Good Tuesday morning.
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we interview Wesley Bell, a Missouri attorney mounting a primary challenge to Rep. Cori Bush, and profile former Texas Rangers All-Star Ian Kinsler, who in his post-playing days is the manager for Team Israel. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Jake Sherman, Dan Senor and Hillary Clinton.
The Senate is set to vote today on confirming Jack Lew as the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. Like the vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, the floor vote is expected to fall mostly along party lines.
The fast-tracking of Lew’s nomination comes amid continued efforts by Israel to take out Hamas’ core infrastructure and rescue the more than 200 hostages still in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ruled out a cease-fire with Hamas, saying that calls for such an agreement “are a call for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terror, to surrender to barbarism.”
“That will not happen,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahudoubled down on his opposition to a cease-fire in an op-ed running in today’s Wall Street Journal. “Just as the U.S. wouldn’t have agreed to a cease-fire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack on 9/11,” Netanyahu wrote, “Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of Oct. 7.”
Netanyahu reiterated his call for the international community to push for a release of the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza. The IDF, which has been conducting small-scale ground operations in Gaza in recent days, rescued a woman who was taken hostage on Oct. 7 while serving on an army base in southern Israel.
Hamas released a video of three female hostages, the second time the terror group has filmed a hostage talking to the camera since Oct. 7 and disseminated the materials. Israeli news media largely refrained from airing the footage, and Netanyahu denounced the video as “cruel psychological propaganda.”
Missed yesterday’s edition of “Inside the Newsroom” with Jonathan Schanzer? Watch the full episode here.
Democrats slam GOP plan to split Israel and Ukraine funding, offset with IRS cuts
House Republicans’ proposal to split emergency Israel and Ukraine funding and offset it with funding cuts to the Internal Revenue Service is being criticized as political gamesmanship by House and Senate Democrats, even staunch supporters of Israel, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
In the bill: The Republicans’ bill, which is set to come up for a vote later this week, would offset the $14.3 billion in proposed aid to Israel with equivalent cuts to funding for the IRS — an unusual provision for an emergency aid bill. IRS funding has been a particular target for congressional Republicans since it received significant increases as part of last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.
Bipartisan: Although most criticism has come from Democrats, a bipartisan group of House members including Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), the Republican chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia subcommittee, pro-Israel Democrats Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Debbie Wasserman Schutlz (D-FL) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), also critiqued the plan, JI scooped last night. “We beseech you not to separate aid for Israel’s fight to rescue its hostages and secure its borders from Ukraine’s fight to do the same, or from Taiwan’s efforts to deter a war,” the letter reads. “The introduction of offsets, or the potential deferral of our commitments, threatens not only our national interest, but also our long-term fiscal health.”
Outside the Hill: An official at a pro-Israel organization in contact with Capitol Hill told JI the proposal from House leadership was a misstep. “The House legislation puts Israel in a tough spot unnecessarily. There is no upside here,” the official told JI. “It is [dead on arrival] in the Senate all the while making the funding partisan and raising questions about setting a new precedent for emergency assistance to our most important ally in the region. A largely partisan vote at a time when Israel is fighting a war and recovering from burying 1,400 of its citizens sends the wrong signal to the world — including Israel’s enemies.”
no beating around the bush
Cori Bush becomes the latest Squad member to pick up a pro-Israel challenger
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) has emerged as one of the most stridently anti-Israel voices in Congress since Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7 — to which Bush responded by calling for the end of U.S. aid to Israel. On Monday, Bush became the latest anti-Israel House member to pick up a primary challenger, Wesley Bell, who cites Bush’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict as one of the reasons he’s joining the race, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Quotable: “As a country, we have to be reliable partners. We have to stand by our fellow democracies, and we have to stand against terrorism,” Bell, the prosecuting attorney of St. Louis County, told JI on Monday afternoon. “Hamas is a terrorist organization and I will not waver in my support for Israel.”
Timing: Bell said that the Israel-Hamas war and Bush’s comments about it had factored into his decision to challenge her for her House seat. “It contributed to [my decision] for the surface reasons that those comments were offensive on many levels, but also from a national security level as well,” Bell said. “It’s going to take steady and effective leadership to ensure that we’re able to bring about peaceful resolutions and that often means standing with fellow democracies.”
Personal experience: Bell, who traveled to Israel in 2017 with the American Israel Education Foundation, a nonprofit linked to AIPAC, said he’d seen firsthand the importance of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. Bush voted against supplemental Iron Dome funding in 2021, after the last war between Israel and Hamas. “It’s one of those things that you have to be there to fully understand what our Jewish brothers and sisters and our Israeli brothers and sisters have to deal with,” he said.
Bonus: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said yesterday that “Now more than ever, we must emphasize the importance of separating people from governments. Antisemitism is disgusting and unacceptable. We have a responsibility to defend our Jewish brothers, sisters, and siblings from hatred. No movement of integrity should tolerate it. Ever.”
Columbia University, Barnard College silent after faculty letter calls Hamas terrorist attack a legitimate ‘military action’
Columbia University declined to comment to Jewish Insider after 144 members of its faculty signed an open letter on Saturday that called Israel an apartheid state while referring to Hamas’ terrorist attacks as a legitimate “military action.” The professors wrote that they are uneasy about students being deemed antisemitic if they “express empathy for the lives and dignity of Palestinians, and/or if they signed on to a student-written statement that situated the military action begun on Oct. 7 within the larger context of the occupation of Palestine by Israel,” eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen reports forJI.
Protecting the protests: Even as some of the protests have turned violent, the letter defended the student demonstrators against the “egregious forms of harassment and efforts to chill otherwise protected speech on campus [that] are unacceptable.” Earlier this month, an Israeli student was beaten with a stick outside Columbia’s main library after confronting a woman ripping down flyers with names and pictures of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas.
No comment: Columbia’s faculty demanded that the administration “cease issuing statements that favor the suffering and death of Israelis or Jews over the suffering and deaths of Palestinians.” When asked whether administration condemns the letter and thinks it is antisemitic, a spokesperson for Columbia told JI, “on this, we have no comment.”
white house meeting
Biden administration pledges plan to combat rising antisemitism on campuses within 2 weeks
Jewish leaders suggested the Biden administration strip federal funding from universities that fail to address antisemitism on their campuses during a meeting at the Department of Education on Monday to discuss steps to counter the noted rise of antisemitic incidents on college campuses — which comes amid a 388% increase nationwide since the Oct. 7 terror attacks in Israel. Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt and other members of the administration met with 13 Jewish leaders – from across the political and religious range of the community – who have been focused on the rise of antisemitism on campus. The administration pledged to make a plan within two weeks to address the wave of antisemitism, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen reports.
Proposing consequences: Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, proposed that universities lose their federal funding under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin. Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center — an organization that often does not see eye to eye with NCJW — said he had in mind to suggest the same. “The whole community is on the same page here,” he told eJP. “[Universities should be] made to understand that there are consequences to failing to serve your Jewish students appropriately.”
Taking it seriously: Several participants told eJP that the meeting provided the sense that the Biden administration is taking seriously the uptick in antisemitism. “It was very clear that both the Department of Education and the Biden administration saw this as a worthwhile use of their time and something they needed to be at,” Julie Rayman, managing director of policy and political affairs at the American Jewish Committee, said, adding that the discussion was a “combination of voicing angst and anxiety of the community but also trying to provide some real, tangible recommendations for what we hope to see from the Department of Education.”
Former Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler rallies support for Israel
When former Texas Rangers All-Star Ian Kinsler took the field to throw out the first pitch at the American League Championship Series game against the Houston Astros last week — 10 days after Hamas’ deadly rampage in Israel — he looked fit and trim, like he could grab his cleats and glove and take up his old spot at second base. But Kinsler wasn’t wearing the Rangers uniform the home crowd was used to seeing him in for eight seasons, with its distinctive Old West lettering. Instead, he had donned the blue pinstriped jersey of Team Israel (along with a Rangers cap), part of an effort Kinsler has joined to rally support for the Jewish state since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, Frederic J. Frommer reports for Jewish Insider.
Fighting the fiction: “There’s a lot of propaganda and there’s a lot of backlash towards Israel by people that aren’t really educated or don’t really understand what the country actually does in the relationship with the Palestinian people,” Kinsler, who manages Team Israel, told JI last week. “So I’m trying to bring awareness to that situation and hopefully people look into it a little bit deeper than just reading the headlines. I find it bizarre that when Hamas puts out a statement, that people read it and it makes them think different things. I mean, this is a terrorist group that you’re listening to.”
Coaching: The day after he threw out the first pitch, Kinsler appeared in a video along with 18 current and former Jewish major league players and coaches urging people to stand up against antisemitism – and with Israel. They are the Jewish boys of summer in an anguished autumn of war.
Warning to the West: The editorial board of The Wall Street Journalcautions about the rise in global antisemitism after the Oct. 7 attacks. “If protesters wanted to burn Israeli flags in a fit of wrong-headed pique about a two-state solution, that is one thing. Only anti-Jewish hate can explain how synagogues, children and airports are targets of this outrage. Yet many Western intellectuals — and a growing number of politicians — insist on maintaining this false distinction. They’ve seen what Hamas has done to innocent Israeli civilians, and what pro-Hamas protesters have said and done in Western streets. They’d nonetheless forgive any violence by Hamas or Hezbollah against Jews as anticolonial defiance. This is why Israel is fighting, and must fight, as hard as it is for its survival as a state. And why it’s inexcusable for any Western politician now to demand a cease-fire in Gaza. No leader who is demonstrably incapable of protecting Jews in his or her own country should try to prevent Israel from defending itself. This is how the West slips from ‘never again’ into ‘nowhere is safe.’” [WSJ]
Echoes of Oslo: The New York Times’ Serge Schmemann, who served for a time as the paper’s Jerusalem bureau chief, considers what lessons can be taken from the Oslo Accords 30 years after the agreements were made. “The question now is whether the terrifying new eruption of death and destruction in Gaza will harden hatreds on both sides, or whether it will eventually lead Israelis and Palestinians back to the realization of Oslo, that occupation and rejection cannot lead to peace. The battle is still unfolding, and the severity of the carnage and destruction will shape much of what follows. If Hamas is driven from power, the Israeli objective, the question is whether the Palestinian Authority would be capable of filling the vacuum; and if not, who then? Much depends also on whether West Bank Palestinians or Hezbollah in Lebanon are sucked into the fray, or remain on the sidelines, responding to pressure from the United States and others. Much will depend, too, on the intensive soul-searching that is inevitable in Israel when the guns fall silent, and whether the Israeli public will allow Mr. Netanyahu and the religious-nationalist extremists in his cabinet to stay in office.” [NYTimes]
Seeking Sherman: The Washington Post’s Jesús Rodríguez spotlightsPunchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman, who has gained a reputation as one of the most deeply sourced reporters covering Capitol Hill. “On the Hill, scoops and gaffes alike are subject to the same natural law: Next! There was the possibility of a government shutdown looming, presidential impeachment hearings in the mix, a Middle-East war and a(nother) fight over the House speakership over the horizon, just out of sight. And who’s going to tell you about it a few min before the rest? Sherman, a 5-foot-6, cherub-faced 37-year-old, has made it his business to become that guy on the Hill, where the currency is micro-scoops — news about extremely incremental developments that could be stale within hours. What this has brought him is a reputation as a primary narrator of major events and minor subplots driving the news in Congress, from Republican infighting over who should get to be Speaker of the House to the question of whether a member of Congress pulled the fire alarm before a crucial vote. In addition to his outlet’s newsletter dispatches, Sherman’s play-by-play of various Hill dramas go out to more than 420,000 followers on X, formerly known as Twitter — and into the bloodstream of Official Washington. These posts often have overtones of urgency.” [WashPost]
New Boebert?: The Associated Press’ Jesse Bedayn observes Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) political transformation as she faces a rematch against former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch, who came within 600 votes of beating Boebert. “The congresswoman’s unapologetic, Trumpian style had propelled her to MAGA stardom nationwide; now, she’s fighting for political survival at home. Boebert, who defended former President Donald Trump’s claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election and stood in the vanguard of his Make America Great Again movement, appears clear-eyed about the challenge ahead. She’s offered olive branches to local newspapers she once spurned as biased. So-called ballot harvesting, which she’s decried as an underhanded Democratic tactic, will be part of her campaign strategy. Her supporters can attend boot camps to become versed in her talking points, which have partly shifted from national priorities to more local matters, a strategy endorsed by the state GOP.” [AP]
Around the Web
Poll Surprise: A new poll from Cygnal found that Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh has a higher net favorability rating among American Muslims than President Joe Biden.
Urging Caution: The New York Times looks at how the Biden administration’s messaging on Israel has shifted from full-throttled support for Israeli actions to words of caution for Israel’s top brass.
On the Hill: Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN), Kevin Hern (R-OK) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) re-introduced the Maximum Pressure Act, which seeks to codify the Trump administration’s maximum pressure sanctions on Iran.
Out of the Race: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) announced he will not seek reelection to a 15th term next year.
Rosen Targeted: A Nevada man was arrested and charged with making antisemitic death threats toward Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV).
Murphy Bid: New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy is moving closer to announcing a primary bid to challenge Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
Pelosi’s Pick: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is endorsing former Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) in his bid to unseat Rep. Michael Lawler (R-NY).
Resilient Nation: Dan Senor spoke about his new book, co-written with Saul Singer, The Genius of Israel: The Surprising Resilience of a Divided Nation in a Turbulent World at the Tikvah Fund’s Jewish Leadership Conference on Sunday. In his speech, Senor discussed how the resilience of Israeli society and the Jewish state’s strong social solidarity reflects the impressive wartime mobilization in Israel — from Haredim enlisting to wealthy tech entrepreneurs volunteering to get critical supplies to soldiers.
Bloomberg Match: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making a $44 million donation to Magen David Adom, matching $44 million raised through a campaign run by the emergency services’ U.S.-based fundraising arm.
Building Bridges:eJewishPhilanthropylooks at the challenges and successes of Jewish Community Relations Councils across the U.S., which have for years emphasized coalition-building with local minority groups.
School for the Displaced: Israel’s Yad Vashem is using part of its museum campus in Jerusalem as a school for roughly 300 Israeli students displaced from their homes near the Gaza border.
View From Kfar Aza: The New York Times published video interviews with survivors from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, a largely dovish community, about their feelings toward Palestinians in Gaza following the Oct. 7 attacks.
Media Misinformation: The Washington Post’s technology reporter opines about how misinformation can quickly spread during war, spotlighting the recent coverage of an explosion at a Gaza hospital that was incorrectly reported as having resulted from an Israeli strike.
Anger Over Posters: Police in London are under fire for removing posters of missing Israeli hostages, a move they said was intended to avoid an escalation in tensions.
For the Record: The editors of the Yale Daily Newsissued a correction to an opinion piece about the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, saying the piece had been “edited to remove unsubstantiated claims that Hamas raped women and beheaded men,” despite significant and substantiated evidence.
Clinton Controversy: Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is facing calls to cut ties with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who serves as chancellor of the school, following comments Clinton made last week that a cease-fire would be “a gift” to Hamas.
Sound of Silence: The MTV Europe Music Awards, slated to be held next month in Paris, were canceled, with organizers citing the “volatility of global events” and saying that it “does not feel like a moment for a global celebration.”
Rising Regional Tension: Four Saudi soldiers were killed in clashes with Iran-backed Houthi rebels last week amid an escalation in tensions in the Gulf following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Pic of the Day
Israeli soldier Ori Megidish (center) poses for a photo with her family after IDF forces rescued her from Hamas captivity in Gaza yesterday.
CEO of Feld Entertainment, which operates the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice, Kenneth Feld turns 75…
Actor with a lengthy career in film, television and theater, Ron Rifkin turns 84… British historian, born in Baghdad, emeritus professor of International Relations at Oxford, Avraham “Avi” Shlaim turns 78… Co-founder and co-chairman of Heritage Auctions, James L. Halperin turns 71… Author, historian and writer-at-large for the U.K.-based Prospect Magazine, Sam Tanenhaus turns 68… Staff writer for The New Yorker and author, Susan Orlean turns 68… Former owner of the Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver turns 62… Managing partner of Arel Capital, Richard G. Leibovitch turns 60… PAC director at AIPAC, Marilyn Rosenthal… British lawyer who has served as CEO of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and COO of World ORT, Marc Jonathan (Jon) Benjamin turns 59… Former MLB pitcher, now a managing director at Rockefeller Capital Management in Boca Raton, Steven Allen Rosenberg turns 59… Founding partner at Lanx Management, former president of AIPAC and past chairman of the Orthodox Union, Howard E. (Tzvi) Friedman turns 58… Director of development for Foundation for Jewish Camp, Corey Cutler… Chief brand and innovation officer of Ralph Lauren, David Lauren turns 52… Founder and CEO of MercadoLibre, Marcos Eduardo Galperin turns 52… Film and television director and producer, Ruben Fleischer turns 49… Professor, attorney, author, political columnist and poet, Seth Abramson turns 47… Member of the California State Assembly since 2016, Marc Berman turns 43… Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas turns 43… CEO at Climate Club, he is the founder of Pencils of Promise, Adam Braun… Rabbi-in-residence at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester (N.Y.), she is the founder of Midrash Manicures, combining Jewish education and creative nail art, Yael Buechler… General manager at Returnmates, Spencer Herbst… Director of institutional advancement at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, Masha Shollar… Wheelchair basketball player and social media personality, Peter Berry turns 22…