Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Obama & Wiesel Do Lunch | Dems accuse Rand Paul of flip-flopping on aid to Israel | Yael Cohen Profile | Silicon Valley on Gaza |

NEW YORK OBSERVER: London Times Rejects Elie Wiesel Advertisement Condemning Hamas: The London Times refused to run a paid advertising campaign featuring Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel opposing Hamas’ use of child sacrifice. A representative of The Times wrote to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who has been running this ad campaign, saying, “In brief, [The Times] [feels] that the opinion being expressed is too strong and too forcefully made and will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers.” In a statement, Rabbi Boteach told the Observer, “At a time when Israel is fighting for its very existence against the genocidal terrorists of Hamas, the British media, already infamously skewed against Israel, refuses a paid ad that every major American outlet – including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Times sister publication The Wall Street Journal  – was proud to run as a full page ad… I am shocked that The Times would engage in censorship of the worst kind to cater to such bigotry.”

—“The Observer has also exclusively learned from a political source with knowledge of the President’s schedule that President Obama himself has seen this ad. According to the source, ‘Elie Wiesel had lunch with President Obama on Friday and presented the ad into his hand.’ This meeting was apparently not listed on the president’s schedule. The source continued, ‘The president literally read it in front of Elie Wiesel’s face.” [NYObserver]

CEASEFIRE IN GAZA HOLDS FOR SECOND DAY; INDIRECT ISRAEL-HAMAS TALKS START IN CAIRO [AP— As journalists leave Gaza, newly released footage reveals Hamas operations from civilian areas. [ADL] NDTV Films Hamas Firing Rocket From Next To Hotel [NDTV] Furious Likud Party leaders charge Netanyahu capitulated to Hamas [WorldTribune] Herzog stands by Netanyahu on Gaza [Al-Monitor] — Israel Makes First Arrest in Teens Murder Case [WSJ

BIBI RIDING HIGH: A decisive majority of respondents proved unimpressed by the claims of victory made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. 51 percent said neither side had won, while 56 percent said the goals laid down by the government – destroying Hamas’ tunnels and dealing Hamas a severe blow – were achieved only partially. But in light of Israelis’ bitter feelings about the war’s outcome, their level of satisfaction with the performance of Netanyahu, Ya’alon and Gantz is astonishing: Netanyahu and Ya’alon both received whopping 77 percent approval ratings. [Haaretz] According to a poll conducted for Israel’s channel 2, as many as 42 percent of Israelis believe Israel has won the war and this round against Hamas, while 44% don’t believe so.. A super majority of 63% said Netanyahu’s performance during the operation was good. 31% gave him a thumbs down. [JP UpdatesPanels Politics poll for Ch. 2’s morning program:59% of Israelis rate Netanyahu’s performance during the Gaza Operation as good, 18% as moderate and 21% as not good.

FRIENDLY FIRE CONTINUES: A call between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry was disconnected on Sunday, and the two haven’t spoken since, according to various media reports, “Their phone call was cut off,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a briefing Tuesday, citing a “communications issue.” Asked by one reporter if Netanyahu had hung up on Kerry in anger, she responded: “Sometimes calls get cut off. You — it was a brief call, is what I’m trying to convey. There was nothing… There was nothing that interesting about it, no. That was not the case. That was not the case.” [TOI] David Gergen, a senior political analyst for CNN stated, “It’s probably the worst relationship between a leader of the United States and a leader of Israel since all the way back to the Eisenhower days. The relationship has gotten rockier over this period during the war.” [ABC17]

— Ambassador Ron Dermer insisted that the harsh words did not reveal a deeper dysfunction in Israel’s relationship with the United States.“It’s a lack of appreciation of how Israeli discourse works,” he said. “It’s your average Jewish Friday night family meal, taken to the hundredth power.” Dermer acknowledged that the United States and Israel would never perceive the threat from Hamas exactly the same way. “When you’re thinking about your survival every day.. you tend to think about these issues differently.” [NY Times]

— White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe on MSNBC with Ronan Farrow: “The partnership and relationship with Israel remains rock solid. We are going to continue being Israel’s indispensable ally on security issues. Iron Dome was a great example of the two countries working together, and the results speak for themselves.” On cease-fire: “We do not only need the fire to cease, but we also need a peace agreement here. That’s ultimately the pathway towards prosperity and security gains that are desperately needed in the region.” [MSNBC]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: African Summit Dinner at the White House: Spotted: Michael Bloomberg; Jack Lew; Penny Pritzker; David Rubenstein; Stephen Schwarzman; Jeffrey Zients. Full guest list [WashPost]

**Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share 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**

SILICON VALLEY: Graham and Suster square off over Gaza as tech industry starts paying attention to the real world: “Over the last week, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – or as it might be more appropriately described, the Israel-Palestine-Gaza-Hamas-US-Saudi Arabia-Iran-Jewish-Arab-Christian conflict – has raged on, two high profile figures in the startup ecosystem, Y Combinator founder Paul Graham and Upfront Ventures partner Mark Suster, have engaged very publicly around these issues. Graham has been tweeting prolifically on the conflict, mostly in concern for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. His tweets have been aimed at no one in particular, as far as I’ve seen. Suster, on the other hand is an avid supporter of Israel, and has taken direct issue with Graham’s position – namely what he views as the inconsistency of actively advocating with regard to this crisis while ignoring other, arguably larger crises around the world.” [Pando]
FORBES PROFILE: “Yael Cohen, Her Entrepreneurial Journey From FCancer To StandWith” by Dan Schawbel: “I spoke to Yael Cohen, who is the founder and CEO of FCancer, a cancer education organization aiming to erase late stage cancer diagnosis and engage millennials via digital media to change the way the world talks about cancer. Yael is about to launch a new caregiver app called StandWith, a one-stop-shop to help caregivers assist their loved ones with daily responsibilities during difficult times. Currently in it’s closed beta test stage, will launch to the public this fall.” [Forbes]

2016 WATCH – Rand Paul on Monday denied that he once supported ending federal aid to Israel – an idea he proposed as recently as 2011. “I haven’t really proposed that in the past,” Paul told Yahoo News when asked if he still thought the U.S. should phase out aid to Israel. “We’ve never had a legislative proposal to do that. You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question. That has not been a position – a legislative position – we have introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid. That’s the answer to that question. Israel has always been a strong ally of ours and I appreciate that. I voted just this week to give money – more money – to the Iron Dome, so don’t mischaracterize my position on Israel.” [Yahoo News]

FLASHBACK: Back in 2011, Paul appeared on CNN to talk about a proposal of his to end all foreign aid. Wolf Blitzer specifically asked him, “You want to end all foreign aid as well, is that right?” Paul responded, “Yeah…I don’t think funding both sides of an arm race, particularly when we’ve got to borrow the money from China to send it to someone else. We just can’t do it anymore..” [Mediaite] “I’m not singling out Israel. I support Israel. I want to be known as a friend of Israel, but not with money you don’t have. We can’t just borrow from our kids’ future and give it to countries, even if they are our friends.” [Politico] Democrats seized on Rand Paul’s comments over foreign aid to Israel on Tuesday: “Rand Paul has absolutely supported ending US aid to Israel, and he needs to stop trying to rewrite history,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) tweeted Tuesday morning. The Democratic Party fired off a similar tweet: “ICYMI: Rand Paul insists he never proposed ending aid to Israel, forgetting he said it (more than once!) on tape.” [Politico]

—Paul’s Spokesperson to Jewish Insider: “Senator Rand Paul has never proposed any legislation that targeted Israel’s aid and just last week voted to continue and increase funding to the State of Israel. Sen. Paul is a strong supporter of the Jewish state of Israel. In 2011, Sen. Paul proposed a budget resolution that did not include certain foreign assistance programs in an effort to balance the budget in five years. Subsequent budget proposals made by Sen. Paul have included up to $5 billion for foreign assistance to account for U.S.-Israel security interests. Sen. Paul’s position was exactly what Prime Minister Netanyahu said to Congress on July 10, 1996 and May 24, 2011 – Israel will be better off when it does not have to count on anyone else for its protection. Sen. Paul has attempted several times this year to pass the Stand with Israel Act. The bill would cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority if it were allied with Hamas.  Last month, he issued a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee requesting committee action on the Stand with Israel Act.”

MIDTERMS: On Sunday, The Hill sought to suggest that Republicans believe that the deepening crisis in Gaza could ultimately loosen the grip that the Democratic Party has traditionally held upon American Jewish voters. [TheHill] Philip Klein: No, Israel’s defensive campaign in Gaza isn’t going to turn American Jews into Republicans: “To start, most Jews don’t determine their votes on the basis of policy toward Israel. In early 2012, a poll from the Public Religion Research Institute found that just 4 percent of Jewish registered voters considered Israel the most important issue… Additionally, many Jews who say they support Israel have a definition of what it means to support Israel that makes it easier for them to justify standing by Obama and Democrats… THE SILVER LINING FOR GOP: “it’s possible that decades from now, if religious Jews make up a larger percentage of the American Jewish population, the Jewish vote will move toward the Republicans. [Washington Examiner]

POLLS: A new WSJ/NBC poll of Americans, conducted July 30-Aug. 3, found that 53% believed the U.S.should treat Israel and the Palestinians evenly, while 34% said the U.S. should favor the Israelis. Only 4% said the U.S. should favor the Palestinians over the Israelis. Asked about the current conflict in Gaza, where Israel has fired on targets in civilian areas that it believes are bases for Hamas military attacks, 44% believed Israel was defending its interest and justified, while 24% said Israel had gone too far and wasn’t justified. [NBC/WSJ] — Gallup: According to a Gallup poll released Tuesday, 42 percent of Americans say Israel’s actions against Hamas are justified, compared with 38 percent who say they are unjustified. By contrast, only 14 percent of Americans believe that Hamas’ actions against Israel are justified, with 66 percent saying they are unjustified. Those who are paying close attention to the conflict in general are more likely to say that Israel’s actions are justified (55%). It follows that the four groups who use each of the four sources of information are also more likely than the average respondent to say Israel’s actions are justified. [Gallup]

— Related: Ron Kampeas: The gap is growing between Congress and young Americans when it comes to support for Israel [JTA]

ON THE HILL: At least one Jewish lawmaker had some advice for Congressman Steve Palazzo (R-Mississippi) after Palazzo sent all of his House colleagues Bibles to improve their “decision-making. “The advice of Congressman Brad Sherman (D-California) to Palazzo: Try scripture with a larger font size for the more elderly lawmakers. ‘What Steve may not have focused on is many members of Congress are over age 60, and the ability of the bald caucus to read print this small is questionable,’ Sherman told Business Insider. ‘I think there’s wisdom in many good books — both the New and the Old Testament — that have been quoted by many members, some eloquent. It’s always nice to have another copy of the holy scriptures, even the ones that my people don’t subscribe to.'” [Business Insider]

TOP-OPS: Jeffrey Goldberg: “What Would Hamas Do If It Could Do Whatever It Wanted?” [AtlanticMag] — Thomas L. Friedman OpEd: “Revelations in the Gaza War” [NYTimes] —  Barak Ravid: “Netanyahu’s missed diplomatic opportunities in Gaza” [Haaretz] — David Ignatius: “Time for Netanyahu to make peace in Gaza” [Washington Post] — Mona Charen: Steadfast Support for Israel Is the Only Solution [NYTimes] — Benjamin Weinthal: Behind Europe’s anti-Semitic slurs [DailyNews] — Alex Jakubowski: “United Nations: A Reliable Ally for Terror and Oppression” [Spectator]

That’s all folks, have a great Wednesday! 

**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

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