Daily Kickoff: Pope’s complicated Middle East visit; Rep. Bishop Attacked For ‘Bar Mitzvah Scandal’; Most Expensive (Jewish) Divorce Ever; #BDSfails
Happening Today: 2016 Watch – The Republican Jewish Coalition has lunch with Governor Jeb Bush at Jungle Island in Miami.
Today at 4PM, The Collapse of the Israeli – Palestinian Peace Talks: The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion with Ambassador Michael Oren moderated by Frederick Kempe, President & CEO of the Atlantic Council. The event will take place at 1030 15th Street, NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC, and will also be available via live stream at [AtlanticCouncil] #ACPeaceTalks
Michael Bloomberg will receive the inaugural Genesis Prize this evening at an event hosted by Jay Leno at the Jerusalem Theatre. Ahead of his performance, Leno was interviewed by the [AP] and by [YNet] regarding his impression of Israelis, his plans for the future, and the trees in Israel that he donated as a kid. Bloomberg held a tech talk with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in addition to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier today.
Pope Seeks Balance on Mideast Trip, and His Plans Anger Many, by Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner in the NYTimes: “The pope’s decision to fly straight to Bethlehem from Jordan would be a symbolic lift to the Palestinians at any time. But its resonance is even greater given his tremendous popularity, his focus on the downtrodden, and his timing amid the recent collapse of peace talks and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s unity pact with the militant group Hamas. Francis, who said on Wednesday that his three-day visit was “purely a religious trip,” is striving for balance, and so on Monday he plans to become the first Vatican leader to lay a wreath on the grave of Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism. Paying homage to a man who envisioned the Jewish state has become standard for leaders visiting Israel, but the plan has enraged some Palestinians, in another sign of the risks the pope faces in this charged region.
–In Israel, which is trying to upgrade diplomatic relations with the Vatican established two decades ago, the pope will take a whirlwind tour on Monday, cramming into five hours visits to the Western Wall, Mount Herzl and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, as well as meetings with the president, prime minister, chief rabbis and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. His Mass scheduled for Monday evening on Mount Zion, believed to be the site of both Jesus’ last supper and the tomb of King David, has ignited protests by religious Jews and anti-Christian graffiti. The pope’s refusal of bulletproof vehicles has also created some complications: Vatican officials said Francis had insisted on open-top cars to connect with the public, but the Israeli authorities responded by expanding the security perimeter, which will make it harder for people to glimpse the pontiff. Francis has pleased Jews with his promise to open church archives from the Holocaust era and his friendship with Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires, with whom he collaborated on a book and recorded 31 hours of televised dialogue. “He will try to balance,” Rabbi Skorka, who will accompany the pope in Israel, told reporters in Jerusalem on Wednesday. “This is going to be his policy in his speeches and in his acts. Total balance, this is what he is.” [NYTimes] — Over 450 American Rabbis Signed A Letter Welcoming Pope Francis To Israel [HuffPost]
Interesting Tweet from Reuter’s @DanWilliams: “Maariv reports @Netanyahu tried to fire @Tzipi_Livni over her London meeting with Abbas but Lapid intervened. Israeli officials: No comment.”[Twitter]
Overheard last night: The National Jewish Democratic Council honored Rep. Henry Waxman last night at the University Club in Washington, DC, as he gets ready to depart Congress. Waxman was quoted by one attendee as saying – “Our home is in the Democratic Party. There are some who disagree with that. We call them non-Jews.” The event was hosted by Martin Frost, Barbara Goldberg Goldman, Monte Friedkin, Michael & Susie Gelman, Mel Levine, Ann F. Lewis, Abbe Lowell, and Greg & Marti Rosenbaum. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke at event as well.
Mort Klein to NYMag: “Chris Christie is no friend of Israel,” Wondering if that says more about Klein than Christie?: ““Sheldon was concerned about the ‘occupied territory’ remark and he expected Christie would make amends and would express support for Israel and it didn’t happen,” said Adelson ally and head of Zionist Organization of America Morton Klein, who said he spoke with Adelson after the event, an awards ceremony organized to honor champions of Jewish values by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. “Sheldon, like others, was as perplexed and shocked and mystified. Why did Christie do this?” said Klein. “This was an insult.” “Chris Christie is no friend of Israel,” said Klein, a sentiment he said summed up the view of the largest donors. “I would be very surprised if any of the major pro-Israel activists in the room would support Christie.” [NYMag]
Paul Ryan told NYC business elites and donors “to keep their powder dry” regarding 2016:“Ryan made the remark last week during a breakfast fundraiser for his re-election campaign for his House seat. The event was held at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan, with about 40 attendees, including hedge fund executive Dan Loeb; GOP donors Wilbur Ross and Wayne Berman; and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson.” [Politico]
Rep. Tim Bishop’s ‘Bar Mitzvah Scandal’ Timeline Posted by Outside Group: “The congressional ethics investigation into Rep. Tim Bishop’s request for a campaign donation from a constituent he was helping in 2012 continues to be fodder for his political foes, this time a “dark money” group that won’t reveal its donors. The American Action Network tomorrow will post a step-by-step timeline on a website called www.BishopBuyOff.com that takes a viewer through the chronology of how Bishop helped businessman Mel Semler get a permit for fireworks for his son’s bar mitzvah and how Bishop and others asked Semler for a contribution. American Action Network is one of the 501c4 nonprofit groups that have begun raising millions of dollars from donors that it will not identify. It is chaired by former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman who is Jewish. [Newsday]
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Borough Park Jewish community yesterday for a fundraiser: “Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday received a hero’s welcome as he visited the neighborhood of Borough Park for the first time since he was elected Mayor of New York City. The Mayor arrived to attend a private function at the home of Jeremy Reichberg, a known philanthropist and community activist.. Hundreds of residents and kids lined up to greet the mayor upon his arrival…[YouTube]
**Good Morning! 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 email@example.com**
#BDSfail: University of New Mexico student association shoots down anti-Israel resolution:“The Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) at the University of New Mexico has overturned a recently passed divestment resolution targeting the State of Israel. According to a statement released by the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, “the original vote happened without the knowledge or presence of any students or members of the pro-Israel community. The respected members of the GPSA recognized that this was an abuse of the democratic process, and agreed to hold another hearing to listen to the other side of the issue.” [FoxNews] — U. of Washington students reject divestment resolution: ““BDS was handed one of its worst defeats on any campus last night,” Robert Jacobs, director of StandWithUs Northwest, said in a statement. “This just shows how incredibly successful we can be when the community works together. Exposing BDS’s goal of eliminating Israel and violating Jewish rights to self-determination was the key focus of the night, and it was clear that this message got through to many senators.” [JTA] — UCLA student judicial board defeats SJP complaint: “UCLA’s undergraduate judicial board — the student government’s equivalent of the Supreme Court — ruled Wednesday in a 4-0 vote that student government officers may take sponsored trips to Israel without it constituting a conflict of interest. Two of the judges abstained.” [JewishJournal]
JPost: “Israel’s democracy struggle affects Diaspora identity, study finds”: “The tension between Judaism and democracy in Israel affects young Diaspora Jews’ devotion to their own identity, according to a study released Wednesday in Jerusalem by the Jewish People Policy Institute.”[JerusalemPost]
Arab terrorist balks at guilty plea in Detroit: “An Arab-American activist charged with concealing her role in bombings in Jerusalem more than four decades ago backed away from a potential plea deal at a court hearing in Detroit Wednesday, according to the Associated Press and one of the woman’s associates. Federal prosecutors offered Rasmea Odeh a plea deal where she would serve no more than six months in jail and be free in the U.S. for six months before being deported from the country, the AP said. She would also have lost her American citizenship. Prosecutors say that when Odeh came to the United States in 1995, she didn’t reveal her affiliation with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or that she spent more than a decade in an Israeli jail after being convicted by a military court of planting bombs in a supermarket and at the British Consulate in Jerusalem in 1969. Two people were killed by one of the bombs.” [Politico]
Israel’s Asia Pivot: China’s Bright Food Agrees to Buy 56% of Israel’s Tnuva Food: “Bright Food Group Co., the dairy and consumer-products group backed by the Shanghai government, has agreed to buy a majority stake in Israel’s Tnuva Food Industries Ltd. Bright Food will acquire 56 percent of Tnuva at a price that has yet to be decided, Pan Jianjun, a spokesman for the Chinese company, said in a mobile-phone message yesterday. Tnuva owns seven of the 10 best known food brands in Israel and accounts for more than 14 percent of shelf space in the country’s supermarkets, according to the website of private-equity firm Apax Partners LLP, which invested in the company. Tnuva was formed more than 80 years ago as an agricultural cooperative of 620 farming communities across the country, who were also the company’s suppliers of raw milk and produce, according to Apax. Members of the co-operative approved the sale of a majority stake in Tnuva to Apax in 2007 at a price that valued the company at $1.03 billion at the time.” [Bloomberg]
Business Briefs: What the Beverly Hills Hotel boycott says about where we draw out lines in a global economy [JewishJournal] — Dan Loeb’s Sotheby deal no easy victory as his stake appears to be $11 million in the red [NYPost] — American Eagle CEO Jay Schottenstein on Q1 Results [SeekingAlpha] — David Einhorn kicked off the argument: Is Herbalife a Pyramid Scheme? [Atlantic] — Las Vegas Sands Weighed Adelson’s Authority as It Seeks New President [WSJ] — Henry Kravis Donates $100M For New Cancer Center [Forbes] —- Marc Lasry Interview in NYU’s Stern Business Magazine [ValueWalk] — Millennials Have No Idea Who Bernie Madoff Was [Time] — Leviathan Partners Plump for Pipeline Option: “Without the Woodside option, the Leviathan partners have a weaker hand in negotiations with customers and governments in Turkey and Egypt. It seems that Israel’s total dependence on Noble Energy will only deepen.The cancellation was no surprise given discord over the deal lately, topped by Woodside CEO Peter Coleman’s theatrical walkout from the signing ceremony at the Sherover Promenade in Jerusalem.”[Globes] —— Judge sides with Talisker over Park City Mountain Resort in critical rulings [ParkRecord] [Fox13]
Elena Rybolovelva, ex-wife of Jewish Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, awarded $4.8B in divorce ruling: “It’s being called the most expensive divorce in the history of … well, marriage. Russia’s Dmitry Rybolovlev, 47, earned the dubious honor when Geneva, Switzerland’s Court of First Instance last week ordered the 47-year-old billionaire to pay his wife, Elena, about 4 billion Swiss francs, according to CNN’s French affiliate BFM. Known lately for real estate moves — including the purchases of a $300 million penthouse in Monaco and a $98 million Palm Beach, Florida, mansion owned by Donald Trump, along with his daughter’s purchases of an $88 million New York apartment and the Greek island of Skorpios — Rybolovlev made his original fortune in fertilizer, according to Forbes.” [CNN]
MIDTERMS: New York – Rep. Rangel Leads Primary Opponent By 9; Jewish Voters Support Espaillat by 14-Point Margin: Twenty-two-term Representative Charlie Rangel has a 9 point lead over State Senator Adriano Espaillat heading into the final five weeks of this hotly-contested Democratic primary rematch. Rangel has the support of 41 percent of likely primary voters, compared to 32 percent for Espaillat, according to a New York Times/NY1/Siena College poll of likely 13th C.D. Democratic primary voters released on Wednesday… Among Jewish voters, however, Espaillat has a 14 point lead over Rangel, the poll shows. Espaillat has the support of 45% of likely primary voters, compared to 31 percent for Rangel. Jewish voters make up 8 percent of the district….Among Jewish voters, Rangel has a positive 54/41 favorability rating. Nonetheless, only 33% believe he deserves reelection while 56 percent in Harlem’s Jewish community prefer someone to represent them in Congress come January. Espaillat, who’s less known to voters, enjoys a 52/19 positive view among these voters. [JP Updates]
David Suissa: “Can Elan Carr split the blue sea?” — “The last word I would use to describe my friend Elan Carr, an Iraq war veteran and criminal gang prosecutor for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, is “dreamer.” So, how do you explain his decision to run for Congress as a Republican in the 33rd District, one of the most Democratic and liberal districts in the nation? From what I’ve gathered during several conversations over the past few weeks, Carr, who speaks fluent Hebrew and whose family belongs to several Westside synagogues, doesn’t believe the odds are so bad. First, there’s the math. With all those prominent Democratic candidates splitting the liberal vote, he sees a good chance of getting into the runoff under the Republican ticket.” [JewishJournal]
Gralnick Loses in First Bid for Political Office: “Brian Gralnick, who had taken a leave of absence from his Jewish communal position, lost Tuesday in a Democratic primary for the State Senate. The 34-year-old took a leave of absence from his position as director of the Center for Social Responsibility at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia to try and unseat state Sen. LeAnna Washington in the 4th district, which covers Northwestern Philadelphia and parts of Montgomery County. Art Haywood, a public interest lawyer, captured 40 percent of the vote. Washington, who has been charged with misusing as much as $100,000 in state funds to plan and promote annual campaign birthday fundraisers, received 34 percent and Gralnick received 27 percent.” [JewishExponent]
Why Is Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Wolf a Big JCC Macher? “In his coverage of last night’s primary elections, Slate political reporter Dave Weigel mentioned an odd fact: Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s newly crowned gubernatorial nominee, has given so much to his local Jewish community center in York, Pa., that many reporters assumed he was Jewish. Only he isn’t. So why is a non-Jewish businessman one of the biggest donors to his local JCC — so big that, in the midst of a gubernatorial campaign, he’s also co-chairing the JCC’s new capital campaign? [Forward]
ADL deplores Hitler imagery in Washington bus ads: “The Anti-Defamation League condemned Wednesday as “highly offensive and inflammatory” an anti-Muslim bus ad campaign featuring images of Adolf Hitler meeting with the Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem. The campaign, spearheaded by controversial blogger and activist Pamela Geller, was launched in Washington, DC earlier this week” [ToI]
DC Kosher: Soupergirl dishing it out on M Street: “Soupergirl is kosher, under the rabbinical supervision of Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Sholom- The National Synagogue. It also is vegan and therefore pareve. The new D.C. location is all about takeout. There are no tables, although customers are using the window bar to stand around and sip their soup, owner Sara Polon said. Five soups are offered each day, but they will change daily on a rotating schedule. There also will be plenty of delicious, fresh salads. She hopes to open up more Soupergirls. “We definitely plan to keep expanding. We see a real need for convenient, healthy, responsibly made kosher food in D.C. and in the suburbs.” The D.C. location is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.” [WJW]
That’s all folks, have a great Thursday!
**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org**