Daily Kickoff: Netanyahu quiet on Trump, Clinton | Israeli Consul Gen. Dayan willing to eat vegan for work | Trump on “Spoiled Rich Jewish Golfers”
MEMO FROM JERUSALEM: “As Trump vs. Clinton Captivates World, Netanyahu Is Unusually Silent” by Peter Baker: “Netanyahu scrupulously avoided addressing the election itself. “I think we were all struck by the fact that it wasn’t raised,” said Meghan O’Sullivan, a former adviser to President George W. Bush. Similarly, during a meeting last week, Senators Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina, and Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, mentioned the election only to have Mr. Netanyahu skirt the subject.”
“While Mr. Netanyahu may be more comfortable with Republicans who share his hawkish security views, Mr. Trump is an unknown who has criticized American intervention in the Middle East and called for curtailing foreign aid. His initial promise to be “a neutral guy” between Israelis and Palestinians disturbed many here before he later voiced steadfast support for Israel. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, is a known quantity, for better or worse. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is still popular here, and many noticed that at the Democratic National Convention, he wore a pin spelling Hillary in Hebrew. But Mrs. Clinton’s history as Mr. Obama’s secretary of state makes her suspect in Mr. Netanyahu’s camp, and neither Clinton has warm feelings toward the prime minister.” [NYTimes]
JI INTERVIEW with Israeli Consul Gen. for New York Dani Dayan: Dayan tells JI’s Jacob Kornbluh, “I don’t think that saying that Israel is a start-up nation is an answer for every question we are asked. There are questions that merit detailed sincere answers, and I am here to provide them. I didn’t come here to preach to the choir. I could spend my tenure here with engaging with convinced audiences that will flatter my ego with standing ovations and applauses in every sentence I would say. I didn’t come here to do that.”
JI: Have you been in contact with political leaders and representatives of the presidential campaigns?
Dayan: “Well, I am very cautious in doing that until November (8th). I will not do anything that people could see, even if it’s not that way, as an intervention in American politics. Therefore I will be very cautious, not only regarding the presidential campaign but also senatorial and congressional campaigns until November. I will refrain as much as I can from that kind of contact. Sometimes a very innocent photo, people can see as an intervention. I wouldn’t like to do that.”
JI: In the weeks you have been settling here, do you have a favorite New York dish?
Dayan: “I am Argentinian. I was born in Argentina. Argentinians like meat and Italian food because a lot of Argentinians are actually Italian immigrants. And, of course, I like heimish food. I already had my share of chopped liver and gefilte fish also. But one of the leaders of the American Jewish community is a vegan. He invited me to dinner at a vegan restaurant. So the level of my commitment to the mission is to also have a vegan restaurant dinner.” The full interview will be published after Labor Day
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) is running for reelection for a 3rd term this year. On Thursday, we spoke to the senator by phone. The following are some excerpts from the conversation, to be published in full next week — On his first Israel trip: “My best trip of all the trips I have taken since I’ve been in Congress was the one when I spent a week in Israel (in 2007). It was a wonderful trip. I learned so much about the country, and I have great appreciation for its heritage and its people. AIPAC’s Devorah Patt has invited me to come back next year and I am looking forward to going.”
“Being a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, we are also committed to seeing that the Palestinians never get a standing in the UN. I worked very hard to make sure they didn’t get nation status in the UN and I have been using my influence in Africa, with most African countries to get those votes on our side.”
“I am a big fan of Benjamin Netanyahu. One of my favorite mementos of my career in public life is a personal letter he wrote me after Barbara Boxer and I passed the enhanced cooperation agreement between the U.S. and Israel. Netanyahu is a great leader of a great country.”
TOP TALKER: “U.S., others agreed ‘secret’ exemptions for Iran after nuclear deal: think tank” by Jonathan Landay: “As part of the concessions that allowed Iran to exceed uranium limits, the joint commission agreed to exempt unknown quantities of 3.5 percent LEU contained in liquid, solid and sludge wastes stored at Iranian nuclear facilities, according to the report… The draft report said the joint commission also agreed to allow Iran to keep operating 19 radiation containment chambers larger than the accord set. These so-called “hot cells” are used for handling radioactive material but can be “misused for secret, mostly small-scale plutonium separation efforts,” said the report.” [Reuters]
AIPAC statement:“We are deeply troubled by the report that Iran was secretly allowed to evade certain restrictions in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action so that it could begin receiving sanctions relief. If the report is accurate, this unwarranted leniency sets a dangerous precedent concerning adherence to the agreement. No further concessions should be granted to Iran, and complete transparency related to the deal’s implementation must be provided.”
RJC’s Matt Brooks: “This latest report further confirms that the Obama Administration has consistently misled the American people on the Iran nuclear deal… Simply put, President Obama and his fellow Democrats have never been straightforward with the American people about Iran.” [JewishInsider]
“Clinton sides with Dem leaders on Iran sanctions” by Julian Hattem: “Hillary Clinton supports a clean reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act and believes Congress should get this done in short order when they return from recess,” [spokesman] Jesse Lehrich said. “She has always made clear that while the historic deal passed last year represents a crucial step forward toward preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, we must proceed with a ‘distrust and verify’ approach,” he said. “Maintaining the infrastructure to immediately snap back sanctions if Iran violates the terms of the deal is essential. Congress should put partisanship aside and send the president a clean ISA reauthorization bill for his signature.” [TheHill]
“Hillary Loyalist Scoffs at Clinton Foundation ‘Pay to Play’ Charges” by Allison Kaplan Sommer:“For “real pay to play” Randi Weingarten (president of the American Federation of Teachers) said, the press should look no further than Trump – and the Israel issue is a prime example. “Talk about ‘pay to play.’ “Trump was agnostic and ‘neutral’ on Israel and the Palestinians. The minute that Sheldon Adelson decided to support him, all of a sudden, he’s Mr. Israel. That’s ‘pay to play,” she said.” [Haaretz]
“Henry Kissinger and George Shultz Mull Hillary Clinton Endorsement” by Tessa Berenson: “Politico reports that Shultz, former Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan, said he will not be endorsing Trump and that he and Kissinger have discussed publicly backing Clinton.”[Time; Politico]
“Inside Trump Tower: Facing grim reality” by Alex Isenstadt:“Late last week, with Labor Day and the final stretch of the 2016 campaign approaching, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with Republican National Committee brass in New York City. Kushner, who has in many respects assumed the role of campaign manager, asked a series of direct questions to the GOP officials — all surrounding the troubles the party was having in deploying field staffers, opening up swing-state headquarters, and establishing field offices in battlegrounds that will decide the election. Those present for the meeting, and those briefed on it, insisted there were no fireworks, no drag-out fights. But they said Kushner’s questions reflected a growing realization within Trump’s team that for all the party’s talk about implementing a major swing-state deployment plan, it hasn’t yet materialized.” [Politico]
“The Time Donald Called Some of His Golf Club Members “Spoiled Rich Jewish Guys”” by Max Rosenthal:“Trump also said he liked “to have fun on the course, and that means sort of razzing” his golfing partners. And he demonstrated his idea of razzing: at one point he stopped to chat and brag with a couple playing a round: “You got some place here, I’ll tell you.” He then pointed to one of his foursome and said, “Even these spoiled, rich Jewish guys, they can’t believe how good this is, you know?””[MotherJones]
“The Real Trumpettes of Bel Air: Inside the high-society circle of Trump supporters: jewel-bedecked, ideologically flexible and even less politically correct than he is” by Katie Glueck: “Nikki Haskell, a former television host and weight loss expert who calls herself a Democrat, used to frequent 1970s New York hotspots like Elaine’s and Le Club with Donald and Ivana Trump — “No one gives Ivana credit for bringing up those children,” she noted. The Trumpettes went a step further, worrying about the influence of Islam within Clinton’s inner circle. “Her secretary, she’s a Muslim!” Haskell exclaimed, referring to Huma Abedin… “Donald’s not a racist,” Haskell said. “He’s not anti-gay. He’s a businessman. He’s a man that has everybody working for him along the lines of every race, color and creed. His daughter is Orthodox Jewish.” [PoliticoMag]
Peter Beinart on Orthodox Jews who support Trump: “The tribalism of Orthodox Jews also explains why they’re less offended than more secular Jewish conservatives by Trump’s deviation from the standard, hawkish GOP line on NATO and Russia. For the Orthodox, it’s enough that Trump is hawkish on Israel. Three politically connected Orthodox Jews also told me that people in their communities often favorably cite Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism. Ideologically, the fact that Trump’s daughter is Jewish shouldn’t matter. But if you look at politics tribally, it puts Trump on the Jewish side.” [Haaretz]
Howard Wolfson to Frank Bruni on “Crying Wolf, Then Confronting Trump” — “Conservative commentators and die-hard Republicans often brush off denunciations of Donald Trump as an unprincipled hatemonger by saying: Yeah, yeah, that’s what Democrats wail about every Republican they’re trying to take down. Sing me a song I haven’t heard so many times before. Howard Wolfson would be outraged by that response if he didn’t recognize its aptness. “There’s enough truth to it to compel some self-reflection,” Wolfson, who was the communications director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2008, told me this week.” [NYTimes]
Garrison Keillor on Trump: “The New York Times treats you like the village idiot. This is painful for a Queens boy trying to win respect in Manhattan where the Times is the Supreme Liberal Jewish Anglican Arbiter of Who Has The Smarts and What Goes Where. When you came to Manhattan 40 years ago, you discovered that in entertainment, the press, politics, finance, everywhere you went, you ran into Jews, and they are not like you: Jews didn’t go in for big yachts and a fleet of aircraft — they showed off by way of philanthropy or by raising brilliant offspring. They sympathized with the civil rights movement. In Queens, blacks were a threat to property values — they belonged in the Bronx, not down the street. To the Times, Queens is Cleveland. Bush league. You are Queens.” [ChicagoTribune]
KAFE KNESSET — Shabbat Wars Over the Train — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: The crisis within the coalition over maintenance conducted on weekends by the state run Israel Railways has turned into the top news story in the country, after the Prime Minister reached a controversial compromise with the ultra-orthodox parties. Under the deal, maintenance will take place during the week — not on the weekend — leading to potential delays and cancellations. Changes are also planned to the train schedule on Friday prior to the beginning of Shabbat, and on Saturday once Shabbat concludes.
Critics of this compromise claim it will mostly hurt IDF soldiers going back home for the weekend, many of whom rely on the train services to travel to and from their bases. With fewer trains available on Fridayafternoons and Saturday evenings, it could make things harder for them.
BUSINESS BRIEFS: SpaceX Explosion Destroys Facebook Satellite: The destroyed Falcon 9 rocket had been slated to send Israel’s Space-Communications Ltd.’s Amos-6 satellite into orbit this weekend [WSJ;Bloomberg] • If Donald Trump Builds a Digital Wall, This Israeli Company Could Take Off [TheStreet]• Dutch, Israeli Farms in Ethiopia Attacked by Protesters [Bloomberg] • Court Throws Out $655.5 Million Terrorism Verdict Against Palestinian Groups [NYTimes] • Martin Greenfield of Martin Greenfield Clothiers is a tailor of unmatched skill — he makes suits for Obama, alright? But even more impressive than his skill is his story — Greenfield’s road to the White House started by surviving imprisonment at Auschwitz [GreatBigStory]
STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “An Israeli start-up interprets dreams and turns them into art” by Danielle Berrin: “As the sole founder of Dreame, Sharonna Karni Cohen has built a business that works with more than 500 artists in 60 countries and has a customer base in 30. For a fee ranging from $30 to $200, anyone anywhere can turn their story — or, if they wish, their entire Instagram profile — into an interpreted print, computer case, pillowcase or yoga mat, to name just a few of the product options. The morning we met, Dreame had received a handful of wedding gift orders.” [JewishJournal]
CAMPUS BEAT: “How Political Correctness Chills Speech on Campus” by Conor Friedersdorf: “This spring, Syracuse University will host an international conference with a theme, “The Place of Religion in Film,” that made one of its organizers think of Shimon Dotan. But despite an invitation to show The Settlers at “The Place of Religion in Film” conference, and interest on the part of the filmmaker, the screening will not take place. As happens so often in academia these days, campus politics got in the way.” [TheAtlantic]
BOOK REVIEW: “A Promised Land in the U.S.S.R.” by Gal Beckerman: “Masha Gessen’s book about a failed Soviet experiment asks searching questions about Jewish identity… It is no small historical irony that it was the tyrant Joseph Stalin who first took a stab at realizing this idea when, in the late 1920s, he created Birobidzhan, the Jewish Autonomous Region in the far off, godforsaken eastern borderlands of his empire. It should be quickly said though that he also proved just how untenable such an experiment could be. Or, as Masha Gessen puts it, this home for the Jews, both “a haven and a nightmare,” was the “worst good idea ever.”” [NewRepublic]
SPORTS BLINK: “Jewish Giants of the NFL: In an excerpt from ‘Eat My Schwartz,’ the first pair of Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923 talk about Jewish stereotypes, appreciating Passover, and their addiction to latkes.” [TabletMag]
Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week: “I find I sometimes enjoy a wine more when I share it with other knowledgeable wine drinkers. The other night I hosted a group of 25 South African businessmen for a tasting at a friend’s home. Most of them were well versed in the edgy and experimental wines produced in Stellenbosch wineries. And so, to engage with their palate, I served a large, edgy, bold Pinot Noir from the Shirah winery. The intrepid Weiss Brothers, who produce this wine have created a wonderful category of new experimental kosher wines.”
“The 2014 Shirah Pinot Noir grown in Santa Barbara is a young wine that packs a big punch. It is very acidic in the mid mouth and has some soft tannin on the finish. It has a unique taste of rose petals. Strong notes of leather will fill your throat and the smell is very reminiscent of smoked meats. This wine is will pair amazingly well with smoky meats, smoked fishes and sauerkraut.” [ShirahWine]
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, Lee Wunsch… Deputy Editor for News at Yahoo, author of a book on President Obama’s war on terror, formerly Managing Editor of Newsweek, Daniel Klaidman… Washington correspondent for the Fox News Channel, James Rosen turns 48… Seth Zweifler… Actor Max Greenfield turns 36… Jared Weinstein turns 37… Murray O’Brien… Melissa Kaplan… Managing Partner of Tax Equity Advisors and former director of the DOE’s $50 billion loan programs office, Jonathan Silver… Associate in the DC office of Baron Public Affairs LLC, Jeremy Furchtgott… Shoshanna Liebman… Author, educator, and activist, best known for his books promoting public education, Jonathan Kozol turns 80…