Daily Kickoff: Chinese target Stephen Schwarzman and Steve Wynn to influence Trump | Madonna looking to hire kosher chef


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DISPATCH FROM TEL AVIV — Start Up Nation Central (SNC) launched its new headquarters and L28 Restaurant earlier this week at its first Partners Summit. The five-story structure designed by leading Israeli architect Etan Kimmel will serve as a hub for Israeli innovators and connect investors — corporations, governments, and NGOs — from around the world to the Israeli innovation ecosystem.

Earlier in the week, SNC Board Chair Terry Kassel joined Russell Berrie Foundation President Angelica Berrie, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, MobileEye Founder Amnon Shashua, and SNC CEO Eugene Kandel to launch ExcellenTeam, a program geared toward integrating ultra-Orthodox women and Israeli Arabs into the Jerusalem tech workforce. [Pic]

— SCENE: Paul Singer, SNC CEO Eugene Kandel, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat [Pic]; Strauss Group’s Ofra Strauss, UK Philanthropist Leo Noe, Eagle Capital’s Ravenel Curry [Pic]; Uri Scheft, founder of Lehamim (in Israel) and Bread’s (in New York) Bakeries, tells his food innovation story as part of a Jewish Food Society-curated “Schmaltzy” Lunch at the Summit [Pic]; Chemi Peres, Chair of the Peres Center and founder of Pitango, addressing the Summit[Pic]; William Davidson Foundation Board Members Karen Davidson and Ralph Gerson (not pictured: Davidson Foundation’s Eli Saulson, Jon Aaron, Darin McKeever and Deena Pulitzer) [Pic]; Start-Up Nation Author Dan Senor interviews MobileEye Founder Amnon Shashua at the Lawrence in Tel Aviv [Pic]

Late President Peres delivers hologram message at Israel Innovation Summit — by Shoshanna Solomon: “Shimon Peres, the late Israeli president who helped forge Israel’s identity as a so-called Startup Nation, was heard from again via hologram message heard by hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs and members of foreign delegations attending the Innovation Summit in Tel Aviv on Thursday. The message, a “spiritual will” prepared by Peres before his death two years ago, was released by his family for the first time at the summit.” [ToIVideo]

DEEP DIVE — The Unsolved Murder of an Unusual Billionaire — by Matthew Campbell: “With a fortune that the Bloomberg Billionaires Index placed at $3.6 billion at the time of his death, [Barry] Sherman was Canada’s 18th-richest ­person, and he and Honey were among the country’s most generous philanthropists, supporting cultural and educational ­institutions, antipoverty organizations, and, despite Sherman’s avowed atheism, a panoply of Jewish causes.”

“With little concrete information available, friends and colleagues have projected a tangle of theories into the void, speculating variously about the culpability of rival drugmakers, disgruntled ex-employees, and Russian-Israeli gangsters. From the first reports, I took a close interest in the deaths. I grew up in Toronto, a proud if irreligious member of the city’s Jewish community. The Shermans and their influence were ever-present there; no museum, community center, or campus seemed to lack a space named after them or Apotex.”

“Near the city’s northern boundary, a crane towered over the Sherman Campus, a vast Jewish community center undergoing extensive renovation. The couple was laid to rest nearby, in a cemetery slotted between concrete apartment complexes and a high-voltage transmission corridor… Jewish families often wait as long as a year to place stones, and the Shermans’ plots were marked only by twin plastic plates supplied by the funeral home: Barry on the left, Honey on the right. On the grass between, someone had left a few stems of white orchids. It looks increasingly unlikely that anyone will be arrested for their murders. There’s little sign of momentum in either the police or private investigations; a person close to the family said recent police updates have tended to cover leads that haven’t panned out.” [Bloomberg]

HAPPENING THIS AM —At 10am, HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler will be in conversation with NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in NYC. [Livestream]

TONIGHT: Israel’s Opposition Leader, MK Tzipi Livni will deliver the keynote address at the Israel Policy Forum annual event on the Upper East Side. Honorees at the event include Sir James Wolfensohn, former Special Envoy for the Gaza disengagement for the Quartet, and Robert Goodkind.

TOP TALKER — When Trump Phones Friends, the Chinese and the Russians Listen and Learn — by Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman: “American spy agencies, the officials said, had learned that China and Russia were eavesdropping on the president’s cellphone calls… In what amounts to a marriage of lobbying and espionage, the Chinese have pieced together a list of the people with whom Mr. Trump regularly speaks in hopes of using them to influence the president, the officials said. Among those on the list are Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Blackstone Group chief executive who has endowed a master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and Steve Wynn, the former Las Vegas casino magnate who used to own a lucrative property in Macau. The Chinese have identified friends of both men and others among the president’s regulars, and are now relying on Chinese businessmen and others with ties to Beijing to feed arguments to the friends of the Trump friends.” [NYTimes]

DRIVING THE CONVO — With 12 days to go until the midterm elections, President Trump decried “political violence” after a string of homemade bombs were sent to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, George Soros, and to the CNN headquarters in New York.

At a campaign rally in Wisconsin, Trump also called on the media “to set a civil tone and stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks.”

In a statement earlier in the day, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said: “There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media.”

Explosive device targets George Soros amid escalating political attacks against billionaire hedge fund founder — by Michael Kranish: “In an ad posted on Twitter on Tuesday night, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said in a video that Soros is one of three people funding the Democratic Party, along with hedge fund founder Tom Steyer and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. “We cannot allow Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg to BUY this election!” McCarthy tweeted… Some of the harshest attacks on Soros this cycle have come from the National Republican Congressional Committee… [against] a Democratic candidate for the House from Minnesota, Dan Feehan… The ad seeks to tie Feehan to “billionaire George Soros” who “bankrolls the resistance.” … The NRCC released another ad Wednesday, which accused Feehan of being tied to the “radical George Soros.” [WashPost]

Alex Soros writes… “The Hate That Is Consuming Us: The incident was profoundly disturbing — as a threat not just to the safety of our family, neighbors, colleagues and friends, but also to the future of American democracy… My family is no stranger to the hostilities of those who reject our philosophy, our politics and our very identity. My father grew up in the shadow of the Nazi regime in Hungary… But with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, things got worse… While the responsibility lies with the individual or individuals who sent these lethal devices… I cannot see it divorced from the new normal of political demonization that plagues us today.” [NYTimes]

Cheryl Saban tweets“Bombs/packages sent to Clinton’s, Obama, and CNN called “Despicable” by VP. No kidding. A gross understatement. Trump has inspired this horrendous, violent behavior. There is no “great” when our so-called leaders foment so much hate.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time: “Mr. Soros and I don’t agree on much of anything, but I’m sorry he had to go through this. You don’t want a bomb sent to his house. This is not the America we want to live in. I don’t know if it’s exclusively the fault of the politics. But I’ll tell you the hot political rhetoric has contributed to it. We all need to bring it down.” [Video]

FL Gov —Gillum and DeSantis battle over FBI probe, racist attacks — by Marc Caputo and Matt Dixon: “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m saying the racists believe he’s a racist,” Gillum said in one of the most caustic exchanges of the night, during an exchange about immigration… “As my grandmother used to say: ‘a hit dog will holler,’” Gillum said. “Mr. DeSantis has spoken. He’s got neo-Nazis helping him out in this state. He has spoken at racist conferences. He’s accepted a contribution — and would not return it — from someone who referred to the former president of the United States as a ‘Muslim n-i-g-g-e-r.’” Gillum spelled out the racial epithet onstage, letter by letter.” [Politico]

“During one of the most explosive moments, DeSantis, who was on the attack throughout the night, lost his cool after being questioned by [Todd] McDermott about the former congressman’s affiliation with conservative author David Horowitz. “Are you going to play the McCarthy-ite game?” DeSantis interrupted McDermott… “How the hell am I supposed to know every single statement everybody makes?” he exploded.” [CBS12]

2020 WATCH — Cory Booker could be a candidate for the ‘religious left’ — by Jack Jenkins: “Booker’s brand of public religiosity is especially attractive to an oft-forgotten but increasingly powerful group: the amorphous subset of religious Americans sometimes known as the religious left. If he does run for president, as many expect, Booker may be one of the first Democratic candidates in decades to actively cultivate support from religious progressives… Booker claims that his faith is not partisan: He said religion is a way to reach across the aisle, and Republican Sen. John Thune is reportedly a member of his Bible study.” [ReligionNews]

INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — After feeling betrayed, Trump holds cards on Saudi prince — by Shaun Tandon: “Martin Indyk, a top Middle East policymaker under former president Bill Clinton, said Trump had in effect tried to subcontract policy in the region to Saudi Arabia and Israel as he lessens US commitments. But Indyk said Prince Mohammed had instead brought headaches for Washington… “Mohammed bin Salman needs Trump — his very survival depends on Trump working with him,” said Indyk… “So we have the opportunity — if we decide we’re not going to ask the king to remove him discreetly — to… sit down with him and say, listen, we can’t go on like this,” Indyk said.” [YahooNews

John Bolton is living his best life — by Eliana Johnson: “Bolton, for example, was a critic of the Iran nuclear deal from the start, but Trump too had derided it as a “one-sided” and “disastrous” agreement before Bolton joined the administration… On this issue and others, Bolton has been pushing an open door. ”John’s views have been consistent in all the years I have known him but he was not able to turn them into policy when he was blocked by people like Colin Powell,” said Elliott Abrams, who served as deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration. “Today, he is able to move forward.” [Politico]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) writes… “We Must Stop Helping Saudi Arabia in Yemen: The administration defends our engagement in Yemen by overstating Iranian support for the Houthi rebels. But the fact is that the relationship between Iran and the Houthis has only strengthened with the intensification of the war. The war is creating the very problem the administration claims to want to solve.” [NYTimes]

** 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: Penny Pritzker wants to boost Chicago’s standing among the world’s best tech cities [HeraldReview] • Chetrit Group, Mount Sinai planning 122-unit resi complex in Woodside [TheRealDeal] • Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square buys stake in Hilton [Reuters] • Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management buys Niles senior living center for $33.6M[TheRealDeal] • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff writes about the ‘social responsibility of business’ [NYTimes

Lauder Institute building expansion and renovation dedicated: “In a sunny courtyard in the heart of Penn’s campus, President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett joined alumni Ronald S. Lauder and Leonard A. Lauder on Tuesday to dedicate the renovation of the building that houses the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management & International Studies, which the two brothers founded 35 years ago.” [PennToday]

The Harmonie Club Joins the 21st Century — by Shivani Vora: “The appointment of a new general manager at the storied organization, founded in 1852 and New York’s second-oldest private social club, wouldn’t usually be noteworthy, but Ms. [Davina] Weinstein, 52, is the first woman to hold the post. Situated in an eight-story Beaux-Arts building designed by Stanford White on 60th Street off Fifth Avenue, the Harmonie Club was started by a group of six German-American New Yorkers for other male German immigrants who enjoyed singing and debating together. The club moved from the Lower East Side to its current home in 1905 and became a gathering spot for elite Jewish-American industrialists, financiers and businessmen including those from the Guggenheim and Bloomingdale families, Andrew Saks and Adolph S. Ochs… Members today include Carl Icahn, several from the Tisch and Nederlander families, and Mortimer Zuckerman.” [NYTimes]

PROFILE —  Pressing Forward: David Stern Is Not Looking Back — by Chris Ballard: “For a high-profile figure, Stern has managed to keep much of his life private. His father, William, was a passionate, demanding man who put his life into the family business, Stern’s Deli, on 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. Stern’s was open seven days a week, and until 1 a.m. on Saturday nights. David’s mother, Anna, the ballast in the family, was the bookkeeper. David and his two sisters worked weekend shifts.”

“William passed away in 1980, at 62, but his work ethic imprinted. David excelled at Teaneck (N.J.) High, then at Rutgers and Columbia Law School. He began representing the NBA in court cases in ’67 while at Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn, worked on the ABA-NBA merger in ’76, then left to become the NBA’s first general counsel, later ascending to executive VP. By the time Stern became commissioner, in 1984, he’d long since lost the battle for work-life balance.” [SportsIllustrated]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Columnist Jonah Goldberg shared his Jewish upbringing on the Axe Files podcast with David Axelrod: “I was raised Jewish. I went to Rodeph Sholom day school in the Upper West Side [of Manhattan], which I believe was the first Jewish Reform day school in the country, where mostly liberal Jewish parents wanted to raise their kids Jewish but not too Jewish (laughter). And I was bar mitzvah’d, but my mom added some flares to it. We had bagpipers playing Hava Nagila at our party, and that kind of things.”

Axelrod: Yeah, that’s a first.

Goldberg: “It actually sounds pretty cool.” [AxeFiles]

CAMPUS BEAT — Student Bar Association Senate calls for leader to resign over allegedly anti-Semitic remarks — by Sarah Roach: “After hours of debate late Tuesday night, the [George Washington University] SBA Senate called for Ali Kingston, the organization’s president, to step down by Monday after members of the Jewish Law Student Association alleged that she made a comment last month referring to Jewish students as someone’s “Jew friends.” [GWHatchet]

DESSERT — Madonna is advertising for £110,000-a-year private chef to cook kosher meals for her six kids — by Ekin Karasin: “[Madonna] has posted a job advertisement on the website Talent Private Staff for the cook to work in her London, Lisbon, and New York homes. The description states that she would like all her meals to follow the ‘basic rules’ of kosher cooking and will cater to her six kids – Lourdes, 22, Rocco, 18, David, 13, Mercy James, 12, and twins Stella and Esther, six.” [DailyMail]

BIRTHDAYS: US District Court Judge (now on senior status) serving in the Eastern District of New York, based in Brooklyn, appointed by President Reagan, Judge Edward R. Korman turns 76… Screenwriter and film producer, best known for her association with George Lucas including writing screenplays such as American Graffiti and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gloria Katz turns 76… Chief Policy and Strategy Officer of Oscar Insurance since 2016, following stints as a Supreme Court clerk, White House counsel, Chancellor of the NYC schools and EVP at News Corporation, Joel Klein turns 72… President of Dallas-based SPR Ventures, he serves on the boards of Texas Capital Bancshares and Cinemark, Steven Rosenberg turns 60…

CEO of the Center for a New American Security, she served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs (2013-2017) and held the rank of Career Ambassador, Victoria Jane Nuland turns 57… Voice actress and singer, best known for voicing Asajj Ventress in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Nika Futterman turns 49… Physician, author and public speaker on health issues, particularly the benefits of a plant-based diet and the harms of eating animal products, Michael Herschel Greger MD turns 46… Singer and songwriter who competed in the ninth season of American Idol (2010), Vered “Didi” Benami turns 32… Program Associate at San Francisco’s Koret Foundation, she was previously a community engagement professional at Congregation Emanu-El, Rachel Elana Schonwetter turns 29…


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