Daily Kickoff: Dore Gold resigns from Israel’s Foreign Ministry; Question is why? | Saban on Businessweek cover | Mark Zuckerberg’s Yom Kippur message
— “Gossip about powerful friends, a lot of uncheckable dialogue, and a punchline—that’s typical Saban. The 72-year-old Israeli-American speaks five languages and is a gifted storyteller whose ability to entertain has helped him become an almost royal personage in Hollywood. Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger, another of Saban’s friends, says, “He’s perceptive and perseverant. All that wealth that he created for himself, he did on his own.” Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former CEO of DreamWorks Animation, pays Saban the ultimate Hollywood compliment: “It’s easy to be charmed by Haim. But underneath that, there is just a laser-focused, razor-sharp, take-no-prisoners killer.”
— “At his Beverly Hills home, Saban says he’s not looking for anything if Clinton is elected—not even a chance to be a back channel between the White House and the Israeli government, as some have speculated. “I will tell you exactly what I want,” he says. “And no one in the world, be it the president of the United States or the prime minister of Israel or whomever, can give me that. Only I can give me that. I just want to be Haim Saban. That’s all. I don’t want to change anything in my life.” [BloombergBW] • See Saban on Businessweek’s cover [Pic]
More Podesta emails — “Saban Urged Clinton to Do More to Get Jewish Votes” by Jacob Kornbluh: “She needs to differentiate herself from Obama on Israel,” Saban said in an email to Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta on June 20, 2015. “It can easily be done w/o criticizing the President,and this so that she can recapture the 11% lost between 2012 and 1992.” “Let’s not allow them to [steal] the Jewish vote from us,” the Democratic megadonor implored. “This is NOT a NY or California issue. It is a Florida one,” Saban wrote.” [JewishInsider]
A day later – Jake Sullivan emailed Stuart Eizenstat: “I was talking to HRC today about the idea of having her meet with some Jewish leaders later this week about BDS/delegitimization efforts. She and the leaders could go out and make a statement following the meeting.” Eizenstat: “It is a very tricky issue, if you want to do anything more than have Hillary weigh-in against BDS. The real question is whether to acknowledge for many of the leaders no change in Israeli policy will satisfy them. But their ability to get supporters on US campuses and in European public opinion and EU foreign ministers comes not from anti-Israel or anti-Semitic views, but because of sincere concerns with Israeli settlement policy. Although I know Hillary is close to Haim Saban, his partnership with Sheldon Adelson, who has a Likud agenda, may not be the best offensive against BDS. Obviously, she should not in any way criticize this initiative, quite the contrary. But she should stress the critical importance of AVOIDING MAKING ISRAEL A PARTISAN ISSUE… I think it is important for Hillary not to alienate or criticize liberal Democrats and liberal Jews, but to make the point that joining the BDS campaign is NOT the appropriate way to respond to concerns about Israeli settlement policy.” [06-21-2015]
Saban and the Clinton Foundation – Michèle Flournoy: “Our understanding is that POLITICO is working on a number of articles that touch upon the foundation. A number of the questions also touch upon State. There appears to be particular interest in Haim Saban. Below are 3 such questions. It has been reported that the State Department rejected a consultancy the president proposed with Saban Capital Group. Is that so? Or was there never a formal objection from State to that arrangement? Did it go forward? Who paid the expenses associated with President Clinton’s travel to Israel in December 2009 to speak at the Saban Forum? The travel expenses were paid for by Haim Saban.” [02-22-2015]
Re: Hillary’s phone call with Malcolm Hoenlein on Iran deal – Sullivan: “If you both continue to agree that taking a call from Malcolm makes sense, I can get it teed up tomorrow or Friday. There are two keys, from my perspective. First, that you and he agree what he is going to say about it — something simple like, “she thinks we need to all work together to put the relationship on a more constructive footing, to get back to basics, and to ensure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue.” Second, that if he raises Iran, you tell him you’d be happy to discuss at some point in greater detail but not get pulled into a long conversation.” Hillary: “I’d rather he reach out and say he wants to talk to me and then I can call him back. Also, will you coordinate w WH?” [03-25-2015]
Jeremy Ben-Ami to Podesta: “It was good to see you Friday, and I really appreciate your taking time to hear about J Street’s recent growth and to talk about how we can best relate to and assist the campaign, in particular on issues related to Israel and the Middle East. At the meeting, you asked me to forward the list of target states for our Iran related campaign.” [07-13-2015]
“Clinton camp held conference call about Chelsea’s mother-in-law” by Hanna Trudo: “In 2014, Margolies sought to resurrect her career in Congress by running in a crowded Democratic primary for the seat left open by Rep. Allyson Schwartz. Naturally, Margolies was hoping for some support from her well-connected in-laws. Aides in Clinton’s inner circle grappled with how to handle the delicate situation. A public show of support for Margolies would have required taking sides in a contested Democratic primary election in a politically important state — and Chelsea’s mother-in-law was, a decade earlier, the subject of unflattering media attention surrounding her family’s finances.” [Politico]
“Clinton bashes Trump over Russia praise, but emails show she praised Putin” by Cody Derespina: “Clinton went into detail during remarks to the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago on Oct. 28, 2013. “In terms of interesting, Vladimir Putin is always interesting,” she said.” [FoxNews]• Hacked Clinton Advisor Email About Catholics Sparks Republican Outcry [Fortune]
“Republican mega-donors ramp up efforts to hold Congress after Trump tape” by Peter Stone: “Victory for us is keeping the Senate and the latest disgusting episode doesn’t help us,” said Michael Epstein of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a staunchly pro-Israel group heavily backed by Adelson. “Trump is a destructive force … He’s hurting the country, the GOP and the Trump brand.”[Guardian] • Ryan sounds alarm on Trump [Politico]
“Trump to Intensify Attacks on Clinton Over Husband’s Accusers” by Joshua Green: “The plan to intensify the focus on the Clintons and sexual violence is being spearheaded by campaign CEO Stephen Bannon, Bossie, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, multiple campaign officials confirm.”[Bloomberg]
For the first time, The Jewish Week endorses a presidential candidate: “Never before has a candidate so ill-equipped for the demands of the Oval Office — in temperament, experience, character, compassion and humility — been so close to its doors… Ironically, the one group among us most favorable to Donald Trump is the Orthodox community, known for its piety, modesty and respect for leaders with spiritual and intellectual authority. Yet Trump, who represents the antithesis of those values, is said to be favored by a significant percentage among the Orthodox.” [JewishWeek]
Peter Beinart: “AIPAC has treated Trump like he’s Mitt Romney or Michael Dukakis – just another presidential nominee… But the Deseret News had a tradition of not meddling in presidential elections. It broke it to oppose an ignorant, bigoted demagogue whose election would threaten American liberal democracy. If AIPAC’s leaders really cared about the danger Trump poses, they would alter their tradition too.” [Haaretz]
“No, Jewish Conservatives Haven’t Been Silent on Trump. They’ve Been Leading the Resistance” by Yair Rosenberg: “It would be revealing to press anti-Trump Jewish conservatives on whether they are satisfied with the RJC’s approach to Trump. But asking that question would require knowing more about the Jewish right than Politico does. Why bother relitigating this now? Because Jewish conservatives deserve credit for their courage, not disingenuous disparagement.” [Tablet]
Tom Friedman: “The bigger Clinton’s margin of victory, the less dependent she’d be, I hope, on the left wing of her party, and the more likely she’d work with Republicans, as she vowed during the last debate. I say “hope” because I don’t know who the real Hillary is — the more Bernie Sanderish one speaking publicly or the more Bill Clintonish one who spoke privately to Goldman Sachs.” [NYTimes]
Pence goes farther than Trump on Iran deal, says U.S will ‘rip up’: “The Indiana governor and foreign policy hawk declared to loud audience cheers, “when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America, we’re going to rip up the Iran deal!” He promised, “we’re going to marshal our allies, and we will not allow the leading state-sponsor of terrorism to ever obtain a usable nuclear weapon.” The position of ripping the Iran nuclear deal up would go further than what Trump has expressed in the past.” [CBSNews]
KAFE KNESSET — Dore Gold Resigns — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Dore Gold, the Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, announced his resignation today due to “personal reasons,” leaving the office with no one effectively in charge, as for the last year and a half, there hasn’t been a full time Foreign Minister in Jerusalem. As Director General of the Foreign Ministry, he was Israel’s chief diplomat, and worked (among other things) to improve Israel’s standing in Africa and on the country’s secret relationships in the Arab world.
“I will continue to offer my services to the Prime Minister in any future mission,” he wrote in a letter to MFA employees. According to our sources in Jerusalem, Gold will now return to his previous position at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs – a think tank operating from the German Colony neighborhood in Israel’s capital.
The surprising resignation prompted speculation about the real reason behind it. According to one version we heard, Gold — a former Israeli Ambassador to the UN who has worked closely with Netanyahu for two decades — was tired of being excluded from the PM’s closest circle of advisers. Netanyahu’s personal attorney Isaac Molcho and Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer wield enormous influence, especially with regard to the MOU negotiations and peace talks with the Palestinians (which Molcho essentially runs alone).
Channel 2’s Udi Segal added that Gold was upset by Netanyahu’s recent decision to appoint MK Michael Oren as a Deputy Minister for Diplomacy. Last month, as Netanyahu embarked on his traditional visit to the UN General Assembly in New York, Oren joined the PM’s entourage, while Gold arrived with a separate MFA delegation. Another possible explanation is that Gold understood that a unity government with the Labor Party is likely – as has been reported by a number of Israelis news outlets – and realized that his authority inside the ministry would be undercut if and when Isaac Herzog becomes a full-time Foreign Minister.
SPOTLIGHT: “Paul Singer doubles down on Samsung despite exploding phones” by James Covert and Carleton English: “That’s despite the fact that Singer was subjected to a blistering spate of anti-Semitic attacks from South Korean media last year as his hedge fund, Elliott Management, agitated against a power play by Samsung’s controlling Lee family. “Elliott’s CEO is Paul Singer, a Jew,” Mediapen, a local business news outlet wrote in a story last summer as the proxy battle came to a head. “Jewish money has long been known to be ruthless and merciless.” Samsung, a big advertiser for Mediapen, was forced not only to denounce the diatribe but also scrub a cartoon published on its own subsidiary’s Web site that depicted Singer as a money-obsessed “Vulture Man.” On Wednesday, two firms controlled by Singer, Blake Capital and Potter Capital, displayed no vitriol as they outlined their proposals.” [NYPost]
“GOP Pollster Frank Luntz Reveals Replicas of the Oval Office, Monica Lewinsky’s Blue Dress in His L.A. Home” by Peter Kiefer: “When Frank Luntz’s mother, Phyllys, died two years ago, he decided to honor her in a unique way: He would build an exact replica of the Oval Office inside his Brentwood compound. “She always wanted me to be the first Jewish president,” says the prominent (and sometimes controversial) Republican pollster, seated under the gaze of a portrait of America’s first gentile president, George Washington. The completion of the Oval Office, which adjoins a replica of the Lincoln Bedroom, is the crowning achievement in a seven-year, multimillion-dollar renovation to turn Luntz’s 14,000-square-foot California ranch home into a showcase for one of the most impressive collections of American arcana in Los Angeles — and likely anywhere.” [HollywoodReporter]
“Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize in Literature” by Sewell Chan: “The singer and songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” in the words of the Swedish Academy. The announcement, in Stockholm, came as something of a surprise; although Mr. Dylan, 75, has been mentioned often as having an outside shot at the prize, his work does not fit into the traditional literary canons of novels, poetry and short stories that the prize has traditionally recognized.” [NYTimes]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “A lawsuit in California and violent protests in Brooklyn have focused on the practice of ritual chicken slaughter. Is this anti-Semitism?” by Emma Green:“Last Friday, a district-court judge in California issued a temporary restraining order forbidding the Chabad of Irvine, an Orthodox Jewish organization, from killing any chickens until a hearing could be held. The court session was then scheduled to take place the day after Yom Kippur concluded, meaning the Chabad of Irvine would be effectively barred from performing the ritual this year… The California suit may amount to nothing more than a nuisance for the Jewish community, but the message seems to be deeper than any court filing: This is a protest by Jews, against Jews, and it will likely continue in the new year to come.” [TheAtlantic]
DESSERT: “Kosher Bistro holds grand opening ceremony” by Stuart Smith: “The bistro will act as a home of cultural food for the Jewish community of Colorado State University, and also as a place for all students to eat food they know was made cleanly and safely. There are currently 155 colleges throughout the United States that serve kosher, with CSU and CU Boulder being the only two universities in the northern Midwest that make it available.” [Collegian]
“Comic Con–ukkah! Crown Heights synagogue hosting Jewish cartoon fest” by Colin Mixson: “More than a dozen of God’s Chosen comic book artists will converge at Congregation Kol Israel in Crown Heights on Nov. 13 to present and discuss their work at the first ever Jewish Comic Con… “Fifteen contemporary Jewish comic artists — including “The Red Hook” creator Dean Haspiel and veteran New York cartoonist Mort Gerberg — will appear at the St. John’s Place synagogue. “We have a panel on the Batman universe, called ‘The Jewishness of Batman,’ whose creator, Bob Cain, was Jewish,” [Convention organizer Fabrice] Sapolsky said.” [BrooklynPaper]
BIRTHDAYS: Music composer and alto saxophonist, Lee Konitz turns 89… Musician, singer, songwriter, best known for his lead role in the Simon & Garfunkel duo, Paul Simon turns 75… Former White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush (2001-2003), now a sports media consultant, Ari Fleischer turns 56… Award winning actor, comedian, and screenwriter, Sacha Baron Cohen turns 45… Sonia Bordo… Rick Lamke… Following a two year stint at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, he enrolled at Harvard Law School, Josh Friedmann…