Daily Kickoff: Elizabeth Warren, Israel Hawk? Hillary’s VP? | Preview of NY Congressional Primaries today | Trump’s Jewish warm-up act: Stephen Miller
Ed note: Brace for later publishing times this week as we’re on Mountain Daylight Time. It’s not too late to request an invite for our upcoming Friday Night dinner in Aspen featuring a conversation between Leon Wieseltier and Julia Ioffe, along with a wine tasting courtesy of Yitz Applbaum. More info at OneTable. • Mazal Tov to our indefatigable reporter Jacob Kornbluh on the brit milah ceremony of his newborn son Shaya yesterday.
PROFILE: “The Believer: How Stephen Miller went from obscure Capitol Hill staffer to Donald Trump’s warm-up act—and resident ideologue” by Julia Ioffe: “Miller is 30 years old, and in some ways a quintessential member of the Trump 2016 menagerie: an obscure character suddenly elevated to a national role by dint of hard work, loyalty and the boss’s favor…. But among this roster of political outsiders, Miller stands out, especially for people who understand the new forces afoot in Republican politics. He’s deeply connected to some of the most powerful insurgent threads in the Washington GOP, most notably Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and the Breitbart media machine.”
“I’M IN HEAVEN!” Ann Coulter tweeted when it was announced in late January that Trump had hired Miller, whom Coulter called “Sessions’ brain trust.” The hire, Coulter felt, offered a sign that Trump was “not backing down on immigration.” How did Stephen Miller come to occupy such an extreme position on immigration? Strangely, it was his experience coming of age in a liberal Jewish family in liberal Santa Monica, the Berkeley of Southern California… Miller was born into a family of lawyers and salesmen, two professions he never pursued but clearly has in him. His parents were Democrats, but Miller was pulled in a different direction early.” [Politico]
Larry Mizel to Co-Chair Donald Trump fundraiser in Colorado — by Mark Matthews: “Pete Coors and Mike Shanahan, a pair of giants in Colorado beer and football, are two of several boldfaced names planning a Friday fundraiser for Donald Trump to coincide with the Republican candidate’s visit to the state that day for the Western Conservative Summit. Longtime Colorado kingmaker and political donor Larry Mizel also is listed as a co-chair.” [DenverPost]
“Trump Needs Adelson’s Fortune More Than Ever” by Armin Rosen: “With little apparent interest from much of the Republican donor class, Trump may have to lean more heavily on multi-billionaire casino magnate and Trump endorser Sheldon Adelson, whose staunch views on Israel could be newly relevant in this coming presidential contest.” [TabletMag]
PALACE INTRIGUE: “Trump’s secret data reversal” by Kenneth Vogel & Darren Samuelsohn: “Manafort has exerted increasing control over the campaign since forcing out his rival, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, last week. But newly named digital director Brad Parscale is seen as a player with increasing influence in the campaign in his own right, according to several sources, one of whom described Parscale as a “proxy” for Trump’s influential son-in-law, Jared Kushner.” [Politico]
VP TALK: “Elizabeth Warren Is the Surprising Israel Hawk on Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential Shortlist” by Nathan Guttman: “The Bernie or Bust crowd, who are still uncomfortable with Clinton, may find Warren’s positions on social and economic issues just as exciting as Sanders’s. But on Israel they disagree. Warren chose to challenge progressives with a strong pro-Israel stance, much closer to that of the Democratic establishment.” [Forward]
From the weekend: “Dems Reject Sanders’ Platform Proposal on Israel” by Jacob Kornbluh: “The Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee on Friday voted down an amendment that would have called for “an end to occupation and illegal settlements” and an international effort to rebuild Gaza during a meeting in St. Louis.” [JewishInsider]
Jennifer Rubin writes in Right Turn: “Score one for pro-Israel Democrats: Clinton would return to the bipartisan, pro-Israel stance — albeit with a dose of unrealism about a two-state solution — in place before the Obama presidency. It behooves Republican internationalists who see Donald Trump as a malevolent, dangerous and erratic voice to praise Clinton when she gets it “right,” as on Israel, and to press her (e.g. on defense spending) where her base would drag her back into an Obama-style foreign policy of appeasement and retrenchment. She would be wise to seek their counsel; they’d be wise to give it.” [WashPost]
Alan Dershowitz: “I think Hillary Clinton is in favor of a muscular foreign policy, slightly more than Obama was. So I’m comfortable voting for her. I have never been 100 percent comfortable voting for any candidate for president.” [Breitbart]
“Clinton would avoid Obama-esque spats with Israel, ex-diplomat says” by Raphael Ahren: “Hillary Clinton would more closely follow the model of her husband, as opposed to President Obama, for whom creating differences with Israel in public was a fairly natural part of his administration,” said Ross, who served as a senior Middle East adviser to both the Clinton and Bush administrations… While there were differences with the Israeli government, Clinton believed fundamentally that any arguments “should be managed in private and shouldn’t be magnified in public,” Ross said.. “I think that Hillary Clinton’s instincts make her more inclined to adopt that kind of approach than you’ve seen with President Obama,” Ross told the Jerusalem Press Club at a briefing.” [ToI; JPost]
HAPPENING TODAY — New York Congressional Primaries — NY10: Rep. Jerry Nadler faces his first primary challenger in two decades. The NY Daily News endorsed Oliver Rosenberg, a 30-year-old Orthodox Jew, on the basis of Nadler’s support for the Iran deal, while President Obama urged voters “to show appreciation for Jerry Nadler.” The primary is seen as a “test of the deal’s potency as an electoral weapon.”
NY3: Anna Kaplan, a Jewish Iranian refugee, is one of five candidates running to replace retiring Congressman Steve Israel. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Jack Martins, who sponsored the anti-BDS bill in the New York State Senate last November.
NY13: Seven candidates are running to replace retiring Congressman Charles Rangel. The two frontrunners are Adriano Espaillat and Keith Wright, who is backed by J Street’s PAC. The district includes a sizeable portion of the uptown Manhattan Jewish community, including Yeshiva University. According to recent data, five percent of the district’s population is Jewish.
NY19: Four candidates – two Democrats and two Republicans – are running to replace Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who is not seeking re-election. Democrat Zephyr Teachout, who has sent mixed signals on her support of Israel, is leading her primary opponent by double digits, as is Republican John Faso.
TOP TALKER — Turkey, Israel Sign Deal to Normalize Diplomatic Relations: “The accord was a rare rapprochement in the divided Middle East, driven by the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean gas deals as well as mutual fears over growing security risks. It was formally signed on Tuesday by Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu in Ankara and Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold in Jerusalem, officials said.” [Reuters]
KAFE KNESSET — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: The Israeli security cabinet will convene tomorrow to vote on the reconciliation deal with Turkey. At the moment, it seems like Netnayahu will have a majority to pass the deal, thanks to support from centrist Kulanu party ministers. However, the announcement by Netanyahu foes/partners Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett that they will vote against the deal (because of the concessions offered to Turkey) could turn the discussion tomorrow into a heated, political battle. A public opinion poll conducted yesterday by Channel 10, showing that a majority of the general public opposes the deal, will only add fuel to their fire.
The Israel-Turkey rapprochement caused trouble on the Israeli left, as well. Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog was quick to denounce Netanyahu yesterday, accusing the Prime Minister of being soft on terrorism. Inside his own Zionist Union party, Herzog came under criticism for attacking a diplomatic agreement that many on the left support. Tzipi Livni and Shelly Yachimovich broke ranks with Herzog by publicly applauding the deal. “If Netanyahu does something right, I don’t need to attack him,” Livni explained.
If the drama with Turkey isn’t enough, Israel is also bracing for the International Quartet’s report about the stalemate in the peace process, due tomorrow. The report is expected to be very critical of the current government’s policy on settlements, despite Netanyahu’s attempts in the last week to soften that criticism. The settlement issue was also at the heart of a briefing to government ministers earlier this week by Dennis Ross, the veteran Middle East specialist, who presented the ministers with the annual report of the Jewish People Policy Institute about the state of the Jewish world. Ross discussed the importance of combatting BDS, and explained that “BDS is about ending Israel’s existence, not its occupation of the Palestinians.” But he added that as long as Israel’s settlement activity “does not appear consistent with a two-state outcome,” Israel will find it difficult to blunt the de-legitimization movement.” The briefing could help Netanyahu resist demands from right-wing ministers to increase settlement building in the coming months.
HEARD AT THE ROI SUMMIT IN JERUSALEM: In a panel this morning on ‘Israel 2026’ with Dr. Dalia Fadila, President of Al Qasemi College and founder of Q Schools, and author Dr. Micah Goodman, director of Ein Prat, the two shared their visions for what Israel could look like in ten years. Dr. Goodman: “How can we create the social fabric that will tie together the disparate parts of Israeli society? I propose a treaty between the Israeli right and the Israeli left – a “double freeze” that looks like this: the Israeli right agrees to stop building settlements for ten years. The Israeli left refrains from advancing top-down peace initiatives for ten years. The result: we unleash an abundance of social capital, political energy and creativity toward building Israel and Palestine from the bottom-up. Ten years later, we can return to addressing the conflict, and this time the discussions will be between two confident societies with strong, healthy leadership.” Following the panel, one participant observed: “I don’t know if Micah’s proposal is a good idea or a bad idea. But it’s definitely a novel idea, and I can’t recall the last time I heard a novel idea about the conflict. That in itself inspires optimism.”
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “How George Soros Lost Money In a Bad Brexit Bet” [Fortune] • “Soros Wagered Deutsche Bank Would Drop in Brexit Turmoil” [Bloomberg] • “50 People Named New Jersey’s Richest In 2016” [Patch] • “How To Spot The Bot: An Interview With Yotpo’s CEO Tomer Tagrin” [Forbes] • “Sergey Brin: Don’t come to Silicon Valley to start a business” [BusinessInsider]
Aby Rosen On His 11 Howard Hotel, Changes at the Four Seasons and How He Can “See the End of the Movie” — by Mickey Boardman: “Where did you grow up? I grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. I was born in 1960, finished school there. I went to Israel for two years, just to try something different, and my parents had an idea that I should move there for a while. It wasn’t really my thing. How did your parents end up in Frankfurt? You know my father is an Auschwitz survivor. He was liberated in Germany, stayed in Germany post-war and had no place to go. He was a Polish Jew, and he didn’t want to go back to Poland. My mother was a Belgian. She was a hidden child; she was Jewish and she was hidden with non-Jewish farmers outside of Brussels for about five years. They met somewhere in 1955, and then somehow they went to Canada, and then they went back to Germany and stayed there. I was born there, I stayed there, I worked there and I had a good time. I’m a guy who makes things work for himself, so I enjoyed myself. I had a lot of good friends, a lot of Jewish friends but also a lot of non-Jewish friends.” [PaperMag]
DEEP DIVE — “Idi Amin’s Israeli Connection” by Helen Epstein: “Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to visit Uganda early next month to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the raid… One issue that probably won’t be discussed during Netanyahu’s visit is why the hijackers chose Entebbe. The short answer is that Idi Amin, Uganda’s erratic dictator at the time, was a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause and a professed enemy of Israel. But there is a longer answer: Israel itself helped install Amin in power, creating a monster who turned on his former patrons.” [NewYorker]
TRANSITIONS — The Board of Directors of UJA-Federation of New York approved the nomination of Jeffrey A. Schoenfeld as President and Robert S. Kapito as Chair of the Board. As UJA’s chief officers, they will both serve three-year terms slated to begin July 1, 2016. Terms for outgoing President and Chair (respectively) Alisa Doctoroff and Linda Mirels end on June 30, 2016 at the conclusion of this fiscal year. Schoenfeld is a partner at Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) and has been a member of the UJA-Federation Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Kapito served as chair of UJA’s Wall Street Division from 2014 to 2016.
Scott Arogeti, former White House Jewish Liaison for President George W. Bush, has joined Rubicon Global, an innovative waste/recycling technology startup focused on sustainability. Dubbed the “Uber for trash,” Rubicon utilizes a network of thousands of independent haulers and proprietary technology to significantly reduce operating expenses and provide customers unprecedented data and analytics.
DESSERT: “Insomnia Cookies delivers for the late-night sweet tooth” by Jonathan Maze: “Who knew that late-night cookie delivery was a need? Apparently Seth Berkowitz did when he was a junior at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Twelve years later, Berkowitz’s Insomnia Cookies is a rapidly growing chain of 92 units near college campuses and in urban areas across the country. That’s not the only thing that has expanded: The hours now span from noon to 3 a.m.” [NRN]
MISLEADING HEADLINE: “New Ron Baker sandwich is spicy, cheesy – and completely kosher now that he’s graduated” [WichitaEagle]
BIRTHDAYS: Former United States Senator from Michigan Carl Levin turns 82… Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winning actor, movie director, composer and comedian, Mel Brooks (born Melvin James Kaminsky) turns 90… Saralee Rosen… Molly Rosen… Rabbi of the Har Bracha community in the Shomron and Rosh Yeshiva of the hesder yeshiva there, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed turns 55… Actress and singer, Jessica Hecht turns 51… Former member of Congress for 16 years and now CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Jane Harman turns 71… Businessman and philanthropist Charles Bronfman turns 85 (yesterday)…
**Join us for Friday Night in Aspen: On July 1st, Jewish Insider will host a Friday Night Dinner, nourished by OneTable, on the sidelines of the Aspen Ideas Festival in downtown Aspen. The dinner will feature a conversation between Leon Wieseltier and Julia Ioffe along with an upscale Israeli/California wine tasting courtesy of our weekly wine columnist Yitz Applbaum. Details and request for invitation here**