Jul
25

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Daily Kickoff: Bibi’s latest push for U.S. aid deal | DWS to step down | Mike Bloomberg to endorse Hillary at Dem Convention

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Netanyahu Likely to Ease U.S. Defense Aid Demands as Talks Enter Final Round” by Barak Ravid: ”Acting National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel is expected to take part in a decisive round of talks in Washington this week on a military aid deal with the United States. Haaretz has learned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leaning toward giving in on a good many of his demands and accepting most of the American terms. These include a gradual phasing out of Israel’s spending of one-fourth of the American aid on purchases from Israeli defense contractors.” [Haaretz]

KAFE KNESSET — DRIVING THE WEEK — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Most top headlines in Israel this week referenced events in Cleveland and Philadelphia leading up to U.S. elections. But a report published yesterday in Al Quds, a leading Palestinian newspaper, managed to create some chatter. According to the paper, Israel has agreed to allow Qatar to send $30 million into Gaza to pay the salaries of Hamas’ public sector employees. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who came into office promising to kill Hamas’ leadership and take down the Islamist organization’s government in Gaza, refused to comment on the report, which seems to suggest that despite his tough talk regarding Hamas, Lieberman prefers quiet at the southern border for now.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, meanwhile, raised some eyebrows today by declaring that he plans to free himself of some of the ministerial portfolios he has retained in the year and a half since founding his coalition, and that this will happen “soon.” Netanyahu is currently the Foreign Minister, Minister of Communications, Minister of Economics and Minister of Regional Cooperation. Netanyahu didn’t say which of these portfolios would soon be on the market, but it’s almost certain that he will keep the Communications Ministry to himself. Netanyahu seems likely to keep pushing what he calls “a move to open up the Israeli media to more competition,” and his political rivals see as an attempt to weaken the press and create a more supportive media environment for the Prime Minister.

Who really is Ari Harow? — by Gil Hoffman: ”Harow has found himself at the center of the police probe into allegations that Netanyahu and others close to him were reportedly involved in money laundering. As the prime minister’s former key fund-raiser, police think Harow can provide information on Netanyahu’s financial dealings… Harow was raised in a Los Angeles family with seven children, including three who were adopted but he treated like his own flesh and blood, and one who has Down’s syndrome, who he has always taken special care of. He made aliya with his family when he was 12, and represented Israel as a Little League Baseball star before entering the IDF and serving in the Golani Brigade. “Ari is a decent, honest Zionist,” Naftali Bennett said. “I wish him well. I hope he emerges unscathed and continues to contribute to the nation of Israel.” Kulanu MK Michael Oren said it was a pleasure working closely with Harow when he (Oren) was ambassador to the US.” [JPost]

TOP TALKER: “DNC Chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz Stepping Aside in Wake of Scandal” by Alex Seitz-Wald: ”Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been ousted as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee on the eve of the party’s convention. It’s an abrupt end to a chairmanship marked by controversy, which came to a head this weekend following revelations from leaked internal emails.”[NBCNewsJewishInsider] • Critics shouted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at outgoing DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz and booed her during a Florida delegates meeting on Monday [CNN]

NJDC Chair Greg Rosenbaum emails… ”Before I became involved with NJDC in any capacity, Debbie told me how she had, early on in her career, been a staffer for the organization. She spoke with such enthusiasm about the organization that I decided, then and there, to volunteer my time and support for NJDC… Though this chapter of her public life may be closing, I have no doubt that Debbie will continue to have a very influential role in the American Jewish community.”

“Inside the scramble to oust Debbie Wasserman Schultz” by Glenn Thrush, Gabriel Debenedetti and Edward-Isaac Dovere: “John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman – and a former top adviser to Barack Obama – broached the idea of replacing Wasserman Schultz as early as last fall, only to be rebuffed by the president’s team, according to two people with direct knowledge of the conversation. “It came down to the fact that the president didn’t want the hassle of getting rid of Debbie,” said a former top Obama adviser… And this weekend, as conversations between Brooklyn and Wasserman Schultz intensified, neither the president nor his staff was involved. Once the decision was made, Wasserman Schultz called White House political director David Simas to tell him, and Simas then told the president. Obama decided to call to thank her for her work.” [Politico]

“As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue” by David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth: “Until Friday, that charge, with its eerie suggestion of a Kremlin conspiracy to aid Donald J. Trump, has been only whispered. But the release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, many of them embarrassing to Democratic leaders, has intensified discussion of the role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign.”

“It was a remarkable moment: Even at the height of the Cold War, it was hard to find a presidential campaign willing to charge that its rival was essentially secretly doing the bidding of a key American adversary. But the accusation is emerging as a theme of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, as part of an attempt to portray Mr. Trump not only as an isolationist, but also as one who would go soft on confronting Russia as it threatens nations that have shown too much independence from Moscow.” [NYTimesBloomberg]

“WikiLeaks: Democratic Party officials appear to discuss using Sanders’s faith against him” by Michelle Boorstein & Julie Zauzmer: ”Internal Democratic National Committee emails appear to show officials discussing using Sen. Bernie Sanders’s faith against him with voters, with one saying “my Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”” [WashPostAP• “Top DNC staffer apologizes for email on Sanders’ religion” [Politico] • Sanders: “I am not an atheist.” [CNN]

Former Dem rep appears to link Israel to terror attacks — by Rebecca Savransky: “Former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D) in a tweet late Saturday appeared to link Israel and recent terrorist attacks in France and Germany. ”Same Israeli photographer captures Nice and Munich tragedies,” McKinney, the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2008, tweeted, including a video about the issue.” [TheHill]

Kristol to Democrats: Don’t underestimate Trump: “I think I’m probably closer to Hillary Clinton than to Donald Trump on foreign policy, and maybe trade,” he said. “If it were a domestic policy election, I probably would swallow hard and vote for Trump. If it were a pure foreign policy election, I’d probably swallow hard and vote for Hillary Clinton.” [Politico]

Noam Neusner: “Some of my best friends are Democrats. When they vote Democratic, donate Democratic and affiliate Democratic, they act with the sincere belief that they are doing the right and noble thing. They are about to be let down by the candidacy — and, if she wins, the presidency — of Hillary Clinton. I recognize that by saying this, I may be accused of supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump. Not at all. I preferred all the other Republican candidates to Trump, and will not vote for Trump. Rather, I am merely arguing here that the candidacy of Clinton will undermine the purpose, spirit and ideology of the Democratic Party. And this raises the question: By damaging the very nature of the Democratic Party, will Clinton damage American Jews’ well-known historical affinity to that party? Will Jewish Democratic voters feel compelled to go elsewhere?” [Forward]

“Tim Kaine’s Republican fan club” by Burgess Everett and Darren Samuelsohn: “Kaine’s most high-profile achievement is work in the trenches on a bill that allowed Congress a vote on Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Working with more conservative Democrats and deal-cutting Republicans, Kaine helped drive a 98-1 vote in the Senate, effectively forcing Obama to sign it and begin the task of lining up Democrats to support it in a roll-call vote… He eventually supported the president’s Iran deal, as did all but four Senate Democrats. But initially the administration and its allies on the Hill were reluctant to even put the Iran deal up for a vote — a vote that the GOP was clamoring for.” [Politico] • “Kaine one of few senators not to sign letter to Obama urging increased MoU” [JPost]

JCRC of Greater Washington’s Executive Director Ron Halber on the Kaine pick: “We have always had a very, very approachable relationship with Kaine. He has been to Israel many times and he is well versed in the security challenges Israel is facing. There are people who are pointing to his vote on the Iran deal and the fact that he didn’t show up for Bibi’s speech as meaning that he is not pro-Israel. Well, if you go by that standard, you might as well disqualify half of the Congress as unsympathetic to Israel. That’s a barometer that is simply not fair, and, frankly, it’s wrong.”

“In my opinion, he would adhere much closer to what Democrats before Obama have done, which is less daylight between the administrations. I think he would go back; he would see that the Obama administration – by having more daylight between Israel and the U.S. – may have made it more difficult and harmed the relationship in some ways. The only way you are going to win Israelis is by hugging them. You’re not going to win by pushing them because they are — the Jewish people are stiff necks; we are stubborn, and we have every right to be so given the security challenges Israel faces.” [JewishInsider]

“Dismayed by Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg Will Endorse Hillary Clinton” by Alexander Burns: “Michael R. Bloomberg, who bypassed his own run for the presidency this election cycle, will endorse Hillary Clinton in a prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention and make the case for Mrs. Clinton as the best choice for moderate voters in 2016, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg said. The news is an unexpected move from Mr. Bloomberg… But it reflects Mr. Bloomberg’s increasing dismay about the rise of Donald J. Trump and a determination to see that the Republican nominee is defeated.” [NYTimesNYMag]

“Wall Street takes a road trip to Philadelphia” by Ben White: ”Wall Street is taking the Acela down to Philadelphia this week. Blackstone, one of the nation’s largest private equity firms, will hold an official reception in Philadelphia on Thursday featuring its president, Tony James, sometimes mentioned as a possible Treasury Secretary in a Clinton administration. Hedge fund managers and top Democratic donors including Avenue Capital’s Marc Lasry and Boston Provident’s Orin Kramer will also be on the scene as will Morgan Stanley executive and former top Clinton aide Tom Nides.” [Politico]

**Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Salesforce CEO told LinkedIn he would have paid much more than Microsoft [ReCode] • Leave London After ‘Brexit’? Steve Cohen Doubles Down [DealBook• Paul Singer’s Elliott Management and PulteGroup strike a deal, and the stock jumps [CNBC] • The Boymelgreen family from Brooklyn plans to redevelop an entire block in Surfside into a townhouse project [BizJournals]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Tinkering with a mission: weekend inventors create affordable technology” by Mary Hui: “John Gluck’s eyes glistened with joy and amazement when a set of wooden shelves in front of him lit up in bright blue. This is no ordinary shelf: It moves up and down and in and out so that the eight-year-old, who is in a wheelchair, can easily access its contents. The special system was conceived, designed and built at the TOM:DC Makeathon, a three-day marathon design event hosted in Reston by the Tel Aviv-based non-profit startup TOM.” [WashPost]

TALK OF OUR NATION – Enter YidLife Crisis with two unlikely Jewish friends: ”Today Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion, the actors behind Chaimie and Laizer, join guest host Stephen Quinn to discuss their web series YidLife Crisis, and how Yiddish in a secular, comedic form might help Jewish tradition survive in the modern world.” [CBCRadio]

“It just got easier for religious women to work out” by Doree Lewak: ”Like Muslim women, most modern Orthodox Jewish women who work out in the company of men have to conceal most exposed skin. That’s what led Candice Safdieh, 28, an Orthodox mom of three from Flatbush, Brooklyn, to create Snoga Athletics 14 months ago. (“Snoga” is a portmanteau, combining “siniut,” which means “modest” in Hebrew, and “yoga.”).” [NYPost]

INBOX – Arie Lipnick of Macadamia Strategies and Christian Science Monitor’s Sara Sorcher on Saturday raised more than $2,300 for Sanctuary Rescue, a local foster-based rescue that specializes in saving pregnant mama dogs and puppies who are most vulnerable in high-kill shelters. Spotted: Phil Elliott, Zeke Miller, Chris McCannell, Lindsey Boerma, Aaron Keyak, Abby Majlak, Seth Samuels, Mor Yahalom, Patrick Tucker. [Pic]

DESSERT: “After Years Under the Radar, Jewish Food Is Becoming All the Rage in Italy” by Anna Momigliano: ”And though there are no specific figures for Italy, anecdotal evidence though suggests that Jewish cuisine is gaining popularity: In Rome, for instance, there’s now always a big line in front of Boccione, the city’s most famous Jewish bakery, best known for it’s pizza ebraica — “Jewish Pizza,” a sweat bread with candied fruits — and getting a seat at Jewish restaurants, such as Gigetto and Ba’Ghetto, can be problematic.” [Haaretz]

Hungary’s Tokaj Wine Region Revives Jewish Heritage: “Two plaques put up in the village of Mád last month commemorate the important role Jewish families played in making Hungary’s golden Tokaj wine, most of whom perished in the Holocaust. After two centuries of prosperity generated from the sweet wine that became popular in the courts of Europe, Jews in Tokaj were deported with the help of the Hungarian Gendarmerie to a ghetto and from there to Auschwitz concentration camp. The plaques were mounted on the former home of the Zimmermann family, one of the biggest and most successful winemakers and wine traders of Mád in the northeast of Hungary, after a lengthy campaign by family members.” [Fortune]

BIRTHDAYS: Journalist, writer and author, early supporter of the neo-con movement, Midge Decter (born Midge Rosenthal) turns 89… Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist, formerly of the Washington Post editorial board, Anne Applebaum turns 52… Cinematographer, whose work includes “The Empire Strikes Back,” Peter Suschitzky turns 75… Adam Finkel, partner at Orfin Ventures and a featured Crain’s Twenty in their 20s…

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Jul
20

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Daily Kickoff: Why Kushner dropped Trump’s Saudi conspiracy theory from platform | Bush network feeling ‘betrayed’ by Fleischer | Meet Ranan Steiger

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CONVENTION SCENE — “A Pop-Up Restaurant in Downtown Cleveland Brings Kosher Cuisine to the GOP Convention” by Yair Rosenberg: “From fried chicken to boneless ribs to bagels, a wide variety of kosher fare is available at a pop-up restaurant just minutes away from the Quicken Loans Arena, where the Republican National Convention is taking place. A joint project of the Chabad of Downtown Cleveland and the local Chef Dave’s catering service, the restaurant has become a hub for kosher-keeping delegates, aspiring political candidates, and an array of Jewish activists and journalists. At one table, you might find Yoni Appelbaum, the Washington bureau chief of The Atlantic, discussing anti-Trump efforts on the convention floor with New York congressional candidate Phil Rosenthal. In another corner, Israeli journalist Tal Schneider huddles with American Jewish correspondent Jacob Kornbluh. (Jared and Ivanka Trump, however, have yet to be spotted.)” [TabletMag]

“Sheldon Adelson arrives, but stays silent on Trump” by Kenneth Vogel: “Gingrich, a close Adelson confidant and longtime beneficiary of the billionaire’s political spending, arrived soon after, telling Politico that he didn’t think the Star of David tweet bothered Adelson, though he wouldn’t speculate on when Adelson was going to donate. “I have no idea,” he said, though he asserted that Adelson is not backing away from his support for Trump. “No, I doubt it,” he said when asked whether Adelson was getting cold feet.” [PoliticoWashPost]

ON THE SIDELINES — “Paul Ryan Delivers Earnest Unity Sermon To Fractured Convention” by McKay Coppins: “Pointing to the in-state rivalries between teams like the Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, and TCU Horned Frogs, Ryan said, “You guys are at each other’s throats … [But] when one team advances to a big bowl game or a national championship, don’t you root for the Aggies? Don’t you root for the Longhorns?” The ballroom full of Texans erupted in laughter, boos, and shouts of, “No!” Ryan chuckled, taken aback, and said, “Start thinking that way, OK?” And then, “Holy moly, this explains everything right now.”

“A few hours before Ryan delivered his speech, he presided over the official vote to nominate Trump as the Republican nominee. On the convention floor, Dan Senor — a veteran Republican strategist and former top aide to Ryan — hovered at the edge of the New York delegation. As one of the party’s most adamant anti-Trump voices, Senor said he had only come to the floor so he could walk out once Trump was nominated. “It’s surreal,” Senor said. “The GOP is about to nominate someone with the wrong temperament, the wrong character, and the wrong worldview to be president. It’s pathetic to watch so many leaders of the Republican Party pretend to be excited about it.” Including Ryan? “No comment,” Senor said.” [BuzzFeed]

Senor tweets: ”I’ve attended GOP conventions for 20 yrs. Never heard quieter floor during roll call. Did ops staff hand out ambien to delegates?” [Twitter]

TOP TALKER: “How Melania Trump’s Speech Veered Off Course and Sparked an Uproar” by Maggie Haberman and Michael Barbaro: ”It was the biggest speech of Melania Trump’s life, and her husband, Donald, wanted it to be perfect. The Trump campaign turned to two high-powered speechwriters Matthew Scully and John McConnell… It was Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, who commissioned the speech from Mr. Scully and Mr. McConnell. But Ms. Trump decided to revise it, and at one point she turned to a trusted hand: Meredith McIver, a New York City based former ballet dancer and English major who has worked on some of Mr. Trump’s books… The two original speechwriters were not aware of how significantly the speech had been changed until they saw Ms. Trump deliver it on television Monday night, along with the rest of the country.” [NYTimes]

“Who is running Trump’s campaign?” by Eli Stokols: ”It was one of Donald Trump’s favorite conspiracy theories – that Saudi Arabia was behind 9/11, and the U.S. government is covering it up… But when the Republican platform committee set about putting Trump’s words into policy, calling for the declassification of 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission’s report relating to Saudi Arabia, the plank was quietly shelved. The identity of the person whose behind-the-scenes intervention helped scuttle the deal was, perhaps, a surprise: Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.”

Kushner is the campaign’s unofficial ambassador to Jewish donors who fretted that the release of damaging information about Saudi Arabia could alter the balance of power in the Mideast. But the intervention – by one of Trump’s family members seeking to rein in his more destabilizing positions – has become increasingly common. Now, Kushner is making key hires, fine-tuning and sharpening Trump’s speeches and serving as the central emissary behind the scenes, meeting privately last month with Paul Ryan, having direct conversations with billionaire Sheldon Adelson and asserting influence on everything from Trump’s search for a running mate—he pushed hard for Newt Gingrich, largely at Adelson’s behest—to his tweets.” [Politico]

“Ivanka Trump Calls Her Father, Donald, ‘the Messenger of the People’” by John Santucci, Suzan Clarke and Kaitlyn Folmer: “Ivanka Trump, a convert to Judaism, stressed that her father “clearly did not think that was the Star of David,” adding: “My father’s track record of … advocating for Jewish people and for Israel is unimpeachable for a very long time, whether it being the grand marshal of the Israel Day Parade at a time when it was not advantageous to do so.” She added that her father has been “remarkably supportive” of her and her husband, Jared Kushner, and their three children.” [Yahoo]

“In one 16-year-old Jewish boy, the face of the anti-hate protest” by Tim O’Shei: ”Ranan Steiger works for a catering service in the neighborhood near the Republican National Convention. It was 2 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon. The lunch rush was over, so Ranan, who’s 16, asked his boss if he could go outside for a while. He’d done the same thing Monday and ended up helping a Jewish group with handouts in Public Square. At 5 o’clock, five members of the Westboro Baptist Church – a small and well-known hate group – took the stage. During their half-hour time slot, Ranan said, one of the Westboro speakers saw his kippah and said, “You’re going to hell. You’re a Jew. You’re going to hell!” As Ranan heard the words, he walked up to the man and started staring him down. He held up the sign, and as the man kept talking – including comments on Judaism – Ranan started yelling back: “I don’t care. Go away! Lose your voice! Lose your voice!” [BuffaloNews]

“Jewish Republicans wonder how to vouch for Trump when he won’t help out” by Ron Kampeas: “Tevi Troy, a deputy secretary of health under President George W. Bush and a formidable Jewish community validator for past Republican candidates, said no one has been in touch this year, but that may be because he’s not on any of the relevant lists. Troy had opposed Trump during the primaries, but once it became clear in May that Trump would be the nominee, he said he was open to persuasion. “I don’t think they’re targeting messages specifically to the Jewish community,” he said. That could cost Trump significant advantages, both in much-needed funding for the campaign and in votes. On the other hand, Troy said, how one validates candidates may be changing, with more folks going to social media to solicit information and opinions. “The Jewish community is a vocal one, there are a lot of bloggers, a lot of tweeters” pushing out the pro-Trump message, he said.” [JTA]

“The Trump Convention: A Painful Moment for the Bush Family Network” by Jonathan Martin: “Representatives of the last Republican White House are effectively in exile from presidential politics these days, dispirited by their party’s embrace of Donald J. Trump, the nominee, and feeling betrayed by former friends who are backing him. After Ari Fleischer announced his support on Twitter for Mr. Trump in May, one of his former colleagues, Tony Fratto, responded: “Then we don’t have anything to say to each other.” In an interview, Mr. Fratto, who served in the Bush Treasury Department and White House, was still angry. “You were the White House spokesperson when Trump said the president lied the country into the death and maiming of people unnecessarily,” he said of Mr. Fleischer. “How can Ari be O.K. with that?” Such a betrayal, Mr. Fratto said, was “unforgivable.” Mr. Fleischer said he still considered Mr. Fratto a friend, but lamented that “Trump has split the party.”” [NYTimes]

“Republican Jews Trust Trump on Israel” by Jacob Kornbluh: ”Marc Zell, the co-chair of Republicans Overseas Israel chapter, stated that all of his initial concerns about Trump “have disappeared” when the GOP Platform Committee approved new Israel language that dropped any reference to the two-state solution.” [JewishInsider]

Rabbi Rick Jacobs: “The GOP is playing a dangerous game with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” [DailyNews]

Dr. Walid Phares, Trump’s foreign policy advisor on i24News: “Donald Trump doesn’t want to go ahead of the Israelis and the Palestinians and start talking about his architecture for an issue that is very, very difficult for the Israelis, the Palestinians and Arabs in general. He wants to sit with both Israelis and Palestinians in the middle of the table so both sides will feel there is a real moderator. We know that Mr. Trump has as good relations as any politician with the Israeli side. What he needs to do now is convince the Palestinians along with Arab allies. And then he will listen to both sides, he is a good negotiator, and he will try to get to a historic deal that will not just preserve peace but bring prosperity for both sides.” [i24]

**Good Wednesday Afternoon! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Peter Thiel’s Embrace of Trump Has Silicon Valley Squirming [NYTimes] • Extell to raze 10 buildings in Diamond District [RealDealdnaInfo] • Abe Foxman’s Son Steps Down as Editorial Director of InStyle Magazine [Forward

REFLECTION: “Would JFK Jr. Have Run for President? His Best Friends Reveal His Last Days” by Liz McNeil: “According to Gary Ginsberg, a close friend who was with John the night before he died, “That last night he was very focused on two things: finding a buyer for George and his political future.”  He adds: “I guess no coincidence since the two were linked together. By July 1999 I think he could take great comfort that he had started and led a successful business, had fulfilled his mission to cover politics in a colorful, non-ideological way that would make it appealing for people who had never bought a political magazine before, and was now in a position to do something new. He had been thinking about running for the N.Y. Senate seat – he even had meetings about it that spring – but by July had concluded he would focus his attention on running for governor of N.Y. in 2003.” [PeopleMag]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “A small island of Judaism in Hawaiian politics” by Lisa Klug:“Hawaii’s current elected officials with Jewish ties include Democrat state senate incumbent Russell Ruderman and Republican incumbent state senator and Minority Floor Leader Sam Slom. At least two other lawmakers, State Representative Nicole Lowen of Hawaii, the Big Island, and State Senator J. Kalani English of Maui, were both born to Jewish fathers. One more Hawaiian legislator, US Senator Brian Schatz (Dem.) represents the “Aloha State” in Washington, D.C.” [ToI]

INBOX – On sidelines of the RNC, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger met with Ambassador Liora Herzl, the Deputy Director General for North America and Yaron Sideman, Consul General of Israel for the Mid-Atlantic Region to discuss current events and strengthening the Ohio Israel partnerships in business, academia, & research. Also present in the meeting were key members of the House Majority Leadership: Reps. Ron Amstutz, Tim Derickson, Kirk Schuring, and senior staff. Howie Beigelman, executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities, facilitated the meeting and was in attendance as well. [Pic]

In Jerusalem – the leadership of the Orthodox Union met yesterday with Prime Minister Netanyahu and two of his advisors Jonathan Schachter and Eli Groner. [Pic]

KAFE KNESSET — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: There is a new crisis in the Israeli coalition, and this time it’s about the media. Last night, Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted that he is “deeply concerned” about a number of initiatives pushed by Prime Minister Netanyahu (also Minister of Communications) that seem destined to strengthen Netanyahu’s grip on large parts of the Israeli press. Last month, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also accused Netanyahu of trying to hurt press freedom in the country. The problem with Bennett’s criticism is that under the coalition agreement his party signed with Likud upon entering the government, it agreed not to oppose any legislation by Netanyahu in the field of media and communications. If he chooses to do so now, Netanyahu could accuse him of breaking the coalition agreement. The chances this crisis will lead to a change in the government make-up is very small, but it is leading to tensions between the Prime Minister and his rival-partner.

​Last night, t​he Knesset approve​d a new bill that allows members of the parliament to vote one of their own out of the club. The bill, called “the impeachment law,” allows the Knesset to kick out a sitting member i​f 90 members of the Knesset vote in favor of impeachment. ​The vote was scheduled to last hours, as the​ ​opposition presented hundreds of reservations to it, but at the last minute​, they withdrew​ their concerns​, catching the coalition by surprise – and without enough votes to pass the legislation. Some members of the government had to rush to vote in t-shirts. The opposition failed to block the law, but it did make the government sweat​.​​​

The Labor Party is mostly worried that the bill will be used against it before the next elections: Likud will declare a vote on kicking out one of the Arab members of Knesset; ​i​f Labor votes in favor, it will lose support on the Arab street and among the left, while if it votes against, Likud will blame it for supporting ​those they perceive to be “anti-Israel” in the Knesset.​ It remains to be seen if the law’s opponents will try to take it to the ​S​upreme ​C​​​​ourt.

BIRTHDAYS: Billionaire, art collector and NYC real estate developer, Sheldon Solow turns 88… United States Senator from Maryland, Barbara Mikulski, on the verge of 30 years in the Senate following 10 years in the House, turns 80… NY Times columnist, author and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Thomas Friedman turns 63… Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Barbara Risman turns 60… Senior Vice President at lobbyist Capalino+Company, Fred Kreizman…
Broadcast and digital media executive, Farrell Meisel… Singer who burst on the scene as a finalist on the fifth season of American Idol, Efraym Elliott Yamin turns 38… Marcie Orley…

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Jul
15

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Daily Kickoff: White House compares Boris Johnson to Ron Dermer | GOP begs Adelson | Trump reneged on FIDF pledge | Natalie Portman on Judaism

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SHOTS FIRED — White House compares Boris Johnson to Israeli Amb Dermer: “White House spokesman Josh Earnest indirectly compared new British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to Israeli envoy Ron Dermer when asked if the US administration would be able to work with someone who has been vocally critical of Obama. “I got questions of this variety when Prime Minister Netanyahu had announced that Ambassador Dermer would be the Israeli envoy to the United States. What I said in that situation is what I’ll say here,” Earnest said. Earnest then went on to highlight the fact that the US and UK’s special relationship “transcends any single personality.” Johnson has referred to Obama as the “part-Kenyan President [with an] ancestral dislike of the British Empire,” and compared Hillary Clinton to “a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital.”” [ToIVideo]

Ambassador Dermer to Attend GOP & Dem Conventions: ”In Philadelphia, Dermer will discuss the U.S.-Israel relationship at an event hosted by former Congressman Robert Wexler, president of the Washington-based S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, on Thursday of the Democratic convention.” [JewishInsider]

PRETTY PLEASE?! — “GOP Cleveland organizers beg Adelson for $6 million” by Alex Isenstadt and Shane Goldmacher: “In a letter to the Adelsons, obtained by Politico, the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee revealed the names of more than two dozen prominent corporations and individuals who have reneged on a collective $8.1 million in pledged donations. “We would greatly appreciate if you would consider a $6,000,000 contribution to the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee to help us cross the finish line,” states the letter, which was dated July 12. The convention begins July 18.” [Politico]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Donald Trump Postpones Naming Running Mate” by Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman and Ashley Parker: “Trump’s presidential campaign signaled strongly on Thursday that he would name Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as his running mate, but abruptly postponed a long-planned unveiling of the Republican ticket after an attack that left dozens dead in France. Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he was delaying his announcement after the “horrible attack” in Nice. He did not specify when the event would go forward. The delay has the potential to complicate a partnership with Mr. Pence, who must file papers in Indiana by noon on Friday withdrawing from his re-election campaign in order for Republicans to field a new candidate for the race.” [NYTimes]

HEARD LAST NIGHT: “Trump tells donors that he will announce his running mate over the weekend” by Seema Mehta: ”He did not mention Pence’s name during his remarks at the fundraiser, according to a person who attended the reception at the mansion of philanthropist Carla Sands, the widow of real-estate mogul Fred Sands. About 200 donors contributed $2,700 to $449,400 per person to attend. About 60 who donated at least $25,000 or raised at least $27,000 also attended a dinner of pan-seared salmon and fresh fig salad with Trump.” [LATimes]

Dan Senor on Charlie Rose: “If the Trump campaign’s goal is to reassure conservatives and give a sense that Trump — he may be a wild card but he will have some constraints around him, I actually think Mike Pence is the safest.”

–On donors skipping Cleveland: “A good barometer for big donor support is which ones show up at the convention. If they show up at the convention, all they have to do is to donate $10,000 or more to the RNC — I don’t think Adelson shows up. But he’s supporting Trump — and donors who are excited about the candidacy, are committed to the campaign, and want to play a big role in the campaign, historically, have come to the convention. McCain, I think, had 600 or 700 major donors come to the convention. Romney had about 1,500, in 2012, come to his convention. It will be interesting to see next week who actually shows up. If they break the 100 mark of major donors who attend, I will be shocked. I think donor enthusiasm is very low right now. Even those who are supporting him, are telling me they are having the hardest time getting phone calls returned.” [Bloomberg]

Eric Cantor on Mike Pence: “I think he is actually a nice compliment to the Donald Trump candidacy; will provide some of that strong, moral compass that Mike has always provided in the House. So I think, if it’s Mike Pence, it’s a good pick.” [Bloomberg• Cantor said he’s not planning to attend the convention

“Likely Trump VP ‘cherishes Israel,’ met Netanyahu, passed anti-boycott laws” by Rebecca Shimoni Stoil: “While Trump has run afoul of some Jewish Republicans for his failure to disavow anti-Semitic imagery and rhetoric from his supporters, Pence is well-known among Republican lawmakers as a longstanding supporter of Israel. And while former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was the vice presidential hopeful with the closest ties to the largest pro-Israel Republican donor, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, Pence himself has direct ties to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Pence also has a warm relationship with AIPAC.” [ToI]

“The Indiana Synagogues That Mike Pence Forgot” by Drew Gerber: “The man widely named as Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick was the local congressman for the area in 2009 when he told an AIPAC conference that “I know of no synagogues in my district.” Indiana-born Wendy Soltz, who has a PhD in American Jewish history, said it is typical for the average person in Indiana to not know about Jewish communities in their midst. But that it doesn’t excuse an elected official like Pence.” [Forward]

TOP TALKER: “Donald Trump once promised to donate to a charity helping Israeli soldiers. He didn’t. Somebody else paid for him” by David Fahrenthold: ”In 2007, Donald Trump promised a donation to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a U.S.-based charity that provides aid to Israeli military personnel and the families of fallen Israeli soldiers. He didn’t pay, a spokesman for the charity said Thursday. A 2007 story in the Jerusalem Post gave an amount for Trump’s pledge: $250,000.” [WashPost]

DEEP DIVE: “Inside the Plan to Undo the Iran Nuclear Deal” by Indira A.R. Lakshmanan: “A year after the celebration in Vienna, Mark Dubowitz hasn’t abandoned the fight. He and his allies—a constellation of pressure groups, analysts, lobbyists and lawmakers—are leading a less headline-grabbing but equally relentless challenge to Obama’s signature foreign policy legacy. Dubowitz, FDD’s executive director, still has hopes of dramatically altering the terms of the Iran deal, and he and his crew of some 20 sanctions experts, terrorism analysts, nuclear advisors, human rights researchers and Persian-speaking colleagues are working feverishly in their “wonk room,” as he calls it, in a gray office building above a Subway sandwich shop six blocks from the White House.” [PoliticoMag]

**Good Friday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Google Buys Israeli Web Content-sharing App Developer Kifi [Haaretz] • Singer’s Elliott Takes Stake in SABMiller [FINalternatives] • Property Developers Balk at Co-Living Firms[TheInformation] • Marvel CEO countersues Toronto businessman for defamation [Globe&Mail]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Customers keep jumping into Manhattan’s Four Seasons’ decorative pool for a swim as the famous restaurant prepares to close its doors forever” by Kiri Blakeley: “‘Friday night. Disgrace and no respect from the tenant leaving,’ captioned real estate developer Aby Rosen, one of the owners of the Seagram Building, in which the eatery is located, on an Instagram post.” [DailyMailDealbreaker

FIRST LOOK – The Emails of Natalie Portman and Jonathan Safran Foer: Natalie Portman – “You know, the word “Hebrew” (ivri, as in a nationality, like Abraham the Hebrew) comes from the root for “to cross over” — la’avor. I think it’s related to Jews being nomadic people, or maybe Abraham being the first one to cross a river in the Bible? But it does feel like a state that is emblematic of our people, and maybe all people — that we are always in the midst of replacing one fulfilled desire with a new desire, accepting a new piece of knowledge with another question.”

“When I first encountered Buddhist thought in my 20s, I was so confused. I’m supposed to be content with what’s going on here and now? I realized how much Judaism for me was connected to yearning — to wanting what you don’t have — which is maybe why Israel is so complicated emotionally for Jews: It’s built into the emotional structure of our religion to yearn for a homeland we don’t have.”

So then if we have it, what do we yearn for? We say “next year in Jerusalem” as if we are still in exile. But maybe Jerusalem as an idea is never attainable — so we can keep longing for it even when we have it, like a spouse you desire eternally. You keep feeling that you can’t get them, as if it were the perpetual beginning of a flirtation. Jerusalem does have an aura. The air feels thicker there. It feels like the city, itself, is manipulating, pushing passions around.”

“I love that Erich Fromm thing about Shabbat being the ability to suspend time. The reason we aren’t allowed to move a book from one place to another on Shabbat, or turn on a light, or buy something — it’s not because it’s “work,” and work isn’t allowed on the Sabbath. It’s because those things would show the passage of time. And Shabbat is the one day when we can stop time.” [NYTStyleMag]

TOP-OP: “Jewish Baby Boom Alters Israeli-Palestinian Dynamic” by Yaroslav Trofimov [WSJ]

Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week: “Sometimes you get very lucky and happen upon a new wine which mirrors, or almost anticipates, your mood and environment. Walking in the sunny streets of Barcelona’s old town, there is a great wine shop where I stumbled upon a remarkable kosher Spanish wine. The purveyor was kind and so I tasted and drank abundantly in this wine store – the wine that took the show was the Capcanes la Flor del Flor de Primavera 2012. Starting with its beautiful label it was an all-encompassing experience.”

“This wine is made from Grenache grapes. They are aged in predominantly in new French oak for 14 months. This wine reminds me of a rose. It is of a very vibrant color, and one is immediately put in a good mood upon smelling it.  It has a magnificent nose filled with hints of slightly sour blueberries. The mid mouth fills your palate with the taste of your first morning coffee without any of the bitterness. Go to Barcelona and feast upon this wine from early morning until late at night.” [RoyalWine]

DESSERT: “A Look At The Jewish Deli In Boston — Past And Present” by Emma-Jean Weinstein and Shira Springer: ”Most estimates say the Jewish deli hit its peak all the way back in the 1930s, but we’re seeing a bit of a resurgence here in Boston. Mamaleh’s Delicatessen opened in Kendall Square this week, and Exodus Bagels and Steinbones are set to open soon.” [WBUR]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen turns 64… Nobel laureate in Physics and author of “The G-d Particle,” Leon M. Lederman turns 94… Four time winner of the World Series of Poker, Mickey Appleman turns 71… Former UK Labour Party member of Parliament, now CEO of NYC-based International Rescue Committee, David Miliband turns 51…

Former State Department official under JFK and LBJ, later VP of Continental Airlines, and then Managing Editor of the NY Times, James L. Greenfield turns 92… Billionaire, former member of Knesset, winner of the Israel Prize, real estate developer and philanthropist, Stef Wertheimer turns 90… Former high ranking civilian official in the Bush 43 Pentagon, now a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. Douglas J. Feith turns 63… World reknowned violinist, violist, and conductor, Pinchas Zukerman turns 68… President of Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, Doug Herzog turns 57… Co-founder of both Apollo Global Management and Ares Management, and owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Tony Ressler turns 57… Chantal Low… Chicago based philanthropist, Rivka Zell… Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and screenwriter, Tony Kushner turns 60… Former White House aide (2006-2009) and now Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Univision, Steven M. Levine… Former White House Jewish Liaison under Bush 43 Scott Arogeti, now at Rubicon Global… Eric Reiner, Director of Corporate Development at Dynamic Yield in NYC…

Play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Charley Steiner turns 67… Founder and CEO of Zeta Interactive, David A. Steinberg turns 46… Melanie Beatus… Senior adviser for strategic communications at Hillel International, Matt Berger… Gil Galanos, CEO at Israel & Co…

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Marc Stanley

Jewish Dems Launch Super PAC to Counter RJC Campaign

Monday, July 25, 2016

Jewish Democrats are set to launch a super PAC to fight the Republican Jewish Coalition’s multi-million dollar campaign among Jewish voters in battleground states across the nation, Jewish Insider…

Photo by Jacob Kornbluh

Rep. Franks: Pence Pick Sends Statement on Israel

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Choosing Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate has sent a strong message on his commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) said on…

Photo by Jacob Kornbluh

Booker Blasts Christie for Attacking Clinton on Iran Deal

Thursday, July 21, 2016

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker on Thursday blasted his governor, Chris Christie, for finding Hillary Clinton “guilty” of launching diplomatic negotiations with the Iranian regime over their nuclear…

Photo screenshot via YouTube

Former HI Governor: Unlike Democrats, GOP United on Israel

Monday, July 18, 2016

On the first day of the Republican convention in Cleveland, with fewer traditional Republican Jews in attendance, former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle suggested that support for the Republican…

Photo credit: Pete Souza/WH

Conf. of Presidents Dismayed at Earnest’s Comments About Dermer

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Friday expressed disappointment at comments made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about the Israeli Ambassador to…

PHOTO: REUTERS

House Votes In Favor of New Sanctions on Iran

Friday, July 15, 2016

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation that would impose new sanctions on Tehran over their development of ballistic missiles on the same day the White House…