👋 Good Thursday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we report on the American Jewish Committee’s call for the Justice Department to seek the extradition from Jordan of a terrorist involved in the 2001 Sbarro bombing, and preview the debate over an amendment introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz over the Biden administration’s recent guidance against backing projects in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Mark Robinson, Mark Esper and Judy Rakowsky.
Last month, when we reported on the Biden administration’s national antisemitism strategy, a White House official told us that the report “continues the approach of the United States government on the definition of antisemitism.”
What remained unclear was to what extent that statement applied to a 2019 executive order issued by former President Donald Trump that dealt with antisemitism. The executive order requires federal agencies to consider the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism when enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Communications from the Department of Education to university administrators suggest that the Trump executive order had not been revoked, but the White House did not yet address it directly. On Wednesday, a White House official confirmed that it remains in place.
“The Trump EO is still in effect. No change in approach to IHRA,” the official told JI.
Alyza Lewin, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, said the recent settlement of an investigation at the University of Vermont and the opening of a new investigation at SUNY New Paltz in New York — the latter of which occurred after the release of the administration’s national strategy to combat antisemitism — demonstrate that the Biden administration is continuing to use the executive order, noting that both cases “deal overwhelmingly with anti-Zionism.”
“What’s interesting about the UVM resolution,” Lewin told JI’s Melissa Weiss, “is how do they describe what this kind of antisemitism is? They say you have to make sure your university policies address antisemitism, including when it manifests as national origin discrimination on the basis of shared ancestry… Title VI makes clear that you have to protect the basis of race, color [and] national origin.” Read the full story here.
Ahead of a trip to Washington next week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship at an IDF event. “In just a few days, I will pay an important visit to the United States, to mark 75 years of Israeli independence, and 75 years of our solid alliance, which lies above and beyond any and all disagreements,” he said.
Herzog is set to land in Washington on Tuesday morning for a busy two days. He will meet with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Tony Blinken and other senior White House officials. On Wednesday, he will deliver an address to a joint session of Congress, before departing to New York, where he will participate in an event with the Jewish community.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) declared on Wednesday that there is “no way in hell” she will attend Herzog’s speech at the Capitol. The Minnesota legislator also boycotted an address by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month.
The Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations will hold a relaunch event this evening. The caucus is being chaired by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Nikema Williams (D-GA) and Wesley Hunt (R-TX). Former Reps. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) were previously co-chairs. The American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, and National Urban League are also participating in the relaunch.
AJC calls on Justice Department to pursue Ahlam Tamimi extradition
The American Jewish Committee is for the first time publicly calling on the Justice Department “to exert every effort” to push Jordan to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, a Palestinian terrorist convicted in an Israeli court for her role in the 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in which 16 people, including three Americans, were killed, Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss reports. Tamimi, who received 16 life sentences for escorting a suicide bomber to the restaurant, was freed in a 2011 exchange with Jordan along with more than 1,000 prisoners, most of them Palestinian.
Unrepentant: In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, AJC CEO Ted Deutch writes that Tamimi is “unrepentant” and has “enjoyed celebrity status since returning to Jordan, glorifying and inciting terrorism and for five years hosting a program on the Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV, beamed throughout the Arabic-speaking world.”
Ten years on: The letter comes ahead of the 10th anniversary of Tamimi’s indictment — done under seal — by the Department of Justice. After the charges were made public in 2017, Jordan rejected the premise of a long-standing extradition treaty between Washington and Amman. “There is no ambiguity regarding the U.S.-Jordan extradition treaty,” the letter says. “Legal obligations between nations cannot be set aside because they are inconvenient to enforce.”
Victims’ response: Frimet and Arnold Roth, the parents of Malki Roth, who was killed in the blast at age 15, welcomed the letter, telling JI that “in urging the DOJ to press for extradition by a valued treaty partner, the AJC is backed by justice, American law and Judaism’s profound respect for the sanctity of human life,” adding that “Ahlam Tamimi calls the Sbarro atrocity ‘a crown on my head.’ The obscenity of her being free to inspire admiring crowds in Jordan and beyond with her savagery should have ended years ago in a Washington courthouse. We pray it will now.”
green line amendment
Senate Foreign Relations Committee set for debate over Biden guidance on Israeli cooperative funding
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set for a debate on Thursday over the Biden administration’s recent guidance reimplementing prohibitions on funding for cooperative scientific and technological projects with Israeli institutions in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Preview: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) filed an amendment to the 2024 State Department Authorization bill — set to be debated on Thursday — that would repeal the guidance and prohibit any future guidance “that limits bilateral scientific or technological cooperation with Israel on the basis of geographic location in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories.” The amendment has the backing of AIPAC, which has publicly opposed the guidance, spokesperson Marshall Wittmann told JI.
Impact: The new administration guidance would appear to principally impact grant proposals from Ariel University, located in a West Bank settlement. After the prior guidance was rescinded in 2020, Ariel has been the recipient of five grants — four in 2021 and one in 2022 — relating to stem cell research, cancer, pregnancy complications and water/energy research. The State Department did not clarify whether these funding grants would be terminated or withdrawn, if still active, under the new guidance. Hebrew University, located in East Jerusalem, has received hundreds of grants dating back to 1973, indicating that it will not be impacted by the reimposed guidance.
Also on the docket: Separately, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) filed an amendment to the State Department Authorization Bill that would require the State Department to report to Congress annually on Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. Cruz filed a second-degree amendment that would add to Merkley’s amendment a reporting requirement on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
on the hill
House to consider anti-BDS, Iran deal amendments to defense policy bill
The House is set to consider a series of amendments opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and placing restrictions on a potential nuclear agreement with Iran as it concludes proceedings on the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. In the early hours of Thursday morning, the House Rules Committee cleared for consideration an additional set of amendments to the 2024 NDAA, the annual defense policy bill, moving the House toward final passage of the package, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
On BDS: The newly cleared amendments include a bipartisan measure requiring a report to Congress on whether any products sold in military commissaries and exchange stores are manufactured by companies engaged in boycotts of Israel. The amendment also declares that “Congress is concerned about the antisemitic efforts of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the State of Israel, including its efforts to delegitimize, isolate, and ultimately destroy the Jewish state.” A second Republican amendment would ban the Defense Department from contracting with any entity that boycotts Israel.
On reaching a deal: Another amendment seeks to block the administration from entering a nuclear agreement with Iran without “explicit Congressional approval.”
tar heel trouble
In N.C. governor race, Walker hits Robinson for ‘antisemitic remarks’ and ‘denial of the Holocaust’
Mark Walker, a Republican candidate for governor of North Carolina, is forcefully denouncing a leading primary rival, Mark Robinson, over incendiary past social media comments that Walker called out for promoting antisemitic tropes and Holocaust denialism, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports.
‘Whole different level’: “His history of antisemitic remarks is troubling,” Walker, a former congressman from Greensboro, said in an interview with JI on Wednesday afternoon. “His denial of the Holocaust reaches a whole different level and should be strongly condemned in every aspect possible.”
Uncovered posts: The unusually blunt criticism from a fellow Republican and former ally came in response to a series of recently uncovered Facebook posts — published by JI last week — in which Robinson, the controversial lieutenant governor, minimized Nazi atrocities and advanced conspiracy theories about Hollywood and the media using Yiddish ethnic slurs.
🇯🇴 Eye on Amman: In The Hill, Kenneth Pollack warns that Iran likely has its sights set on Jordan as its next target for consolidating control over an increasing number of countries in the region. “Jordan is the next obvious victim in Iran’s regional subversion spree. It borders Syria, where Iran already has large numbers of military personnel and a metastasizing network of bases, despite valiant Israeli efforts to stop it from spreading. Jordan also borders Iraq, where the government is ever more compromised and ever less able to prevent Iran from doing as it wishes — and where several thousand American troops are ever less relevant to the country’s political and military course. It also borders the West Bank, where violent Palestinian rejectionist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to operate with Iranian funding, weaponry, training, and advice. So Iranian agents and proxies can now infiltrate Jordan from all three directions. Jordan also has the natural fissures that Iran loves to exploit. Jordan groans under roughly 3 million refugees living on the backs of about 8 million citizens. They come overwhelmingly from Iraq, Syria, and the West Bank, and like all refugees, their demeanor mostly runs from dejected to furious. This is perfect for recruitment by Iran and its allies.” [TheHill]
🇺🇦 Zelensky’s Demands: In the Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor explores the diplomatic approach that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has taken since the launch of the Russian invasion against his country. “There is a clear pattern in Zelensky’s behavior. Ever since he found himself in the unenviable position of leading his nation’s desperate fight for survival, Zelensky has made demand after demand to the outside world for financial help, political support and, most importantly, weapons. Those calls, framed often as reminders of the sacrifices that Ukraine’s fighters are making on the front lines, have yielded a steady drumbeat of deliveries — including ammunition, powerful artillery, armored vehicles, antiaircraft capabilities, tanks, fighter jets and more. The latest clamor has been for more long-range missile systems to target Russian positions within Ukraine. Jeremy Shapiro, director of research at the European Council on Foreign Relations, quipped that Zelensky ‘has adopted a guilt-based approach to diplomacy’ that he likened to his ‘Jewish grandmother, the former grandmaster of the technique.’ ‘‘You never write, you never call, you never send F-16s’’ has long summarized [Zelensky’s] approach to getting what he wants from the West and the U.S.,’ Shapiro told me.” [WashPost]
👗 Forgotten Fashion: In Deutsche Welle, Shlomit Lasky interviews Uwe Westphal, author of Fashion Metropolis Berlin 1836 – 1939. The Story of the Rise and Destruction of the Jewish Fashion Industry, which spotlights a widely forgotten thriving fashion industry that existed in Berlin and was led by Jewish entrepreneurs before it was destroyed by the Nazis. “Fashion trends from Paris, especially haute couture, were too expensive for the middle classes and white-collar workers, who were nevertheless increasingly interested in looking fashionable. So the Jewish entrepreneurs ‘came up with the idea of producing cheap fashionable clothing according to standardized measures,’ explains Westphal. ‘The demand was there, and the industry grew rapidly.’ Berlin’s fashion industry reached its height in the roaring 20s, with more than 2,700 fashion companies predominantly owned by Jewish families. Names such as the Manheimer brothers, David Leib Levin, Nathan Israel and Hermann Gerson were synonymous with the new and growing trend of ready-to-wear fashion. Jewish entrepreneurs quickly adapted to the new needs of the industrial era: ‘They had a feeling for what people liked and they had international connections to fabric producers,’ Westphal says. The garments were sold in glamorous department stores, which were mainly owned by Jewish families too.” [DW]
👀 Sun Valley Sightings: Puck’s Dylan Byers reports from the annual Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. “Personally, I’ve found that many attendees are still quite willing to meet, off the record, on the sidelines, here at [the cafe] Konditorei or under a quaking aspen, and that such a source-cultivating speed-dating exercise is far too valuable to pass up. Moreover, there’s always the occasional interesting tidbit from the inside: For instance, Marc Andreessen, the investor-entrepreneur and Meta board member, was on a panel with Peter Thiel this morning and issued a full-throated endorsement for the possible cage fight between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. It was, he said, a return to how humans have historically defended themselves, and he called for all parents to train their children in martial arts in anticipation of an increasingly violent and uncertain world. (That guy…) Both Andreessen and Thiel also strongly advocated that all the attending moguls homeschool their kids.” [Puck]
Around the Web
🤝 Mission Accomplished: The NATO summit ended on Wednesday with a joint declaration from G7 leaders for their nations to negotiate long-term bilateral security commitments for Ukraine to build up its land, sea and air defenses to deter future Russian attacks. Ukraine didn’t receive an invitation to NATO, with NATO leaders stating that it had yet to meet economic and political conditions for joining.
😡 More Malley Mess: Capitol Hill Republicans are voicing frustration over the Biden administration’s handling of the FBI investigation of Iran envoy Rob Malley.
💰 Scott’s Haul: Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) presidential campaign said the South Carolina Republican ended the second financial quarter of the year with $21 million cash on hand. Billionaire businessman Ronald Lauder, the Estée Lauder makeup heir who supported former President Donald Trump in 2020, recently flew to South Carolina to meet with Scott.
🛡️ Security Strategy: The Biden administration is seeking to extend security protections for former Defense Department officials — including former Defense Secretary Mark Esper — due to security threats from Iran.
🙅♂️ CUFI No-show: Former President Donald Trump said he will not be attending this year’s Christians United For Israel summit in Washington, which begins July 16, citing scheduling conflicts.
🪖 Ukraine Block: A group of far-right House Republicans is seeking to use the annual defense bill to push for severe restrictions on U.S. military support for Ukraine.
📉 Inflation Nation: Inflation in the United States cooled last month to its slowest pace in more than two years, giving President Joe Biden a political boost as he tries to sell voters on his economic record.
🪧 Strike Three: The union representing 160,000 television and movie actors is poised to call a strike today, which would be the first time actors and writers will be on strike in 33 years.
👨⚖️ Sentencing Phase: Jurors in Pittsburgh began deliberations yesterday over whether Robert Bowers, who was convicted in the 2018 attack that killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue, will face the death penalty.
📚 Bookshelf: The New York Timesreviews Judy Rakowsky’s book Jews in the Garden, in which the author and journalist helped a relative uncover the truth about what happened to their family during the Holocaust.
💲 Chip Change: The Israel Innovation Authority announced that it is allocating NIS 113 million ($31 million) for a new research and development center for chip-based biodevices such as environmental diagnostic sensors and smart implants for medical treatment.
🇵🇸 Jenin Visit: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visited the West Bank city of Jenin yesterday for the first time in years, on the heels of Israel’s recent military operation in the city.
⚖️ Settlers Charged: Israeli prosecutors filed terrorism charges against two settlers yesterday, one accused of desecrating a mosque and the other of setting fire to a home in the West Bank.
🔥 Border Blast: An explosion along Lebanon’s border with Israel yesterday wounded at least three Hezbollah members, according to a Lebanese security official.
🇮🇷🇷🇺 Diplomat Summoned: Iran summoned the Russian ambassador and said it will not negotiate over three Gulf islands disputed with the United Arab Emirates, after Russia and the Gulf Cooperation Council issued a joint statement supporting a UAE initiative to reach a peaceful solution to the issue.
Pic of the Day
Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant meets today with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Minister of Defense Col. General Zakir Hasanov, in Baku, following a meeting this morning with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, where they discussed various regional and global developments.
Aliyev and Gallant discussed avenues to further strengthen strategic ties and increase security and industrial cooperation in the face of common challenges, according to a press release from the Israeli Defense Ministry.
Co-host of “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN since 2001 with Michael Wilbon, Anthony Irwin “Tony” Kornheiser turns 75…
Auschwitz survivor and the founder of Florida East Coast Realty, Tibor Hollo turns 96… Scottsdale, Ariz., resident, retired teacher, Howie K. Kipnes… Actor, his maternal grandmother was Anna Lifschutz, a Jewish immigrant from Minsk, he is best known as the title character in the “Indiana Jones” film series, Harrison Ford turns 81… Clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Michael W. Cohen, MD… Ridgefield, Conn., resident, Louis Panzer… Lecturer on the federal budget process, Johnny Cahn… Actress, best known for her role as Frenchy in “Grease,” Edith “Didi” Conn turns 72… Author of crime and suspense novels, Andrew Klavan turns 69… Adjunct professor at Hebrew University and president of the Jerusalem-based Lankin Consulting serving nonprofits, Eric Marshall Lankin… Manager of regulatory and legislative affairs at PJM Interconnection, Stuart Widom… Country music artist, Victoria Lynn Shaw turns 61… Television executive and producer, Carolyn Strauss turns 60… Film director and screenwriter, Shari Springer Berman turns 60… Television writer, David X. Cohen turns 57… Author and journalist, Katie Roiphe turns 55… Chief legal officer and chief policy officer at HackerOne, Ilona Cohen… Owner of the D.C. area franchises of SafeSplash Swim Schools, Jennifer Rebecca Goodman Lilintahl… Founder of Omanut Collective and COO of Shefa, Sarah Persitz… Director of major gifts at American Friends of Magen David Adom, Yishai Mizrahi… Creator, writer and producer of the TV show “Casual,” Alexander “Zander” Sutton Lehmann turns 36… Aspen, Colo.-based neuro linguistic programming coach, she is also the CEO and founder of entertainment agency Art of Air, Ariana Gradow… Managing director at BDT & MSD Partners, Nicholas Avery Newburger… Managing partner at Surround Ventures, Jared Kash… Television and film actor, Wyatt Jess Oleff turns 20… Co-founder of Kohlmann & Co AG, Eric A. Kohlmann… Reporter at Punchbowl News, Max Cohen…