Daily Kickoff: Reality Trumps Preference for much of the RJC | Lew, Lapid at ADL | Hillary fundraiser in Tel Aviv today | Self-Driving Israeli Trucks

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Reality ‘Trumps’ preference for much of Republican Jewish Coalition” by Jared Sichel: “Joel Geiderman’s view of a potential Donald Trump presidency has shifted since March. Two months ago, in an op-ed in these pages, Geiderman—the California chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC)—wrote, “I would Dump Trump. If it came down to the choice between Hillary Clinton (another terribly flawed candidate) and him, I would either not vote at all or support a third-party conservative candidate, if that were an option.” But last week, in an email to the Jewish Journal, Geiderman wrote that he was “encouraged but not yet convinced” by developments since March.” With comments from Matt Brooks, Marc Goldman, Rich Roberts, Ronald Krongold[JewishJournal

Heard Last Night — Dan Senor to Mike Huckabee on Fox News’ The Kelly File: “When Trump said, ‘The Israelis and Palestinians, I am going to cut a deal. It’ll be the deal of a century; the deal of a lifetime.’ And so they are equal actors. You have spent a lot of time in Israel, you’re a Zionist. You understand. Does that not worry you that he has such a complete lack of knowledge about the region, let alone a real connection with the State of Israel as it’s dealing with a range of threats throughout the region?”

Huckabee: “I didn’t agree with him on that. But I am telling you this: I would rather have him because I think he is willing to learn about the big difference between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I don’t think Hillary has the capacity to change her mind. I think she’s ironclad.”

Senor: “I have been involved with Republican and Conservative national security debates for decades. I am sad to say that our nominee, the best we can say for him is that he will be slightly less worse than the Democratic candidate.” [JewishInsiderYouTube]

Shmuel Rosner: “Will Jewish Republicans, pro-Israel Americans support Trump?” [JewishJournal]

U.S. Jewish Groups Condemn Breitbart for Calling Bill Kristol ‘Renegade Jew’ — by Jacob Kornbluh: “We are disappointed that Breitbart News invoked Bill Kristol’s religion in #RenegadeJew headline. So inappropriate and offensive,” The ADL tweeted on its main Twitter account on Monday. “While we disagree deeply with Bill Kristol on many issues, there is no question that Breitbart’s attack on Mr. Kristol as a ‘Renegade Jew’ is completely unacceptable,” the NJDC said in a statement. “Mr. Horowitz must apologize immediately and help ensure that these sort of attacks must not be allowed to become the new normal. Andrew Breitbart, z”l, would have been deeply ashamed.” [HaaretzJI] • “I haven’t read it, and can’t say I intend to,” Kristol told The Daily Beast Monday morning.” [DailyBeast]

Ron Kampeas tweets: “Betsy Rothstein thinks z”l is a “mangled” typo” [TwitterDailyCaller]

David Horowitz: “No Apologies for Calling Bill Kristol ‘Renegade Jew’” [Breitbart]

Jennifer Rubin: “The Breitbart incident and the loud presence of anti-Semites among his social media following add to the perception that even among Republicans, Trump’s support in the Jewish community will sink dramatically after Republicans made some gains in 2012.” [WashPost]

ADL National Summit — Jeffrey Goldberg to Yair Lapid: “So what do you think of Donald Trump?” Lapid (laughing): “Wow. I am going to let you worry about this. I would just say this about the American election: It makes the rest of the world feel so good about themselves.” [Video]

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg — On lobbying Europe to comply with sanctions relief as part of the the Iran deal: “We are saying to European banks: ‘It may not be legal for American banks because we have an embargo in place; we have other sanctions. But we’ve lifted the restrictions that prevent you from doing business.’”

Goldberg: “It would be interesting for this audience to get a little insight what it is like to be Jack Lew from Riverdale – if you know what I mean – sitting with high representatives of a regime that your own boss – President Obama – has labeled anti-Semitic at its very top levels. What is the dynamic in these conversations? Do you say to him, ‘By the way, writing ‘Israel must be erased from the map’ on top of a missile is not really helping me help you?’”

Lew: “I am very frank in my private meetings… I made very clear that Iran had the ability to solve its own problems by withdrawing support of terrorism, by stopping launching missiles with the kind of inflammatory language that they did. Those are points that I make. I haven’t met with the Iranians in private that often – my team has in the negotiations. I was very candid. I also was very clear that we’re going to keep our part of the bargain.”

Lew on the MOU negotiations with Israel: “I know that there are very large numbers that people are trying to close out. I also know from my experience in the past that Israel has never been shy to put very, very large numbers into the discussion, which is what makes it often a challenging conversation regardless of who the party is on the other side.”

On the rough reception at last year’s Jerusalem Post conference: “I don’t get particularly flustered by a crowd that is unfriendly. I, actually, was struck in a positive way at the outpouring of concern from the Jewish community and leadership from Israel – from the Prime Minister on down – at the way that audience reacted. And I think it actually caused some soul searching because we have to be able to have different views we can discuss respectfully and not have it become a question of which one is a believer in the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship.” [Video]

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer at the ADL: “The irony is that while some today believe Israel is the cause of anti-Semitism, when the ADL first opened its doors in 1913, some believed that Israel was the cure for anti-Semitism… The truth is that the establishment of Israel is neither the cause of nor the cure for anti-Semitism. But what the establishment of Israel did do was give the Jewish people the power to defend themselves against anti-Semitism… The BDS movement is an anti-Semitic movement and should be exposed as such… One of the hallmarks of anti-Semitism is the attempt to judge Jews by a different standard than other peoples. That is why the attempt to judge Israel by a different standard than other countries is simply an old hatred appearing in a new form.” [TranscriptCSPAN]

SCENE YESTERDAY: To celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, the White House hosted a screening of Aviva Kempner’s documentary film Rosenwald highlighting philanthropist Julius Rosenwald’s efforts to build over 5,000 schools to help African-Americans in the South. Following the hour and forty minute long film, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett delivered remarks noting her close family relatives that were positively affected by Julius Rosenwald. The event also marked Chanan Weissman’s first public remarks as the new White House Jewish Liaison [Video]. A panel discussion with Kempner, Ambassador David Saperstein, and the NAACP’s Hilary Shelton closed out the program after which guests proceeded upstairs to the Indian Treaty Room for an evening reception with light snacks. Many of the usual suspects were in attendance racking up their White House visitor log stats[PIC]

SPOTTED: Alan Solow, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, NJDC’s Greg Rosenbaum, B’nai B’rith’s Daniel Mariaschin, Agudath Israel’s Abba Cohen, Steve Rabinowitz, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Matt Nosanchuk, Sarah Arkin, Aaron Weinberg, Robert J. Saferstein, OU’s Nathan Diament, Joseph Tuchman, and Madeline Peterson.

HAPPENING TODAY: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will deliver the commencement address to The Jewish Theological Seminary’s (JTS) class of 2016 at 10:40am. JTS will award honorary degrees to Secretary Lew, Abe Foxman, Karen Davidson, Roz Chast, and Jonathan Lippman. [Livestream]

At noon on the House floor, Rabbi Jay Weinstein of Young Israel of East Brunswick will deliver the opening prayer. h/t Howard Mortman

Happening today in Israel: Sarah Bard, Director of Jewish Outreach for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, will headline a fundraiser hosted at the home of Tally Zingher in Tel Aviv, Israel. The event is co- hosted by Tracey Friedlander. [Event]

“Howard Wolfson to host Clinton fundraiser” by Annie Karni: “Howard Wolfson, who served as Clinton’s communications director on her 2008 presidential bid, is scheduled to host a fundraiser for his former boss on May 20 in New York City. Wolfson, now a top aide to Bloomberg, was helping to craft a potential run by the billionaire, who considered a self-funded run last January but ultimately decided against it for fear of helping to hand the White House to Trump.” [Politico]

COMING ATTRACTION: “Donald Trump to meet with Henry Kissinger, GOP’s foreign-policy eminence” by Robert Costa and Philip Rucker: “Trump is scheduled to meet Wednesday with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee looks to develop his foreign-policy expertise, according to three people close to Trump.” [WashPost]

SPOTTED: US Senator John Hoeven at Alliance Bernstein’s midtown NYC offices yesterday to meet with OU Advocacy leaders. [Pic]

STATE SIDE: “Texas Gov. Abbott Rejects WH Request to Lift State Sanctions On Iran” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Because the Iran deal is fundamentally flawed and does not permanently dismantle Iran’s nuclear capability, Texas will maintain its sanctions against Iran,” Abbott wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday. “Further, because your administration has recklessly and unilaterally removed critical sanctions, I have called on the Texas Legislature to strengthen the Iran sanctions that Texas already has in place.”

Abbott on 2016: “I am perplexed about the Jewish community in this regard,” he continued. “After seeing eight years of the Obama administration, and the damage caused by the Obama administration to Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance, I don’t understand how anyone who cares about Israel can support a Democrat… I believe that if the Republican is elected president, that deal will not exist in its current form and a new and better deal is going to be struck that is going to be safer and better for Israel and safer and better for the United States.” [JIJPost]

“Six Stubborn, Essential Middle East Truths” by Aaron David Miller: “Leaders change, and the Middle East can always surprise. But regardless of presidential preference and promises, there are a half-dozen verities that will haunt any leader, from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton — just as they have bedeviled President Barack Obama and his predecessors.” [RealClearWorld]

David Makovsky on a potential Israeli Unity Government: “Netanyahu’s challenge “could come toward year’s end, when the Obama administration is expected to decide whether to pursue a UN Security Council resolution that would outline the toughest issues blocking progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here, too, Netanyahu fears an imposed solution and appears to believe Labor’s inclusion could allow Israel to modify its policies in ways that preempt such a move. A broader government would also give Netanyahu the flexibility to deal with a new U.S. administration.” [WashInstitute]

REPORT: “Palestinian Official: Kerry to Attend Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Ahead of French Peace Summit: So far, Kerry hasn’t taken a public stance on French initiative, which Jerusalem strictly opposes. But his spokesman says efforts are being made to move the meeting to accommodate Kerry’s schedule.” [Haaretz]

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SPOTLIGHT: “Want to Buy a Self-Driving Car? Trucks May Come First” by John Markoff:“Otto, led by 15 former Google engineers, including major figures from the search company’s self-driving car and maps projects, is aiming at the long-haul freeway driving that is the bread and butter of the commercial trucking industry. Since the Google car and map veterans, Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron, founded Otto in January, the company has expanded to 41 employees and has been test-driving three Volvo trucks, logging in more than 10,000 miles. Ron, Otto’s co-founder, has a background in Israeli Army intelligence, he was originally the lead engineer for Google Maps.” [NYTimes]

STARTUP NATION: “The notion that the best ideas are simple is the theme of the Homrun Group, which is taking the simple notion of having “a friend who knows a friend” to help fresh Israeli businesses get their foot in the door in the United States. “Instead of giving them money or anything, we just get them the right connections – put them in the right rooms with the right people,” said founder Daniel Gradus. From its chic industrial offices in the heart of Jaffa, Homrun itself is a start-up of sorts, having begun official operations only this past September.” [JPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Judge: Congregants can take control of oldest US synagogue” by Michelle R. Smith: “The congregation that worships at the nation’s oldest synagogue prevailed Monday in a bitter legal fight that threatened its existence, as a federal judge ruled it may now control its own destiny and decide what to do with a set of ceremonial bells worth millions. The lawsuit pitted congregants at the 250-year-old Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, against the nation’s oldest Jewish congregation, Shearith Israel in New York City. U.S. District Judge Jack McConnell on Monday awarded Congregation Jeshuat Israel, of Newport, control of Touro, rejecting arguments from Congregation Shearith Israel that it is the synagogue’s rightful owner.” [AP]

“Beit T’Shuvah board sets emergency meeting amidst dispute between new CEO and longtime leadership” by Danielle Berrin and Jared Sichel: “The board of directors of Beit T’Shuvah, one of the nation’s premiere Jewish addiction treatment centers, has scheduled an emergency meeting for Tuesday following an email sent to all employees by new CEO Bill Resnick on the morning of Sunday, May 15. The email, titled, “Cleaning house,” informed Beit T’Shuvah’s 116 employees that its key leadership, including founder Harriet Rossetto and spiritual leader Rabbi Mark Borovitz, had been fired.” [JewishJournal]

SCENE LAST NIGHT in Chicago –– from a JI reader at the Upshot event: Slingshot and upstart organized a pop up giving circle, bringing 150 nationwide funders and innovators together to discuss their values and award a collective $10,000 to five different Chicago-based organizations: Mishkan, Kahal, Orot, Svara, and The Jewish Enrichment Center. Event featured a performance from Grammy-winning artist Peter Himmelman. Spotted: Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann, Lisa Mann, Rabbi Benay Lappe, Ted Perlman, Dan Derby, Rich Biller, Upstart CEO Aaron Katler, Slingshot CEO Stephanie Rhodes, Crown’s Leslie Said-Matsa, Fred Margulies, Schusterman’s Aviv Maman, Bruce Taylor, Jan Holmgren, Toy Story creator Ralph Guggenheim, Lisa Portnoy, Brian Abraham, Zach Fertig, former Congressman Brad Schneider, and Stefan Teodosic.”

DESSERT: “Two divers discover 1,600-year-old Roman shipwreck and priceless treasures off of Israel’s coast” by Ben Guarino: “For Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra’anan, two friends on a diving trip off of the Israeli coast, what began as a typical Mediterranean excursion took a stunning turn. The two men spied a castaway sculpture sitting amid the rocks and silt on the seabed. This was no average oceanic detritus. The figure, it started to dawn on the divers, must have been ancient. Indeed, according to the archaeologists, it’s the largest cache of Roman objects to be found in Israel in 30 years.” [WashPost]

BIRTHDAYS: Author of the 2005 book “Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish,” Abigail Pogrebin… and her identical twin sister, Robin Pogrebin, art and auction reporter for The New York Times, both turn 51… Comedian, actor, and television host, Bob Saget turns 60… Digital Director of Hillary for America, Jenna Lowenstein… Lead writer for The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire, Reid J. Epstein…

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