Daily Kickoff: Mike Bloomberg gives Dems another $20M as he and Howard Schultz eye possible 2020 runs


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WHILE WE WERE AWAY… Russia delivered the S-300 system over the weekend, despite Israel’s objections… UNRWA evacuated 10 of its international senior employees from Gaza to Israel after they were harassed by local Palestinian staffers over U.S. cuts… The U.S. has begun the implementation of the MOU with Israel, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert announced on Monday… Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his participation at a UNESCO conference on anti-Semitism so as not to anger the Trump administration, Barak Ravid reported… Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi met last week with a group of a leading evangelical Christians before meeting with Netanyahu…

President Trump announced a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico to replace NAFTA… Jared Kushner, who played a “crucial role” in closing the deal, said the deal “will make a big difference for this country”… Trump personally instructed Michael Cohen to seek a restraining order against Stormy Daniels last February, the WSJ reported… The NYPD opened a hate crime probe over ‘Free Gaza’ graffiti scrawled on Upper East Side sukkah… And Ivanka Trump was photographed holding a Luluv and Etrog at the White House.

TOP TALKER — Jason Kander Withdraws From Kansas City Mayoral Race, Citing PTSD — by Dave Philipps: “Jason Kander, a war veteran who became a rising star in the Democratic Party, abruptly dropped out of the Kansas City mayoral race Tuesday, saying he needed to focus on healing from post-traumatic stress disorder. “After 11 years of trying to outrun depression and PTSD symptoms, I have finally concluded that it’s faster than me. That I have to stop running, turn around, and confront it,” he wrote in a lengthy and strikingly candid post on his Facebook page.” [NYTimes]

— In 2016, Kander told St. Louis journalist Gabe Fleisher: “I first learned about my faith from my grandparents, who are active in Kansas City’s Jewish community,” Kander said. “It didn’t become a consistent part of my daily inner life until I was serving in Afghanistan.”

Former Senator Norm Coleman, who is battling lung cancer, writes… “In advance of my fourth chemo session yesterday at Mayo I had a CT scan to determine if we were making progress… And, with joy, I can share with you that my Mayo team said the results were as good as I could have desired… I have hope that I can beat my cancer. If not cure it — beat it back to the point where my life is no longer a short-term proposition.” [Facebook]

MIDTERMS ― Michael Bloomberg jolts Senate battle with $20 million for Democrats — by Robert Costa: “Michael R. Bloomberg… will give $20 million to the main Democratic Senate super PAC this week… “Mike was extraordinarily disappointed in the Republican leadership in the Senate and feels increasingly passionate about changing it,” Bloomberg adviser Kevin Sheekey said. “And he’s already enthusiastic about the impact he’s having on House races and increasingly confident that he can contribute to a Democratic takeover.”

“The enormous sum brings Bloomberg — who has already pledged to spend $80 million to support Democratic congressional candidates — up to $100 million in spending commitments for the 2018 election cycle, firmly positioning himself in the Democratic camp as he contemplates a bid for the White House.” [WashPost]

76ers co-owner Michael Rubin fundraises for Democrat Tom Wolf: “Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin hosted a private dinner, we hear, at his new New York pad in support of Pennsylvania Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf. Guests at the meeting included Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Kevin Hart, Philly rappers Meek Mill and Freeway, 76ers star Joel Embiid, CNN’s Van Jones, former Giants star Tiki Barber, Clara Tsai and Steve Stoute.” [PageSix]

Texas Governor Greg Abbott takes aim at Beto O’Rourke in Fox & Friends appearance ― by Paul Cobler: “They don’t want the George Soros policies here in the state of Texas,” Abbott said, invoking a favorite target of conservatives.” [Statesman]

Progressive billionaires fall for Florida’s Gillum — by Maggie Severns and Marc Caputo: “[Andrew] Gillum’s financial fortunes changed sharply after he sat down in early May with… billionaire George Soros in California’s Berkeley Hills. At the Claremont Club & Spa… Gillum and Soros had a sprawling after-dinner conversation about Gillum’s plans to turn out progressive and non-white voters and then, if he won, to expand Medicaid, recognize the threat of man-made climate change and enact gun control legislation… Plus, he said, he could help Democrats in 2020 in a state that’s considered a must-win for Republicans. “Florida is the holy grail,” Gillum told Soros.”

“The Soros team liked what they heard. Alex Soros contributed $50,000 on March 31, and George Soros gave $100,000. George Soros doubled his money in December… and he’d continue giving after the May meeting in California. Soros and his sons have given Gillum’s political committee, Forward Florida, a total of $1.3 million.” [Politico]

Jacky Rosen Takes Lead in Nevada Senate Race Polls — by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “Jacky Rosen is closer to becoming only the third Jewish woman to serve in the U.S. Senate – and the first to be elected from a state other than California… A new CNN poll published Tuesday shows Rosen leading Heller by four points – her largest margin yet in a tight race.”[Haaretz]

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro will co-host a fundraiser in support of Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) on Oct. 5 in Chicago.

2020 WATCH — Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz teases possible presidential run with nationwide book tour — by Kathryn Krawczyk: “Howard Schultz… is launching a nationwide book tour focused on everything but coffee, and Axios suggests it could be Schultz’s first sip of political tea… Schultz will apparently tear down big businesses’ ignorance of employee welfare in favor of cutting costs, and encourage government and businesses to collaborate as they try to better America.” [TheWeek]

— “Democrats doubt there’s room in the party’s presidential race for two corporate celebrities to the right of Bernie. So watch whether Michael Bloomberg beats Schultz into the race.” [Axios]

Trump’s 2020 dreams ― by Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan: “Trump has mused in private about Mike Bloomberg. At the end of an August interview with Bloomberg News, Trump told the journalists: “Say hello to Michael.”[Axios]

Disney CEO Bob Iger talks to Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton about his decision not to run for president in 2020 to pursue the 21st Century Fox deal:

Are you still considering a bid for the presidency? 

Iger: “It wasn’t just something I was talking about with reporters and friends and colleagues. I was actually doing some work on it. But the primary reason I dropped it was because of this Fox deal.”

What did your family say when you told them? 

Iger: “They high-fived each other.”

Will you rethink your decision in 2024?

Iger: “Right now I’m not doing it in 2020. I am running the company through 2021. I have made no decision about what I’ll do afterward. I have thought very little about it.”

ON VANITY FAIR’S 2018 NEW ESTABLISHMENT LIST — 4. Bob Iger; 7. Mark Zuckerberg; 12. Larry Page; 18. Sheryl Sandberg; 23. Brian Roberts; 27. Richard Plepler; 36. Jonathan Gray; 44. David Zaslav; 47. David Tepper; 52. Jeff Zucker; 54. David Solomon; 61. Jeffrey Katzenberg; 75. Adam Neumann; 77. Bobby Kotick; 86. Jake Tapper; 88. Stewart Butterfield; 97. Audrey Gelman; 98. Susan Wojcicki. See the full list [VanityFair]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Hillary Clinton in an interview with Atlantic editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic Festival in Washington, DC: “I think [Trump] has thrown his lot in with many people and groups whose stated objective is white nationalism, white supremacy. I mean how could you explain what he did and why after Charlottesville? … Remember what George W. Bush did after 9/11, you know, he went to a mosque. He went to a gathering place for American Muslims in order to say, “We’re not at war with you.  We’re at war with those people who plotted and planned to drive those airplanes into the World Trade Center.” But that’s not what we got after Charlottesville. And that remains one of the most troubling episodes in this presidency.” [TheAtlantic]

Trump: Saudi king wouldn’t last 2 weeks without US support — by Jon Grambell: “We protect Saudi Arabia — would you say they’re rich?” Trump asked the cheering crowd [at a campaign rally in Southaven, Mississippi]. “And I love the king, King Salman, but I said, ‘King we’re protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military, you have to pay.'” Trump didn’t elaborate on when he made the comments to Saud Arabia’s 82-year-old monarch. Trump and King Salman last shared a reported telephone call on Saturday.” [AP]

ON THE HILL — Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced bipartisan legislation last week to more closely examine the national and regional security consequences if Saudi Arabia obtains nuclear fuel enrichment capability.

Trump Stealthily Seeks to Choke Off Funding to U.N. Programs — by Robbie Gramer and Colum Lynch: “In early July, a U.S. State Department political appointee fired off an email to the National Security Council detailing how to thwart Congress’s intent to fund a range of United Nations international aid programs opposed by White House conservatives, including initiatives benefiting Palestinian refugees… The United States is seeking to determine that the $7 million in discretionary, voluntary contributions it provides to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will not be spent on programs that scrutinize Israel’s human rights record or compile a list of companies that do business in Israel settlements.” [ForeignPolicy]

Poll finds Israelis extremely, and near uniquely, supportive of Trump, US policy: “The [Pew Research] poll of America’s standing in 25 countries, published Monday, shows 82 percent of Jewish Israelis have confidence in Trump’s handling of global affairs (69% among Israelis overall) while 94% of Jewish Israelis have a favorable view of the US in general (83% overall)…” [ToIPewGlobal]

Dennis Ross and David Makovsky write… “If Trump Wants the Ultimate Deal, He Must Not Repeat These Mistakes: The White House is clearly making one mistake already: It has reached out to Israelis and done exactly the opposite with the Palestinians…” [ForeignPolicy]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a number of her cabinet ministers are scheduled to arrive in Israel today for a series of government-to-government meetings. Netanyahu will host Merkel for dinner at his residence in Jerusalem tonight. Merkel will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial for the third time in her career tomorrow.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla confirms meeting with Netanyahu: “Kalla confirmed on Tuesday he had met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York when they attended the annual General Session of the United Nations there. Jasuf Kalla said they discussed Palestinian issue and ways to create peace in that country. “If we want to help create peace in a country we must know both sides. Therefore, when we met and introduced each other we talked about peace,” Kalla said here on Tuesday.”[AntaraNews]

Back to old habits, Malaysia’s Mahathir calls Jews ‘hook-nosed’: “Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad described Jews as “hook-nosed” on Tuesday and blamed them for creating the troubles in the Middle East…” [Reuters]

ON THE GROUND ― On Iran, White House Criticism Grows, but U.S. Military Posture Recedes — by Nancy Youssef and Gordon Lubold: “There has been no U.S. aircraft carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf since the Theodore Roosevelt left for the Pacific in March, the longest period of time in two decades that a carrier hasn’t traveled those waters… U.S. officials said that they have enough military resources to counter Iran or others. But they acknowledged the aircraft carriers and the Patriot missile batteries also served as a show of force.”

“The concern is the president looks [like] a Twitter tiger,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies… “If the rhetoric is not backed by a credible threat and a credible presence of American military power, then there is a danger that Iran will assess there is American mush, not American steel, behind the president’s tough rhetoric.” [WSJ

** 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Israel Acts to Counter Trump’s Tax Reform [Haaretz]  • George Soros Spins Out Private Equity Team, Pledging Up to $2 Billion [Bloomberg] • Canon signs lease with the Sapir Organization for entire floor of 261 Madison Ave [NYPost] • Apollo’s Marc Rowan Gives Wharton $50 Million for Professorships [Bloomberg] • BuzzFeed News’ Ben Smith: ‘Every company needs diverse business models’ [Digiday

STARTUP NATION ― Israeli VC JVP to partner in New York City cyber center: “The New York City Economic Development Corp has selected venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) as a partner in establishing a global cybersecurity center in the city. The initiative will receive a $30 million investment from the City of New York, followed by up to $70 million in private funds… JVP Chairman Erel Margalit said at least half of its new $200 million fund will be allocated to companies in the hub.” [ReutersCalcalist]

Gal Gadot Visits ‘Jewish Heaven’, Meets Einstein and Moshe Dayan, in Simpsons Premiere — by Adrian Hennigan: “Jewish Heaven” made its second appearance in “The Simpsons” on Sunday, as the Fox animation series began its 30th season… The show also featured Gal Gadot, with the Israeli actor playing herself playing Lisa Simpson in the movie version of Bart’s experience… She is flanked by Joan Rivers, King David, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky (Krusty the Clown’s deceased father), former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, Albert Einstein and legendary Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, all standing around chatting at the Jewish equivalent of the Pearly Gates.” [HaaretzVideo]

SPORTS BLINK — At Forbes’ ‘Under 30 Summit,’ Jonathan Kraft talks evolution of the Patriots and the NFL — by Nicole Yang: “[Jonathan] Kraft, one of team owner Robert Kraft’s four sons, said he was seven years old when his father came home with their initial package of Patriots season tickets… “Occasionally, we’d travel around the country and go to NFL games in other cities when the Patriots were playing,” Kraft said at the Forbes’ “Under 30 Summit” Monday. “We saw it be so different in other places. We thought if we ever had the opportunity to [buy the team], we would try to jump at it and we did.” [Boston]

PROFILE — Debbie Wosskow sold her first business — an ‘AirBnB for grownups’ — for £40m. Now she’s opened the UK’s first women-only members’ club, the AllBright, to help other women follow in her entrepreneurial footsteps. [TheJC]

CAMPUS BEAT — Israeli student at Columbia says she’s being bullied by Palestinian group — by Doree Lewak: “Ofir [Dayan], the 24-year-old daughter of Israel Consul General in New York Dani Dayan, said she is harassed and threatened over her background by the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and that the school is failing to protect her. “SJP is violent,” she said. “I’m worried about my personal safety.” [NYPost]

— Students Supporting Israel (SSI) at Columbia University, together with alums and members of the Jewish community, will protest Columbia administration’s decision to not protect pro-Israel students on campus tomorrow at 4 PM EDT.

COMING SOON: New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss is writing her first book, titled “The New Seven Dirty Words,” which will focus on the new culture of censorship and make the pitch for how to bring back an open society. The book, which sold in auction, is due out in winter 2020 and will be published by Henry Holt. [Playbook]

MEDIA WATCH — Bianna Golodryga named co-host of CBS This Morning: CBS News correspondent Bianna Golodryga is joining “CBS This Morning” as a co-host with Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell and John Dickerson. Golodryga, who has been a reporter and fill-in co-host for the broadcast since 2017, begins Wednesday and will be based in New York.

SPOTTED ON SUNDAY — at the annual Sukkah party hosted by Avi Goldgraber and Aaron Keyak in the West End neighborhood of Washington, DC: Rabbi Hyim Shafner, Jamie Kirchick, Elliot Brandt, Josh Rogin, Ali Rogin, Josh Keating, Frank Chi, Professor Ethan Porter, Steve Rabinowitz, Laurie Moskowitz, Drew Cooper, Toby Dershowitz, Dr. Miriam Fischer, Eric Wachter, Lindsey Eilon, Ethan Eilon, Shoshana Lew, Ben Schreckinger, Rachel Snyder, Matt Nosanchuk, and John Gizzi.

DESSERT — The Very Israeli Reason Why Everyone is Eating Whole Roasted Cauliflower — by Shannon Sarna: “I cannot turn around these days without running into a whole roasted cauliflower: on Pinterest, in magazines, and even at random restaurants on Long Island. Whole roasted cauliflower is everywhere, but it all started with an Israeli chef. Eyal Shani is known for many things: his antics on the popular Israeli show Master Chef, his innovative approach towards ingredients, and his global restaurant sensation Miznon. He is also credited with launching the whole roasted cauliflower craze.” [MyJewishLearning]

BIRTHDAYS: Jerusalem-born record executive turned talent agent whose clients include Madonna and U2, author of “Jews Who Rock” regarding Jewish influences on the music industry, Guy Oseary turns 46… Born in NYC to Israeli parents, music industry executive who led Def Jam, he then led the Warner music label and now is Global Head of Music for YouTube, Lyor Cohen turns 59… Venture capitalist and political strategist, he previously served as Deputy Governor of Illinois and as communications director for Senator Chuck Schumer, Bradley Tusk turns 45… Professor of American literature at Monmouth College (1968-1999) and co-founder with his wife in 1994 of Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey, Dr. Robert M. Rechnitz turns 88… Radio show host, author, political commentator and film critic, his eponymous Seattle-based nationally syndicated talk show airs throughout the U.S. on Salem Radio Network, Michael Medved turns 70…

President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance, she is a former member of Congress (D-PA-13) (2005-2015), following her tenure as a member of the Pennsylvania Senate (1991-2005), Allyson Y. Schwartz turns 70… Theoretical physicist, professor at Rutgers and a son of feminist author and activist Betty Friedan, he was named a MacArthur Genius Fellow in 1987, Daniel Friedan turns 70… Lisa Leff turns 61… Art collector and dealer, who together with his father and brother are reputed to own $1 billion of art including over 1,000 pieces by Andy Warhol, David Mugrabi turns 47… Rabbi of Congregation Ohr Torah in North Woodmere, NY and author of ‘We’re Almost There,” Dovid M. Cohen turns 46… Assistant rabbi at Park East Synagogue in Manhattan, Benjamin Goldschmidt turns 31…


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