Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Book Review “Making David Into Goliath” | Tshuva Gets Birthday Gift Deal From Kushner | Conference of Presidents Looks to Reform

BOOK REVIEW: “Making David Into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel” by Joshua Muravchik – reviewed by Sohrab Ahmari “Unrighteous Among the Nations – At the height of the Six Day War, the cause of Israel’s survival united Pablo Picasso & Martin Luther King: “The abduction in June of three Israeli teenagers by West Bank Islamists placed the world’s top two human-rights organizations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, in an awkward spot. Both groups are committed partisans of the anti-Israel cause, yet the kidnapping of minors called for some form of condemnation. Amnesty on June 17 released a statement running to 19 paragraphs. Of these, only four could reasonably be construed as expressions of concern for the fate of the three teenagers… The rest of the statement was devoted to castigating Israel for a litany abuses and to discouraging the Jewish state from defending itself. HRW’s response was more coldblooded. “Attending school at illegal settlement doesn’t legitimize apparent kidnapping of #Israel teens,” Kenneth Roth, HRW’s executive director, tweeted on June 14. “They should be freed.”“Both organizations, in other words, treated the abduction as an inconvenient fact that required a minimal level of moral throat-clearing before they could resume the routine business of attacking Israel. Sixty-six years after its founding, this was the sum total of compassion the Jewish state could elicit from the leading lights of the human-rights movement. Why did so many progressives abandon Israel and Zionism? That’s the question Joshua Muravchik sets out to answer… The author recalls how during its first two decades of existence the Jewish state attracted sympathy from broad swaths of the Western left. That support reached its apogee during the Six Day War, when… the cause of Israel’s survival united Hannah Arendt, Lionel Trilling, Ralph Ellison, Martin Luther King, Pablo Picasso and Jean-Paul Sartre, among other progressive luminaries.

“Reinforcing the dialectic of mutual alienation between the left and Israel was the Jewish state’s movement, starting with Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s government, away from its founding socialist ethos. For many leftists, a Jewish state that no longer stood for collectivism wasn’t worth defending. In Israel, the disappointment of the socialist camp led to the creation of a domestic anti-Zionist culture that, as Mr. Muravchik writes, lent “an indigenous imprimatur to the most jaundiced interpretations of the country’s actions and motives.” Mr. Muravchik provides a nuanced and illuminating guide to the ideological developments that have led many on the left to detest Israel. Yet those developments, without more, don’t fully account for why many progressives turned against the Middle East’s only liberal democracy while embracing Islamist terror groups as “social movements that are progressive,” as the feminist theorist Judith Butler described Hamas and Hezbollah in 2006. The other main factor was a pathological self-hatred.” [WSJ]

COALITION CRISIS: Lieberman ends partnership with Netanyahu, dismantles Likud-Beiteinu – Foreign Minister says ‘essential’ differences with Netanyahu behind decision; move shrinks the Prime Minister’s Knesset faction from 31 seats to just 20: “Foreign MinisterAvigdor Liberman announced on Monday the breakup of the Knesset list his Yisrael Beytenu party shared with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party. The two parties ran together for the Knesset, but the law allows parties that run together to break up into separate Knesset factions once elected… Liberman told reporters that recently, longstanding differences between him and Netanyahu had become “essential, and no longer enable cooperation.” He added that “the partnership didn’t work in the elections, and it didn’t work after the elections,” but that the two parties had maintained it so long as they did not have major differences on policy.” [ToI]

Israeli Police Arrest Suspects in Killing of Palestinian Teenager: “Israeli police arrested six Jews suspected of killing a 16-year-old Palestinian to avenge the killings of three Israeli teenagers, an attack that has touched off a wave of protests and clashes… Those arrested are ages 16 to 25 and come from ultra-Orthodox religious families, said a spokesman from Honeinu, a legal organization representing the suspects. The group defends Israelis accused of vigilantism.” [WSJ] — Israel’s Netanyahu phones father of murdered Palestinian teen [Reuters] — Palestinian-American teen released from prison, sentenced to house arrest [AP] — Hamas says Israeli air strikes in Gaza kill seven of its men [Reuters]

SUNDAY SHOWS: Ambassador Ron Dermer on Fox News Sunday & ABC’s This Week: Those found guilty in the killing of Palestinian teen “will not be hailed as heroes. There will not be public squares named after them… “That’s the key difference between our societies and it’s a difference we should never forget.” On the beating of Palestinian-American teen: “I will tell you, from what I understand about the facts of the case, this is not just an innocent bystander who was pulled off of a schoolyard. He was with six other people. They were masked. They threw petrol bombs and molotov cocktails at our police. Three of them had knives, from what I understand… That does not excuse any excessive use of force and our Justice Ministry is opening an investigation.”

On Iran Talks: “There are 17 countries around the world that have peaceful nuclear energy programs, but they did not enrich uranium on their soil. Iran should not be allowed to keep centrifuges. They should not be allowed to keep enriched uranium. And we hope that the U.S. Administration and the P5-plus-one will stand very firm in the talks and ensuring those capabilities are removed from Iran…  The last thing we want to do is leave Iran parked as a threshold nuclear power a few months away from getting the fissile material necessary for a bomb and to rely on U.N. inspectors to do the job.” VIDEO – [FoxNews] [ABCNews]

—McCain: Send Kerry to Israel: “President Barack Obama should send Secretary of State John Kerry to Israel to help calm tensions there after the murders of Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, Sen. John McCain urged on Sunday. “In this case, I think our secretary of state, Secretary Kerry, could go to the region and try to maybe do a little shuttle diplomacy,” the Arizona Republican said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “This thing is in danger of spiraling out of control.” [Politico]

SECRET FRUITS? Barak Ravid Scoops – Some think the still-secret framework document produced by nine months of talks might contain the basis for a future American peace plan:“Copies of that 10-page document now lie in safes at the State Department in Washington and in a few offices in Jerusalem. The number of people in Israel who have read the document in full can be counted on the fingers of one hand, maybe a hand and a half.  Senior Israeli and American officials who were intimately involved in the talks say that even though the negotiations collapsed, the framework document remains relevant. The reason for this, according to all those involved, is that the document, though now in deep freeze, will be thawed out at some point before Obama leaves the White House and serve as a point of departure for future negotiations, or as the basis for an American peace plan that will be presented to the sides.” [Haaretz] — Saeb Erekat, Munib al-Masri quit Israel Conference on Peace [Haaretz]

HAPPENING TODAY: Wilson Center hosts “Whither the Palestinians” at 4PM in DC: Hussein Ibish, Aaron David Miller, and Robert M. Danin will discuss the Palestinians and their politics, including the recent unity agreement, the impasse in the peace process, and the prospects for elections in the West Bank and Gaza. [WilsonCenter]

DEEP DIVE: Inside the plot to smuggle US military technology to Iran: “An Iranian namedAmir Ardebili was writing out a long list when he suddenly stopped and turned to his new partners in arms. “This is a very secret list, please,” he said to Darius, the Eastern European arms broker, and Patrick Lynch, an American involved in the trade. ‘Have it in your pocket. Or customer will kill me.’ He laughed as he said it, but he wasn’t joking.”… Ardebili’s deadly customer was the Iranian government. The list was a detailed account of every player in Iran’s ongoing attempts to secure American military technology for their own use, including “Iranian front companies, [and] American companies they’d done business with.” Ardebili told his new partners he had “50 customers, all owned or controlled by the Iranian government,” and that “90 percent of what they ordered was manufactured inside the United States.”“Darius and Lynch were thrilled at the revelations. They were undercover agents of the US government and were just minutes away from arresting the man responsible for providing Iran with a treasure trove of military technology, much of which wound up being used against our own military overseas… One might think that curbing the smuggling of weapons to America’s enemies would be a significant priority for the US government. One would be wrong… The reasons our military technology flows into Iran, China, Pakistan, Russia and others are many, including our intractable government bureaucracies and the immense difficulty of building a case against a foreign defendant… “Every year, American businesses report more than 19,000 suspicious contacts from foreign buyers, and US agents open approximately 1,800 new counter-proliferation investigations,” John Shiffman writes in his new book, “Operation Shakespeare.” But arrests total only about 30 to 40 a year, and mostly inside the US.”[NYPost]

—U.S. energy company signs investment deal with Iran [ToI] — Diplomats: Iran Nuke Talks Make Little Progress [AP] — Iran Said to Name U.S.-Trained Economist Its New UN Envoy [Bloomberg] — Iran says it will set joint free trade zone with Qatar [PressTV] — Iran Cleric: Jews Use Sorcery to Spy [DailyBeast]

PROFILE: “Modern family in the U.S. ambassador’s residence” – After putting her own high-profile career on hold, Julie Fisher, who is married to U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, feels completely immersed in life in the Jewish state: “Once upon a time – some four years ago – Julie Fisher was a respected educator married to an anonymous policy wonk named Dan Shapiro, living a quiet, happy life with their three daughters, in Washington, D.C. To be sure, Shapiro wasn’t laboring at some obscure think tank – he was, after all, working in the White House as a key advisor to the president of the United States on Middle Eastern policy. But he was still always behind the scenes, not out front as politician or diplomat. It was Fisher who had the higher public profile: For 14 years, she taught and had served as vice principal at the Jewish Primary Day School, where many of the capital’s prominent Jews send their kids. Many Jewish senators, congressmen and other Beltway residents knew Shapiro because he was Fisher’s husband, not the other way around.” [Haaretz]

“Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Takes Tentative Steps to More Democratic Structure,” by Nathan Guttman: “American Jewry’s primary umbrella group on Israel is embarking on a path of reform that is expected to shift more power toward larger Jewish groups within the influential confederation’s membership. According to several communal officials involved in the group, it’s a shift being undertaken in response to widespread criticism of the umbrella group’s decision-making last April, when it rejected the dovish lobby J Street’s bid for membership…. The Conference will begin talks within its committee on process and procedure which is co-chaired byAlan Solow, one of its past chairmen, and by Richard Skolnik, president of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The committee’s members, which include representatives of major groups, are set to convene in late July for their first meeting to discuss reform proposals… The key recommendation expected, according to several Jewish leaders who are members of the Presidents Conference, is to establish an executive committee that will operate alongside the two individuals who currently run most of the Presidents Conference’s daily operations: the chairman — a position that rotates among the lay leaders of the Presidents Conference’s various constituent groups — and Malcolm Hoenlein.” [Forward]

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James Baker Interview: You can’t force-feed peace to Israel or the Palestinians – by Chemi Shalev: “James Addison Baker III will be inscribed in the annals of Jewish history, among other reasons, for two unforgettable statements. The first – “F**k the Jews, they didn’t vote for us anyway” – he denies saying. The second, however, is as timely as ever: “Everybody over there should know that the telephone number is 1-202-456-1414; when you’re serious about peace, call us.” The White House switchboard number that Baker angrily highlighted in his testimony before Congress on June 13, 1990 is still active, along with the doubts that he raised at the time about Israel’s willingness to invest a “good faith, affirmative effort” in the peace process. Baker did eventually harness the aftermath of the Gulf War in order to resolve his dispute with Israel over Palestinian representation to the historic Madrid Conference, but he admits that his expectations far exceeded the actual progress that has been made in the ensuing 23 years.ON 2016: ““You know how close I am to the Bush family, but I don’t know whether he’s going to run. [“He” being, of course, former Florida governor Jeb Bush.] If he does run, I think he can get the nomination and he would, in my view, make an excellent president… So with this scenario – tantalizing for some, a nightmare for others – the interview comes to an end: Jeb Bush runs, is nominated, wins the elections, comes to the White House and appoints Baker as his special envoy for Middle East peace. The first thing that Baker does is call the White House switchboard to make sure it’s OK and off he goes, all over again. After all, compared to Shimon Peres, he’s still a spring chicken.” [Haaretz

2016 WATCH: Rick Wilson on Rand Paul’s maturing foreign policy views: “I think he is sincere. I think people have educated him on Israel beyond the old ‘Ron Paul newsletter’ talking points. He has done a lot of good work on it.” .. Still, Wilson added, for many Republicans “the proof is in the pudding.” It will take some time before they are wholly convinced of Paul’s foreign policy bona fides.”[TheHill]

Colin Campbell on Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Sunday Press Conferences — “Two former aides to the senator independently declared there is “a method” to the senator’s “madness.””He’s very successful and smart when it comes to identifying issues where the press can play a key role in solving a problem. I think one of the misnomers … is that it’s just about getting press for the sake of getting press. But there’s a method to the madness,” said Phil Singer, who served as Schumer’s communications director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee… Stu Loeser, another former Schumer press secretary, recalled telling the senator of his mother’s discovery one of her gift cards had lost value over time. Schumer was indignant and made the issue one of his trademark initiatives. “Chuck said, ‘Do they all do this? Do all gift cards have this depreciating value once you activate them?'” And he said, ‘Look into it,'” Loeser recounted, describing Schumer as “outraged” after learning the practice was widespread. “The Sunday after Thanksgiving, right after the shopping season, we launched a press conference.” [Business Insider]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Yitzchak Tshuva’s Delek Group sells 47% stake in Israeli insurer Phoenix Holdings to Jared Kushner for nearly 1.7 billion shekels (or $498 million): “The agreement, which is non-binding, is subject to completion of due diligence and the signing of a binding accord, which will be conditioned on receipt of regulatory approval, Delek said in a statement on Sunday… “We have confidence in the Israeli economy and its growth potential,” said Kushner, who is married to Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. “Israel’s economy is open, transparent and competitive.”[Reuters] — Happy Birthday to Yitzchak Tshuva who turns 66 today.

STARTUP NATION: Shai Agassi set for comeback with Newrgy [Globes] — Nokia returns to Israel with 3D tech acquisition [ToI] — Israel’s Matomy says new requirement paves way for London float [Reuters] — Jasper – The key to ensuring you’re never locked out: “Jasper Technologies doesn’t intend to supplant the traditional key entirely – being stuck outside because your phone battery died is pretty silly. Its solution is a lock that can be opened in two ways. You can unlock the door with the key. Or, you can tell it to open using the app, into which you enter the profiles of people allowed to open the door.” [Haaretz] — Israeli High Tech Gets Aggressive: “Israeli entrepreneurs have always been ambitious, but the maturity of the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem now gives emerging companies a better chance to deliver on big dreams and therefore a better chance of raising money to pursue them. Today’s crop of entrepreneurs has grown up in the startup ecosystem and seen peers disappointed by selling too early or shutting down only a couple years after raking it in. This means not only more serial entrepreneurs, but more maturity and experience in the first 50 hires these startups make.” [TechCrunch]

Washington Post: Teens headed to Israel are packing street smarts but few fears: “At 17,Isaac Cohen is on the brink of flying to Israel to continue his education and eventually join the army, and none of the mournful and scary news coming from that country in recent days has dissuaded him. “In the last couple days, my parents have been telling me to be more cautious,” said Cohen, describing his family and friends as devastated over the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers whose plight riveted and alarmed many in the Jewish community. “They’re a bit scared,” he said of his parents, who live in Silver Spring. “But they’re also proud.”“Tensions sparked by last month’s kidnapping of three teenagers hitchhiking home in the West Bank are escalating just as many Jewish teenagers from Washington and elsewhere in the United States are preparing to go to Israel for a gap year after high school. In interviews with parents, students, school officials and rabbis, nobody said they were reconsidering their plans amid the daily clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. Nor had they heard of anyone who was in any way balking after an incident that struck the teenagers at the end of a school day, circumstances so commonplace they could easily imagine their own sons in their stead… The determination to carry on reflects the deep affinity many American Jews feel with Israel, particularly when it is under attack. Theirs is an American example of a commonly held belief among Israelis: that they will not let their lives be dictated by the fear fostered by violent militants.” [WashPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN: Longtime NYC councilman Herbert Berman dies at 80: “A former New York City councilman who later served as Gov. George Pataki’s ambassador to the city’s Jewish community has died. Herbert Berman was 80. He died Sunday at his Manhattan home after a long illness, according to his son, Russell Berman. Berman represented southern Brooklyn on City Council for six terms from 1975 through 2001.” [WSJ]

That’s all folks, have a great Monday! 

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