👋 Good Thursday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we talk to Andrew Weinstein about today’s antisemitism summit at the United Nations, and report on yesterday’s hearing with former Twitter officials on Capitol Hill. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Amb. Irit Lillian, Jeff Zients and Rabbi Noah Farkas.
This afternoon, U.S. government officials, Jewish community leaders and representatives of several countries will convene at the U.N. headquarters to hash out potential strategies for combating antisemitism at the global level, at a high-profile event conceived by Andrew Weinstein, public delegate to the United Nations General Assembly.
“Sadly, we’ve seen this incredible rise in antisemitism both domestically and globally,” Weinstein said in a recent interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. “I felt like this was an opportunity for me to use this position and this platform to push back on that, to identify where it exists in the U.N. system and to help promote the Biden administration policy of combating antisemitism.”
Weinstein, who also serves on the advocacy and engagement committee of the Anti-Defamation League, expressed optimism that the discussion could at least tentatively lead to a plan of action for addressing anti-Jewish bigotry rather than simply lingering on the phenomenon itself, as other panels have done.
“I myself have been to a number of events that do a very good job of identifying the rise of antisemitism but don’t necessarily talk about effective strategies that have been utilized,” Weinstein said. The discussion, which will be live-streamed, is designed to encourage participants to arrive at “some ideas and plans” and “to continue U.S. leadership in countering antisemitism,” he explained.
Led by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., the gathering will open with remarks from Doug Emhoff, the Jewish second gentleman, who recently concluded a five-day tour through Poland and Germany to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Sarah Hurwitz, an author and speechwriter.
In a statement to JI, Thomas-Greenfield said Weinstein “played a crucial role in getting this important event organized,” adding that she is “proud to have partnered with” Emhoff as well as U.N. colleagues “for this discussion focused on practical solutions to stop the global rise of antisemitism.”
“The horrible truth is, all around the world, antisemitism is threatening the safety, security and sense of belonging Jewish people deserve,” Thomas-Greenfield said in the statement. “This hate is being stoked not only by extremist groups, but also by mainstream political leaders, popular celebrities and people in positions of power. It’s being furthered both online and in-person, directly and indirectly, covertly and out in the open. We need to stand up to this threat, and stand up for Jewish people everywhere.”
The three panelists will include Melissa Fleming, the U.N. under-secretary-general for global communications; Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism; and Ted Deutch, a former Democratic congressman who now serves as chief executive of the American Jewish Committee.
Weinstein, a lawyer and Democratic fundraiser who lives in Parkland, Fla., has for years maintained close ties to President Joe Biden, and he drew on his connections in the White House to formalize the U.N. event, which has been in the works since last fall. “Back in October, I was, like most of us, extremely troubled and upset about the precipitous rise in antisemitic violence and harassment and other incidents — and was looking for a way to work within the framework of my role to do something,” Weinstein told JI. “I came up with the concept of hosting an event at the United Nations.”
While the meeting isn’t the first to tackle antisemitism at the U.N., Weinstein believes it is a unique opportunity to spotlight a worrying trend in partnership with a “diverse, cross-regional” group of participating member states, including Argentina, Canada, Israel, Morocco and the United Kingdom. Read more here.
Today on the Hill, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) will host the first meeting of the Bagel Caucus, birthed following a Twitter exchange with Reps. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) and Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) last month. JI’s Marc Rod will be there for a bagel and shmear. Punchbowl reports that the bagels will be brought in from an array of appetizing shops and delis around New York City.
Overheard at last night’s Washington Press Club Foundation dinner: “I’m the first Jewish majority leader,” Chuck Schumer said. “But, I am not just Jew-ish like some other New Yorkers in Congress. I’m Jewish! I’m the real thing, baby!”
on the hill
Former top military officials discuss ‘very fraught’ U.S. relationship with Turkey
Former top U.S. military officials discussed difficulties in the U.S.-Turkish relationship during a House Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday, with the ex-officials describing the alliance as increasingly difficult and “hugely frustrating,” Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Friction: “Our relationship with the leadership of Turkey is becoming ever more challenged,” retired Gen. Phillip Breedlove, who served as the NATO supreme allied commander from 2013 to 2016, said yesterday. “I think our cooperation on those issues is going down, somewhat,” he continued, referring to Turkey’s role as a transit country for both refugees and bad actors into Europe, “and I think that’s something at the level of the agencies and at the level of your committee and others, we could use some oversight and help.”
Patience: Former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, who was testifying alongside Breedlove, called the U.S.-Turkey relationship “hugely frustrating” and “very fraught.” He pointed to conflicts between the U.S. and Turkey over Washington’s backing of Kurdish militants in Syria whom Ankara says are terrorists, the Russian-Turkish relationship and Turkey’s obstruction of NATO expansion. “I think we’re going to have to have a degree of strategic patience with the situation,” Petraeus said. “I think we have to be careful not to let short-term frustration result in long-term dislocation of the relationship, [which] would be very, very damaging.”
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill: In remarks at the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s organizing hearing, Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) made reference multiple times to the threat posed by Iran. He remarked that “it’s a pretty hot time right now, when you look at Russia, China, Iran and North Korea,” in a discussion about the committee’s role in declaring war, adding, “hopefully we will not have to use those in this Congress.” McCaul also claimed that Iran’s supreme leader and other foreign dictators have “become so emboldened” in response to President Joe Biden’s election and, in particular, the Afghanistan withdrawal.
At oversight hearing, Moskowitz calls out rising antisemitism on Twitter under Musk
Freshman Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) — brandishing posters displaying an antisemitic meme directed at him and a now-infamous antisemitic tweet by rapper Ye — lambasted spiking antisemitism on Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform at a House Oversight Committee hearing yesterday featuring former Twitter executives, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Moskowitz vs Musk: “Let’s talk about ‘God bless Elon Musk,’” Moskowitz said, referencing comments from multiple GOP colleagues earlier in the hearing. He held up posters displaying a tweet from Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, in which the artist announced he was going “death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE,” and an antisemitic tweet Moskowitz said was directed at himself, which included a meme of white nationalist provocateur Nick Fuentes. Moskowitz said he is regularly on the receiving end of antisemitic tweets. “God bless the guy who is allowing Nazis and antisemitism to [permeate] Twitter? There’s been a 66% increase in antisemitism on Twitter since Elon Musk ‘set it free,’” he continued, referencing Anti-Defamation League data showing a precipitous rise in anti-Jewish rhetoric on the platform since Musk took over last October.
Too close for comfort: The Florida congressman also criticized what he characterized as some Republicans’ coziness with Nazis and antisemites. “It’s not fair to say all conservatives are Nazis… but your lord and savior Donald Trump is having tea and dinner with them at Mar-a-Lago,” Moskowitz said, referencing the former president’s dinner with Ye and Fuentes in November. “No, not all Republicans are Nazis, but I gotta tell you, Nazis seem really comfortable with Donald Trump.”
Lack of action: Former Twitter employee Anika Collier Navaroli, who appeared as a witness for Democrats, discussed what she said was a reluctance among Twitter management to take action against violent rhetoric on the site. Navaroli also testified that in the wake of the U.S.’s 2020 killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a decision Trump discussed on Twitter, Twitter management “literally instructed me and my team to make sure that World War III did not start on the platform.”
$4 million from Diane & Guilford Glazer Foundation to Los Angeles federation to strengthen civic engagement
In the most comprehensive and far-reaching collaboration between the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and one of its funders, the Diane & Guilford Glazer Foundation has committed $4 million over the next three years for programming to work with young adults, care for Holocaust survivors and expand the federation’s work in the wider L.A. community, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther D. Kustanowitz has learned.
Changing times: Rabbi Noah Farkas, president and CEO of the L.A. federation, explained that in Los Angeles, organizations create programs that compete with each other. “Everyone seems to want to create their own project.” But, he said, there’s a “generational shift” underway in the Jewish community. “Our generation feels that collaboration is the future, not competition, and that we have to find synergy points, because [the old] model doesn’t just cost too much money, it’s too inefficient. It drives prices up and creates animus in the community,” Farkas noted.
Long-standing relationship: The L.A. federation has had a relationship with the Glazer Foundation for more than two decades, but now is an opportunity to “reenvision and to create a federation that really serves and leverages not only our infrastructure, but also how we want to show up in the world,” said the foundation’s vice president of community engagement, Joanna Mendelson.
Community involvement: Farkas added that the grant will help the federation’s Community Engagement initiative — which runs community service days as well as the cohort-based Rautenberg New Leaders Project (NLP) for young adults, among other programs — to increase the number of Jews engaged in civic life and advance partnerships with civic and religious leaders across the region. One concrete way that the funding will extend the federation’s reach is the increase in the number of service days, in which people volunteer to help the community in various capacities. In 2022, the federation offered six service days and reached about 4,000 people; in 2023, it has scheduled 18 service days.
🇫🇷 Borne Identity: The New York Times’ Catherine Porter and Aurelien Breeden spotlight the family history of French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, whose father survived Auschwitz but died by suicide when Borne was a child. “But many of the details of her own story are new even to her — emerging only now on occasion as journalists unearth them, Ms. Borne acknowledged in a recent interview in her gold-trimmed office before setting off for the official visit to the shelter. Even her friends say she rarely talks about her traumatic past, so thoroughly has she buried it. ‘It’s a personal story that’s quite painful,’ Ms. Borne explained. But, she added, ‘It’s also a history that gives me strength — enormous strength.’ When she does raise it, it is not through the individualistic lens of perseverance through adversity, but a communal one of how she represents the French social safety net and meritocratic ideal.” [NYTimes]
🏦 Money Matters: The Financial Times’ Harriet Agnew, Arash Massoudi and Ivan Levingston explore the recent decision by the Rothschild family to take its eponymous company private. “Delisting Rothschild & Co would buck a trend among its boutique investment banking peers — such as Evercore, Lazard and PJT Partners — which have all floated in the US and followed in the footsteps of Goldman Sachs’s landmark initial public offering in 1999. But Rothschild & Co, part of a dynasty started in the Frankfurt Jewish ghetto in the 18th century, never did bear the hallmarks of a typical public company. The institution — which counts Emmanuel Macron, president of France, British politician Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Wilbur Ross, who is known on Wall Street as the ‘king of bankruptcy,’ among its alumni — was effectively private already in all but annual results.” [FT]
Around the Web
🥯 Bagel Bio: White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients — a co-owner of D.C.’s Call Your Mother bagel shops — took over the Twitter account that had belonged to his predecessor, Ron Klain, changing the bio to add “bagel enthusiast.”
🛂 On the Hill: Reps. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Claudia Tenney (R-NY) and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) reintroduced legislation aiming to prevent Iranian officials and their families from entering the U.S.
🏥 Under Observation: Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who suffered a stroke in May, was admitted to a Washington hospital last night after experiencing light-headedness.
🏢 Salesforce Stake: The Wall Street Journal reports that Dan Loeb’s Third Point has a stake in Salesforce.
🏰 Disney Shake-up: Disney will cut 7,000 jobs from its workforce and slash $5.5 billion in costs as part of a massive restructuring.
🕍 DA Decision: The San Francisco district attorney’s office is filing hate crime felony charges against the man accused of firing blanks inside a local synagogue last week.
🗞️ Press Apology: The editor of the Louisville Courier-Journalapologized for the publication of a recent op-ed that said, “Jews do not have a monopoly on persecution and atrocities,” and committed to meeting with local Jewish leaders and holding a forum to discuss antisemitism later this year.
🎞️ Coming Soon: Hulu released the trailer for Mel Brooks’ upcoming “History of the World, Part II.”
🥋 Film First: WestEnd Films acquired the rights to Guy Nattiv and Zar Amir Ebrahimi’s film “Untitled Judo,” the first feature film to be co-directed by an Israeli and an Iranian.
🌞 Phoenix Rising: The Brooklyn Nets will trade Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns, in a move announced a day after the NBA’s board of governors approved the Arizona team’s sale to Mat Ishbia.
🏀 Career Milestone: Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija hit 1,000 career rebounds this week.
🚓 Press Problem: NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing while covering a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
🕍 Time Capsule: Archeologists in Spain confirmed that a 14th-century building in the Andalucian city of Utrera was a medieval synagogue, and had survived the centuries through consistent use as a hospital, children’s home and bar, among other things.
💸 It’s the Economy…: Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat called on tech chiefs to separate the country’s economy from debates over political reforms.
✡️ Earthquake Victims: Israeli rescuers on the ground in Turkey discovered the bodies of Antakya Jewish community head Saul Cenudioglu and his wife, Fortuna.
🇹🇷 On the Ground: The Times of Israelinterviews Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Irit Lillian, who arrived in the country weeks ago following a thaw in Turkish-Israeli tensions, about the response to this week’s deadly earthquakes.
🙏 New Legislation: Israel’s Shas party introduced a bill that would prohibit egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall, and would forbid women from wearing prayer shawls at the site, or risk facing six months in jail or a 10,000 NIS fine.
🚀 Clear Message: Photos distributed by Iran’s Tasnim news agency show a ballistic missile emblazoned with the words “Death to Israel” written in Hebrew along its side.
📺 Talking from Tehran: CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh about the ongoing protests in the Islamic republic and a hunger strike being undertaken by Iranian dissident Farhad Meysami.
Pic of the Day
An injured sea turtle is treated at a rescue center at the Mikhmoret moshav in central Israel this week following heavy rains and wind that injured wildlife in the area.
Offensive tackle for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, Jake Curhan turns 25…
Grammy Award-winning songwriter of over 150 hits, Barry Mann turns 84… Singer-songwriter, she wrote 118 songs that made it to the Top 100 between 1955 and 1999 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Carole King (born Carol Klein) turns 81… Professor of economics at Columbia University and Nobel laureate in 2001, Joseph Stiglitz turns 80… Three-time Tony Award- and two-time Emmy Award-winning actress, Judith Light turns 74… Professor of history and modern Jewish studies at UCSD, Deborah Hertz turns 74… Israeli singer mostly in the Mizrahi music tradition, he has released over 30 albums, Shimi Tavori turns 70… Former governor of Virginia, chair of the DNC, chair of two Clinton presidential campaigns (Bill’s in 1996, Hillary’s in 2008), Terry McAuliffe, a/k/a “the Macker,” turns 66… Creator of the HBO series “The Wire” and NBC’s series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” he’s an alum of the University of Maryland’s Diamondback, David Simon turns 63… Theoretical physics professor at Columbia University, author of multiple books including “Icarus at the Edge of Time,” Brian Greene turns 60… Isaac Lieberman… Managing director with the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, he was the lieutenant governor and then attorney general of Delaware, Matthew P. Denn turns 57… Play-by-play announcer for ESPN’s men’s college basketball and for the Toronto Blue Jays, Dan Shulman turns 56… British broadcasting executive who is currently chief content officer at the U.K.’s Channel 4, Ian Katz turns 55… President of the U.S. Education portfolio at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Julie Mikuta… Assistant adjunct professor of journalism at UCLA, Abigail Helaine “Abbe” Goldman turns 53… Managing director of Tiedemann Wealth Management, Jeffrey L. Zlot… Charleston, S.C., resident, Ellen Miriam Brandwein… Television and film actress, Margarita Levieva turns 43… Member of the Minnesota State Senate, Jeremy R. Miller turns 40… Director of public policy and strategy for the Christians United for Israel Action Fund, Boris Zilberman… CEO of The Algemeiner, Jason Pressberg… Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (D-182) starting five weeks ago, Benjamin R. Waxman turns 38… Principal of Blue Zone Partners, Thomas Szold… Brazilian chess Grandmaster, André Diamant turns 33… Director at Real Chemistry, Carly Abenstein… Israeli judoka, he competed for Israel at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Baruch Shmailov turns 29…