Daily Kickoff: Amb. Ron Dermer — “After Charlottesville, President Trump did not say the right thing. After Pittsburgh, he did.”


Tell your friends to sign up for the Daily Kickoff here or for early access via Debut Inbox

BREAKING — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fractured three ribs after falling in her Supreme Court office Wednesday night, the Supreme Court said in a statement. [CNN]

SCOOP — According to a copy of an invitation obtained by Jewish Insider, the White House has begun inviting top Jewish supporters to a Hanukkah party in the East Room at 3PM on December 5th.

No word yet on whether Sheldon Adelson will be in attendance. However, the casino mogul attended Trump’s midterms watch party at the White House on Tuesday. In a 2012 interview with Politico, Adelson said he told the then-Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, “I’m not looking for an ambassadorship. I’m not looking for anything, except if I’m fortunate enough to be invited to another [White House] Hanukkah party, I want two potato pancakes, because last time I was there, they ran out of them.” He explained that he went “to all the Hanukkah parties for the eight years of Bush… but the last time I was there, they ran out of… latkes.”

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer at the World Jewish Congress annual Theodor Herzl Award gala at The Pierre Hotel in New York: “I would love to believe that anti-Semitism began a couple of years ago. But that is simply not true. Anti-Semitism is not only a millennia-old problem, but it has also been rising around the world for the past couple of decades… Unfortunately, in a world in which every single thing is immediately politicized, [the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting] too was immediately politicized. But the struggle against anti-Semitism must not be politicized. It must bring together people of goodwill on all sides, who will stand together in common cause against those who would hate Jews.”

To those of you who are convinced about what is driving antisemitism in America today, consider this: The last year for which FBI statistics exist about anti-Semitic incidents in America is 2016… Well, in 2016, according to FBI statistics, there were 684 hate crimes against Jews in America. That’s over half of all the hate crimes against religious groups. Many people feel that the heated rhetoric during the campaign, in 2016, had contributed greatly to the rise of anti-Semitism. Perhaps it did,” Dermer noted. “But, here is something you probably don’t know: In 2008, those same FBI statistics show that there were over 1,000 anti-Semitic incidents in America. In the year 2000, there were over 1,100. I say this only because if we are to fight anti-Semitism, we must put away the politics and stand together.” [Video]

Dermer on Trump’s response to the Pittsburgh shooting: “After Charlottesville, President Trump did not say the right thing. After Pittsburgh, he did. He condemned the anti-Semitism in the strongest possible terms. He said something that I had never heard a non-Jewish leader say. He said that those who try to destroy the Jews, we will destroy them. And after saying the right thing, President Trump did the right thing by going to Pittsburgh and paying his respects to those who were murdered for being Jews. I wish that others would have joined me in greeting him there because frankly, nothing would have sent a stronger message to the Jew-haters than to see people putting politics aside, and standing together with the President of the United States in opposing them and the evil they represent.” [Video

The Israeli Ambassador at the beginning of his remarks: “Remember, two Rons don’t make a right,” Dermer joked in reference to Ron Lauder, the host of the event and head of the World Jewish Congress, describing him as a ‘man of his people.’ “So Ronald, on behalf of a grateful Jewish state, I thank you for all you have done for the Jewish people,” Dermer said. [Video]

Dermer also introduced Bob Kraft, CEO of the Kraft Group and owner of the New England Patriots, who was presented with the WJC’s Teddy Kollek Award. “My first impression of him was simply that he was a real mensch,” said Dermer.”Over the years as I got to know Bob I realized that he wasn’t a mensch at all. He was actually a mega-mensch.” [Video]

Kraft to Dermer: “Your passion for Israel and for the Jewish people is something that I have always admired. And with your love to Israel, you have been and always will be a great ambassador.”

In his remarks accepting the award, Kraft pledged that in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh attack he would further his efforts “each day to commit random acts of kindness and use some of my resources I have been blessed to have in my life to help combat anti-Semitism and all hate crimes.” Kraft added, “I have been privileged to see the power of sports and the effect it can have in bringing people together from all different backgrounds and to break down barriers.”

SPOTTED: Ambassador Danny Danon, Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, French Ambassador François Delattre, Baron David de Rothschild, Lord Jacob Rothschild, Robert Singer, Leon Black, Aryeh Bourkoff, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Ed Cox, Malcolm Hoenlein, Ari Shavit, Ira Rennert, Israel Maimon, Chela Safra, Arthur Stark, Jane and David Walentas, Lauren Veronis, John Veronis, Adam Berish, Abe Biderman, Josh Spinner, George Klein, Ray Kelly, Alex Levy, Aliyana Traison, Jason Koppel, Mark Botnick, Brian Cohen, and Sam Schear.


Two Trump whisperers on the rightPhoto by Shahar Azran 

YESTERDAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE — President Trump brushed off a question about rising anti-Semitism in the United States by quoting Benjamin Netanyahu and pointing to the Jerusalem Embassy move during a post-midterms press conference.

“If you were with us the last time we met, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that, ‘This President has done more for Israel than any other President.’ Those words. Those exact words,” Trump said. “Jerusalem, protection, working together — so many different things. But the big thing is Jerusalem. You know, many, many Presidents have said they are going to build the embassy in Jerusalem. [It] never happened… But it happened with me, and quickly… Nobody has done more for Israel than Donald Trump. And the nice part is that’s not me saying it; that’s Prime Minister Netanyahu.” [CSPAN] • Donald Trump Says He Is Fighting White Nationalism, Anti-Semitism By Increasing Tariffs on China [Newsweek]

Michael Koplow: “And there you go – Trump uses moving the embassy and Netanyahu’s endorsement of him as pro-Israel as inoculation against any association with anti-Semitism.”

A White Nationalist Leader Just Posted Pics From His White House Visit — by Asawin Suebsaeng and Will Sommer: “The leader of a white nationalist group whose members marched in the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville proudly posted pictures on Wednesday from a visit to the White House… “Evropa has landed at the White House!” [Patrick] Casey tweeted. White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters emailed The Daily Beast that Casey “was one of more than twenty-five thousand people who came to the White House Fall Garden Tour, which is open to the public.” [DailyBeast]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt tweets: “Identity Evropa is a white supremacist group that popularized “you will not replace us” chant; Casey is its leader. We demand the White House answer why he was there. The White House should be #NoPlaceForHate.”

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks writes… “The Courage of Persistence: One of the best books about anti-Semitism, is in fact not about anti-Semitism at all, but about similar phenomena in other contexts, Amy Chua’s World on Fire. Her thesis is that any conspicuously successful minority will attract envy that may deepen into hate and provoke violence. All three conditions are essential. The hated group must be conspicuous, for otherwise it would not be singled out. It must be successful, for otherwise it would not be envied. And it must be a minority, for otherwise it would not be attacked.”

“Anti-Semitism is a complex, protean phenomenon because anti-Semites must be able to hold together two beliefs that seem to contradict one another: Jews are so powerful that they should be feared, and at the same time so powerless that they can be attacked without fear. It would seem that no one could be so irrational as to believe both of these things simultaneously. But emotions are not rational, despite the fact that they are often rationalized, for there is a world of difference between rationality and rationalization.” [RabbiSacks]

TOP TALKER — Trudeau Apologizes for Canada’s Turning Away Ship of Jews Fleeing Nazis — by Catherine Porter: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood in Parliament on Wednesday and apologized for Canada’s decision to turn away a steamliner full of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany on the eve of the Holocaust 79 years ago, saying it reflected years of regrettable anti-Semitic foreign policy… “We apologize to the mothers and fathers whose children we did not save, to the daughters and sons whose parents we did not help,” Mr. Trudeau said.” [NYTimes]

JUSTICE OUT OF SESSION — Sessions’s ouster throws future of special counsel probe into question — by Rosalind S. Helderman, Matt Zapotosky and Carol Leonnig: “The future of the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign was thrown into uncertainty Wednesday after President Trump ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions… A Justice Department official said Wednesday that [Matthew] Whitaker would assume final decision-making authority over the special counsel probe instead of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein… It wasn’t immediately clear what role, if any, Rosenstein may play in the probe going forward.” [WashPost] • Rod Rosenstein Attends White House Meeting After Sessions Fired [DailyBeast]

ON THE HILL — Democrats prepare to investigate all aspects of Trump’s foreign policy — by Josh Rogin: “The incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), told me his committee will waste no time before beginning inquiries into how the White House, the State Department and even the Trump Organization have been conducting foreign policy. “The White House needs to take us seriously, and if they don’t, we are going to make sure they take us seriously,” Engel said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt… But if not, I intend to use every prerogative that I have to ensure oversight.” [WashPost

STATE-SIDE — Florida governor-elect says his first trip abroad will be to Israel: “Florida’s newly elected governor, Ron DeSantis, long a pro-Israel stalwart in Congress, has said his first visit abroad in his new position will be to the Jewish state, days after winning a bitter election contest. DeSantis… told the Israel Hayom paper he… planned to strongly enforce existing legislation against BDS.” [ToIIsraelHayom]

Trump remains divisive in Modern Orthodox community — by Amy Spiro: “Several community members have told me they stopped accepting Shabbat meal invitations from those whose political positions pained them. Others said they do everything they can to steer conversations around the Shabbat table away from politics. One even said they walked out of a meal before dessert was served as the rhetoric intensified. Two years after Trump’s election, the divide remains. Many are pleased by Trump’s vocal support of Israel… Others are disturbed by his race-baiting rhetoric…” [JPost]

Trump Isn’t America’s Richest Politician Anymore. Illinois’ New Governor J.B. Pritzker Is — by Deniz Cam: “Hyatt heir and longtime Democratic donor J.B. Pritzker gave a record $171.5 million of his own money to his campaign to become Illinois’ new governor. And just a little over an hour after the polls closed, Pritzker found out it was money well spent… Once Pritzker assumes office, he will be the richest sitting politician in the country, worth an estimated $3.2 billion, surpassing President Trump, who currently holds that title with a net worth of $3.1 billion.” [Forbes]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — With Mideast peace plan, Kushner prepares his debut — by Michael Wilner: “State Department sources tell The Jerusalem Post that Kushner recently visited Foggy Bottom to begin preparing for a more public role centered on the plan… While Trump is likely to announce the plan in a formal speech, Kushner is expected, from that point on, to serve as the public face of the peace effort.” [JPost]

Emboldened by Trump, Israel’s Netanyahu suggests a tough new approach to the Palestinian territories — by Noga Tarnopolsky: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu started the week with a statement that in the past might have provoked an international outcry: “The ‘occupation’ is nonsense,” he said… Both inside and outside Israel, critics and admirers of Netanyahu… believe he has been emboldened by his close alliance with President Trump, discarding once-unquestioned diplomatic tenets.” [LATimes]

Inside the Saudi crown prince’s meeting with U.S. evangelicals — by Barak Ravid: “Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) told a group of American evangelical leaders last Thursday that he is going to punish those responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi but stressed that the crisis must not shift the focus away from the Iranian threat in the region and the world, Joel Rosenberg, who organized the delegation and attended the meeting, told me.

“The Saudi crown prince spoke for half an hour about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about the warming relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, Rosenberg said. “We did bring up — maybe the most sensitive issue was … the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On that he talked to us at length but asked us not to be public on that part of the conversation.” [Axios]

ON THE GROUND — US envoy: Russia should maintain ‘permissive approach’ to Israeli raids in Syria: “The United States envoy for Syria said Wednesday that he hoped to see… Russia maintain a “permissive approach” to Israeli airstrikes on Iranian assets in the war-torn country. “In the past Russia has been permissive in consultation with the Israelis about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria,” US envoy James Jeffrey said. “We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue,” he told journalists in a conference call.” [ToINewsweek

** 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: HBO Boss Richard Plepler Fires Back At Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen: “We’re Actually Perplexed By Their Unwillingness”[Deadline] • Jeff Zucker to CNN Staffers After Latest Trump Attack: “We Have Your Backs” [HollywoodReporter] • Property group Colony Capital ousts chief Richard Saltzman [FinancialTimes] • Royal Mint rejected Roald Dahl coin over anti-Semitic views [TheGuardian] • Qatar agrees to buy London’s Grosvenor House hotel from Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. [Reuters] • Bank of Jerusalem raises offer in Dexia Israel Bank bidding war [Reuters] • Top Russian oligarchs asked to skip Davos [BusinessStandard]

TALK OF THE TOWN — San Francisco has passed a first-of-its-kind tax on big businesses — like Square and Stripe — to help the homeless — by Shirin Ghaffary: “San Francisco voters passed a measure that has divided the tech community… Proposition C will raise the city’s gross receipts tax by an average of .5 percent on annual gross receipts over $50 million that companies like Square, Lyft and Salesforce generate… The decision to increase funding for the city’s most needy is a victory for the local nonprofits behind the measure and their tech fairy godfather, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who, along with his company, has poured more than $7 million into the campaign in the month leading up to the election.” [Recode]

HOLLYWOOD — Jason Blum Wasn’t Forced From Stage After Anti-Trump Speech, Israel Film Festival Says — by Pat Saperstein: “The Israel Film Festival has released a statement after Jason Blum was booed offstage Wednesday night while making remarks critical of Donald Trump while he was accepting an award… Festival director Meir Fenigstein attributed the incident to “some audience members” who “greatly lacked that respect” and said that the festival did not remove Blum; rather, he was asked to step down from the stage for his own safety.” [Variety]

ABC Developing Romantic Drama ‘Until the Wedding’ Based On Israeli Format — by Nellie Andreeva: “ABC has put in development Until the Wedding, a romantic drama based on the Israeli series of the same name (Ad Hatuna in Hebrew). The project hails from writer Becky Mode (Smash), producers Sarah Timberman & Carl Beverly (Elementary, SEAL Team), Alon Aranya (Betrayal, Hostages), Israel’s Reshet Media and ABC Studios where Timberman-Beverly Prods. is under a deal. Based on the Israeli format, Until the Wedding is the story of how one couple’s decision to get married can affect everyone in their lives.” [Deadline]

Why #MeToo Activist Alyssa Milano Will Not Speak at Next Women’s March — by Ariel Sobel: “Any time that there is any bigotry or anti-Semitism in that respect, it needs to be called out and addressed. I’m disappointed in the leadership of the Women’s March that they haven’t done it adequately,” Milano says now, referring to leaders of the Women’s March who’ve refused to denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic, homophobic, and transphobic statements.” [Advocate]

BIRTHDAYS: United States Attorney for New Jersey (1971-1973), then a US District Court Judge (1973-1987), now a criminal defense attorney, Herbert Jay Stern turns 82… Actress, comedian and writer, she played the recurring role of Doris Klompus on Seinfeld, her solo theatre shows include “Yenta Unplugged” and “The Yenta Cometh,” Annie Korzen turns 80… CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, he was a senior White House aide to President Bill Clinton (1993-1998), Ira Magaziner turns 71… Senior managing director and head of global government affairs for Blackstone, Wayne Berman turns 62… President of the board of directors at Jewish Community High School of the Bay (San Francisco Bay Area), Michael Sosebee turns 62… Michelle Silverstein turns 61… Major General in the IDF, his military career (1977-2012) included heading the Southern Command, now the Minister of Construction and member of Knesset for the Kulanu party, Yoav Galant turns 60…

Cedarhurst resident and Manhattan attorney, Charles “Chesky” Wertmanturns 56… Senior Director of Bono’s The ONE Campaign, Laurie Moskowitzturns 54… Immediate past President of University Women at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Allison Gingold turns 50… Popular Israeli female vocalist in the Mizrahi music genre, Zehava Ben turns 50… Sports journalist for ESPN Deportes, he was born in Ashkelon, raised in Mexico and lives in California, he has covered both the World Cup and the Summer Olympics many times, David Moshé Faitelson turns 50… Teacher, writer, editor and diversity consultant, she is the CEO of Boston-based Dimensions Educational Consulting, she founded and led Ayecha (a nonprofit advocacy group for Jews of color), Yavilah McCoy turns 46… Allan Waxman


Comments are closed.