First published at 7:05 AM on Dec 6th 2019
Updated at: 8:10 AM
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Jewish Insider | Daily Kickoff
December 6th, 2019
👋 Good Friday morning!

On Capitol Hill, the House is set to vote on a resolution reaffirming U.S. support for the two-state solution. More below.

In South Florida, President Donald Trump will speak Saturday night at the annual Israeli-American Council national summit, taking place this weekend at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood.

In Israel, three Netanyahu associates — including his cousin — were indicted yesterday on charges of corruption linked to Case 3000, which related to the 2016 purchase of submarines from Germany. Netanyahu himself was not charged in the case.

In Poland, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is slated to make her first visit since assuming office to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial today, and announce a donation of €60 million to conservation efforts.

In London, the Campaign Against Antisemitism is hosting the “Together Against Antisemitism” national solidarity march on Sunday in Parliament Square.

Over at Fox News: A few days after The Washington Post’s media critic Erik Wemple wrote ‘Fox can’t shake anti-Semitism,’ Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg observes the dog-whistles deployed by Tucker Carlson in a segment earlier this week.

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on the hill

House to take a stance on annexation and continued aid to Israel

William Alatriste

The House of Representatives will vote today on a resolution (H.R. 326), introduced by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), reaffirming U.S. support for the two-state solution.

Why now: Lowenthal said the recent reversal on settlements by the Trump administration — and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow earlier this year to annex part of the West Bank — makes this declaration critical. “We cannot let partisan political concerns — either at home or abroad — distract us from keeping the dream of a just peace alive,” he said. “Congress must speak out to make clear to the world that the United States stands behind its longstanding foreign policy principles.”

Along partisan lines: Nearly 200 Democrats have cosponsored the resolution, which also expresses opposition to the “unilateral annexation of territory or efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework of negotiations.” Despite the removal of language referencing the “occupation” and “opposing settlement activity” from the final draft, most Republicans are expected to oppose the resolution.

The last minute inclusion of two amendments — introduced by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Tom Reed (R-NY) — reaffirming the “ironclad” U.S. commitment to the MOU and to annual military assistance without new conditions — will make the passage of the resolution bipartisan. At least 10 Republicans signed on in support of the amendments, and several are likely to vote in favor of the measure.

Timing: Gottheimer told JI’s Jacob Kornbluh that the passage of the resolution “sends a very clear message that puts to rest the splinter view of adding new conditions on aid to Israel.” According to the New Jersey Democrat, while “the underlying resolution isn’t perfect,” the fact that the amendments added were backed by a handful of Republicans makes it a bipartisan declaration about continued aid to Israel.

No comment: An AIPAC spokesperson tells JI, “We have no position on this resolution.” A similar measure condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and endorsing the two-state solution (H.R. 246), which passed overwhelmingly 398-17 in July, was supported by AIPAC. The current resolution, however, only has the support of J Street and the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

Why it matters: If passed, the resolution will mark the first time the House has voted to oppose unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank. “Coming at the end of a week in which President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly discussed potential Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley, it will send a clear message that Congress strongly opposes such efforts to undermine the prospects for a two-state solution,” Logan Bayroff, J Street's director of communications, told JI.

Rep. David Price (D-NC) tells JI’s Ben Jacobs that he’s “pleased to put the House on the record” in opposition to West Bank annexation and the withholding of U.S. funds to the Palestinian Authority.

Republican opposition: In a letter sent earlier this week to Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Republican Jewish Coalition pointed to the passing of H.R. 246 as a reason to oppose the current Democratic-sponsored resolution. “It appears that their purpose is to undercut the Trump administration's Middle East peace plan ahead of its unveiling,” the RJC wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Jewish Insider, calling the vote a “redundant exercise.”

Opposing from the left: Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Justin Amash (I-MI) sided with the Republicans in voting “no” on the amendments and the ruling. Tlaib told The Hill that she opposed the amendments because she supports a one-state solution and will vote against the resolution because the “word ‘occupation’ was taken out.”

U.S.-Israel defense pact: In a briefing with Israeli reporters in Lisbon, Portugal, Netanyahu said that Pompeo agreed to promote a mutual defense pact between the U.S. and Israel, but cautioned that it might not be possible for the U.S. to sign such an agreement with only an interim Israeli government in place.

Bonus: Al-Arabiya reports that Palestinian officials are concerned over a recent report by the International Criminal Court’s head prosecutor that addresses Palestinian Authority payments to individuals who’ve conducted terror attacks against Israelis. The report warned that the payments could constitute a war crime.

Read the full story here.

Heard last night

Jeffrey Goldberg, Bari Weiss discuss antisemitism in America

At the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan on Thursday night, Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg and New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss spoke with Council for Young Jewish Presidents executive director Zach Schaffer about assimilation, the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community and the politicization of antisemitism.

Goldberg told the audience: "The interesting thing about the antisemitism on the far left is that it plays an unusually sophisticated role in corroding Jewish unity, Jewish sense of self, Jewish purpose in a way that Nazism [and] Islamism... don’t — they actually bring the Jewish people together. The extreme leftism is interesting because it’s far more clever than idiot Nazis running around in Charlottesville."

Speaking to JI Thursday night, Weiss expressed frustration with Sanders’s silence over comments made by campaign surrogate Linda Sarsour — at a conference hosted by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) — that Israel was “built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else.” Weiss told JI that entrenched antisemitism within a political party can originate at Sarsour’s level: “This is sort of how it begins, where it’s like, ‘What is the line?’”

Weiss told JI: “It’s not just what [Sarsour] said — it’s the content of the entire conference,” noting that the controversial statements and sessions did not garner significant attention beyond the Jewish community. Weiss pointed out that the conference included a session with the description, “Zionism has come in like a disease to destroy the purity of Al Quds [Jerusalem].”

Piling on: In a press release distributed Thursday, Democratic Majority for Israel said, “We are deeply saddened and completely appalled to see Senator Sanders standing with antisemitism by remaining silent and retaining Linda Sarsour as an ‘official surrogate’ of his campaign after she made yet another antisemitic statement.”

podcast playback

Indyk discusses new book on Kissinger and the Middle East

state department

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk discussed his forthcoming book Henry Kissinger and the Art of the Middle East Deal, on the "Decision Points" podcast with The Washington Institute’s David Makovsky.

On the 1973 Yom Kippur War: Indyk characterizes the U.S. airlift in support of Israeli troops as a vital moment in the war and broader U.S.-American relationship. After, "what the airlift did was give the Israelis a shot in the arm and a critical sense that the United States was behind them full-square."

Ultimate Deal: Kissinger approached Middle East peace as a means to expelling Soviet presence in the region. According to Indyk, this came much to the chagrin of then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. In one incident, Indyk explains, Kissinger “had to convince the Israelis to give up territory, not for peace, but for the order he wished to create.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

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📰 True or False: Tablet’s Armin Rosen takes to task “the new journalism” in an article exploring how media outlets have chased stories of foreign actors operating in the U.S., often without understanding the truth or the consequences of such reporting. “Can any suggestion of any crime, no matter how hideous or consequential, be made against any individual, so long as the phrasing is conditional enough to be libel-proof?” [Tablet]

📺 So-so Show: David Frum writes in The Atlantic that the impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee this week were unplanned, unfocused and pointless. Frum argues that if Rep. Jerry Nadler and the Democrats don’t become more effective, “they will lose, and the country with them.” [TheAtlantic]

🗣️ On Repeat: Josh Lederman writes for NBC News about how a conspiracy theory involving George Soros is being heavily trafficked by Trump allies pushing back against the impeachment hearings. [NBC News]

🥡 Profile: Business Insider spoke to OpenTable CTO Joseph Essas, who said that his kosher diet means he can only eat at 30 of the 55,000 restaurants available on the app. With restaurants across the world, Essas travels frequently, but always returns home for Shabbat. His work in the fine-dining industry has led to some amusing encounters with supposedly “kosher” food. [BusinessInsider]

Around the Web

🕎 Royal Holiday: Prince Charles hosted a pre-Hanukkah reception at Buckingham Palace last night, praising the Jewish community’s contributions to Britain and lamenting how their history has “often been shadowed by persecution.”

👫 Early Fall: Mark Wiseman, who was seen as a potential heir to BlackRock’s chief executive Laurence Fink, was ousted from the company for failing to disclose a relationship with a colleague.

📡 Shifting Roles: David Cohen, senior executive vice president of Comcast, is expected to step down from his operational responsibilities at the company in January.

🏡 Dealmaking: Lev Parnas has asked a judge to release him from house arrest to spend time with his family — promising he’ll stay away from airports, boat docks and train stations.

🚶‍♂️ U.K. Election Watch: A Jewish member of the European Parliament (MEP), has quit Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in order to endorse Boris Johnson’s Conservative party.

📝 Taking Notes: Seventy members of the Jewish Labour Movement have submitted detailed accusations of antisemitism within the party to an external inquiry run by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

🙏 View from Jerusalem: Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a radio interview that he hopes Labour loses the Dec. 12 election, citing Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism.

🖥️ Deep Dive: A mysterious Israel-based group has been using 21 Facebook pages with coordinated fake news posts to target Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), The Guardian reports.

⚖️ Taking Action: New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against the Town of Chester and Orange County for discrimination and antisemitic housing practices targeting the local Hasidic Jewish community.

📸 Photo Bomb: Several dozen corrections officers in West Virginia have been suspended after the discovery of a recent photo of the group performing a Nazi salute. Gov. Jim Justice said anyone involved should be fired.

👮 Hate Crime: Police are investigating after swastika graffiti was found at the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County on Long Island.

🎓 Campus Beat: After a violent protest outside an Israel event last month, York University has both suspended Students Against Israeli Apartheid from operating and banned Herut Canada from hosting events on campus.

📖 Joint Degree: Columbia University announced yesterday a new dual-degree program with Tel Aviv University.

🕯️Remembering: Jay Kriegel, chief of staff to former New York City Mayor John Lindsay and later a senior vice president at CBS, has died at age 79. Bloomberg Beta’s Roy Bahat pays tribute to Kriegel in a Medium post this morning, noting, “A thank you could never say enough, to a man who gave, and gave… ז״ל”’

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley reflected on her two-year tenure at the international body in remarks at the inaugural U.N. Watch gala held at The Plaza in New York City.

Haley was introduced by Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon. "We miss you at the U.N., Nikki," Danon said.
Paul Barendregt
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