Daily Kickoff: Trump to get mixed welcome in visit to Pittsburgh after synagogue massacre


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DRIVING THE DAY — President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will travel to Pittsburgh this afternoon to meet with the families of the victims of the synagogue massacre. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who reportedly persuaded Trump to visit Pittsburgh, will accompany the President, as well as Jason Greenblatt and Avi Berkowitz, who were dispatched to Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Tree of Life community leaders were split on whether to welcome Trump to Pittsburgh. Bend the Arc, a national organization for progressive Jews focused on social justice, also circulated an open letter — signed by more than 35,000 people — telling Trump he’s not welcome in the city unless he denounces white nationalism and stops “targeting” minorities. Mayor William Peduto warnedthat Trump would be a distraction from some of the funerals taking place Tuesday. But Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was leading services at Tree of Life during Saturday’s shooting, said that “the President of the United States is always welcome.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders “dismissed suggestions that Trump’s rhetoric has contributed to a hostile climate in the country… In a voice breaking with emotion, Sanders noted that Trump’s daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren are Jewish. “Anti-Semitism is a plague to humanity,” Sanders said. “We all have a duty to confront anti-Semitism in all its forms and everywhere and anywhere it appears.” [NPR]

Survivors relive horrors at Tree of Life [AP] • First 3 people to help treat synagogue shooter were Jewish, hospital president says [Bradenton]

Bloomberg blames Trump for ‘inciting’ hate after Pittsburgh shooting — by Cristina Alesci and Eli Watkins: “When he goes around getting people to scream and hate, bad things happen and you saw the results here,” said [Mike] Bloomberg. He went on to say that the President “should be unifying and instead he is exciting people, inciting people.” … “The President’s words matter more than anybody else and his job, I’ve always thought, is to be a unifier, not to be the leader of a party, but to be the leader of this country,” Bloomberg said.” [CNN]

— “Trump has some defenders in the Jewish community, however. Ken Kurson, a close friend of Kushner’s, recalled seeing Trump at a bris for one of his grandchildren, Theodore Kushner, and that he had never seen the president do or say anything that struck him as anti-Semitic. “My personal opinion is the president reacted very forcefully and appropriately with real emotion,” Kurson said. “The words he used mattered to me. He instantly called it an anti-Semitic act. That’s important for the world to hear, to hear him attach a moral component.” [WashPost]

“Rabbi Levi Shemtov, founder of TheSHUL of the Nation’s Capital, a Washington temple attended by Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said the president can use this moment to demonstrate his capacity to heal. “Personally, I absolutely do not believe the president is anti-Semitic,” Shemtov said. “On the contrary, especially if one speaks to his associates going back decades, you will find the opposite to be the case.” [WashPost]

MEDIA WATCH — Julia Ioffe Apologizes For Saying Trump Has Radicalized More People Than ISIS — by David Taintor: “Appearing on a panel on CNN, Ioffe said, “This president, one of the things that he really launched his presidential run on is talking about Islamic radicalization. And this president has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did.” … Later in the same hour, Ioffe apologized on air for the comment. “I do want to clarify, I think I spoke in the heat of the moment. This has been a very emotional and personally painful time for me. I think I exaggerated, and I apologize for that,” Ioffe said.” [TPMVideo

Rabbi David Wolpe writes… “The Misguided Rabbis of Twitter: We can only be a Jewish people when we don’t excommunicate each other—for religious reasons or political reasons or cultural reasons. Everyone is welcome to pray in my synagogue, right or left, no matter how much I as rabbi may object to your views. Because we do not pray as Democrats or Republicans, but as Jews.” [Tablet]

Alana Newhouse: “Over the next few days, as funerals take place and shivas begin, it will once again be our responsibility to bring order back to our thinking—first, to accept clearly what just happened in Pittsburgh, and then to think and act bravely about our history, about our values, about how to live safe and good and meaningful lives. After spending aninut in Pittsburgh, where most of the Tablet staff has been this week, we believe the lesson here is clear: The internet has given us the illusion of connection. Politics has given us the illusion of control. Only community gives us the reality of both.” [Tablet]

TALK OF OUR NATION — Pittsburgh Killing Aftermath Bares Jewish Rifts in Israel and America — by David Halbfinger: “Yossi Klein Halevi, a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, said the Pittsburgh shootings had exposed an even deeper and more worrisome divide between the two populations. “Each sees the other as in some sense threatening its most basic well-being,” he said. “American Jews don’t understand the depth of the Israeli sense of betrayal over the Iran deal. And Israelis don’t understand why American Jews regard Trump as a life-and-death threat to the liberal society that allowed American Jewry to become the most successful minority in Jewish history.” [NYTimes]

Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt: Israel Chief Rabbi Didn’t Dismiss Progressive Synagogues. Stop Twisting Words To Sow Division [Forward]

For European Jews, a horrifying sight on the other side of the Atlantic — by James McAuley: “In recent years, deadly anti-Semitic violence has become a mainstay of European headlines… Now, European observers wonder whether Americans will confront the problem of anti-Semitism… “I used to think that the United States is the guarantor of Jewish security worldwide, and now it’s not the case any more,” said Sergey Lagodinsky, a member of the assembly of the Jewish community of Berlin. “From the European Jewish perspective, this haven that we thought the U.S. is for Jews is no more there.” [WashPost] • For Europe’s Jews, Worship Comes With a Heavy Dose of Security [WSJ]

COMING TOGETHER — Thousands gather in D.C. to mourn 11 killed at Tree of Life synagogue — by Julie Zauzmer: “At Adas Israel synagogue, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) joined Jewish congregants and clergy of many faiths in singing Jewish words of sorrow and resolve… The 1,400-seat sanctuary at one of the District’s largest congregations was filled to overflowing, and organizers of the memorial service said that 2,500 more people were watching on a live stream in as many rooms of the synagogue as possible. The line stretched down the block; many more couldn’t fit in the building. Hundreds stood outside, where Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) spoke and people sang “Oseh shalom,” “make peace,” while the flashing blue lights of police cars lighted faces wet with tears.” [WashPost]

Muslim crowdfunding site raising $150K for synagogue victims — by Joe Tacopino: “A crowdfunding website that supports causes for Muslim Americans has launched a campaign to help victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting — and the effort has already raised more than five times its original goal. The campaign on the website Launchgood quickly reached its $25,000 goal on Saturday and have increased it to a sizable $150,000.” [NYPost]

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Fox News host Laura Ingraham in an interview with President Trump: When you hear people use the phrase “anti-Semitism” to describe anything connected to you, you have a Jewish daughter, you have grandchildren who are Jewish — what’s your reaction to that?

Trump: “And I just received an award from Bibi Netanyahu, thanking me because I moved the, as you know, the embassy to Jerusalem, making Jerusalem the capital of Israel and I just did that — now how many presidents said they were going to do it and they never did it? Many, many presidents.” [Video]

MIDTERMS — Trump and aides struggle to balance midterm attacks with empathy after synagogue massacre ―  by Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey: “The president’s plans to ratchet up his political attacks in the final seven-day sprint to the midterm elections have been complicated by a wave of separate and tragic crises… Behind the scenes at the White House, aides have been debating how to strike the right note between Trump’s closing campaign pitch and playing the role of national consoler… Trump received advice from allies who urged the importance of sounding presidential, but he was at times annoyed by what he viewed as unnecessary and gratuitous counsel.” [WashPostTime]

OOPS… “Rabbi cites Jesus in prayer for synagogue victims with Pence” — by Zeke Miller: “Rabbi Loren Jacobs of Messianic congregation Shema Yisrael offered a prayer for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre… The major denominations of Judaism reject Messianic Judaism as a form of Judaism, and Jacobs’ participation was condemned by Jews on social media. A Pence aide tells The Associated Press that Jacobs was invited to pray at the event by GOP candidate Lena Epstein… Epstein says… anyone attacking her or Pence over the prayer is “guilty of nothing short of religious intolerance.” [APCSPAN]

Gabrielle Birkner: “First Roy Moore’s lawyer, now Mike Pence’s “rabbi.”

— “Pence spoke Monday afternoon at an event in Oakland County for U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, who is facing a challenge from Democrat Elissa Slotkin, and Lena Epstein, who is running against Democrat Haley Stevens for an open congressional seat.”

“Former Vice President Joe Biden will campaign Thursday in Lansing with Slotkin.” [CharlotteObserver]

Rep. Steve King’s rhetoric under scrutiny in wake of Pittsburgh shooting — by Clare Foran: “King, in particular, is facing sharp criticism for comments he has made criticizing diversity in the United States and immigration as well as George Soros… King… defended himself in a recent interview with The Washington Post after the shooting in Pittsburgh, saying that he is not anti-Semitic. “How do you call Steve King anti-Semitic?” he said.”[CNN]

GOP presses ahead in casting Soros as threat amid criticism that attacks are anti-Semitic — by Mike Debonis: “The National Republican Congressional Committee continued airing an ad Monday criticizing a Minnesota Democratic candidate and Iraq War veteran over his job at a foundation funded in part by Soros. The Michigan Republican Party promoted a digital ad depicting Soros among forces “looking to rig Michigan’s elections.” [WashPost]

Texas Senate — Beto O’Rourke’s Huge Facebook Bet — by Alexis Madrigal: “Through October 20, O’Rourke alone had spent $5.4 million advertising on the platform, according to Facebook’s Ad Archive Report… O’Rourke’s opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, had spent only $427,000 on Facebook, about 1/13th as much as O’Rourke. Much of O’Rourke’s Facebook-ad buy seems to be going toward short videos of the candidate talking to crowds or directly to the camera… While O’Rourke had spent more than $15 million on television ads through mid-October, Cruz and associated PACs had spent $12 million and were on pace to nearly catch up there.” [TheAtlantic]

First Came Trump, Then Came Beto: Ted Cruz And The Brutal Politics Of Likability — by Katherine Miller: “Cruz understands, better than most, the direction of politics. Before the 2016 primary, he correctly isolated the attributes Republicans wanted in their 2016 nominee: anti-establishment, conversant in the culture, someone who’d embody an “us versus the elites” paradigm…  Two years later, as Cruz has gestured toward the right’s fringe, some conservatives have retroactively justified their vote for Trump with his administration’s willingness to advance certain causes, like changing the tax code or moving the embassy to Jerusalem or, especially, putting conservative judges on federal courts. But these are all things that Cruz and most of the 2016 Republican field would have tried to do in the White House.” [BuzzFeed]

Maryland Gov — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will join Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous today on the campaign trail in Bethesda, Maryland. Speakers at the evening rally will also include lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Susie Turnball and Rep. Jamie Raskin.

New York Gov ― New York Governor Andrew Cuomo visited the grand rabbis of Satmar and Skver yesterday in upstate New York, to secure the support of a powerful voting bloc ahead of election day. [PicPicPic]

Days after attempted attack, George Soros jumps into NY Senate battle — by Chris Bragg: “Liberal billionaire and philanthropist George Soros… has jumped into the battle for the New York state Senate, Board of Elections records show. On Friday, a new labor-backed independent expenditure group, Progress NYS, reported taking in $100,000 from Soros, who runs the hedge fund Soros Fund Management.” [TimesUnion]

TALK OF THE REGION — As Israel Targets Iran in Syria, U.S. Officials Warn of Reprisals — by Gordon Lubold and Felicia Schwartz: “Iran and Hezbollah cannot be allowed to build an arsenal of weapons on Israel’s border that threatens the region,” a White House spokeswoman said in a statement… At the Pentagon, however, U.S. military officials have expressed greater alarm. Their concern is that Iran believes the Israeli strikes stem from American intelligence fed to the Israelis specifically so they will launch the attacks.“ [WSJ]

Iranian militias must leave Syria, US anti-ISIS envoy tells The National  — by Mina Aldroubi: “Washington’s enduring political and military mission is to ensure a stable and independent Syria free from Iran-backed militias, Brett McGurk told The National. “No one wants them there. We even hear from the Russians that they shouldn’t be there. We’ve taken that and said for a stable Syria these forces must leave,” Mr. McGurk said at a military conference in Bahrain.” [TheNational]

Israel Decides Against Toppling Hamas in Gaza, Seeks to Weaken It — by Yaniv Kubovich and Noa Landau: “Political and military leaders have concluded that it would be better for Israel not to overthrow the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip… The instructions to defense officials are to deter Hamas and weaken it, but in a way that will not put its control of Gaza at risk. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to support efforts to reach an agreement that will restore quiet to the south.” [Haaretz

** 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: Activist hedge fund Third Point wants Campbell Soup to explore a split [WSJ] • Intel Capital, Sequoia Back Blockchain Startup StarkWare in $30 Million Round [Calcalist] • Volkswagen, Intel, and Mobileye will launch a self-driving taxi service in Israel in 2019 [TheVerge]

HAPPENING TODAY — Jeffrey Katzenberg to speak about the workforce evolution in a conversation with Axios’ Mike Allen at the Smarter Faster Revolution at UCLA.

Is the Case Against Harvey Weinstein in Jeopardy? — by Jan Ransom: “The case against Mr. Weinstein appears to be fraying. A detective failed to turn over important evidence to prosecutors. A judge dismissed part of the indictment. Evidence has emerged undermining the allegation of one of the accusers… Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, has argued that the entire indictment was contaminated because prosecutors failed to show the grand jury evidence favorable to his client. He has said he will ask the judge to throw the charges out. ” [NYTimes]

US government broadcaster to punish workers for Soros report — by Matt Lee and Luis Alonso Lugo: “The U.S. government’s international broadcasting agency says it will discipline employees responsible for a television report on philanthropist George Soros that violated its professional ethics and standards. The U.S. Agency for Global Media says that those who produced the report would be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into “apparent misconduct” and may face disciplinary measures… The report on Soros aired in May on Spanish-language Radio Television Marti network, which broadcasts to Cuba. It described him as a “Jewish multi-millionaire” influencing nations through nongovernment groups.” [AP]

TALK OF THE TOWN — A Palestinian’s failed bid to become mayor of Jerusalem highlights his community’s challenge — by Ruth Eglash: “A Palestinian businessman and activist born and raised in the city, [Aziz] Abu Sarah was not only breaking a 50-year taboo within his own community, he also faced a legal battle because he is not an Israeli citizen.  Yet even he was surprised at the intense pressure from both Israelis and Palestinians that upended his campaign. Municipal elections take place across Israel on Tuesday, but few cities are being watched as closely as Jerusalem… “I don’t feel a failure, I do feel disappointed,” he told The Washington Post on Sunday. “But I think we succeeded in stirring the water. We got people to talk about the problems of Jerusalem.” [WashPost]

LONG READ — The Get-Rich-Quick Scheme That Almost Killed a German Soccer Team: An electrician’s odd plot to make $607,933.50 by setting off bombs in Germany in April of 2017 — by Thomas Rogers: “In previous months in Germany, Islamic State terrorists had set off a suicide bomb at a music festival, killed nine people with a truck, and attacked train passengers with an ax. Two years earlier, a match between Germany and the Netherlands was called off after Israeli intelligence suggested an imminent bombing by Islamic extremists.” [Bloomberg]

SCENE LAST NIGHT ― Howard Lorber, chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, was presented with the National Leadership Award at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 25th anniversary New York Tribute Dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan. [Pic

BIRTHDAYS: Ivanka ‘Yael’ Trump turns 37… Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert Caro turns 83… Law professor, formerly: president of the University of Minnesota (1997-2002), chancellor of the University of Texas System (2002-2008), president of the University of California (2008-2013), Mark Yudofturns 74… Actor, best known for his portrayal of “The Fonz” in the “Happy Days” sitcom, Henry Winkler turns 73… NBC’s anchor, reporter and commentator, married to former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchellturns 72… Israeli violinist, violist and conductor who appears in concerts around the world, Shlomo Mintz turns 61… Meat packing executive, sentenced to 27 years in prison in 2009 for fraud, he was pardoned by President Trump in 2017 after serving eight years, Sholom Mordechai Rubashkinturns 59… Wireless communications pioneer with over 80 patents, he served as CEO of Qualcomm (2005-2014) and later executive chairman, he is a co-owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Paul E. Jacobs, Ph.D. turns 56…

Partner in the DC office of Buckley Sandler, he served as the Attorney General of Maryland (2007-2015), Douglas F. “Doug” Gansler turns 56… Former Chief of Staff to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, David Krone turns 52… Political correspondent for The New York Times and a political analyst for CNN, Maggie Haberman turns 45… President of The Gold Standard, LLC, a DC-based political development and advocacy firm, Jeremy Seth Gold turns 43… Partner in the LA office of Crowell & Moring, he is a former federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia and was most recently the chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, Paul M. Rosen turns 40… AARP’s director of media relations as to Social Security and Medicare, Joshua Eric Rosenblum turns 40… National Journal and National Journal Hotline reporter covering political races in the US House of Representatives, Ally Mutnick turns 26… Consultant for grassroots and advocacy at DC-based Locust Street Group, Rebecca Schieber turns 26… Founding Director at Tech Tribe and Director of Social Media for Chabad, Mordechai Lightstone


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