👋 Good Wednesday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we interview Delaware congressional candidate Sarah McBride, and spotlight the newly opened Rubell Museum DC. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Sen. Rick Scott, Jeffrey Goldberg and Stephanie Hallett.
Former President Donald Trump was indicted yesterday afternoon on four felony counts for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The indictment alleged that Trump, who is slated to appear in court on Thursday, worked to undermine the “bedrock function of the United States federal government.”
The former president was accused by federal prosecutors of spreading “prolific lies” and, along with a group of co-conspirators who have not been charged, organizing a group of fake electors in seven states. The indictment also accuses Trump and his allies of working up until Jan. 6, 2021 — when rioters attempted to stop the counting of the Electoral College votes — to persuade local officials to change the results of the November 2020 election and to urge then-Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the election results in violation of Pence’s constitutional duty.
A statement from Trump’s 2024 campaign called the charges “reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, the former Soviet Union, and other authoritarian, dictatorial regimes.”
The 45-page indictment comes weeks before the first scheduled GOP presidential debate. Trump — who holds a commanding lead over a crowded field that includes Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — has not committed to participating in the Aug. 23 debate, and has floated the idea of holding an alternative event at the same time.
As can be expected of someone in a prominent leadership position, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt spends a lot of time on the phone. But there’s one call he makes every Sunday: to performer Nick Cannon, Greenblatt told attendees at the 2023 National Urban League Annual Conference in Houston on Friday.
The calls began after Cannon became embroiled in controversy in 2020 for spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories and praising Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The two now host a monthly podcast, on which they address challenging issues for and between the Black and Jewish communities. Their collaboration is part of a broader effort by Greenblatt and the ADL to work alongside Black communities to fight a scourge against racist and antisemitic hate.
“We do this because we need to be there for each other,” Greenblatt told the Houston convening. “We can’t fight alone.”
In his remarks, Greenblatt cited the results of his organization’s recent Online Hate and Harassment Survey, which found that Black Americans face the highest levels of online harassment of any racial group. “We at ADL believe deeply… fiercely… that you got to battle both if you really want to win,” Greenblatt said. “Our communities will never be safe if all of us aren’t equally safe. This country, this union can’t live up to its promise if any of us is denigrated… demonized… dehumanized… and made to live in fear because of how we look, or where we pray, or who we love.”
Greenblatt also announced that he will be co-hosting next month’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington. Among those convening the event are National Urban League President Marc Morial, Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III. Read Greenblatt’s full remarks here.
first state candidate
Delaware congressional candidate Sarah McBride casts herself as a staunch supporter of Israel
Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride, a leading Democratic candidate for Delaware’s only House seat, framed herself as a staunch supporter of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship, as well as a committed fighter against antisemitism, in a recent interview with Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod — a position that could place her on more solid footing with the state’s pro-Israel community than Delaware’s current House member.
Different perspective: Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) has previously been supportive of legislation by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) in favor of placing restrictions on U.S. aid to Israel, one of a series of Israel policy positions that have sometimes placed Blunt Rochester at odds with members of the state’s pro-Israel community, even as they’ve maintained a relationship. McBride, however, told JI she wouldn’t be supportive of legislation like the McCollum bill. She emphasized that federal law already contains protections to ensure that U.S. aid “shouldn’t be used in ways that contradict our values,” and voiced “serious concerns about any policy that would single out Israel and treat it differently than other countries that we support through foreign aid” or hold it “to a different standard.”
Critical relationship: “I believe it’s a critical relationship. It’s one that I will certainly work in Congress to continue to protect,” she continued. “And I believe that it sits right at the heart of our values as a democratic nation.” McBride also expressed her support for the Abraham Accords, highlighting the bipartisan support for the agreements across multiple administrations. She said the Accords could “underpin a future two-state solution” and support regional security for Israel and other nations.
Antisemitism: McBride described herself as a leader within the Delaware Senate on combating antisemitism, and expressed support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism. “This is an issue that I am deeply passionate about,” she said. “We all have a moral responsibility to call out antisemitism whenever it rears its ugly head… In Congress, I will seek to continue to use the elected position that I have to elevate the need for all of us to speak out against antisemitism, to fight against antisemitism, [and] to pass legislation.”
Following trips to Israel, lawmakers question future of U.S. security coordination with Palestinians
Following recent trips to Israel, some lawmakers came away skeptical over the future of U.S. security coordination with the Palestinian Authority’s Security Forces, and divided over how the U.S. can help stabilize the increasingly volatile security situation in the West Bank, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Growing skepticism: Asked whether he sees a future for U.S. cooperation with Palestinian forces, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who visited Israel during Israel’s military operation in Jenin said that he’s “always hopeful, but [Palestinian security forces have] to do their job.” “If [the PA] want[s] to have control over the West Bank, they’ve got to be policing, they can’t let these terrorists [operate] in there that are killing Israeli civilians,” he said. “If they’re not, Israel has no choice but to defend their security and defend their citizens.”
Role to play: Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) said that Israeli officials emphasized that terrorist groups have been gaining traction in the West Bank because the PA is losing “legitimacy from Palestinians” who are also frustrated both with Israel and their own economy in the West Bank. “The message was basically, ‘We need to bolster the economy at the local level, in the West Bank, in Gaza, in order to ensure that they have their own security — their own economic and social security — so that they don’t feel this disillusionment with their own government,” Panetta said. “That was a message that resonated with me — that there needs to continue the effort of providing the necessary resources [to the Palestinians].”
Welcome to Washington’s new ‘school’ of contemporary art
Growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust, Mera Rubell learned one lesson from her childhood in a Displaced Persons camp in Eastern Europe: “If you want to survive, don’t get attached to objects.” So it’s ironic that Rubell, now 80 years old, has come to be known for the objects she collects — to be precise: more than 7,000 works of art, objects she cherishes and displays in museums built by her and her husband, Don Rubell. Their latest museum opened in Washington, D.C., last fall. In a city chock full of museums, the Rubell Museum DC brought a contemporary and fast-paced flavor to sit alongside the history and authority of the venerable institutions of the Smithsonian. Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch interviewed Mera and checked out the new museum last month.
Rubells elsewhere: The Rubells opened their first museum in a converted DEA facility in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in 1993, setting off a process that utterly transformed Wynwood into one of Miami’s most popular areas and a hub of modern art. They attracted the famed Swiss art festival Art Basel to Miami Beach, its first and only outpost in the United States.
Inside the room: The Washington museum occupies what used to be a segregated schoolhouse, which fell into disrepair. The original schoolhouse structure still stands. The main room of the 32,000-square-foot gallery is an airy, bright space, with large arched windows and brick walls and only four pieces of art — two large paintings and two massive textile works, by artists including the American painter Kehinde Wiley (who painted the flower-filled portrait of former President Barack Obama that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery) and the Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui.
🏫 Crisis Averted: The Associated Press’ Adrian Sainz looks at how preparation and developed security measures prevented a larger-scale attack at a Jewish school in Memphis, Tenn., this week. “Laura Kepes Linder, [Jewish Community Partners]’s president and CEO, said work over the last decade to ensure the safety of Memphis’ Jewish community helped prevent a tragedy. She referenced security camera footage that helped law enforcement identify the individual with the gun. Linder also said ‘our close relationship with MPD resulted in their quick response; our security director was at the school immediately to help manage the situation; and our school personnel were prepared.’ Secure Community Network, which bills itself as the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America, said officials were able to get clear video images of the man, track license plates to identify him, and produce additional information about him that was shared with authorities. Teamwork between the school, community and law enforcement is emblematic of a national push for information sharing and security training, making the response to the threat ‘neither an accident nor luck,’ said Michael Masters, the network’s national director and CEO.” [AP]
📞 Q&A with Thomas Friedman: The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner talks toNew York Times columnist Thomas Friedman about his insights into the prospects for a U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia. “‘Remember, Saudi Arabia is very competitive with the U.A.E. and didn’t want to see it get ahead, both in access to Israeli intelligence, security support against Iran, and investment opportunities in the high-tech area. At some point, and I can’t tell you where, these two things fused into the notion of a kind of three-way deal. This was being discussed on a low burn for, say, six months or so. And when I interviewed President Biden, I simply asked where it stood. It was very clear that the President was struggling with whether to go ahead with this. He has a complicated relationship with Saudi Arabia, given M.B.S.’s involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. And so he was obviously wrestling with it. Then he decided to send Jake Sullivan and the diplomat Brett McGurk to Riyadh. At a fund-raiser on Friday, he said, Hey, this might happen. That’s where we stand right now.’” [NewYorker]
🪖 Compare and Contrast: Puck News’ Julia Ioffe considers how the “Israel model” of U.S. military support could be applied to Ukraine. “In addition to arms sales (which, by law, must maintain Israel’s Q.M.E., or qualitative military edge), the U.S. also invested heavily in Israel’s domestic defense industry in order to make the country more self-sufficient. And, perhaps most crucially, it established a legal framework — a series of Memoranda of Understanding that spelled out military aid for Israel for a full ten years at a time — so that the country could know how much money was coming in, and when, and therefore could plan long term for its security. Meanwhile, the U.S. defense apparatus could also operationalize around the plan. What it did not grant Israel was the assurance that the U.S. would enter a war on its behalf. Of course, it’s not a perfect analogy to the situation in Ukraine. ‘It’s a lot easier to provide Israel a qualitative military advantage over the Kingdom of Jordan,’ said the person familiar with the discussions. ‘It’s a lot harder when the adversary is Russia.’ It’s also a lot easier when Israel, unlike its neighbors, is a nuclear power. Ukraine, on the other hand, has no nukes and has been invaded by a nuclear superpower. Moreover, Ukraine ‘is already pretty armed to the teeth,’ a senior administration official told me. ‘The issue is that they’re expending it at tremendous rates.’” [Puck]
⚖️ Founding Father’s Thoughts: Wall Street Journal columnist William Galston explores the views of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, on the judicial system and whether or not the country should have a constitution. “Citing the Lochner era of U.S. Supreme Court opposition to progressive social legislation, Ben-Gurion directly attacked American-style judicial review as a standard for Israel. ’In a country such as ours, imagine for yourselves that the nation wants something, and seven people designated with the rank of judge cancel something that the nation wants!… This, in our country, would lead to revolution. For the people would say: we will do what we want.’ Israel, Ben-Gurion argued, had chosen a parliamentary form of government in which the people’s representatives make and implement laws. In such a system, he bluntly concluded, it’s impossible to ‘delegate authority to the court to decide whether the laws are kosher or not kosher.’” [WSJ]
Around the Web
💰 Donor Dollars: Puck Newsspotlights the role that Silicon Valley donations to super PACs are playing in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
🚩 Red Flags: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) led a group of House Republicans on a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines expressing concern over links between four U.S. mosques and centers and Iran.
❓ Senate Speculation:The Philadelphia Inquirer looks at the ongoing speculation around David McCormick’s potential entry into Pennsylvania’s Senate race.
⚖️ Jury Duty: Jurors in Pittsburgh asked to see the weapons used by Robert Bowers during the 2018 Tree of Life attack, indicating that they are nearing a verdict on whether Bowers will face the death penalty or life in prison.
👋 Farewell, Florida: A new analysis of U.S. Census data found that Florida’s Miami-Dade County saw a population drop between 2019-2022, the first time such a decline has happened in more than three decades.
🎙️ Media Matters: Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic since 2016, is in discussions to host PBS’ “Washington Week,” following the departure of previous host Yamiche Alcindor earlier this year.
🇨🇳 Saved in Shanghai: A new exhibition in Manhattan’s Fosun Plaza spotlights the experiences of European Jews who found refuge in Shanghai during WWII.
💬 Trying Again: The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are set to restart talks, three months after negotiations ended at an impasse. In Manhattan yesterday, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher addressed New York City Council members about the ongoing actors strike.
🛃 On the Border: American observers quietly monitored Israeli border crossings this week to assess transiting conditions for Palestinian Americans, as the late September deadline for the decision on Israel’s entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program nears.
📄 APN APB: Americans for Peace Now is circulating a letter to President Joe Biden urging the U.S. to consider significant changes to the U.S.-Israel relationship in response to the Israeli judicial overhaul efforts.
☁️ Cloud Coverage: Amazon announced plans to invest over $7 billion in Israel over the next 14 years, as it launched data centers around the country.
🏥 Infighting: At least nine people have been killed in sectarian clashes in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon following the killing of a Fatah military general.
🚑 Shooting Attack: Six Israelis were wounded in a terror attack outside a shopping mall in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement in the West Bank.
👨✈️ Military Matters: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reportedly pushed back against coalition lawmakers angry over both the Biden administration’s stance on judicial reform efforts and the refusal by Israeli Air Force pilots to serve if the reforms are enacted, saying, “The air force is built on two components: American planes and Israeli pilots. If you have an alternative for one of them, let me know.”
🇸🇦 Sights on Saudi: Officials in Jerusalem are signaling to Saudi Arabia that the kingdom should work to achieve a normalization agreement with Israel under the Biden administration, suggesting that Riyadh will be more likely to overcome congressional opposition to its key demands with a Democratic administration.
🪖 Shell Stock: Israel is working to procure $60 million worth of 155 mm artillery shells following the transfer of several hundred thousand shells from a U.S. stockpile in Israel to Ukraine.
🌊 Military Moves: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched a surprise military drill on the disputed Abu Musa and Greater Tunb Islands in the Persian Gulf. Vessels belonging to the IRGC have for the first time been equipped with missiles with a range of 600 km., Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
Pic of the Day
Stephanie Hallett, the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, meets with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, on her first visit to the Western Wall since assuming the role last month. Hallett was previously the embassy’s deputy chief of mission.
Former member of Knesset for 28 years, he then served as chairman of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems until this past April, Uzi Landau turns 80…
Co-founder and chairman of NYC-based real estate development firm, Rockrose Development Corporation, Henry Elghanayan turns 83… Professor emeritus of Bible at London’s Leo Baeck College, Jonathan David Magonet turns 81… Retired colonel in the U.S. Army and a recipient of the Medal of Honor and seven other medals, he taught at West Point and serves as a military analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, Jack H. Jacobs turns 78… Longtime librarian, now residing in Albuquerque, N.M., Irene Seff… Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, author and public speaker, Dennis Prager turns 75… Ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the United Nations, Robert Keith Rae turns 75… Author and former columnist at The New York Times, Roger Cohen turns 68… U.S. senator from Nevada, Jacklyn Sheryl “Jacky” Rosen turns 66… Psychoanalyst, psychiatrist and brain researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yoram Yovell turns 65… Chief marketing and communications officer at Meals on Wheels America, Amy Aronoff Blumkin… Former mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla., for eight years until 2022, Richard David “Rick” Kriseman turns 61… Owner of Newton, Mass.-based MPG Promotions, Elliot Mael… VP and general counsel of Yeshiva University, Andrew J. ”Avi” Lauer…
ATP professional tennis player, who was once ranked sixth best in the world, Aaron Krickstein turns 56… Former member of the Knesset, first for the Labor party and then the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Leon Litinetsky turns 56… Senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Steven A. Cook… EVP for Hearst Television and chair of the NBC Television Affiliate Board, Eric J. Meyrowitz… Senior director for global trade and public affairs at confectionery, food, and pet care firm, Mars Inc., Jay Eizenstat… Pulitzer Prize-winning, D.C.-based national security reporter for The New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg turns 49… Senior executive communications lead at Adobe, Stephen L. Rabin… Labor law attorney in the Nashville office of Holland & Knight, he is on the national board of JFNA, Aron Zwi Karabel… Freshman U.S. senator (R-OH), James David (J.D.) Vance turns 39… CEO of Make It Real, co-founder and chair of The Jewish Entrepreneur (a mentoring program), Isaac William “Zevy” Wolman… Julia Nayfeld Schulman… Actress best known for her 1999 “Pepsi Girl” role as a seven year old, and later for subsequent teen roles, Hallie Kate Eisenberg turns 31… Baseball pitcher, he played for Team Israel in 2017 and now manages a baseball training facility for young players in Philadelphia, Kenny Koplove turns 30… British media personality, model and social media influencer, Eyal Adi Booker turns 28…