Daily Kickoff: Sheldon Adelson to support Trump | Hillary seeks Bush donors | Meet the new Han Solo — Discovered by Steven Spielberg at a Bat Mitzvah

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TOP TALKER: “Sheldon Adelson Says He Will Support Donald Trump” by Thomas Kaplan and Maggie Haberman: “Yes, I’m a Republican, he’s a Republican,” Mr. Adelson said in a brief interview. “He’s our nominee. Whoever the nominee would turn out to be, any one of the 17 — he was one of the 17. He won fair and square.” [FirstDraftPolitico]

“Billionaire Barry Diller: Donald Trump is ‘evil'” by Rachel Butt: “…Anybody who attacks people in the manner that he attacks people — anybody who would do that, anybody who — if I have a disagreement with you or I think you don’t like me, I don’t have the right to find out the vulnerability that I think could make you miserable and that is just completely unfair. I don’t have that right. He has that as a natural state. I call that evil. That is evil.” [Yahoo]

Ken Vogel tweets: “Spotted: on delayed 4pm DCA->LGA flight: Joe Lieberman. Presumably not going to Trump Tower to interview for VP.” [Twitter]

“Trump tasks aide Michael Glassner with convention planning” by Kenneth Vogel and Alex Isenstadt: “Donald Trump is tasking one of his closest aides — deputy campaign manager Michael Glassner — with putting the presumptive GOP nominee’s mark on the party’s convention… But the sources said he will retain his title and other responsibilities, in addition to the convention planning work, and will continue to work for the campaign out of its Manhattan headquarters and its Washington office, making occasional trips to Cleveland.” [Politico]

Trump advisor Jason Greenblatt on Trump “neutral” comments in Ami Magazine: “I’ve had many conversations with him (Trump) about it. I knew when he said it that many people would be offended, and they might not like what I am about to say. First of all, Donald doesn’t believe in buzzwords. I know that as Jews we are very sensitive to a word like ‘neutrality.’ Donald views those kinds of words in a business-like, practical way. In his mind, if the Palestinians think he doesn’t care about them, they’re not going to come to the table, and he wants to get everyone involved.”

“ZOA Praises Trump for Supporting Israel’s Continued Settlement Activity” by Jacob Kornbluh: Donald Trump on Thursday earned high praise from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) for expressing support for continued construction in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. “It is refreshing to hear a presidential candidate say that Israeli/Palestinian peace is not dependent upon Israel discriminating against Israeli Jews, and only Israeli Jews, because they are Israeli Jews, by preventing them from building homes and communities in Judea/Samaria,” ZOA’s president Mort Klein said in a statement on Thursday. “Mr. Trump is right to avoid the absurdity of criticizing and condemning such things…” [JI]

“Donald Trump ‘Disavows’ David Duke’s Remarks on ‘Jewish Extremists’” by Maggie Haberman: “Mr. Trump said in a statement that he “totally disavows” Mr. Duke’s remarks. “Antisemitism has no place our society, which needs to be united, not divided,” said Mr. Trump.” [FirstDraft]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: “While no one should associate Mr. Trump’s own views with David Duke’s hatred, it is vital for political leaders to use their bully pulpit to speak out against bigotry. We think it is important that Mr. Trump denounced the anti-Semitism of David Duke and has made clear that he disavows anti-Semitism.” [JI]

“J Street Hires Rabbi Steve Gutow as Political Advisor” by Jacob Kornbluh: “J Street announced on Thursday the appointment of Rabbi Steve Gutow, former president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) as a senior advisor for JStreetPAC, its 2016 election political arm. According to a news release by J Street, Gutow will work closely with the endorsed congressional candidates endorsed by J Street to guide them in discussing J Street’s principles on Israel in outreach to the Jewish community, and help them identify with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and those who support those policies within the Jewish community.” [JI]

Rabbi Jack Moline tells us: “I think any organization is lucky to have Steve Gutow on its team. He brings comprehensive knowledge of the Jewish community and public affairs.”

Bernie Sanders tweets: “When we, the richest nation, have neighborhoods with higher infant mortality than the West Bank, it isn’t merely a tragedy but an injustice.” [Twitter]

The Other Vermont Senator: “State Dept. assures Leahy on Israeli human rights scrutiny” by Nahal Toosi: “The Obama administration, locked in tough negotiations with Israel over a new U.S. defense aid package, has assured concerned lawmakers that it is closely tracking allegations of Israeli human rights violations and will restrict security assistance if the claims prove true. The assurances come in a response from the State Department to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and 10 House members who asked the administration earlier this year to investigate whether Israel and Egypt were violating human rights and should be penalized under the Leahy Law.” [Politico]

“Hillary forces target Bush donors” by Ben White: “Top targets for the Clinton team include people like Woody Johnson, Jeb Bush’s former finance chair and the owner of the New York Jets. One person close to Clinton said supporters of the former secretary of state drew up a list of Wall Street donors who supported Jeb Bush and other unsuccessful Republican candidates months ago but wanted to wait until Trump locked down the nomination before beginning to make the calls.” [Politico]

Paul Ryan: ‘I’m just not ready’ to back Donald Trump: “House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he cannot yet support presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wisconsin Republican told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” in an interview. Ryan said he wants Trump to unify “all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement” and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to “have something that they’re proud to support and proud to be a part of.” [CNN]

Dan Senor on Bloomberg’s WADR: “Ryan was struck by these calls for party unity, like everyone should just fall in line, which, in principle he’s not against behind a unifying figure… Paul Ryan has serious questions about Donald Trump’s temperament to be commander-in-chief, serious questions about his judgement, and his positions on issues. He’s not providing a checklist, but he’s simply saying that over the next couple of months, ‘Earn my support.’”

On Never Trump: “I am never going to be for Trump. There are some donors who will sit on the sidelines and sit out the race entirely. There are some donors who who are looking for way to find an independent, center-right candidate to be on the stage with Trump and Clinton — to save the down-ballot, to potentially throw this into the House of Representatives and win, and to actually make a statement about the future of the conservative movement. And then some, by the way — I think some donors will go to Trump. Several I have spoken to said they are going to go for Trump, but the big question they are asking is: ‘Yeah, I am going to be for Trump. But I am not going to actually donate to him because he’s worth ten billion dollars.’” [Bloomberg]

“Patching relationships, Trump pivots toward big fundraising” by Jonathan Lemire and Julie Bykowicz: “Trump hopes to tap into the RNC’s existing fundraising network, but some of the party’s big donors are reluctant to embrace him. “High-dollar donors need to be convinced that Trump is going to be a serious candidate and won’t embarrass them,” said Charlie Spies, a veteran Republican operative with deep ties to party fundraisers.” [AP]

“New Trump Finance Chair Has Given Twice As Much To Democrats As To The GOP” by Tarini Parti: “Trump’s campaign announced Thursday that Steve Mnuchin, co-founder of Dune Capital Management and OneWest Bank Group LLC, would serve as the presumptive Republican nominee’s national finance chair. Beyond his contributions, Mnuchin’s past employers don’t fall in line with Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail. Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs partner and worked for liberal mega-donor George Soros’s hedge fund.” [BuzzFeed]

“This is a $2 billion business that you have got to set up,” Lisa Spies told The Hill on Thursday. “I just don’t envy him,” Spies added, referring to the enormous task Steven Mnuchin has ahead of him in a campaign that, to date, has largely been self-funded. “He’s going to need to spend his initial time telling donors that Donald Trump didn’t mean what he said to them.” [TheHill]

Ted Frank, a JI reader and attorney who helped with vetting potential VP candidates for John McCain in 2008, on CNN with Brooke Baldwin — Biggest lesson learned: “Don’t pick somebody at the last minute. I think that is a lesson that the (McCain/Palin) campaign knew at the time. Anybody you pick needs to help your ticket, either by being a good candidate on the merits all by themselves or by compensating for the weaknesses you may have on the ticket.” The most important questions in vetting process: “McCain knew the positives and negatives with Palin, and made the choice because he felt that she added excitement to the ticket that he needed going up against Obama. I think it worked for him. He took a very good bounce in the polls and it was the Lehman brothers collapse that dithered his campaign, not Sarah Palin.” On the No’s of potential names floated: “I think the people who are saying no now really do mean no. You need the cooperation of somebody in order to be considered. If somebody is saying no, they probably do mean no.” On Possible veep picks: “Oprah Winfrey, Newt Gingrich, or Jeff Sessions for Trump; Tim Kaine, Cory Booker or Julián Castro for Clinton.”

HEARD YESTERDAY: “Top Administration Official Denounces ‘Language of Hate’ Permeating Election” by Mariam Khan: “A top official in the Obama administration denounced hate speech and discriminatory behavior in the United States at an event commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, calling on Americans to not let “the fear of the other” root itself in the U.S. “Hate speech has a friend in silence,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said at the U.S. Capitol.” [ABCNews] • “Holocaust survivors on Capitol Hill light candles to remember” [RNS]

**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: “Sumner Redstone Trial Captivates Hollywood and Wall Street” [NYTimes] • “$55m Fraud Case Reveals Cracks in Israel’s Exclusive Diamond Exchange Club” [Haaretz] • “Former DSW exec named to key role at American Eagle Outfitters” [BizJournals• “Beny Alagem’s condo tower proposal will appear on the November ballot” [RealDeal] • “Ron Burkle and Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment Group are close to a deal to buy the boutique hotel chain Morgans Hotel Group” [NYPost] • “Here’s the full letter Sir Philip Green sent to MPs accusing them of ‘public vilification’ and a ‘trial by media'” [BusinessInsider]

STARTUP NATION: “The ‘Business Kibbutz’ of Jerusalem Feeds Thriving Tech and Startup Scene” by Genevieve Belmaker: “The rivalry between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel’s two most populous cities, is legendary. It’s been chronicled in popular song, countless media stories, the movies, and literature. Often characterized as a cloistered city that feeds off of religious and ethnic tensions, Jerusalem seems to be turning the tables by taking its idiosyncrasies and milking them for their business worth. In the span of just a few years, Jerusalem has grown into the role of a dark horse champion in the highly competitive global market of startups.” [EpochTimes]

HOLLYWOOD: “Meet the New Han Solo: Alden Ehrenreich, Discovered by Steven Spielberg at a Bat Mitzvah” by Marlow Stern: “For those unfamiliar with the 26-year-old Ehrenreich, he has a fascinating origin story of his own. Back when Ehrenreich was just 14, he made a home movie for his friend’s bat mitzvah, which played during the ceremony. Steven Spielberg just so happened to be in the crowd, as his daughter Sasha was friends with the guest of honor. Spielberg was impressed with Ehrenreich’s performance and gave him a meeting at his studio, Dreamworks.” [DailyBeast]

“Jewish Alumni Conference: A Century of Jewish Life” by Michael Goldstein: “About 900 alumni and guests came to campus April 14–16 to celebrate a century of Jewish life at Princeton. For alumni, the conference — called L’Chaim: To Life! — was a time to schmooze, attend lectures, and recall both the good and the bad of their time at Princeton. Jeremy Ben-Ami ’84, founder and president of the liberal “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying group J Street; and Martin Kramer ’75 *82, president of Shalem College in Israel and a scholar of Middle East politics, discussed Israeli policy and Israel-U.S. relations in a lively session that illustrated the policy divisions among American Jews.”

“Wrapping up the conference was speaker Mark Wilf ’84, best known for his family’s ownership of the Minnesota Vikings football team. He related how his “Babu Miriam” and father barely survived the Holocaust, and reminded the crowd what a privilege a Princeton education was. He urged participants to “reflect and think about your own journey to get here,” and to stay involved, mentor, and give back.”[PAW]

Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week — Italy Edition: “The air in Italy was extraordinary, maybe the freshest and cleanest I have ever breathed. Pesach there was memorable with the delicious food, and the ten plagues recited in Italian. We stayed at Locanda Rosa: a spectacular hotel deep in Tuscany with a wonderful group of people and of course great Italian wine.”

“We tasted 20 different wines. Some were really great. The one that showed the best was the Terra di Seta Gran Selezione Chianti Classico. It was different than anything else I have ever tasted. It was full of earth, mushrooms, and cigar notes – after a second lighting. The tannins on the finish were quite bold and turned to fruit fifteen minutes after leaving the palate. It was a deep purple color and smelled of cherries and blueberries. Let the wine breathe for an hour and eat it with lamb and artichokes.” [TerraDiSeta]

DESSERT: “This Kosher Restaurant Is Changing How LA Values Its Mexican Food” by Javier Cabral: “Katsuji Tanabe is a Chopped champion. He has competed in both the USA and Mexico editions of Top Chef, and is perhaps the only chef in Los Angeles who cooks and grinds his own nixtamal for his handmade corn tortillas in-house at his restaurant, Mexikosher… The international Jewish community adores him, too, and every other weekend he is flying out to different parts of the world, sharing his kosher Mexican food gospel.” [Munchies.Vice]

BIRTHDAYS: Congressman Ted Deutch turns 5-0… Harris Media founder Vincent Harris who has run digital for Netanyahu, Rand Paul, Cruz, McConnell… Nobel Laureate and Yale University professor of biology and chemistry Sidney Altman turns 77… Herb Siegel turns 88… Ayelet Shaked … Jane Press… Emmy award winning film and television director Adam Bernstein turns 56… Stand-up comedian Don Rickles turns 90… Retired senior British judge, Baron Leonard Hoffmann turns 82… Former Attorney General of Canada and past president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Irwin Cotler turns 76… MIT Biologist and Nobel Prize laureate H. Robert Horvitz turns 69… Actor and director Stephen Furst (born Stephen Nelson Feuerstein) turns 61… Canadian social activist and documentary filmmaker critical of corporate capitalism, Naomi Klein turns 46…

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