️ End of the Line: New York magazine’s Nia Prater examines why New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou ended her bid to represent New York’s 10th Congressional District, rather than mount a third-party run, after primary election results were called in favor of opponent Dan Goldman. “For her supporters, the conditions were right for an independent-party run. It’s a safe Democratic district with no chance of a Republican being able to pull out a win. Critics made the case that challenging a Democrat nominee would waste resources that the party needs to use on other races in New York to maintain its thin House majority. ‘It was a decision made together. It was a lot of endless conversations about what to do, how it would look, and what it would take,’ Niou says of her discussions with the WFP [Working Families Party]. ‘What we didn’t want it to take was to take away from some of the larger fights across the nation,’ she says.” [NYMag]
👵 Survivor Speaks: In a guest essay for The New York Times, Michael Frank describes the emotional journey it took for Holocaust survivor Stella Levi — whom Frank profiled in a separate Timespiece — to feel comfortable telling her story. “What does it mean for the survivor to offer her story, when the fact of her survival classifies hers as a minority voice, the one that can narrate past, way past, the point where the voices of her parents, her uncles and aunts, her neighbors and friends were silenced? (This one bothered Stella a great deal.) Who was she to speak for, and about, this community and how it was extinguished?” [NYTimes]
⚖️ Crime Stoppers: The Washington Post’s David Nakamura looks at the Justice Department’s stepped-up — though still rare — efforts to prosecute hate crimes on a federal level. “Experts said the Justice Department appears to be shedding its historic reluctance to press hate-crime complaints in cases where local authorities already have filed charges. In February, the department won convictions in the cases of three White Georgia men, who already were sentenced to life in state prison for killing Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, in 2020. ‘I think they’re trying to make a point that regardless of whether there’s a local prosecution or not, there’s a legitimate federal interest,’ said Marc Stern, the chief legal officer at the American Jewish Committee. ‘To the world at large, federal government intervention lends a measure of seriousness.’” [WashPost]
Around the Web
✍️ Exclusive: Citing a recent report showing that antisemitic hate crimes in New York City have gone almost entirely unprosecuted, Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) will ask the Department of Justice to “consider investigating New York’s systematic failure to police and prosecute hate crimes and to issue recommendations for reform” in a letter set to be sent on Friday.
📜 Oversight: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved an amendment by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to the 2022 State Department Authorization Act that would require the State Department to provide to Congress a full copy of the U.S.’s investigation report into the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
🔋 Bipartisan Bill: Reps. Michelle Steel (R-CA) and Susie Lee (D-NV) are set to introduce a companion bill today to Senate legislation making the 1996 U.S. sanctions on Iran’s energy industry permanent.
💸 Cairo Cash: A group of U.S. representatives sent a letter of concern to Secretary of State Tony Blinken regarding the State Department’s decision to send military aid to Egypt.
💰 Hack Job: A trio of Iranian hackers was charged by the U.S. for allegedly attempting to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from domestic and international organizations over the past two years.
📚 Rushdie Repercussions: The Biden administration is reportedly considering imposing sanctions on entities that have encouraged attacks against Salman Rushie, following an attempted assassination of the author last month at an event in Western New York.
🎓 Case Law: The Supreme Court voted 5-4 against blocking a lower court order that forced Yeshiva University to allow an LGBTQ club on campus, but left the door open for the school to potentially return to the high court once a New York court issues a final decision on the case.
🚫 Bad Review: Facebook blocked the distributors of “Beautiful Blue Eyes,” a film about the Holocaust, from advertising on its platform, alleging that the film’s title violates a company policy regarding the portrayal of one’s race.
🍴 Dine and Dish: Eater New York compiled a list of some of the best kosher restaurants in the city.
😠 Meeting Malaise: The E.U.’s Mideast peace envoy lodged a complaint that he has not been granted high-level meetings with Israeli officials, after his requests to meet with Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and President Isaac Herzog were denied.
💉 A Shot at Health: Israel will begin offering new COVID boosters designed to target the newest Omicron variants of the virus.
🤝 Regional Relationships: The New York Times explored Russia’s growing ties with Saudi Arabia amid Western criticism and growing global isolation over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
🎉 Mazel Tov: Rabbi Levi Duchman, the first resident rabbi of the United Arab Emirates and head of Chabad in the UAE, married Lea Hadad yesterday evening, in the biggest Jewish wedding ever held in the country, with some 1,500 guests in attendance.
🕯️ Remembering: Watergate prosecutor Earl Silbert died at 86. Art Rosenbaum, who documented a wide variety of American musical traditions, died at 83. Fashion photographer Melvin Sokolsky died at 88. Photographer William Klein died at 96.
Pic of the Day
U.S. and Israeli diplomats and members of the scientific community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) at the National Academy of Sciences on the National Mall yesterday evening. The Israeli officials also announced and signed an agreement to expand collaboration into the field of quantum science.
From left: Hilla Haddad Chmelnik, director-general of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology; Orit Farkash-Hacohen, minister of innovation, science and technology; Professor Avi Israeli, BSF chair and chief scientist at Israel’s Ministry of Health; and Eliaz Luf, director of the international relations division at the ministry.
Beauty pageant titleholder, she was crowned Miss Israel 2012, Shani Hazan turns 30…
Founder and former CEO of Elektra Records, he is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jac Holzman turns 91… Professor at the Hebrew University and a leading scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Emanuel Tov turns 81… Chief rabbi of Migdal HaEmek, known as the “Disco Rabbi,” Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman turns 76… Professor of education at Boston University’s Wheelock College, Diane Levin turns 75… NYC-based composer and multi-instrument musician, Ned Rothenberg turns 66… Business litigator in the Miami office of Gunster, Aron U. Raskas turns 60… Film executive, she produced “The Hunger Games” film series, Nina Jacobson turns 57… Managing partner and chief technology officer at Differential Ventures in Philadelphia, he is also the founder of a series of kosher restaurants, David Magerman turns 54… NPR’s media correspondent, David Folkenflik turns 53… Actor, best known for his roles on Sports Night and “The Good Wife,” Josh Charles turns 51… Comedian, writer and actress, Kira Soltanovich turns 49… VP of leadership at the Anti-Defamation League, Deborah Leipzig… Chicago public school teacher, event organizer and fundraiser, Shayla Rosen… Author and education correspondent at NPR, Anya Kamenetz turns 42… Data scientist, economist and author of the 2017 New York Times bestseller Everybody Lies, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz turns 40… Israeli beauty queen titleholder, Yael Markovich turns 38… Partner in CHW Strategic Advisors, Jonah Raskas… Chief financial officer at the Israel on Campus Coalition, Tomer Zvi Elias… Chief strategy officer at PW Communications, Amanda Bresler… Reporter at The New York Times covering NYC education, Eliza Shapiro… Singer and actress, she was the 2009 winner of the Israeli version of “A Star is Born,” Roni Dalumi turns 31…