Daily Kickoff: Jewish Dems to launch Super PAC | Oren declines to advise Trump | Cruz aide Nick Muzin in running for YU post | CEO Sarah Hofstetter
DEM CONVENTION: “Jewish Dems Launch Super PAC to Counter RJC Campaign” by Jacob Kornbluh: In remarks to Pennsylvania Democrats at a Monday morning delegation breakfast in Philadelphia, Marc Stanley, the immediate past chair of the NJDC, announced the formation of a super PAC named ‘Jews for Progress’ aimed to fight back against the RJC’s campaign. “Sheldon Adelson and the Republican Jewish Coalition, and their allies, have pledged to spend $25 million to fight a war in eight swing states,” said Stanley. “You are going to see horrible signs like, ‘We can’t trust Hillary; she sold out American and Israel.’ It’s the only thing they can talk about. So Jews, we’ve got a super PAC called ‘Jews for Progress.’ We are going to fight that $25 million. I am here just to tell you that help is on the way,” he said.
Jews for Progress was filed with the FEC on July 14, 2016. Former Congressman Ron Klein will serve as chairman, and Michael Adler, a Florida developer and a member of the NJDC’s Executive Committee, will serve as treasurer, according to a source familiar with the matter. Stanley, Wasserman Schultz’s top fundraiser Steve Paikowsky, and veteran fundraiser Fran Katz Watson will all have major roles in the organization as Bluelight Strategies, headed by Steve Rabinowitz and Aaron Keyak, will handle the day to day operations, according to the source. [JewishInsider; Video]
TOP TALKER: “A day of humiliation for party chair underscores Democratic divide” by Robert Costa, Philip Rucker & Ed O’Keefe: “By the afternoon, Wasserman Schultz had disappeared here in Philadelphia, after also giving up her speaking slot and her ceremonial role gaveling the convention to order. The party’s turmoil drove conversation in Philadelphia’s sweltering streets Monday, with elected officials and delegates agitated and alarmed that it was overshadowing the convention’s kickoff.”[WashPost; NYTimes] • “The Democrats’ Damaging Damage Control” by Mark Leibovich [NYTimesMag]
“A Party at War With Itself” by Peter Beinart: “Hillary Clinton is running as the candidate of continuity—but Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and most white Democrats think America is headed in the wrong direction.” [TheAtlantic]
Sarah Silverman’s moment: “When Sarah Silverman couldn’t calm down the restless crowd with a tame Democratic National Convention speech, she went for the throat. “Can I just say to the Bernie or bust people,” she said, “you’re being ridiculous.”” [Mashable]
PHILLY SCENE YESTERDAY: From a JI reader — “Hundreds of Jewish Democrats joined in the Philly Convention Center to celebrate the contribution of Jewish women to the Democratic Party at an event hosted by the Women’s Leadership Network, Jewish Action Committee, the Dem Jewish Outreach of PA, and the National Jewish Democratic Council. The event had two full bars and was among the only events to have substantial kosher food.”
Spotted: Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Ann Lewis, Rep. Lois Frankel, Former Rep. Allyson Schwartz, Former Rep. Ron Klein, AIPAC’s Howard Friedman, NJDC’s Greg Rosenbaum, Marc Stanley, Susie Stern, JACPAC’s Marcia Balonick, Amb. Arthur Schechter, Matt Nosanchuk, DNC’s Aaron Weinberg, Bob Creamer, Barbara Goldberg Goldman, Nancy Kaufman, PA Dem Chair Marcel Groen, Israeli Embassy’s Marty Flax, Bluelight’s Madeline Peterson and Ben Weinberg, ADL’s Stacy Burdett, Josh Runyan, Steve Rabinowitz, and Aaron Keyak.
HAPPENING TODAY: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will deliver remarks this afternoon during a meeting hosted by AIPAC at the Logan Hotel in Philadelphia.
LISTICLE: “10 Jewish Things To Do In Philly During The DNC” [BuzzFeed]
“Simone Zimmerman Breaks Silence on Bernie Sanders, the Democrats — and Israel” by Nathan Guttman: “To be honest, I feel like the campaign dealt with this really poorly. I think they were mostly not dealing with it,” she said. “There is a crisis on our hands. The occupation is hitting its 50-year anniversary. We see, we care about this community too much to not demand that it be on the right side of history. Even if it makes people a little bit uncomfortable. Disrupting business as usual is actually essential to making change.” [Forward]
James Zogby on the Dem platform: “For their part, the Democrats wrote their language influenced by one of their own billionaires, Haim Saban (a strong BDS opponent, who secured a written anti-BDS pledge from Hillary Clinton), and haunted by their mistaken fear of “losing votes” (their code, not mine, for Jewish voters). The Democrats’ platform claims to want two states and supports “independence, sovereignty, and dignity” for Palestinians. This aspiration is commendable, but when they reject terming Israeli control over Palestinians an occupation and refuse to call for an end to settlements, they give little hope to Palestinians that action will be taken to fulfill their aspirations.” 
Cornel West tells JPost’s Michael Wilner: “I don’t feel like we lost– we did lose. We got defeated. But we’ll bounce back, though. The Palestinians will be free, brother. Ain’t no doubt about that.” [JPost]
“Congressman likens Israeli settlers to termites” by Daniel Halper: “Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia compared Israeli settlers to “termites” and accused Jews of stealing Palestinian homes. “There has been a steady [stream], almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up and you fall in on yourself,” Johnson said at an event sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. The Anti-Defamation League called Johnson’s comments “offensive and unhelpful” and asked the lawmaker to retract his remarks. Johnson later apologized.” [NYPost; FreeBeacon]
–Johnson later tweeted: “@ADL_National Poor choice of words – apologies for offense. Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution.” [Twitter]
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin discussed the Jewish vote on Fox Business Network: “Right now, I think, we’re somewhere in that 30 to 37 percent range. Thirty plus years ago, when Ronald Reagan was running for re-election, he got 40 percent of the vote. That dropped to 12 [percent] with George H.W. Bush, and slowly has been rising since ‘92. I don’t know what’s going to happen come November, but… I think for the American public, for Jewish voters – seeing the rising BDS movement on college campuses around this country – there’s a real opportunity for Mr. Trump, if he goes after it, to get up as close to 40 [percent] as we saw with Reagan in the eighties.” [YouTube]
David Duke: Trump Left The Door Open To Supporting My Candidacy: “Trump basically said he could possibly vote, he could vote for David Duke if he was running against a liberal Democrat. So he did something, I think he felt like he did as much as he could do.” [BuzzFeed]
Michael Oren turns down offer to advise Trump on Israel — by Lahav Harkov: “The invitation came from a senior Trump staffer who advises the candidate on Israel, the MK said, but would not name him. The request was made two weeks ago, when Oren was in Washington D.C. to take part in a strategic dialogue at the Washington Institute, a think tank. “I’m not going to get involved in this election in any way, period,” Oren said.” [JPost]
KAFE KNESSET — Bibi’s Mysterious Apology Video — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Israel’s political system has been busy figuring out what caused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to upload a video on Facebook last night, in which he apologized to Israel’s Arab citizens for saying that “Arab voters are moving to the polls in droves” on Election Day 14 months ago. The apology came “out of the blue,” without any immediate context connected to recent news. Netanyahu didn’t just apologize – he went even further by calling for the Arab Israeli community to take a more active part in Israeli society. “Today I am asking Arab citizens in Israel to take part in our society — in droves. Work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves,” he said in the video, which was filmed in his office, at a setting not very different than the infamous election day video.
So what caused Netanyahu to do this at the current moment? No one has a clear answer. Perhaps Israel’s emerging secret ties with neighboring Arab states have something to do with it? Or, perhaps he is still trying to seduce some members of the Labor Party into his government? Either way, Netanyahu’s message didn’t resonate with the Arab politicians in the Knesset, who rejected his video bluntly as a “hypocritical display” and a spin for international ears. “Is this the same Prime Minister who incited against us during the election and since then has only made more inflammatory statements?” Joint List leader Ayman Odeh asked rhetorically. MK Ahmed Tibi added that “Arab citizens hear Netanyahu and laugh.” Some pundits noted that Netanyahu uploaded the video to his ‘professional’ Facebook page, named “Prime Minister of Israel,” and not to his personal, and much more popular, “Benjamin Netanyahu” page, on which he ususally posts videos like this one.
NOT THE ONION — Palestinians to Sue Britain Over 1917 Pledge on Jewish State: “The Palestinian president says he will sue Great Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration and its support for a Jewish national home in the Holy Land. Malki said the suit would be filed in an international court. He didn’t elaborate.” [AP]
“Israel’s Looming Demographic Crisis” by Alon Tal: “Given that Israel has the highest birthrate in the developed world, those who care about its future should realize that demographic growth is no longer a blessing but a threat to the quality of life in the Jewish state. Israel’s schools, highways and courts are among the most crowded in the Western world. The relentless congestion heightens collective and individual anxiety. The demographic “war” is over: The number of Arab Israelis will not overtake the number of Jews. It is time, instead, to talk about living together sustainably. Today, the focus must change from quantity to quality of life.” [NYTimes]
“Israel’s Culture War Is Getting Ugly” by Daniel Gordis: “Mostly out of international view, however, Israel is in the grips of a renewed battle between an increasingly hard-line, anti-Western and extremist rabbinate, arrayed against Israeli liberal society, the army and even American Jews.” [BloombergView]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Sarah Hofstetter writes “Why Being an Orthodox Jewish Mom Makes Me a Better CEO” [FortuneMag] • “How Does Hedge-Fund Manager Joseph Meyer Make So Much Money?” [Bloomberg] • Sheldon Adelson, Carl Icahn and Other FORBES Picks For A Trump Billionaire Cabinet [Forbes] • Oscar, a Bay Area insurance option for 2017, touts tech pedigree [SFChronicle] • Israel is opening an innovation center to showcase Israeli technology and inspire young entrepreneurs (h/t Ahron Fragin) [TechCrunch]
PROFILE: “On the road with CNN anchor Dana Bash as she broadcasts to 4 million people and FaceTimes with her son” by Kate Storey:“Bash started off the RNC with a bombshell scoop: Trump, the Republican nominee, was reportedly getting cold feet about his VP pick, Mike Pence. It’s this kind of insider information that makes Bash so exciting to watch. And, after 23 years at CNN, she’s got serious reporting cred. After graduating from George Washington University, Bash scored a job at CNN in the tapes library—yes, this was back before everything was digital and actual videotapes of footage had to be organized. She worked her way up as an associate producer then worked with news anchor Wolf Blitzer.” [Elle]
TRANSITION: The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) announced the hire of new Communications Director Fred Brown. Fred will lead the RJC’s communications team, replacing Mark McNulty who will be attending law school in the fall. Originally from Alaska, Fred Brown has worked on political campaigns across the country. Most recently, Fred served as a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
CAMPUS BEAT: “Yeshiva U’s search for a new president: Is a Ted Cruz aide the answer?” by Ben Sales: “Nick Muzin, who earned a medical degree at Yeshiva’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has met the head of the search committee multiple times in the effort to find a successor to Richard Joel, who said he is stepping down after his term expires in 2018. Muzin helped raise more than $100 million for the Texas Republican’s campaign. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, the former president of George Washington University who is heading the search, told JTA that the search could be over in a matter of weeks. Trachtenberg would not say whether the committee has a shortlist of candidates and did say he is still taking recommendations.” [JTA]
BIRTHDAYS: Nick Muzin, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to Sen. Ted Cruz… Member of the British House of Lords, Baroness Sally Oppenheim-Barnes turns 88… Israeli born classical music composer, Gilad Hochman turns 34… Israeli born R&B singer and songwriter, Hila Bronstein turns 33… Photographer and documentary film maker, Elliott Erwitt turns 88…