Daily Kickoff: Milken Global Conference edition | Meet the Columbians who set out to convert their megachurch to Orthodox Judaism | Alan Gross Bday

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Ed note: We’re back! Hope everyone had a fantastic Passover week. Today’s Daily Kickoff was crafted in Los Angeles where we’re covering the Milken Institute Global Conference this week. Featured speakers include Treasury Sec. Jack Lew, Eric Cantor, David Rubenstein, Emanuel Friedman, Stephen Schwarzman, Joshua Harris, Steven Cohen, Mitch Julis, Robert Kraft, David Stern, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, Steven Tananbaum, Naty Barak, Yitzhak Peterburg, Seth Rogen, and many others. Give us a holler if you’re around. [MilkenProgram]

Spotted at Milken on Sunday: David Rubenstein with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who lamented to us that his ‘epic’ AIPAC speech the other month was off-the-record… JFNA Chairman Richard Sandler and Norm Brownstein… Moelis & Co. Vice Chairman Eric Cantor and Diana Cantor… Simone Friedman of Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies… House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce together with Joel Mowbray… Eddie Trump (not related to the Donald)… Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa… U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO)… Florida Gov. Rick Scott… Former Veep Al Gore… Wheels Up CEO Kenny Dichter…

WELCOME TO JAHM — President Obama: “We cannot pay proper respect to the legacy of Jewish Americans without also reflecting on the rise of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world, and in remembering the lessons of the Holocaust, we recognize the imperative need to root out prejudice. Subjecting men, women, and children to persecution on the basis of their ancestry and faith, the scourge of anti-Semitism demands that we declare through action and solidarity that an attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths.” [WhiteHouse]

MOU: “Obama-Netanyahu Rift Impedes U.S. Offer of Record Aid Deal for Israel” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “American officials have balked as their Israeli counterparts insisted on more generous terms for a new 10-year military aid package that could top $40 billion. The divide, which could have broad national security implications for both the United States and Israel, is exacerbated by the pent-up animosity between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu.” [NYTimes• “Sen. Orrin Hatch headed to Israel to meet with Netanyahu” [KSL]

“Trump: Israeli-Palestinian Peace Deal Can Be Made” by Jacob Kornbluh: During a campaign rally in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Sunday, Trump said seeing Israel and the Palestinians sign on a peace deal would be a “beauty” in spite of the situation on the ground. “I am going to try and make that deal just because  – man, would that be a beauty – if you like deals. I like deals,” said Trump. “A lot of my Jewish friends say, ‘You will never be able to make the deal’ because there are so many years of hatred, especially on the other side. You know, they grow up as young children hating, hating, hating Israel. I think the deal can be made. But we got to be smart, and we got to use our best people; gotta use me, but you got to use our best people. And I know the best people.” [JewishInsider]

“Prospect of Donald Trump as president sparks fear in the Middle East” by Ben Lynfield:“In an assertion Mr Trump himself has not made as he courts the Jewish vote, [Walid] Phares, [a Trump campaign adviser for foreign policy], went on to predict that Mr Trump could achieve more for the Palestinians than any previous American president. “He’ll be a fair mediator. He has good relations with the Jewish community and credit with the Israelis; he’s the only one capable of making a balanced peace that achieves the interests of both sides. He knows solving the Palestinian issue is a guarantee for achieving stability in the region.”” [Independent]

Cruz on Meet the Press: “[Trump] can’t criticize her on foreign policy because Donald agrees with Hillary Clinton that America should be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians, and he also agrees with Hillary Clinton that we should keep in place this disastrous Iranian nuclear deal.” [Politico]

Aaron David Miller: “Under either Clinton or Trump, relations with the Netanyahu government would likely improve, initially. But within a year, the new American president and Netanyahu can be expected to be annoying the hell out of one another.” [CNN]

Hillary on the radio — by Jacob Kornbluh: “The Israelis know that I have been a strong and stalwart partner for Israel going back decades, along with my husband,” Clinton told John Catsimatidis on the “Cats Roundtable” radio program. “And I will continue to do what I have done to protect Israel, to make sure Israel has the strongest possible defense and to do what I can to promote a two-state solution, which I personally believe is in Israel’s interest.” [JewishInsider]

Review of “Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle for American Power” by Mark Landler” by Carlos Lozada: “Political instincts guided Clinton away from issues she considered unwinnable, such as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, with the new secretary of state outright refusing an early trip to the region that then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel urged her to take… “Alter Egos” offers plenty of memorable moments in the daily minutiae of foreign policy… Or the moment, during a marathon telephone session with Benjamin Netanyahu, “a frustrated Clinton began silently banging the phone on her forehead.” [WashPost]

Thomas Friedman on Meet the Press: “You know, I think one of the things that Obama has done right and a favor to Hillary Clinton on is saying in response to these acts of terrorism, we have to suck it up. It’s got to be like Israel, you know? “You blew up that bus. In three hours, the sidewalk is cleaned up, no one knows it happened.” Because if we set this up the way we’re setting it up, if there is an act of terrorism in late October, early November, it’s going to redound to Donald Trump’s favor in ways that are highly unpredictable. I saw that play in Israel. It elected Bibi Netanyahu over Shimon Peres after the Rabin assassination.” [Transcript]

“For Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, Divergent Paths to Iran Nuclear Talks” by Mark Landler: “But the behind-the-scenes story of Mrs. Clinton’s role is more complicated than her public account of it. Interviews with more than a dozen current and former administration officials paint a portrait of a highly cautious, ambivalent diplomat, less willing than Mr. Obama to take risks to open a dialogue with Iran and increasingly wary of Mr. Kerry’s freelance diplomacy. Her decision to send her own team, some officials said, was driven as much by her desire to corral Mr. Kerry as to engage the Iranians. Mrs. Clinton worried that he was promising too much to lure the Iranians to the table — a worry shared by people in the White House.” [NYTimes]

**Good Monday 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: Jewish brothers David and Simon Reuben top Britain’s richest people list [YNet]• “Inside the rocky billionaire bromance of Donald Trump and Carl Icahn” [WashPost• “NBCUniversal Acquires Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation in $3.8B Deal” [HollywoodReporter] • “A look inside the homes of Michael Shvo, a New York real-estate developer whose slogan is “Let’s Shvo.”” [WSJ• “The Man Who Terrifies Wall Street: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has gone after hedge-fund managers and corrupt legislators. Who’s next?” [NewYorker]

CAMPUS BEAT: “Michael Bloomberg Tells College Graduates to Reject “Safe Spaces,” Demagoguery in Politics” by Arlene Washington: “The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations — not run away from them,” said Bloomberg. “A microaggression is exactly that: micro. And one of the most dangerous places on a college campus is a safe space, because it creates the false impression that we can insulate ourselves from those who hold different views.” [THRBV]

ICYMI: Town&Country Magazine on the Lauder family: “When she wasn’t revolutionizing the beauty industry, Estée was a fairly typical Jewish mother and grandmother—with the emphasis on grand. Leonard says her idea of a little something for the train ride to sleepaway camp was 15 sandwiches packed in a Bergdorf Goodman box. In addition to regularly worrying “whether I was eating enough,” says William, she partook in some helicopter grandparenting with his younger brother Gary during a spring break in Cannes. “I was windsurfing,” Gary says from his home in Atherton, California, where he runs his own technology venture capital fund. “She spotted me from her villa and was soon on the boat ramp in one of her exquisite dresses, calling, ‘Hey, come back in here!’ as her chauffeur kept the car idling.”

“The world is something Ronald is qualified to talk about. As president of the World Jewish Congress, a position that’s very like being the leader of the Jews of the diaspora, he says he lives on a plane. He campaigns against anti-Semitism, having visited, to date, 60 of the 100 countries where the organization represents the Jewish community. Thanks in part to his experience as ambassador to Austria, he has no problem speaking his mind to world leaders. “When I met Hugo Chávez, the former president of Venezuela, I said, ‘I understand you’re an anti-Semite.’ He laughed and said, ‘I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Israel.’ I said, ‘Who do you think lives in Israel? Martians?’ ” [T&CMag]

LongRead: The Faithful: René and Juan Carlos set out to convert their Colombian megachurch to Orthodox Judaism. This is what happened.” by Graciela Mochkofsky: “In early 2004, Juan Carlos returned to Jerusalem with Puerta. They stood by the Wailing Wall and searched for Orthodox rabbis who spoke Spanish. When they found a few, the pastors pummeled them with questions… Juan Carlos was impressed by these rabbis and their answers. They were nothing like the pastors he had known. They were intellectuals, who had imposing beards and were nearsighted from reading sacred texts. They were inheritors of an ancient tradition, members of a richer culture than the one he knew. This was what he had been looking for… to Juan Carlos’s surprise, 600 parishioners declared that they trusted him and would follow him into Judaism.” [CaliforniaSundayMag]

“The Nazi Underground: Is treasure buried beneath the mountains of Poland?” by Jake Halpern: “For years, members of the Lower Silesian Research Group have been searching for a Nazi train allegedly hidden in a secret tunnel. They believe that the tunnel, now collapsed, is situated on the outskirts of the town of Wałbrzych, between an existing set of railroad tracks and a Toyota dealership.” [NewYorker]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “FBI foils terror attack at Aventura synagogue; 1 arrested: According to law enforcement sources, the FBI set up a sting to thwart what they described as a terror attack at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, Friday evening. Sources said agents posing as terrorists were able to stop the suspect, who, they said, may have converted to Islam.” [WSVNCBS]

ACROSS THE POND: “UK Labour Party suspends councilor over anti-Israel postings: The anti-Semitism dispute bedeviling Britain’s Labour Party ahead of an election Thursday has continued with the suspension of a city councilor. The party said Monday that Nottingham City councilor Ilyas Azis has been suspended pending an investigation.” [WashPost]

“How the Labour Party embraced an ideology that has race hate at its heart” by Charles Moore: “If Labour’s problem was individual, oddball anti-Semites, they could simply be removed. If it is about an ideology so wide and deep that its adherents don’t even realise what they are supporting, then you really have got trouble. If perfectly pleasant people like Mr Corbyn, with no personal malice, nevertheless make common cause with such extremism, then you have got, to use a concept beloved of the Left, institutional racism.” [Telegraph]

SPORTS BLINK: “Kings to interview David Blatt for coach” by Marc Stein: “The Sacramento Kings will interview former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt for their head-coaching vacancy early this week, according to league sources.” [ESPN]

BIRTHDAYS: Former US AID contractor, Alan Gross, imprisoned by Cuba from 2009 to 2014, turns 67… Susanna Fried… US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, turns 57… Harry Kenneth Woolf, former Lord Chief Justice and President of the Courts of England and Wales, turns 83… Alon Ben-Meir…

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