Daily Kickoff: Spotted at Aspen Ideas | Muslim and Jews in America | Haley defends UNWRA | Israeli women in high-tech | Bret Stephens joins MSNBC

JI_logoCP2

Have our people email your people. Share this sign up link with your friends 

Ed note: The Daily Kickoff newsletter is going on vacation for the week of July 4th but, rest assured, we’ll still be posting news and scoops to JewishInsider.com. 

SPOTTED AT ASPEN IDEAS: Paul Singer and Haim Saban schmoozing with Start-Up Nation Central CEO Eugene Kandel outside the SNC tent [Pic] … Also at the Start-Up Nation Central tent, Dan Senor and Seth M. Siegel with Fareed Zakaria [Pic] … A slightly more subdued Jeffrey Goldberg, in his new Atlantic Editor in Chief role, MC’ing the Ideas Festival comedy night [Pic] … Aspen Institute trustee Lynda Resnick at comedy night joking about the various applicants — including Michael Flynn, James Comey, Sean Spicer — vying to replace Walter Isaacson as Aspen Institute President [Pic] … Andrea Mitchell playing the fiddle [Pic]

Jeffrey Goldberg comparing Trump and Yasser Arafat: “At a certain point, we have to treat [Trump] as an adult and say this is a lie. And by the way, all politicians lie. This is not a unique situation we are in, it’s exaggerated. I remember years ago, I interviewed Yasser Arafat twice within a 48-hour period. In the first interview, I asked him if he thought a two-state solution was possible and he said, yes absolutely. Forty-eight hours later, I asked him the question again and he said it’s not possible… I think both times he was telling the truth. And so there is this cognition issue that we have to deal with which is – [Trump] believes the things that he’s saying to be true to be true in a genuine way. He’s being honest with himself that he thinks the lies are true.” [YouTube]

Panel on Muslims and Jews in America — featuring Abdullah Antepli, Founding Director of Duke University’s Center for Muslim Life and The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. Antepli: “We have to start acknowledging that Jews and Muslims are not doing well… I always consider myself or call myself, a recovering anti-Semite. I say ‘recovering’ because if you’re exposed to hate early on and if hate got into your system so early in your life, it takes a lifelong struggle to get that poison out of your system. In the secular, ultra-nationalist, chauvinistic education that I have received in my secular household (in Turkey), the first book I read about Jews and Judaism, at the age of 12, was the children’s version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the second book was Henry Ford’s International Jew and the third book was Mein Kampf… What saved me was studying Islam and getting exposed to mainstream Islamic theology… and thankfully, I met many wonderful Jews later in my life, which allowed me to take the nearest exit and drive in the opposite direction as fast as I can.”

“Let’s not kid ourselves. Jews and Muslims in the Middle East, they are not locking arms and singing Hineh ma tov uma naim shevet achim gam yachad. And Jews and Muslims in France and England, they are not singing Ose shalom bimromav hu yaase shalom aleynu. Things are tense and many boats have sailed.” But here in America, despite the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… because of this beautiful country, because the kind of context that we are in, and because of the Muslim and Jewish communities — two very similar, very complimentary faith communities in the U.S., the ships have not sailed yet.”

Jeffrey Goldberg: ”I was just singing Hineh ma tov to myself… If you think about it from a Jewish theological perspective, it’s a lot easier for a Judaism, as a faith system, to walk together with Islam… Obviously, on a political and social level, it should be easier than it is to walk together. The Jewish story in America, we are just further down the road of the same story than the Muslim American community is today, even in terms of the controversies of being a Muslim in America today. If you remember, in the ‘20s and ‘30s, Jews were considered by a majority of Americans as an alien and possibly dangerous presence. In 1926, when the immigration was shut off, when there was a travel ban imposed on Jews, it was the same fear of the other that was causing that.”

Antepli: “I hope I didn’t suggest that Jews and Muslims in America should part, ignore, suspend their loyalties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… because it’s not possible. It’s simply not possible and it would be so unfair to the deep loyalties of these communities and deep attachment to their part of the world. But I still believe, can Jews and Muslims in America meet each other where they are? An overwhelming majority of Jews in North America, they consider themselves Zionist, pro-Israeli… And an overwhelming majority of my community, including myself are pro-Palestinian… Despite this breakdown, it is to me pathetic and it’s so sad if Jews and Muslims in America are seeing themselves as the foot soldiers for a proxy war in the Middle East and they have nothing to tell each other other than the talking points of this political conflict on each side of the aisle.

Antepli: “In the words of Einstein — to me, he’s one of the greatest rabbis of the 20th century — what we have been doing so far…”

Goldberg: “I like the Jewish pronunciation of Einstein, by the way, I really do…”

Antepli: “There are two types of ongoing Jewish-Muslim conversations in North America. One, a group of Jews of Muslims come together and completely ignore — intentionally don’t talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

Golberg: “These are those horrible endless interfaith seders…

Antepli: “Exactly… They talk about hummus, kosher chicken, halal chicken, and davening amidah, praying magrib together. Like – it’s all nice. But we have seen over and over the decades, this doesn’t have enough teeth and strength to prevent the kind of increasing polarization, increasing anti-Semitism in the Muslim community, increasing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry in the Jewish community. Both communities are becoming more vulnerable and more and more hearts and minds are poisoned by hate… The second type of conversation is, they come and all they talk about is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Everybody comes with the self-serving facts and they start throwing facts to one another… And if we keep doing this and expecting different results — in the words of Rabbi Einstein — we are insane. We have to do something differently.” Watch the full session here [YouTube]

Wajahat Ali joking at Aspen Ideas comedy night: “Moderate Muslims, we are like Jews, really. Less self-loathing, more anger. Better food, less power.”

BATTLE OVER STATE: “Tillerson blows up at top White House aide” by Josh Dawsey, Eliana Johnson and Alex Isenstadt: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s frustrations with the White House have been building for months. Last Friday, they exploded… The episode stunned other White House officials gathered in chief of staff Reince Priebus’s office, leaving them silent as Tillerson raised his voice. In the room with Tillerson and [Johnny] DeStefano (the head of the presidential personnel office) were Priebus, top aide Jared Kushner and Margaret Peterlin, the Secretary of State’s chief of staff. The encounter, described by four people familiar with what happened, was so explosive that Kushner approached Peterlin afterwards and told that Tillerson’s outburst was completely unprofessional… and told her that they needed to work out a solution.” [Politico]

“Tillerson and Mattis Cleaning Up Kushner’s Middle East Mess” by Mark Perry:  Tillerson’s aides, I was told, were convinced that the true author of Trump’s statement (on Qatar) was U.A.E. ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, a close friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. ‘Rex put two-and-two together,’ his close associate says, ‘and concluded that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters. Otaiba weighed in with Jared and Jared weighed in with Trump. What a mess.'”[AmericanConservative]

HEARD THIS MORNING — Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe: “What Rex Tillerson did was not unprofessional. What Rex Tillerson did was patriotic, and way overdue…  Donald Trump wants his son in law to be the de facto Secretary of State… They are thinking ‘we don’t really need a Secretary of State, Jared’s going to be running everything himself.’ They’ve now gotten into a situation, they said it — I’ll testify under oath they said it repeatedly — Jared’s going to be the de facto Secretary of State… Let Rex Tillerson do his job or name Jared Kushner secretary of state.”

“Trump tweets shocking assault on Brzezinski, Scarborough” by Brian Stelter: “On Thursday morning, while MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” was on the air, Trump posted a pair of hateful tweets about co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Trump claimed that Scarborough and Brzezinski courted him for an interview at Mar-a-Lago around the New Year’s Eve holiday. “She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” the president wrote. MSNBC responded with this statement: “It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.” [CNN]

BIBI-ADELSON RELATIONS: “Netanyahu, Bennett vie for Adelson’s support at West Bank event” by Raoul Wootliff: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett both lavishly praised billionaire Jewish businessman Sheldon Adelson at an event Wednesday amid speculation the casino magnate was shifting his support from the former to the latter. Adelson was in Israel to lay the cornerstone for a new School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Ariel University in the West Bank settlement. During his speech, Netanyahu switched to English to hail Adelson and his wife Miriam as “not only good friends but huge supporters of the people of Israel and the State of Israel.” Bennett did likewise… But it was the optics of the event that suggested Adelson may be inclining to put his immense financial clout, and the influential Israel Hayom newspaper backing, behind Bennett. At the celebratory meal, it was Bennett who sat next to Adelson, and the two were spotted heartily toasting one other during a lengthy private conversation.”[ToI]

RUDY IN ISRAEL: “Rudy Giuliani: Trump Will Dispel ‘Nonsense About Putin’ During Upcoming European Trip” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “President Donald Trump will emphasize the U.S. commitment to NATO in his upcoming trip to Eastern Europe and plans to “assure” the countries bordering Russia that “the United States is there to support them,” said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, speaking in Tel Aviv on Wednesday… The former mayor said he would be accompanying Trump on the July 5 trip.” [Haaretz

THE TRUMP TREATMENT — Israel to roll out red carpet for Modi:“Israel is going all out to make Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country, the first ever by an Indian premier… Mr. Netanyahu would be present at the Ben-Gurion airport along with the protocol team on July 4 to welcome Modi… Mr. Netanyahu, in a rare show of warmth, will also take Mr. Modi personally to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to show some of the rare exhibits related to the Indian-Jewish heritage… On top of all this, Mr. Netanyahu would also be accompanying “his friend” during his much awaited address to the Indian community at the Exhibition Grounds in Tel Aviv on July 5 in the evening.” [TheHindu

“India’s Modi to sleep in Trump’s bed in Israel” by Greer Fay Cashman: “After the big bear hug that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave US President Donald Trump in Washington this week, the news is that he will be the next occupant of Trump’s bed – well, not exactly. When Modi arrives in Jerusalem next week, he will be given the same luxury suite at the King David Hotel that Trump stayed in during his visit.” [JPost

LIKUD STAR IN NY: “Gideon Sa’ar warns American Jews two-state solution ‘a mistake’” by Moran Azulay: “Former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar said Wednesday that it would be “a mistake to return to the idea of establishing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria as a solution to the conflict.” Speaking during the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in New York, Sa’ar warned of the consequences of the idea. “The establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would flood the area with Syrian and Palestinian refugees and with radical Islamic elements who would arrive in order to lead the fight against the Jewish state. Israel will have no control over it then,” Sa’ar said.” [Ynet]  

ON THE HILL — by Aaron Magid: A Congressional letter calling on the Israeli government to drop military charges against Palestinian activist Issa Amro has obtained 32 signees, the highest number of support for an overtly pro-Palestinian initiative. Addressed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the letter notes, “United Nations human rights experts expressed concern that Mr. Amro is “being unfairly targeted due to his legitimate and peaceful human rights work.” Led by Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI), the letter received support from Deputy Democratic National Chair (DNC) Keith Ellison (D-MN), Karen Bass (D-CA), and Ro Khanna (D-CA). However, the letter did not win support from any top Democrats such as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

Haley Defends UNRWA’s Schools and Healthcare Against Congressional Attacks — by Aaron Magid: Amidst an onslaught of Congressional criticism, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley defended UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for aiding Palestinians. “I will say there’s also good that comes out of UNRWA: what they do with the schools and healthcare. You do see value in it,” Haley said on Wednesday when speaking before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Haley explained, “There is so much resentment between the Palestinians behind that fence and Israel: that an uneducated Palestinian versus an educated Palestinian.” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PN) then interrupted Haley and asked her how much longer should the United States continue to fund UNRWA given the perceived lack of reforms. Haley responded, “The schooling and the health care for those groups in there (Palestinians), I mean, there’s no other place for them to get it. There’s a population there that does need to have that.” [JewishInsider]

Haley also took the opportunity to praise senior advisor Jared Kushner’s efforts to reach a long lasting peace agreement. “When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I think he’s (Kushner) being very effective in terms of when I was there, there’s hope. I felt it. Both sides realized they’ve got to come to the table.” [CSPAN]

“Haley: Trump’s tough line already bearing fruit at U.N.” by Alex Zietlow: “[Nikki] Haley defended the Trump administration’s 2018 U.N. budget request, which has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill this week… Mr. Trump’s budget was “making a point,” Ms. Haley argued, “and it worked.”” [WashTimes] • The UN is giving up on Trump [Politico]

“Corker: Russia-Iran sanctions talks hit new hiccup” by Elana Schor: “Although “there is no language issue” remaining with the Russia sanctions bill, Corker told reporters, “another little thing that’s more of a political issue” has arisen to hold up an agreement on advancing the legislation. The Tennessee Republican, who met earlier Wednesday with Democratic counterpart Sen. Ben Cardin, declined to comment on the nature of the political problem…. As recently as Tuesday afternoon, Cardin said he was inclined to sign off on the House’s proposed change to the congressional review provision. “I think I’m okay with it” based on a staff-level review of the House-drafted language, Cardin told reporters, warning that other Democrats may not have all agreed.”[Politico]

“How Trita Parsi and NIAC Used the White House to Advance Iran’s Agenda” by Hassan Dai: “After Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential elections… Patrick Disney, an NIAC lobbyist and the coordinator for CNAPI (Campaign for New American policy on Iran) declared: “This is a chance to demonstrate that our group and our position is now the ‘center of gravity’ on the Iran issue. With Obama in the White House, it is no longer acceptable for staffers to say they only hear from the far-right hawks on Iran–we’re here and we’re going to push for a positive agenda.” … The convergence of views between the Obama administration and the pro-Iran lobby helped NIAC and its partners to evolve from a pressure group to a high-level White House player… According to official records, NIAC President Parsi, visited the White House 33 times between 2013 and 2016.” [TabletMag]

“The Squeeze Is On Against Hamas” by Grant Rumley: “Israel, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, and several Arab countries are dialing up the financial and diplomatic pressure on Hamas — but they may also be setting the region on a path for war. This joint squeezing of Hamas in Gaza comes at a time when one of its most important foreign patrons, Qatar, is also under more pressure than ever. The move may end up pushing Hamas back into Iran’s embrace after years of estrangement. Hamas’s military wing has been a consistent advocate for re-establishing ties with Tehran… The multiple threats to Hamas’s lifelines could also push the group into a corner, a position that has led to conflict with Israel in the past.” [ForeignPolicy]

** Good Thursday 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: Sycamore Wagers $6.9 Billion That Shira Goodman’s Staples Can Thrive Again [Bloomberg] • As David L. Cohen named Phila. Theatre Co. chair, the Comcast exec has a call for businesses[Bizjournals] • Alice Rogoff’s Alaska Dispatch deals with lawsuits; companies say the paper isn’t paying its bills [Ktva]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli women laying the foundation for biggerrole in high-tech” by Ferry Biedermann: “When VC crowdfunding company OurCrowd last week launched a new initiative to link some of the largest companies in the world more closely to Israeli startups, it was led by its business development partner Laly David. She’s fully involved in investment decisions, a rarity for a woman in Israel… Merav Cohen is another Israeli self-described serial entrepreneur who’s taken an initiative to help women CEOs and founders of startups. WMN in the port of Tel Aviv… is not only a co-working space but also an “ecosystem” to facilitate women-led ventures, she says.” [CNBC

“Israel Leans Closer to Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Upsets U.S. Groups” by Rory Jones: ““This despicable decision sends an unmistakable message to diaspora Jewry, one of divisions and of alienation,” said Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s office who is against the government suspension.” [WSJ]

“Federations dispute story over stopping donations to Israel” by Alyssa Schmitt: “Gordon Hecker, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, denies he planned to stop all donations from his federation to Israel… because of Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu’s recent announcement suspending the 2016 agreement to expand prayer at the Western Wall… Jason Shames, the CEO of the Northern New Jersey Jewish Federation, also was mentioned in the story saying the decision would impact his federation’s relationship with Israel as well. “Wherever it came from it’s all fabricated,” Shames told the CJN. “The federation has not considered any changes of our existing supportive programs in Israel or Israel in general.””[CJN

MEDIA WATCH: “CNN boss in crosshairs if AT&T-Time Warner merger approved” by Claire Atkinson and Emily Smith: “AT&T will look to “neutralize” CNN President Jeff Zucker after it buys Time Warner, The Post has learned… “There was early talk about the way Zucker managed that wasn’t a good fit for the new organization,” one source said. “They were eyeing ways to neutralize him.” That desire leaves Zucker facing an uncertain future that includes the possibility of getting unceremoniously dumped, one source said… “What would be the reason to fire him?” one CNN insider asked, adding AT&T would risk losing credibility and perhaps top news talent.” [NYPost

Bret Stephens joins MSNBC and NBC as an on-air contributor: “MSNBC show host Nicolle Wallace announced the news on her program Wednesday afternoon when Stephens joined the show to discuss health care. “We’re so, so, so lucky and happy to have you,” Wallace said.”[Mic]

TRANSITION: Talia Alter has been promoted as AIPAC’s Northeast Deputy Political Director.

DESSERT: There’s a California chef making waves in the Mahane Yehuda district” by Jessica Ritz: “[Todd] Aarons… opened Crave Gourmet Street Food last October in a particularly buzzy pocket of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market district. Locating it steps from the vendors inside the legendary shuk, he joined forces with three partners to bring a culinary edge to Israel, thanks to the chef’s SoCal-influenced palate and an unorthodox approach to the restaurant business… Its eclectic menu makes perfect sense to diners who are familiar with California’s food truck culture and the state’s culinary cross-pollination of Asian and Latin American influences… After all, diasporic mashups are an inherent part of Israeli cuisine and culture. And Aarons’ kosher cheeseburgers don’t hurt the appeal. “ [JewishJournal

“This Is the Orthodox Community’s Go-To Cool Sandwich Shop” by Patrick Kuh: “There are plenty of Jewish delis in L.A. that are not kosher (hello, Langer’s), but there may be only one kosher sandwich shop that isn’t a deli. Opened in March across from Pan Pacific Park by chef Eric Greenspan, Fleishik’s is where Orthodox men in black hats and schoolgirls in tartan pinafores queue up with customers who might usually opt for the pork belly at Animal. Because as Greenspan proves, rotisserie brisket layered over beet horseradish with crunchy chicken-skin gribenes and fried onions is exactly the kind of flavor-packed dish anybody would want to line up for.” [LAMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Chairman of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise ship operator (includes Carnival, Cunard, Holland America and others), and owner of the NBA’s Miami Heat, Micky Arison turns 68… CEO of Aliya Marketing Group, a fundraising consulting group for not-for-profits, previously at JFNA (2016),  the LA Federation (2014-2016) and the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island (1996-2004), Joshua Karlin turns 58… Attorney General of Israel, Avichai Mandelblit turns 54… Screenwriter, director and producer, he has won nine Emmy Awards for his work on AMC’s “Mad Men” and HBO’s “The Sopranos,” Matthew Weiner turns 52… CEO of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Steven C. Wernick turns 50… Los Angeles-born, moved to Israel at 12 years old, political consultant, campaign strategist and former Chief of Staff to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Ari Harowturns 44… British Labour party member of Parliament, first elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2017, she has been outspoken against the rise of anti-Semitism in her own party, Ruth Smeeth turns 38… Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice movement, Shmuly Yanklowitz turns 36… Campaign finance consultant, who has raised money for Hillary and the DNC, David Wolf… Steven Kohn… Sara Sansone… Fred Gruber

Gratuity not included. We love receiving news tips but we also gladly accept tax deductible tips. 100% of your donation will go directly towards improving Jewish Insider. Thanks! [PayPal]


Comments are closed.