👋 Good Wednesday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we report on the platform debate over Israel roiling the North Carolina Democratic Party, and look at how the debt ceiling deal could affect Jewish groups’ priorities in Washington. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Moshe Klughaft, Holly Dagres and Dina Powell McCormick.
Several Jewish organizations on Tuesday questioned the White House’s decision to reference the Council on American-Islamic Relations in a fact sheet released last week alongside the U.S. national strategy to counter antisemitism.
“We don’t agree with every decision the White House made in crafting this strategy,” an Anti-Defamation League spokesperson told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch. “The decision to consult CAIR is one of them.”
A source with direct knowledge of the drafting of the strategy tried to distance the 60-page document from CAIR, noting that the Muslim civil rights organization — which has faced pushback from leaders in the Jewish community for its anti-Israel rhetoric — was not actually named in the strategy, just in the corresponding fact sheet.
“They are not in the strategy. They are not mentioned in the strategy. They were listed in a supplemental document as one of the many independent organizations making commitments,” said the source. The fact sheet said CAIR will help educate religious communities about security. Other organizations named as “stakeholders” in the fact sheet include National Urban League, the Asian American Foundation, UnidosUS, the ADL, American Jewish Committee, the Interfaith Alliance and the Recording Academy.
“CAIR is not in the White House plan,” William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said, echoing the source who had insight into the drafting of the document. “They were listed in a separate fact sheet of organizations that committed to take action.” Daroff noted that it was “deeply troubling” that CAIR “is included as anything other than as an organization that definitively traffics in antisemitic tropes and propounds policies of anti-Zionism that are antisemitic.”
A spokesperson for CAIR did not respond to a request for comment. Read the full story here.
CUNY Law School, facing criticism from Jewish groups and lawmakers after the release of video of the school’s commencement speaker focusing portions of her speech on demonizing Israel, released a statement acknowledging that Fatima Mohammed’s remarks “fall into the category of hate speech as they were a public expression of hate toward people and communities based on their religion, race or political affiliation.”
Mohammed’s comments, the statement continued, are “particularly unacceptable at a ceremony celebrating the achievements of a wide diversity of graduates.” Former state Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, who wavered on her support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel during her run for Congress last year, said CUNY’s statement was “very disappointing and dangerous.”
tar heel tussle
North Carolina Democrats prepare for heated platform fight over Israel
The North Carolina Democratic Party is currently weighing a series of contentious new platform resolutions that could escalate internal divisions over Israel just as party members are seeking to unify ahead of a pivotal election cycle, if approved in the coming weeks, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports.
Platform play: The proposed resolutions, which have not yet been finalized, are largely included in a platform section on international relations that focuses almost exclusively on Middle East policy, according to a draft reviewed by JI. Among other measures that are likely to draw scrutiny, the resolutions advocate for remaining neutral “on whether the best solution to” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “is the so-called ‘two-state solution’ or ‘one-state solution.’” A separate resolution endorses the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees to Israel, all but rejecting its existence as a Jewish state.
Speaking out: The state party’s Resolutions and Platform Committee is expected to take up the resolutions in a meeting on June 10. But Jewish leaders in North Carolina are already speaking out. “I have deep concerns about these one-sided, inaccurate and divisive resolutions,” Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC), a pro-Israel stalwart, told JI. “At a time of rising antisemitism, a problem so immense that it necessitated the release of the first-ever national strategy to counter antisemitism, advancing resolutions that may exacerbate antisemitism and hate is the last thing that should be done.”
Jewish community priorities remain in flux following debt ceiling deal
The House is set to vote today on a deal to raise the U.S. debt limit, which would also place limits on federal spending, limiting discretionary nondefense spending to 2023 levels while providing for an increase in defense spending. Jewish community leaders called the bill, which staves off the steeper cuts initially proposed by House Republicans, a positive step but said that specific funding levels for community priorities are not yet settled, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. At stake are priorities ranging from proposals for new U.S.-Israel defense programs to security grant funding. If Congress fails to pass all 12 appropriations bills, spending levels would automatically revert to 99% of 2023 levels.
Promises made: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pledged during his speech to the Knesset earlier this year that funding for Israel guaranteed under the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding would be protected from cuts — although some Democrats had questioned his ability to keep that promise without specific guarantees in the original debt limit bill passed by House Republicans. They also warned that other cuts to U.S. aid in the Middle East would undermine Israeli security, even if direct aid to Israel is maintained.
TBD: “That’s all going to be resolved in the appropriations process,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) — who had raised alarms about funding for Israel under Republicans’ proposal — told JI on Tuesday. “The base agreement… [doesn’t] really address the [State and Foreign Operations appropriations] bill.” Republicans had yet to introduce draft foreign and defense funding bills prior to the debt ceiling deal, leaving those programs particularly shrouded in mystery.
Israel’s new English news channel seeks to capture young generation on social media
Moshe Klughaft is a strategic communications advisor known to millions of Israelis as a political commentator on the country’s most-watched news show. Miri Michaeli has been in the news business for 17 years, working as a foreign correspondent for an array of Israeli news channels and interviewing such global leaders as former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Now the two, who have grown increasingly frustrated with the way Israel is depicted in both mainstream media and online worldwide, believe they have enough collective experience and the know-how to change the narrative surrounding the Jewish state: a fresh media concept designed to bypass cable news networks like CNN and conquer powerful opinion-shaping social media platforms such as TikTok, Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash reports.
Israel in the background: In less than one month, they say, their collection of short and snappy video clips, which are broadcasting under the brand ACT News – an acronym for Action, Consciousness, Truth – already have a growing following. And their news items aren’t necessarily only about Israel, Klughaft and Michaeli emphasize. “We’re not trying to hide the fact that we are Israeli,” Michaeli, who is the main face of the broadcasts, told JI. “Anyone can Google us and see who we are, but we are just not putting that front and center.”
Truth tellers: While both recognize that there are already multiple initiatives both in Israel and abroad that aim to boost the Israeli narrative, the two insist that ACT News offers something new that has never been attempted before – social media news that tells the truth about Israel. “We are the startup nation but, on this issue, we are just failing over and over,” commented Klughaft, who has managed several campaigns dealing with Israeli advocacy and the fight against antisemitism.
ADL poll finds antisemitic views decreasing in Europe, but more common in the east
Western Europeans are less likely to hold antisemitic views than Eastern Europeans, though both are likely to believe that Jewish citizens are more loyal to Israel than to their home countries, according to a new survey by the Anti-Defamation League released Wednesday. Right-wing Europeans were also found to be more likely to harbor antisemitic views than their progressive counterparts, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross reports.
Blow to BDS: While many Western European respondents said they sympathized more with Palestinians than with Israelis, the survey found that support for boycotts of Israel was low across the continent.
Methodology: The poll comprised 6,569 phone interviews with randomly selected citizens of 10 European countries over the course of two and a half months this winter. The interviews included 11 questions “measuring general acceptance of various negative Jewish stereotypes,” which were used to establish an index score for each country. “Survey respondents who said at least six out of the 11 statements are ‘probably true’ are considered to harbor extensive antisemitic attitudes,’ according to the ADL.
🎤 Music of the Movement: In The New York Times, the Atlantic Council’s Holly Dagres spotlights Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who was arrested earlier this year for his support of the anti-government protests and now faces possible execution. “But as public anger has built since December 2017, when one of the largest mass protests since the 1979 revolution began, Mr. Salehi’s music found its audience. In his first big hit, ‘Rathole,’ he rapped about regime apologists inside Iran and abroad, telling them to buy a ‘rathole’ with the money they received propping up the clerical establishment. The lyrics were so shocking when the song came out in 2021 that many Iranians found it hard to believe the rapper was living inside the country when he released it. He had to do an Instagram live to explain he was, in fact, based in Iran. ‘There has certainly been a history of angry lyrics before Toomaj, given that rap has functioned as a language of protest,’ Nahid Siamdoust, an assistant professor of media and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas at Austin, told me. ‘What sets Toomaj’s music apart and is a new feature is its radical anti-state rhetoric.’” [NYTimes]
🇹🇷 Turkey Talk: The Washington Post’s editorial board suggests how Western governments, and specifically the Biden administration, can shift recently reelected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan away from his more autocratic policies. “It’s true that the West might not be able to impede Mr. Erdogan’s steady march away from democratic norms; his election victory owed much to his clampdown on Turkey’s once-vibrant media, the jailing of political opponents, and his ruthless manipulation of state institutions and resources. His atrocious human rights record has been key to maintaining his power. Nonetheless, the Biden administration and its European allies should continue to speak out for the fundamental Western values that Mr. Erdogan has trampled — even as they face the reality that he enjoys the protections of some of the West’s most prestigious institutions.” [WashPost]
⚖️ Courtroom Coverage: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazettecovers the trial of the Tree of Life shooter, which began yesterday, with opening statements from the prosecution and defense as well as testimony from Rabbi Jeffrey Myers. “There was a stretch of relative silence on the call after Rabbi Myers believed he heard footsteps coming toward him. The recording captured him faintly speaking in the background. He was praying. ‘I expected to die,’ he testified, weeping. ‘I was trying to decide, “Do I hang up the phone and call my wife or make a video?” I thought if this was the end, I wasn’t going to leave her like that, for her to hear that. So I decided to stay on the phone with 911.’ He said he thought of the history of his people, persecuted and killed for centuries. He said he thought about how they must have felt before they were killed. He wasn’t angry with God, he said. God didn’t do this. ‘I was prepared to meet my fate,’ he said.” [PostGazette]
Around the Web
🗳️ Christie’s Candidacy: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to announce his entry into the Republican presidential primary next week.
🛣️ Middle of the Road: Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the founding chair of No Labels, is featured in a new ad running in Maine promoting the centrist group.
🙅♂️ Offsides: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy fired one of the consulting firms working on his campaign that was also working for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league.
👋 Goldman Goodbye: Dina Powell McCormick is departing Goldman Sachs, and will become vice chairman and president of global client services at BDT & MSD Partners.
☢️ Going Nuclear: Senior White House adviser Brett McGurk traveled to Oman earlier this month to discuss with officials in Muscat potential outreach to Iran over its nuclear program, Axios reports. Meanwhile, NPR spoke to the White House’s Iran envoy, Rob Malley, about the state of negotiations five years after the U.S. withdrawal from the deal.
⚠️ Global Warning: The New York Times’ Bret Stephens suggests that the outcome of Turkey’s recent presidential election “should serve as a warning about other places — including the Republican Party — where autocratic leaders, seemingly incompetent in many respects, are returning to power through democratic means.”
👪 Sackler Ruling: A federal appeals court ruled that Sackler family members will receive full immunity from civil legal claims over the family’s role in the company’s business and the country’s opioid crisis.
😟 California Concerns: Jewish leaders and officials in Sacramento, Calif., are raising concerns over antisemitic comments made by an individual at recent city council meetings.
👨⚖️ Plea Deal: A Staten Island, N.Y., man accepted a plea deal that will see him serve 60 days in jail and three years probation for the assault of a man wearing an Israel Defense Forces shirt.
🥯 Delis Through the Ages: Time Out New Yorkspotlights the upcoming illustrated book The Jewish Deli: An Illustrated Guide to the Chosen Food, which chronicles the history of Jewish delis in America.
🕵️ Keeping the U.S. on Side: The Financial Timeslooks at how international spyware companies are orienting themselves around American interests, following the high-profile case of Israel’s NSO Group.
🌊 Making Waves: The U.S. is facing pressure from the UAE to crack down on Iranian moves in the Persian Gulf, following Tehran’s seizure of two oil tankers in recent weeks.
🪖 War Games: CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla traveled to Israel ahead of a two-week-long IDF exercise simulating a multifront conflict.
🚑 Terror Victim: Israeli officials identified the man killed in a West Bank terror attack on Tuesday as 32-year-old Meir Tamari.
🛥️ Boating Incident: A retired Mossad agent was among four people killed when a boat, reportedly carrying other intelligence agents too, capsized in Italy’s Lake Maggiore; the other Israelis on board were flown back to Israel.
⚽ Blue-and-White Win: Israel’s national-under 20 soccer team beat Uzbekistan 1-0 in the final minutes of the game, and will head to the quarterfinals, where the players will face either Brazil or Tunisia.
🇺🇦 Kyiv’s Call: The Ukrainian parliament approved a 50-year sanctions package on Iran, saying in a statement that the move synchronizes Kyiv “with the actions of the entire civilized world.”
Pic of the Day
Israeli President Isaac Herzog meets with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev yesterday in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Israeli actress, singer and dancer, Liraz Charhi turns 45…
Investment advisor at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, Alfred Phillip Stern turns 90… Industrialist and philanthropist, Ira Leon Rennert turns 89… Singer and songwriter famous for his lead role in the 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, he campaigned for freeing Soviet Jews in the 1980s, Peter Yarrow turns 85… Professor at Yale University and the 2018 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, William Dawbney Nordhaus turns 82… Food critic at Vogue magazine since 1989 and judge on “Iron Chef America,” he is the author of the 1996 award-winning book The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten turns 81… Founder and retired CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council, Alvin “Al” From turns 80… Author, political pundit and a retired correspondent for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” Bernie Goldberg turns 78… Comedian, actress and TV producer, Susie Essman turns 68… Founder and chairman of the Katz Group of Companies, Daryl Katz turns 62… Reality television personality, she starred in “The Millionaire Matchmaker” on Bravo TV, Patti Stanger turns 62… Founder, chairman and CEO of CyberArk Software, Alon Nisim Cohen turns 55… Co-founder of CryptoLogic, Andrew Rivkin turns 54… Former Democratic mayor of Annapolis, Md., now head of policy at SWTCH, Joshua Jackson “Josh” Cohen turns 50… Assistant director of community outreach at the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, Melissa York… Author of the “Money Stuff” column at Bloomberg Opinion, Matthew S. Levine turns 45… Freelance writer in Brooklyn, Sara Trappler Spielman… Attorney and NYT-bestselling author of the Mara Dyer and Shaw Confessions series, Michelle Hodkin… Former head of public policy and regulatory affairs at Zoox, Bert Eli Kaufman… Zoe Goldfarb… Stephanie Oreck Weiss… Media exec, Brad E. Bosserman… Senior rabbi and executive director of Jewish life at D.C.’s Sixth & I, Aaron Potek… Allbritton Journalism Institute’s Matt Berman… Medical student at the University of Nicosia Medical School, Amital Isaac… Brad Goldstein… Basketball player in Israel’s Premier League, Spencer Weisz turns 28… Rapper, singer, songwriter and producer, known by his stage name, King Sol, Benjamin Solomon turns 25…