Daily Kickoff: Bibi invites Obama to play golf in Caesarea | Profiles: Jason Pomeranc; Rebecca Kantar | Tom Brady — Middle East Peace Negotiator?
TOP TALKER: “After Much Rancor, Obama and Netanyahu Meet, Likely for Last Time” by Mark Landler: “Their smiles said more than their words. For all the bitterness that has characterized their relationship, over issues from the Iran nuclear deal to the peace process, Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu were able to end things on a harmonious note, at least publicly… Neither man seemed keen to revisit old grievances. Mr. Netanyahu did not mention the Iran deal, which he tried to kill with thunderous speeches to the General Assembly and the United States Congress. Mr. Obama touched only gently on the growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which he once demanded that Mr. Netanyahu halt completely as a way to restart negotiations with the Palestinians.”
— “They’ll both be relieved that they don’t have to meet each other again,” said Martin S. Indyk, the executive vice president of the Brookings Institution. “Both have come to believe that the other is out to screw them.” Even now, Mr. Indyk said, the Israeli leader fears that Mr. Obama will vote for a United Nations Security Council resolution setting out the framework for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal as his last act of Middle East diplomacy. Mr. Obama, he said, suspects that Mr. Netanyahu will continue expanding West Bank settlements “just to spite him.” [NYTimes]
POSTGAME: A senior administration official in a press briefing: “In terms of settlements, the president raised profound U.S. concerns about the corrosive effect that that is having on the prospects of two states, which Mr. Netanyahu pushed back on.” Another senior administration official added: “They’ve never papered over their differences.”
— “[A] senior official on Netanyahu’s delegation said that the collaboration between the two is “very deep” and a “two-way street.” The official also described the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu as one of “an old couple who are learning to know each other.” According to the source, there was also no mention of a potential US veto of a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the UN Security Council.” [JPost]
“Netanyahu pokes at Obama’s ‘terrific golf game'” by Nolan Mccaskill: “So I want you to know, Barack, that you’ll always be a welcome guest in Israel,” the prime minister continued. “And, by the way, I don’t play golf, but right next to my home in Caesarea in Israel is a terrific golf course.” Obama responded in jest, remarking that the two will “set up a tee time” as both world leaders shook hands.” [Politico;Transcript]
HOW IT PLAYED: Obama, Netanyahu look past years of tensions in last meeting [AP] • Obama, Netanyahu Reaffirm Bonds, Even as Old Rifts Linger [WSJ] • A stormy alliance between Obama and Netanyahu reaches its end in New York [WashPost] • Obama at Netanyahu meeting: ‘He is always very candid with us’ [CNN] • Obama to Netanyahu: See You Never? [TheAtlantic] • Six takeaways from another smiling display of mutual Obama-Netanyahu frustration [TimesofIsrael]
“Obama’s tense relationship with Netanyahu colors his legacy on Israel” by Christi Parsons and Joshua Mitnick: “He is conscious that people say he is anti-Israel,” Jon Alterman, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said of Obama. “He thinks that’s unfair, and this lets him leave a marker. Not only can he say he supported Israel, but he oversaw the largest military assistance package ever.” [LATimes]
KAFE KNESSET — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Following his meeting with POTUS, a senior official in Netanyahu’s entourage threw the bait, stating that none of the candidates have approached them with an offer to meet, “and if they do – we will not say no.” Clinton and Trump both met with Egyptian president Sisi earlier this week, and perhaps that made Netanyahu a bit envious.
In an interesting turn of events, Netanyahu could also meet with his pal Sheldon Adelson, despite the fact that a meeting between the two wasn’t originally planned. Adelson was supposed to be out of town, as he is attending a private event in Las Vegas this week and is scheduled to appear at the IAC conference in DC, but sources close the Prime Minister told us Adelson will likely arrive in NYC on Saturday or Sunday and would meet with Netanyahu before he flies back to Israel.
“Senior Official: Netanyahu Would Meet Clinton, Trump if Asked” by Barak Ravid: “Netanyahu has not been asked by U.S. presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, to meet during his stay in New York, a senior official in his entourage said. But if such an invitation is extended, the official said, the prime minister would accept it.” [Haaretz]
“Benjamin Netanyahu needs 20 special agents to go to the bathroom” by Emily Smith: “On Tuesday, Bibi, in New York for the UN General Assembly, caused a stir at upscale restaurant Harry Cipriani at the Sherry-Netherland hotel by arriving with an over 40-strong team of buff agents from the elite Israel Security Agency, known as Shin Bet. Fellow diners, including Charlie Rose, billionaire Ronald Perelman, Barbara Winston, DuJour’s Jason Binn and fashion icon Iris Apfel, watched as the agents swarmed the venue.” [NYPost]
DRIVING THE DAY: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the UN General Assembly at noon [Livestream] • Peter Baker’s preview: “He may find few sympathetic ears in the hall, but they are not his only audience.” [NYTimes]
Lee Smith: “Much of the Obama administration’s political success last year is owing to the fact that it relied on various echo chambers in the media to market its policies to the American public, sometimes explaining them and often obscuring them, as it did with the Iran deal. Netanyahu seems to have at last concluded that he can’t defend himself or his country in that forum. As he did when he made a speech in Congress criticizing the Iran deal, he is taking his case straight to the American people.”[WeeklyStandard]
SCENE YESTERDAY IN DC — A bipartisan group of senators and DHS deputy secretary Alejandro Mayorkas addressed the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Advocacy Center’s annual leadership mission to Washington, DC. Pollster Mark Mellman and commentator Matt Lewis also discussed the 2016 presidential election at a panel moderated by Nathan Diament.
Highlights — Sen. Ben Cardin: “We are a small minority in this country, from the point of view of our religion, and yet we’ve been able to have tremendous impact on the policy of America… Yes, you have friends in Congress, on both sides of the aisle. But don’t take it for granted that we will be there as you move forward. We gotta continue to work on those relationships. And yes, Jewish politics can be brutal.” • Related: “Cardin: ‘Risk factor’ to extending Iran sanctions in lame duck” [TheHill]
Lindsey Graham: “Bibi told me that Hezbollah has received 300 missiles from Iran that can jump over the Iron Dome. Congress has always had Israel’s back in a bipartisan fashion We are going to need your help now more than ever, maybe even on a Friday night.”
Cotton: Next President Should ‘Rescind’ New MOU: “This is an agreement between two current heads of states,” Cotton said. “And I believe that as soon as we have a new president, we should rescind that agreement and give one that is better for Israel and better for the United States.” [JewishInsider]
DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urged the Jewish community to “be active” in the world of security: “I come from a tradition of a lack of security. It instilled in me as a very young person was a sense of concern by virtue of my identity as a Jew. My mother, she tried to teach us not to speak of our Judaism outside of our Jewish community that was born of her tragic experience. My father was actually of a different school. He was a member of a very small Sephardic community in Cuba, and he used to talk about it all the time because no one in Cuba believed he was actually Jewish because there were only about eight of them.” [JewishInsider]
Graham tells JI he stands by criticism of Netanyahu: “I admire Bibi greatly. I think this was a mistake on his part. You inform us about what the needs are. I think they are real. I think Iran’s rise is a real threat to Israel. You have ISIl in the Sinai. He is a dear friend, I ‘ve known him for twenty years. I think Congress has been a true friend in a bipartisan fashion, and this idea that Congress is bound by this MOU is unconstitutional, flawed, and I don’t think it’s very good for Israel. So, I like Bibi, but I don’t like how this MOU has been concluded.”
Q: Have you spoke to the prime minister since the agreement was concluded?
Graham: “No, not yet.”
“The GOP’s Jewish Donors Are Abandoning Trump” by Eitan Hersh and Brian Schaffner:“In 2012, 71 percent of the $240 million that Jewish donors gave to the two major-party nominees went to President Obama’s re-election campaign; 29 percent went to Mitt Romney’s campaign… But in 2016, of the $372 million given to presidential nominees, 96 percent of all contributions went to Hillary Clinton and just 4 percent has gone to Donald Trump. In raw dollars, Jewish donors have already given Clinton nearly double the amount they gave to Obama through the whole 2012 cycle. But donations to Trump amount to a third of what was given to Romney.” [FiveThirtyEight]
“75 retired senior diplomats sign letter opposing Trump for president” by Karen DeYoung:“Dan Kurtzer, former ambassador to Egypt and to Israel, said he objected to Republican support for a measure allowing U.S. citizens to sue foreign governments, which President Obama has said he would veto. He said he signed “not for the politics part, but literally for the protection that it [the measure] would strip away” from U.S. diplomats working overseas.” [WashPost]
Thomas Friedman: “So, young people, listen up: Hillary doesn’t light your fire? O.K., I agree, she is a flawed candidate. But she can responsibly manage the affairs of state. Trump is beyond repair and won’t just light your fire — he’ll burn the house down. Ask the old spies.” [NYTimes]
Former NYC Council President Andrew Stein: “Party Loyalty Can’t Make Me Vote for Clinton: Hillary Clinton is the personification of the establishment and status quo. She voted for the war in Iraq and supported the Iran nuclear deal, two of the worst, and most dangerous, mistakes in American foreign policy during my lifetime.” [WSJ]
“Trump supporters in Israel look for every last vote” by Matthew Bell: “[William] Booth says many dual U.S.-Israeli citizens he’s talked with, especially those who resettled in Israel back in the 1960s and ’70s, are on the left side of the political spectrum and would find the idea of a Donald Trump presidency “mystifying or abhorrent.” On the other hand, Trump’s blunt talk about radical Islam and what he considers the scourge of political correctness goes over well with parts of the Israeli public. And Booth says that includes many newer arrivals from the U.S., “looking for sort of a tough anti-terrorist, maybe even anti-Arab, position.”” [USAToday]
“Anti-Defamation League Steps Up Efforts To Combat Anti-Semitism Online” by NPR staff:“Greenblatt tells NPR’s Ari Shapiro the amount of “vitriol and hatred” during this presidential election has been “staggering.” “We’ve been on the record and engaged with the Trump campaign because we were concerned about the use of these tropes and sharing these symbols. They’re deeply problematic.” [NPR]
“Don King waves Israeli flag after dropping ‘N-word’ at pro-Trump event” by Josefin Dolsten:“At the end of the speech, King picked up and waved several flags, including Israeli and American ones and a banner with Trump’s face. It is not entirely clear why King decided to bring along the Israeli flag, but research reveals the boxing promoter is both a fan of the Jewish state — and flags in general.” [JTA]
**A message from the Israeli-American Council: The 3rd annual Israeli-American Council National Conference is this week! Join thousands of activists, policymakers, diplomats, journalists, Jewish communal leaders, and business innovators from the U.S. and Israel to dive deep into the most pressing issues facing the Jewish people today. All will convene in Washington, DC from 9/24-9/26.[IsraeliAmerican] **
“US grants Airbus, Boeing a chance to sell airplanes to Iran” by Jon Gambrell: “The approval clears the way for the two plane manufacturers to access one of the last untapped aviation markets in the world. Both companies have announced separate $25-billion deals to sell aircraft to airlines in the country, although analysts are skeptical that there is demand for so many jets or available financing. The deal would be the biggest for an American company since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and U.S. Embassy takeover.” [AP]
“Arab states shelve push against Israel at U.N. nuclear watchdog” by Shadia Nasralla:“Repeated Arab-sponsored attempts to organize a conference on a Middle East nuclear weapons ban have also been fruitless, with the United States always standing with Israel against the move. This led Arab states to decide to stop striving for resolutions that merely call on, but do not order, Israel to implement nuclear control regimes such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or an IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA), Arab League Ambassador Wael Al Assad said.” [Reuters]
SPOTLIGHT: Sandoval announces he will call special session to consider Las Vegas stadium project” by Sandra Chereb and Sean Whaley: “He said the session would be some time between Oct. 7 and Oct. 13. The funding proposal calls for an increase in the Clark County hotel room tax to finance $750 million in stadium construction costs over 33 years. The deal requires the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson, Majestic Realty and the Raiders to pay the remainder of the construction costs for the 65,000-seat dome, as well as any cost overruns. Adelson has pledged at least $650 million, while the Raiders would pay $500 million.” [ReviewJournal]
Jon Ralston tweets: “Gov will allow special to start earlier than the 10th if needed because Yom Kippur begins the 11th. Sounds like a sop to Adelson! There’s something Biblical about a date for a special session to help a powerful Jewish billionaire’s stadium dream held up by Yom Kippur.” [Twitter]
PROFILE: “Meet the boutique hotel operator looking beyond midtown for business travelers” by Cara Eisenpress: “Jason Pomeranc and his brothers opened the downtown boutique hotel 60 Thompson the night before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Their business survived the economic downturn. Now, they’re capitalizing on demand for stays at smaller, independently owned hotels. In 2000, boutiques accounted for fewer than 1% of hotel rooms in the city. Today they have more than 10% of the city’s 112,000-plus inventory, according to hotel research firm STR.” [Crains]
RISING STAR: “This 24-year-old Harvard dropout wants to rid the world of multiple-choice tests like the SAT” by Biz Carson: “Rebecca Kantar was two years into Harvard when she dropped out. As with most students, Kantar had spent most of her academic life learning information and then being quizzed on it through multiple-choice tests or essays. With the SAT celebrating its 90th birthday this year, Kantar believes it’s time for a radical update of standardized testing — one that doesn’t just reward rote memorization but one that can assess how your brain works and how you put that knowledge to use. To do so, she started Imbellus in 2015. Today, she’s announcing that the company has now raised $4 million from investors including Upfront Ventures and Thrive Capital to try to upend one of the foundations of the education system.” [BusinessInsider]
TALK OF OUR NATION: “How Jewish moms make sure their kids grow up to be mensches” by Marjorie Ingall: “These jokes rely on the Jewish mother’s reputation as a giant pain. According to popular lore, Jewish moms are smothering, guilt-mongering, boastful, monstrously narcissistic and massively neurotic. But it wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I started to closely examine these stereotypes—and to consider how they truly get Jewish moms all wrong.” [Quartz]
LongRead — Barack Obama and Doris Kearns Goodwin: The Ultimate Exit Interview: “Early in my presidency, I went to Cairo to make a speech to the Muslim world. And in the afternoon, after the speech, we took helicopters out to the pyramids. And I still remember it thinking to myself, there were a lot of people during the period when these pyramids were built who thought they were really important. And now it’s all just covered in dust and sand. Sometimes I carry with me that perspective, which tells me that my particular worries on any given day—how I’m doing in the polls or what somebody is saying about me—isn’t particularly relevant. What is relevant is: What am I building that lasts? And here in the United States, hopefully, what we’re building are not just pyramids, are not icons to one pharaoh. What we’re building is a culture and a way of living together…” [VanityFair]
SPORTS BLINK: “Tom Brady felt the Michigan love, maybe for the first time” by Kevin Van Valkenburg: “They knew getting Tom Brady to Ann Arbor might be a difficult sell. They knew, despite four Super Bowl rings and two MVPs, there were some sins he could forgive, but never forget. Brady even posed for a selfie with Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, a prominent Michigan alum and donor. Ross said he was texting the picture to Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “Everyone who meets him gets that look that 16-year-old girls had the first time they saw the Beatles,” Flannelly said. “But he’s so disarming. He gets people to relax. He could talk to anybody. He could fix the Middle East. You put him in the room with the Arabs and the Jews and he would get them talking until they figure it out.”” [ESPN]
“Good Bat? Cannon Arm? Jewish? Sign Him Up!” by Michael Powell: “To stay competitive, my friend Kurz and his baseball codependents pursue Jewish ballplayers with the determination of Ahab after that whale. Kurz has bona fide baseball scouts and bona fide experts of the Jewish diaspora, baseball division. The informal team includes Scott Barancik in Florida with the Jewish Baseball News and Ephraim Moxson and Shel Wallman of the Jewish Sports Review. They are the detectives of the Jewish and the athletic.” [NYTimes]
BIRTHDAYS: Commissioner of the National Basketball Association from 1984 through 2014, who oversaw the growth years of the league, David Stern turns 74… Nobel Prize laureate, astrophysicist and professor of physics at UC-Berkeley, Saul Perlmutter turns 57… Member of Knesset since 2003, has held multiple Israeli cabinet portfolios, and is currenty the opposition leader, Isaac “Bougie” Herzog turns 56… Former Senior Writer at the Jewish Journal and Jewish Insider, now communications director at Prager U, Jared Sichel… Daniel Eisenstadt…