Daily Kickoff: When the UAE and Israeli Ambassadors shared a DC dinner table with Sheldon Adelson | De Blasio at AIPAC | RBG turns 86


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DRIVING THE DAY — Global condemnation, condolences after NZ mosque attack — by Mike Corder: 
“World leaders expressed condolences and condemnation Friday following the deadly attacks on mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, while Muslim leaders said the mass shooting was evidence of a rising tide of violent anti-Islam sentiment.” [APCNN]

Rockets Fired on Tel Aviv From Gaza, and Israel Strikes Back — by David Halbfinger: 
“Two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv from the Gaza Strip on Thursday — the first time since 2014 that rockets had reached the area — in an attack that led to retaliatory airstrikes by Israel hours later. Israel blamed Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, for the rocket fire, but by Friday morning, the assessment of Israeli military officials was that Hamas operatives had launched the rockets ‘by mistake.’ … The Israeli military said it had carried out retaliatory strikes overnight against approximately 100 military sites belonging to Hamas throughout the Gaza Strip, including an underground rocket manufacturing facility and an office complex in a residential area of Gaza City that housed Hamas’s headquarters for directing activities in the West Bank.” [NYTimesWSJ]

— 
“The timing of this latest outbreak in violence could create a political dilemma for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… If he is seen as hesitating to strike back forcefully, that could cost his Likud party votes among right-wingers who seek a tough response to attacks from Gaza. A large-scale offensive, however, would entail other risks if Israeli casualties mount.” [Bloomberg]

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) condemned the ‘unprovoked’ attack on Israel and stressed the need for bipartisan support for Israel’s security. “These attacks also show why Congressional support for systems like the Iron Dome are so critical,” Hoyer wrote on Twitter. “I will continue to work in Congress to ensure robust, bipartisan support for Israel’s defense.” 

Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt tweeted“Hamas and other terror orgs in Gaza continue to fail their people day after day and drag Gaza further & further down by constantly choosing violence. This method will never work. Ever! It will just continue to cause more suffering… Presumably all responsible countries/international orgs will condemn attacks/confirm Israel’s right to defend. Anything else is tone deaf — to Israelis, Palestinians and to peace. Time to wake up folks!”

ON THE HILL — by JI’s Laura Kelly: Congress is pushing for increased U.S.-Israel cooperation on next generation war capabilities, including lasers and high-power microwaves, to protect against increasing threats from competing countries.

Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) re-introduced on Thursday the U.S.-Israel Directed Energy Cooperation act, authorizing the Department of Defense work with Israel in developing “directed energy capabilities,” weapons that are based off high-energy lasers and microwaves. “The ability to stop ballistic missiles and other major threats through directed energy technology, such as lasers, will save lives,” Rep Lieu said in a statement. Rep. Stefanik added, “Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East, and working together to enhance security for both of our nations is of the utmost importance.”

A spokesperson for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) emailed Jewish Insider on Thursday that the move by the State Department elevating language regarding Israel – from “occupied” territories to “controlled” – is a “welcome step” but more must be done. “Sen. Cruz believes that it is in the United States’ national security interests to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Anything that moves in that direction is a welcome step, but we must do more. He will continue advancing his legislation, introduced with Sen. Cotton and Rep. Gallagher in the House, to establish that it is the policy of the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty. Any policy short of full recognition is a policy that falls short of securing American national security interests.”

— Christians United for Israel, the largest pro-Israel organization with five million members, put their support behind Republican efforts to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the group announced on Thursday. “It is past time for our leaders in Washington to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and make clear to Iran and Syria that any attack on the Golan Heights is an attack on Israel,” CUFI founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee said in a statement.

Progressive Democrats hope the Omar clash will reset debate in Congress over Israel — by Jennifer Haberkorn: “’I think there will be more and more willingness on the part of members of Congress and policymakers to speak up and be critical of the policies of the U.S. and the government of Israel. There’s been more reluctance in the past,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street… ‘This is a start of the conversation that didn’t happen in a positive way,’ said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont). ‘But the conversation is not going away.'” [LATimes]

Trump tweets this morning: 
“The ‘Jexodus’ movement encourages Jewish people to leave the Democrat Party. Total disrespect! Republicans are waiting with open arms. Remember Jerusalem (U.S. Embassy) and the horrible Iran Nuclear Deal! @OANN @foxandfriends.” 

U.S. ambassador condemns convicted Palestinian terrorist’s speech in Germany — by Benjamin Weinthal: 
“The U.S. ambassador to Germany has condemned the presence of a convicted Palestinian terrorist who entered Germany in order to deliver a talk on Friday… about ‘Palestinian women in the liberation struggle.’ The event is organized by a reportedly ‘anti-Semitic alliance of BDS.’ Ambassador Richard Grenell told Fox News Thursday: ‘The rise of anti-Semitism around the world is very troubling… Offering a public speaking role to a Palestinian terrorist convicted of murder, terrorism and immigration fraud legitimizes anti-Semitism at a time when we should be condemning it.'”[FoxNews]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in an interview with the Washington Examiner: “We’re trying to find that perfect place to land, and ultimately, there will be some Israelis that view [the plan] as exceeding their maximum and some Palestinians for whom it doesn’t meet their minimum. But it will hopefully, if nothing else, provoke a serious discussion that hasn’t taken place in a long time.” Pressed on the issue of Palestinian statehood, Friedman only said: “We’d like to see Palestinian autonomy improve significantly, as long as it doesn’t come at the risk of Israeli security. Where you slice that can be debated.”[WashExaminer]

TRUMP DIPLOMACY — Talk to Trump, Skip the Diplomats: World Leaders’ New U.S. Tactic — by Vivian Salama and Peter Nicholas: 
“Increasingly, savvy leaders are bypassing the standard protocols and government processes of American diplomacy to go directly to President Trump himself… An official familiar with the inner workings of the White House said the president’s advisers suspect that he regularly speaks with world leaders on his phone… ‘At this point, foreign leaders understand that nobody can speak authoritatively other than Trump, and that what other interlocutors say may not represent the president’s position today,’ said Robert Danin, a longtime U.S. diplomat, now at the Council on Foreign Relations.” 

“‘I should have a nickel for every foreign minister who has asked me to help decipher and interpret this administration,’ said Richard Haass, who held foreign-policy positions in the past two Republican administrations. ‘They just don’t know how to read it. It’s been a nightmare for ambassadors and foreign ministers.'” [WSJ]

DEEP DIVE — Inside the opulent Trump inaugural dinner designed as a glittery overture to foreign diplomats — by Michael Kranish, Rosalind Helderman, Mary Jordan 
and Tom Hamburger: “Details about the invitation-only Chairman’s Global Dinner, Tom Barrack’s signature event of the week, have been largely out of public view. An examination of the event… provides a window into how Trump’s upstart victory quickly drew influential figures eager to shape the new administration… Yousef al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador who had emailed with Barrack, was also among the guests — assigned to a table with the Israeli ambassador… Two of the RNC’s biggest fundraisers were in attendance: Steve Wynn and Elliott Broidy… Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who was assigned to Table 4 with Otaiba, gave $5 million for the inauguration, more than any other donor.”

“Barrack’s relationship with Trump, meanwhile, has suffered. His hopes of brokering Middle East policies were outstripped by the influence of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner… The two men once spoke regularly, according to people familiar with their relationship. But now, they said, their conversations are sporadic.” [WashPost

SCENE YESTERDAY — NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio discussed antisemitism and U.S. support for Israel at an event for women hosted by AIPAC in Manhattan. [PicDe Blasio is expected to speak at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C. on March 24th.

HAPPENING NOW — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is hosting a rally to mark Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 86th birthday, a Brooklyn hero, outside Brooklyn Borough Hall.

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Netanyahu’s departure would be a very big deal — by Aaron David Miller: “Should Benny Gantz become prime minister, unlike Netanyahu, he will likely stay out of U.S. politics. There will be no end runs to Congress; no twinning with Trump’s inflammatory politics about ‘witch hunts’; no circulating Trump endorsements from Fox News; and no effort to help Trump make the Republican Party the most pro-Israel party in U.S. politics. At the same time, Gantz has already indicated he will address American Jews’ concerns about egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall in Jerusalem — a move that will help defuse tensions from the Netanyahu years. Gantz, unlike Netanyahu or Trump, won’t be a divider.” [CNN]

Netanyahu Outfoxed Russia, Iran 
and ISIS With His Cynical, Ruthless Syria Policy — by Anshel Pfeffer: “Netanyahu doesn’t have many fans among the IDF General Staff, but on his Syrian record, they are near-unanimous in praise. The only criticism you can hear today is that in recent months he has been too quick to acknowledge Israel’s strikes, which in the past had been left unattributed. But that claim is hard to stick to Netanyahu, when Eisenkot himself spoke about the strikes openly in the interviews he gave in January at the end of his term… If he has one valid claim to remaining in office, it’s his Syria policy.” [Haaretz

— No One Wants to Help Bashar al-Assad Rebuild Syria — by Krishnadev Calamur: 
“Assad is in a bind. His supporters can’t afford to pay for reconstruction; his adversaries in the West can, but won’t. Iran, Assad’s other principal supporter, is suffering from reimposed U.S. sanctions and doesn’t have that much to spare.” [TheAtlantic]

GONE VIRAL — Whatcha got cookin’? — 
PM Netanyahu spent some time in the kitchen on Thursday to demonstrate his cooking skills in an attempt to reinforce his campaign theme that Benny Gantz will form a left-wing government with the support of Arab parties. “This is what I know how to cook,” Netanyahu, in an apron, said as he fried up a sunny side up in a puddle of olive oil. “What they [Blue and White] are cooking up is a left-wing government with support from left-wing parties and Arab parties. They aren’t fooling anyone.” [Video]

Israel suspects Iran of hacking election frontrunner Gantz’s phone: 
“Israel’s Shin Bet security service suspects Iran of hacking the mobile phone of Benny Gantz… Gantz, a former chief of Israel’s armed forces, was informed of the hack five weeks ago, Channel 12 said, adding that the Shin Bet believed Iranian state intelligence had accessed the ex-general’s personal information and correspondences.” [Reuters]

2020 WATCH — 
Beto O’Rourka wants to be Obama— but came off like Trump… Peter Beinart writes: Instead of invoking God, O’Rourke and most other Democratic contenders identify religion as a source of division… Biden will be a bust, Trump aides have tried to assure their boss… Institute founded by Bernie Sanders’ wife and son is shutting down… Howard Schultz apologized for claiming he had spent more time with the military than any other 2020 candidate… 

** Good Friday 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: Fantasy or transformation? New York’s $25bn Hudson Yards set to open [TheGuardianNYTimes• Ken Griffin Says Amazon Exit Damped His Interest in NYC Headquarters [Bloomberg• Two of Mark Zuckerberg’s most important executives are leaving Facebook [NYTimesRecode]

SPOTLIGHT — Here are the hip coliving apartments under construction in Hollywood — by Bianca Barragan: “On a cul-de-sac near Hollywood Boulevard and Bronson, nestled among midcentury apartment buildings, construction is well underway on the latest investment in co-living. The years-vacant lot is giving way to a fully-furnished, five-story apartment complex called Treehouse Hollywood, where 60 bedrooms will be organized into 18 suite-like living spaces with shared kitchens and living rooms. ‘It’s not going to feel like a generic apartment building,’ says Joe Green, Treehouse’s board chairman… Treehouse’s founders say they want to foster a feeling of belonging among tenants. One of the ways they’ll accomplish that is by having residents help review applications for prospective tenants… ‘We think to have a good community, you can’t have people coming in and out all the time,’ Green said.” [CurbedLA]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Patrick Radden Keefe, a New Yorker staff writer, discussed his latest book, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, on the Longform podcast: “When I went over there for the first time, I talked to David Remnick, my boss, and he’d gone 20 years earlier to write a piece about the peace process and Gerry Adams for the New Yorker. As I was leaving to Belfast for the first time, he said. ‘You are going to love it. It’s a reporter’s dream. Just like Israel — everybody talks, talks, talks.’” [Longform]

MEDIA WATCH — The Intercept Bars Co-Founder From Meeting After Snowden Archive Shutdown — by Maxwell Tani: 
“Laura Poitras, one of the founding editors of The Intercept, was barred from attending a company meeting on Thursday following a decision by First Look Media to discontinue managing The Intercept’s archive of leaked documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden… Since 2014, Poitras and Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald have entrusted The Intercept, which is owned by First Look Media, to maintain the voluminous archive.” [DailyBeast]

CAMPUS BEAT — Pitzer President Melvin Oliver vetoes suspension of Haifa study abroad program — by Marc Rod: 
“Less than three hours after the Pitzer College Council voted 67-28 to suspend Pitzer’s study abroad program to the University of Haifa in Israel, Pitzer President Melvin Oliver vetoed the decision and said he will not implement the suspension… The Faculty Executive Committee will meet Friday to discuss Oliver’s decision, FEC chair Claudia Strauss said.” [StudentLife]

University of Haifa President Prof. Ron Robin said in a statement: 
“The Pitzer boycott is particularly misguided given the fact that at University of Haifa, 35 percent of our students are Arabs, and that our Israeli and Arab students work together harmoniously on extracurricular activities and community service. This is diversity, coexistence, and tolerance at its finest.” 

TALK OF THE TOWN — American Dream mega mall, opening soon, will feature these swanky restaurants, savory food halls — by Allison Pries: “American Dream [in East Rutherford, NJ] will be comprised of 55 percent entertainment and 45 retail.  But what foodies should know is, there will also be more than 100 places to eat, including 14 to 18 full-service restaurants… American Dream has said that it will have the first Kosher food hall in the U.S. in a retail and entertainment destination. It will have six units culled from the best kosher food operators on the East Coast.” [NJAdvance]

Real Estate for the Afterlife — by Jane Margolies: 
“Across the city, recent arrivals to New York are leaving their mark on older burial grounds. Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, for example, have brought a preference for polished headstones of black granite with photorealistic depictions of the dead — a stark contrast to the plainer, timeworn stones with Hebrew lettering favored by Jews of earlier generations.” [NYTimes]

DESSERT — In the Future, Everything Will Be Made of Chickpeas — by Ambda Mull: 
“Biena Snacks is part of a constellation of American food companies, such as Banza Pasta and The Good Bean, that has sprung up around the humble chickpea in recent years, ready to fully integrate a global staple food into the country’s diets. Now there are chips made with chickpea flour and vegan butter emulsified with the liquid waste of hummus manufacturing. There’s dessert hummus, which might be one of the more difficult sells in the garbanzo-food family tree. Beyond the grocery store, there are viral chickpea recipes to prepare at home, and maybe even some chickpea brine behind the bar at your favorite cocktail spot.” [TheAtlantic]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a.k.a. “Notorious RBG,” turns 86… Theoretical chemist and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, professor emeritus at Harvard University and Director of the Biophysical Chemistry Laboratory in France, Martin Karplus turns 89… Emmy Award and Tony Award-winning actor, Judd Hirsch turns 84… Former federal prosecutor (1961-1966), then founder of Baer & McGoldrick (now Schulte, Roth & Zabel), movie producer, now vice-chair of Medici Arts LLC, Thomas H. Baer turns 82… UCLA professor, biochemist and biophysicist, David S. Eisenberg turns 80… First-ever New York City Public Advocate (1994-2001), winner of Democratic primaries for NYC Mayor (2001), the House (1980) and the Senate (1986) but lost each general election, author of 23 books, Mark J. Green turns 74… Sam Treynor turns 71… British billionaire and philanthropist, chairman of retail conglomerate Arcadia Group, Sir Philip Nigel Ross Green turns 67… Animator and director of The Simpsons, David Silverman turns 62… Los Angeles-based writer, director and producer, Andrea Blaugrund Nevinsturns 57… Chief operating officer at Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago, Wendy Platt Newberger turns 56…

CEO and Executive Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis since September 2013, Debra Barton Grant turns 50… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party since 2015, Amir Ohana turns 43… Retired MLB infielder, then a special assistant to the Chicago Cubs GM Theo Epstein, he now owns a brew pub in Los Gatos, CA, Kevin Youkilis turns 40… Global business editor for Defense One, where he writes about the intersection of business and national security, Marcus Weisgerber turns 37… MSW candidate at Simmons University, she was previously in the DC office of the Jewish Federations of North America and at the Anti-Defamation League, Mindy Beth Reinstein Brodsky turns 36… Born in Jerusalem, she is a member of the New York State Assembly for the northeast portions of Queens since first being elected in 2012, Nily Rozic turns 33… Board member of the African Middle Eastern Leadership Project (AMEL), he played a key role in Mohammed Al Samawi’s rescue from Yemen, Justin Hefter turns 30… Freelance multimedia journalist, he was previously a business reporter at The Jerusalem Post, Max J. Schindler turns 27… and Max’s twin sister, Rachel Schindler, who works in the media partnerships group at Facebook, also turns 27… Shirley Hoffner… Robert Rosner… Ze’ev Bar-El

SATURDAY: Former CEO and chairman of Citigroup, Sanford I. “Sandy” Weill turns 86… Dean and founder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, its Museum of Tolerance and of Moriah, the Center’s film division, Rabbi Marvin (Moshe Chaim) Hier turns 80… Graduate of Harvard Law School in 1964, tax assistant to the Solicitor General of the US (1973-1983), now a NYC tax attorney and litigator, Stuart A. Smith turns 78… Actress and film director, Susan Linda Bay turns 76… Computer scientist and author of multiple computer science textbooks, he is a professor emeritus of computer science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Andrew S. Tanenbaum turns 75… Film, stage and television actor and singer, Victor Garber turns 70… Mathematician and founder of four technology companies, creator of the first camera phone, Philippe Kahn turns 67… Peabody Award and Emmy Award-winning NPR journalist since 1977, now a host of NPR’s Weekend Edition, Scott Simon turns 67… VP of external affairs at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Amy Kaplan turns 65… Film producer, production designer and adjunct faculty member at Chicago’s Columbia College, Gail Sonnenfeld turns 64… Adjunct professor at both George Washington University Law School and Stanford In Washington, previously a partner at DLA Piper, Andrew D. Eskin turns 62… VP for talent, booking at ABC News’ specialized units at Disney / ABC Television Group, Eric Avram turns 54…

Philanthropist and president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, in 2005 he enlisted in the IDF, Jay Ruderman turns 53… Actor and comedian, best known for playing the role of writer Frank Rossitano on the NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” Judah Friedlander turns 50… VP at the BGR Group since 2017 focused on financial services and tax issues, he was previously a principal at the Podesta Group, Andy Lewin turns 45… Partner at West Wing Writers, Jeff Nussbaum turns 44… Founder of Seward Square Strategies, he was previously the director of digital advertising at Hillary for America and director of elections and advocacy media at Google, Jason Rosenbaum turns 42… Retired soccer player in the Israeli Premier League who is now the first team manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Yoav Ziv turns 38… Detroit-based founder and managing partner of Ludlow Ventures and Sandwich Fund, he is a mentor at numerous technology accelerators, Jonathon Triest turns 37… Head of policy and communications at Facebook’s Israel office since 2016, she was previously Chief of Staff at the Israeli embassy in Washington DC and adviser to PM Netanyahu (2009-2013), Jordana Cutler turns 37… VP at the Glover Park Group, he was previously a public affairs official at the Pentagon, Adam Blickstein turns 37… Strategic communications consultant at Endeavor WME-IMG, Alexandra Stabler turns 30… Senior legislative assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, a graduate of Northwestern University, Nathan Bennett… Customer care manager at CCRA Travel Commerce Network, Judy Karta… Investigative reporter on the Metro desk of The New York Times since 2017, he was previously at the Houston Chronicle (2014-2016) and the Seattle Times (2011-2013), Brian M. Rosenthal… Jackie Stern… Jeremy Levin

SUNDAY: Retail and real estate executive, CEO of Wilherst Developers and trustee of publicly traded Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust, Mark K. Rosenfeld turns 73… Founder, president and CEO of Laurel Strategies, also the co-founder and board member of ImagineNations Group, Alan H. Fleischmann turns 54… Director of Legislative Affairs at B’nai B’rith International since 2003, Eric A. Fusfield turns 52… Lead field/floor reporter for CBS Sports football and basketball broadcasts, she also serves on the board of the JCC in Tenafly, NJ (using her married name, Tracy Reichel), Tracy Wolfson turns 44… VP at Las Vegas-based Gold Coast Promotions, assisting non-profits in fundraising, Richard Metzler turns 42… Hasidic singer, entertainer and composer, Lipa Schmeltzer turns 41… Actor, music producer and stand-up comedian, best known as Gustavo Rocque on the Nickelodeon television series “Big Time Rush” (2009-2013), Stephen Kramer Glickmanturns 40…

Musician and digital strategy executive, CEO of Santa Monica-based mobile messaging technology company Kapps Media, Rick Sorkin turns 40… Justice on the Florida Supreme Court, he was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis in January 2019, at his swearing-in he recited the fourth blessing of the Amidah seeking wisdom, Justice Robert J. Luck turns 40… Digital reporter and producer for ABC News including “World News Tonight With David Muir,” Emily Claire Friedman Cohen turns 34… Assistant professor at GW University in the School of Media and Public Affairs, he received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago in 2016, Ethan Porter turns 34… Head of US and Canada field operations at Uber, she was previously an analyst at LivingSocial, Annaliese Rosenthal turns 32… Los Angeles-based tech journalist and founder of the TechSesh blog, Jessica Elizabeth Naziri turns 31… Casino marketing analyst at Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Zach Sherman


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