👋 Good Tuesday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we talk to Jake Tapper about his new novel out today, and look at how ideological divisions among Republicans on foreign policy are playing out in one Michigan primary. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Carl Icahn, former Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sarah Silverman.
Residents of Hailey, Idaho, will be beset with the sounds of private jets landing and taking off at the local airport as CEOs and other executives descend on central Idaho for the annual Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference, which starts today and runs through Friday.
Among those expected in attendance this year are New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, UAE Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, OpenAI’s Sam Altman, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, The Free Press’ Bari Weiss and Amos Yadlin, the former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate.
They will join usual Sun Valley guests including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Paramount Global chair Shari Redstone, Bill Gates, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Warren Buffett.
The media- and finance-focused confab comes amid an ongoing Hollywood writers strike, and is likely to coincide with the conclusion of SAG-AFTRA’s contract talks.
Meanwhile in Israel, demonstrators across the country are participating in a massive “day of disruption,” after a contentious judicial reform bill passed its first of three readings in the Knesset overnight. All 64 coalition members voted in favor and all 56 opposition members voted against the “reasonableness standard” bill, which would bar the courts from reviewing and blocking government decisions they deem to be unreasonable. The bill has been returned to the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee to be prepared for its final readings.
In a video posted to social media last night ahead of the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the legislation, saying it “isn’t the end of democracy, but will rather strengthen democracy… The rights of the courts and Israeli citizens will not be harmed in any way. The court will continue to inspect the legality of government decisions and appointments.”
“This is not an ordinary law and it is not an ordinary day,” Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, the country’s former prime minister, said. “This day will forever be etched in the annals of the Knesset of Israel and the State of Israel. This is the day the Israeli government announced that the laws no longer apply to it.”
Proponents of the bill argue that the reasonableness standard is not clearly defined by legislation, leaving it too open to interpretation, giving too broad a scope for judges to strike down decisions made by elected officials. Opponents argue that the standard is crucial to protecting citizens against arbitrary and corrupt government actions, and is one of several measures in the judicial reform that would increase the power held by the government. They also note that the doctrine is rarely used, only in extreme cases. The reasonableness standard was used in January to overturn Netanyahu’s decision to appoint Shas leader Aryeh Deri to two ministerial positions, which the Supreme Court ruled was “highly unreasonable” due to three criminal convictions against him.
Protestors blocked major highways and junctions and demonstrated at Ben Gurion Airport, with dozens pitching tents and establishing a “democracy camp” at an intersection in Herzliya, in central Israel, before being removed by police. Police and demonstrators clashed, and police used water cannons to disperse demonstrators; more than 40 protestors were arrested by the time of publication of this edition of the newsletter. The demonstrations are expected to continue into the night.
talking to tapper
Jake Tapper channels the raucous ’70s in his new novel. Remember Evel Knievel?
The chief Washington correspondent for CNN had just wrapped up an episode of his daily news show, “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” when he got on the phone for an interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel last week. He was running on “an empty stomach,” he said, and needed a pick-me-up as he pivoted to a different subject: his latest novel, out today. His new book, All the Demons Are Here, is the third installment in a series of history-rich political thrillers — all written, he said, in daily increments of at least 15 minutes. Set in 1977, the novel centers on Ike and Lucy Marder, the son and daughter of a Republican senator from New York whose story is told in the first two books, which revolve, respectively, around the McCarthy hearings and Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack.
The plot: The latest narrative finds Ike, an AWOL marine, as he falls in with the pit crew of Evel Knievel, the death-defying stunt performer. Lucy, meanwhile, a journalist in Washington, D.C., has joined a new tabloid run by a character evocative of Rupert Murdoch. The siblings’ paths inevitably cross against a research-infused backdrop of the decade’s most sensational moments and characters, including serial killers, neo-Nazis, the death of Elvis Presley and the infamous sex- and drug-fueled celebrity disco scene of Studio 54 in Manhattan.
Drawing parallels: “One of the things that’s fun writing about history is finding that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes,” Tapper told JI, taking a line from Mark Twain. “One of the things that has been fun about writing about the ’50s and Joe McCarthy, or the ’60s and Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, and the ’70s now with Evel Knievel and the rise of tabloid journalism, is that you can hear the rhyming and you can see the commonality in experiences. That was one of the things I wanted to explore.”
foreign policy divide
Top GOP House recruit leans toward party’s anti-interventionist wing
As Republicans on Capitol Hill find themselves increasingly divided between traditional hawks and a growing anti-interventionist wing, one of the leading GOP House recruits is leaning into some isolationist rhetoric — in sharp contrast with the Democratic lawmaker he’s looking to succeed, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. After an unsuccessful challenge to Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) in 2022, former Michigan state Sen. Tom Barrett is making another attempt to flip her Lansing-area congressional seat, announcing his second run over the weekend.
Back seat: Barrett, an Iraq war veteran, described the Russian invasion as “an attack on a sovereign country… that disrupted the peaceful status quo that had existed in Europe for more than a generation.” But he was skeptical of the U.S.’ role as the lynchpin of the pro-Ukraine international coalition, and told JI that “a lot of people thought this would have been resolved by now.” Barrett explained, “I think our best approach right now is to have our president engage European leaders to really take the responsibility of leading the effort as it relates to Ukraine, and to try and bring about a peaceful outcome from that conflict.”
NATO no-no: Barrett — speaking to JI hours before Turkey agreed to allow Sweden to join NATO — said he “questioned” the wisdom of NATO expansion. He argued that American citizens are not interested in “sign[ing] up right now to go and die in Finland” and warned that the expanding alliance could pull the U.S. into a broader conflict. “We have to be very measured and very thoughtful about what we are doing,” Barrett said. “This isn’t an exact comparison, but in World War I, you had all these alliances that took place, and one domino tipped and the whole world goes to war. I don’t want to see us stumble our way into another global catastrophic war that way, with the posture of Russia.”
14 Republican senators accuse administration of ‘antisemitic boycott of Israel’
Fourteen Republican senators are set to accuse the Biden administration of carrying out “an antisemitic boycott of Israel” with recent guidance ending U.S. taxpayer support for scientific and technological cooperation with Israeli institutions in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. The senators are expected to send a letter, viewed by JI, to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Tuesday that includes a threat that they would block the confirmation of Biden administration nominees if the administration does not alter its policy toward Israel.
Quotable: “We also write to emphasize that any effort to deepen American policies that discriminate between territories Israel controlled before and after June 1967 will risk a full rupture in my/our ability to engage the Department of State on these issues,” the letter reads. “Candidly, it is untenable for State Department officials to continue testifying to Congress that they support the U.S.-Israel relationship and then — once out of view — to push policies designed to undermine that relationship. Without a reversal in these trends Congressional oversight and the expeditious vetting of nominees would become intractable.”
Signatories: The letter was led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and signed by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rick Scott (R-FL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Ted Budd (R-NC), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Jim Risch (R-ID). Risch is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has an even broader ability than his colleagues to raise obstacles to confirmation proceedings. Risch is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which oversees State Department confirmation proceedings. The letter comes as U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides prepares to step down from his posting and amid questions over whether the administration will be able to confirm a replacement for him in Jerusalem.
Grace Napolitano’s retirement opens up Los Angeles-area House seat
Longtime Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), the oldest member of the House, announced late last week that she will not seek reelection to Congress in 2024. When she announced her retirement, Napolitano gave her endorsement to 78-year-old state Sen. Bob Archuleta, who has served since 2018, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
The candidates: Two other candidates, former Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz and Baldwin Park Planning Commissioner Ricardo Vazques, have also announced their candidacy for the seat. Lutz is also a former Napolitano staffer. Former Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-CA), who served for two terms in a nearby district, is seen as a potential candidate.
About Archuleta: Archuleta — a former police officer — is currently facing a sexual harassment lawsuit from a female former employee. He was endorsed in 2022 by Democrats for Israel CA, a local pro-Israel group. Napolitano was endorsed by AIPAC in her last reelection campaign.
🇮🇷 Congress and the Iran Talks: In Roll Call, former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) calls on Congress to prioritize oversight over the Biden administration’s discussions with Iran and attempts to reach a new nuclear agreement with the Islamic state. “It is past time for Congress to step up its oversight of our Iran policy in general, and to focus first on what is being negotiated in Oman and what information and respect Congress will be given by the administration if an ‘understanding’ is reached. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has only held one public hearing on Iran since President Joe Biden took office in 2021. In fact, the first all-senators briefing on Iran under the Biden administration took place only in May 2023. The House Foreign Affairs Committee has not held a single public oversight hearing solely covering U.S. policy on Iran since at least 2020.… Oversight now is especially important given the concerning reports about how U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley has been placed on unpaid leave following a suspension of his security clearance amid an investigation into alleged mishandling of classified information.” [RollCall]
🛋️ The Doctor Is In:The Wall Street Journal’s Matt Wirz spotlights Dr. Sam Glazer, a psychiatrist who works primarily with patients who work on Wall Street and face substance abuse and mental health issues. “Even as a teenager, Glazer assumed he would go into medicine, following the path of his father and later his brother. Then his mother died when he was 21, triggering his own depression, and he decided to study psychiatry. In training, one of his first patients was a Wall Street accountant who lost his job and apartment to cocaine addiction. ‘To see him get sober and turn his life around — that was very fulfilling,’ Glazer said. He started treating substance-abuse patients referred to him by other doctors. His Wall Street clientele began recommending him to their co-workers, and within a few years he was almost exclusively treating people in finance.” [WSJ]
🛌🏻 Perfect Stranger: In The Jerusalem Post, Jonathan Schanzer, the senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, recounts his experience during a recent medical emergency in Israel on Shabbat. “One day after my operation, with my leg elevated and my laptop precariously balanced on it, I wondered whether writing this essay meant that I was less of a Middle East security hawk. I certainly don’t have any less disdain for Hamas or other Palestinian groups that seek Israel’s destruction. Nor do I have much patience for those who promote the delegitimization of the Jewish state. After this ordeal, however, I have gained a deeper appreciation for the contribution of Arabs in Israel. And while the kindness of one stranger from the West Bank doesn’t change the immense challenges associated with the two-state solution, it certainly feels like the right time to question at least some of my long-held assumptions about this complex corner of the world.” [JPost]
Around the Web
💬 Stern Warning: Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides toldThe Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration is attempting to keep the Israeli government from “going off the rails” as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition move forward with proposed judicial reforms.
👉 Blame Game: Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli said today that President Joe Biden’s criticism of the Israeli government in a recent CNN interview was “prompted and timed by [Israeli Opposition Leader Yair] Lapid and [former Prime Minister Ehud] Barak.”
💵 Moreno’s Money: Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno, who fell short in last cycle’s GOP Senate primary, announced he raised more than $2.2 million since launching his campaign in April.
🚨 Endorsement Alert: Rep. David Trone (D-MD), who is seeking the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), rolled out dozens of endorsements following Rep. Jamie Raskin’s (D-MD) announcement that he will not mount a Senate bid.
🗳️ Chicago Challenger: Gun violence activist Kina Collins, who was endorsed by Justice Democrats last cycle, is launching a third challenge to Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) after falling short in the 2022 primary by six points.
📈 Personal Finances: Shares of Icahn Enterprises were up roughly 13% following the company’s announcement that founder Carl Icahn had finalized agreements severing ties between his personal loans and the trading price of Icahn Enterprises’ shares.
⚖️ Silverman Sues: Comedian Sarah Silverman is joining a class-action lawsuit against OpenAI and Meta, alleging that the platforms “copied and ingested” her original work to train their AI programs.
🧑⚖️ Win for Alinejad: A U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia determined that Iran must pay activist and writer Masih Alinejad $3.3 million in damages for the two-year detention of her brother over her activism.
🛩️ Joint Exercise: The air forces of the U.S. and Israel conducted a joint exercise preparing for a potential strike in Iran.
🌊 Making Waves: A commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accused the U.S. of disrupting Iranian efforts to intercept fuel smugglers, following U.S. interference in the attempted takeover by an Iranian ship of a vessel in the Gulf of Oman.
💥 Iran Opposition Woes: CNN looks at the challenges facing Iranian opposition group Mujahadin-e Khalq (MeK) as the organization faces setbacks over its controversial background and Iran’s recent diplomatic efforts.
🇾🇪 Sana’a Statement: Yemen’s minister of information threatened to close the country’s main airport and shipping port unless the Iran-backed Houthis end what Minister Moammar Al-Eryani described as the group’s “economic war” in parts of the country under its control.
☢️ Iran Intel: A U.S. intelligence assessment released yesterday found that “Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities that would be necessary to produce a testable nuclear device.”
🇦🇿 Attack Averted: Azerbaijani security services thwarted a potential attack on Israel’s embassy in Baku.
🇸🇪 Thumbs-Up for Sweden: Turkey will support Sweden’s NATO bid, following a meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, with NATO Secretary General Jans Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Joe Biden in Lithuania today.
👩🦰 Resistance Fighter: In its “Overlooked” section, The New York Timesspotlights Dutch resistance fighter Hannie Schaft, known as “the girl with the red hair,” who was killed in the final weeks of WWII at the age of 24.
➡️ Transition: The Hudson Institute announced that Kenneth Weinstein, former Hudson president and CEO and current Walter P. Stern Distinguished Fellow, will serve as the think tank’s next Japan chair. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the State Department’s chief diversity and inclusion officer until last month, is now the president of the Middle East Policy Council.
Pic of the Day
General Counsel of the World Jewish Congress Menachem Z. Rosensaft speaks during a daylong conference held yesterday in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Jewish and Muslim leaders gathered to discuss hate and bigotry on the 28th anniversary of the massacre there of more than 8,000 men and boys.
Actress, she portrayed Frau Farbissina in the “Austin Powers” film series, Mindy Lee Sterling turns 70…
Investment banker, civil servant and political advisor, Stephen Berger turns 84… Developmental psychologist at Harvard, Howard Gardner turns 80… Member of the U.K.’s House of Lords, he was PM Tony Blair’s special envoy to the Middle East for nine years, Baron Michael Abraham Levy turns 79… U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) turns 77… EVP of the Milken Family Foundation and past chair of the Board of Trustees of JFNA, Richard V. Sandler turns 75… Journalist covering classical music, he is the author of Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947, Norman Lebrecht turns 75… Founder in 1992 of Schnur Associates, Zeesy Schnur… West Orange, N.J., resident, Jeffrey Maas… Singer-songwriter, known by his stage name “RebbeSoul,” Bruce Burger turns 66… Founder and CEO of Sidewalk Labs, he was previously CEO of Bloomberg L.P., Daniel L. Doctoroff turns 65… Los Angeles-based group EVP of public relations for Discovery Channel and Science Channel, Laurie Goldberg… Executive chairman of Aston Martin and the owner of the Aston Martin Formula 1 Team, Lawrence Stroll turns 64… Radiation oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvey Jay Mamon, MD, Ph.D…. Managing member at Samuel Capital Management, Barry Mannis… Former member of the Knesset for the Likud party, Yaron Mazuz turns 61… Former commander of the IDF’s Southern Command, now in the IDF Reserves, Major General Shlomo “Sami” Turgeman turns 59…
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit since 2014, Judge Robin Stacie Rosenbaum turns 57… Retired tax attorney, Adina Tamar Spiro Wagman… Executive editor of The City, Alyssa A. Katz… Senior program and community engagement director at the Los Angeles-based Smidt Foundation, Lindsey Caren Kozberg… Consultant focused upon social impact strategies, Joshua D. Wachs… Actor, podcaster and lead singer of the band Sun Spin, Michael Owen Rosenbaum turns 51… Ukrainian-born computer scientist and internet entrepreneur, Max Levchin turns 48… Founder and CEO of Wisconsin-based Good Karma Brands, Craig Karmazin turns 48… Principal at Civitas Public Affairs Group, Celine Mizrahi… Chabad rabbi at Washington University in St. Louis, Rabbi Hershey Novack… Comedian, podcaster and political commentator, Katherine Rose “Katie” Halper turns 42… Screenwriter and executive producer, Theodore Beren Bressman… Professional ice hockey forward, he played for 19 seasons in the U.S., Canada and Europe, Jacob Micflikier turns 39… Chief of staff for Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D-IL), Anne Sokolov… and her twin sister, a co-founder at Social Goods, Kate Sokolov… Retired offensive guard in the NFL for eight seasons, his Hebrew name is Gedalia Yitzhak, Geoff Schwartz turns 37… Assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, Matthew J. Rosenbaum… Bryan Stone…