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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 24, 2018 PAGE 3A , lS accllSllTg Hydrox celebrated its lOOth anniversary in 2008. By Ben Sales (JTA)--You know what Ore- os are. They're two delicious chocolate cookies sandwiched around a creme filling. Oreos also come in Double Stuff, vanilla, birthday cake and pumpkin spice (really). There is debate on how they should be eaten, but everyone knows they're best when dunked in milk. What you might not know is that Oreos are just a copycat of Hydrox, a sandwich cookie first sold in 1908, four years before Oreos appeared on shelves. Even though (or maybe because?) they were second, Oreos came to domi- nate the market, becoming a fixture in America's grocery stores. But for most of the past century plus, Hydrox has held on. And at least in part it's because of the Jews. Until a glorious day in 1998, Hydrox was the pre- miere kosher sandwich cookie on the market, while Oreos remained "treif," lack- ing a kosher heksher, or seal of approval. Growing up, I genuinely thought Hydrox cookies were knockoff Oreos produced specifically for religious Jews. Oreos were the forbidden fruit, and A hostel in Jerusalem's Old City has published a list of "haters of Israel" who have been banned "because of crimes committed against the Jewish people," drawing derision and ridicule from those blacklisted. The Jerusalem Heritage House describes itself as an in- stitution that provides "warm and comfortable accommoda- tions for Jewish travelers in the heart of the Old City for a nominal fee." It boasts of hav- ing hosted more than 60,000 guests since 1985. Posted on Twitter by jour- nalist Jacob Kornbluh, the list includes figures such as comedian Jon Stewart, politi- cian Bernie Sanders, former Obama administration am- bassador to Israel Dan Sha- piro and actress Bette Midler. Also banned are members of the media including the staffs of The Times of Israel, Haaretz, CNN and The New York Times, as well as the heads of the Anti-Defamation League and the Reform move- ment. The Jerusalem Heritage House hung up when con- tacted by a Jerusalem Post reporter. Members of the Israeli press corps responded with sarcasm, with The Times of Israel's Judah Ari Gross tweet- ing "Shucks, no Jerusalem By Jackson Richman, JNS and United with Israel US President Donald Trump signed the National Defense AuthorizationAct on Monday, which includes $550 million in assistance to Israel and temporarily halts the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. This comes amid tensions between Washington and Ankara, which is currently holding an American pastor hostage, among other politi- cal moves. The $717 billion Act in- cludes a bipartisan measure honoring a decade-long Memorandum of Understand- ing between America and Israel, with the US giving $3.8 billion annually to the Jewish state. The NDAA, titled the "John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for 2019," authorizes funds for research and development pertaining to weapon-defense systems, including the Iron Dome, David's Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 that help Israel defend against missile and rocket threats. Additionally, the law pro- vides $50 million for joint US-Israeli work on counter- tunnel technology, which has emerged as a major security threat to Israel in recent years from the Palestinian Gaza- based terror group Hamas. I still vividly remember when, shortly after they became kosher certified, my room snagged a sleeve of Oreos from a Jewish event. We gobbled them up. Hydrox stopped produc- tion in 2003, giving Oreo 12 years of a monopoly, give or take a 100th anniversary promotion by Hydrox's then maker, Kellogg's. A Pax Oreana, if you will. But in 2015, Hydrox, now part of Leaf Brands, sprang back like a phoenix and has been try- ing to duke it out with Oreo, David and Goliath style. And now it's taking that battle to the government. Hydrox posted on Facebook that it has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission accusing employees of Oreo's parent company, Mondelez, of block- ing Hydrox from view when it stocks Oreos on supermarket shelves. The Facebook post says Mondelez uses a system called "direct store distribu- tion" in which employees of the brand, rather than su- permarket attendants, stock the food. This allows the Oreo stockers to push Hydrox aside when they place Oreo boxes on the shelves. Loyal Hydrox customers have sent in pictures of the cookies being boxed out by Oreos, moved behind Heritage House for me" and The Jerusalem Post's Amy Spiro joking that "Bette Midler has been banging on the doors of the Jerusalem Heritage House for hours begging to be let inside." In response, Daniel Sugar- man of the Jewish Chronicle tweeted at Spiro to be quiet, jokingly inquiring if she wanted "to get the Jerusalem Post on the list too." Finding that his outlet was listed above other organiza- tions on the list, Times of Israel Deputy Editor Joshua Davidovich sarcastically tweeted "We're #8 Wooooh! Suck it, @haaretzcom and @ ADL National." Facing constant threats on its borders, Israel is forced to spend more on defense as a percentage of GDP than any other nation in the industrial- ized world. The vast majority of the security assistance is spent purchasing American prod- ucts, and therefore the aid is essentially an investment in the US economy. The annual military blue- print also temporarily blocks the US delivery of the F-35 fighter jets to Turkey in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, whom the country accuses of participating in the failed 2016 coup against Presi- dent Recep Tayyip Erdogan. other products or otherwise obscured from customers. Hydrox claims a major super- market chain brought up the problem at a meeting. "We believe in competition and choice but we firmly be- lieve the folks @Mondelez (the owners of Oreo) have been un- dertaking a national program to damage our brand and stop us from competing," Hydrox's posts says. "Many of you over the last few years have been great at taking pictures when you see #hydroxcookies being moved or blocked from store shelves and we really appreci- ate your help." Mondelez sounds uncon- cerned about the complaint, telling Gizmodo that it is "confident that this accusa- tion has no merit. The OREO brand is an iconic one, with a proud and rich history of delivering great tasting products and exciting in- novations to our consumers for more than a century. This focus, and our commitment to operating with integrity, has made OREO America's favorite cookie." So who will win, the origi- nal kosher sandwich cookie or the giant it's fighting? Only time, and maybe a govern- ment agency, will tell. By Jackson Richman (JNS)--U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo an- nounced on Thursday the founding of the Iran Action Group, which will "be respon- sible for directing, reviewing and coordinating all aspects of the State Department's Iran-related activity." "For nearly 40 years, the regime in Tehran has been responsible for a torrent of vio- lent and destabilizing behav- ior against the United States, our allies, our partners, and indeed, the Iranian people themselves," said Pompeo. "Our hope is that one day soon we can reach a new agreement with Iran. But we must see major changes in the regime's behavior, both inside and outside of its borders. The Iranian people and the world are demanding that Iran fi- nally act like a normal nation." He added that "the Iran Action Group will drive daily progress on these objectives and I hope do much more." Benham Ben Taleblu, an Iran analyst with the Founda- tion for Defense of Democra- cies (FDD), told JNS that he views the creation of the group as a positive sign that the United States is prioritizing the Iran issue. "The need for an Iran ac- tion group--or any entity specializing in streamlining, coordinating and implement- ing Iran policy--is due to the challenge of balancing the myriad threats posed by the Islamic Republic, as well as the attention the president and other administration officials have rightly given to that threat," explained Ben Taleblu. He added that "there have been White House czars be- fore, study groups, as well as unconfirmed reports about Secretary Pompeo having a similar group to deal with the North Korea problem set in his previous government position [as CIA director]. The most important takeaway here is that it's a good thing when the U.S. prioritizes as- sets and resources towards a problem set." "Hopefully, the Iran Action Group will strive to empower and better stand with the Iranian people as they contest the clerical regime in Tehran," said Ben Taleblu. Brian Hook, who had served as director of policy plan- ning under Pompeo and his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, will lead the initiative as the Special Representative for Iran, reporting directly to the secretary of state, Pom- peo said. "Since the president's deci- sion to withdraw from the Iran deal in May, Brian has played an important role in shaping our strategy of maximum diplomatic and economic pressure," said Pompeo. "We are going to continue to rely on him and his team to lead our efforts to counter the Iranian regime's malign activ- ity, to support Iranian voices and to galvanize international support for our efforts." Hook accused Iran on Wednesday of being "a force for instability and violence," and said he would be open to talks, but added that Ameri- can efforts to sanction Tehran economically and diplomati- cally would continue until its leadership changed course. The move by Pompeo also comes as America reimposed sanctions on Aug. 6 after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out o~the Iran nuclear deal in May, "The creation of the IranAc- tion Group indicates that the Trump administration seeks to mobilize all of Washington's institutional resources to ad- vance its maximum pressure campaign against the regime in Iran," Tzvi Kahn, senior Iran Analyst at FDD, told JNS. "At the same time, it also sends a resolute message to Tehran that the United States will remain unrelenting in its ef- forts to change the mullahs' behavior." Kahn added, "In other words: Don't underestimate US." ,3 Publication Date: September 7, 2018 Advertising Deadline: August 29, 2018