January 30, 2020

The Democrats’ Civil War Gets Nasty in Iowa
Iowa’s tiny Jewish community doesn’t normally play a serious role in the first-in-the-nation presidential-nominating caucuses that make the Hawkeye State the center of attention every four years. But as the New York Times noted this week, a political civil war dividing Jewish Democrats has garnered national attention in the last days before Iowa votes on February 3.Down the stretch in Iowa, a centrist, pro-Israel super-PAC has launched a major ad campaign attacking Senator Bernie Sanders by name, calling attention to his recent heart attack, and questioning his electability. The well-funded group, Democratic Majority for Israel (DMI), was founded last year to counter a trend in which Democrats are increasingly perceived as drifting away from support for the Jewish state. A half-century ago, Democrats seemed like the solidly pro-Israel party while the GOP was divided on the issue. But in recent decades, Republicans have become the lockstep pro-Israel party, while the Democrats are split between centrists who remain broadly supportive of Israel and left-wing activists hostile to its policies and even its existence.Though Sanders is bidding, along with the more-centrist billionaire Michael Bloomberg, to be America’s first Jewish president, he is easily the most critical toward Israel of any of the Democratic candidates. Though he supports the Jewish state’s existence and spent some weeks there on a kibbutz in his youth, he also has a record of bashing the measures it uses to defend itself from terrorism. He is not alone among Democrats in being hostile to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu or in advocating a return to the Obama administration’s more equivocal stance toward Israel’s government. But he is the only contender in the Democratic presidential field to have advocated a freeze on U.S. aid to Israel as punishment for what he considers to be its “racist” prime minister. He has even argued that some of that aid should be diverted to Hamas-ruled Gaza, whose isolation by the international community he opposes.Just as important, Sanders’s campaign has earned the support of some of the party’s most fervent opponents of Israel, namely Representatives Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). In the last year, Omar and Tlaib have been guilty of making flagrantly anti-Semitic remarks about supporters of Israel. Yet Sanders, who has denounced President Donald Trump as a “white nationalist” and accused him of being responsible for violence against Jews, has not distanced himself from them or campaign surrogate Linda Sarsour, the Women’s March leader who has also made a name for herself with anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist statements.Groups such as DMI rightly claim that Omar, Tlaib, and Sanders don’t speak for all Democrats on Israel or anti-Semitism. Yet Omar and Tlaib are treated like rock stars in their party and have faced no real consequences for their anti-Semitic statements or their support of the anti-Israel BDS movement, whose rhetoric is itself drenched in the language of traditional anti-Semitism. And Sanders, who is on record asserting that right-wing hate is a bigger concern than left-wing anti-Semitism, remains one of the front-runners for the nomination.Centrist Jewish Democrats have seen themselves forced to the sidelines in debates about Israel as liberal groups such as J Street and the openly anti-Zionist Jewish Voices for Peace led the charge against AIPAC and others who are supportive of the Jewish state. Republicans are able to tout Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital and of Israel’s right to the Golan. Democrats correctly dismiss fears that Trump will make inroads among Jewish voters because of this; Jews remain among the Democrats’ most faithful supporters. But DMI fears that if Sanders wins the nomination, Israel will become a major point of contention in the general election and that Jewish Democrats will be forced to choose between their partisan loyalties and their affection for Israel.With Sanders leading the RealClearPolitics average of polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s obvious that DMI is in full anybody-but-Bernie mode, and that more than the Democratic presidential nomination is at stake: The group’s anti-Sanders efforts can be seen as one salvo in a broader war between the left-wing activists and centrists for control of the Democratic party. Israel has flown under the radar as an issue in the presidential race, with most Democrats focused on health care, the economy, and beating Trump. But it could yet play a much bigger role in determining the nominee and the future of his party.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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