Daily Kickoff: “The most pro- … President in American history” | Senate Dems back Taylor Force Act at AIPAC | Elliott Broidy accuses Qatar of hacking his email


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‘THE ULTIMATE DEAL’ — “Trump’s Hopes of Being the ‘Neutral Guy’ in the Mideast Seem Long Gone” by Peter Baker and David Halbfinger: “In a meeting at the White House on Monday, Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel put on display perhaps the closest relationship between leaders of their two countries in the seven decades since Israel declared independence… and the president said he might visit Jerusalem in May to preside over the politically potent transfer of the American Embassy… Mr. Trump insisted that he still had “a good chance” of forging peace… “The Palestinians, I think, are wanting to come back to the table very badly,” he said… Then he acknowledged what would happen if he is wrong. “If they don’t, you don’t have peace.”” [NYTimes]

“Trump didn’t share his peace plan with Netanyahu” by Barak Ravid: “Netanyahu said at a briefing with Israeli reporters after the meeting that… Trump didn’t give any details about a time table for releasing his peace plan, which Netanyahu said will be a U.S. decision. The main issue discussed in the meeting was Iran – mainly the nuclear deal. Netanyahu said he found Trump very informed on the Iranian issue and very much in control of the details… Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner didn’t attend the first part of the meeting, which took place in a smaller setting. Kushner joined a second, broader meeting.” [Axios] • Netanyahu Takes Reporters’ Questions Ahead Of AIPAC Speech [NPR]

The Washington Institute’s David Makovsky tells us… “The question is, is there a value for the U.S. to put forward a peace plan that is most likely to be rejected by the Palestinian side? Does that help the United States? Does it help Israel? Some believe that Netanyahu would like the U.S. to put forward a plan that he knows the Palestinians would reject because it would enable him to run on the next election as a peacemaker. Even if he knows that the other side would not accept it. I think we’re in an unusual place where the Israelis see a tactical value to a Trump plan, precisely because they feel it will be rejected by the Palestinians. I just think for the U.S., we should have an American perspective. I don’t know if I see the value in putting forward a plan that is not likely to succeed because it could hurt a good idea. The United States has tried to hit the home run ball three times on the peace issue – Clinton in 2000, Condi Rice in 2007-2008, and Kerry in 2013-2014 – I just think we’re better off trying to hit a solid single that both sides can accept, maybe.”

HOW IT PLAYED — “Trump welcomes embattled Netanyahu as corruption probe follows Israeli leader to Washington” by Ruth Eglash and Anne Gearan: “President Trump said he may soon visit Israel to open a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem as he offered a warm welcome Mondayto Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… “I may” go for the planned May opening of the embassy, Trump said. “We’re looking at coming. If I can, I will.” … Netanyahu’s praise of Trump… aired during the much-watched evening news period in Israel — and it hinted at the stakes for the veteran leader.” [WashPost] • “Netanyahu gets VIP treatment from Trump after years of frosty relations with Obama” [FoxNews]

Evan McMurry‏: “A vigorous handshake between President Trump, PM Netanyahu.” [Pic]

Shalom Lipner, former aide to several Israeli Prime Ministers, emails us… “The most striking thing about watching Netanyahu back in the Oval Office was his relaxed demeanor, in sharp contrast to the palpable tension which characterized his visits to the Obama White House. The meeting with Trump couldn’t have come at a more fortuitous time for Netanyahu. Embattled at home, he took full advantage of the opportunity to shift the discourse to his preferred frame: Iran. And in heaping praise and superlatives on Trump for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Netanyahu was essentially patting himself on the back — taking credit for the unprecedented U.S. decision, and telegraphing to Israelis that nobody is more qualified than him to manage Israel’s most critical strategic relationship. It’s safe to assume that the glowing optics of his meeting with Trump and address to AIPAC will feature prominently in his campaign for reelection.”

HAPPENING THIS MORNING — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the AIPAC Policy Conference – Watch live [CSPAN]

RECAP OF AIPAC DAY 2 — Delivering a similar speech to the one he delivered to the Knesset in January, Vice President Mike Pence assured AIPAC that the U.S. will not allow the defeat of ISIS in Syria to become a victory for Iran.” Pence also announced that “unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed in the coming months, the United States will withdraw from the deal immediately.” [CSPAN]

OOPS! “Pence opened his speech with a slip of the tongue, which drew laughter from thousands in the crowd. He told the crowd that he is conveying a message of support from U.S. President Donald Trump, and called Trump “the most pro-life President” ever… After noticing the crowd’s reaction, Pence quickly adjusted his comment and praised Trump as “the most pro-Israel president ever.””[Haaretz] • Pence delivered the ‘pro-life’ line at the National Religious Broadcasters’ 75th annual meeting last week [Tennessean]

FLASHBACK — Pence speaking at AIPAC in 2009: “Though I know of no synagogues in my district… let me say emphatically: Like the overwhelming majority of my constituents, my Christian faith compels me to cherish the State of Israel.”” [CSPAN]

HALEY RECEIVES ROCKSTAR TREATMENT, AGAIN — Interrupted constantly by roaring applause and drawing twelve standing ovations, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley assured AIPAC that the U.S. will stand with Israel against a growing threat of Iranian aggression in the Middle East the same way it defends Israel against bias and bullying at the United Nations. Haley began her speech by stating, “When I come to AIPAC, I am with friends. In the United Nations, we sometimes don’t have many friends.” [Video

–Expressing hope she will attend the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, Haley declared, “Jerusalem was, is, and will always be the capital of Israel.” [Video]

HOW IT PLAYED — “Nikki Haley Wows pro-Israel Lobby AIPAC: ‘For Me, She’s the Next President'” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “If the AIPAC conference had been the GOP Iowa presidential caucuses, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence would be facing a formidable challenge if he aspired to succeed U.S. President Donald Trump. Haley would have beaten him hands down… Howard and Rachel Nieman, a pro-Trump couple from New York, said they were both deeply impressed by Haley… “For me, she’s the next president,” said Rachel. “Her smile – her humor – all of it connected with me.”” [Haaretz]

SCHUMER’S SHTICK — Immediately following Haley’s speech, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer shared one of his classic stories — a joke his father shared about a stolen can of peaches — at the start of a well-received speech during which he explained that the real reason there’s still no peace is that the Palestinians refuse to recognize “any Jewish state.” Schumer vowed to pass the Taylor Force Act and called the BDS movement blatant anti-Semitism. He also peppered his speech with Yiddish and Hebrew phrases.

–Schumer on settlements: “Now, some say there are some who argue the settlements are the reason there’s not peace, but we all know what happened in Gaza, Israel voluntarily got rid of the settlements there, the Israeli soldiers dragged the settlers out of Netzarim, and three weeks later the Palestinians threw rockets into Sderot. It’s sure not the settlements that are the blockage to peace.”

–Schumer on Taylor Force Act: “We must pass and highlight the Taylor Force Act… Too many believe that this Palestinian Authority is moderate and really wants peace. The Taylor Force Act will force the world to confront the dark truth that the Palestinian Authority, every day, actively aids and abets terrorism. We will pass the Taylor Force Law and that will show the world what the Palestinian Authority is actually doing.”

Vice President Pence’s spokeswoman Alyssa Farah‏ tweets: “AIPAC: that one time a year I find myself nodding along & clapping to a Chuck Schumer speech.” [Twitter]

Nathan Guttman‏: “AIPAC speakers from right to left: Chuck Schumer the most pro-settler; Nikki Haley with a Netanyahu-like speech; Mike Pence almost centrist; AIPAC’s CEO – most dovish. Weird world #AIPAC2018.” [Twitter]

HEARD THIS MORNING AT AIPAC — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in an apparent dig at J Street: ”Saying that you are pro-Israel and pro-peace sounds like a completely reasonable position. My friends, it’s not… Using that phrase suggests Israel is not pro-peace. Saying pro-Israel and pro-peace is a redundancy. If you support Israel, you must by definition support Israel living in peace with its neighbors… It’s no less than blasphemous to suggest that any Jew or Christian is against peace. Everyone in Israel yearns for peace, and it is dangerously misleading to use phrases that suggest otherwise.” [CSPAN]

–JTA’s Ron Kampeas tweets“Jan Schakowsky was vicious about Orthodox Jews a few years ago at J Street; she apologized after being called out. David Friedman was vicious today at AIPAC re J Street – does he apologize (again)?”

“AIPAC rekindles old debate: Is Israel in favor of a two-state solution or not?” by Raphael Ahren: “[Howard] Kohr, who has been at AIPAC’s helm since 1996, was roundly criticized by right-leaning Israelis, including Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely and other influential figures in the Likud party… On Monday evening, Netanyahu told reporters that he had refused to say, during a meeting with Trump.. whether he supported the creation of a Palestinian state.” [ToI]

“Why more Orthodox Jews are going to AIPAC” by Ben Sales: “The Orthodox segment of the community is most connected to and passionate about Israel,” said Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center… “AIPAC has become not only more and more welcoming but has actively recruited in the Orthodox community,” Diament said. “That and other things have prompted a two-sided equation in which the Orthodox community is becoming more and more engaged, and AIPAC has been very welcoming.” [JTA]

“Don’t Meet the Press: AIPAC’s ‘Freedom of the Press’ Panel Is Closed to Media” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “At the conference, each subgroup – speakers, students, staff and various levels of donors – was distinguished by the color of the lanyard with their AIPAC entrance credential. If someone was wearing the bright pink “Press” lanyard (“Did it have to be pink?” grumbled one male journalist), they were turned away from any of the small group sessions… It’s a policy that has long gotten under the skin of reporters covering the conference, particularly American-Jewish and Israeli reporters who view the conference as an important opportunity to take the temperature of the community.” [Haaretz]

— Jewish Week editorial… “Why We Won’t Be At The AIPAC Conference: AIPAC has a long history of being wary of and less than friendly toward the press… Such treatment doesn’t foster trust and mutual respect… Unfortunately, the lobby has not changed its policy about keeping most of its sessions off-limits to the press. We look forward to a time when it chooses to open its doors wider rather than keeping them closed.” [JewishWeek]

PROFILE — “Teaneck doctor seeks bipartisan unity as president of pro-Israel group AIPAC” by Herb Jackson: “In his speech Sunday at the massive Washington Convention Center, where the wall behind his lectern was lined with 12 stadium-scale TVs projecting his image, [Mort] Fridman said attendees could be sitting next to people from the opposite party, but that would add to the group’s strength when attendees head to Capitol Hill Tuesdayto lobby lawmakers… Public records compiled by cqmoneyline show Fridman and his wife, Esther, have given nearly $154,000 to federal candidates and committees in the past 15 years, split about 55 percent-45 percent between Democrats and Republicans.” [NorthJersey]

SPOTTED by a JI reader last night: Head of Israel’s Labor Party Avi Gabbay schmoozing with Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Bayit Yehudi party [Pic]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who also serves as Minister of Diaspora Affairs, at an event hosted by the Yesha Council at Sixth and I: “You know what really keeps me up at night more than the future of Yehuda and Shomron? It’s the future of Jews in the United States. There are almost 6 million Jews in the United States of America and we are losing a lot of them, and if Israel was the project of the Jewish world, I think now the Jewish world is the project of Israel. I am Minister of Diaspora Affairs. I am essentially Minister of the Jews. I am your minister. (laughter). We need to figure out how we reach out and get to these Jews… This is, I think, our big mission. On campus, before your defend Israel, reach out to the Jews.” [JewishInsider]

ON THE HILL — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says he’s determined to pass the Taylor Force Act — by Jenna Lifhits“Graham said the Taylor Force Act could either be attached to an upcoming omnibus spending bill or put on the floor separately, “sooner rather than later.” “I don’t know if we’re going to put it on the omnibus or take a floor vote, but it’s going to pass one way or the other,” he said… “We’ll try to work those out as soon as we can,” Graham told TWS last week, regarding the differences between the House and Senate versions.” [WeeklyStandard]

TOP TALKER — “Ex-Trump Aide Sam Nunberg Says He Will Refuse Grand Jury Order. Unless He Doesn’t” by Maggie Haberman and Adam Goldman: “It began with a subpoena. It ended with a question about whether its recipient was drunk on live television. Sam Nunberg, a onetime Trump campaign aide who recently met with investigators for the special counsel, set cable news alight on Monday when he declared that he was subpoenaed to go before a grand jury on Friday, but that he was unlikely to appear or to provide documents he was ordered to hand over… By midafternoon, he had been interviewed on MSNBC and CNN. Fox News soon joined in with coverage… By evening, Mr. Nunberg told reporters he might comply with Mr. Mueller’s demand after all. Unless he doesn’t, of course.”[NYTimes] • The 42 craziest quotes from Sam Nunberg’s absolutely bonkers CNN interviews [CNN]

HOW IT PLAYED — “Nunberg’s Mueller Meltdown Leaves Friends Petrified” by Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng: “Starting Monday morning, Nunberg began calling several close associates that he was flatly refusing, at this time, to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation… Three Nunberg friends said they walked away from those conversations fearful that he was “drinking again” and was about to embark on a personal tailspin. They didn’t know it would play out on daytime TV.” [DailyBeast]

PALACE INTRIGUE — “At Mar-a-Lago, Trump Polls Guests About Kushner’s Bad Press” by Emily Jane Fox: “When Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner entered the Renaissance Washington Hotel on Saturday… they evidenced little sign that their world had been nuked in the preceding week… What did raise some eyebrows in the Jewish community, however, was the fact that cameras caught them entering the hotel on Saturdayevening before the sun set… The president would only stay at Mar-a-Lago for some 24 hours before returning to the Swamp for the Gridiron dinner. But it afforded him enough time… to poll club members about what they thought about the Kushner stories and how they were playing… This person noted that the headlines crossed two of Trump’s red lines. “He hates bad publicity generated by others,” this person said—especially anything that suggests somebody else might be making money off the Trump name.” [VanityFair]

“Geraldo Fawns Over Ivanka After Selfie: ‘She’s So Noble and She’s So Efficient and So Effective’” by Justin Baragona: “Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera took to Twitter Monday to post a selfie with… Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner along with a defense of the embattled couple… Rivera claimed, “they work in a nest of snitches, vipers & rats AKA the #WestWing.” … Rivera said [Ivanka] invited him to the White House for tea on Monday.” [Mediaite]

2018 WATCH — “Bernie Sanders’ Son Is Extremely Mad Online” by Ashley Feinberg: “Levi Sanders, Bernie Sanders’… only biological child, is running for Congress in New Hampshire largely as an unknown… Thanks to years of Facebook postings, though, we can glean some sense of the passions that drive the younger Sanders… Levi Sanders is extremely mad online. Levi has already come under some social media scrutiny for his past tweets. It seems that Twitter is where he goes to drop his iffy takes; Facebook is where he prefers to brawl…” [HuffPost]

** 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: The Billionaires’ Feud That Will Affect Electric Cars[WashPost] • Wilf’s Vikings Open Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center [Vikings] • Gary Cohn Tries to Head Off Trump Tariffs With White House Summit [Bloomberg] • Brooklyn’s long-delayed Bossert Hotel faces another setback [Curbed

“U.N. Chief Picks a Very Rich New Yorker (Not Named Trump) for Climate Job” by Somini Sengupta: “The appointment of Michael R. Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City who is a prominent advocate in the fight against climate change, to the United Nations post comes a year ahead of a summit meeting on global warming that the secretary general is planning. “The world has those that follow and those that lead. And those that lead, some lead in the wrong direction and some lead in the right direction,” [António] Guterres said at a news conference…” [NYTimes]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “A Top Trump Fund-Raiser Says Qatar Hacked His Email” by David Kirkpatrick: “A cyberwar in the Persian Gulf reverberated in the United States this week as a top Republican fund-raiser [Elliott Broidy] accused agents for Qatar of hacking into his email to plant damaging articles in the American news media… Qatar called Mr. Broidy’s charges a false ‘”diversionary tactic to distract from the serious allegations against himself and his client, the United Arab Emirates.” Mr. Broidy and Qatar each threatened legal actions. The dispute illustrates how conflicts around the globe can echo through American news media, politics and courts, as rivals compete for the favor of Washington and the sympathies of the West.”[NYTimes]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “The future of Israel’s “dreamers”” by Loveday Morris: “[Alam] Godin is a soft-spoken 21-year-old, a keen basketball player and fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He says he’d like to study nursing but instead, at the moment, flips burgers at a fast-food restaurant. He has put his plans on hold and fears he could be handed a deportation order whenever he renews his visa. He says he’d rather be jailed than deported… “It’s not our country, Rwanda or Uganda,” said Godin, who speaks near fluent English, along with Hebrew and Arabic. His younger brother, Alan, 18, is on the cusp of graduating and facing uncertainty. “They can’t do anything to you while you are at school,” said Alan, as he flicked through Katy Perry and Shakira music videos on the family television. “It’s a safe place.””[WashPost]

Saturday shopping serves as symbol as Jews quarrel over faith” by Brinley Bruton and Paul Goldman: “Shay Rodnick, who owns a Judaica shop in Mea Shearim… said that many Haredis feel the government is trying to take things from them, such as subsidies given to Israelis for having children and religious scholars for studying. “The Haredi people feel stipends are being reduced — they are always trying to take stipends away from us,” Rodnick said. Because Haredis often have large families, they tend to receive proportionally more in government aid than other Israelis… Netanyahu’s government recently rolled back legislation aimed at increasing conscription, but this was struck down by the Supreme Court. The court has demanded new legislation within a year.” [NBCNews]

MAZEL TOV — “Westfield founder Frank Lowy’s tech entrepreneur grandson marries his fiancée in a lavish million-dollar wedding inside Sydney’s Centennial Park” by Kate Darvall and April Glover: “The grandson of Westfield Corp founder Frank Lowy has married his partner in an extravagant multi-million dollar wedding. Josh Lowy married Britt Friede in the lavish wedding in Sydney’s Centennial Park on Sunday, in what is believed to be one of the city’s most expensive weddings. Josh is one of Steven and Judy Lowy’s four children. Photos snapped at the reception show exquisitely-dressed guests arriving to celebrate the nuptials, including Sir Frank Lowy, 87, the former Chairman of Westfield Corporation.” [DailyMail]

DESSERT — “New York Welcomes Its First Kosher Ramen Restaurant” by Leah Koenig: “Located on New York’s Upper West Side, Boru Boru, which opened in mid-February, offers the city’s first kosher-certified ramen. Instead of the pork and seafood that often provides ramen’s base flavors, their broths are made from chicken, soy sauce, miso, and other umami-laden flavor builders. And they are really good—complexly flavored, deeply savory, and well-balanced.” [TabletMag]

New Midtown NYC Mediterranean Spot ‘Basta’ Opens Its Doors: “This newcomer–located in the former Tim Horton’s space, which closed up shop last year–is the latest project from executive chef Raz Shabtai (Nur). Basta features an all-kosher Mediterranean menu with North African and European influences.” [ABC7NY]

ACROSS THE POND: “New fine-dining London kosher restaurant set for spring opening” by Daniel Sugarman: “Weeks after the announcement of one kosher restaurant opening in central London, another venue has announced plans to launch “in the heart” of the city. Tish Bar & Kitchen has announced that it will open in “spring 2018.” [TheJC]

BIRTHDAYS: Newly minted centenarian, known as “Philadelphia Phil,” the founder of a successful advertising agency, he achieved fame during the Eagles 2018 run to a Super Bowl championship, Philip Basser turns 100… Former chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States (1987-2006), Alan Greenspan turns 92… Actor, writer, director, producer and political activist, directed “When Harry Met Sally” and “A Few Good Men,” Rob Reiner turns 71… Television personality, author and libertarian pundit, known for his career on both ABC News and Fox Business Channel, he is a winner of 19 Emmy Awards, John Stossel turns 71… Musical theatre lyricist and composer, winner of three Oscars, three Grammys and received six Tony Award nominations, Stephen Schwartz turns 70… Owner of Atlantic Media, David G. Bradley… Actor, comedian and sports show host, converted to Judaism upon marrying Roseanne Barr in 1990, Tom Arnold turns 59… Aliza Tendler turns 53… Head of Innovation Communication at Bloomberg LP, Chaim Haas turns 43…

Former football quarterback who played on six NFL teams (2001-2012), member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Sage Rosenfels turns 40… Managing director at Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm, he was the body man (2001-2006) and then deputy chief of staff (2008-2009) for former President George W. Bush, Blake L. Gottesman turns 38… Fourth generation developer, owner, and operator of commercial real estate throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, Daniel Klein turns 37… Israeli fashion model, Esti Ginzburg turns 28… Artist and founder / director of Tikkun Olam Journeys, Tova Suissa… Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law student who is a member of The Israel Project’s Tower Tomorrow Fellowship, Riley Clafton turns 23… Senior director for business development and client services at NYC-based Jewish Communal Fund, Michelle Lebowitz… Princeton University student who interned for Senator Marco Rubio, Theodore Furchtgott… Sandra Brown… Nelson Katz


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