Daily Kickoff: Putin to host Bibi, Abbas in Moscow | Meet Israel’s best tour guide | Trump’s feelings on Kushner: He should’ve converted to marry her
MUST READ — or in the words of Julia Ioffe, “drop everything and read” — Is Ivanka For Real? One of the greatest enigmas of 2016, explained — by Hannah Seligson: “Earlier this summer, a friend of Jared and Ivanka’s made an interesting point about the dates of some of Donald’s worst tweets of the campaign. Notice how they came while the couple was off the grid observing the Sabbath or another Jewish holiday, he told me… “It could be a big problem if the people who make our president not crazy aren’t available one day a week,” this friend told me.”
“On the day of the Orlando nightclub massacre, while Ivanka would be celebrating Shavuot, the anniversary of the day Jews received the Torah from God, her father badly undermined his argument that he would be a responsible leader during a crisis by tweeting, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on Islamic terrorism.” A few weeks later, on the morning of Saturday, July 2, he tweeted the now-famous six-pointed star atop an image that also included Hilary Clinton, a pile of cash and the words “most corrupt candidate ever.” Several Sabbaths after that, Trump retweeted another meme (tangentially related to a character named Pepe the Frog) that tickled the white supremacists who support his campaign. And a few more Sabbaths after that, he used the horrific gun death of Dwyane Wade’s cousin to boast that black Americans will “VOTE TRUMP!””
“She loves her father and she is going to be aligned with him,” he told me. “What is she supposed to do? Disavow everything he says? That’s an unrealistic standard to apply to the child of any political candidate.” In fact, Ivanka has acted against her father’s wishes on only a handful of occasions. One of them, a few sources told me, came when she decided to convert to Judaism. The Trumps are nominally Presbyterian, but have never been particularly religious. Still, Donald didn’t like the idea of Ivanka switching faiths, according to one of his close associates. The power dynamic made him uncomfortable. His feeling, the source said, was: Why should my daughter have to convert to marry Jared? He should have to convert to marry her.” [Highline.HuffPost]
“Clinton on Israeli TV: ISIS ‘rooting for Donald Trump’s victory’” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “Clinton said a “compelling case” has been made that ISIS is “rooting for Donald Trump’s victory,” and said she believed the landmark nuclear deal with Iran made Israel “safer,” in an interview with an Israeli television network. Citing an article published in Time by Matthew Olson, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center on the day of the interview, Clinton said she “found it even surprising how clear and compelling the case was where [Olson] quoted ISIS spokespeople rooting for Donald Trump’s victory, because Trump has made Islam and Muslims part of his campaign and basically …. argues that the jihadists see this as a great gift…”
“In response to a question regarding Trump’s bold assertion that Iran would “destroy Israel” if he were not elected president, Clinton chose not to fire back at her Republican rival, opting instead to defend the deal and its benefit to the Jewish State. She said she believed “with all my heart” that “putting a lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program has made Israel safer, has made the region safer, has prevented a nuclear arms race.”” [Haaretz; Channel2; NYT]
Haim Saban in interview to Israel’s Channel 2: “Hillary Clinton loves Israel and the security of Israel is important to her. I believe she and the Prime Minister (Netanyahu) will get along al ha’kefak (great)… She said that in her first month as president, she will invite Netanyahu to the White House. Let’s talk after that first meeting. In principle, the security of Israel is very important to her. If I take that as a basis for the meeting, I believe that she will make sure Israel maintains its qualitative military edge over her neighbors… She will be an excellent president for the U.S.-Israel relationship.” [Reshet] • “Poll: Israeli Jews favor Hillary, but say Trump is better for Israel ‘policy’” [JewishInsider]
“Jewish Voters Are in Love With Hillary’s Pragmatism. What Does That Mean for Mideast Policy?” by Armin Rosen: “Clinton was also attuned to the oftentimes-idiosyncratic politics of New York’s ultra-Orthodox communities, which have long offered her a base of support. During this year’s New York primary, Rabbi Menachem Genack acted as a kind of surrogate in New York’s ultra-orthodox communities. “The Hassidic vote in Brooklyn was an important vote,” Genack recalled. Clinton was intent on winning as much of the community as possible. “I spoke to the two Satmar elements, to Skvere and others. I told Hillary that [the Hasidic newspapers] the Yid and the Blatt both endorsed you. And she asks me: What about Borough Park?” [TabletMag]
POLLING: “Clinton Blowout Chances Dim, Pollster Says” by Kim Chipman and Gregory Giroux: “A Hillary Clinton landslide on Nov. 8 is more probable than a Donald Trump victory, but don’t bet on either one, Democratic political consultant Mark Mellman said. A more likely scenario is a 2-6 point Clinton win in the popular vote, Mellman predicted.” [Bloomberg]
Flashback: “A week before the elections, when all the other pollsters predicted a four-seat lead for Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog over Netanyahu, Mellman predicted a four-seat lead for Netanyahu.”[AlMonitor]
“Margalit flouts Knesset rules on way to present peace plan in US” by Lahav Harkov: “MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) will head to Washington and New York next week to present his diplomatic plan to Arab officials… On his trip to the US, Margalit plans to meet with former and current senior Arab League officials, as well as former US Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, in an aim to promote his “Common Interests Plan,” which draws on his business expertise, and is based on drawing international investments to joint projects between Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states.” [JPost]
BREAKING OVERNIGHT: Russia: Israel, Palestinian leaders agree to meet for talks —“According to ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow has heard from the offices of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the two agreed to meet in the Russian capital, though it’s not clear when that will happen.” [AP]
KAFE KNESSET — Putin’s Push for Peace — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: After the bombshell report last night on Israeli C hannel 1 (and featured in the NYTimes) that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was an informant for the KGB in the early 1980’s – fervently denied by the Palestinian Authority – the Russian Foreign Ministry announced today that Abbas and PM Netanyahu have both agreed “in principle” to hold a joint meeting in Moscow. If this indeed happens, it will be the first time the two men will meet each other in more than five years.
But will they really? MK Avi Dichter (Likud), head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, told us that Putin’s invitation is “the kind you don’t answer with a ‘no’ – especially in light of the growing Russian influence in the region.” And yet, Dic ht er isn’t optimistic about the summit actually taking place. “It’s not clear yet if the Palestinians are really willing to drop their pre-conditions for holding the meeting, such as a prisoner release and dictating the negotiation’s results before the meeting even begins. There are contradicting reports about this question. We shall wait and see.”
MK Omer Bar-Lev ( Labor Party ) offered a different point of view. “This is less about the peace process and more about a Russian attempt to embarrass the American administration,” he told Jewish Insider. “Israel has no better partner than the U.S. and giving Russia influence over the peace process at America’s expense is a dangerous move.” Not everyone in his party agrees, however: A number of Labor MKs put out statements urging Netanyahu to accept Putin’s invitation and to use it for creating a long-expected breakthrough in the peace process.
MUST READ #2: “Israel’s best kept secret (weapon) is a tour guide” by Danielle Berrin: ”For us, members of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation’s “Reality Storytellers” trip last month,Michael Bauer, our tour guide, was a highlight among highlights. What began as a light infatuation eventually morphed into something resembling rock-star obsession, as our group frequently chanted his name and compared him to the fictional Jack Bauer from “24.” In case you’re thinking we were easily impressed, allow me to disavow you of that notion.”
“We were about 50 people familiar with excellence – among us were prominent political speechwriters, screenwriters, actors, entrepreneurs, executives and foundation directors; some who call the Obamas and Clintons their bosses, others who work for prominent media companies including the New York Times and Facebook. Part of why Bauer was so effective at telling Israel’s story is because he spoke to all of us — Jews and non-Jews; Israel veterans and Israel first-timers… Bauer refused to oversimplify; rather than present “two sides,” he’d instead offer multiple competing perspectives that sometimes contradicted each other.”
DB: How do you talk to people about the occupation? Do you even use that word?
MB: When someone says “occupation,” I need to understand what is it exactly that they’re talking about. Because when Hamas says “occupation,” we are right now in Tel Aviv, sitting in “occupied” land. So what is occupation? It’s true that Israel, in 1967, occupied territory. That’s a fact. But the moment I start using the word “occupation,” it becomes politicized.
If you ask me, “What do you think about the occupation?” I’ll ask you: “Which occupation?” Right away. And then you will tell me about the West Bank, and I’ll say, “OK, you’re asking about the policies of Israel in the West Bank.” The fact is that tomorrow Palestinians will wake up in the morning and they will feel occupied. There’s not one soldier in Gaza, but they feel occupied. Why? Because they are encircled by Israel and also Egypt, which is hostile to them as well. And because Palestinians, most of them, see all of Israel as occupied. That’s also fact. Who is responsible for the occupation? That’s a political argument. Now the question is, what is the solution?”
DB: As an Israeli, can you teach the conflict objectively?
MB: It’s not that I don’t have a political view, I do; but I don’t have an agenda. My agenda, if there is one, is that at the end of a program of mine, I’d like you to appreciate Israel and respect Israel, with its complexity. [JewishJournal]
HEARD AT THE UN: “Internet anti-Semitism is ‘new kind of threat,’ says Danon” by Danielle Ziri: “We are living in new era and we face a new kind of anti-Semitism,” Danon said in his remarks. “Using the tools of online social networks to demonize the Jewish people and the Jewish state, this is anti-Semitism 2.0… It’s not just about slander against Israel. It’s about saving Jewish lives,” he said. “Make no mistake: attacks against Jews online lead directly to attacks against Jews on the street.” The United States Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power also spoke at the forum and said that “anti-Semitism poses a threat not only to Jews, but to the principles of pluralism, diversity, and the fundamental freedoms that we hold most dear.” However, Power said, “we must be careful not to label or conflate legitimate criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic.” [JPost; ABCNews]
SPOTLIGHT: “The battle for Beverly Hills: How LA developers are bidding to alter the city’s skyline by any means necessary” by Hannah Miet: “It took 19 heated hearings for the City of Beverly Hills to approve developer Beny Alagem’s plan for two condo towers and a Waldorf Astoria on land surrounding his Beverly Hilton hotel. Even then, he had to face a voter referendum organized by opponents of the development, which narrowly passed in 2008. Yet Alagem’s quest didn’t end there. The Israeli-American entrepreneur, who made his fortune founding Packard Bell Electronics in 1986, wants more. More height, specifically. His real estate firm, Oasis West Realty, wants to amend the project to take the 110 condo units that have already been green-lighted and merge them into a single 26-story structure. Here’s the twist: Rather than pushing the project through the laborious city planning process again, Alagem wants voters to approve the changes in a ballot referendum, which has become known locally as “the Hilton initiative.”” [RealDeal] • It’s Millionaire Versus Billionaire in Beverly Hills Tower Spat [Bloomberg]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “Josh Gottheimer secures support of former Sen. Joe Lieberman” by Mary Diduch: “Fifth District congressional hopeful Josh Gottheimer on Wednesday sought to position himself as a candidate who can reach across party lines to find consensus in a divided Congress and in doing so, secured the support of former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman.” [NorthJersey]
“Bloomberg crew fuels state senate candidate with cash” by Rosa Goldensohn: “Locked in a four-way fight for a Senate seat in a heavily Latino Manhattan district, first-time candidate Micah Lasher got a blast of cash from the past this summer in the form of donations from his old Bloomberg administration team.” [Crains]
“Maryland Governor to Lead Trade Mission to Israel” by Brian Witte: “Gov. Larry Hogan will lead a trade mission to Israel this month in hopes of luring cybersecurity and life-science companies to open offices in Maryland, his administration announced Wednesday. Hogan and about 35 business leaders, academics and state officials plan to visit Beersheva, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Officials are working on arranging a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and a meeting is scheduled with former Prime Minister Shimon Peres.” [NBC4; BaltimoreSun]
CAMPUS BEAT: “Cal Berkeley’s Latest Effort to Erase Jewish History From Israel” by Abraham Miller: “Hatem Bazian, sponsor of UCB’s new anti-Israel course, is a street orator whose disgust with America is such that he called for an American Intifada. He is a major supporter of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and a one-time fundraiser for KindHearts, which the US government shut down for its alleged ties to the terrorist organization Hamas. Bazian denies he is an anti-Semite, but he blocked the appointment of a Jewish student to San Francisco State University’s Student Judicial Council on the grounds that the individual supported the State of Israel and was thus a racist by definition.” [Observer]
BIRTHDAYS: Australian businessman and philanthropist James Douglas Packer turns 49… Chairman of Douglas Elliman and its parent company, NYSE listed Vector Group, also chairman of Nathan’s Famous, Howard Mark Lorber turns 68… Owner of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, Jeffrey Lurie turns 65… Billionaire and philanthropist, owner of L Brands (which includes Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works), Les Wexner turns 79… United States Senator from Vermont and 2016 presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders turns 75… British physician, neuroscientist and engineer, Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, Daniel Wolpert turns 53… Jay Abarbanel… Adam Goldsmith… Executive Education Consultant at Jewish GPS in Atlanta, Robyn Faintich… Pharma executive Samuel D. Waksal turns 69… Principal and co-founder of Berlin Rosen a strategic communications and media relations firm, Jonathan Rosen…