👋 Good Thursday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we interview Todd Golden, the head coach of the University of Florida’s men’s basketball team, and take a look at the congressional reaction to OPEC+’s decision to cut oil production. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Armin Rosen, Behnam Ben Taleblu and Sam Bankman-Fried.
With just over a month to go until the midterms, candidates are announcing their third-quarter fundraising hauls ahead of the Oct. 15 filing deadline.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) announced a $26.3 million haul as he seeks a full term, while fending off a challenge from Herschel Walker, who has spent the last several days addressing controversies over his personal life and family. Walker, for his part, announced that he raised $12 million in the last quarter.
In the Senate battle in the Keystone State, Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz raised $17.2 million — $7 million of which was his own money — in the last quarter. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has yet to release the amount he raised during a quarter in which Oz focused his attacks on crime, part of the national GOP narrative ahead of November, driving up the Pennsylvania Democrat’s unfavorables among voters in the state. In another blow to Fetterman, the Cook Political Report changed its Pennsylvania Senate rating on Wednesday from “lean Democrat” to “toss-up.”
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is challenging Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), announced he raised $20 million in the last quarter, more than triple what the Democrat raised since first entering the race last summer. Johnson has yet to release his fundraising numbers.
In Ohio, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) raised $17 million, nearly double his second quarter haul, in the race to succeed Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). Republican J.D. Vance has yet to announce his third-quarter fundraising numbers, but has held steady in the polls against Ryan. Tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who has spent millions of dollars backing Vance, indicated earlier this week that he was shifting his support away from Ohio and down to Arizona, where Republican Blake Masters is struggling to keep pace in both fundraising and the polls with Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ).
Neither Kelly nor Masters have released their Q3 numbers. The two will face off tonight in a debate in Phoenix.
On the House side, 17 Democratic candidates have raised over $1 million dollars, Axios reported, including Robert Zimmerman in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, Hillary Scholten in Michigan’s 3rd and Christy Smith, who is making her third bid for the House in California’s newly drawn 27th District.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid rejected changes Lebanon is seeking to make to the U.S.-negotiated maritime border proposal, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday morning. “Lapid made it clear that Israel will not compromise on its security and economic interests, even if that means that there will be no agreement soon,” the official said.
“Israel will produce gas from the Karish rig as soon as it is possible to do so,” the official added. “If Hezbollah or anyone else tries to damage the Karish rig or threaten us — the negotiations on the maritime line will stop immediately and [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah will need to explain to the citizens of Lebanon why they don’t have a gas rig for the benefit of their economic future.”
keeping the faith in florida
Gainesville’s Golden boy
Like a lot of Jewish kids, Todd Golden played basketball at his local Jewish community center when he was growing up, driving just five minutes down the road to the Phoenix JCC. Unlike most Jewish kids, however, Golden took his JCC hoops experience to college’s big time. Earlier this year he was hired to be the head coach of the University of Florida men’s basketball team, signing a reported six-year, $18 million contract. “There’s a huge Jewish community here at UF, probably one of the biggest at any institution in the United States,” Golden told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch in a recent phone interview. “For me, it’s just … it feels really good to be able to be a part of it.”
Community connections: In an effort to boost excitement about Gators basketball, one of his first moves when he got to Gainesville this spring was to visit UF’s three Jewish fraternities. (UF has the largest number of Jewish undergraduates of any American college, with 6,500 Jewish undergrads, according to data compiled by Hillel International.) He played professionally for Maccabi Haifa, an Israeli team, after an unexpected and successful college career at Saint Mary’s College in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the brotherhood: Golden is one of a growing number of Jewish head coaches at major Division I basketball programs. At this year’s March Madness tournament, he won the Coach of the Year award from the Jewish Coaches Association, a nonprofit that connects youth, high school and college basketball coaches. “It’s a pretty neat brotherhood,” said Golden. “You don’t really think of the Jewish faith as being super, super strong in basketball. But I do feel like we’re making progress, which is cool.” Golden rattled off Jewish head coaches at schools like Duke, University of California, Santa Barbara and University of Hawaii.
Pearls of wisdom: It was Bruce Pearl — Auburn basketball’s head coach who in recent months has gained a reputation as an outspoken supporter of Israel and a proud Jew — who helped set Golden on his professional path. Pearl and Golden, who is 37, met in 2009, when Pearl coached the U.S. men’s basketball team at the Maccabiah Games — the global Jewish games held every four years in Israel — to a gold medal, beating the Israeli team in overtime. “Todd is just a leader, a competitor. He looks like Jane, plays like Tarzan,” Pearl told JI. “He’s got this young, very youthful appearance. But he’s smart, and he’s tough, and he knows what he’s doing.”
Birthright basketball: In December, Golden will take on his mentor in an away game at Auburn. The two men now lead rival teams in the Southeastern Conference. But as Jewish coaches in the public eye, they share some goals, one of which is bringing their players to Israel. Pearl took his team there this past summer, where they played against Israeli teams and his players — most of whom are devout Christians — visited biblical sites. Golden hopes to do the same with the Gators next summer.
on the hill
Democrats warn against OPEC oil production cuts
Some Democratic lawmakers are raising concerns over the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) decision to slash oil production — in spite of U.S. pressure to increase output — likely driving up oil prices, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Pull out: Congressional Democrats reacted to the decision by the Saudi- and Russian-led group of oil-producing countries, announced Wednesday, which the legislators warned would bolster Moscow in its invasion of Ukraine. Three lawmakers — Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Sean Casten (D-IL) and Susan Wild (D-PA) — introduced legislation seeking to remove all U.S. personnel and missile-defense systems from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Those missile-defense systems have served as an important line of defense against Iranian and Iranian-backed attacks on the Gulf states. U.S. officials and lawmakers have also recently sought to promote an integrated regional air-defense initiative, and increased regional military cooperation, among Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Israel and other Middle Eastern states.
Roiled by Riyadh: The lawmakers called the OPEC decision a “slap in the face,” despite overtures by the Biden administration to the Saudi government, including President Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia earlier this year. Malinowski, the vice chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is a longtime friend of Secretary of State Tony Blinken, but has urged the administration to take more aggressive stances on human rights issues around the world, including in Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Executive branch: In a statement on Wednesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said the administration would “consult with Congress on additional tools and authorities to reduce OPEC’s control over energy prices.”
Pushback: Mohammed Alyahya, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a fellow at the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, suggested that the pushback against Riyadh “so casually strips [Saudi Arabia] of its right to consider its own diverse interests.”
Read the full story here.
Bonus: Axios’ Alayna Treene and Hans Nichols look at how the Biden administration is reacting to the OPEC+ announcement, including potential support for congressional action against Riyadh.
🏫 DEI Dilemma:Tablet‘s Armin Rosen looks at how campus Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programming and materials largely ignore antisemitism. “The DEI regime is often framed as a brave and honest reckoning with structural racism, educational inequity, individual bigotry, and other abiding sources of establishment shame. In fact, the purpose of DEI, and perhaps of the ideological and quasi-spiritual project underlying DEI, is to delay or deflect hard conversations about how universities operate, or any awkwardly critical assessments of the value of the education they provide, or the kinds of spaces and citizens they now produce. If it had any other purpose but creating a false edifice of reassurance and moral rectitude, campus DEI would have a lot to say about the higher education system’s continuing role as a locus of American antisemitism, rather than nothing at all.” [Tablet]
🛣️ Marking the Day: The New York Times‘ Patrick Kingsley spotlights the unique ways in which Yom Kippur is observed in Israel as the country shuts down for 25 hours. “For Jewish believers, it was the holiest day of their year — an annual day of atonement, or Yom Kippur in Hebrew, for their sins against God. On Tuesday evening, millions of Israelis switched off their phones, ate their last pre-fast meals and headed to synagogues for the opening prayers of the fast… On other major Jewish holy days, secular Jews still drive their cars in Israel, and many do not pray. On Yom Kippur, by social convention, almost all Israeli Jews keep their cars parked. Tens of thousands attend special services, organized by Tzohar, a rabbinical association, for those who do not usually attend synagogue. ‘It’s almost something that’s part of the DNA of Israel,’ said Rabbi David Stav, the chairman of Tzohar. Even for secular citizens, the day is a chance for contemplation — in part because it is also the anniversary of the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, also known as the Yom Kippur War, when Israeli society was left stunned by an unexpected Arab attack.” [NYTimes]
💻 Strategy Session: In The National Interest, Behnam Ben Taleblu and Saeed Ghasseminejad propose a 10-point plan for how the U.S. can support the Iranian people during the current round of anti-regime protests, from pushing away from nuclear talks with Tehran to politically isolating the Islamic republic and increasing sanctions that target the Iranian regime. “Success for Iran’s protest movement or even the erosion of the Islamic Republic’s power could have profound consequences for stability in the Middle East and redound to America’s strategic advantage if supported correctly and carefully. After all, the Islamic Republic has never been shy about hiding its enmity for America — ‘the Great Satan’ — and its desire to frustrate U.S. policy. This is especially true in the counterterrorism context, given Iran’s material support to terror proxies — styled by Tehran as ‘the Axis of Resistance’ — in places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Gaza, as well as through the increasingly relevant paradigm of great power competition, where Tehran is busy tightening economic and military ties with China and Russia.” [NationalInterest]
Around the Web
🌀 Hurricane Harm: President Joe Biden, speaking in Ft. Myers, Fla., yesterday in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, noted that “many members of Florida’s Jewish community can’t gather at their holiest day today because they’re displaced and their homes are gone and their synagogues are not available.”
📰 Punching Up: Punchbowl News, the D.C.-based political news outlet, is expanding its coverage to include financial services.
🎓 Campus Beat: City University of New York plans to spend $1 million as part of an eight-pronged strategy to address antisemitism on its 25 campuses.
🗞️ Paper Problems: A Democratic candidate for the Pennsylvania Statehouse apologized for decisions he made as the editor of a college paper to run an ad by a Holocaust-denial group, a move he defended at the time while referring to the Holocaust as a “supposedly accepted historical fact.”
🐦 Twitter Turnaround: Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly told Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk he was no longer interested in helping him acquire Twitter after the two spoke by phone.
💵 Money Matters: USAID announced it has invested $150 million this past year in efforts to support Palestinians and advance a two-state solution.
💊 Drug Bust: The Jordanian navy thwarted an attempt to smuggle drugs into the country via the Red Sea.
🎵 Fight Song: The Washington Post explores how “Baraye,” a song written and posted to social media by Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour, became the anthem of the current anti-government protests.
🛫 Free Man: A retired Iranian-American UNICEF official who had been held in Iran for seven years departed the Islamic republic for urgent medical treatment in the United Arab Emirates.
💻 Hack Job: Anonymous and other global hacking groups are supporting Iranian protesters by planning cyberattacks on Iranian officials and institutions and sharing tips on how to get around internet restrictions.
🕯️ Remembering: Theo Richmond, British documentary filmmaker and author of Konin: A Quest, in which he searched for and memorialized remnants of a Polish Jewish community destroyed by the Nazis, died at 93.
Pic of the Day
A man crosses a car-free highway in Jerusalem on Tuesday, as Israelis marked the start of Yom Kippur.
Correspondent on the networks of NBC and author of best-selling books on Presidents Obama, FDR and Jimmy Carter, Jonathan Alter turns 65…
Owner of Lancaster, Pa.-based industrial supplier Samuel Miller & Son, Rosanne Selfon… Former chairman and CEO of CBS, he is a great-nephew of David Ben-Gurion, Leslie Moonves turns 73… Awarded a Ph.D. at UCSD in space science, consultant to NASA and author of many science fiction novels, David Brin turns 72… Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, Uzi Vogelman turns 68… Former CEO at Hillels of Georgia, Elliot B. Karp… Bexley, Ohio-based real estate agent, Jan Kanas… Spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Tamid in the Las Vegas suburbs since 1988, Rabbi Sanford Akselrad… Former member of the New Jersey General Assembly, now the managing director of Quest Associates, Joel M. Weingarten turns 63… Mayor of Jerusalem since 2018, Moshe Lion turns 61… Executive director of Pro-Israel America, Jeffrey Mendelsohn… Attorney in Lakewood, N.J., Samuel Zev Brown… Member of the New York City Council representing Yorkville, Lenox Hill and Roosevelt Island, Julie Menin turns 55… Member until 2020 of the Florida Senate, Kevin J.G. Rader turns 54… Recent candidate for governor of Arizona, Aaron Lieberman turns 51… Director of sales at Convergence Workforce, Sean “Shmop” Weisbord… CEO of Community Security Service, an organization for physical security and safety in Jewish communities, Evan R. Bernstein turns 48… Actor and comedian, Brett Gelman turns 46… Deputy chief planning officer at UJA-Federation of New York, Hindy Poupko… Senior advisor for Israel strategies at the William Davidson Foundation, Deena Eisenberg Pulitzer… Actress best known for her role as Judge Cassandra Anderson in “Dredd,” Olivia Thirlby turns 36… Director of government and community relations for the governor of Nevada, Madeline S. Burak…