Daily Kickoff: Bob Kraft’s win | Tlaib shares why she decided to suddenly support BDS | VIP dining in DC
TOP TALKER — Patriots owner Robert Kraft wins key court decision as judge throws out explicit video evidence — by John Breech: “Patriots owner Robert Kraft picked up a major victory in court on Monday when a judge in Palm Beach County ruled that the explicit video from Kraft’s case can’t be used in court… a move that will make it difficult for the prosecution to win a conviction against the Patriots owner.” [CBSSports]
— “The next step would most likely be for Mr. Kraft’s lawyers to file a motion to dismiss the case. For now, the prosecutor in the case has left open the option of an appeal of Monday’s ruling.” [NYTimes]
DRIVING THE CONVO — On Monday, President Trump criticized Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) latest comments on Israel and the Holocaust while Democrats rushed to defend her and pushed back against critics. “Democrat Rep. Tlaib is being slammed for her horrible and highly insensitive statement on the Holocaust,” Trump tweeted. “She obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) replied to the president on Twitter: “You praised people at a neo-Nazi rally. We don’t have to imagine. This is another transparent attempt to sow division b/t minority communities and distract from your own criminal behavior by smearing a Muslim woman. No one should fall for it this time.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) posted: “Republicans’ desperate attempts to smear Rep. Rashida Tlaib and misrepresent her comments are outrageous. President Donald Trump & House GOP should apologize to Rep. Tlaib & the American people for their gross misrepresentations.”
In a statement, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) echoedPelosi and suggested that Republicans owe Tlaib an apology.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) called the backlash a “hateful” and “smear” campaign against one of the first Muslim-American congresswoman.
Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-AZ) added, “The goal of this ongoing effort to twist the words of minority Democratic women is to marginalize them, deepen our country’s divide & distract from what (& who) is truly racist and hateful.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said it was “dangerous” that the Republican leadership “is spreading straight-up lies.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) also tweeted in defense of Tlaib. “Mr. President: Stop dividing the American people up by their religion, their race or their country of origin — and stop your ugly attacks against Muslim women in Congress. You are taking Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s comments out of context and should apologize.”
HEARD THIS AM — TLAIB ON NYT’S THE DAILY PODCAST:
Host Michael Barbaro: Has the experience you have had over the last 100 days, alongside Ilhan Omar, brought you to a place where it feels like you want to speak out more about this issue, or does it make it feel like you’ve said what you needed to say and maybe now you’re going to switch to other issues that you care about, and maybe be a little bit quieter?
Tlaib: “I can equally do both, right? But I feel much more of a responsibility to speak out. The more they try to shut me up, the more I speak out. The more they try to bully me, the more I speak out. You know, that even on BDS, I never had a stance on it until they tried to criminalize it.”
Barbaro: So when your colleagues say that boycotting and divesting from Israel should be much harder to do, that’s when you decided, ‘I am going to support this’?
Tlaib: “I actually came out when I heard that they’re going to move the anti-BDS bill, and the first thing I thought about was all the young people, everybody that I have met that truly believes in economic boycott — but also growing up here, we learned about how economic boycott got us closer to at least a viable civil rights movement in our country.” [TheDaily; JewishInsider]
In an appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, Tlaib jokedthat she got a text message from someone who suggested she “talk like a fourth grader” next time so that “maybe the racist idiots” would understand her better.
HOW IT PLAYED — “The remarks, and the ensuing partisan furor on Monday, set off yet another feud over Israel, antisemitism and the first two Muslim women in the House,” Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes.
Halie Soifer, Executive Director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), tells JI, “We do agree with Leader Hoyer that Rep. Tlaib’s comments were taken out of context. She did not express ‘calm’ about the Holocaust. At the same time, her comments represent revisionist history — unfortunately, the Palestinians were not as welcoming of Jews in the aftermath of the Holocaust as she suggests. Trump’s response is the height of hypocrisy. It requires no imagination — as he’s suggesting — to envision his stoking the flames of antisemitism because he’s done just that over the past three years.”
Aaron Keyak, former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council: “There’s no question that Rep. Tlaib was wrong. She fundamentally misunderstands the lessons of the Holocaust, how the miracle of Israel came to be, and that advocating for a one-state solution means that the state of Israel as we know it will cease to exist. Given her past comments on the issue, she does not get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to comments that are clearly in favor of a one-state solution.”
RJC’s Matt Brooks says: “Sadly, leading Democrats continue to stand by Tlaib and defend her. The Republican Jewish Coalition is proud to combat antisemitism on the far right as well as the progressive left. We call on other Jewish groups on the left to stand up and confront antisemitism in their ranks.”
Abe Foxman tells JI, “What Tlaib said is not true, historically inaccurate, and propaganda. Again, Jews, Israel and Jewish history become a political football. Democrats should condemn it for what it is and not defend it for what it isn’t, and Republicans shouldn’t exaggerate it for what is not — antisemitism — it is not.”
Michael Oren tweeted: “Tlaib’s comment was not antisemitic but ahistorical. The Palestinians massacred Jews, violently opposed their search for shelter, and collaborated with the Nazis. But gross ignorance of history must be distinguished from antisemitism.”
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a Twitter thread that while it’d be “appropriate” for Tlaib to clarify her comments, “it is not acceptable for elected leaders to weaponize others’ comments about Jews or the Holocaust for political gain.”
HEARD ON CABLE — Wilson Center’s Aaron David Miller on CNN’s Inside Politics with John King: “First of all, I think there ought to be a ban on the deployment or employment of Holocaust imagery in metaphor in Washington politics. Every time it’s used and deployed and has been, by Republicans, Democrats, it’s wrong. Genocide is not a unique event, but the willful murder — systematic, organized murder — of six out of every seven million European Jews, is a unique event. Every time it’s done, it leads to misunderstanding and antagonism… This was ill-timed and ill-advised and I think, clearly is simply going to antagonize and polarize the already polarized debate in Washington.”
John King: “[Tlaib] ignored the fact that Palestinian leaders at the time allied themselves with Hitler and that total war is how the Arab world reacted to the declaration of Israeli independence. She can’t rewrite that history and you can’t project revisionist history.” [Video]
Jonathan Chait writes… “Republicans Call Tlaib Anti-Semitic for Saying Something Nice About Israel: Amazingly, her positive comment about the establishment of the state of Israel is being twisted into a positive comment about the Holocaust. Of course, it is true that the Holocaust is what led to the establishment of Israel. The causal relationship between the two events is an undeniable historical fact, one that Jews frequently observe. Tlaib is repeating the same basic observation that Jews habitually make — out of the darkness comes light.” [NYMag]
Liel Leibovitz writes… “Rashida Tlaib’s Unbelievable Lies: [There were 436] Holocaust survivors killed by Palestinians and Jordanians violently opposing the creation of a safe haven for Jews in the what had historically and spiritually been their homeland. To attempt and rewrite their well-documented experiences is to victimize them yet again, an unforgivable and deeply anti-Semitic act.” [Tablet]
GULF GAP — EU foreign ministers warned Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the risks of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran as he made an unexpected visit to Brussels on Monday. “We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended,” British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt told reporters. EU’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, maintained that the EU will continue backing the 2015 deal “with all our instruments and all our political will.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has prepared a plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack U.S. forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, the New York Times reports. The plan was presented by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan at a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides convened by National Security Advisor John Bolton last Thursday. U.S. intelligence suspects Iran could have carried out attacks on four tankers near the United Arab Emirates this week.
On Monday, President Trump proclaimed that the Iranians “won’t be happy people” if they target U.S. interests during a gaggle with reporters at the start of a meeting with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban in the Oval Office, “It’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens, I can tell you that. they’re not going to be happy.” Asked to clarify, the president responded: “You can figure it out yourself. They know what I mean by it.”
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said in an interview on Fox Business with Maria Bartiromo: “[Trump] had the guts to take us out of a bad nuclear agreement with Iran — that’s the beginning — big change. Second, he imposed sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps — also a big change and increased those sanctions. Iran is hurting. So it has begun to threaten us and I appreciate very much that the president has basically said with action sending American military forces over to their region don’t think you’re going to strike at us and not have us strike back at you.” [Video]
HEARD LAST NIGHT — Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a 2020 presidential candidate, on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell: “I fought Iranians before on the ground, in Iraq in 2004. It was bloody, we won, and I’d fight Iran again if necessary, but this is not necessary. Sending a hundred and twenty thousand troops into the Middle East because of provocations from Iran, I mean we had provocations back in September — they attacked the Baghdad Embassy. Secretary Mattis, who’s fought Iranians, he said, ‘No, we’re not going to get into a war.’ This is chickenhawks in the administration. I mean if you saw a definition of chickenhawks in the dictionary, it would be John Bolton and Donald Trump. And by the way, I think we all know who’s the hawk and who’s the chicken.” [Video]
HEARD THE OTHER DAY — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) suggested in an interview on the Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis on Sunday that Saudi Arabia and Iran need to be seen as ‘two evils.’ Iran and Saudi Arabia “are forms of the same kind of evil,” Paul said. “Iran is a religious dictatorship, but so is Saudi Arabia. And if you look at mischief, Iran creates a great deal of mischief in the Middle East, but Saudi Arabia creates mischief not only in the Middle East but worldwide — by funding these madrassas, these schools that teach hatred of Christians, Jews and Hindus. And really, when I stack them up, I really think Saudi Arabia is actually more of a problem worldwide — with jihadism and radical Islam — than Iran is.” [CatsRoundtable]
TALK OF THE REGION — Hanan Ashrawi, a top official in the Palestine Liberation Organization, said in a series of tweets on Monday that she believes she had been denied a visa to the U.S. for political reasons. “It is official! My U.S. visa application has been rejected. No reason given,” Ashrawi, who has visited the U.S. dozens of times in the past, wrote. She posited that “this administration has decided I do not deserve to set foot in the U.S.”
A State Department spokesperson said in a statement, “US law does not authorize the refusal of visas based solely on political statements or views if those statements or views would be lawful in the United States. Visas may be denied only on grounds set out in U.S. law.”
New data released on Tuesday show a 39 percent increase in government spending for settlements in the West Bank following the election of President Trump. “We are making up for lost ground,” Oded Revivi, the chief foreign envoy of Yesha Council, explained. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in response, “This proves that the current U.S. administration encouraged settlement activities.”
LONG READ — A Palestinian in Israeli Military Court: Issa Amro, the Judge, & Me — by Batya Ungar-Sargon: “Judge Menachem Lieberman, the court reporter, the prosecutor, and the army spokesperson who accompanied me all wore military uniforms. But Judge Lieberman and the prosecutor, Major Ben Bar, had more than just their military garb in common. Both wore knitted yarmulkas… Both were born in North America, in stark contrast to Amro, whose family has lived in Hebron for over ten generations. And it turned out that Lieberman and Bar had even more in common: they were related, through marriage — a fact that the judge disclosed to the courtroom at the end of that long day of testimony. ‘Do you know what six degrees of separation are?’ Judge Lieberman asked Amro, sounding more like someone’s cousin from New Jersey than an Israeli military judge. ‘When it comes to religious Zionists, it’s one degree of separation.’” [NYBooks]
HAPPENING TODAY — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend an event marking one year since the U.S. Embassy moved to Jerusalem held at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem at 6 pm Israeli time (11 am EST).
ACROSS THE SEA — The Polish government canceled a planned visit by an Israeli Foreign Ministry delegation on Monday, saying the Israeli government made “last-minute changes in the composition of the delegation suggesting that the talks would primarily focus on the issues related to property restitution.” The decision followed the revelation that the head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s unit for property restitution was joining the delegation.
2020 WATCH — Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced on Tuesday that he’s running for president… Bernie Sanders, a front-runner with financing to prove it, struggles to retain outsider status…Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Julián Castro are all wooing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but for the second time in five days, the freshman congresswoman is set to appear alongside Sanders… Cory Booker supporters seethe over Pete Buttigieg mania… Iowa’s likely outcome for 2020 contenders: A field of broken dreams…
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BUSINESS BRIEFS:Condé Nast Sells Golf Digest to David Zaslav’s Discovery Inc. [NYTimes] • With the Viacom Merger Looming, Winter Is Coming to CBS [Vanity Fair] • Slack aims to be the most important software company in the world, says CEO Stewart Butterfield [TechCrunch] • Teva Pharmaceutical drops 16% after 44 states accuse drugmaker of conspiring to hike generic drug prices [CNBC] • Israel regulator warns of medical cannabis bubble, eyes Australia pact [Reuters] • Eurovision Is a Financial Gamble for Host Countries [Billboard]
WhatsApp voice calls used to inject Israeli spyware on phones — by Mehul Srivastava: “WhatsApp… discovered in early May that attackers were able to install surveillance software on to both iPhones and Android phones by ringing up targets using the app’s phone call function. The malicious code, developed by the secretive Israeli company NSO Group, could be transmitted even if users did not answer their phones, and the calls often disappeared from call logs, said the spyware dealer.” [FinancialTimes; CNN]
SPOTLIGHT — Meet the man behind Hudson Yards — by Cindy Adams: “Everybody knows Hudson Yards. Nobody knows Dan Doctoroffnamed it. Anybody doesn’t know Dan Doctoroff? When he was Mayor Bloomberg’s No. 2, he and I assessed Olympic possibilities… Today, as chairman of Hudson Yards’ $475 million building the Shed, he gave me a tour and said: ‘Being at the Hudson and the old railroad yards begat the name. Fully done, Hudson Yards will have taken us 30 years. It’ll take another eight to finish before becoming NYC’s premier cultural institution. To start we raised $530 million. Bloomberg gave $75 mil, Tisch $27.5 mil then companies like Time Warner, Coach, Google, BlackRock came in… Five years of me losing sleep. I constantly worried we’d run out of money. People came through at critical moments.'” [PageSix]
N.Y.U. Hires Law Firm to Investigate Behavior of Steinhardt, a Prominent Donor — by Sharon Otterman: “N.Y.U. said on Monday that it had hired a prominent law firm to investigate whether the namesake of its school of education, Michael H. Steinhardt, had engaged in inappropriate conduct with students, faculty or staff… Abraham Foxman, the former longtime head of the Anti-Defamation League, was asked not to give a planned graduation speech this year at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the nation’s main Reform Jewish seminary, because of his remarks in support of Mr. Steinhardt in the Times/ProPublica article. The seminary had asked Mr. Foxman for a public clarification of his remarks… When Mr. Foxman declined to provide one, his invitation, which included an honorary degree, was rescinded.” [NYTimes]
NOT THE ONION — Shia LaBeouf & Mel Gibson Set For Satire ‘Rothchild’ From ‘Stan & Ollie’ Director Jon S. Baird — by Andreas Wiseman: “Shia LaBeouf and Mel Gibson have been set to star in dark satire Rothchild about New York’s super rich. Stan & Ollie director Jon S. Baird is on board to direct the feature… The project, whose title puns on the wealthy Rothschild group, charts how charismatic outcast Becket Rothchild (LaBeouf) plots his way back into his family’s riches, setting himself on a collision course with patriarch Whitelaw Rothchild (Gibson).” [Deadline]
— “A representative for actor Mel Gibson claimed in a statement Monday evening that the controversial star’s upcoming movie project was “completely unrelated” to the Rothschilds. ‘I feel the need to spare you any embarrassment as I’m told this film is about a fictional family (hence the name ‘Rothchild’) vs the Rothschild family to which you are referring,’ publicist Gibson’s longtime publicist Alan Nierob wrote in an email.” [DailyBeast]
EUROVISION — Madonna, on Eurovision, says she won’t bow ‘to suit someone’s political agenda’ — by Jill Serjeant: “Pop superstar Madonna on Tuesday explained her decision to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel this week, saying that she will always speak up to defend human rights and hopes to see ‘a new path toward peace.’ Madonna will make a guest appearance on Saturday during the Eurovision finals in Tel Aviv.”[Reuters] • Madonna expected to land in Israel in private jet owned by Sylvan Adams [JPost]
A slice of Jewish Calcutta — by Jael Silliman: “Although there are less than twenty or so Jewish people in Calcutta, India, there are three synagogues. The Neveh Shalome, the Beth El and the Magen David exist rather close to one another in what was once central Calcutta, home to many communities who came to the city in the 18th and 19th centuries… Today there are only four Torah scrolls, sefer torahs, left in Calcutta… The fact that the synagogues are not used for services denotes the migration of the Jews from Calcutta. The last wedding held in the Magen David was in the early 1980s. Today, services are held when Jewish visitors from abroad attend the synagogue for special occasions or when they visit India to pray in synagogues across the country as part of Indian Jewish heritage tours.” [TelegraphIndia]
TALK OF THIS TOWN — Inside the Pampered and Personalized World of DC’s VIP Diners — by Jessica Sidman: “Because of ethics rules, politicians themselves aren’t generally feted with freebies, but as the de facto celebrities in town, they are (generally) coveted and (often) catered to. Privacy is the one perk they’re most likely to be offered—think amenities such as a secret back door (RPM Italian in Mount Vernon Square) or tables with curtains (Marcel’s in Foggy Bottom).”
“Still, if you’re a famous face out at a hot spot, sometimes staff can only do so much. One night early in the Trump administration when Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner dined at Masseria, Trump got up to use the restroom and some other women in the dining room followed her, a former employee says: ‘These women got out their phones and were holding them in front of them, waiting for the door to open to take a photo of her. She walks out of the bathroom and immediately there’s flashes. They didn’t even turn their f—ing flash off.’ The staff was just about to swoop in and extract Trump from the situation, but she put up her palm to stop the intervention. She then did a curtsy for the women, threw her arm around one for a couple of selfies, and walked back to her table as if it were no big deal.” [Washingtonian]
NYC POWER LUNCH SIGHTING — Chris Christie runs into Charles Kushner during lunch at Fresco — by Ian Mohr: “’Things got a little dicey when real estate developer Charles Kushner was dining and [former New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie walked into the restaurant,’ a spy said. But after lunch, ‘Kushner walked over to Christie’s table, shook his hand and left.'”[PageSix]
DESSERT — What’s In Kosher Recipe Influencer Chanie Apfelbaum’s Cart? — by Lauren Le Vine: “Chanie Apfelbaum, known on Instagram as @busyinbrooklyn, was born and raised in a kosher home in Brooklyn. According to Apfelbaum, the traditional Jewish foods she grew up eating, such as gefilte fish, stuffed cabbage, and matzah ball soup, are the inspiration for the dishes she creates. By putting creative twists on old-time cuisine like latkes (she makes them out of sushi rice) Apfelbaum is on a mission to ‘prove that kosher fare is anything but old-fashioned.’” [Refinery29]
BIRTHDAYS: Facebook’s chairman, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg turns 35… Education program lead of Bloomberg Philanthropies and director of Michael Bloomberg’s Pac, he is a former Deputy Mayor of NYC, Howard Wolfson turns 52… Born in Casablanca and raised in Paris, Midtown NYC hair stylist for media moguls and owner of La Boîte a Coupe salon, Elie Laurent Delouya turns 71… Physician, environmental and social activist and politician, she was the Green Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 and 2016 elections, Jill Stein turns 69… Technion professor of computer science, Orna Grumberg turns 67… Dean of Berkeley Law School, he is one of the most frequently cited American legal scholars on constitutional law and federal civil procedure, Erwin Chemerinsky turns 66…
Los Angeles City Attorney since 2013, previously a member of the California Assembly (2006-2012), the Los Angeles City Council (1995-2001) and executive director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Mike Feuer turns 61… Author of six international bestsellers on strategy and power, Robert Greene turns 60… ESPN’s SportsCenter anchor, Suzanne Lisa “Suzy” Kolber turns 55… Managing partner of Alexandria, VA-based MVAR Media and a leading strategist in Democratic politics, Jon Vogel turns 44… Emmy Award-winning executive producer of CNN’s political and special events programming, David Philip Gelles turns 42… Bloomberg Businessweek reporter covering the union movement, labor law and related policies and politics, Josh Eidelson turns 35…
Actress who has appeared in twelve movies, member of a band called Wardell with her brother Theo, daughter of Steven Spielberg, Sasha Rebecca Spielberg turns 29… VP of government relations at The Blackstone Group since 2019, he was previously a senior staffer on Senate Majority PAC and an aide/speechwriter for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Alex I. Katzturns 29… Research analyst at SRI International’s Center for Education Policy, former track star and then football player at Harvard, Andrew Ezekoye turns 27… Senior defense analyst for Bloomberg Government, he is a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force and was previously a strategic communications consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, Robert Levinson…