Daily Kickoff: Zogby seeks to use ‘occupation’ word for Dem platform | RJC condemns anti-Semitism; journos not satisfied | GQ on Shabbos at HempCon

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HEARD YESTERDAY – Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld telling a group gathered at the University Club in NYC for a Hudson Institute policy luncheon, “I was having dinner one time with Shimon Peres and my daughter at a Chinese restaurant in Tel Aviv of all places and Peres said something along the lines of ‘if a problem has no solution, it’s not a problem to be solved but rather to be coped with over time.’ The idea that anyone from the U.S. can shove the people of that region together, be externally imposed, seems to me to be unrealistic. It’s going to take time and will require a degree of acceptance on everyone’s part. At the moment you don’t have that, you have people who are determined to not have a Jewish state exist.”

Spotted at lunch: Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Kenneth Bialkin, Hudson Board of Trustees President Sarah Stern, Norman Podhoretz, Midge Decter, Amb. Bruce Gelb, Fox News’ Kimberly Guilfoyle, Reuben Jeffrey, Hudson CEO Ken Weinstein, Scooter Libby, Herbert & Jeanie Siegel, Seymour Zises, Margaret Whitehead, Allen Adler, Hudson VP William Luti, Joshua Landes, Ravenel Curry, and Remley Johnson.

“A History of Sustainable Violence” by Aaron David Miller: “There’s a reason why Israelis and Palestinians haven’t made true and lasting efforts for peace — their conflict is now the status quo.” [ForeignPolicy]

“Tony Blair: Sunni States Will Normalize Ties With Israel if It Negotiates on the Basis of the Arab Peace Initiative” by Barak Ravid: “Provided the Israeli government is ready to commit to a discussion around the Arab peace initiative … it would be possible to have some steps of normalization along the way to give confidence to this process. With the new leadership in the region today that is possible. A lot will depend on the response of the Israeli government to President Sissi’s initiative and to the Arab peace initiative, and to whatever steps the Israelis are ready to take,” Blair said.” [Haaretz]

“Pro-Israel heavyweights press hard for 2 states” by Ron Kampeas: ”Two complementary U.S. and Israeli working papers to be launched next week propose immediate actions Israel can take to prepare the ground for two states and a longer-term security structure that aims to satisfy Palestinian ambitions for sovereignty and Israeli security needs. The organization behind the push, the Israel Policy Forum, is not new to such initiatives. In the last 18 months or so, the Israel Policy Forum has signed to its board Alan Solow, Robert Sugarman, Robert Elman, Robert Goodkind, and Susie Gelman.” [JTA]

KAFE KNESSET — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: The deal is done: After a year of exchanging nasty insults, Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman are back together. This morning, the pair signed the now coalition deal, which would make Lieberman Israel’s next Defense Minister. Lieberman agreed, among other things, to accept Netanyahu’s demand not to support any legislation regarding changes to the media landscape in Israel. This is important because in Netanyahu’s previous government, as Foreign Minister, he supported the “Israel Hayom” bill, which was meant to make it illegal to distribute Sheldon Adelson’s pro-Netanyahu paper for free.

In other news, Stars and Stripes took over the Knesset, as the Israeli parliament for the first time held a special day marking American Jewry’s contribution to the State of Israel. MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) welcomed the Ruderman Foundation, JFNA, the Jewish Agency and the JPPI to the Knesset. A number of committees dedicated their debates to issues relating to Jewish Americans’ connections to Israel, and PM Netanyahu unveiled a photo exhibition, “Stripes, Stars and Magen David.” Spotted: U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, MFA Director General Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassadors to the U.S. Moshe Arens, Sallai Meridor, and Michael Oren, Former Mossad head Efraim Halevi, Shira Ruderman, JFNA Chair Richard Sandler, and former Israeli Embassy spokesperson Lior Weintraub.

HOW IT PLAYED: ”Ultranationalist lawmaker Avigdor Lieberman named defense minister” [WSJ• “Israel’s new defense minister could clash with his soldiers” [AP] • “Israel’s New Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Has Threatened to Bomb Egypt and Kill Palestinians” [Time] • “Israel coalition deal brings in its most hard-right government ever” [TheGuardian]

Thomas Friedman: “Netanyahu is a man who is forever dog paddling in the middle of the Rubicon, never crossing it, always teasing you (“I’m coming your way — I’m going to make a decision”), only to remain right where he is, balancing between all his rivals, so that he alone survives. Meanwhile, Israel sinks ever deeper into a de facto binational state controlled by Jewish extremists. Soon, this newspaper will have to call Netanyahu what he’s made himself into: “Prime Minister of the State of Israel-Palestine.”” [NYTimes]

Gil Troy: “Many Israelis and Israel-supporters are doubly disappointed. Not only did we lose a shot at a renewed but realistic peace initiative under a Benjamin Netanyahu-Isaac Herzog alliance, but the principled former chief of staff and defense minister Moshe Ya’alon is apparently being replaced by a former corporal Avigdor Liberman, who once contemplated bombing Egypt’s Aswan Dam… Democracy involves losing elections, then loyally accepting leaders you just opposed. Patriotism isn’t probationary, contingent on always getting your way. Instead, patriots seek those ordinary and extraordinary moments reaffirming what our country stands for, independent of its leaders.” [JPost]

BUNDLERS: “Top GOP financiers coalescing around Trump-RNC fundraising effort” by Matea Gold: “At least six top GOP money players have agreed to serve as vice chairs of the Trump Victory Fund… The team includes figures who served as major financial backers of Trump’s past rivals, including New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and former ambassador Mel Sembler… and Los Angeles venture capitalist Elliott Broidy, who serves on the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition… The list also includes former Ambassador Sam Fox; Diana and E. Llwyd Ecclestone; former Ambassador Howard Leach, an appointee under President George W. Bush; Dee and Andy Puzder, of California; and Wilbur Ross, of New York.” [WashPostNYTimes]

When asked why, Sembler responded in a text message: “Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee.” [WashPost]

Former Ambassador Sam Fox will serve as a “presidential trustee,” according to the list released by the RNC and the Trump campaign. Last December, during an appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s presidential candidate forum, Trump gave a shoutout to Fox, a top Bush supporter and former national chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, while explaining his position on helping the Israelis and Palestinians negotiate a “tough” peace deal. “Is that Sam?” Trump asked as he pointed to the audience. “How are you Sam? Good man. Very nice to see you,” Trump said.” [JewishInsider] • Video [CSPAN]

Dan Senor on Bloomberg’s With All Due Respect: “Some donors are saying, ‘I don’t want to be seen as being disloyal to the party. So I am giving my name; I am on board, but I am actually not going to do real work.’ Push comes to shove, if this race is really winnable for Donald Trump – in Donald Trump’s mind – and he’s short on resources, he has the capacity to fund it. Why do these guys need to twist their arms raising money?” On a possible third party candidate: “It is still alive. I would say now the odds are — 30-40 percent chance that an independent candidate emerges within the next three weeks.” [Bloomberg]

TOP TALKER: “RJC Condemns Anti-Semitic Abuse of Journalists” by Jacob Kornbluh: “The Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday released a statement condemning the increased anti-Semitic abuse directed toward journalists by what they referred to as supporters of the three presidential candidates. “We abhor any abuse of journalists, commentators and writers whether it be from Sanders, Clinton or Trump supporters,” the statement read. “There is no room for any of this in any campaign. Journalists, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity should be free to do their jobs without suffering abuses, anti-Semitic or otherwise.” [JewishInsider]

Republican Jewish group stands up for journalists facing anti-Semitism, but journalists say it missed the point — by Callum Borchers: ”Journalists expressing their dissatisfaction with the RJC seem to feel members of Team Trump are the main culprits. They’re annoyed that the RJC didn’t single out the presumptive presidential nominee from its own party but rather included him — last — on a list of all three active, major-party candidates, as if the offenders are spread evenly among the campaigns.” [WashPost]

“Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz” by Alexander Bolton: ”Democrats backing likely presidential nominee Hillary Clinton worry Wasserman Schultz has become too divisive a figure to unify the party in 2016. Wasserman Schultz has had an increasingly acrimonious relationship with the party’s other presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, and his supporters, who argue she has tilted the scales in Clinton’s favor. “There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on,” said one pro-Clinton Democratic senator.” [TheHill]

“Democratic Convention Fight Looms Over Israel, Foreign Policy” by Molly O’Toole: “Will language have to change? Of course,” Jim Zogby said. Zogby wants this year’s platform to elevate Palestinian rights and use the word “occupation” to refer to the nearly five-decade Israeli presence in land Palestinians claim for a future state. It’s part of what Zogby described as a need for the Democrats’ policy language, particularly on Israel-Palestine, to “be toughened up a bit to reflect a new consensus.” [ForeignPolicy]

A Dem Insider, working with platform committee members, emailed us… ”Bernie has his picks for the committee, and he earned them, but no one who is pro-BDS, or otherwise anti-Israel, will dictate the Middle East policy of the Democratic platform. Period.”

“Why Did Bernie Sanders Put an Obama-Hater on the Democratic Platform Committee?” by Jonathan Chait: ”West’s theory is essentially the mirror image of the notion, peddled by Dinesh D’Souza and Newt Gingrich, that Obama absorbed a racial ideology from one of his parents. For Obama’s unhinged right-wing critics, that parent is his father. For West, it is his mother… Then you have West’s dismay at Obama’s excessive comfort with wealthy Jews, which he portrays as the result more than the cause of Obama’s lack of interest in helping African-Americans. Sanders’s revolution means giving West’s views more legitimacy and influence in Democratic politics.” [NYMag]

Jeffrey Goldberg: ”Still struck by the fact that Bernie Sanders arranged for Cornel West, who calls Obama a war criminal, to help write the party platform” [Twitter]

IRAN DEAL LEAK: “The Secret History of the Iran-Deal ‘Echo Chamber’” by Eli Lake: “Last week I was leaked e-mails and documents from an internal listserv operated by the arms control nonprofit Ploughshares Fund. Beginning in August 2011, Ploughshares and its grantees formed the Iran Strategy Group. Over time this group created a sophisticated campaign to reshape the national narrative on Iran. That campaign sought to portray skeptics of diplomacy as “pro-war,” and to play down the dangers of the Iranian nuclear program before formal negotiations started in 2013 only to emphasize those dangers after there was an agreement in 2015.” [Bloomberg]

**Good Wednesday 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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: ”Sam Zell: Why I didn’t go into business with Donald Trump” [CNBC] • “Lightstone Group plans 300-key East Village hotel” [RealDeal] • Heather Reisman’s bookstore makes a comeback [TheStar]

T’ruah’s Rabbi Jill Jacobs emails… “Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster of T’ruah will be addressing Nelson Peltz at the Wendy’s Shareholder meeting today, asking why he doesn’t use his influence as the major shareholder in Wendy’s to persuade the company in joining every other major fast food company (incl. McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, Chipotle) in joining the Fair Food Program and ensuring that the workers who pick their tomatoes are protected from slavery and sexual assault, and earn a more just wage.”

SCENE YESTERDAY: The UJA Federation of New York hosted their annual Harvey R. Miller and Leonard M. Rosen Bankruptcy and Reorganization Annual Luncheon with over 1,100 bankruptcy attorneys and restructuring professionals in attendance at the New York Hilton. The event honored Kenneth Eckstein of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel with the Professor Lawrence P. King Award and Jeffrey Goldberg was the featured speaker. Spotted: UJA’s Eric Goldstein, BlackRock President Robert Kapito, Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, Aurelius Capital’s Mark Brodsky, Avram Friedman of Davidson Kempner Capital Management, and Andrew Herenstein of Monarch Alternative Capital.

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Survivor’s story: Venetian Ghetto’s last witness to Auschwitz” by Hannah Roberts: ”Sitting outside her retirement home in the Venetian Ghetto, wrapped in scarves and a coat, Virginia Gattegno shivers in the spring sunlight. More than 70 years after enduring the Polish winter of 1944, the Auschwitz survivor still feels the cold. She explains: “For us Mediterranean people, who hadn’t experienced cold, that was the cruellest thing, worse than the hunger.” The birdlike 93-year-old is the last witness of the Nazi death camp living in the ghetto today.” [FinancialTimes]

36 UNDER 36 – Meet The Millennials Who Are Remaking The Jewish Community [JewishWeek]

LongRead — by Taffy Brodesser-Akner: ”Just how normal has weed really become in America? Normal enough to bring your mother to a marijuana convention? What if your mother is a 68-year-old Hasidic woman? Taffy Brodesser-Akner spends one crazy Shabbos exploring the new boundaries of pot, parenting your parents, and our (totally!) paranoid future” [GQ]

DESSERT – Kosher Food Truck Opens in Nashville: “In a city with a dearth of kosher options, especially kosher meat options, Aryeh’s Kitchen just launched this month to fill that void. Aryeh’s Kitchen is a beautifully designed kosher food truck serving the Vanderbilt University campus, and beyond.”[YeahThatsKosher]

BIRTHDAYS: Physicist and Nobel Prize laureate Jack Steinberger turns 95… Academy Award winning film producer and director, responsible for 50 major motion pictures, Irwin Winkler turns 85… Olympic Gold medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics, gymnast Aly Raisman turns 22… Marjorie Moidel turns 88…

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Daily Kickoff: New JI Feature — What’s driving the conversation… in Israel | Sanders appoints Zogby, West to platform committee | Bob Dylan BDay

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TOP TALKER: “Sanders wins greater say in Democratic platform; names pro-Palestinian activist” by Anne Gearan: ”Sen. Bernie Sanders was given unprecedented say over the Democratic Party platform Monday in a move party leaders hope will soothe a bitter split with backers of the longshot challenger to Hillary Clinton — and Sanders immediately used his new power to name a well-known advocate for Palestinian rights to help draft Democratic policy. Sanders’s slate includes James Zogby, a longtime activist for Palestinian rights as well as a DNC member and official. Sanders’s approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues is in line with most Democrats’ views, Zogby said in an interview. “You need to find a way to meet the needs of both. To say we will satisfy one without the other is a recipe for failure” as peacemakers, Zogby said.” [WashPost]

“A compromise deal aimed at taking the Democratic primary down a notch in Philadelphia could make the Israel split big news” by Evan McMorris-Santoro and Ruby Cramer: ”Sanders allies privately say that Israel is not a fight the senator himself wants to pick. More likely, perhaps, is the possibility that Zogby or West raise the issue. West, one of Sanders’ signature surrogates, has historically been critical of the senator only around a handful of issues — Israel being one. What Sanders forces do hope to accomplish in Philadelphia and beyond remains an open question among supporters, campaign aides, and former staffers — but Sanders’ singular focus on economic issues and campaign finance would likely make a high-profile fight on Israel a distraction.” [BuzzFeed]

Person to Watch — “Elijah Cummings Will Chair DNC Platform Committee” by Eli Yokley:“Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings – a Democrat who endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in April – will serve as chairman of the party’s platform drafting committee, the DNC announced on Monday.” [MorningConsult]

“Trump: Overseas trips don’t register with voters” by Nick Gass: ”Traveling to other countries this summer ahead of the general election would not appear to be one of Donald Trump’s top priorities, if his comments to The Wall Street Journal published Monday are any indication. “I don’t think it registers with the voters to be honest with you. What I really want to do is focus on our country and the election, but I might,” Trump remarked, in an interview with the Journal on Sunday. “I’ve been invited by numerous countries to go.” The Guardian reported on Friday that Trump’s deep-pocketed donors are laying the groundwork for a trip to Israel this summer.” [WSJPoliticoJI]

“Trump leaving neocons in dust” by Kristina Wong: “[Neoconservatives] are concerned for good reason,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Democratic defense hawk. “These people don’t think that Trump is prepared intellectually to be president. It’s not just that their stance of foreign policy would be losing… all foreign policy schools would be losing influence under Trump with very unpredictable consequences,” he added.” [TheHill]

NEW JI FEATURE – As you know, we try to keep the focus of the Daily Kickoff on U.S. politics and business news. While we certainly cover the U.S. – Israel relationship, we rarely include news regarding domestic Israeli affairs. What is ‘driving the conversation’ among Israeli leaders in the cafes of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem or in the Knesset cafeteria is often quite different from the conversations American leaders are having in D.C. and NYC. We’ve teamed up with veteran Israeli journalists Amir Tibon and Tal Shalev, the pair behind the epic HuffPost Highline story on Barack & Bibi’s Marriage, to provide a daily glimpse into those conversations among Israeli insiders for us. 

KAFE KNESSET — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: “The first day of the Knesset’s summer session is always hectic, but yesterday, new records were set, as the entire parliament was swept with confusing and conflicting rumors about the state of Netanyahu’s coalition negotiations with Avigdor Lieberman. As of early this morning, an agreement has yet to be signed. While the Finance Ministry was negotiating with Lieberman over his demand to increase the pensions of elderly citizens who immigrated from the former Soviet Union, Netanyahu was facing anger inside the Likud’s faction meeting, held for the first time in months. Most party officials were kept in the dark about the coalition talks, and now was their chance to complain about it. “Do you think we are all stupid? That only you got brains?” Welfare Minister Haim Katz lashed at the Prime Minister.”

“The rage within Likud spells trouble ahead for Netanyahu. Coupled with a last-minute rebellion by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the “Jewish Home” party, who is demanding a reform in the structure of Israel’s Security Cabinet as a condition for voting in favor of Lieberman’s appointment, it becomes clear that even after Netanyahu enlarges his coalition from 61 members of Knesset to 66, stability will be far from promised.”

“And if that’s not bad enough, today at 5PM local time (10AM EDT), Israel’s state comptroller is set to release a new report about the affair known as “Bibi Tours,” dealing with suspicions that Netanyahu and his family’s flights to different destinations across the globe, during his tenure as Finance Minister last decade, received “problematic” funding from donors and institutions. The police, according to news reports, are already looking into new materials arising from the report, and soon the public will see them too. All in all, not the best way for Netanyahu to start the new Knesset session.”

Bret Stephens: ”Netanyahu Against the Generals: A case pits Israel’s faith in democracy against the views of its military brass.” [WSJ]

NYTimes Editorial Board: ”A Baffling, Hard-line Choice in Israel” [NYTimes]

AQUARIUM TRANSITION: ”Netanyahu announced on Monday the appointment of a new cabinet secretary, several months after Avichai Mandelblit vacated the post to become attorney general in January. David Sharan, Netanyahu’s chief of staff, will take on the influential role coordinating the work of the 20-member cabinet, including the smaller security cabinet, which votes on war and peace. Sharan will be replaced as the PM’s chief of staff by Yoav Horovitz, the CEO of the Israeli franchise of car rental firm Avis.” [ToI]

**Good Tuesday 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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: ”Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, worth $13b., says he want his children to make their own way, will give fortune to charity instead” [ToI] • ”Developers LIVWRK, Kushner, RFR in Brooklyn’s Dumbo Plan Public Space” [WSJ] • ”Gawker Founder Nick Denton Suspects a Common Financer Behind Lawsuits” [DealBook] • “Israeli startup Nucleix raises $3 million in a round led by Morris Kahn” [FMD]

STARTUP NATION: “Glide, the $100 million video-messaging startup, laid off 25% of its staff as it looks to focus on smartwatches” by Lara O’Reilly: “Glide, the Jerusalem-based video-messaging startup once reportedly valued at $100 million, recently laid off 25% of its staff as it looks to focus on smartwatches. Roles eliminated were those that did not directly support its new focus, Roisman said. The company now has 55 staff worldwide.” [BusinessInsider]

PROFILE: “The Ex-Air Force Sergeant Running Facebook in Israel” by Ashlee Vance: ”Adi Soffer-Teeni’s family helped found Tel Aviv about 100 years ago. Today, Soffer-Teeni carries on their legacy as one of the leading tech founders in Israel. Over the past 16 years, she has started and run a handful of companies in the education, online gaming, and consumer software markets. Now she runs Facebook’s Israel operations and is considered one of the country’s top executives.” [Businessweek]

SCENE at ICSC in Las Vegas: “Many of the industry’s biggest players were at the Wynn European pool, including Jeff Sutton of Wharton Properties, Paul Massey of Cushman & Wakefield, Isaac and Haim Chera of Crown Acquisitions, Sam Chang of McSam Group, and Ralph Herzka of Meridian Capital Group. The cabanas were rammed with dealmakers sipping margaritas and talking shop, and the vibe was far more rambunctious than Saturday’s relaxed affair.” [RealDeal]

MOT RISING STAR: “She Wants To Be The Youngest Woman EVER In Congress” by Torey Van Oot: ”As it stands today, just 84 out of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are women. Zero are under age 30. Erin Schrode wants to change that. Schrode, an activist and speaker who has spearheaded her own nonprofits related to environmental issues and educational resources, faces a tough road to Washington.” [Refinery29BusinessInsider]

MEDIA WATCH: “Rachel Fishman Feddersen Named the Forward’s New Publisher: Feddersen will join the publication in June as it continues its transformation into a nimble, digital-first source for Jewish news. Samuel Norich will remain president and CEO and will continue to cultivate relationships with the Forward’s supporters and stakeholders.” [Forward]

SPORTS BLINK: “Kraft Discusses Love for Israel, YU Honorary Doctorate” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Kraft will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary doctorate at the Yeshiva University’s 85th commencement ceremony on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York. “I am doing this, in large part, out of ‘derech eretz’ (respect) for my [late] father, Harry, who I think would’ve viewed me being the recipient of this wonderful ‘kavod’ (honor) that it would’ve been greater to him than winning a Super Bowl,” Kraft remarked.” [JIAudio]

VIRAL: ”Holocaust survivor sings national anthem at Detroit Tigers game” [JewishJournal]

BIRTHDAYS: Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman and whose Hebrew name was Shabsi Zissel, one of the most influential singer-songwriters of his generation, turns 75… Constitutional historian, lecturer and writer, Richard B. Bernstein turns 60… Actor, who starred in the HBO original series “How to Make It in America,” Bryan Greenberg turns 38… Debby Goldberg of Schwarzman Scholars, previously at ProPublica and the Center for American Progress… Deputy Chief Of Staff at the Department of the Interior, Ben Milakofsky… Professor at Brooklyn College and painter whose realist art works appear in many museums, Philip Pearlstein turns 92… Film director and daughter-in-law of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, Joan Micklin Silver turns 81…

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Daily Kickoff: Sanders to Push for Change in Democrats’ Israel Policy at Convention | Who donates to Ploughshares? | John Malone’s UJA Bar Mitzvah

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Why pro-Israel Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton could have a fight about Israel” by Anne Gearan: “Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont plans to push for revisions in the Democratic Party position about relations with Israel, with a focus on elevating Palestinian rights as a U.S. priority, people involved in discussions over potential changes to the Democratic Party’s platform said.” [WashPostJI]

“Sheldon Adelson backs Trump trip to Israel after $100m pledge, sources say” by Peter Stone: “Three conservative sources with strong ties to Adelson say that the multibillionaire has touted the merits of a Trump trip to Israel, and planning has begun, though nothing has been finalized. “I’m sure Sheldon suggested the trip,” said one conservative donor close to Adelson. Mort Klein, who runs the Zionist Organization of America and is close to Adelson, told the Guardian that Trump’s point man for Israel, Jason Greenblatt, informed him several weeks ago that Trump was “going to go there [Israel] before the [GOP] convention” which begins on 18 July.” [TheGuardian]

“Graham privately urges Republicans to support Trump” by Jeremy Diamond: “Graham urged GOP donors at a private fundraiser Saturday in Florida to unite behind Trump’s campaign… ”He did say that we need to get behind him,” Teresa Dailey, a prominent Florida Republican fundraiser who attended the private event, told CNN on Sunday. Graham said at the fundraiser Saturday that he has now spoken with Trump several times to discuss foreign policy, Dailey said. Graham has offered some of the most biting criticisms of Trump, including calling him a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot” late last year.” [CNN]

“Key G.O.P. Donors Still Deeply Resist Donald Trump’s Candidacy” by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns: “Among the party’s biggest financiers disavowing Mr. Trump are Paul E. Singer, a New York investor who has spent at least $28 million for national Republicans since the 2012 election, and Joe Ricketts, the TD Ameritrade founder who with his wife Marlene has spent nearly $30 million over the same period of time, as well as the hedge fund managers William Oberndorf and Seth Klarman, and the Florida hospital executive Mike Fernandez. Among the more than 50 donors contacted, only nine have said unambiguously that they will contribute to Mr. Trump. They include Sheldon G. Adelson, the casino billionaire; the energy executive T. Boone Pickens; Foster Friess, a wealthy mutual fund investor; and Richard H. Roberts, a pharmaceutical executive.” [NYTimes]

“Some of My Best Friends Are Jewish” by Chris Pomorski: ”A group of influential Republican hawks—many of them Jewish—wrote a letter disavowing Donald Trump last year. Here’s how they feel about him now.” With comments from Roger Zakheim, Eliot Cohen, Dov Zakheim, David Kramer, Aaron Friedberg… [TabletMag]

“Sanders: ‘We don’t know’ if Trump is a billionaire” by Harper Neidig: “Donald Trump himself at least claims to be a billionaire,” he said. “We don’t know, but he probably is. He is getting help from a multi-billionaire named Sheldon Adelson. So when you have multi-billionaires supporting other billionaires to be elected president that is not democracy that is oligarchy.” [TheHill]

“Clinton’s Swelling War Chest Belies Fundraising Challenges” by Zachary Mider: “Clinton’s super-PAC, Priorities USA, raised $8.6 million in April, including $3 million from media mogul Haim Saban and his wife, as well as $1 million from Slim-Fast founder Daniel Abraham and from the billionaire hedge-fund manager George Soros’s son, Alexander. Priorities is already reserving airtime for months of negative television ads aimed at Trump.” [BloombergWashPost]

Larry David playing Bernie has beer with Hillary in SNL cold open: “Remember when I told everyone to stop talking about your damn emails? Phh what a schmuck… This might be the beer talking, but can I tell you a secret? You know I constantly railed against the upper class. Well, sometimes when I go to sleep at night, I dream about being a fancy millionaire or a billionaire. And in my dream I wear a fancy hat, I say fancy things like: ‘I will have a tuna sandwich on a croissant.’” [Mediaite]

“Sanders backs DNC chair’s primary rival” by Jessie Hellmann: ”Wasserman Schultz will be facing Tim Canova in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. “Well, clearly, I favor her opponent,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview to air Sunday on “State of the Union.” “His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz.”" [TheHillCapitalNY]

“Democrats turn to Schumer to fix Sanders rift” by Annie Karni: “Schumer has been telling lawmakers in recent days he believes he could be a helpful bridge between the two feuding camps, a Democratic source familiar with the conversations said. Former Schumer operative and Democratic strategist Stu Loeser added: “Chuck Schumer is extraordinarily able to find political common ground between people. What’s fueled his success in the Senate is his ability to get political and ideological opposites to agree on issues.” Loeser said Schumer is the ideal person to bring Sanders back into the fold.”[Politico]

TOP TALKER: “Group that helped sell Iran nuke deal also funded media” by Bradley Klapper: “A group the White House recently identified as a key surrogate in selling the Iran nuclear deal gave National Public Radio $100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues, according to the group’s annual report… Ploughshares’ links to media are “tremendously troubling,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, an Iran-deal critic. Pompeo told the AP he repeatedly asked NPR to be interviewed last year as a counterweight to a Democratic supporter of the agreement, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who he said regularly appeared on the station. But NPR refused to put Pompeo on the air, he said. J-Street, the liberal Jewish political action group, received $576,500 to advocate for the deal. More than $281,000 went to the National Iranian American Council.” [AP]

“Where did Ploughshares get its money to sell the Iran deal?” by Eric Cortellessa: ”Mostly through other large-scale grant-making foundations and philanthropic organizations, some of the largest in the world, such as The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, Open Society Foundations and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, each of which gave more than $100,000 to Ploughshares in 2015. Ploughshares also received its share of support from members of the Hollywood community, particularly Jewish ones. It received a donation of between $10,000 and $24,999 from actor Michael Douglas, and between $5,000 and $9,999 from the Streisand Foundation.” [ToI]

Jeremy Ben-Ami’s response: ”Reading twitter feed from weekend – right wingers seem upset J Street raised money to promote our views on Iran – what exactly did AIPAC do?” [Twitter]

Iranian commander: We can destroy Israel ‘in under 8 minutes’ – “A senior Iranian military commander boasted that the Islamic Republic could “raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes.” Ahmad Karimpour, a senior adviser to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite unit al-Quds Force, said Thursday if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave the order to destroy Israel, the Iranian military had the capacity to do so quickly.” [ToI]

HEARD IN NYC — Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer at the Jerusalem Post Conference: ”In the world of fiction, narrative counts. In the world of fact, truth counts… In a world of fiction, Iran will seek to reconcile with the United States after the nuclear deal and become a partner for solving problems in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere in the region. In the world of fact, Iran is vowing to remain an enemy of the United States and is wreaking havoc throughout the Middle East… Confusing fact and fiction on the Palestinian issue can have real world consequences for Israel… It is at times like this, when the world predictably rushes to defame and demonize Israel, that I am proudest to serve Israel.” [YouTubeTranscript]

Dennis Ross: “Every administration that sought to distance itself from Israel gained nothing. [Arab leaders] were never going to make their relationship with us depending upon our relationship with Israel. The threat to them came from their regional adversaries.” The former envoy also criticized the assumption that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will bring stability to the region. “I still believe it’s important because I want Israel to be able to live peace; I don’t want Israel to become a binational state. I still believe it’s important to work on the issue. But I never worked out of it because I thought this is a game changer in the region,” Ross stressed. “If tomorrow you could solve this issue, it wouldn’t stop one barrel bomb in Syria. It wouldn’t roll ISIS back one meter. It wouldn’t change Iran’s ambitions in the region.” [JewishInsider]

“Likud source: Peace initiative will refute Ya’alon’s claim of extremism” by Gil Hoffman and Yaakov Lappin: “The sources said Netanyahu is keeping the foreign affairs portfolio for himself, because he wants to personally handle the diplomatic challenges ahead, including a French initiative and the last few months of the tenure of US President Barack Obama.” [JPost] • “Netanyahu Urges France to Ditch Regional Parley, Set Up Two-way Summit With Abbas” [Haaretz]

ON THE GROUND: “As Hamas Tunnels Back Into Israel, Palestinians Are Afraid, Too” by Diaa Hadid and Majd Al Waheidi: ”Now, the tunnels are keeping others up at night: the Palestinians who live on the Gaza side of the fence. People living on the edges of Gaza border towns, like the Israelis a few miles away, complain of hearing surreptitious digging in the wee hours, and voice a parallel anxiety about the tunnels being rapidly rebuilt near their homes becoming targets for Israeli strikes. They are raising unusually harsh — albeit anonymous, for fear of reprisal — criticism of Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, for putting people at risk.” [NYTimes]

**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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: ”Beverly Hilton owner Beny Alagem wants voters to approve 26-story condo tower” [LATimes] • “Boston Properties Said to Enter L.A. Market With $500M Office Deal” [Bloomberg• “Robert Kraft says team in Las Vegas would be ‘good for NFL’ if Raiders want to move there” [USAToday] • ”In Adelson’s Newsroom, Looser Purse Strings and a Tighter Leash” [NYTimes] • “Sumner Redstone Removes Viacom C.E.O. from Trust” [VanityFair• “This Orthodox Jewish Rabbi’s Home is Going High-Tech for Shabbos” [Forbes] • “Nasdaq Sees Israeli Biotech IPOs Tapping the Market This Year” [Bloomberg] • “Israel’s Government Approves Leviathan Natural Gas Deal” [FortuneMag] • ”Shari Arison in Talks to Sell All or Part of Hapoalim Stake” [Haaretz] • “During His ‘Bar Mitzvah,’ John Malone Talks TV Biz, Presidential Politics and His TCI Regret in Candid Q&A at UJA Federation Event” [VarietyNYPost]

LongRead: “Sting of Myself” by Jane Mayer: “As Dana Geraghty recalls it, March 16th was a “rather quiet Wednesday.” That afternoon, she was in her cubicle at the Open Society Foundations, on West Fifty-seventh Street, where she helps oversee the nonprofit group’s pro-democracy programs in Eurasia. The Foundations are the philanthropic creation of George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire, who is a prominent donor to liberal causes, including Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid. Soros, who has spent nineteen million dollars on the 2016 Presidential campaign, is regarded with suspicion by many conservatives. National Review has suggested that he may be fomenting protests against Donald Trump by secretly funding what it called a “rent-a-mob.”” [NewYorker]

SPOTLIGHT: “Wenner Media to Launch Glixel Website as Lifeline for Gamers” by Sydney Ember: “Gus Wenner, whose father started Rolling Stone magazine in 1967, made quite a pronouncement in an interview last week. “In my mind,” he said, “gaming is today what rock ’n’ roll was when Rolling Stone was founded.” Wenner Media, the company behind Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal and Us Weekly, is set to introduce Glixel, a stand-alone site devoted to gaming.” [NYTimes]

HOLLYWOOD: “At 26, He’s Handpicking Hollywood’s Next Big Directors” by Libby Coleman: ”The first day of college changed Eric Fleischman’s life. The professor stood at his podium, before hundreds of USC freshmen, and asked who wanted to be a screenwriter. Half of the students raised their hands. Then the professor asked who wanted to be a director. Nearly everyone shot a hand up in the air, including students who’d just said they wanted to be screenwriters. When the professor asked who wanted to be a producer, just four students raised their hands. “Let’s make it five,” Fleischman thought.” [Ozy]

DESSERT: “How to Interview a Rabbi About Kosher Marijuana” by Rachel Abrams: ”I also gave a lot of thought to how I’d ask my questions. Sure, the story was about kosher weed, but it was also a business story, and I was talking to religious leaders who had clearly given serious thought to whether or not this was something they wanted to weigh in on. The correct tone, I finally reasoned, was somewhere between “Isn’t this kind of funny?” and “This isn’t funny at all.”” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Prominent NYC matrimonial law attorney, Casey Greenfield, daughter of TV journalist Jeff Greenfield… British fashion retailer, and once one of Britain’s wealthiest people, Stephen Marks turns 70… Best-selling author and journalist, whose works include “Tuesdays with Morrie,” Mitch Albom turns 58… Film and television director, Nanette Burstein turns 46… Israeli businessman Ofer Nimrodi turns 59… Stephanie Liss… Sandy Cardin, President of the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (yesterday)…

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