Daily Kickoff: Jared Kushner’s Trump Card | Ben Rhodes profile: Aspiring novelist turned foreign-policy guru | First ‘atheist’ in Congress is ‘Jewish’

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FIRST LOOK — Washington Life Magazine’s Power 100 — featuring AIPAC, J Street, RJC heads: Individuals include Vox Media Editor-in-Chief Ezra Klein, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, Blackstone Senior Advisor Wayne Berman, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer & Jake Tapper, RJC’s Matthew Brooks, The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons, 9:30 Club’s Seth Hurwitz, AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr, Nationals owners Ted Lerner & Mark Lerner, The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein, AFT’s Randi Weingarten.[WashingtonLife]

DEEP DIVE: “Jared Kushner’s Trump Card” by Devin Leonard: “By all accounts, Kushner has a warm relationship with his father-in-law. If Trump, now the presumptive Republican nominee, wins the general election, Kushner will be a regular White House visitor if for no other reason than he, his wife, and their three young children will be frequent dinner guests. Myers Mermel, a friend of Kushner’s, sees him as a contemporary Jack Kennedy, the attractive son of a rich family with the resources to become a force behind the scenes in Washington and even a potential candidate for national office. People who think highly of Kushner, and those who don’t, all talk about his impeccable manners. They say he never loses his temper, at least not in public. He’s unfailingly polite. He remembers names and opens car doors for people.”

“A spokesman for Kushner says he transformed the Observer into a profitable business with a higher editorial budget and a rapidly growing Web audience. However, Kushner didn’t appear to enjoy using the Observer to afflict the comfortable as had Carter and Kaplan. Former Observer staffers say he complained—politely, of course—when the paper wrote unflatteringly about his friends. They say he was also perturbed when the paper didn’t report as harshly as he might have liked on his family’s old foes in New Jersey, such as Chris Christie, who had prosecuted his father as a U.S. attorney and was elected governor in 2009.” [Businessweek]

“Donald Trump takes the reins of a divided Republican Party” by Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Jose A. DelReal: “Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post that he would enter a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee and has scheduled a meeting Thursday with advisers to finalize the deal. The arrangement would require him to seek support from a donor class that he has repeatedly excoriated. Top GOP financiers conferred privately about backing Trump. Among those still weighing his 2016 plans: hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who supported an anti-Trump super PAC and has not come around to the real estate tycoon, according to a person familiar with his views. “He’s starting in a hole,” GOP campaign finance attorney Charlie Spies said of Trump. “He’s attacked all these people and said they are corrupt lobbyists.”” [WashPost]

On CNN, Trump refuses to condemn fans threatening Julia Ioffe — Blitzer: “You hated this article in “GQ” about your wife Melania. Julia Ioffe wrote it. Since then, some of your supporters have viciously attacked this woman, Julia Ioffe, with anti-Semitic attacks, death threats. What’s your message to these people when something like that happens?”

Trump: “I’ll tell you, I haven’t read the article, but I hear it was a very inaccurate article and I heard it was a nasty article… They shouldn’t be doing that with wives. I mean they shouldn’t be doing that…” Blitzer:“These death threats that have followed these anti-Semitic –” Trump: “Oh, I don’t know about that. I don’t know anything about that… You’ll have to talk to them about it.” Blitzer: “But your message to these fans is?” Trump: “I don’t have a message to the fans.”

Armin Rosen: “What Fuels Trump-Supporting Twitter Trolls? Examining the identity politics that drives Trump backers to harrass Jewish writers online” [TabletMag]

The Death of Reason: “When historians come to write about the 2016 Presidential election, one moment may stand as emblematic of the Republican primary campaign. It occurred on May 2, when Ted Cruz confronted a Trump protester in Indiana. Mr Cruz, a debating champion who has been an advocate before the Supreme Court, made point after point about the gap between Mr Trump’s public image and his record and private rhetoric. He might as well have been speaking Swahili. The protester is openly mocking in his attitude, countering detailed points with cries of “Lying Ted”. Mr Cruz, who has spent a career pandering to the conservative fringe on issues such as gun rights or Obamacare while denouncing the establishment, found that he was dismissed as yet another member of the elite; as a populist, he had been literally Trumped.” [Economist]

“David Duke Hails Donald Trump For Thwarting The ‘Jewish Supremacists Who Control Our Country’’” by Brian Tashman: “Jewish extremists” have “made a terribly crazy miscalculation” by opposing Trump, Duke said, “because all they’re really going to be doing by doing a ‘Never Trump’ movement is exposing their alien, anti-American, anti-American-majority position to all the Republicans and they’re going to push people more into awareness that the neocons are the problem, that these Jewish supremacists who control our country are the real problem and the reason why America is not great.”[RightWingWatchForward]

PEW POLL — on Americans views toward Israel: “More Americans say they sympathize more with Israel (54%) than the Palestinians (19%). About one-in-ten (13%) volunteer that they side with neither Israel nor the Palestinians in their dispute, while 3% sympathize with both sides. The partisan gap remains wide. Three-quarters of Republicans (75%) say they sympathize more with Israel (just 7% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians). And though a larger share of Democrats sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, that margin is much narrower (43% vs. 29%). By 52% to 19%, independents express more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians.”

“The Democrats’ differences over Israel and the Palestinians are reflected in the way Sanders and Clinton supporters view the situation. Far more Clinton supporters sympathize with Israel (47%) than the Palestinians (27%). Sanders backers are statistically divided, with 39% sympathizing more with the Palestinians and 33% more with Israel. Overwhelming shares of GOP voters side with Israel, regardless of which candidate they support.” [PewResearchJewishInsider]

BEN RHODES PROFILE — “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru” by David Samuels: “Rhodes’s innovative campaign to sell the Iran deal is likely to be a model for how future administrations explain foreign policy to Congress and the public. The way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented — that the Obama administration began seriously engaging with Iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country — was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal. Even where the particulars of that story are true, the implications that readers and viewers are encouraged to take away from those particulars are often misleading or false.”

“Obama’s closest advisers always understood him to be eager to do a deal with Iran as far back as 2012, and even since the beginning of his presidency. “It’s the center of the arc,” Rhodes explained to me two days after the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was implemented. He then checked off the ways in which the administration’s foreign-policy aims and priorities converged on Iran. “We don’t have to kind of be in cycles of conflict if we can find other ways to resolve these issues,” he said. “We can do things that challenge the conventional thinking that, you know, ‘AIPAC doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the Israeli government doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the gulf countries don’t like it.’ It’s the possibility of improved relations with adversaries. It’s nonproliferation. So all these threads that the president’s been spinning — and I mean that not in the press sense — for almost a decade, they kind of all converged around Iran.” [NYTimesMag]

DOWN BALLOT: “Eric Lynn drops congressional bid in Pinellas, will run for state House” by Adam Smith: “Eric Lynn is dropping his bid to succeed U.S. Rep. David Jolly and instead will run for state House in the Democratic-leaning district to be vacated by Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg.” [TampaBayTimes]

“The first ‘atheist’ in Congress is ’emphatically Jewish'” by Julie Zauzmer: “The day after Jamie Raskin won his intensely competitive primary, a humanist political action committee that backed him sent a proud email blast. “If successful in the general election, Raskin will be the only open nontheist serving in the U.S. Congress,” the email said. The only problem? Raskin is Jewish. “One hundred percent Jewish.” “Emphatically Jewish.” A member of Washington’s Temple Sinai and a father of three children who had bar and bat mitzvahs, Raskin says he has never told anyone is he an atheist.” [NoLa/WashPost]

**Good Thursday 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: “Jane Jacobs, Robert Moses, and the Battle Over LOMEX: How Jane Jacobs won her last—and most famous—fight in New York” [Curbed] • “Socialite Susan Gutfreund Asks $120 Million for Suburban Mansion-Sized Manhattan Duplex” [YahooNews] • “Lightstone Group Picks Up East Village Residential Portfolio for $127M” [Observer] • “Casino Magnate James Packer Learns Art of Letting Go” [WSJ] • “Lessons one rabbi learned from listening to Warren Buffett” [Yahoo]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Forget Kibble. Two Young Entrepreneurs Are Building A Made-To-Order Pet Food Delivery Business” by Amy Feldman: “Jonathan Regev, a 29-year-old entrepreneur, and his buddy, Brett Podolsky, 28, want to make kibble passe. As founders of The Farmer’s Dog, a startup subscription-based pet food seller that uses real meat and vegetables for its meals, the duo hope to get pet owners to pay up for fresh food just as Blue Apron has been doing for its human customers.” [Forbes]

INDUSTRY: “Manufacturers: Obama aid package will be ‘mortal blow’ to Israeli industry” by Niv Elis: “Shraga Brosh, the head of the Manufacturer’s Association of Israel, urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to reject a defense aid package deal reportedly proposed by US President Barack Obama, saying it would kill Israeli jobs and be a “mortal blow” to its defense industry. Brosh said that a caveat requiring all the money to be spent in the US would cost Israel’s economy dearly, and that Netanyahu should reject any deal that includes such a clause.” [JPost]

President Obama on Holocaust Remembrance Day: “On this day, we honor the memory of the millions of individuals – the mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and neighbors – who lost their lives during a time of unparalleled depravity and inhumanity.  We reaffirm our ongoing responsibility as citizens and as a nation to live out the admonition, “Never forget. Never again.”  And we commit ourselves to preserving the memories of those who lived through the horrors of the Shoah, so that their experiences are not forgotten by our generation or by our children or grandchildren.”[WhiteHouse]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Holocaust survivors ‘dying in poverty while awaiting compensation'” by Harriet Sherwood: “Tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors are spending the final years of their lives in financial hardship while waiting for governments across Europe to compensate them for property stolen during the Nazi era. Despite a declaration by 47 countries seven years ago to ensure restitution for the theft of Jewish property during the Holocaust, many of the 500,000 survivors still alive are yet to be compensated, according to the World Jewish Restitution Organisation (WJRO).” [TheGuardian• “Holocaust survivors mark bar mitzvahs at last” [CNN]

JUST POSTED — Videos from the Jewish Funders Network last month, including: “A panel discussion on polarization in the Jewish community with Jeffrey R. Solomon, Rabbi JJ Schacter, Daniel Bonner & Kathy Manning.” [YouTube] • Jake Porway of DataKind talks about how data can make the world – and the Jewish community – better with Lisa Eisen of the Schusterman Foundation. [YouTube]

TRANSITIONS — Inbox: “As of June 1st, Jonathan Kessler will assume his new responsibilities as AIPAC’s new Director of Strategic Initiatives. Jonathan has been involved with the organization since 1980 and is the original architect of AIPAC’s Leadership Development Department… Adam Teitelbaum will serve as acting Leadership Development Director.”

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Several generations of Los Angeles Jewish civic leaders gathered to celebrate the naming of the Jewish Federation’s New Leaders Project (NLP) after the late philanthropist Erwin Rautenberg. Guests mingled in the beautiful backyard of Lisa and Josh Greer’s Beverly Hills home while enjoying mini fish tacos, empanadas, tuna tartare cones, and an array of fruits, cheeses, and Mediterranean dips. Congressman Ted Deutch impressed the crowd with remarks about his personal journey from a dedicated campus and community activist to Congress.  Other speakers included Federation CEO Jay Sanderson, Federation Board Chair Julie Platt, Rautenberg Foundation Trustee Thomas Corby, Federation Community Engagement Chair Jesse Gabriel, NLP leaders Jeremy Rawitch and Shauna Nep, and Federation VP Catherine Schneider.

IN NYC: “Philanthropist Sam Domb hosted a roundtable discussion on Jewish education in America at Colbeh restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. “I got a lot of compliments. Thank you. But those compliments are not free,” Domb joked after several speakers praised him for his contributions to foster Jewish education. “I have sleepless nights and deep pain inside of me when I see what’s happening with Jewish education in America,” he said. “I do what I can but you’ve got to help me. Take in more students.” Following his remarks, Domb handed out checks of $250,000 to three local Jewish day schools.” Spotted: Ronnie Domb, Jack Avital, Michael Landau, Elliot Gibber, Rabbi Avrohom Marmorstein, Rabbi Allen Schwartz, Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, Y. David Scharf, David Eisner, Ruchie Landau, Judith Meltzer, Councilman Mark Levine.

DESSERT: “Kosher Pop-Up Fills Void in Bowery” by Lindsay Purcell: “‘Jazzie’ is Jasmine Einalhori, the 27-year-old chef and co-owner of Sage Kitchen, a new kosher catering business. Tall, with curly brown hair pulled into a messy ponytail, Einalhori dresses casually in jeans and a T-shirt, not unlike her young clientele. Every other Tuesday, she and her business partners host a pop-up restaurant at Chabad, as they seek to fill what they see as a void in the kosher dining world: high quality, healthy, modern kosher food at a reasonable price.” [Forward]

BIRTHDAYS: Andrew Schoen, Venture Capitalist at NEA… American Jewish World Service’s Executive VP and soon to be president Robert Bank… Former Israeli national soccer team captain Yossi Benayoun turns 36… Television writer and producer, known for The Simpsons, Josh Weinstein turns 50… Avi Chai Foundation’s Yossi Prager….

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