TALK OF OUR NATION — Tree of Life Synagogue Victims Remembered as Guardians of Their Faith — by Simon Romero, Jennifer Medina and Timothy Williams: "The shooting rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue left 11 people dead, including the Rosenthal brothers, Ms. Fienberg and Mr. Wax. Many of those who perished were advanced in years. Some, like Rose Mallinger, who was 97, were alive while the Holocaust was devastating Jewish communities around Europe. They were the steady anchors of a faith community that had changed over the years but persisted as a source of devotion, camaraderie and memory." [NYTimes] The lives lost in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting [WashPost]
"Normally, a group of children would have been moving toward their weekly Shabbat class, but one of the children had a conflict on this Saturday, [Chuck] Diamond said, so the session was postponed to Sunday. According to the synagogue’s online calendar, it was the only Saturday in the past month without the youth gathering." [WashPost]
Holocaust Survivor Cheated Death At Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre By 4 Minutes — by Josh Nathan-Kazis: "Judah Samet was four minutes late to synagogue. Services at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh start at 9:45 A.M. Samet, who is 80 years old, pulled into a handicapped spot in front of the building on the morning of October 27 at 9:49. “Somebody knocked on my window,” Samet said the next day. “There was this guy. Very calm and respectful. [He] told me, you better back up, there is an active shooting going on in your synagogue.” ... Samet was born in Hungary. He turned eight years old at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany... He has been a member of Tree of Life Congregation for fifty-five years." [Forward]
Prohibition on Electronics Left Many Orthodox Jews in Dark About Pittsburgh Shooting — by Shayndi Raice and Lucette Lagnado: "Barbara Seghal, who lives in Teaneck, N.J., came home from synagogue on Saturday afternoon to find a letter tacked onto her front door. It said, “With hope for a finer world.” Inside was a handwritten note from her Christian neighbors saying, “please accept our sympathy for the event in Pittsburgh and our sincere hope for a loving world.” Ms. Seghal, who is Orthodox, said she ran over to her neighbors to see what had happened but they weren’t home." [WSJ]
ON THE SCENE — Pittsburgh's Tree of Life rabbi regrets not being able to help more people during shooting: "The Tree of Life's spiritual leader, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, is being hailed as a hero for saving many of his synagogue congregants during Saturday's deadly attack. Myers had just begun his sermon when a gunman began shooting... "CBS This Morning" co-host Bianna Golodryga asked Myers how he's coping with the trauma. He responded, "Badly." "I could only save some. The people in the back of the sanctuary I could not save," Myers said." [CBSNews]
A Broken Jewish Community — by Emma Green: "As Squirrel Hill mourns those who were killed and prays for those who are still in the hospital, it’s also mourning a loss of innocence: Anti-Semitism is here, present, and real in their community. “I’m the child of two survivors. I know that my parents had normal lives until their lives were disrupted by the Nazis,” said Avi Baran Munro, the head of the Community Day School, a private Jewish elementary and middle school in the neighborhood... Ada Perlman, 14, stood in a bright red peacoat and cried, surrounded by friends. “I always heard about anti-Semitism, but I never thought it would happen in my own community,” she said, through tears... “I’m worried people aren’t going to want to come to shul anymore,” Perlman said." [TheAtlantic]
Pittsburgh Jewish Community Mourns Victims in Mass Synagogue Shooting: 'Hate Isn’t Going to Win' — by Amir Tibon: “We love walking around this area, it’s a walking neighborhood,” said [Steve] Bennet... “We usually walk every Saturday morning, and we always pass by the Tree of Life Congregation. It’s part of our routine. This morning we were also planning to do that, but as we got close, a police officer jumped in our path and said we have to turn around; can’t go that way, because there is an active shooter situation.” [Haaretz]
Lou Weiss writes... "Amalek Comes to Pittsburgh: Saturday’s murderer was Amalek brought to life, as he mainly killed old and mentally challenged members of all three of the resident congregations... What happened to our wonderful, close community Saturday has now become the business not only of Jews but of all civilized human beings. The heartbreak will never go away. The best way to honor the people who were murdered would be to emulate their decency and goodness." [WSJ]
COMING TOGETHER — Synagogue shooting 'will not break us. It will not ruin us,' rabbi says at vigil [CNN] "We will rebuild." Tree of Life rabbi Jeffrey Myers tells 2,000 mourners at memorial [Bloomberg] Hundreds of Washington's Jewish community rally outside the White House [Washingtonian] New York Raises Prayer Of Unity, Peace After Synagogue Massacre [CBSNewYork] Empire State Building goes dark in honor of Pittsburgh synagogue victims [TheHill] AJC Calls on Jews and Allies to #ShowUpForShabbat [AJC]
Netanyahu thanks Trump in condolence letter to Pittsburgh Jews: “Over the centuries, Jews have been subjected to every kind of savage attack imaginable — from blood libels and massacres to pogroms and genocide — for nothing more than the ‘crime’ of being Jewish,” Netanyahu wrote in the open letter. He thanked Trump “for unequivocally condemning this heinous crime and for pledging to fight those who seek to destroy the Jewish people." [ToI]
Israel Opposition Chief Says Pittsburgh Shooting Should Teach Jews To Make Aliyah: "[Israel's Labor leader Avi] Gabbay called “upon the Jews of the United States to immigrate more and more to Israel, because this is their home.” In a tweet on Sunday morning, Deputy Minister Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, strongly took issue with Gabbay... “The Conservative Jews of Pittsburgh were sufficiently Jewish to be killed because they were Jews but their movement is not recognized by the Jewish State,” Oren wrote." [Forward]
INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — For Trump, Dutiful Words of Grief, Then Off to the Next Fight — by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman: "It took the importuning of his Jewish daughter and son-in-law to craft a powerful statement of outrage at anti-Semitism after Saturday’s slaughter at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Then Mr. Trump went back into partisan mode, assailing his enemies."
"Two White House officials, Jason Greenblatt and Avi Berkowitz, traveled to Pittsburgh on Saturday a few hours after the shooting, and were still there on Sunday. Urged on by his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, the president made plans to travel to Pittsburgh this week. But he saw no reason to dispense with his campaign schedule or adjust his message." [NYTimes]
Jason Greenblatt tweeted Sunday afternnoon: "Just arrived in Pittsburgh to attend an interfaith gathering & vigil. Walking through the airport with a heavy heart and pit in my stomach. Stunned by this horrific & tragic Anti-Semitic attack on the Jewish community here. We stand with Pittsburgh."
Jewish leaders tell Trump he's not welcome in Pittsburgh until he denounces white nationalism — by Morgan Gstalter: "Eleven members of the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice penned a letter to Trump... “Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted,” the group wrote." [TheHill]
Dana Milbank writes... "Trump’s America is not a safe place for Jews: After the shooting, Trump read from the teleprompter the proper denunciation of anti-Semitism. But proceeding with a rally mere hours after the massacre, he galvanized the crowd with the same complaint the alleged Pittsburgh killer cited in social media before the carnage: the migrant caravan... Trump closed with his usual vow to fight “others” who are trying to “destroy our proud American heritage.” White supremacists get the message." [WashPost]
Adam Serwer: "The Tree of Life shooter criticized Trump for not being racist or anti-Semitic enough. But with respect to the caravan, the shooter merely followed the logic of the president and his allies: He was willing to do whatever was necessary to prevent an “invasion” of Latinos planned by perfidious Jews."
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt emails us... "We are deeply concerned that anti-Semitism is being normalized in public life. There are television ads being run by mainstream political candidates and parties that invoke the specter of Jewish philanthropist George Soros to instill fear in voters’ hearts. This year, there are a record number of right-wing extremists and bigots running for office
"It’s clear that the Pittsburgh shooting suspect was immersed in the so-called alt-right’s social media universe. On Gab, he shared anti-Semitic and white supremacist memes and outwardly expressed his hatred for immigrants and Jews. He even went so far as attacking HIAS and ADL. The attack in Pittsburgh sadly further reinforces that online hate is not some idle threat that just lives online. There are serious consequences to allowing online hate to go unchecked. Technology companies need to work harder and faster to curb the vicious violence-inducing harassment on their platforms."
"What’s also needed now is for leaders to lead – we need more good people on both sides of the aisle to reject anti-Semitism and prejudice in all forms. That can go a long way toward ensuring the safety and security of the Jewish community in the United States."
Former Senator Norm Coleman tells us... "Yes, I am disturbed by the deep divisions in this country, which are evidenced by the political divides in Washington and throughout the Country. However, the anti-Semitism that fed the monster that murdered Jewish worshippers on Saturday is a disease that transcends today’s political divide. It has been with us for centuries. It’s rearing it’s ugly head with renewed virulence throughout the globe today. We see it here in the U.S. on college campuses in the form of a BDS movement. We see it in the attacks on the Jewish State."
"Yes, we would be well served by greater efforts to bridge the partisan divide and tone down the harsh political rhetoric. But the evil that motivated the killings that took place on Saturday is grounded in a hatred for Jews that should not be explained away as a manifestation of harsh political rhetoric. Anti-Semitism is the evil that must be addressed."
Norm Eisen: "My heart is broken. We mourn for those we have lost. But we Jews have, for millennia, endured murderous attacks and we will with grief survive today. I must, however, reject the president's disingenuous condolences because he belied them in his frivolous, joking speech last night. And more fundamentally, it is because he and his enablers created the climate of hate that triggered this outrage. There can be no doubt that Trump's and his cronies' lies and inflammatory rhetoric regarding the caravan, exploiting it for political gain, helped cause this terrible crime — not to mention his insistence on continuing to make assault weapons like that used today available to killers. So please spare us the standard 'thoughts and prayers,' Mr. Trump. We will provide our own."
HEARD ON TV — Ambassador Ron Dermer on MSNBC: “I saw what President Trump said yesterday at a rally in Illinois. I’m not aware of a single non-Israeli leader that has made such a strong statement in condemning anti-Semitism meaning he said to those who seek to destroy the Jewish people, we will destroy them. I have never heard a non-Israeli leader say that and we appreciated that... The difference in this president is that he has Jews in his family. So, I think there’s no question in my mind that he wants to confront the anti-Semites."
“I think the problem is that when people attribute anti-Semitism to one side of the political debate, they make a very big mistake... One of the big forces on college campuses today is anti-Semitism. And those anti-Semites are usually not neo-Nazis, on college campuses. They’re coming from the radical left. We have to stand against anti-Semitism whether it comes from the right or whether it comes from the left." [Video]
Jeffrey Goldberg on CBS' Face the Nation: "Yes, Donald Trump has been trying. He's been reading statements about anti-Semitism that seem appropriate. But as we see in his rallies, he quickly veers from those statements and goes right back to division."
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly, on suggestion that synagogues should have armed guards, in an interview with CNN: "The Jewish community, and every faith community, is built around having its doors open... and we cannot allow ourselves to give in to a feeling that we all have to hide behind gates and locked doors and armed guards in order to be American. The promise of America is that we live in freedom, in safety, and with a sense of community and opportunity."
Conference of Presidents' Malcolm Hoenlein tells us... "There is a government program that provides some security assistance to Jewish institutions. I would like to see it enhanced. We know that it's impossible to secure every Jewish institution a hundred percent, but a lot more could be done. We have to train people in the community how to respond, and we have to have better protection at our institutions."
MIDTERMS — How Republicans and Democrats are talking up the Pittsburgh shooting on the trail — by Dave Weigel: "The Democratic response so far has been to bemoan the state of our politics but hint that the president needs to fix it. “We can decide whether to create an America in which old hatreds are rekindled and new ones are given life,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement representative of what Democrats were saying. “No one sets the tone more than the President of the United States.”
"Republicans want voters to ask whether the Democratic Party got us to this point and is dodging responsibility... On Sunday, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers suggested that the media was enabling a double standard whereby Republicans were associated with the fringe and Democrats were not. “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee continues to support Leslie Cockburn and Scott Wallace, who have said bigoted and anti-Semitic things,” Stivers said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” [WashPost]
Republicans Rushing to Save House Seats From Onslaught of Democratic Money — by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns: "Much of the Democrats’ unanticipated firepower comes from one source: Michael R. Bloomberg, the liberal former New York City mayor who may run for president, plans to spend about $20 million on House advertising through his super PAC, Independence USA, in the final week of the campaign, a Bloomberg adviser said." [NYTimes]
After leaving the Republican Party, Wexner starts giving to Democrats, too — by Jim Siegel: "[Leslie] Wexner gave $10,000 to the Ohio House Democratic caucus, and another $10,000 to House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton. That is the first time he has ever given to either of them, and his first direct donations to any Democrat in at least five years. In addition, Abigail Wexner gave $5,000 to Strahorn and $10,000 to the House Democrats. But Les Wexner hasn’t abandoned Republicans... He gave $10,000 to Speaker Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, and $10,000 each to the Senate and House Republican caucuses." [Dispatch]
House majority leader deletes tweet saying Soros, Bloomberg, Steyer are trying to 'buy' election — by Devan Cole: "House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted and later deleted a tweet last week that suggested three Jewish, billionaire Democratic donors were attempting to "buy" the 2018 midterm elections." [CNN]
Michigan House races: Vice President Mike Pence is expected to campaign today for Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI-08), who is being challenged by Elissa Slotkin, and for Lena Epstein, the Republican candidate running for the open seat in the 11th Congressional District.
2020 WATCH — Cory Booker in NH: America is ‘in amoral moment’ —by Paul Steinhauser: "Booker’s jam-packed Sunday swing through New Hampshire – to help Democratic candidates running in next month’s election – was his first visit in more than two years to the state the holds the first primary in the race for the White House... “I’m really so obsessed and focused on the midterms, I’m literally putting thousands of miles on the road, so I’m not even focusing on that,” he said... “I’m going to run through the tape,” he said. “And the first thing I’m going to do is rest. A day off on the seventh, and then start thinking about 2020.” [ConcordMonitor]
Selling Donald Trump: A First-Time Campaign Manager Tries to Defy the Doubters — by Maggie Haberman: "In early 2018, [Brad] Parscale was chosen by the president’s son Eric and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to lead the 2020 re-election effort. The process made clear that, this time around, the president’s family will be heavily involved from the start. “He knows how to do it in a Trumpian way,” Mr. Kushner said in a brief interview. “He has the president’s trust and the trust of the family. I can’t think of a better person to run the campaign.” [NYTimes]
ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Palestinian president vows to thwart Trump peace plan: "Speaking at the opening of a rare meeting of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's central council, [Mahmoud] Abbas said Palestinians were facing perhaps the "most dangerous stage" in their history... Abbas compared the expected Trump proposal to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which saw the British government commit to the creation of a state for Jews in historic Palestine. "If the Balfour Declaration passed, this deal will not pass," he pledged." [DailyMail]
— "The plot against the Palestinian people isn't over. As we have declared, we are against the 'Deal of the Century.' East Jerusalem is our capital, the same capital that was occupied in 1967," Abbas said." [Haaretz]
Oman says time to accept Israel in region, offers help for peace — by Dan Williams: "Oman is offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians to come together but is not acting as mediator, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate’s minister responsible for foreign affairs, told a security summit in Bahrain... Oman is relying on the United States and efforts by President Donald Trump in working toward the “deal of the century” (Middle East peace), he added." [Reuters]
TALK OF THE REGION — Netanyahu's Oman Visit Sets Off Israeli Cabinet Rush to Gulf — by Jonathan Ferziger: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprise visit to Oman pried open a door to the Persian Gulf usually shut to Israelis, and several of his cabinet members are following him through. Communications Minister Ayoob Kara, a Druze Arab citizen of Israel, will attend a conference in Dubai of the International Telecommunications Union on Monday, while Transportation Minister Israel Katz will participate next week in another international conference in the Omani capital, Muscat. Culture Minister Miri Regev has been in the United Arab Emirates since Friday, accompanying Israel’s national judo team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam."
“It’s a sign that Israel and the Arab world are moving closer,” said Michael Oren, Netanyahu’s deputy minister for public diplomacy." [Bloomberg]
— "Mr. Netanyahu sees countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman as crucial potential allies in a Middle East that is realigned around opposition to Iran and is less concerned about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land without a signed peace deal. U.S. officials hope Saudi Arabia and other states can pressure Palestinians to come to the table and accept the Trump administration’s terms." [WSJ]
Elliott Abrams tells us... "That the Sultan would meet with Netanyahu despite the freeze in Israeli-Palestinian relations does suggest that relations with Israel will be judged independently. If it’s useful for Oman they’ll do it, whatever the Palestinians think. The invitation to Abbas looks like a diplomatic cover to me: an excuse for inviting Bibi. As to the Trump peace plan, it suggests that Oman will not simply reject the plan instantly as the Palestinians will, but may temporize. I expect that like the other Arab states they will thank Trump for trying, hew to the Arab Plan of 2002, and call for negotiations."
"One thing this invitation may do is spur the Qataris to invite Bibi. Why not? The Sultan has provided cover, and the Qataris know the Saudis won’t invite him so they may see a chance to gain an advantage here."
Dore Gold emails us... "For a long time Israel has enjoyed quiet ties with a number of Arab states. Oman was always special for a number of reasons. It supported the 1977 peace initiative of President Sadat of Egypt when much of the Arab world was opposed. In the 1990's it allowed Israel to open a low profile economic office in Muscat, the Omani capital. What is important now is that under the leadership of Sultan Qaboos, Oman permitted an open and well-publicized visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Something big is happening in the Middle East despite the efforts of Iran to wreck the new mood in the region."
IRAN SANCTIONS — Trump Faces Complaints That New Iran Sanctions Are Too Weak — by Matt Lee and Susannah George: "A battle is brewing between the Trump administration and some of the president's biggest supporters in Congress who are concerned that sanctions to be re-imposed on Iran early next month won't be tough enough... "The president asked for maximum pressure, not semi-maximum pressure," said Richard Goldberg, a former aide to a Republican senator and senior adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a group that supports punishing Iran with sanctions. "Maximum pressure includes disconnecting Iranian banks from SWIFT." [USNews]
AT THE UN — US to counter UN vote on Cuba embargo with amendments calling out human rights abuses — by Adam Shaw: “The U.S. on Wednesday is expected to put forward several amendments to balance the U.N. General Assembly’s annual condemnation of the U.S. embargo on Cuba… It is unclear whether the U.S. policy will bring many on board -- where the U.S. is frequently a pariah. Last year only Israel voted with the U.S. out of the 193-member body against the Cuban resolution.” [FoxNews]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Oracle founder Larry Ellison discloses big personal stake in Tesla [CNBC] Billionaires Warren Buffett, Sheldon Adelson battle over Nevada ballot measure on electricity supply [FoxNews] Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is not considering selling the club [SkySports] Penny Pritzker discusses her P33 initiative aimed at boosting Chicago’s standing as a tech center with Bloomberg TV [Bloomberg] Howard Lorber buys 620 Park Ave co-op for wife [TheRealDeal] Robert Kraft's new Nike Air Force 1 sneakers to be released Thursday [NBCSports]
MEDIA WATCH — The Skimm Brains: 7 million people wake up to their newsletter, and their voice, every morning — by Noreen Malone: "By any measure, the Skimm, founded in 201 by Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, is an insane success. The newsletter is a Frankensteining of clear, sober-minded news aggregation with a tone imitating the way young women supposedly talk to one another. It has grown by more than 100 percent since Donald Trump took office and has 7 million subscribers, twice as many as the New York Times. (The Times’ Morning Briefing news roundup has 1.6 million.) ... In its comprehensive breadth and mix, the Skimm recalls the kind of briefing sheet TV-morning news show hosts and producers might get from lower-level staffers — talking points, in other words, for the cord-cutting generation, most of whom don’t watch the Today show." [TheCut]
Fox condemns rhetoric used by Lou Dobbs guest as channel's star host faces growing criticism by Oliver Darcy: "On Sunday, the network's senior vice president for programming, Gary Schreier, released a statement denouncing what many people called an anti-Semitic trope used by a guest on Dobbs' show earlier in the week... The comment in question was made by Chris Farrell, a board member of the right-wing organization Judicial Watch, during Thursday night's episode of Dobbs' show. During a segment about the caravan of migrants moving toward the U.S.' southern border, Farrell called the State Department 'Soros-occupied' territory." [CNN]
ACROSS THE POND — Jeremy Corbyn could face US sanctions over ‘terrorist support,’ says lawyer Alan Dershowitz — by Andrew Gilligan: "America’s best-known lawyer is backing an investigation into whether Jeremy Corbyn should face US sanctions as a supporter of terrorism. Alan Dershowitz said he wanted to see if Corbyn, who has described the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends,” could be placed under an embargo by Washington." [TheTimes]
Far-right, pro-Israel Bolsonaro wins Brazilian presidency: "Far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro has won Brazil’s elections, taking an unassailable lead Sunday in the race for the South American nation’s presidency... Bolsonaro is highly divisive among Jewish voters: He is ardently pro-Israel, but has also run a campaign pledging to restore law and order and fight corruption with language some have called “fascist” and worse. Bolsonaro has declared he will move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. His first international trip as president, he said, will be to Israel, with which he will seek to broaden the dialogue. And he promised to close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia." [ToI]
SPORTS BLINK — In first, Israeli anthem plays in Abu Dhabi after judo gold: "Israel's national anthem was played at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi on Sunday after one of its athletes won gold in what was thought to be a first in the Gulf emirate. The playing of the national anthem and Israeli Sports Minister Miri Regev's attendance at the tournament were the latest milestones in the country's bid for rapprochement with Arab states... It was the first time an Israeli delegation participated there under its national flag, after the International Judo Federation warned UAE organizers they would cancel the competition unless all athletes were allowed to participate on an equal footing." [YahooNews]
BIRTHDAYS: Haifa-born director and screenwriter of animated and live-action films including The Lord of the Rings, Ralph Bakshi turns 80... Dean of the Yale School of Management (1996-2005), he has served as a federal prosecutor, as a managing director on Wall Street and in the Nixon, Ford, Carter and Clinton administrations, Jeffrey E. Garten turns 72... Academy Award winning actor, who played Yoni Netanyahu in the 1976 film Victory at Entebbe, Richard Dreyfuss turns 71... CEO of the Center for the National Interest and publisher of its namesake foreign policy magazine, The National Interest, Dimitri Simes turns 71... Director of the social justice organizing program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Mordechai E. Liebling turns 70...
Pulitzer Prize winning author and long-time editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick turns 60... Bernard Greenberg turns 59... Sports agent who has negotiated over $2 billion of NFL player contracts, Drew Rosenhaus turns 52... Mathematician, cryptologist, computer programmer and professor of mathematics and computer science, Daniel J. Bernstein turns 47... Television producer, writer and actor, best known for NBC's The Office (2005-2013) and Parks and Recreation (2009-2015), Michael Schur turns 43... Educational consultant at Hermiona Education in Princeton, New Jersey, Leora Eisenberg turns 20...