Daily Kickoff: 2020 race is on; will other top Dems join Booker on anti-BDS? | Airbnb delists settlements | Kushner bros buy LES hotel


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2020 WATCH — 2020 Democratic contenders already eyeing top staff in Iowa — by Thomas Beaumont: “Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has been especially aggressive in reaching out to potential staffers, according to multiple [people] who have spoken to him. That is in keeping with other early moves that suggest he would make a strong play in Iowa should he launch a campaign… Sen. Kamala Harris of California and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also have been in touch with top potential staffers and party organizers… Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett, a relatively new name to the 2020 discussion, has been in contact with some influential Iowa Democrats, while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo… has contacted Des Moines-area Democrats.” [AP]

Neighbors wage shadow campaigns in New Hampshire for 2020 — by Steve Peoples: “[Bernie] Sanders, 77, is considering a 2020 bid, a senior aide said. He is expected to make a final decision before Christmas, though an announcement is not expected until after New Year’s. Sanders’ team has been in regular contact with former staff and its broad base of supporters in New Hampshire and elsewhere, in addition to reaching out to some former Clinton backers.” [AP• Bernie Sanders to huddle with progressive leaders in Burlington [Politico]

Steyer takes step toward 2020 presidential bid — by Alex Thompson: “Former billionaire investor, climate activist and impeachment agitator Tom Steyer will take several steps toward a 2020 presidential bid Tuesday. That will include a six-figure web ad buy on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, along with a full-page ad in USA Today and other Gannett newspapers outlining a political platform, a revamped TomSteyer.com and the announcement of five town halls across the country.” [Politico]

Do wealthy CEOs have what it takes to be president? — by Brian Sozzi: “You can count leadership sensei and highly-regarded tech CEO Dan Schulman out of the 2020 race for the White House despite his impressive resume. PayPal’s 60-year-old CEO told me on a fintech panel discussion at the Museum of Finance that he has no plans to run for office. Schulman said he is very happy at PayPal and will continue to focus on using his perch atop the mobile payments giant to do good… “As I have gotten older, I have thought deeply about the state of our world and I think it’s incumbent upon business leaders to take stands for the values their companies stand for,” Schulman explained.” [YahooFinance]

2020 Democratic hopefuls keep distance from Israel anti-boycott bill — by Michael Wilner: “Most senators who have expressed an interest in running for president this cycle – Senators Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York – have declined to join 57 of their colleagues to cosponsor the Israel Anti-Boycott Act… So far, only one senator widely expected to run– Cory Booker of New Jersey– has said he will change course and throw his support behind the legislation with co-sponsorship. “Initial concerns that this bill unintentionally infringed on individuals’ First Amendment rights have now been addressed by changes agreed upon earlier this year, and I feel confident that those modifications safeguard Americans’ constitutional right to free speech,” Booker told Jewish Insider, a Washington-based newsletter, earlier this month.” [JPost]

— NY Post editorial“Here’s another test of the Democratic Party’s rush to new extremes: Will any other 2020 candidates join Sen. Cory Booker in support of the bipartisan Israel Anti-Boycott Act?”

TOP TALKER — Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business last year — by Carol Leonnig and Josh Dawsey: “White House ethics officials learned of Trump’s repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner. The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter’s practices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton.”

“Trump said she was not familiar with some details of the rules, according to people with knowledge of her reaction… In a statement, Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for [Abbe] Lowell, acknowledged that the president’s daughter occasionally used her private email before she was briefed on the rules, but he said none of her messages contained classified information.” [WashPost]

JI INTERVIEW —  Congressman-elect Max Rose (D-NY) discussed his surprising victory over Republican incumbent Dan Donovan in a phone interview with Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh while at orientation on Capitol Hill last week.

“We not only knew that we could win, but we always had a plan to win,” Rose said about his 6 percent margin victory over Donovan, who represented the more Republican-leaning district of Staten Island in New York City. “We did not run this race out of any allegiance to the Democratic Party. We ran this race with a goal of beginning the rewarding process of changing politics in this country and that’s what we are all about.”

Rose said that despite being a member of the Democratic majority, he intends to join the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, co-chaired by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY). “It’s important that we put the country first and that’s what I’m always going to be about, no matter how tough the decision is.” And when it comes to foreign policy, Rose says he would support President Donald Trump’s moves when necessary. “I am not in this to make sure Donald Trump does not get any wind. I am in this so I can make sure that America as a country and the world is safer, more prosperous, and a more just place, and I’ll work with anybody, this president included.”

Asked about his new colleagues in Congress who have shifted away from the traditional longstanding support of Israel, Rose — who pledged during the campaign to be both a proud Democrat and a proud supporter of Israel — said he believes in “quiet coalition building and relationship building” when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. “I believe that is central around supporting Israel, and I am committed to fostering our very strong and bipartisan relationship with Israel,” he added.

Rose attended AIPAC’s annual real estate luncheon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan yesterday. [Pic]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Netanyahu’s Coalition in Israel Survives, for Now — by Isabel Kershner: “The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel appeared to have averted collapse on Monday — at least for now — after a hawkish coalition partner backed down from a threat to defect… With elections due in November 2019, the remaining coalition partners are already in campaign mode and experts said the brittle government was unlikely to last more than a few months.” [NYTimesLATimes]

In Israel, a Coalition of the Barely Willing — by Neri Zilber: “The victory served as a reminder that Netanyahu, despite his legal trouble and his occasionally rebellious coalition partners, remains firmly in control of the Israeli political realm almost 10 years into his premiership with not a single rival on the left or right who can challenge his leadership.” [ForeignPolicy]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Israeli Government Crisis Raises Fresh Doubts for U.S. Peace Plan — by Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber: “The government crisis, while resolved for the moment, injected fresh uncertainty into a peace plan that Mr. Trump said he anticipated would be introduced by February… The Trump administration is carefully watching the lead up to Israeli elections, U.S. officials said. Polls must take place by November 2019. The team charged with the peace negotiations doesn’t want to add a possible trip wire for Mr. Netanyahu into the run-up to elections and could hold off on putting the proposals forward.”

“He’s not completely out of the woods,” said Emmanuel Navon, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum… “Any schmuck in the coalition can blackmail him with whatever reason, it’s really hard to handle,” Mr. Navon added.” [WSJ]

Imminent release of US peace plan seen as highly unlikely — by Joyce Karam: “Talk of an imminent release of the US plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians is “premature”, a senior Arab diplomatic source in Washington told The National… The diplomatic source, who has met with the peace team in Washington, said the release of the document… had not been decided… The administration has been holding meetings on the issue since last week. Under Secretary of State David Hale held a closed meeting with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer on Monday. Last week King Abdullah of Jordan visited Washington and held talks with the administration.”

“Robert Danin, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations… said it would be a mistake to publish the plan under current conditions. “It is a mistake to roll out a plan when conditions are so inauspicious, and without the buy-in of one of the two key negotiating partners, which is clearly the case right now,” he told The National… Ghaith Al Omari, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, expected key Arab partners such as Jordan to urge caution and delay the release of the plan.” [TheNational]

U.S. Evangelicals Put Their Faith in Netanyahu as Trump Readies Mideast Peace Plan — by Amir Tibon: “Robert Stearns, an evangelical pastor who has led hundreds of groups on visits to Israel over the years, notes that evangelicals will have some clear “red lines” in any peace plan… The pastor notes that most evangelicals have the utmost respect for Netanyahu. If he were to come out against the Trump peace plan, that would have a strong impact.” [Haaretz]

Karen Deyoung on the future of the U.S.-Saudi relationship: “On the peace process, the administration wants the Saudis to deliver the Palestinians, through moral suasion or paying them off, or some combination,” said Anne Patterson, former President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state for the Middle East… Jared Kushner… has cultivated a personal relationship with Mohammed [bin Salman] in hopes that he will lead the Arab world toward a new rapprochement with Israel.”

“While Mohammed’s father, King Salman, may be content to allow his son to lead on most issues, he has repeatedly made his views on the peace process clear. “The Palestinian cause is our main concern and will remain so until our brothers, the Palestinian people, gain all their legitimate rights, especially the establishment of their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Salman said Monday in his annual address to Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council.”[WashPost]

AT THE UN — Israel to quit global migration pact after requests from U.S. and Hungary — by Barak Ravid: “Israel is expected to withdraw from the UN Global Compact on Migration after requests from the U.S. and Hungary… The message from the Trump administration was that the U.S. would be pleased if Israel were to pull out… Netanyahu was asked today about the issue and said Israel is coordinated with the Trump administration and will act accordingly.” [Axios]

BUT… Israel votes against U.S. attempt to weaken UN measure on sexual harassment: “Trump’s administration sought to scrap language in the non-binding resolution on access to reproductive health care services, safe abortions and recognizing the right of women to decide on matters related to their sexuality… Two amendments to the text presented by the United States were rejected in votes at a General Assembly committee. Israel, which usually backs the U.S. position at the United Nations, voted against the U.S. proposals, as did European countries.” [ToI]

SPOTTED LAST NIGHT — U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon at the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center annual gala held at the Plaza Hotel in New York. [Pic]

Airbnb Ends West Bank Settlement Listings, Causing Uproar in Israel — by Isabel Kershner: “On Monday, Airbnb, long under pressure from Palestinian officials, anti-settlement advocates and human rights groups to end its West Bank settlement listings, announced it would do just that. “We are most certainly not the experts when it comes to the historical disputes in this region,” the company said in a news release… In the end, the company said it would remove about 200 listings in West Bank settlements that “are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.” … Israel’s tourism minister, Yariv Levin, called on Airbnb to rescind its “discriminatory decision,” which he called “a disgraceful surrender.” [NYTimesGlobes]

Israel to turn to U.S. government over Airbnb removal of settlement listings — by Jeffrey Heller: “We will approach the U.S. government because 25 U.S. states have sanctions against American companies that boycott Israel,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said on Israeli Army Radio… Erdan said Airbnb “will have to explain why it is taking this discriminatory and racist line here in particular and not in other conflict zones in the world.” [Reuters]

Michael Oren tweeted Monday: “Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria — not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea. Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism. No one should use its services.”

** 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: Jared and Josh Kushner buying luxe Lower East Side hotel [PageSix• Jonah Peretti’s Big Idea to Revive BuzzFeed’s Fortunes? A Merger With Rivals [NYTimes Bob Iger gets Fox approval in China[Variety Inside the Shady PR Firm That Attacked George Soros to Help Facebook [DailyBeast• Canadian mogul Sylvan Adams gives $5 million to Israel moon bid project [ToI• The story of Li Ka-shing, the billionaire who made early bets on Facebook, Spotify [TechInAsia• Arison selling 4.26 pct of Israel’s Bank Hapoalim for $385 million [Reuters]

SPOTLIGHT — Meet The Voice Designer Helping Amazon’s Alexa Be Part Of Your Family — by Amir Mizroch: “Adva Levin is a content producer and designer, and the founder of Pretzel Labs, an Israel-based game design studio that creates voice-first experiences for kids and families. She has been busy building application skills for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, focusing on playful voice interactions for families and children.” [Forbes]

Palantir, the Peter Thiel-backed company that sold big data services to ICE and NYPD, has a CEO who is a ‘self-described socialist’ — by Benjamin Goggin: “Palantir CEO Alex Karp is a self-proclaimed socialist, according to a Wall Street Journal report… Karp admitted to The Wall Street Journal that his family has expressed their displeasure with Palantir’s work and acknowledged that Trump-era politics has muddied Palantir’s saleability. Palantir has been reported to have contracts managing, sorting, and aggregating big data to the likes of the NSA, FBI, CIA, ICE, and numerous military agencies… So far, Palantir’s whole business model has been based on empowering federal and state bureaucracy, and certain corporations, with exclusive big data tools.” [BusinessInsider]

TALK OF THE NATION — Women’s March founder calls for group’s leadership to step down — by Megan Keller: “Teresa Shook, the woman who first suggested a women’s march following the inauguration of President Trump, is calling on four of the group’s leaders to step down, arguing they have steered the movement from its correct course. Shook specifically called out Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland and Carmen Perez of Women’s March, Inc., for allowing “anti-Semitism… and hateful, racist rhetoric” to become a part of the platform.” [TheHill]

Batya Ungar-Sargon writes… “The Women’s March Is Abusing Their Power — By Pretending It Doesn’t Exist: On Sunday night, Linda Sarsour, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, broke her silence about Louis Farrakhan… While Sarsour acknowledges the “real pain, hurt and trauma” that Jews are currently experiencing, it is hard to read the statement and not see the Jewish community as its main antagonist. It casts the leaders of the Women’s March as the victims of a smear campaign organized first by two Jews and then by others who have called for Farrakhan to be denounced…The statement reinforces a tragic reality: The Women’s March has positioned itself in an oppositional relationship with the Jewish community.” [Forward]

LONG READ — The Truth About George Soros — by James Kirchick: “With Soros being one of several prominent Trump critics targeted by an attempted mail bomber last month, and in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, Americans—Jews and gentile alike—have become more alert to the poison of anti-Semitic rhetoric and where it can lead. Like any discussion about a billionaire liberal Jew heavily involved in politics and public policy, debates over Soros will be freighted with sensitivities over history, stereotypes, and innuendo. Yet there is a deep problem at play in the left’s umbrageous response to criticism of Soros, one which illuminates tensions at work within his extensive philanthropic efforts. The American conservative critique of George Soros carries a different valence than the European right-wing nationalist one… Many American conservatives oppose Soros not because he’s Jewish. They oppose him because he’s liberal.” [Tablet]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Swastika painted on Duke mural honoring synagogue victims: “University president Vincent Price said in a letter to the school community that a red swastika was painted Sunday night on the tribute to those who died in the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Price condemned the swastika as cowardly vandalism.” [AP]

Three Swastikas in 9 Days: Spate of Anti-Semitic Incidents on North Campus Stokes Fear — by Yuichiro Kakutani and Paris Ghazi: “In just nine days, three swastikas were reported on North Campus [at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York] — two in dorms and one near a dining hall. The anti-semitic signs were found across the residential area and provoked a mixture of surprise, concern and disgust amongst the Jewish community, freshmen and other Cornellians aware of the incidents.” [CornellSun]

Israeli television series Nebsu wins Emmy award — by Amy Spiro: “Israeli television comedy series Nebsu, which depicts the life of an Israeli couple with the man being an Ethiopian-Israeli and the woman an Ashkenazi-Israeli, won the Emmy award for best foreign comedy show on Monday night. The award was received by Yossi Wassa who created the show.”[JPostDeadline]

Netflix sparks outrage in Jordan after turning Amman street into ‘Israel’ — by Elizabeth MacLeod: “Netflix has committed a major faux pax in Jordan, transforming a street in the capital Amman into an Israeli street and sparking an outpouring of anger from Jordanians hostile to Israel. The set featured Hebrew-language street signs, cars with Israeli number plates and actors dressed as Israel Defense Force soldiers. According to The Times of Israel, the scenes were constructed over the weekend to portray Tel Aviv.”[Telegraph]

Inside Isaac Mizrahi’s cheeky one-man show — by Ian Mohr: “Isaac Mizrahi has launched his new one-man show, “I&ME” — which draws on material from his memoir, “I.M.,” to be published in February by Flatiron Books — at the Django jazz club at the Roxy Hotel through Dec. 4… Along with a trademark segment, in which he re-gifts items from swag bags he’s collected through the years to members of the audience, he also shares anecdotes about growing up gay in a small Jewish community in Brooklyn and scaling the heights of fashion.” [PageSix]

HORA ALERT — A reader sent us this photo of Sen. Chuck Schumer dancing with his daughter Alison at her wedding on Sunday [Pic]

TRANSITION — Trump nominates handbag designer Lana Marks as envoy to South Africa: President Donald Trump has nominated Lana Marks, CEO of the Lana Marks Collections design firm, to be the new U.S. ambassador to South Africa. Marks, who was born Lana Banks, grew up in the city of Port Elizabeth, where her family were prominent members of the city’s Jewish community. [ToI]

REMEMBERING — Romanian diplomat who fought anti-Semitism dies: “Romania’s government said Tuesday that diplomat Mihnea Constanescu, praised internationally for his efforts to combat anti-Semitism, has died. He was 57… US-based Jewish rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center called Constantinescu one of the “great figures of our generation in the fight against anti-Semitism.” Constantinescu chaired the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016, contributing to the adoption of a working definition of anti-Semitism that year.” [AP]

BIRTHDAYS: Art dealer and former owner of MLB’s Miami Marlins (2002-2017) (a team known as the Florida Marlins until 2011), Jeffrey Loria turns 78… Former Vice President of the United States (2009-2017), Joe Biden turns 76… Actor, comedy writer and producer, best known for creating and performing the satirical stuntman character Super Dave Osborne, Stewart Robert “Bob” Einstein turns 76… Singer and songwriter best known for writing and performing the song “Spirit in the Sky,” Norman Greenbaum turns 76… National Security Advisor of the United States since April 2018, John R. Bolton turns 70… Major-General (reserves) in the IDF, he is a former combat pilot, military attaché to Washington and head of Aman (the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate), Amos Yadlin turns 67… Kings County, NY (Brooklyn) Supreme Court judge since 2015, previously a civil court judge (2008-2015) and a NYC Councilman (1983-2001), Noach Dear turns 65…

Pulitzer Prize-winning national affairs writer for The Wall Street Journal (1993-2000), he is the author of six well regarded books, Ronald Steven “Ron” Suskind turns 59… White House official in both the Bush 41 and Bush 43 administrations, now a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, Jay Lefkowitz turns 56… Board and Executive Committee member of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and a trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Heidi Monkarsh turns 54… American-born member of Knesset since 2016 for the Likud party, he campaigns for expanding Jewish access to the Temple Mount, Yehuda Glick turns 53… Hedge fund manager, founder and president of Greenlight Capital, David Einhorn turns 50… Attorney in Goulston & Storrs Boston-based real estate practice, Zev D. Gewurz turns 47… Anchor for Yahoo Finance, she was previously Bloomberg TV’s senior markets correspondent, Julie Hyman turns 42…

Political consultant and opposition research specialist for the DNC and for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, founder of Beehive Research, Devorah Adler turns 44… Chief relationship officer for NCSY’s Southern Region, Rabbi Benjamin Gonsher turns 39… Outfielder for four MLB teams, Cubs, Rays, Athletics and Twins (2007-2015), he played center field for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Sam Fuld turns 37… Senior manager at Saban Capital Group, the Saban Family Foundation and the Cheryl Saban Self-Worth Foundation for Women & Girls, Jesse Bronner turns 37… Actress and playwright, Halley Feiffer turns 34… Senior health care reporter for Politico Pro covering health care politics and policy in the states, Dan Goldberg… Michael Jankelowitz… James Goldman… Alexis Weiss


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