Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: FAA Lifts Ban | How a Jewish Doctor Duped the Nazis | Sen. Plagiarizes Sharansky, Dermer | Uber & its ‘Jewish upper class’ clientele

TOP TALKER: Jeffrey Goldberg – “Obsessing About Gaza, Ignoring Syria (And Most Everything Else) – Trying to understand why Syrian deaths no longer seem to matter” in The Atlantic: “There are a couple of very good reasons why coverage of Israel and its troubles is so broad, and even obsessive. The first is a simple, technical one: Journalists can best cover what they can see. Hamas, despite its various restrictions, makes it easy for journalists to observe scenes of destruction in Gaza… The second reason is audience interest. Stories about Israel, and about Jews, almost automatically rise to the top of the Times’ “most-emailed” list… And then there is a sound political reason why this conflict becomes the focus of so much coverage. Israel is a close ally of the U.S., and a recipient of American military and non-military help.”

“But the Arab Spring (or Awakening, or whatever word you choose) has given lie to the idea—shorthanded as “linkage”—that the key to American success in the broader Middle East is dependent on finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This idea, that all roads run through  Jerusalem, has traditionally motivated a great deal of journalistic and foreign policy expert interest in this conflict…. So from a moral perspective, and from a national security perspective, what happens in Syria should be of first-order interest to the U.S. media. But it is clearly not. Why this is so—why the horrific levels of violence across the Arab world don’t seem to prompt such intense feelings, either in the Muslim or non-Muslim worlds, is a subject for another time. What is true for now is that Syria should be covered with the same focus and intensity that is applied to the war in Gaza.” [TheAtlantic

—New York Observer: “Two Weeks of Shallow, Facile Moral Equivalency in The New York Times: The story of the war between Israel and Hamas is a story with only one side. And Israel is always wrong.” by Jerold S. Auerbach. [Observer]

Times Defends Its Gaza Coverage: “The New York Times defended its coverage of the Gaza conflict [today] in the face of a sharp rebuke delivered in the form of a cover story in this week’s New York Observer. Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy: “First, consider the source, as this piece was written by someone with a particular point of view on the subject of Israel.” [CapitalNewYork]

DRIVING THE DAY: “New Push To Lure Hamas Into Truce” by Jay Solomon, Nicholas Casey and Tamer El-Ghobashy on the front page of the WSJ: “The Obama administration, Israel and other Middle East allies are refashioning an Egyptian cease-fire proposal to assure Hamas that Gaza’s economic interests would be addressed if the Islamist group stops rocket attacks, senior U.S. and Arab officials said… Under the plan, Israel and Hamas would agree to stop military operations in the coming days. And the U.S. and the international community would then move quickly to begin talks on a longer-term recovery program for the impoverished coastal enclave.” [WSJ] — “Mofaz’s Gaza ‘demilitarization for dollars’ plan gains traction” [JPost] — “Can Israel Win In Gaza?” [BuzzFeed]

—Senators Graham, Schumer, and Cardin wrote to President Obama: “Any Ceasefire In Gaza Must Remove Threat To Israel Posed By Hamas Rockets And Tunnels”: “Israel has an absolute right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel. The threats posed by Hamas rockets and tunnels whose only purpose is to kill and kidnap Israelis are intolerable, and Israel must be allowed to take any actions necessary to remove those threats. Any effort to broker a ceasefire agreement that does not eliminate those threats cannot be sustained in the long run and will leave Israel vulnerable to future attacks.” [PressRelease]

—IDF Lone Soldier Max Steinberg’s funeral, shiva in Jerusalem draw 30,000 — including John Kerry: “Kerry entered and exited the room swiftly, surrounded by men in black and refusing to take any questions from press. But he spent a significant chunk of time — considering his tight and urgent schedule — chatting with Evie and Stuart about their son, and with Paige and Jake about their relationship with their brother and their own plans in life. “How’s your day?” Kerry asked as he sat down. “How’s your day?” Evie asked back. “My day’s going better than yours,” he said. “I am so honored to be here. I am in awe of your son, truly,” Kerry told the family. “And I think you know, I served in the military, and I have great respect for anybody who… especially puts themself willingly in harm’s way. And as an American, we’re so proud of the affection that he felt, just the love he felt, and the roots he found in this country.”[JewishJournal]

FAA Lifts Ban On US Flights To Tel Aviv Airport: The decision was effective at 11:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday. “Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation,” the FAA said.[AP]

—Sen. Ted Cruz had accused President Obama of using the FAA in ‘economic boycott of Israel’ and threatened to hold up State Department nominees: The State Department vehemently objected to Cruz’s comments. “It’s ridiculous and offensive, quite frankly,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said at a press briefing. “The FAA takes its responsibilities very seriously. … They make these decisions based solely on the safety and security of American citizens, period. For anyone to suggest otherwise is just ridiculous.” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier fired back: “We find the Obama Administration’s foreign policy to be ridiculous and offensive.” [Politico] [RollCall]

BE LIKE MIKE: “Why I Flew to Israel” by Michael R. Bloomberg in Bloomberg View: “Hamas would like nothing more than to close down Ben-Gurion, isolating Israel from the international community and seriously damaging its economy. By prohibiting U.S. carriers from flying into Ben-Gurion, the FAA handed Hamas a significant victory — one that the group will undoubtedly attempt to repeat. The FAA has, regretfully, succeeded only in emboldening Hamas. In times of crisis, acting out of an abundance of caution can be prudent. But closing down access to major infrastructure networks in the face of terrorist threats can be self-defeating. This was something I learned as mayor of New York City.”[BloombergView]

—Bloomberg spars with Wolf Blitzer over Israel: “Bloomberg grew testy when Blitzer followed up by asking if the department’s decision was “political.” “Don’t be ridiculous. Why would you think that?” Bloomberg began, calling the question “an outrage.” “In the question you’re implying that our government does things for political reasons and maybe every once in a while they do but it’s your job to prove it. Just the allegation against our government I personally take as an offense,” he said. “The tone of the question, of trying to create dissension, it’s insulting to America.” [CapitalNewYork]

MIDTERMS: Democratic Congressional Candidate Kathleen Rice Visits Israel: “Rice — who is running in a district with a prominent Jewish population — landed Monday night in Tel Aviv, Israel, to meet with economic and national security experts and local community leaders, her campaign said. Her group visiting Israel figured out a work-around the FAA ban on U.S. flights to and from Tel Aviv, and she is expected to return Thursday.” [NewsDay]

—Senator Says He Had PTSD When He Plagiarized From Sharansky & Dermer In His Thesis: “Sen. John Walsh of Montana said Wednesday his failure to attribute conclusions and verbatim passages lifted from other scholars’ work in his thesis to earn a master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College was an unintentional mistake caused in part by post-traumatic stress disorder… The first page borrows heavily from.. a 2009 book by Natan Sharansky with Ron Dermer called “The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.” Sharansky is a former Soviet dissident and chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Dermer is the Israeli ambassador to the United States.” [AP]

—Does Nominee for Illinois State Treasurer Support Divestment From Israel? by Joel Griffith in IJReview: “Does a Democratic nominee for Illinois state treasurer support divestment from Israel? Comments made by Michael Frerichs during two radio interviews and a written Daily Herald candidate response have left many wondering.” [IJReview]

IRAN TALKS: Senators Seek Greater Say On Iran Nuclear Deal; Demand Deadline: “Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is the lead sponsor of the Iran Nuclear Negotiation Act. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Marco Rubio(R-Fla.) are cosponsors. Corker said the bill would allow congressional review of any deal, require the Director of National Intelligence to report to Congress on any violations by Iran to the agreement, and sets a deadline for negotiations. If the administration doesn’t have a final comprehensive agreement by Nov. 28, U.S. sanctions against Iran would go back in place.” [TheHill]

—Iran’s Supreme Leader Calls For End To ‘Murderous’ Israeli Regime: “Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday called for a referendum canvassing the Arabs and Jews that live in Israel in order to end the “Zionist state”, but said until such a vote could be held, armed resistance was necessary. Khamenei and his predecessor the Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini have called repeatedly over the years for an end to the Jewish state, including through a referendum in the region, where Palestinians are in the majority.” [Reuters]

SCENE ON THE HILL: Yesterday, representatives of the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel were on Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress in response to global anti-semitism and to urge policymakers to support Israel. The groups joined together to meet with more than 20 Senate Democrats in a meeting chaired by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). The groups then held meetings with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Chris Smith, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Chris Gibson, Rep. Iliana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Brad Sherman, Rep. Yvette Clark, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Brad Weinstrup, Rep. Tom Reed, Rep. Bill Cassidy, and Rep. Luke Messer.

HAPPENING TODAY: “On Thursday evening, President-elect Reuven Rivlin will inspect the Honor Guard at the Knesset plaza, then lay a wreath at the foot of a monument commemorating Israel`s fallen soldiers. Following a meeting with outgoing President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog, a special plenary session will be held during which Rivlin be sworn in as the 10th president of the State of Israel” [PressRelease]

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POLITICO MAG: “How a Jewish Doctor Duped the Nazis” by Arthur Allen: “In late 1942, German troops were dying of typhus at the Eastern Front, and the SS medical chief Ernst-Robert Grawitz was impatient for vaccine—as was Heinrich Himmler himself. Typhus terrified the Nazis more than the allied armies did at the time. Nazi ideology had identified typhus, which is spread by lice, as a disease characteristic of parasitic, subhuman people—the Jews—and the Nazi medical profession was taking outrageous measures ostensibly to combat it.”

“So on Dec. 11, 1942, the Nazis decided to produce a typhus vaccine and among those drafted to help the production was a gentle Jewish biologist named Ludwik Fleck. Thus began one of the most effective but least-known deceptions of World War II, one that is wondrously thick with irony: For 16 months, working under the noses of his clueless Nazi overseers—in particular Ding-Schuler, whom Fleck described as a “dummkopf”—a Jewish doctor managed to send fake typhus vaccine to the Nazi soldiers at the front, even as he provided the real thing to inoculate his fellow condemned Jews in a concentration camp.” [PoliticoMag]

—Nazi War Suspect, 89, Dies as Extradition OK’d: “An 89-year-old Nazi war crimes suspect died in custody hours before a U.S. ruling Wednesday that he should be extradited to Germany to face trial.”[WSJ]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Some Top Teva Investors Plan to Vote Against Re-Electing Some Directors” – WSJ: “Some of the biggest shareholders of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s top seller of generic drugs by revenue, will oppose the re-election of one or two board members at the company’s annual meeting next week. The investor dissatisfaction is emerging as Teva shareholders prepare to cast ballots in Petach Tikva, Israel. The two board members whose re-election could face stiff opposition are Joseph Nitzani and Ory Slonim.” [WSJ]

David Rubenstein’s Carlyle Is Said to Be Raising New Brazilian Buyout Fund: “The Carlyle Group has made large strides toward raising a new Brazilian buyout fund, obtaining some 375 million reais, or about $170 million, in a first close, according to a person with direct knowledge.” [DealBook]

WIRED MAGAZINE: “A Startup That Aims to Improve on Craigslist’s Crappy Apartment Listings” – Israeli Ori Allon’s New Startup Urban Compass: “Urban Compass is equal parts listing aggregator and brokerage firm. Customers looking to buy or rent a home can go to Urban Compass and search for listings by neighborhood, price, and size, just as they would on Craigslist. Then Urban Compass’s sleekly designed site turns up a map of listings, along with a neighborhood guide for each listing and other helpful information such as, for instance, the length of the commute to Times Square and which subway lines are closest. Users can then schedule a time online to meet with one of Urban Compass’s own brokers for an in-person walkthrough. If all goes well, they can fill out the application paperwork right on the site. Urban Compass owns the entire experience, from the initial search to the lease signing, an approach that Allon compares to Apple’s.” [Wired]

NYPost: “Taxi bigs rip Uber — and its ‘Jewish upper-middle-class’ clientele”: “Taxi-industry leaders ripped the Uber cab app Wednesday — with one yellow-cab mogul even claiming that only rich Jews could afford the car service’s surge-pricing program. “We’re here to serve the public,” said Gene Freidman, owner of over 1000 New York City cab medallions. “We’re not here to serve the upper-middle-class Jewish businessman from the Upper East Side that’s willing to pay $200 to get anywhere.” Freidman’s spokesman later tried to downplay his anti-Semitic-sounding comment as a joke. “He’s a Jewish immigrant whose family fled Russia due to anti-Semitism,” said Ron Torossian.”[NYPost]

Ex-CEO Gets Prison For Stealing From NYC Charity: “The politically connected former CEO of a prominent New York City Jewish charity was sentenced to prison Wednesday for helping to steal more than $9 million from the anti-poverty organization.” [AP

PAGE6: “Rula Jebreal toasts Israel’s Ruth Dayan at lunch”: “Two days after Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal accused MSNBC of being “disgustingly biased” in its coverage of Israel, she was toasting Ruth Dayan, the 97-year-old widow of Israeli military leader and politician Moshe Dayan. Jebreal said Dayan “has always been not about what’s popular, but about what is right,” in front of guests including veteran newsman Gabe Pressman, actress Tovah Feldshuh and mogul Pete Peterson at an intimate Four Seasons lunch for Dayan hosted by her granddaughter Amalia Dayan, Peggy Siegal and Jebreal.” [PageSix]

TOP-OPS: WSJ Editorial Board – “Let Israel Decide” [WSJ] — Dov Lipman: “Remembering one who died for Israel” [JPost] — Ron Dermer: “Hamas’s Use of Human Shields ‘Grotesque'” [WSJ] — Michael Crowley: “Why Obama Wants Israel to ‘Do More’ About Civilian Deaths” [Time] — Douglas Bloomfield: “Washington Watch: Is this trip necessary?” [JPost] — Alan Dershowitz: “Israel wanted Gaza to thrive” [BostonGlobe] — WashPost Editorial: “The U.S. should push for the disarming of Hamas in Gaza-Israel cease-fire” [WashPost]

NYTimes: “New Gleanings from a Jewish Farm” on page D1: “Come seek enlightenment in the chicken yard, young Jewish farmer! Come at daybreak — 6 o’clock sharp — to tramp through the dew and pray and sing in the misty fields. Let the fellowship program called Adamah feed your soul while you feed the soil. (In Hebrew, “Adamah” means soil, or earth.) Come be the vanguard of Jewish regeneration and ecological righteousness!” [NYTimes]

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 editor@jewishinsider.com**

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