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White House to host antisemitism summit this week

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Our senior political reporter, Jacob Kornbluh, is at J Street’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter to keep up with what’s being said on stage and off, and read on for tidbits from his notebook…. 


Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a keynote speech on Sunday that the Biden administration will engage “honestly and respectfully” with Israel’s incoming right-wing government, despite the extremists serving in senior cabinet positions. But Arab lawmaker Ayman Odeh told the conference he is “worried for the safety” of  “those who speak out against occupation and apartheid,” adding: “It’s difficult to overstate just how dangerous this moment is.”


Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, appearing on Meet the Press Sunday, said he’s “going to safeguard Israeli democracy” and “get another breakthrough for peace.” 


Asked about former President Donald Trump’s recent dinner with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes and refusal to disavow their antisemitic views, Netanyahu said: “I hope he sees his way to staying out of it and condemning it.”


And Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, was the latest Jewish supporter of Trump to condemn his dinner with Fuentes, saying at the Orthodox lobbying group’s annual convention this weekend: “Yesterday’s friend can be tomorrow’s greatest enemy.”


Join us next Tuesday, Dec. 13, for a conversation with Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for The New York Times, and author of the new book about Trump, Confidence Man. Register here ➤



The White house announced it will host an antisemitism roundtable on Wednesday featuring Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt and Susan Rice, director of the domestic policy council. This follows President Joe Biden’s declaration on Friday, in response to Kanye West’s latest rant, that “Silence is complicity.” 


“I just want to make a few things clear,” Biden said on Twitter. “The Holocaust happened. Hitler was a demonic figure. And instead of giving it a platform, our political leaders should be calling out and rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides.”

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff echoed the commander-in-chief during a fireside chat over the weekend. “We cannot be silent,” he said. “As long as I have this microphone, I’m going to keep speaking up, speaking out.”


Former President Obama campaigned with Sen. Raphael Warnock last week in Georgia. (Getty)

Tuesday is the last day of voting in Georgia’s Senate runoff and Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s governor-elect, is expected to join a Jewish Democratic Council of America virtual phone bank targeting Jewish Georgians tonight. 


Rep. Michael McCaul, who’s expected to be chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he would support GOP efforts to remove Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the panel for her 2019 comments against AIPAC and Israel. Meanwhile, Mike Lawler, the Republican who ousted Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney from a Hudson Valley seat with the help of Orthodox Jewish voters, said he would work closely with House Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 


And finally: New York Mayor Eric Adams dismissed the idea that the historic Black-Jewish alliance had been hurt by the antisemitism espoused by Black celebrities including Kanye West. Adams, who attended a global antisemitism conference last week, said in an interview that leaders have to think of “creative ways” to foster relations across the communities. Read the interview ➤




Tired of all the Christmas movies on TV? Head to Hulu, where you can watch a Hanukkah romcom: It’s got the usual tropes of holiday fare: Girl who moved to the big city comes home for the holidays with her fiancé (“Chad the Goy”)  — but is swept off her feet by her high school sweetheart, who is Jewish – and played by actor Jonah Platt. “As I watched Menorah in the Middle, subtitles on, I noticed there were some mistakes in the transcription,” writes our Mira Fox. “‘Challah’ was rendered as ‘[indistinct]’ in one instance and ‘color’ in another. ‘Mensch’ became ‘munch’ and ‘latkes’ became ‘locusts.’” When she told Platt about the subtitling, he said, “That’s very funny, but also very lame.” Read the story ➤


Over on Netflix, Farha, Jordan’s 2022 Oscar submission, debuted this weekend, despite condemnations and boycotts from Israelis over the film’s depiction of soldiers murdering a Palestinian family in the 1948 war. “In a conflict with two wildly divergent narratives of Israel’s origins,” argues our deputy opinion editor, Nora Berman, “attempts to censor one point of view over the other only causes Israeli humanity to atrophy.” Read her essay ➤


Jewish stereotypes can sound oddly complimentary, like Jews are good at business. Are these less harmful than the obviously derogatory insults other groups face? With Kanye West and others spinning conspiracies about Jews controlling Hollywood, the media, medicine and more, our Mira Fox took a closer look. Read the story ➤


And in case you missed it…

  • Our editor-in-chief interviewed perhaps our most famous former intern, Ben Smith, the former Buzzfeed editor and New York Times columnist, who now heads the new global media outlet Semafor. Smith talked about his start in journalism … and how he learned a bisel Yiddish.
  • How well have you been following recent Jewish headlines? Take our news quiz.

Conductor: Matthew Lazar


When: Sunday, December 18, 7:30 p.m. (The First Night of Hanukkah)


Where: Merkin Hall at Kaufman

Music Center

129 West 67th Street, Manhattan


For Tickets:

Or Call the Box Office at:





😲  Antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61% in the two weeks after Elon Musk acquired Twitter, researchers say, while slurs against Black Americans more than tripled. “Musk sent up the Bat Signal to every kind of racist, misogynist and homophobe that Twitter was open for business,” said Imran Ahmed of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which worked with the ADL on the study. (New York Times)


🤦  Relatedly … Days after suspending Kanye West, Twitter reinstated the account of  neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, the creator of the Daily Stormer, an influential website named for a Nazi propaganda sheet. Anglin is a central figure in the white nationalist movement. (Rolling Stone)


📸  In a first, an ultra-Orthodox news site in Israel has agreed to apologize to and compensate women it blurred out of a photo. The move settles a gender-discrimination lawsuit against the Israeli site, Behadrei Haredim, filed by the women, who are leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel and Women of the Wall, which advocates for egalitarian access to prayer at the Kotel. (Haaretz)


💸  The Iranian regime has launched dozens of plots to kidnap and kill government officials, activists, journalists and Jewish civilians around the world, according to a new investigation by The Washington Post. Among the schemes: Iran’s Quds Force paid a drug dealer $150,000 to murder the French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. (JTA, Washington Post)


🏳️‍🌈  The Supreme Court is set to hear the case today of a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for same-sex couples, the latest clash of religion and gay rights to reach the court. (AP)


🇮🇱  Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Bahrain on Sunday, in the first official visit to the Gulf country by an Israeli head of state. Herzog traveled this morning to the United Arab Emirates, for his fourth meeting with President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (Times of Israel)


💵  Lithuania’s prime minister introduced legislation to allocate more than $38 million as restitution for Holocaust survivors and their heirs. The bill nearly doubles the amount set aside for restitution in a country where 90% of Jews were killed in the Holocaust. (JTA


🍦  Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, has asked a U.S. judge to dismiss the ice cream company’s lawsuit over sales of its products in the occupied West Bank. (Times of Israel)


🏀  The Jewish coach of a Bronx public high school’s basketball team organized a scrimmage with a nearby private Jewish school in response to the antisemitism expressed by Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. After the game — which the Jewish school won — the players shared a kosher meal. “It’s not enough to wear a T-shirt,” said the coach. “It’s not enough to write an essay or to teach about antisemitism.” (News12)


Quotable ➤  “If Jews do control the media, then how are we still seeing a new interview with Kanye everyday? Also, if Jews control the media, explain the 80-foot Christmas tree outside of NBC.” – Colin Jost on Saturday Night Live.

Shiva call ➤  Allen Kay, an adman known for his many memorable commercials and for coining a life-saving slogan – “If you see something, say something,” died at 77.



A barrel of illegal alcohol gets dumped during Prohibition. (Library of Congress)

On this day in history (1933): Prohibition ended with the ratification of the 21st Amendment making alcohol sales legal again. As Jenny Hendrix wrote in the Forward in 2017, the American temperance  movement overlapped with the influx of Eastern European Jewish immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century. Jews were allowed to consume wine for religious purposes and also brought in alcohol from foreign markets, and many were at the center of the Prohibition-flouting culture.

Last year on this day, Bob Dole died at 98, and we wrote about his complicated relationship with Jews.


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The trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie features our favorite archaeologist punching at least one Nazi in the face. Although Jones is not canonically Jewish, he is known for staring down antisemites over Biblical artifacts in the first and third entries in the series, making him something of a Jewish folk hero



Thanks to Jacob Kornbluh, Sarah Nachimson, Jake Wasserman and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at


The post White House to host antisemitism summit this week appeared first on The Forward.

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