Daily Kickoff: DC prepares for AIPAC; Lindsey Graham to raise for Cruz on sidelines | Michael Cohen on boss Trump: ‘He is our patriarch’ | Kosher Salt

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MEET TEAM TRUMP: “Donald Trump is more than my boss, he is a patriarch” by Sandy Rashty: “Michael Cohen doesn’t sleep much. As Donald Trump’s right-hand man, there’s no time to do so at the moment. Yet he’s reluctant to describe his environment as a tough one in which to work. “Like Mr. Trump, I do not require much sleep,” he says… “My job is to protect him from all those who seek to malign him, the company or any of his vast corporate entities. As to the campaign, I only take a role when it affects Mr. Trump personally.”… “Over the years I have been offered very lucrative employment opportunities, which I summarily dismissed. To those of us who are close to Mr. Trump, he is more than our boss. He is our patriarch.”

“The New York native is the son of a Polish-born Holocaust survivor who fled Europe as a child. A graduate of the Hillel Yeshiva (now known as The Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns), he now describes himself as an “agnostic Jew”, but has still been targeted by antisemites, especially on social media. “I have experienced antisemitism while working and travelling with Mr. Trump over the years. But mostly, antisemitism comes via the internet. It never ends. I’ve been called every derogatory term ever used against someone of the Jewish faith, but I pay it no mind. I have not spoken to Mr. Trump about it but I think he would certainly be angered to hear about it.”” [TheJC]

Cohen later tweeted: “Anyone who believes that Donald Trump is a racist doesn’t know Trump at all. Shame on the protesting rabbis with AIPAC.” [Twitter]

Peter Beinart tweets: “Trump speech at AIPAC in Adar: what groggers were made for” [CNN]

“Icahn Pares Ambitions for Tax-Reform Effort After Setbacks” by Zachary Mider: “During a conference call with Messina, the Democratic operative had a warning for Icahn, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation. As long as Icahn was associated with Trump, there was little hope of getting the cooperation of Congressional Democrats for a bipartisan initiative, Messina told them.” [Bloomberg]

“Paul Ryan, Republican donors meet to discuss Trump” by Isaac Arnsdorf, Kenneth Vogel and Jake Sherman: “The dinner was a highlight of a secretive two-day conclave, convened under heavy security by a donor group headed by New York hedge-fund manager Paul Singer, that is being viewed as a pivotal moment for the big-money effort to block Trump from the Republican presidential nomination. Sources familiar with the gathering said it was not intended to rally a last-ditch, anti-Trump cabal — and that, in fact, there was a diverse array of opinion represented among the donors in attendance. Some seemed open to supporting Trump if he wins the nomination, while others are backing his remaining rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich.” [Politico]

“Anxious about Trump? Try being a foreign ambassador” by Mary Jordan: “Diplomats from many of the United States’ closest allies said there has not been a U.S. election since World War II in which representatives of foreign nations have felt so completely cut off from a leading presidential candidate or so unsure of his view of foreign policy.” [WashPost] • “Meet the Israelis praying for a Trump win” [LATimes]

Ivanka Trump on Donald Trump: “I am my own person. So if people disagree with the opinion of my father and want to dislike me because I’m his daughter, then I’m probably not going to be able to discourage them from that. I haven’t seen too much of that, though. And people respect the fact that my father is very honest with his opinions, and they respect the fact that I am my own person and I have my own opinions. So I don’t give a lot of thought to what detractors might say. And I’m a human being who stands on my own two feet.” [BusinessInsider]

Adelson Primary Averted: Rosie Gray, Nathan Guttman each report on Israel Hayom’s coverage of Trump [BuzzFeedForward] • “So far, Sheldon Adelson has been quiet about whom he will support in the 2016 presidential election—at least publicly. But the casino magnate and influential Republican Party donor is now speaking more openly about another cause that he says is important to him: fighting anti-Semitism and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on American college campuses.” [Newsweek]

TOP TALKER: “Lindsey Graham to fundraise for Ted Cruz’s presidential bid” by Dana Bash and Abigail Crutchfield: “A draft of the invitation, obtained first by CNN, invites guests to “honor and support a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” at a meet-and-greet event that will take place during the AIPAC policy conference in Washington next week.” [CNNJI]

Jeffrey Goldberg: “Shorter Lindsey Graham: I’ll raise money for Ted Cruz, then we’ll kill him.” [Twitter]

“Bernie Sanders Faces an Israel Problem” by Ben Geier: “AIPAC invited Sanders, along with every other presidential nominee, to speak at its annual conference… Sanders hasn’t said no, and he hasn’t said yes. Some supporters of Sanders, though, don’t want him to show up. More than 4,000 people, including former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, have signed a petition urging the Vermont senator to refuse the invitation.” [Fortune]

DRIVING THE WEEKEND: AIPAC’s annual policy conference — Sunday Morning General Session (9:30-10:45 AM): Ambassador Ron Dermer; Sunday Evening General Session (7– 9 PM): Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Vice President Joe Biden; Monday Morning General Session (8-10 AM) Hillary Clinton, Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer; Monday Evening General Session (5-7PM): John Kasich, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

JI reader emails us… “There are so many events in DC around the AIPAC conf, it’s kind of become like the WH Correspondents Dinner. So many related parties and events around town. Maybe instead of #nerdprom the next few days should be called #israelprom.” • Another reader suggests: #YidProm. • Daroff: Which one is it?

CURTAIN-RAISER: “Israel’s Main Concern in Syria: Iran, not ISIS” by Yaroslav Trofimov: “Unlike Syria’s other neighbors, Israel has by and large stayed away from the war that is ripping the country apart. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t deeply interested in how the five-year conflict ends—or that its interests are necessarily aligned with Washington’s. The Israeli government’s priority is clear: to stop the rise of Iran as a regional power following last year’s nuclear deal and the lifting of international sanctions on Tehran.” [WSJ

David Suissa: “The divisive debate over the Iran nuclear deal, which consumed so much of our energy last year, feels like a distant memory, but my feelings haven’t changed — I still hate the deal. For starters, all I’ve seen to date is an Iranian regime growing more evil and repressive than ever.” [JewishJournal]

“Iran seen escaping U.N. sanctions over missiles due to ambiguous resolution” by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols: “Iran will likely escape new United Nations sanctions, though the U.N. Security Council could issue a public reprimand for recent launches of what Western officials described as ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, diplomats said. Council diplomats said the case for sanctions was weak, hinging on interpretation of ambiguous language in a resolution adopted by the 15-member body last July, part of an historic deal to curb Iran’s nuclear work.” [Reuters• “Senate GOP pushes for new Iran sanctions” [TheHill]

**Good Friday 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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “New York’s Plaza Hotel Up for Sale in Foreclosure Auction” [Bloomberg “Israeli shipping data firm plans push into commodities markets” [Reuters] • “The ‘straight Jewish white man’ making bespoke suits” [Haaretz] • Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield tweets: “New one: “Oh, Slack? My kid’s Hasidic Montessori school runs on Slack!”” [Twitter]

TRANSITIONS: “Ryan, a leading global tax services firm, has hired Jeff Miller as Principal, Dispute Resolution, in the Firm’s recently formed Ryan Advocacy group. Mr. Miller will lead Ryan’s Advocacy and Legislative Affairs teams.” [PressRelease]

HOLLYWOOD: “Ari Emanuel’s Jewish soul” by Danielle Berrin: “On Sunday night, Ari Emanuel got onstage in front of 500 Jews and did something cinematic and shocking: He turned to his brother Zeke and said, “I love you” — three times — and very nearly cried. The emotional display was miles apart from the pervasive mythos about Ari… In Hollywood, the adjectives used to describe Ari are endless: “ruthless,” “brash,” “hotheaded,” “aggressive” — only Tad Friend, writing in The New Yorker, saw fit to compliment the legendary agent as ‘savvy.'” [JewishJournal]

Margaret McMullan: “The Nazis took everything from my mother’s family. What good would reparations do?” [WashPost]

Bari Weiss: “Watching Over My Grandmother: Jewish rituals serve to sanctify the dead—and to humanize the living.” [WSJ]

CAMPUS BEAT: “The Commander Behind the pro-Israel Student Troops on U.S. College Campuses” by Judy Maltz: “Roz Rothstein insists that StandWithUs is an apolitical organization, and therefore, does not endorse one solution to end the conflict over another. “We don’t take a position on much of anything,” she says. “Instead, we inform.” StandWithUs especially does not like being labeled, as it often is, as a right-wing organization.” [Haaretz]

DESSERT: “So What Exactly IS Kosher Salt, Since Salt Is Already Kosher To Begin With?” by Jamie Feldman: “All salt is kosher, unless you do something UN-kosher with it like mix it with bacon or shrimp, or grind it in machinery used to mill wheat. Some salt is certified kosher for passover, which means that the producer has paid for the approval of rabbi from a certifying organization to come by and inspect for the absence of anything that might make it treif (un-kosher). They don’t bless the salt or any such thing. It’s all about kashrut, the Jewish laws governing what can and cannot be eaten for religious reasons. Kosher certification does not concern itself with wholesomeness. Highly processed, unhealthy foods can be kosher, and entirely natural, wholesome food can be treif.” [HuffPost] •Alternative answer: known as ‘kosher salt’ because it is used to make unprocessed meat/poultry kosher by removing surface blood. [Wikipedia]

Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week: “One of the most critically acclaimed Kosher wines ever produced is the Capçanes Peraj Ha’abib. This Spanish wine allows one’s imagination to run wild. It is not a wine that I am accustomed to drinking, with flavors outside of the band I am familiar with. The structure of the wine is complicated and, upon trying it for the first time, I did not know what to expect. Drinking this bottle remains a pleasure and somewhat of an enigma to me. It has, upon first tasting it, huge dark chocolate tones – a flavor usually reserved for the finish.  It is as if it starts with the end. The wine develops into a smoky wood towards your mid palate, and the fruitiness usually reserved for the front of a wine, hits you with a remarkably subtle sweetness on the finish. A wine doing a handstand. It is a wine which makes me think with each sip.”

“The Capçanes Peraj Ha’abib 2013 is a blend of Cabernet, Grenache and Cariñena. The wine is aged in both new and used French oak. It is just about ready to start drinking this Shabbat and will be great to put away for at least 10 years. Eat with spicy foods and red meat and a very chocolate flavored dessert.”[Capçanes

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Jeff Swartz, our favorite speaker in the Jewish world, turns 56… Non-Profit Consultant Jeffrey Zimerman turns 60… Bennett “Ben” Cohen turns 65, exactly four days after Jerry Greenfield, Ben’s good friend and fellow co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s… Edward Glassman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at the University of North Carolina, turns 87… Identical twin brothers and former yeshiva students, both singers and songwriters who record as “Evan and Jaron,” Evan Lowenstein and Jaron Lowenstein, turn 42… Comedian and screenwriter, J. D. Shapiro, turns 47….

Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of Estée Lauder Companies, turns 83… Jenni Volz… Steve Rabe… Member of the British House of Lords, Maurice Harry Peston, now Baron Peston, turns 85… Pulitzer Prize winning author of books on Jewish identity, Philip Roth, turns 83… Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein turns 64… Former executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson, turns 62… Journalist and Editor-at-Large for Esquire, A.J. Jacobs, turns 48… Louis Sachar turns 62… Alexander Gorodnitsky turns 83… Carl Reiner turns 94… Jeffrey Solomon… Hyman Grossman…

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