👋 Good Wednesday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we look at Rep. Dean Phillips’ bid for chair of the HFAC Mideast subcommittee, and talk to Floridians who noshed with former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan yesterday during a fundraising trip to the Sunshine State. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Rep. Seth Magaziner, Barbra Streisand and Mat Ishbia.
President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address last night to a rowdy joint session of Congress in a speech that was punctuated by frequent shouted interjections and jeers from Republicans and enthusiastic support from Democrats.
Biden’s speech touched little on foreign policy, focusing primarily on domestic policy and the economy in particular. In a brief mention, Biden said that “we must give hate and extremism in any form no safe harbor.” The president also said that “we must finally hold social media companies accountable for the experiment they are running on our children for profit.”
Rep. George Santos (R-NY) appeared to be angling for a handshake with the president as he entered the chamber — securing a plum spot near the center aisle of the chamber — but was boxed out by a fellow Republican and did not attempt to reach in for handshake. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) secured a middle seat in the back row of the chamber, making him one of the first lawmakers to greet Biden as he entered.
Freshman New York Republican Reps. Marc Molinaro and Nick LaLota were among the handful of lawmakers who stuck around to chat with Biden after the speech. They sat in a row with other freshmen New York Republicans during the speech. That group was among the most frequent to offer Biden polite applause from the Republican side during the 72-minute speech (beating Biden’s previous SOTU speech, which clocked in at just over an hour, by about 11 minutes).
Santos also had a tense confrontation with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who told reporters after the speech that Santos is “a sick puppy” and an “embarrassment,” and that he “certainly shouldn’t be in the aisle trying to shake the hand of the president of the United States and dignitaries coming in.” Romney added that he hopes Santos will be expelled and that he was disappointed that House Republican leadership hasn’t pushed Santos to resign.
Fresh off last night’s SOTU, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — who could be seen at times shushing GOP colleagues and shaking his head in response to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) jeers during last night’s address — will be the man of the hour tonight at a dinner fundraiser in Washington hosted by lobbyist Jeff Miller.
Larry Hogan stops by a Jewish deli in Florida
Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan met with Jewish community leaders at a Miami-area deli on Tuesday during a swing through Florida to raise money ahead of a possible 2024 presidential run, reports Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch. Earlier in the day Hogan had breakfast with former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).
Aventura adventure: “Our allies, including Israel, need a strong and united America leading the world,” Hogan, a Republican, tweeted after the event, which took place at Mo’s Bagels & Deli in heavily Jewish Aventura, just north of Miami. Attendees at the event included Aventura Mayor Howard Weinberg and other local officials and Jewish leaders. Weinberg, a Democrat, told JI that Hogan “comes off as genuine and thoughtful” but said he “doubt[s] Governor Hogan would do well in a Republican primary.”
Pro-Israel promotion: “He talked about his strong support for Israel and standing [against] the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement,” David Weinman, executive director of An America United, an advocacy organization affiliated with Hogan, told JI. Hogan addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition’s November conference in Las Vegas.
2024 vibes: Hogan said last week that he was giving “very serious consideration” to running for president in 2024. The two-term Maryland governor, whose term ended in January, is a prominent critic of former President Donald Trump, and the moderate Republican maintained high approval ratings in the heavily Democratic state.
On the menu: At Mo’s, Hogan ordered “a delicious corned beef sandwich,” according to Weinman.
Dean Phillips pursuing Middle East subcommittee leadership
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) is seeking the top Democratic slot on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia subcommittee in a vote that is expected to take place later today. Phillips’ spokesperson, Bryan Doyle, confirmed his candidacy for the ranking member position to Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod yesterday. Phillips does not have any publicly known competition for the spot.
Pro-Israel profile:Phillips is a reliable supporter of initiatives from the moderate, pro-Israel wing of the Democratic Caucus supporting Israel and combating antisemitism. He was also among the Jewish Democrats named by former subcommittee chair Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) as allies at the time of his retirement from Congress, alongside colleagues including Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ).
History: Late last year, Phillips led a letter urging the administration to work to defund the United Nations’ investigation of Israel and was part of a group that in 2021 pressed Democratic leadership for a vote on funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. He’s also been a regular signatory to legislation and letters on issues such as promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship, condemning antisemitism, criticizing Amnesty International’s positions on Israel and supporting the Abraham Accords. Phillips was also among a group of moderate Democrats who expressed early concerns about the Biden administration’s efforts to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. He told JI in 2019 that he supported portions of the original nuclear deal, but was concerned by the sunset clauses.
Shifting positions:Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who was elected to take over as the subcommittee chair following Deutch’s retirement last year, will continue on as the top Democrat on a Judiciary subcommittee, rather than the Middle East subcommittee. Manning, who was the vice chair of the subcommittee in the previous Congress, is pursuing the vice ranking member position for the full committee, instead of the subcommittee ranking membership, spokesperson Hailey Barringer told JI yesterday.
Elsewhere on the Hill: Rep. Seth Magaziner (D-RI) was named yesterday as the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee’s Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement and Intelligence subcommittee, previously led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI). Magaziner previously discussed with JI his personal experiences with antisemitic bigotry as a child.
on the hill
Lawmakers call for crackdown on Iranian supply chains following drone revelations
Following revelations that Iranian-made drones used by Russia in Ukraine contained parts manufactured in the U.S., a bipartisan group of more than 60 lawmakers is urging the Biden administration to “develop a coordinated, whole-of-government approach” to cracking down on Iran’s supply chains, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Send and receive: Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), August Pfluger (R-TX), Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Don Bacon (R-NE) led 57 colleagues on a letter on Monday addressed to President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo yesterday on the subject.
Crackdown: The legislators call on the administration to disrupt Iranian supply chains, shutter shell companies used to dodge sanctions and “pressure allies to crack down” on suppliers in Europe and Asia, noting that the signatories are “deeply concerned” by the revelations about the drones. “We understand that this process is already underway, at least in part, and request a timely briefing on any progress that has been made and plans going forward,” the letter continues. It calls new sanctions targeting the Iranian drones provided to Russia, which were announced on Jan. 6, “a small but promising first step in what must become a concentrated, sustained effort.”
Broader impacts: “Iran’s fleet of drones have far-reaching implications beyond the war against Ukraine. These weapons provide Iran and its proxies with yet another tool to project power in the region, threatening our troops, key allies, and freedom of navigation,” the lawmakers wrote. “We appreciate your attention to this important issue. Immediate action is necessary not only to disrupt Iran’s burgeoning relationship with Russia, but also to blunt Iran’s ability to undermine international law, project power across the Middle East, and threaten U.S. servicemembers.”
🇷🇺 Russian Roulette: For CNN, Anshel Pfeffer examines Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shifting relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “‘Netanyahu has two immediate reasons for changing policy and supporting Ukraine,’ a former Israeli intelligence officer who was deeply involved in Israel’s military relationship with Russia, told me. ‘First, Russia has greatly diluted its forces in Syria as they were needed in Ukraine. The threat to Israel from them is now negligible,’ the officer said. ‘Second, Russia is now using Iranian drones and missiles on the battlefield and Israel now has a valuable opportunity to supply Ukraine with defense systems so we can see how well they do in an actual war. One day we may have to face the same Iranian weapons,’ the officer added. An Israeli diplomat adds another reason why Netanyahu would consider supporting Ukraine more forcefully. Unlike the Bennett-Lapid government, his new coalition of far-right and ultra-religious parties is regarded with suspicion by the Biden administration that has already voiced its displeasure with the new government’s plans for a legal overhaul, which drastically weaken the powers and independence of Israel’s supreme court… An Israeli shift toward Kyiv could be Netanyahu’s best hope of currying favor with Washington” [CNN]
👳♀️ Omar’s Opportunity: The Wall Street Journal’s Elliot Kaufman suggests that Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee provides the Minnesota legislator an opportunity to focus on rebuilding relationships in her district, where she eked out a primary win in the face of plummeting support from constituents. “Local politics have wounded Ms. Omar more gravely than any of her outlandish political statements ever did. Who remembers her theories about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s support for Donald Trump? ‘They got to him, he is compromised!’ she tweeted, then claimed on CNN that it ‘has to do with his funding,’ before backing down after the host asked for evidence. Even her equation of American ‘atrocities’ with those of the Taliban was easily papered over… It’s her worldview. It can’t be that most Americans support Israel because they think it’s right, and that politicians follow suit; everyone is bought off, compromised. In 2019 Ms. Omar condemned U.S. support for Venezuela’s opposition movement as offered ‘on behalf of multinational corporate interests.’ She also shared a video by a 9/11 truther arguing that President Trump was a ‘gift to the war machine.’ Those are the kind of dorm-room insights we will now miss on the Foreign Affairs Committee.” [WSJ]
🇮🇷 Policy Pivot: In Roll Call, Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) and JINSA’s Michael Makovsky call on the Biden administration to form and implement a new Iran strategy. “That strategy should recognize the same basic fact that the millions of Iranian people protesting in the streets have now come to accept. There can be no accommodation, no agreement and no peace so long as this regime remains in power. There is no reform to the Islamic Republic’s draconian laws that will be acceptable to Iranians who have lived oppressed for more than four decades. And there is no deal or financial incentive that will make this regime a peaceful international actor. A strategy to stop Iran’s nuclear program and regional aggression must seek to give the Iranian people what they have been demanding and dying for: an end to this tyrannical regime and a new, free republic.” [RollCall]
🏺 Collector’s Conscience: The New York Times’ Catherine Hickley spotlights the efforts of a Swiss woman to determine what items in the collection of her late father, Swiss real estate magnate Bruno Stefanini, may have been looted by the Nazis. “When it comes to public — as opposed to private — collections, governments in France, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria have set up independent commissions to evaluate claims. Switzerland does not have such a panel, though its national parliament last year urged the government to create one. [Bettina] Stefanini said she hopes [former Swiss culture ministry official Andrea] Raschèr’s new panel will encourage open discussion in Switzerland. ‘We want to be courageous and talk about things that are not talked about,’ she said. ‘If we push the themes of provenance and ownership, then we strengthen that discourse around museums.’ The provenance research is to be published on the foundation’s website. So far the researchers have conducted a preliminary review of works deemed most likely to have been looted from Jewish owners or sold as a result of Nazi persecution. The review found six out of 93 that raised suspicions and require closer examination, though the foundation has not released the names of the individual works.” [NYTimes]
🔥 Bubbling Under: In Foreign Affairs, Brookings’ Daniel Byman considers the possibility of a third intifada, amid an uptick in violence and rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. “The most realistic hope is simply crisis management, with the United States, Jordan, and other interested parties regularly pressing both sides not to escalate. The tentative truce with Hamas should be preserved if possible, with Israel continuing to ease conditions in Gaza if Hamas keeps its guns holstered. Israel and the United States should also engage with Palestinians outside Abbas’s coterie in preparation for his departure. Given the success of the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements between Israel and several Arab countries, the United States should enlist Arab governments to press the PA and Hamas if violence appears to be growing.” [ForeignAffairs]
Around the Web
👨 Back Again? Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) teased a political comeback in his first public remarks since losing New York’s gubernatorial election in November, saying that a “reentry to government” could happen “at some point.”
🛂 Border Battle:The New York Timesspotlights the challenges facing Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as House Republicans consider impeaching him over the Biden administration’s immigration policies.
🏑 Shift Change: Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh will depart the Biden administration to serve as executive director of the NHL Players’ Association.
📰 Media Matters: Jimmy Finkelstein, who sold The Hill in August, is looking to raise money for a new Florida-based media entity that will cover news, politics, sports and entertainment across the country.
🎙️ Mic Moment: Joe Rogan is under fire — including from Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) — for making an antisemitic comment in which the podcast host compared Jewish people’s relationship with money to that of Italians and pizza and defended a previous antisemitic comment by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
🦅 At Your Door: The Philadelphia-based Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History is selling Eagles mezuzot ahead of the hometown football team’s upcoming Super Bowl appearance.
🏀 Phoenix Rising: The NBA board of governors unanimously approved Mat Ishbia’s purchase of the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Mercury, in a deal that valued the teams at $4 billion.
📗 The Way She Is: Barbra Streisand will release her first memoir, a 1,040-page tome titled My Name is Barbra, on Nov. 7.
📺 Reflecting on Fleishman:The Cut’s Caitlin Moscatello looks at how viewers who tuned into the TV adaptation of Fleishman Is in Trouble are reassessing their relationships with time, money and family.
📱 Control X: After deleting an Instagram post in which he apologized for sharing antisemitic content online, Kyrie Irving, who was recently traded to the Dallas Mavericks, told reporters that he “delete[s] things all the time and it’s no disrespect to anyone in the community. Just living my life.”
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: The U.K.’s Board of Deputies and a group of MPs called on GB News to act in the wake of several instances in which on-air broadcasters have spread antisemitic conspiracy theories.
🇮🇱🇵🇱 Warming Ties: Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen spoke with his Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Rau, the first time in more than two years that foreign ministers from the countries have spoken.
🚁 Rescue Operation: IDF search and rescue teams pulled at least four Turkish civilians from under the rubble overnight in areas in southeastern Turkey hit by the deadly earthquake that has killed more than 11,000 people.
🛢️ Growing Alliance: At least 16 ships in Iran’s “ghost fleet” have been carrying Russian oil for the last two months, as ties between Tehran and Moscow continue to deepen amid intensifying global isolation.
➡️ Transition: Kate Gould, formerly the deputy chief of staff and advisor on national security and human rights to Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), is joining the State Department as lead foreign affairs officer covering the UAE for Foggy Bottom’s Bureau of Democracy, Labor and Human Rights. (h/t NatSec Daily)
Pic of the Day
Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) speaks outside of the Capitol yesterday alongside Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and a group of voters from New York’s 3rd Congressional District, all of whom are calling for Rep. George Santos’ (R-NY) removal from Congress.
Popular Israeli musician, singer and songwriter, Eviatar Banai turns 50…
Boston attorney, author and podcast host, his 2013 book on Jews and baseball was turned into the 2016 play “Swing, Schmendrick, Swing,” Larry Ruttman turns 92… Broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor of ABC’s “Nightline” from its inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005, five-time Emmy Award winner, Ted Koppel turns 83… Stage, television and film actor, stand-up comedian and singer, Robert Klein turns 81… Chair of the Morris A. Hazan Family Foundation, Lovee Arum turns 79… Therapist and life coach based in Wake County, N.C., Sheila Kay… Columbus, Ohio-born attorney and president of Schottenstein Legal Services, James Mark Schottenstein turns 76… Former CEO of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, now an executive coach and nonprofit consultant in Venice, Fla., Rodney Margolis… Town and Village Justice in Red Hook, N.Y., Judge Jonah Triebwasser turns 73… CEO of NYC-based Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation, Charles S. Cohen turns 71… Active private investor and business operator, Marc Lauren Abramowitz turns 70… President of NYC-based BlackRock, a past chair of the board of UJA-Federation of New York, Robert S. Kapito turns 66… Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Brigadier General Eyal Moshe Karim turns 66… Senior director of synagogue affiliations and operations for United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Barry S. Mael… Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hudson Institute, Sarah May Stern… British businessman and chairman of the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur since 2001, Daniel Levy turns 61… Former member of the Knesset for the Jewish Home and New Right parties, Shulamit “Shuli” Mualem-Rafaeli turns 58… Chairman of Andell Inc., a private investment firm and family office, Andrew Hauptman turns 54… Attorney, rabbi and New Jersey political consultant, Benjamin G. Kelsen… Member of the Knesset for the Labor party until 2021, he is now director-general of the Israeli office of the UJA-Federation of New York, Itzik Shmuli turns 43… Founder of DC-based JTR Strategies, she is the former head of aviation and international affairs at USDOT under President Obama, Jenny Thalheimer Rosenberg… Acting general counsel for the Inspector General at USAID, Adam Kaplan… Partner at Sidley Austin, he was previously chief of staff to then Attorney General Bill Barr, William Ranney Levi… Retired professional ice hockey center for five NHL teams, now a real estate executive, Trevor Smith turns 38… Synchronized swimmer on behalf of Israel at the 2004 Olympics, 2008 Olympics and 2012 Olympics, Inna Yoffe turns 35… Former clerk on the Ninth Circuit and now a staff attorney at Public Justice, Alexandra Brodsky… Assistant director of legislative and regulatory policy at EY, Celia Glassman… Canadian jazz-pop singer-songwriter, who performed at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Nicole “Nikki” Rachel Yanofsky turns 29… Pitcher in the Oakland Athletics organization, he was on Team Israel for the 2020 Olympics, Jake Layton Fishman turns 28… J.D. candidate in the class of 2023 at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Samantha Grosinger… Director of global brand and marketing at Olami, Michal Nordmann…