Daily Kickoff: Interview with Raphael Warnock + Antisemitism inside State Dept.

Daily Kickoff: Interview with Raphael Warnock + Antisemitism inside State Dept.

Updated: 3 months, 15 days, 4 hours, 29 minutes, 13 seconds ago

Worthy Reads

🌊 Border Politics: In The Hill, Ambassador Dennis Ross praises the recent U.S.-facilitated maritime agreement between Israel and Lebanon, which was reached with weeks to spare before both countries face a potential reshuffling of top leadership. “The timing of the Israeli election on Nov. 1 was bound to trigger controversy over the agreement and make it a political football. But there was a political clock in Lebanon that argued strongly for finalizing the deal now and having Lebanese President Michel Aoun sign it. His term ends on Oct. 31, and there is no agreement on who will replace him much less when that might happen. The U.S., Israel, and the Lebanese recognized the danger of leaving the deal unsigned and in limbo. One rule of thumb in the Middle East is always lockdown an agreement when you can because events may erupt and undo it.” [TheHill]

🎙️ Reality Check: In Common Sense, Bari Weiss reflects on how Kanye West’s recent tirade against Jewish people is part of a new norm for American Jews. “[T]he wealthiest musician in the world appears to hold deeply conspiratorial views about Jews informed by the antisemite Louis Farrakhan and a hate cult called the Black Hebrew Israelites, whose worldview — black people are chosen by God; Jews are pretenders — is disturbingly prevalent in large parts of American culture. And that the former president is criticizing American Jews for being ungrateful, commanding them to show him proper respect — and issuing a veiled threat if they do not…If you are an American Jew who has been paying attention you have long since learned to lower your expectations. We have learned to live with the strange reality that ours is a culture in which major pop stars revise their lyrics when they are accused of committing microaggressions, but cannot muster a single tweet condemning West’s tirade. There will be no hashtags for the Jews.”  [CommonSense]

🇮🇷 Tehran Reset?: In Foreign Policy, Roham Alvandi suggests that the U.S. and U.K. revisit their historical involvement in Iranian affairs amid ongoing protests in the Islamic republic, as both countries engage in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. “It would be a gross betrayal of Iranians if the United States, Britain, and the other signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal were to strike a deal with the Islamic Republic now and ease sanctions on a regime that has lost all legitimacy. It would also be a betrayal of the democratic values that Britain and the United States claim to hold dear to help a regime that shoots protesting women in the streets and sends protesting schoolchildren to psychiatric institutions. The Islamic Republic has shown little enthusiasm for a nuclear deal, but its calculations may change as the situation grows more desperate inside Iran. The suspension of nuclear talks would send a clear message to Tehran that as long as the regime brutalizes protesters, it will not be business as usual in its dealings with Western powers.” [FP]

👨 Spotlight on Sacks: In The New Republic, Jacob Silverman looks at the rise of David Sacks, founding COO of PayPal, and how he and other tech and finance elites are using their wealth and online influence to unite conservatives and former leftists in a reactionary movement against liberalism. “After serving as PayPal’s founding chief operating officer, followed by stints as chief executive of Yammer and Zenefits, Sacks, 50, now leads a venture capital firm called Craft Ventures. While not yet a household name like his pal Elon Musk, he’s a regular across conservative media and on Twitter, where he has more than 400,000 followers, and exerts a growing influence in the political battles playing out in the tech industry. Sacks is part of the Tesla CEO’s ‘shadow crew’ of friends and consiglieri, according to The Wall Street Journal… Sacks is quietly becoming the leading practitioner of a new right-wing sensibility that has emerged in the political realignments provoked by Trumpism and the pandemic.” [TNR]

⭕ Inner Circle: Politico‘s Meredith McGraw spotlights Boris Epshteyn, who has bucked trends by remaining a longtime fixture in former President Donald Trump’s inner circle. “[Epshteyn] is a fixer at heart, tasked with overseeing a wide arrange of political and legal challenges that swirl with worsening velocity around the former president. ‘Once you get President Trump’s confidence and he trusts your judgment, there’s other things he needs done,’ said Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser who frequently has Epshteyn as a guest on his ‘War Room’ podcast. ‘Trump’s on offense across the board on legal strategy, and I think that’s because of Boris.’ But Epshteyn’s main skill may be survival. Former White House attorney Eric Herschmann has called him an ‘idiot’ and some others are, privately, just as unsparing in their assessments. He is increasingly tied to the legal drama surrounding Trump’s decision to store top secret government documents at his Mar-a-Lago home. And half-a-dozen current and former Trump confidantes accuse him of feeding the ex-president’s worst political instincts, among them to vociferously challenge the results of the 2020 election.” [Politico]

hit counter