Daily Kickoff: All eyes on AIPAC | Trump’s first scripted speech of the campaign to be at AIPAC today | Meet AIPAC President Lillian Pinkus
Ed Note: It is wonderful to see so many of you in D.C. this week. Unfortunately, too many of y’all were ‘spotted’ that we opted for actual content instead of simply listing names today. Feel free to reach out if you want to say hi.
AIPAC ARENA QUICK TAKES: People may tell others they’re going to walk out on Trump’s speech today but chances are the curiosity will keep them in their seats… Bernie Sanders, the only Jewish candidate in the race, wrote in a letter to AIPAC’s Robert Cohen on Friday that “since AIPAC has chosen not to permit candidates to address the conference remotely, the best that I can do is to send you a copy of the remarks that I would have given.” Honestly, in today’s age, what’s the big difference between live and taped video? Bernie, just post your speech to YouTube already… Paging Eli Lake: Policy Conference is quite democratic this year. Some Shnooks and Machers waited in the same security lines to enter the Verizon Center and the first-floor lobby of the Marquis has replaced many of those club lounges and badges of all types can be seen hanging around… Some folks doubted them but AIPAC did actually fill up a full NBA arena. In Joe Biden’s words, “what’s next?”….
MEET AIPAC’S NEW PRESIDENT: “Lillian Pinkus, president-elect of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), recently discussed the key tenets of her upcoming presidency with the Texas Jewish Post. The child of two Holocaust survivors, Pinkus holds a B.A. from Brandeis and an M.Ed. from Harvard. She and her husband Jon have two sons, Aaron and Jared.” [TJPNews] • “AIPAC’s first woman president in a decade to stress diversity” [JTA]
DRIVING THE DAY: “Donald Trump Courts Wary Jewish Voters” by Jonathan Mahler: “On paper, Donald J. Trump is the last candidate one would expect to raise eyebrows within the Jewish community… And yet when he takes the stage on Monday at the annual policy conference of AIPAC, he will be facing a wary crowd… That Mr. Trump has found himself in the position of having to defend his pro-Israel credentials is something of a surprise, given his history… there is still concern about Mr. Trump’s behavior, which if not anti-Semitic is at least seen by many Jews as overly accommodating of bigotry.” [NYTimes] • “Pro-Israel Policy Conference Nervously Awaits Trump Speech” [AP] • “Donald Trump’s New Trouble: Rabbis, Nazi-Hunters” [DailyBeast]
Rabbi Rick Jacobs: “Before Donald Trump begins his speech, I will get up and walk out,” Rabbi Jacobs said in an interview at AIPAC with Jewish Insider on the “Tribal” podcast. “I believe there will be hundreds of others, if not thousands, who will [follow], and we will gather in the lobby area to first study in chavrutha (companionship in Hebrew) the text from Brachot as well as the text of Abraham Joshua Heschel.” [JI; SoundCloud]
“Trump plans AIPAC surprise” by Eli Stokols: “Over the nine months of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has yet to step to a podium and read from a script. That changes Monday at AIPAC… “He has taken input from a number of very significant Jewish influences who have reaffirmed to him the importance of this particular speech,” according to a source close to Trump’s campaign. “He is taking it very seriously.” [Politico] • “Why Israel Loves Donald Trump… and why that’s awkward for Israel” [PoliticoMag]
Trump: Peace Deal ‘Would Be in Israel’s Interests’ by Jacob Kornbluh: “In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” program, Trump previewed his speech at AIPAC’s annual policy conference at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., on Monday. “I think making a deal would be in Israel’s interests,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, I don’t know one Jewish person that doesn’t want to have a deal, a good deal, a proper deal, but a really good deal. And I don’t know any Jewish people that don’t want to make it. They’d all love to see a deal made,” Trump added.” [JewishInsider]
SATRICAL: “I have Trump’s AIPAC speech text” by Steve Rabinowitz: “Believe me. I have tremendous love for Israel. I happen to have a son-in-law and a daughter that are Jewish, okay? And two grandchildren that are Jewish.” [JPost]
PREVIEWING HILLARY’S AIPAC ADDRESS: The U.S. must never be “neutral” about defending the State of Israel, or consider its relationship with Israel negotiable, Hillary Clinton is expected to say in her speech at AIPAC’s annual policy conference, according to an Hillary aide. In her speech, Clinton will draw a sharp contrast with Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, on Israel and foreign policy. According to the former Secretary of State, the next commander-in-chief must be a steady hand, not unpredictable, when it comes to standing by America’s allies like Israel. Clinton will say that the U.S. must never be neutral in the face of bigotry, but rather must stand for our values and the values we share with our allies.
“Cruz vows to mock Trump at AIPAC” by Theodore Schleifer: “Cruz’s campaign said in a statement Wednesday that Cruz would use his time at the same conference to “highlight Trump’s positions — or lack thereof — in front of the thousands of AIPAC members in attendance.”” [CNN]
HAPPENING TODAY: Lindsey Graham to fundraise for Ted Cruz on the sidelines of AIPAC –– The 2:30pm fundraiser, across from the Verizon Center at Clyde’s Gallery Place, will be “to honor and support a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people, and the next President of the United States, Ted Cruz.” Hosts include National Finance Co-Chairs Elissa & Edward Czuker, Janet & Jeff Beck, Desi & Max Blankfeld, Dr. Ben Chouake, Devorah & Saul Gamoran, Sharone & Jonathan Greenberg, Betya & Ben Klein, Leora & Steve Levy, Ira Mitzner, Stephanie & Steven Mitzner, Manuel Rajunov, Kathrine & Andy Schultz, Bonnie & Matthew Siegel, Shelly & Barbara Stein, and Trudy & Stanley Stern. [JewishInsider]
“Inside Cruz’s bid to conquer Rubio-world” by Katie Glueck: “Elliott Abrams’ move to Cruz’s team was announced this week, but came following months of conversations with the senator’s team—particularly Coates, Cruz’s senior foreign policy adviser—who reached out to Abrams several days before the Florida primary, and circled back again after Rubio exited the race. “When I went for Rubio, they said, presciently, ‘Well, we’re going to be the ones who end up standing at the end, so we hope you’ll support Cruz then,’” Abrams said. “And I said that I would be happy to do that. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.” [Politico]
“Trump to huddle with influential Republicans in D.C. ahead of AIPAC speech” by Robert Costa and Paul Kane: “Donald Trump will host a group of nearly two dozen influential Republicans on Monday afternoon for an off-the-record gathering that his allies hope will improve his relationship with the congressional GOP and the party’s Washington establishment, according to two people who were invited.” [WashPost] • At 2:30PM, Trump will hold a press conference outside the his new hotel project on Pennsylvania Ave.
ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: “We Are Redirecting All of Trump’s Donations” [TimeMag]
“Biden says Israel settlements raise questions about commitment to peace” by Patricia Zengerle: “Israel’s government’s steady and systematic process of expanding settlements, legalizing outposts, seizing land, is eroding in my view the prospect of a two-state solution,” Biden said in a speech to AIPAC. “Bibi (Netanyahu) thinks it can be accommodated, and I believe he believes it. I don’t,” Biden said. [Reuters]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Israel’s desert city of Beersheba is turning into a cybertech oasis” [TechCrunch]• “Israel Cyber Cadets Train on Harry Potter-Inspired Battlefield” [Bloomberg] • “WeWork’s Radical Plan to Remake Real Estate With Code” [WiredMag] • “The Closing: David Bistricer — The Clipper Equity developer on losing Starrett City, not having a TV, and the ‘vice’ of making money” [RealDeal]
MEDIA WATCH: “Business of Politics” by Joseph DiStefano: “A New York media operator with deep-pocketed partners sees business opportunity in Philadelphia politics and the state-government dramas of Harrisburg. Tom Allon, who runs City&StateNY, its daily newsletters, weekly magazine and public-policy events, has hired David Alpher, publisher of the Jewish Exponent, and Greg Salisbury, the Exponent’s managing editor, to set up a group covering government and politics from City Hall to the state Capitol… Investors in City&State also include Michael Steinhardt, the retired hedge-fund manager and Jewish-philanthropy angel. “He wants returns, like any smart investor,” Allon tells me.” [Philly]
TALK OF OUR NATION: “In Israel, new generation of ultra-Orthodox Jews integrating” by Aron Heller: “A quiet revolution is arising inside the insular world of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community — chipping away at the ghetto walls its leaders have erected to protect against what they see as the dangers of secularism. More and more, young ultra-Orthodox insist they can continue to lead pious lives while also embracing technology, the modern workplace and their fellow Israelis.” [AP]
Nick Cohen: “Why I’m becoming a Jew and why you should, too” [TheGuardian]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “What’s drawing millennials to downtown L.A.’s Broad museum” by Deborah Vankin: “The collection of postwar and contemporary art assembled by genteel, octogenarian philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad has, out of the gate, won over millennials. The average visitor age is 32 — a full 14 years younger than the national average for art museum attendance in the U.S., according to the National Endowment for the Arts’ most recent study.” [LATimes]
SPORTS BLINK: “At 68, a Condiment King Finally Gets a Taste of Mets Spring Training” by Ken Belson: “For Marc Gold, however, it has been a life’s pursuit that finally became a reality on Friday when he visited the Mets’ spring training camp for the first time… For decades, he and his brothers, cousins, uncles and parents have helped run the family business, which makes Gold’s Horseradish. In the horseradish business, the busiest time of the year is late winter and early spring, leading to the Jewish Passover holiday…. “We always would say, ‘Next year in spring training,’ just like, ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’ ” [NYTimes]
BIRTHDAYS: Rabbi Haskel Lookstein turns 84… Wynnefield Capital’s Joshua Landes… Yuval Rotem turns 57… National Review contributing editor, Jonah Goldberg, turns 47… Samuel Gross… Nobel laureate and Harvard professor, Walter Gilbert, turns 84…