Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Vermont Has Got Some Interesting Birds | Jewish Agency vs. Diaspora Ministry on Identity Initiative | Jewish teen to play in US Open

Must Watch: Sen. Bernie Sanders Town Hall Devolves Into Screaming Match About Gaza: “Sen. Bernie Sanders and a number of constituents got into a fight over Hamas and Israel at a town hall meeting in Cabot, Vermont on Saturday. A heated exchange featured Sanders telling those interrupting him in the audience to “shut up” and a woman yelling “f-Israel,” while calling Hamas “a service organization.” Sanders said Israel did overreact in Gaza, but condemned Hamas for sending missiles into Israel, building tunnels, and not recognizing Israel’s right to exist.” Video [BuzzFeed] [WashPost]

Israeli Airstrike Kills 3 Senior Hamas Leaders: An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing on Thursday, the group said, in what is likely to be a major blow to the organization’s morale and a significant achievement for Israel’s intelligence agency. The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior military commanders, identified by Hamas as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.Israel said Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, overseeing fighters there during the current war. Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling into Gaza and the construction of attack tunnels, the Israeli military said. In 2006, Attar was involved in the capture of Gilad Schalit. [AP— Related: “Hamas Military Chief Mohammed Dief believed to have been killed in airstrike, sources say” [FoxNews]

TOP TWEET: @NoahPollak – “I challenge Hamas leader Muhammad Deif to take the ice bucket challenge to prove he’s still alive” [Twitter]

Chemi Shalev: “Obama and Netanyahu, from Gaza to Iraq: Closer than ever but miles apart” in Haaretz: “There was something both ironic and bittersweet in Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu’s press conferences on Wednesday: the two leaders were closer than ever but still many miles apart. Both are managing military campaigns against extremist Islamic groups that can be described as fateful for the region and crucial for their own futures as well. Were it not for the gulf of suspicion and resentment that separates them, Obama and Netanyahu might now be collaborating on a wide front that could benefit them both.” [Haaretz] — David Horovitz: “Netanyahu’s vital message, and his marginal one” [ToI]

Why Is Qatar Still Hosting The World Cup?: AP – “Some See Qatar’s Hand In Collapse Of Gaza Talks” by Adam Schreck: “The explosions rocking the Gaza Strip may seem far removed from the flashy cars and skyscrapers of ultra-rich Qatar, but efforts to end fighting between Hamas and Israel could hinge on how the tiny Gulf Arab state wields its influence over a Palestinian militant group with few friends left… That support is prompting accusations that Qatar helped scuttle a lasting truce in the monthlong Gaza war, piling on pressure as the U.S. ally finds itself increasingly isolated as larger Mideast powers marginalize Islamists following the Arab Spring.” [AP]

TOP TALKER: “As Gov’t Diaspora Initiative Moves Forward, Politics at the Forefront” by Dan Brown: “In numerous conversations in the U.S. over the past few months (where the bulk of the Diaspora money will actually come from) eJP has heard continued skepticism as to the Initiative getting off the ground in a timely and meaningful way. That said, the various constitutiences, including a number of philanthropic partners, are supportive of The Agency and The Agency’s role… eJP has also learned that The Agency has brought a number of potential funders to the table and that in subsequent discussions, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry has gone around The Agency. Here in the U.S., funders are disturbed… Only a tiny number of Diaspora influencers understand this convergence of government budgets, ego and politics and how it plays out in real life Israel. The question is, can The Agency overcome these challenges, or will they choose a waiting game and hope that the allocation of portfolios following the next election positions them better. Stay tuned.” [eJewishPhil]

“Jewish Agency accuses Diaspora Affairs Ministry of disinformation on Diaspora initiative” by Sam Sokol: “Senior Jewish Agency officials wrote to members of their board of governors on Wednesday to refute allegations that the Zionist organization was being cut out of the government’s new Diaspora outreach initiative.” [JPost]

Giant Palestinian Flag Dropped Over Manhattan Bridge: In the latest breach of security on New York City bridges, a large banner in the colors of the Palestinian flag was hanging on the south edge of the East River span, reading ‘Boycott,’ ‘Divest,’ ‘Sanction.’ It reads ‘Gaza in our hearts’ in the center. Copsimmediately removed the flag and were investigating to determine who displayed it. No arrests were reported. [Daily News] Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield expressed his outrage at this act of hate. “It is certainly the constitutional right of a handful of New Yorkers to support Hamas terrorists at their march today. However, they have no right to fly an anti-Semitic flag from the bridge,” Greenfield told JP. “I am disappointed that the NYPD did not stop this hateful act.” [JP]

BuzzFeed: “Forbes Won’t Explain Why It Deleted Gaza Post” by Anita Badejo: “On the morning of August 8th, Forbes contributor Jeff Ballabon—a former Washington lobbyist and conservative Republican leader with deep roots in the Orthodox Jewish community— published a post on “The 20 Most Ridiculous Things People Believe About The Hamas/Israel Conflict.” A few hours later, the piece was deleted. “They just killed the link. There was no explanation at all,” he told BuzzFeed. He quickly took to Twitter to air his frustration. According to Ballabon, Forbes has since given him “conflicting and changing reasons,” as to why they took down the post, the most recent of which was “It’s just a list of links.” “There was no discussion of style, there was no discussion of format..” Ballabon has been unable to access his Forbes contributor account since the post was removed, “I don’t think what they did can be justified and I think that’s why they’re not justifying it,” he said. [BuzzFeed]

PLAYBOOK: David Gregory writing a book on Judaism: “Gregory is writing a book about his Jewish faith, for publication next year. Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Publishing Group emails Playbook: “I met David Gregory in 2010 through a mutual friend. … David and I began discussing a potential book about his personal faith and the spiritual journey people take in their lives. We came to terms on the contract in 2011 and have been working together on the project since then. David is a natural storyteller who asks great questions of himself as well as his subjects. I’m confident that a lot of readers are going to want to take this journey along with him.” [Politico]

**Good Thursday 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**

CAMPUS BEAT: “Pro-Israel student attacked at Temple U” by William A. Jacobson: “A Jewish student on the campus of Temple University was assaulted on Wednesday afternoon and called “kike” and “baby killer” by members of the anti-Semitic student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Daniel Vessal, a Camera on Campus fellow and a member of the Jewish fraternity AEPi, was punched in the face by a violent member of the anti-Israel organization SJP at “Templefest” which is organized for students on campus to gain new information about campus clubs a week before the start of classes.” [LegalInsurrection]
Non-Jewish College Students Find an Unexpected Home on Campus—at Hillel: “Be it bagels or spirituality, there’s something about Jewish communities on the college campus that attracts students who do not personally identify as Jewish. The number is not always sizable, but at many colleges there is a group of students who, while not technically Jewish, become some of the community’s most dedicated members. Often, as in Gayle’s case, it all begins with an invitation from a Jewish friend to attend an event at Hillel. For some students it might end at that one visit, but many others become attracted to Hillel’s wide variety of programs and social events. And so they become fellow travelers.” [TabletMag]

BuzzFeed: “Behind The Shocking Letter About The Rise In Anti-Semitism In The UK That Went Viral” [BuzzFeed]

TRANSITIONS: CEO David Frankel to Leave Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty: “The scandal-damaged Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty is losing yet another CEO. The former commissioner of the New York City Department of Finance, Frankel has worked to regain donors’ and government agencies’ trust in the Met Council in his year at the organization. A spokesman for the Met Council confirmed that Frankel planned to leave the organization. “David Frankel has done extraordinary things for Met Council over the past year — including envisioning a reorganization strategy to sustain our core services for years to come,” the spokesman said, in a statement.” [Forward]

—Geoffrey Melada named new editor-in-chief at the Washington Jewish Week: “Melada is an award-winning journalist who began his career in 2000 as a reporter for the Jewish Exponent. He has written extensively for magazines since then, including Inside Magazine, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He holds a BA in English from Haverford College, an MA in Journalism from Columbia University and a JD from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Melada is licensed to practice law in three states and is a former litigator for Reed Smith LLP, the world’s 15th largest law firm.” [WashBizJournal]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Argentina Seeks to Sidestep U.S. Court in a Bond Dispute” by Alexandra Stevenson and Jonathan Gilbert: “Argentina has proposed a way to pay its bondholders in a move that would bypass a United States court ruling that has blocked its payments and sent the country spiraling into default last month. The government said on Wednesday that it had sent a draft bill to Congress that would allow foreign investors holding Argentine debt to swap their defaulted bonds for new ones subject to local law… But the group of hedge funds, led by a unit of Paul E. Singer’s Elliott Management, owns bonds that were never included in the exchange and took Argentina to court in an attempt to be paid full value for them, gaining the name “holdouts.” [DealBook]

STARTUP NATION: “Mati Kochavi sets up $120M Israel Start-Up Fund” by Roy Goldenberg: “Businessman Mati Kochavi, who owns technology companies AGT International and Logic Industries, has set up Moonscape Ventures to invest $120 million in Israeli start-ups. AGT operates in Internet of Things and Logic provides electronic sensors in the security sector. Moonscape Ventures will make early stage investments in a wide variety of sectors related to the Internet of Things, including smart cities, big data and news and media technologies. First round investments will range from $500,000-$5 million.” [Globes] — “OECD: Israel fourth in foreign direct investment” [JPost] — “Israel’s Most Important Source of Capital: California” [CP]

RISING STAR: “Apple can’t hide from a 20-year-old Jewish reporter” by Michael Rosenwald: “The best-sourced reporter covering Apple Inc., one of the world’s most secretive companies, is a 20-year-old junior at the University of Michigan. His name is Mark Gurman. He makes more than six figures a year as senior editor and scoop master at 9to5Mac.com, a news outlet most people have never heard of. In the interest of truth, which Gurman is known to pursue with almost religious zeal, it should be noted that he sometimes types stories in class.” [CJR]

SPORTS BLINK: Jewish Teen Will Feel Right at Home at U.S. Open: “At the tennis facility on Randall’s Island, Noah Rubin looks just like the scores of other teenagers practicing. After all, he’s 18 years old. Rubin may blend in with his slight, 5-foot-9 build, but he isn’t quite like the other kids.. The Long Island native is a homegrown celebrity. Next week, he’ll be one of the youngest competitors at the 2014 U.S. Open… Eric Rubin, who also serves as a coach for Noah, said the dearth of American talent has only boosted the support they receive. “Between New York, the U.S. and [being] Jewish, we hear it from everywhere,” he said.” [WSJ]

TALK OF THE TOWN: NY woman faces jail in $180K identity, check theft: “A Long Island woman faces 18 months in jail for using a stolen identity to cash more than $180,000 worth of checks she pilfered from a Jewish charity. Prosecutors say the 42-year-old Westbury woman used a fake driver’s license in another person’s name and bank accounts in the names of several businesses to cash checks from Rockville Centre-based Jewish National Fund.” [WSJ]

HOLLYWOOD: “Executives Condemn “Hamas Terroritsts” in ADL Ad” by Tina Daunt: “The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday placed a full-page ad calling upon world leaders and “decent people everywhere ” to make sure that “Hamas terrorists” cannot be rearmed so the “people of Gaza and Israel can move toward a more peaceful future.” Among those signing the letter were MGM chairman Gary Barber, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, Nu Image/Millennium Films co-chairman Avi Lerner, Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal and Saban Capital Group chairman and CEO Haim Saban.” [HollywoodReporter]

That’s all folks, have a great Thursday! 

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