👋 Good Wednesday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff we interview Virginia Del. Eileen Filler-Corn about her political prospects, and talk to Israeli Knesset Member Idan Roll, who was just named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Israeli Ambassador Mike Herzog, Daniel Kramer and Bernard-Henri Lèvy.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken will be a frequent sight on Capitol Hill this week, where he’s set to testify this morning before the Senate Appropriations Committee and this afternoon before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss the State Department’s budget request.
Blinken will be back on the Hill on Thursday for hearings with the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Appropriations Committee’s State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee.
Also on Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley will testify before House Appropriations, and CENTCOM Commander Erik Kurilla will testify before the House Armed Services Committee.
The Biden administration summoned Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Mike Herzog yesterday, in a rare move made in light of an Israeli law passed early Tuesday morning repealing the 2005 Israeli disengagement from the northern West Bank.
A readout of Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman’s meeting with Herzog said the former “conveyed U.S. concern regarding legislation passed by the Israeli Knesset rescinding important aspects of the 2005 Disengagement Law, including the prohibition on establishing settlements in the northern West Bank. They also discussed the importance of all parties refraining from actions or rhetoric that could further inflame tensions leading into the Ramadan, Passover, and Easter holidays.”
State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said yesterday that the law was “provocative and counterproductive” and violated prior commitments made by Israel to the U.S.
Eileen Filler-Corn, exiting Va. Statehouse, eyes the governor’s mansion
When Virginia Del. Eileen Filler-Corn announced this month that she would not run for reelection to the House of Delegates after 14 years, political observers in Richmond and Washington quickly began to wonder about her next move. After two years as Virginia’s House speaker — the first woman and first Jewish person to hold that role — Filler-Corn was ousted last year as the House Democratic leader by her colleagues. But in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch, Filler-Corn insisted she isn’t letting the setback keep her out of politics. In fact, it’s fuelling her to look even higher.
Bigger and better: “You always want your next move to be at least lateral, if not, you know, bigger and better,” she said on Monday. “I realize, obviously, that until we control the executive branch as well, back to having all three [bodies], we would not have the opportunity to move Virginia forward.” Filler-Corn, known for being a prolific Democratic fundraiser, has been talking to donors and supporters as she considers her political future. A run for governor in 2025 is a strong possibility.
Exploratory era: “I have definitely been letting everyone know that I’m interested in exploring it,” she said. Two major election cycles, including this year’s legislative elections in Virginia, still have to take place before Virginia’s next gubernatorial race. But that hasn’t stopped Filler-Corn and other possible contenders, including Richmond’s Democratic mayor, Levar Stoney, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and former Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), from starting to raise money and jockey for political connections.
Antisemitism allies: A frequent critic of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Filler-Corn found herself aligned with him during this year’s legislative session on a number of bills related to antisemitism. The state Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, initially voted down a bill that would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism. The bill was supported by a coalition of Jewish communal organizations in Virginia and ultimately passed the General Assembly, but it had some Democratic opposition. “I was surprised,” Filler-Corn acknowledged, “knowing that the IHRA definition was widely respected and used throughout state governments, countries, organizations throughout, that there was still pushback by some in the Democratic caucus, and even some of Jewish faith.”
Israel’s former deputy foreign minister named a World Economic Forum Young Leader
Israeli Knesset Member Idan Roll has been named as one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023. A former deputy foreign minister who served in the previous government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, Roll said he would use the appointment to the prestigious program to push forward projects, especially in the tech world, that will enhance Israel’s diplomacy and create new diplomatic opportunities for the Jewish state. “I have all sorts of plans for the program,” Roll, 38, told Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash in an interview. “I have my orientation later this month. It takes time to get to know the system, but like many other programs it is up to the individual to make something meaningful out of this opportunity.”
Reaching out: “Just by having access to so many leading people in prominent fields, I don’t see how you can’t make something meaningful out of this opportunity,” he added. “Looking at the list of other participants and of alumni there is a lot of potential and I will get to reach out to people from countries that I would not usually get to meet.”
One of a kind: Roll is the only Israeli out of the 100 young political leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers and activists selected for the program. Announced earlier this month, the Young Global Leaders Class of 2023 will serve for a three-year term and be given access to a range of executive education courses, learning journeys and opportunities to collaborate with their peers, helping them to make an even more significant impact on society.
Peer group: Others named to this year’s class include Paolo Petrocelli, the head of the Dubai Opera; Noura Bint Faisal Al Saud, the founder and managing director of Saudi Arabia’s Global Culture House; Khaled Bin Braik, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the UAE; Moath Alnaeem, the cofounder and chief investment officer of Alpha Capital in Saudi Arabia; Mohamed Almaraj, the CEO of Bahrain’s ila Bank; Wafa Al Obaidat, the CEO of Obai and Hill in Bahrain; Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the president and CEO of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators; Saudi Vice Minister for Tourism Haifa Bint Mohammed Al Saud; and UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
eat like a duke
Meet the Jewish restaurateur behind D.C.’s East London-style eateries
Before he opened the Dupont Circle restaurant that would create what has consistently been named the best burger in the nation’s capital, Daniel Kramer was trying — and failing — to make it in politics, he told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch in a recent interview. The Los Angeles native came to Washington in 2008, eager to get a toehold in the Democratic political world. Already several years out of college, the Tufts University alum called it quits after gigs as an intern and low-paid legislative fellow. For reasons that are still not totally clear, even to Kramer himself, he decided to open a restaurant instead.
Success story: “I had no idea what I was doing,” Kramer admitted. Whatever he did ended up working: Last month, he opened his sixth full-service restaurant in Washington, a Navy Yard location of his popular Duke’s Grocery gastropub. He also owns a Korean barbecue restaurant and a crab shack.
Proper eating: The new restaurant, located a block away from Nationals Park, is “serving all your Duke’s classics,” Kramer said, just with more beers on tap and lots of TVs to show sports games. (Duke’s also has locations in Foggy Bottom and Woodley Park, along with a small outpost in the British embassy). Duke’s Proper Burger (two beef patties with gouda, house-made pickles, charred red onion, sweet chili sauce and aioli on a brioche bun) carries a registered trademark, and the East London-inspired restaurant’s mac and cheese has a cult following.
Plot twist: Kramer is not a chef, and he did not anticipate a career in hospitality, previous stints as a pizza delivery driver and bartender notwithstanding. “In terms of having it be a career, that was not something I contemplated as a child, and was not something I contemplated when I moved to Washington,” he explained. Instead, Kramer points to Jewish holidays and family meals as the basis for his love of food and all things culinary.
Holiday feasts: “Like many Jews, and really people of all faiths, there are certain meals or dishes that remind you of your family, of your heritage, or your religion. And I could list off a dozen dishes that made me think of my parents and my grandparents,” he said. “Like many Jewish families, my family definitely has the best latke recipe ever, anywhere. The way that we do our brisket, roast chicken, all these things. Our matzah brei is better than anybody else’s matzah brei.” (“To be clear,” Kramer added, “I am saying these things facetiously.”)
🇮🇱⚖️ BHL Weighs In: In Tablet magazine, French philosopher and author Bernard-Henri Lèvy explains his concerns over legislation proposed by Israeli government ministers. “Here, we see a minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who wishes to install the death penalty, thereby showing his ignorance of elementary Talmudic principles (‘Bloody is the Sanhedrin that passes a death sentence once every 70 years’). Here we have a representative, chair of the National Security Commission, who proposes criminal immunity for active soldiers, thereby insulting the very idea of Tohar HaNeshek, the purity of arms, which is the honor of the men and women of the IDF, and which they have never — as I’ve witnessed from the first Lebanese war to the conflict with Hamas —accepted to renounce. And there is the minister Bezalel Smotrich, whose hatred of the LGBT community, Arab citizens, and secular Jews knows no bounds (without mentioning his desire to ‘wipe out’ the Palestinian village of Huwara, where a terrorist had assassinated two civilians and where punitive expeditions had already ransacked the place). And now, as I write, there is the desire to destroy the keystone of the political system, the Supreme Court.” [Tablet]
🤑 Bloomberg’s Big Bucks: The New York Times’ Nicholas Fandos looks into American Opportunity, an organization funded in part by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and which is running a campaign backing New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. “The emerging alliance between Mr. Bloomberg, a business leader and three-term mayor, and Ms. Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat still struggling to forge a connection with New York voters, could be as significant as it is unforeseen. Though he has become one of the Democrats’ most prolific donors nationally, Mr. Bloomberg did not open his wallet for Ms. Hochul’s 2022 campaign, and sat out some of the state’s most pressing recent policy disputes. Now, he has given $5 million in seed money to help fund a blitz of television advertising, social media influence campaigns and rounds of mailers targeting individual lawmakers as they grapple with Ms. Hochul over the shape of the budget, according to two people briefed on his giving.” [NYTimes]
⏸️ Plea for Pause: In the Wall Street Journal, William Galston calls on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt judicial reform efforts and engage in negotiations with opposition parties. “The stakes of this conflict are very high. Israel’s declaration of independence, which established the state, promises to ensure “‘complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex’ and to guarantee ‘freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture.’ These commitments distinguish a liberal democracy from pure majoritarianism, which can run roughshod over the rights of individuals and minorities. But they are not self-executing. America’s founders understood that without institutional support, verbal guarantees — whether the separation of powers or a bill of rights — would be, in the words of James Madison, mere ‘parchment barriers.’” [WSJ]
Around the Web
Ξ Cashback: Federal prosecutors are calling on lawmakers who received political donations from FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to return the money to U.S. marshals.
✡️ Keystone Caucus: Pennsylvania state Rep. Dan Franke and state Sen. Judy Schwank launched the Keystone State’s first Jewish Legislative Caucus, which has already drawn 20 members.
🏢 Open for Biz: Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) announced the opening of Zeldin Strategies, his new corporate consulting firm.
🚗 Workin’ at the Car Wash: New York Attorney General Letitia James cautioned Jewish motorists planning to have their cars washed ahead of Passover, warning of price-gouging schemes in some heavily Jewish areas.
🍑 Peach State Politics:Legislation that would have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism failed after a Republican state senator attempted to change the bill’s language.
🦊 Fox in Court: In a new lawsuit, a Fox News producer alleges that she and other Jewish employees were subject to discrimination because of their religion, citing an incident in which a “Tucker Carlson Tonight” producer mocked a Jewish staffer.
🇮🇶 Standing by His Stance: Twenty years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, The New York Times’ Bret Stephens pens an op-ed about why he doesn’t regret his original support for the war.
🇮🇷 Desperate Measures: Wiredlooks into increasingly drastic cyber tactics employed by the Iranian regime amid the ongoing protests against it.
👮 Bad Cops: The city of Torrance, Calif., paid a man $750,000 after two police officers allegedly vandalized his car with a swastika in 2020.
🤝 Bilateral Pact: The U.K. and Israel signed a long-term agreement that will define their bilateral relations until 2030, boosting economic, security and technology ties.
🇯🇴 Jordanian Protest: The Lower House of the Jordanian Parliament voted today to expel the Israeli ambassador to Jordan in protest of Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s use of a map of “Greater Israel” that includes Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.
🇸🇦 Set Free: Saudi Arabia released a dual U.S.-Saudi citizen who had been sentenced in 2021 to 19 years in prison for tweets critical of the government’s policies, but he still can’t leave the country, according to his son.
🛰️ Drone Down: The IDF said it shot down an unmanned drone over the Gaza Strip that it said belonged to Hamas.
🚓 Apprehended: A Jerusalem man was arrested after attempting to locate U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides at a local restaurant and saying he was sent to assassinate the envoy.
➡️ Transition: Avi Mayer, former international spokesman of the Jewish Agency, has been named the new editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, replacing Yaakov Katz, who is stepping down after seven years in the role.
Pic of the Day
H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain met yesterday with World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder, the WJC Executive Committee and antisemitism envoys from around the world following a convening of the Special Envoys & Coordinators Combating Antisemitism Forum in Madrid.
Host of “The Situation Room” on CNN, Wolf Blitzer turns 75…
Professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia and founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation, E.D. Hirsch turns 95… On “Star Trek” he was Captain Kirk, in 2021 he flew to space aboard a Blue Origin sub-orbital capsule, William Shatner turns 92… Born in Iran, twice elected as mayor of Beverly Hills, he is a past president of Sinai Temple, Jamshid “Jimmy” Delshad turns 83… Dentist practicing in Norwalk, Conn., Murray Bruckel, DDS… Academy Award-winning screenwriter, his work includes “Forrest Gump” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Eric Roth turns 78… Israeli viola player and teacher, Rivka Golani turns 77… Senior principal of the law firm of Neuberger, Quinn, Gielen, Rubin & Gibber, Isaac M. Neuberger turns 76… Aviation and aerospace professional, Mike Orkin… Founder and executive director at WomenStrong International, Susan Morton Blaustein turns 70… Mayor of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Francis Szpiner turns 69… Hedge fund manager, he is the current owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Jeffrey N. Vinik turns 64… Popular musical entertainer in the Orthodox Jewish community, Avraham Shabsi Friedman, better known by his stage name, Avraham Fried turns 64… Director of communications at The Jewish Theological Seminary, Andrea Glick… Former EVP and general counsel at Hertz Corporation, J. Jeffrey Zimmerman… Retired Israeli basketball player, she is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most points (136) ever scored in a women’s professional game, Anat Draigor turns 63…
Author, journalist, soldier and award-winning defense correspondent who has covered Israel and the Middle East, Arieh O’Sullivan turns 62… Journalist Debra Nussbaum Cohen… Head of real estate for Mansueto Office, Ari Glass… Member of the U.K. Parliament for the British Conservative Party, Robert Halfon turns 54… Managing director of Mercury Public Affairs, Jonathan Greenspun… SVP at HCA Healthcare, Jeff E. Cohen… Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Neomi Rao turns 50… Internet celebrity, pizza reviewer and founder of Barstool Sports, David Portnoy turns 46… Visual editor at The City and adjunct professor at CUNY, Ben Fractenberg… VP of communications and public policy at Antora Energy, Adam Perecman Frankel… Founder and CEO of beauty and cosmetic firms Into The Gloss and Glossier, Emily Weiss… Creator of the Yehi Ohr program at Jewish Community Services of South Florida, Zisa Levin… Retired MLB first baseman for seven seasons, he played for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Isaac Benjamin “Ike” Davis turns 36… Communications director for Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Sarah Alice Frank Feldman… Energy policy and climate change reporter for Politico, Joshua Adam Siegel… Director of the Dan David Prize, Charlotte Hallé… Interim director of communications at the U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care, James Sorene… Beatrice Stein…