👋 Good Wednesday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we talk to House Republicans about the Trump-Fuentes-Ye dinner, and interview illustrator Drew Friedman about his latest book. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Miriam Adelson, Franklin Foer and Bret Stephens.
A goal scored by Christian Pulisic boosted the U.S. men’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Iran last night in Doha, during one of the most high-profile matches of this year’s World Cup. The U.S. team will face off against the Netherlands on Saturday.
“They did it, God love ‘em,” President Joe Biden said from Freeland, Mich., where he was speaking at a semiconductor material manufacturing facility. White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk shared a video of Biden updating the crowd on the soccer team’s win.
The Americans’ win was celebrated across Iran, whose own soccer players have distanced themselves from the regime, first refusing to sing the Iranian national anthem, then doing so under threat of harm to their families. Tensions between the countries were exacerbated over the weekend, when the U.S. scrubbed the Iranian regime’s emblem from its flag in an image posted to social media.
The New York Times’ DealBook Summit kicks off this morning in New York. Speakers include actor Ben Affleck, former Vice President Mike Pence and Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, who is slated to speak by video. But one speaker stands out from the others: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, whose cryptocurrency company collapsed earlier this month, leading to Bankman-Fried’s resignation. In the weeks since his departure from the company, Bankman-Fried has given a handful of unconventional interviews through Twitter messages and on YouTube. DealBook will be his first large-scale public appearance since FTX declared bankruptcy.
And in Israel, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly planning to ask Israeli President Isaac Herzog for a two-week extension to form his government, in order to give Likud legislators time to pass electoral reforms that would satisfy requests from their potential coalition partners, and that would allow Shas’ Aryeh Deri to serve in a ministerial position despite a conviction earlier this year for a tax offense.
Top Congressional Republicans speak out on Trump meeting with West, Fuentes
Criticisms of former President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes from Capitol Hill Republicans continued yesterday, with comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
‘Unlikely to be elected’: “There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy. Anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected President,” McConnell said, while not mentioning Trump directly by name. Trump, in response, called McConnell a “loser” in a Fox News interview later in the day.
Unfamiliar with Fuentes: McCarthy, who is seeking the speakership, focused his comments on Fuentes, avoiding direct condemnation of Trump. “The president can have meetings with who he wants; I don’t think anybody, though, should have a meeting with Nick Fuentes,” McCarthy said. “I condemn his ideology; it has no place in society at all.” McCarthy defended Trump, repeating the ex-president’s claims that he did not know Fuentes — not addressing Trump’s apparent invitation to West — and claiming, incorrectly, that Trump had condemned Fuentes four times.
Crenshaw’s criticism: Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who has been a top target of criticism from Fuentes and his followers, told JI that he didn’t “really have a comment” on the Trump meeting, but said “Nick Fuentes is a piece of shit, I know that,” adding that “everyone” should know that.
No place: Rep.-elect Mike Lawler (R-NY), who was elected with support from his district’s Jewish population, joined the small number of rank-and-file House Republicans who have condemned the meeting, tweeting that “the scourges of white supremacy and antisemitism have no place in our society — let alone a seat at the table — now or ever.”
Columnists weigh in: The New York Times’ Bret Stephens and The Wall Street Journal‘s Gerard Baker each give their take on the controversy surrounding former President Donald Trump’s dinner with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.
portrait of the artist
Drew Friedman goes underground
In his new book, Maverix and Lunatix: Icons of Underground Comix, Drew Friedman, the renowned illustrator and portrait artist, gives readers an intimately rendered look at 101 of the most influential cartoonists associated with the transgressive underground comics (or comix) movement of the late 1960s and 1970s. Friedman, 64, was too young to participate directly in the movement itself but views the era as a sort of creative guidestone. “The whole aesthetic really appealed to me, like these people who just put anything down, no matter how over-the-top it was,” he told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel in a recent interview, adding: “That’s the direction I wanted to go in with my work.”
Getting personal: Friedman, a former longtime contributor to The New York Observer, has written and illustrated a number of books, including Jewish Comedians, All the Presidents and Heroes Of The Comics: Portraits Of The Pioneering Legends Of Comic Books. But Maverix and Lunatix may be his most personal yet. “Drew is at a point now where he is no longer a ‘cartoonist’ but an astute master of portraiture,” the comedian and podcaster Marc Maron writes in the book’s foreword. “Each painting reveals the soul and grit and humor of the subject with just a hint of the grotesque humanness that defines us all.”
Comix 101: Friedman’s list includes such well-known figures as Art Spiegelman, R. Crumb, Harvey Pekar and Harvey Kurtzman in addition to cult artists like Nancy Burton, George DiCaprio, Jay Lynch and Diane Noomin, who died shortly after the book was published last month by Fantagraphics. Friedman discussed with JI his illustrations and how he whittled the list of artists down from a pool of about 3,000 possible subjects, among other things.
Adelsons had been planning cuts to Birthright donations for years, CEO says
The Adelson family’s steep reduction in funding to Birthright, which has helped spur cuts to the number of trip participants the organization will bring to Israel next year, has been in the works since 2016, Birthright Foundation CEO Izzy Tapoohi told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales.
History: The Adelson family has been Birthright’s largest donor — and slashed the family’s annual gift to the Israel trip provider recently, leaving it scrambling for cash. According to Haaretz, Miriam Adelson and her late husband, Sheldon, used to give the foundation, which funds the free 10-day trips to Israel for young adults, $35-40 million annually, but reduced that number to $20 million this year and $10 million for next year. Last week, the foundation announced that it will need to decrease the number of trip participants by up to one-third.
Whole-community endeavor: Speaking to eJewishPhilanthropy, Tapoohi said the cuts in the Adelsons’ donations were part of a plan to gain broader buy-in for the program from rank-and-file Jewish donors. “We believe Birthright Israel is an endeavor that the whole Jewish community benefits from and everyone needs to contribute to its success,” Tapoohi told eJP. “We were always aware that there was a plan to decrease what the Adelsons could give us.”
Still involved: In a show of support for Birthright, Miriam Adelson showed up to its virtual board meeting yesterday, and sought to reassure the board that she and her family would “remain the biggest donor” to Birthright, according to a statement from the foundation. The Adelsons have given a total of nearly $500 million to Birthright over the past 15 years. “Why should we assume that the Adelsons should carry all of the responsibility on their backs?” Tapoohi told eJP. “If the Jewish community is genuinely concerned about the future of the Jewish people and genuinely concerned about the kind of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel forces that are building up now in the U.S., they have to take a stand. You can’t rely on one particular person to carry the weight.”
🏆 Context Behind the Cup:The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer looks at Iran’s participation in this year’s World Cup and how this year’s games have shone an international spotlight on the unrest in the Islamic Republic. “This World Cup poses a potentially far graver threat to the Islamic regime than the events of 25 years ago. Back then, Iranian protesters felt reasons for optimism; a newly elected reformist president promised greater tolerance. (When he campaigned, he surrounded himself with soccer players. His reactionary opponent contrasted himself by campaigning with wrestlers.) Now the raging protests in Iran—not just in Tehran but across the country—are born out of a sense of desperation, a sense that existence can’t possibly deteriorate further, which justifies the risks of absorbing police truncheons, or worse. This unrest is the essential context every time Iran steps onto the field.” [TheAtlantic]
🇺🇸 Regional Relations: In the Washington Post, the Carnegie Endowment’s Aaron David Miller provides suggestions for how the Biden administration can navigate relations with Mideast allies amid political resets in both Congress and Israel. “Today’s hot wind is driven by three powerful forces that are worsening an already volatile situation: a weak Palestinian Authority unable to control violence and terror; a soon-to-be-announced radical, right-wing Israeli government committed to binding the West Bank and Jerusalem to Israel; and a risk-averse Biden administration whose instincts will be to try to avoid getting entangled in this mess, especially if it means fighting with Israel. Meanwhile, Iran is stirring the pot, and the Arab countries that signed on to the Abraham Accords are burying their heads in the sand.” [WashPost]
✍️ A Kapo’s Tale: In Slate, Flora Cassen reflects on her great-uncle’s role as a kapo at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and how history has looked at people in his position. “For a long time, I wondered about the ethics of Charles’ actions. Was it wrong to become a kapo? Should he have resisted killing that SS officer, but rather brought him to justice? Context matters, of course. Concentration camp prisoners were not free to make their own decisions. All they had were choiceless choices, between a quick death from hunger, disease, beating, or the gas chamber, or a delayed death, since the protections granted to kapos were, by design, temporary. For one, they knew too much, and according to Nazi ideology, all Jews would have to die in the end anyway. Right after liberation, Charles was a free man, at least in theory, but saying this also ignores the disorder and lawlessness of the immediate postwar period. Could he trust that SS officers would be brought to justice? Could he believe that, as a Jew, he would enjoy citizenship rights and the full protection of the law once again?” [Slate]
💼 Hollywood History:The Los Angeles Times‘ Patt Morrison delves into the evolution of L.A.’s diverse Jewish community, the contributions it made to the city and the challenges it faced. “These early arrivals, primarily German and French Jews, founded institutions, charities and philanthropies whose legacies endure today. The 1854 Hebrew Benevolent Society, likely the city’s first formal charity, aided Jews and non-Jews in need. For the price of a dollar, it purchased three acres in Chavez Ravine for the Home of Peace cemetery. When industry encroached at the turn of the century, the cemetery and its 360 graves were moved to East L.A. The names on the gravestones are a roster and a history of Jewish L.A., its past and its future fortunes: members of the Laemmle family, all three Warner brothers, MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer, at least two of the original Three Stooges and Solomon Lazard — City Council member, head of the Chamber of Commerce and member of the international banking family… From the late 1920s until the Pearl Harbor attack, the Jewish population of L.A. pretty much doubled, to about 130,000. The newer Jewish Angelenos were impelled to immigrate more by persecution, especially in Eastern Europe, than by the opportunities that had drawn earlier Jewish settlers here. They were more ardent in their politics than their predecessors, too, having witnessed how politics could be manipulated by the Nazis, and having been galvanized by the creation of the state of Israel.” [LATimes]
Around the Web
🗳️ House Call: House Democrats will meet this morning to elect new leadership for the next Congress. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who is running unopposed to lead the House delegation, is expected to face little resistance in his bid to succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the party’s next leader in the House.
🔍 Republican Review: The RNC is creating a “Republican Party Advisory Council” — whose members include Kellyanne Conway, Rep.-elect John James and former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters — to review the GOP’s performance during the 2022 midterms and advise the party on strategy.
🍽️ Dinner Dilemma: NBC News looks at how the dinner between former President Donald Trump, Kanye West and Nick Fuentes came to be.
💰 SBF’s Secret Donations: Ousted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, one of the top Democratic donors of the 2022 cycle, said he gave an equal amount to Republican candidates and groups, but through dark-money channels. Bankman-Fried also admitted he has around $100,000 in his bank account, while crisis management experts warn that he is creating greater liability by continuing to tweet and give interviews.
🐦 Twitter Talk: In an hour-long interview, Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of site integrity, detailed the reasons for his departure from the company shortly after its acquisition by Elon Musk.
✈️ Compensation: Jewish passengers who were not allowed to board the second leg of a Lufthansa journey from Frankfurt to Budapest will each receive $20,000 as part of a settlement with the airline, which will also reimburse them for their travel costs.
👨⚖️ Sanctions Violation: The Justice Department charged an Iranian-born American citizen with violating sanctions by attempting to ship oil and gas industry equipment to the Islamic Republic by going through intermediaries in Turkey and the UAE.
🖊️ Last Call: Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid sent a letter to over 50 world leaders urging them to oppose a United Nations vote on an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the prime minister’s office said.
💻 Tech Training: In Defense News, Seth J. Frantzman spotlights a new cyber defense training school in a high-tech park in Beersheba, which prepares young Israelis for army service in technological units.
🏖️ Safe Shores: In an agreement between Iran and Thailand inked last year, Tehran agreed to cease attacks on Israeli targets in the Southeast Asian nation, according to Israeli diplomats.
🕵️♀️ Cross-continental Investigation: A joint investigation by Lighthouse Reports in the Netherlands, Haaretz in Israel and Greece’s Inside Story found that a jet tied to an Israeli spyware tycoon brought surveillance tech from the EU to a Sudanese militia.
🇯🇵 Low Profile: Alibaba’s Jack Ma is reportedly living in Japan and making regular trips to the U.S. and Israel, as he maintains a low profile in the wake of a crackdown on the Chinese elite by Beijing.
😠 Film Fury: Israeli diplomats in India are doing damage control after an Israeli filmmaker criticized a popular Hindi-language movie at a film festival in the Western Indian state of Goa.
🕯️ Remembering: Music executive Charles Koppelman, whose work with artists including Barbra Streisand and the Lovin’ Spoonful helped to propel them to global acclaim, died at 82. Former FTC Chairman Michael Pertschuk, who was responsible for warning labels on cigarettes and required seatbelt use in cars, among other consumer protections, died at 89. Comic Freddie Roman, a staple at comedy clubs in Las Vegas and Atlantic City who got his start in the Borsht Belt, died at 85.
Pic of the Day
The Giba Perelman Trio performs at Kikar Hamusica in Jerusalem.
Tony Award- and Emmy Award-winning actor and singer, Mandel Bruce “Mandy” Patinkin turns 70…
Actor, writer and director, born Allan Stewart Konigsberg, Woody Allen turns 87… D.C.-based real estate developer known for revitalizing historic buildings and neighborhoods, Douglas Jemal turns 80… Film producer, Ellen Letty Konigsberg Aronson turns 79… Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, screenwriter and film director, David Mamet turns 75… Former U.S. Treasury secretary and later president of Harvard University, Larry Summers turns 68… Historian and author of ten books, mostly focused on the U.S. presidency, Michael Beschloss turns 67… National security correspondent for Thomson Reuters, Jonathan S. Landay… Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) turns 67… Award-winning author, journalist, and co-founder of Berkeleyside, a news site about Berkeley, Calif., Frances Dinkelspiel… Film and television producer, Stacey Sher turns 60… Rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom of Teaneck, N.J., and chair of the department of Talmud and Rabbinics at SAR High School, Nathaniel Helfgot turns 59… Actor, comedian and filmmaker, Ben Stiller turns 57… CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, William C. Daroff turns 54… Editor-in-chief at The Forward, Jodi Rudoren turns 52… Member of the Knesset for the Labor Party, he is also the executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, Gilad Kariv turns 49… Former actress and reality television star, Tziporah Atarah Malkah turns 49… Screenwriter, director and producer, Jeremy Garelick turns 47… Staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal covering New York State politics and government, Erica Orden… Retired basketball player, he won two NBA championships with the Lakers and played for two seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Jordan Farmar turns 36… Israeli tennis player, she won eight International Tennis Federation titles during her career, Evgenia Linetskaya turns 36… Student activist against gun violence, Ryan Deitsch turns 23… Steve Albert…