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Jewish Republicans break with Trump over dinner with Holocaust denier

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Our senior political reporter, Jacob Kornbluh, shares what’s in his notebook…

 

Senior Jewish Republicans are criticizing former President Donald Trump for his recent dinner with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, one of the country’s most prominent young white supremacists. The Republican Jewish Coalition called on “all political leaders to reject their messages of hate and refuse to meet with them,” and Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, urged his former boss “to throw those bums out, disavow them and relegate them to the dustbin of history.” Read the story ➤

 

Fuentes attended the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, where marchers chanted, “Jews will not replace us,” and has promoted a wide range of antisemitic views and conspiracy theories on his podcast “America First.” He has denied the Holocaust and warned Jews to leave the country. West, who legally changed his name to Ye, has made antisemitic comments since 2013 and lost major sponsorships following recent anti-Jewish tirades.

 

Trump has said he didn’t know about Fuentes’ background before the dinner, but has not disavowed his antisemitism or racism. Axios reported that they talked about the 2024 presidential campaign. Learn more about Fuentes ➤

The Zionist Organization of America, a right-wing group that honored Trump earlier this month, condemned him for “dining with Jew-haters” and helping “legitimize and mainstream antisemitism.”

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Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to return to the premiership next week. (Getty)

Benjamin Netanyahu is busy negotiating with right-wing partners in hopes of presenting a governing coalition for a confidence vote next week. He has already agreed to make Itamar Ben-Gvir national security minister with authority over border police in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s Likud Party also signed a deal with the anti-LGBT party Noam, giving its sole member control of “Jewish identity” and immigration from the Soviet Union.  

 

Meanwhile, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who dethroned Netanyahu in 2021, wrote in a New York Times essay that his government collapsed due to an “enormous amount of misinformation” and “blind sectarianism.” 

 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams will travel to Athens this week for a global gathering of municipal leaders speaking out against antisemitism. 

Yale Law School Professor Abbe Gluck is one of seven candidates Gov. Kathy Hochul is considering for New York’s Court of Appeals. Gluck served as special counsel for the Biden Administration’s COVID response team, and previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Watch a video in which Gluck spoke about Ginsburg’s Jewishness following her death in 2020. 

ALSO FROM THE FORWARD

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Gabrielle LaBelle as Sammy Fabelman in ‘The Fabelmans.’ (Universal Studios)

In ‘Armageddon Time’ and ‘The Fabelmans,’ tales of two Jewish childhoods. But are the movies Jewish? Steven Spielberg and James Gray’s semi-autobiographical new films are loaded with authentic Jewish content (antisemitism, Yiddishms, matzo brei). But our PJ Grisar argues that they lack a certain gestalt. “That these stories could feel so universal is a mark of Jewish progress,” PJ writes. “But, I can’t help but also feel, deep in my kishkes, that it is a loss for Jewish storytelling.” Read his essay ➤

 

Why Arthur Miller paid a price for greatness: John Lahr’s new biography of Miller makes the case for the playwright as chronicler of not just the U.S., but his own life – detailing how “Death of a Salesman,” “The Crucible” and “The Price” emerged from Miller’s own struggles and his doomed marriage to Marilyn Monroe. “At its best,” writes PJ, “the book captures the conditions and context that made Miller a dramatic and moral force.” Read the review ➤

 

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WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

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Performers on stilts at the opening of the Margaritaville Resort in Times Square. (Getty)

🕍  Manhattan’s historic Garment Center Congregation is suing the developer of the Margaritaville Resort in Times Square, saying he reneged on a promise to house the synagogue and left it “homeless.” The 32-story, 17,000-foot Margaritaville hotel opened last year on the site of the former home of the shul, which was founded in 1931. (NY Jewish Week)

 

⚖  CNN asked a federal judge to dismiss a $475 million lawsuit brought by former President Donald Trump, who accused the network of, among other things, comparing him to Hitler. The defamation suit claims “the comparison has had an adverse impact on the plaintiff’s reputation and political career.” (Law & Crime)

 

🇵🇸  A 15-year-old Palestinian girl with autism was shot dead by Israeli soldiers. She was a passenger in a car that the soldiers said was speeding in their direction, but the driver was released after a few days for lack of evidence that he intended to attack them. (Haaretz)

 

🇺🇸  The Biden administration has appointed Hady Amr as special representative for Palestinian affairs, a new State Department position. (Axios)

 

🕍  The foundation overseeing the planned memorial for the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh has selected its first director, and her aims are high. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful,” asked Carole Zawatsky, “if, in our lifetime, we could eradicate antisemitism?” (JTA)

 

🚘  Your next Lyft driver might be a Christian evangelist. The Associated Press reports on a trend of mobile ministries: “The car is such an ideal place to do this because it’s personal,” said one Brooklyn driver, whose chapel is a Toyota Camry. (AP)

 

📺  Netflix announced that season 4 of “Fauda,” the hit Israeli thriller, will debut on the platform Jan 20. It was on Israeli TV a few months ago, so call your friends there if you’re looking for spoilers. (Twitter)

 

What we’re listening to ➤  The hosts of our Bintel Brief podcast, along with Forward archivist Chana Pollack, were guests on a recent episode of “The Bowery Boys,” talking about how our long-running advice column illuminated everyday stories of the Lower East Side. Listen here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Shiva call ➤  Freddie Roman, a Borscht Belt comedian and former dean of The Friar’s Club, died at 85.

ON THE CALENDAR

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On this day in history (1949): Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad agent, was born. Ostrovsky published “By Way of Deception,” a 1990 book that exposed what he claimed was corruption he witnessed inside the Mossad. The Israeli government filed lawsuits and tried to stop the book’s publication in the U.S., which it successfully did – for 48 hours, until an appeals court threw out the injunction. The case’s publicity brought more attention to the book, which landed at No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list.

 

Last year on this day, our colleagues at the JTA reported that non-citizens were barred from traveling to Israel for two weeks as the country monitored the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

 

In honor of National French Toast Day, check out our recipe for chocolate babka French toast.

 

In honor of Cyber Monday, we’re offering a special $29.99 deal for new subscribers. Support independent Jewish journalism!

Sunday, Dec. 11: Check out the daylong New York Jewish Book Festival, where our Jodi Rudoren will moderate a conversation about contemporary humorous fiction with novelists Sally Koslow and Adam Langer, our executive editor. This event is in-person at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. More info and registration here ➤

VIDEO OF THE DAY

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Kanye West visited a Messianic Jewish congregation on Saturday, and spoke to the paparazzi afterwards. “Jesus is Lord and that’s why I came to this church,” West said, adding that Christ is “the king of Israel.” The rapper and fashion mogul also criticized Jews in Hollywood who “tried to destroy all my businesses.”

 

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Thanks to PJ Grisar, Jacob Kornbluh, Chana Pollack, Rina Shamilov and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at editorial@forward.com.

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