👋 Good Friday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we look at the shifts on the Hill as Rep. Ted Deutch leaves Congress to helm the American Jewish Committee. With pressure on ahead of Israeli elections, we look at U.S. efforts to reach an agreement with Israel and Lebanon over disputed maritime gas fields. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Ken Marcus, Rep. David Cicilline and Rep. Kathy Manning.
For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent JI stories, including: Amb. Mike Herzog uses his peace negotiating skills to break D.C.’s partisan divide; Lakewood’s Yehuda Tomor is reinventing the frozen cocktail; In new museum exhibit, a rare journey into Samaritan life and religious practice; Gulf-Israel train project chugs into political, financial obstacles; ‘Thinking of Polishness in different terms’: New book examines Poland’s Jewish revival; This group wants to make Tulsa a hub for young Jews; and Meet the cycling activists taking on Jerusalem’s hills. Print the latest edition here.
Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) named campus antisemitism as a priority in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod yesterday as she prepares to take over Rep. Ted Deutch’s (D-FL) role as the lead Democrat on the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, a move that was announced on Thursday ahead of Deutch’s upcoming retirement.
“I have big shoes to fill with the retirement of Ted Deutch,” Manning told JI, adding that she was “extremely excited” about taking on the role. “But I have spent the last probably 25 years working in various capacities to combat antisemitism. And it’s really an honor to be able to continue that work from the U.S. Congress.”
Manning said she hopes to work with State Department antisemitism envoy Deborah Lipstadt, the Biden administration, colleagues in the House and Senate and the nonprofit community to “come up with innovative solutions and create a very strong, cohesive front on this issue.”
“We need to educate students, and we frankly need to educate members of Congress, about what these issues are, and what a terrible impact they have on our students,” said Manning, whose district includes Greensboro and Winston-Salem and is home to a number of universities.
Throughout Manning’s first term in Congress, lawmakers on both ends of the political spectrum have faced accusations of antisemitism, sometimes from their own colleagues. Manning hopes to bring in speakers, including Lipstadt, to educate her colleagues on antisemitism, focusing on the history and roots of antisemitism, its evolution throughout history and the “devastating impact” it has had on both the Jewish community and other communities. There are also, she added, “opportunities to talk member-to-member to try to explain things to people, to change their way of viewing things and certainly change the way they articulate their issues.”
Blake Masters: ‘Israel’s future is tied to our elections’
Blake Masters, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Arizona, takes a characteristically partisan position while arguing in a new Middle East position paper that Israel can no longer count on bipartisan support from Congress. Laying the blame before his political rivals, Masters accuses “zealots like ‘the Squad’” — as well as, he suggests, most other Democrats — of contributing to an unfortunate dynamic that only his party can ameliorate. “It is a shame to say, but support for Israel has become a partisan issue,” Masters writes in his recently finished policy paper, which was obtained by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel on Thursday. “That means that Israel’s future is tied to our elections — to making sure that our representatives are true friends and supporters of Israel,” the 36-year-old political newcomer adds, before referring to himself in the third person. “In this race, that is Blake Masters.”
Shared values: In the first section of the paper, Masters declares that Israel and the U.S. “share a powerful and strategic relationship that must be championed and safeguarded, for the good of all freedom-loving peoples across the globe.” He describes Israel as a “key partner in diplomacy, intelligence, and technological innovation” that “deserves continued and expanded American support.” The U.S. “benefits directly from countless Israeli efforts,” he says, adding a patriotic flourish: “But our nations share a philosophical and moral vision as well: one of peace, of freedom, and of religious tolerance. Israelis and Americans share the fundamental belief that you have a right to defend yourself, to fight for your family, to defend your nation, and to practice your faith free of persecution.”
International agenda: On the second and final page of his policy paper, Masters, who is challenging Democratic Majority for Israel-backed Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), runs through six “key issues,” starting with a vow to oppose BDS, promote trade with the Jewish state and uphold the $38 billion in U.S. aid to Israel that is guaranteed in a 10-year memorandum of understanding between the two countries, signed during the Obama administration. Perhaps unexpectedly, owing to his broader aversion to providing foreign aid to countries beyond Israel, Masters suggests that he will work “to build” on such “financial commitments” in “the future.” Elsewhere, Masters extols the Abraham Accords as an “incredible success” that set a “powerful precedent” for regional cooperation between Israel and a number of Arab nations that are aligned in their mutual concerns over Iran.
David Cicilline defeats Brad Schneider to lead House Mideast subcommittee
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), a progressive Jewish Democrat, was chosen by Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday to lead the committee’s Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism subcommittee, replacing Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. A vice chair of the House progressive caucus, Cicilline defeated the more moderate Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) in an 18-6 vote.
Quotable: “I have been privileged to sit on the Foreign Affairs Committee since my first days in Congress in 2011, working with my colleagues on a range of issues relevant to the Middle East and North Africa,” Cicilline said on Thursday. “At a time of instability around the world, including in the Middle East, I believe that it is more important than ever that we work together, as Members of the Committee, to do everything we can to address humanitarian crises, human rights abuses, and political upheaval throughout the region.”
Legislative record: In his decade in Congress, Cicilline has spearheaded legislation supporting cybersecurity collaboration between the U.S. and Israel, increasing congressional oversight of policy toward the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, honoring former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, condemning Iranian human rights abuses and placing further sanctions on Iranian government officials engaged in human rights abuses targeting U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Cicilline was a leader in the effort to block U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in response to the war in Yemen, and was broadly critical of the Trump administration’s friendly posture toward Saudi Arabia.
Iran issues: Cicilline, unlike Deutch, was supportive of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — though he called it “far from perfect” — and supports reentering the agreement. In 2015, when the original Iran deal was finalized, Cicilline said it should be accompanied by “a fortified and more generous Israel Defense Agreement” to ensure Israel could respond to Iran’s malign activities.
Backup: In 2021, Cicilline defended comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that Jewish Democrats who have accused her of antisemitism “haven’t been partners in justice, they haven’t been equally engaging in seeking justice around the world.” “There they go again… right wingers in Washington are once again claiming Rep. Ilhan Omar said something she didn’t say, and trying to create a controversy where there is none,” Cicilline said. “It’s pathetic that they are (once again) demonizing a young woman of color to score political points.”
What’s at stake in U.S.-mediated talks over Israel-Lebanon maritime border
After months of shuttle diplomacy between Israel and Lebanon, the State Department’s senior advisor for energy security, Amos Hochstein, appears to be on the cusp of resolving the countries’ long-running maritime border dispute, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Tick tock: The contested border in the middle of the eastern Mediterranean Sea has garnered fewer international headlines than the pressing energy crisis facing Europe more than six months into Russia’s war against Ukraine. But for Israelis and Lebanese, the maritime border issue is urgent: Israel is concerned about attacks from Hezbollah if an agreement isn’t reached, and Lebanon is in desperate need of the economic benefits that could come from the discovery of new natural gas fields off its coast. And weeks before another Israeli parliamentary election and before Lebanese President Michal Aoun’s term expires, political uncertainty means the clock is ticking.
Blurred lines: Both Jerusalem and Beirut lay claim to the same stretch of ocean on the countries’ maritime border with Cyprus. The question is where the border should be drawn delineating Israeli waters from Lebanese waters. The issue took on a new urgency this summer when an Israeli-contracted vessel was sent to the disputed waters to develop the Karish gas field, prompting Hezbollah to threaten to use force to protect the area. In July, Israel intercepted three Hezbollah drones that were reportedly directed toward the gas field.
Coming soon: Hochstein has not commented on the negotiations in recent weeks, and a State Department spokesperson told reporters on Thursday that there are “no updates” on the maritime agreement. But an account run by the office of Lebanon’s president tweeted on Monday that the country expects a written offer from Hochstein by the end of this week, Al-Arabiya reported. Hochstein met with Lebanon’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament Elias Bou Saab at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week, and he met in Washington this week with Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata, Axios’ Barak Ravid reported.
Livni pushes ‘globali-nation’ theory at D.C. symposium honoring Albright
Former Israeli lawmaker Tzipi Livni discussed the clash between globalization and the concept of the nation-state, introducing her theory of “globali-nation,” at a Georgetown University symposium honoring former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Thursday, Jewish Insider’s Tori Bergel reports.
International relations: “It’s clear that the atmosphere is that there’s a clash between globalization and the nation-state. And I can understand why, because globalization, that was a real promise at the beginning, lots of people were left behind, worried about their family, about their work, about their children, and in a way the feeling is that the nation-state is the opposite path,” Livni, who served as Israel’s foreign minister between 2006-2009, said. “I would suggest something that I call, “globali-nation.” It means that being part of a nation-state, believing in your own country, being a patriot, it’s fine, as long as it doesn’t turn into nationalism in a manner that you do not respect the other or the rights of minorities within your own country.”
Foreign policy forum: During the symposium, sponsored by Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service (SFS) and the Aspen Ministers Forum, students and other attendees were treated to a series of moderated conversations with officials who had overlapped with Albright throughout her career. Livni appeared alongside Mayu Ávila and Margot Wallström, the former El Salvadorian and Swedish foreign ministers, respectively, during an afternoon session between members of Albright’s Minister’s Forum. Albright created the forum for ex-ministers, which she often referred to as “Madeleine and her exes,” according to SFS dean Joel Hellman, to enhance relations between the United States and Europe.
Women to watch: While the conversation focused mainly on current global issues, Albright’s name was invoked throughout the hour whenever a comment was made that she would have agreed with or a conflict she would have had an opinion on was discussed — and most keenly, in regard to the subject of women in power. “I think that mostly when we [women] are there in [the] decision-making room, it’s about making a change and not about our own ego. And I think that this is a major difference between men and women in power. We are thinking about solutions, about listening, about how to solve this problem, when sometimes men are more about who’s gonna win,” Livni said.
🗽 Coming to America: In the Wall Street Journal, Jon Hilsenrath reflects on his family’s escape from Nazi Europe and settlement in the U.S., depicted in the recent Ken Burns documentary about the American response to the Holocaust. “Mr. Burns’s film raises disturbing questions about America’s treatment of immigrants. The country has a long history of conflict over newcomers that is at odds with its image of itself as a welcoming melting pot. ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ recounts exhaustively the migration barriers and public bigotry that plagued desperate Jewish people seeking refuge in the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s. Some perspective on this tension can be found in the story of what happened to Joseph Hilsenrath after he got off the boat 80 years ago… His experience affirms Mr. Burns’s central point that the U.S. didn’t make things easy for Jewish immigrants, particularly at that first step of getting in. Once Joseph Hilsenrath was given a chance, however, America proved good to him and he to America — a case with broader significance.” [WSJ]
💌 Romance Redux: The New York Times’ Michal Leibowitz considers the benefits of matchmaking, and what role the practice could play in modern dating. “When I reviewed the transcripts of the dozen or so formal conversations I had for this piece, I noticed a common theme. Whether Jewish, evangelical, Mormon or Muslim, almost all the people I spoke to emphasized that their approaches to dating offered some kind of protection for the single person, a way to make the process of finding a partner a little less painful. Sometimes these protections offer obvious benefits: Meeting someone through a third party, like a friend, parent or matchmaker, creates accountability that discourages bad behavior. Refraining from quick, casual sex lowers physical risks, like S.T.D.s, and the emotional risk of sliding into an incompatible relationship. But sometimes these protections offer safety via a kind of check on one’s own judgment, too. Chanie Lebovics, a Florida-based matchmaker who works mostly with Chabad Jews, told me that having a mentor who can look at the matchmaking process ‘from an objective place’ is common in her community.” [NYTimes]
🎓 Campus Beat: In the Jewish Journal, Ken Marcus, the founder and chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, warns of increasing instances of attacks on college students’ Jewish identities following the announcement last month by nine groups at the University of California, Berkeley’s law school that they would not host Zionist speakers. “It is now a century since Jewish-free zones first spread to the San Francisco Bay Area (‘No Dogs. No Jews’). Nevertheless, this move seems frightening and unexpected, like a bang on the door in the night. Berkeley law students are not the first to exclude Zionists. At the State University of New York at New Paltz, activists drove two sexual assault victims out of a survivor group for being Zionists. At the University of Southern California, they drove Jewish student government vice president Rose Ritch out of office, threatening to ‘impeach [her] Zionist ass.’ At Tufts, they tried to oust student judiciary committee member Max Price from the student government judiciary committee because of his support for Israel. These exclusions reflect the changing face of campus antisemitism. The highest profile incidents are no longer just about toxic speech, which poisons the campus environment. Now anti-Zionist groups target Jewish Americans directly.” [JewishJournal]
💥 Different Stripes: In The Atlantic, Jamie Kirchick looks at how critics of U.S. foreign policy from across the ideological spectrum have found common cause in supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Ranging from anti-imperialists on the left to isolationists on the right and more respectable ‘realists’ in between, these critics are not pacifists in the strict sense of the term. Few if any oppose the use of force as a matter of principle. But nor are they neutral. It is not sufficient, they say, for the West to cut off its supply of defensive weaponry to Ukraine. It must also atone for ‘provoking’ Russia to attack its smaller, peaceful, democratic neighbor, and work at finding a resolution that satisfies what Moscow calls its ‘legitimate security interests.’ In this, today’s anti-war caucus is objectively pro-fascist.” [TheAtlantic]
🔍 Playing with Fire: In interviews with six Iranian former CIA informants and 10 former U.S. intelligence officials, as well as reviews of Iranian government records and news reports, Reuters’ Joel Shectman and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin uncover how carelessness by the U.S. agency endangered those working for them. “One informant said the CIA instructed him to make his information drops in Turkey at a location the agency knew was under surveillance by Iran. Another man, a former government worker who traveled to Abu Dhabi to seek a U.S. visa, claims a CIA officer there tried unsuccessfully to push him into spying for the United States, leading to his arrest when he returned to Iran. Such aggressive steps by the CIA sometimes put average Iranians in danger with little prospect of gaining critical intelligence. When these men were caught, the agency provided no assistance to the informants or their families, even years later, the six Iranians said.” [Reuters]
Around the Web
🪧 On the Hill: Two bipartisan contingents of lawmakers — a group of 34 senators, and a group of seven senators and three House members — expressed support for the mass anti-regime protests that have swept Iran in recent weeks, in two separate resolutions unveiled on Thursday.
👍 Oz Nod: Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican who endorsed President Joe Biden in 2020, threw his support behind Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is trailing Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman with weeks to go before Election Day.
👨 D.C. Buzz: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he believes Republicans have a 50-50 chance of winning control of the Senate in the midterms.
🛢️ Cracking Down: The U.S. imposed new sanctions on companies, some based in China and India, officials accused of involvement in Iran’s oil exports.
🍰 Mexican-Jewish Fusion: The Chicago Tribunespotlights the Masa Madre bakery, which combines Mexican and Jewish culinary traditions to create unique sweet treats.
🙏 Digital Davening: The New York Timesprofiles Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur, a French rabbi who found widespread popularity online during pandemic lockdowns, who focuses much of her lectures on death and end-of-life practices.
🕵️ Conflicting Accounts: The Biden administration called for an investigation into the death of a 7-year-old Palestinian boy who reportedly died after IDF soldiers came to his home looking for his brothers, who threw stones at troops.
🗳️ Call for Calm: Israeli President Isaac Herzog urged Israeli citizens and officials to act with moderation and responsibility as tensions rise ahead of the elections.
🤝 Merger Move: Capricorn Energy Plc proposed a merger with Israel’s NewMed Energy LP, in place of a deal it had previously agreed on with Tullow Oil Plc.
➡️ Transitions: Former Facebook executive Yael Eisentat, now a prominent critic of the social media network, announced in a Washington Post interview that she will join the Anti-Defamation League as vice president and head of its technology unit. Comedy columnist Jason Zinoman is joiningThe New York Times as a critic at large.
🕯️ Remembering: David Gottesman, founder of First Manhattan and a protégé of Warren Buffett, died at 96. Biological weapons expert Leonard Cole, born Leonard Cohen, died at 89. Photographer Sonia Handelman Meyer, whose mid-century work was rediscovered decades later, died at 102.
Pic of the Day
A rabbi prays yesterday in a symbolic synagogue commemorating the victims of Babyn Yar on the 81st anniversary of the Nazi massacre of Jews, where some 34,000 Jews were murdered within two days in September 1941.
Actress and activist, she was elected last year as president of the SAG-AFTRA trade union, Fran Drescher turns 65…
FRIDAY: Former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert turns 77… IT developer and business analyst, Sanford Kadish… Chairman and CEO of AMC Entertainment, he is a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, Adam Maximilian Aron turns 68… Co-founder and CEO of hedge fund Avenue Capital Group and the co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, Marc Lasry turns 63… Professor of mathematical logic at Oxford, Ehud Hrushovski turns 63… Journalist for Haaretz, Allison Kaplan Sommer… Professor of healthcare economics at MIT and an architect of Romneycare and Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber turns 57… Leora Lily Ihilevich Usman… Lisa K. Robbins… Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Gilad Menashe Erdan turns 52… SVP of digital product management at The Advertising Council, Anastasia Goodstein… Russia and Eastern Europe editor for the Washington Post, David Herszenhorn… CEO of Via Trading Corporation, a liquidator of consumer merchandise, Jacques Stambouli… President and CEO of Hadar Institute in Manhattan, Eliezer “Elie” Kaunfer… Founder of Artemis Strategies, a boutique consultancy, Hildy Kuryk turns 45… Host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Ari Shapiro turns 44… Screenwriter, director, producer and actor, Jonathan Peter Kasdan turns 43… Computer scientist and entrepreneur, he is best known as a co-founder of Palantir Technologies, Stephen Cohen turns 40… Deputy coverage chief of speed and trending news at The Wall Street Journal, Steven Russolillo…
SATURDAY: MLB second baseman who appeared in 18 straight All-Star Games, he is immortalized as Jewish in Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song,” Rod Carew turns 77… Senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Andrew David Hurwitz turns 75… Professor at the Technion, he won the 2004 Nobel prize in chemistry, Aaron Ciechanover turns 75… Copy editor at Politico, Andrew Goodwin… Film, stage and television actress and, since 2009, an ordained Jewish cantor, Lorna Patterson turns 66… The first-ever Jewish chief justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, Steven C. González turns 59… Reality television personality, model and actress, Cynthia Dawn “Cindy” Margolis turns 57… Director of philanthropic partnerships at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Robert A. Rosen… Film director, screenwriter and producer, Stacie Passon turns 53… SVP at FGS Global, Robert Bennett Seidman… Deputy director at the National Security Network of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Samantha J. Greenberg… Consultant at Deloitte, Samuel Koralnik… Business development manager at Cympire, Yossi Raskas… Scott Rosenthal… Chief policy officer at Israel Policy Forum, Michael Koplow… National director of engagement at J Street, Gal Peleg…
SUNDAY: Partner in Baltimore’s Workshop Development and leading commercial real estate broker, Richard Manekin… Co-chair of external relations at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville, Md., Diana Ely Epstein… Bethesda, Md., resident, Samuel G. Kaplan… Fashion designer and the creator of the Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing labels, Donna Karan turns 74… Noted portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz turns 73… Former long-time member of the Knesset for the Shas party, Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen turns 71… Israel’s minister of public security, he is the son of former IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister Haim Bar-Lev, Omer Bar-Lev turns 69… Former member of the Texas House of Representatives, Scott Hochberg turns 69… Israeli entrepreneur and philanthropist, Idan Ofer turns 67… Venture capitalist and former chairman of the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, Bruce Sholk… Former chief program officer of the Union for Reform Judaism, Mark J. Pelavin… Managing partner of the Fort Lauderdale-based Weinstein Law Firm, Andrew Weinstein… Former MLB left-handed pitcher with more MLB appearances than any other Jewish pitcher, Scott David Schoeneweis turns 49… Insurance agent at Herman E. Wealcatch Inc., Michael Mordechai Gottlieb… U.S. government official at the International Trade Administration, Michelle Sara King… Zionist educator at Hadassah, Diana Diner… Associate attorney at Cooley LLP, Alexander B. Fullman…