Daily Kickoff: Trump advisor criticizes AIPAC’s apology | Who is attending Bilderberg? | Soros is trading again | How Diller built a travel empire
Ed note: Next Daily Kickoff will be on Tuesday.
DEEP DIVE: “A Brief Introduction to the Pro-Holocaust Twitterverse” by Jeffrey Goldberg: “I’m of two minds about alt-right online anti-Semitism. On the one hand, as someone who has written about issues concerning Jews and Israel for a number of decades now (I won’t name the number), my skin is thick like a rhino’s. Anti-semitism is not new, or shocking, to me, though I am still sometimes surprised by the speed at which social media amplifies it… On the other hand, I don’t want to mitigate the damage done by the far-right. I’ve met people who are traumatized by the explosion of on-line anti-Semitism, as well as physical-world anti-Semitism—for instance, the young woman I met last night at the Sixth and I Synagogue in downtown Washington who told me that a man in a Trump hat called her a “kike” on the Metro—and so monitoring this phenomenon seems like a worthwhile endeavor.” [TheAtlantic]
“New York Times editor quits Twitter over anti-Semitic tweets” by Tom Kludt: “Inundated with anti-Semitic tweets and frustrated by Twitter’s initial response, New York Times editor Jon Weisman is packing up and leaving the social media platform. Weisman said Wednesday — in a tweet — that he will be “moving to Facebook where at least people need to use their real names and can’t hide behind fakery to spread their hate.”” [CNNMoney]
Trump’s Twitter Consultant: “How a golf caddie became Trump’s campaign confidant” by Chris Moody: “Regarding the issue of retweeting accounts with histories of supporting white supremacy, Scavino acknowledged that Trump has been made aware of the problem, but defended the practice by insisting that Trump doesn’t have time to check on such things before hitting the “Send” button. “He’s not clicking on peoples’ profiles. He doesn’t read their bios,” Scavino said. But what of the account called “@WhiteGenocideTM” a Twitter user with a common rallying crying of white supremacists in the title? “He’s aware of it now,” Scavino said. “Let’s put it this way: He’ll see a message. He’s not reading the handles, necessarily. A lot of it gets blown out of proportion in my opinion only because here you have a man that wants to communicate with the American people, OK? And he’s doing that.” [CNN]
Trump advisor Jason Greenblatt on AIPAC: “Greenblatt also shared his perspective as the Jewish adviser who was figuratively standing next to Trump the day after Trump addressed the AIPAC conference, when Lillian Pinkus, AIPAC’s president, condemned his speech in strong and even tearful terms. She was referring to one word Trump uttered—“yay”—after the GOP candidate noted that this was President Barack Obama’s last year in office. She doubly condemned the audience’s 30 seconds of applause that followed Trump’s statement. “We are disappointed that so many people applauded a sentiment that we neither agree with or condone,” Pinkus said.”
“While he doesn’t think Trump is likely to hold a grudge when there is a serious topic such as Israel on the table, Greenblatt felt that AIPAC made a serious error in judgment. “It was wrong of AIPAC to do that. I would not have made that decision if I were them,” he said. Greenblatt qualified his comments by noting that the Republican nomination was, in March, still very much up in the air. “When they issued the apology, you remember, there were a lot of other candidates on the stage. And then, very quickly, he won. I am not sure they anticipated that. But it’s a question they should have asked themselves,” said Greenblatt.” [JNS]
“Trump son-in-law emerges as quiet force” by Steve Peoples and Jonathan Lemire: “Kushner’s growing influence in recent weeks, as described by several people with direct knowledge of his role, has included the selection and vetting of potential running mates, planning for his father-in-law’s transition to the White House, the campaign’s nascent push to incorporate voter data into its strategy, fundraising, and the development of major policies.” [AP]
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Talk grows of replacing Trump at GOP convention” by Jon Ward: “David French, a conservative writer who considered running as an anti-Trump independent candidate, told Yahoo News that Trump shouldn’t take his convention nomination for granted. “If Trump continues to be cocky, saying, ‘I can do whatever I want and do whatever I want because I own these people, there’s a limit to that,” French said. “I’m sorry, but there is.”
“I want to support the nominee of the party, but I think the party ought to change the nominee. Because we’re going to get killed with this nominee,” Hugh Hewitt, a nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host, said. “They ought to get together and let the convention decide. And if Donald Trump pulls over a makeover in the next four to five weeks, great, they can keep him.” [Yahoo; BuzzFeed]
“Donald Trump Softens His Tone, and the G.O.P. Hopes It Will Last” by Ashley Parker and Maggie Haberman: “[The] speech doesn’t change much,” said Dan Senor, who supported Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in the primaries and who has been an adviser to Speaker Paul D. Ryan. “Even tonight, there are conversations that maybe, just maybe, he says these offensive things because he actually believes them.” [NYTimes]
“Trump Seeks Campaign Cash from New York Real-Estate Buddies” by Zachary Mider: “Trump called the group “the biggest real estate people in the country” during an interview at Trump Tower before the meeting. Those expected to attend included the billionaire Richard LeFrak and Howard Lorber, both of whom Trump has known for decades and has called his closest friends. Others included Steve Roth and Michael Fascitelli, the current and former chief executives of Vornado Realty Trust, and Steve Witkoff, who once worked for a law firm that represented Trump and later started his own real-estate company.” [Bloomberg]
“Trump Says ‘No Reason’ to Raise $1 Billion for Campaign” by Michael Bender and Jennifer Jacobs: “There’s no reason to raise that,” Trump said about raising $1 billion. “I just don’t think I need nearly as much money as other people need because I get so much publicity. I get so many invitations to be on television. I get so many interviews, if I want them.” [Bloomberg; Politico]
HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND — PLOTTING? Reince and Paul Ryan to Summit With Romney: “RNC chairman Reince Priebus and House Speaker Paul Ryan are among the attendees for Mitt Romney’s annual Utah retreat starting tomorrow, bringing together the #NeverTrump movement with GOP leaders who’ve said they will vote for the presumptive nominee. While not specifically billed as an anti-Trump event, Romney’s “Experts and Enthusiasts” event will feature speeches from people like Romney and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sassse, who’ve refused to back The Donald. Anti-Trump donors like CEO Meg Whitman and hedge-fund manager Paul Singer will also be in attendance, leading insiders to wonder whether the event will be used to evangelize against the controversial nominee.” [DailyBeast; CNN]
The world’s most elite conference this year will discuss something called “the precariat” — by Jason Karaian: “For when Davos isn’t exclusive enough, there is Bilderberg. The Bilderberg Meeting is an annual gathering of world leaders, executives, and assorted grandees, established in 1954 and named for the Dutch hotel where the secretive group first gathered. Amid heavy security, around 130 people—including three prime ministers and 30 CEOs—will hold talks on the world’s most pressing issues this week.” [Quartz]
Attendees include Henry Kissinger, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Alex Karp, Peter Thiel, Henry Kravis, Marie-Josée Kravis, David Petraeus, Eric Schmidt, Niall Ferguson, and Sam Altman. See the full list [Bilderberg]
Eli Lake: “U.S. Taxpayers Are Funding Iran’s Military Expansion” [BloombergView]
“Sanders Picks Controversial Israel Critic to Testify Before Dem Platform Committee” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Sanders selected Matthew Duss, president of the DC-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, and known in part for his criticism of Israel, to testify on his behalf before the party’s platform committee this week, Jewish Insider has learned… “I’m honored to be able to share my views, and look forward to a friendly and constructive dialog,” he said in an email to Jewish Insider.” [JewishInsider]
“Hamas Is Ready for War with Israel” by David Patrikarakos: “The Gaza Strip may still lie in rubble, but Hamas operatives are convinced that they are ready for another battle.” [ForeignPolicy]
KAFE KNESSET by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: The attack in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market yesterday caught Prime Minister Netanyahu while he was flying back to Israel from his state visit to Moscow. From Ben Gurion Airport, Netanyahu rushed straight to his Tel Aviv office, for a long security discussion that ended after 2 AM. He also went to visit the site of the attack, right across the street from the IDF headquarters and the defense ministry.
This morning, Sarona Market was empty in the early hours, but towards 11AM, people started returning to the shopping district. Television and radio stations moved their broadcasts to its grounds, and a string of politicians arrived to express their support for the businesses that were hit by the attack. Among the visitors was the new defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, for whom this event will be a first test on the job. For months, Lieberman slammed the Israeli government’s response to the Palestinian wave of terror, and called for adopting much harsher methods. His tough talk made his favorability in opinion polls spike, but now – sitting in the 14th floor at the defense ministry’s tower – it might be difficult for him to translate words into actions.
The security cabinet was convened shortly before 1PM local time. Minister of Transportation Israel Katz, a powerful Likud operative, told us that the time has come for the Israeli government to start deporting the families of terrorists from the West Bank into Syria or Gaza, in order to intmidate future assailants. This step was already proposed by other Likud ministers in the past, but was never approved, mainly for legal reasons.
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announces new Investment Advisory Council including Westfield Co-CEO & Tribe Media President Peter Lowy [Commerce] • “Oral History of Online Travel: Barry Diller’s Deals Built A Travel Empire” [Skift] • “Extell sues Port Authority to gain insight into bidding process” [RealDeal] • “Las Vegas Review-Journal Magically Reverses Pro-Marijuana Views After Sheldon Adelson Buys Paper” [DailyCaller] • “Isaac Chetrit, Charles Aini to expand Garment District retail building into hotel” [RealDeal] • “Y Combinator’s Sam Altman Got Kicked Out of the Ritz For Violating Its Dress Code” [VanityFair]
SPOTLIGHT: “A Bearish George Soros Is Trading Again” by Gregory Zuckerman: “After a long hiatus, George Soros has returned to trading, lured by opportunities to profit from what he sees as coming economic troubles. Worried about the outlook for the global economy and concerned that large market shifts may be at hand, the billionaire hedge-fund founder and philanthropist recently directed a series of big, bearish investments, according to people close to the matter.” [WSJ]
STARTUP NATION: “Video startup SundaySky just raised a $30 million investment – this is why it’s a big deal” by Gedalzyah Reback: “Israeli video startup SundaySky raised a Series D funding round on Wednesday led by Viola Private Equity and brought in new cash from Carmel Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Japan-based NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and Globespan Capital Partners. SundaySky predicates its business on using videos to greet new customers when they visit a business’s website (or more specifically, when they look for information).” [GeekTime]
“Israeli archaeologists rush to dig at Cave of Skulls before looters take everything” by William Booth and Ruth Eglash: “Amir Ganor is an Israeli cop, but not the kind who chases car thieves or bank robbers. Ganor is a Jewish Indiana Jones, an archaeologist gumshoe, but instead of a coiled bullwhip at his side, he shoves a pistol into his pants and manhandles jeeps through seemingly impassable goat trails. Today the target of Ganor’s investigation is a remarkable cavern located high in the pitiless mountains above the Dead Sea.” [WashPost]
TALK OF OUR NATION: “100 Years of Jewish Fashion Design” by Elizabeth Paton: “In 1900, a Jewish Lithuanian immigrant named Meshe David Osinsky arrived in Britain alone at the age of 19. He set up a clothes-peddling business, adopted the name Montague Burton and then opened a tailoring store in Chesterfield, a northern industrial town. By 1939, Burton had 595 retailers across the country offering made-to-measure suits for men.”
“Just in time for the men’s wear season, his story is one of dozens finally being told in “Moses, Mods and Mr. Fish,” a small but powerful exhibition on display through June 19 at the Jewish Museum London, in the borough of Camden Town, which aims to document the role of Jewish designers in shaping the male wardrobe over the last century, including Moss Bros. and Marks & Spencer.” [NYTimes]
BIRTHDAYS: Jerusalem born actress Natalie Portman turns 35… Formerly IDF’s Chief of Staff Benjamin “Benny” Gantz turns 57… Standup comedian Jackie Mason turns 88… Joe Biden’s Deputy Press Secretary, Stephen Spector… Writer of both film scripts and Broadway screenplays, Aaron Sorkin turns 55… Former Pentagon and State Department official, Kenneth Adelman turns 70… Journalist, Marvin Kalb, who after 30 years at CBS became the founding director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, turns 86…
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Editor-in-Chief of The Algemeiner newspaper Dovid Efune… Former Attorney General and then Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer turns 57… Emmy Award winning TV journalist who has worked for CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and PBS, Jeff Greenfield turns 73… Historian, novelist, music critic and syndicated columnist, Nat Hentoff turns 91… Author of award-winning books about her experiences before, during and after the Holocaust, Aranka Davidowitz Siegal turns 86… State Department’s Matt Nosanchuk… J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami… Jennifer Rubin… American Eagle CEO Jay Schottenstein…