Daily Kickoff: ADL, NJDC ream out Rehm | Jeb tours Auschwitz | Bilderberg today | Paul Singer takes on Samsung | Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Opens Today
TOP TALKER: “Did NPR host Diane Rehm just accuse Bernie Sanders of dual citizenship with Israel?” by Jared Sichel: “Diane Rehm: Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel. Bernie Sanders: Well, no I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I’m an American. I don’t know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I’m an American citizen, period.”
“Rehm: I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list. Sanders: No. Rehm: Forgive me if that is— Sanders: That’s some of the nonsense that goes on in the internet. But that is absolutely not true. Rehm: Interesting. Are there members of Congress who do have dual citizenship or is that part of the fable? Sanders: I honestly don’t know but I have read that on the internet. You know, my dad came to this country from Poland at the age of 17 without a nickel in his pocket. He loved this country. I am, you know, I got offended a little bit by that comment, and I know it’s been on the internet. I am obviously an American citizen and I do not have any dual citizenship.” [JewishJournal; YouTube]
Jared Sichel: “Thank you to @J_Insider for urging me to listen to Diane Rehm’s interview this morning. And to think I almost didn’t answer my phone.” [Twitter]
Note: Hats off to the JI reader who, while listening to NPR yesterday, immediately alerted us to Rehm’s strange line of questioning thereby ensuring that we, at Tribe Media/Jewish Journal, were the first to report on this ‘shanda.’ Yesterday’s episode begs the question whether this story would have gone unreported otherwise and whether this is also proof that no one in the Beltway media actually listens to the Diane Rehm Show anymore. Either way, keep those news tips coming folks. Thanks!
HOW IT PLAYED: “Bernie Sanders Denies Internet Claim on Dual Israeli Citizenship” [NYTimes] • “Bernie Sanders offended by Diane Rehm’s Israeli citizenship question” [Politico] • Other coverage: [FreeBeacon; TPM; TheHill; ToI; JP; JTA; Vox]
Rehm’s Statement: “On today’s show I made a mistake. Rather than asking Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders whether he had dual U.S./Israeli citizenship, as I had read in a comment on Facebook, I stated it as fact. He corrected me, saying he did not know where the question came from. I apologized immediately. I want to apologize as well to all our listeners for having made an erroneous statement. I am sorry for the mistake. However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest.”
ADL’s Abe Foxman responds: “Diane Rehm’s questions were inappropriate, insensitive questioning without any minimal journalistic checking of claims… Ms. Rehm’s description and follow-up question about whether other Senators have dual citizenship with Israel play into classic anti-Semitic charges of dual loyalty. Such charges have been leveled for centuries and have been a catalyst for scapegoating and vilifying Jews… Her mistake was to not research it before she even stated it as fact. She shouldn’t have asked the question, period. Had she researched it, she wouldn’t have raised it at all. Because her question challenges not only his loyalty, but also Jewish loyalties to this country.”
Jewish Dems: “Greg Rosenbaum, chair of the NJDC Board of Directors, stated, “It is appalling that in today’s age, a longtime Jewish elected official would face implications that he splits his loyalty between the United States and Israel for no reason other than his religion. This anti-Semitic canard of dual loyalty has persisted for decades, particularly about American Jews in public service. To directly ask, as Diane Rehm did, if there are members of Congress who hold dual citizenship with Israel is unbelievably offensive and completely indefensible. Furthermore, Ms. Rehm’s subsequent statement that she is glad to have been able to put this ‘rumor’ to rest is no apology at all.” [NJDC] • RJC’s Matt Brooks tweets “Absolutely agree!” [Twitter]
TOP TWEETS: @JBarro — “On the next Diane Rehm Show, does jet fuel burn hot enough to melt steel? Facebook commenters disagree.” [Twitter] • @Yair_Rosenberg — “Kind of hope Sanders is elected president just so he can crack jokes about being a secret Israeli at the White House Correspondents Dinner.” [Twitter] • @JeffreyGoldberg — “If only Diane Rehm knew that Bernie Sanders once served as the Mossad’s Burlington, Vermont, station chief.” [Twitter] • @pillageidiot — “He has dual citizenship with Vermont, which is more of a foreign country than Israel.” [Twitter]
Flashback: From Mark Leibovich in 2007 — “Sanders spent time on a kibbutz in Israel after graduation and then moved to Vermont with his first wife.” [NYTimesMag]
“What is it about Brooklyn’s James Madison High?” by Mike Vogel: “What do Democratic presidential contender and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, singer-songwriter Carole King, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Judge Judith (“Judge Judy”) Sheindlin have in common? They are graduates of Brooklyn’s James Madison High School. Somehow, the public school nestled on Bedford Avenue between Avenue P and Quentin Road has produced three U.S. senators, four Nobel Prize winners and an eye-opening list of other graduates who have made major contributions to society.” [amNY] • Hmm… Is it possible they share something else in common as well?
2016 WATCH: “J Street poll: Jewish Americans favor Hillary over Jeb” by Nick Gass: “Clinton beats Bush in a hypothetical matchup by a count of 68 percent to 30 percent, with 2 percent undecided. The J Street poll, conducted by the Democratic-leaning GBA Strategies, was conducted May 31-June 3 among 1,000 self-identified Jews in the United States. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.” [Politico; JP] • Alternative headline: “Poll Shows Shift in GOP Jewish Vote May Endure” [FreeBeacon] • See the full poll [GBA]
“Jeb Bush Tours Auschwitz” by Michael C. Bender: “Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush made an unannounced stop in Krakow on Wednesday to tour the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Bush toured the camp with wife, Columba, Bloomberg confirmed. He didn’t invite the roughly 10 reporters from the U.S. and Europe following the former Florida governor on his five-day, three-country tour, out of respect for the site and those affected, a Bush aide said.” [Bloomberg]
“Jeb on pace to raise $100 million” by Ben White: “The biggest guessing game in the presidential race these days is just how massive a war chest former Florida governor Jeb Bush will announce on July 15th, the first official deadline for candidates to disclose their financial position. The answer: It will be massive and very likely over $100 million, though the exact figure remains unclear. And we probably won’t know even then precisely how much the Bush juggernaut actually has. That’s because Bush Inc. has at least four vehicles for campaign contributors.” [Politico] • Deep Dive: “How Jeb Bush’s campaign ran off course before it even began” [WashPost]
Matt Lewis on Jennifer Rubin, Ezra Klein: “The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin has a blog called “The Right Turn,” while Ezra Klein, who came to the Post as a blogger at the liberal American Prospect, wrote at the philosophically neutral-sounding Wonkblog. This isn’t to knock Rubin or Klein, but while there are plenty of very good liberal writers at mainstream outlets, rarely are they assigned a space called ‘The Left Hook.’” [PowerPost]
Gary Rosenblatt on Abe Foxman: “In 1965,… Abraham Foxman, a 25-year-old immigrant fresh out of law school, took a job as assistant director of the legal department of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. Much has changed in the last 50 years, including the famed Jewish defense agency’s name, now simply ADL. But Foxman has been there through it all, combating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, speaking out for civil rights and human rights, and seeking to educate a generation born after the Holocaust he survived as a child and which shaped his worldview.” [JewishWeek] • “The Foxman File”[JewishWeek]
Jack Lew Look-Alike: “Venezuelan State Media Invented A Fake White House Staffer To Shut Down Their Critics” by Will Freeman: “Jim Luers has also been an FBI agent, a Treasury Department spokesperson, and member of the intelligence community. Oh, and he apparently looks just like the Treasury secretary.” [BuzzFeed]
HAPPENING TODAY: “The Bilderberg meeting, an annual gathering of some of the most powerful and influential figures in the world, starts on Thursday. But who’s on this year’s guest list?” [BBC] • Participants include: Henry Kissinger, William Burns, Thomas Donilon, Reid Hoffman, Alex Karp, Henry Kravis, Jim Messina, David Petraeus, Heather Reisman, Robert Rubin, Eric Schmidt.
IRAN TALKS: “Two weeks before Iran nuclear deal deadline, Israeli delegation to head to Washington” by Barak Ravid: “An Israeli delegation headed by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen will arrive in Washington on Monday for a final round of talks with senior U.S. officials over the nuclear deal unfolding between the world powers and Iran. The deadline for the nuclear agreement is set for June 30. A senior Israeli official said that Cohen will meet with White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice, as well as the head negotiators representing the U.S. in the talks with Iran.” [Haaretz]
“Hotels That Hosted Iran Talks Have No Idea They May Have Been Hacked” by Sheera Frenkel: “None of the luxury hotels that hosted sensitive nuclear discussions between Iran and world powers were aware of a new report that said a virus previously linked to Israel had possibly infected their systems.” [BuzzFeed] • “‘Up to 100’ targets in cyber espionage case implicating Israel” [JPost] • “How Online Spying Is Like Online Dating” [WSJ] • Deputy FM Tzipi Hotovely: “Reports that Israel spied on talks ‘baseless'” [IH]
“Wanted: New spymaster who can watch Iran, forge secret ties” by Mitch Ginsburg: “As Mossad head Tamir Pardo closes out his term, the cast of possible replacements includes old hands from the clandestine service and tried & tested army chiefs.” [ToI]
“It’s a Happy Israel, After All” by Aaron David Miller: “Embroiled in endless conflict and surrounded by hostile neighbors, how is Israel the 11th happiest nation in the world?” [ForeignPolicy]
STARTUP NATION: “Meet the Cybersecurity Startup That’s Caught the Eye of Google’s Eric Schmidt” by Carly Okyle: “The company’s founder, Ofer Israeli, was a member of Israel’s elite 8200 Unit. He used his training when creating the software, so it’s much harder to crack. Moreover, Illusive Networks raised $5 million in Series A funding from cybersecurity think tank Team 8, which is a partner with Innovation Endeavors, the VC firm founded by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.” [Entrepreneur] • “Amazon to expand its operations in Israel” [Haaretz]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “American Billionaire Paul Singer Takes on Samsung” by Rose Kim: “Paul Elliott Singer could not have picked a bigger fight in South Korea. The American hedge-fund manager said he would oppose a proposed merger within Samsung Group, thereby laying down a challenge to the country’s most powerful company and its richest family. Predictably, all hell has broken loose. The local press has attacked Singer as a meddling pariah, casting doubt on his motives and advocating more protection for domestic companies… Yet the support for Samsung is hardly unanimous. Hundreds of minority investors are banding together to back Singer and, perhaps more importantly, the government has stayed neutral.” [Bloomberg]
REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Gary Barnett sells Midtown building for $79 million” [Rew] • “Hertz Investment Group looking at buying two Downtown Jacksonville towers” [JaxDailyRecord] • “Richard LeFrak, The LeFrak Organization, and Jeffrey Soffer, Turnberry Associates, discuss their development venture in Miami and the impact of a strong dollar on real estate.” [NBC News] • “Nightclub mogul Sam Nazarian spins off development arm of SBE” [LATimes] • “Nakash family leasing former Versace Mansion” [RealDeal]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “NYC Board of Health moves to end controversial circumcision rule” by Emily Ngo: “A Bloomberg-era consent form required for a controversial circumcision ritual used in some ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities is on its way out as New York City officials look to other means of educating parents about the health risks.” [Newsday]
TALK OF OUR NATION: “Spain Expected To Approve Sephardic Jew Citizenship Plan: Lawmakers in Spain’s lower house of Parliament are expected to give final approval to a law setting up a path toward citizenship for descendants of Jews forced to flee the country five centuries ago during the Inquisition.” [AP]
Out today in the U.K. – “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence” by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: “In this powerful and timely book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions. Through a close reading of key biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence, and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem.” [Amazon]
Grand Opening: “Dasha Zhukova’s New $27 Million Museum Aims to Push Russian Art Into Global Limelight” by Ivan Nechepurenko: “The desire to push Russian art into the international limelight was on display Wednesday at the press launch of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s grandiose new gallery space, the museum’s first permanent home. “I believe contemporary art is important because it reflects the moment that we are currently in,” said Dasha Zhukova, the founder of Garage and wife of billionaire oil tycoon Roman Abramovich.” [MoscowTimes]
ICYMI: “McBirthright: The Pilgrimage Orthodox Jews Take to Finally Eat Their Very First McDonald’s Burgers” by Abraham Riesman: “At Yael Reisman’s Orthodox Jewish high school, there were fevered tales about the wonders to be found in the Holy Land. Whenever her classmates returned to Elizabeth, New Jersey, after their first trips to Israel, they would speak of what they’d seen and experienced: “People come back and say, ‘You have to go to the Wailing Wall and you have to go to the beach and you have to see Masada, and'” — Reisman’s voice becomes hushed and emphatic — “‘you have to eat at McDonald’s.'” Specifically, you must eat your first McDonald’s hamburger. “It’s almost, like, imperative law,” Reisman says. “It’s practically biblical.” [GrubStreet] • Interesting to note that ‘Riesman’ interviewed ‘Reisman’ for this story…
BIRTHDAYS: White House Jewish Liaison Matt Nosanchuk… Jeremy Ben-Ami turns 53… Algemeiner’s David Efune (yesterday)
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