Daily Kickoff: Michael Doran on why Hillary would get along better with Bibi than Obama does | Interview with Dore Gold | BuzzFeed’s Israeli game show

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “UNESCO vote on Jerusalem site angers Israel” by John Irish and Ori Lewis: “The theatre of the absurd at UNESCO continues and today the organisation adopted another delusional decision which says that the people of Israel have no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Jerusalem after the decision. “To declare that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids.” [Reuters

“UNESCO Jerusalem resolution ‘highly politicized,’ White House says” by Michael Wilner:“One-sided, unhelpful resolutions have been a recurring challenge at UNESCO in recent years, and the United States has strongly opposed these resolutions at the UNESCO Executive Board,” the [senior administration] official continued. “We will not hesitate to use our vote at the current Board meeting to oppose these resolutions.” [JPost

Trump’s statement: “The United Nations’ attempt to disconnect the State of Israel from Jerusalem is a one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city, and is further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the UN… Further, the decision by the Obama Administration to strike the word ‘Israel’ after the word ‘Jerusalem’ in the President’s prepared text was a capitulation to Israel’s enemies, and a posthumous embarrassment to Shimon Peres, whose memory the President was attempting to honor. In a Trump Administration, Israel will have a true, loyal and lasting friend in the United States of America.”

Laura Rosenberger, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor for Hillary Clinton, emails us: “It’s outrageous that UNESCO would deny the deep, historic connection between Judaism and the Temple Mount. As Secretary of State, Hillary fought to defend Israel against biased resolutions like these at the United Nations and other international organizations and would proudly do so again as President.”

JI INTERVIEW – Michael Doran (Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute): Doran, a scholar and former State and Defense Department official in the George W. Bush administration, describes in a new book, Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East, how President Dwight Eisenhower came to realize that Israel, not Egypt, is America’s strongest ally in the Middle East region. Yesterday we spoke to Doran about the parallels between Eisenhower and President Obama and what advice he would give to the presidential candidates.

“The book chronicles the effort of Eisenhower to court Nasser, and it tells a story how Eisenhower meant to push aside the British and distance the United States from Israel from the moment he came into power,” Doran tells us. “His idea was to align with Nasser and Arab nationalism in order to stabilize the Middle East and line up the Arabs behind the Americans in the Cold War. What he actually did was to destabilize the Middle East. The second part of the story is that he comes to the conclusion that actually trying to distance himself from Israel had backfired. He goes on to see Israel as an ally. That’s one of the most interesting things about the book. He is the most popular president among those who think that Israel is a strategic liability. When Israel teams up with the British and the French to attack Egypt in ’56, Eisenhower forces the Israelis to withdraw from the Sinai, with only the most minimal concessions from the Egyptians. Basically no concessions from Nasser at all. He hands Nasser a great political victory.”

The parallel – Obama’s Iran policy: “Obama wanted to reach out to the leading Muslim power of the day, Iran, and assumed that aggressive Western policies and too close of an association with Israel was what was generating the hostility of Iran to the United States. That if he showed a more welcoming attitude to Iran, and if he put some daylight, as he put it, between the United States and Israel, then he could bring the Iranians our way. That’s where I think the parallel is. I think it’s leading to the same kind of chaos in Syria, and Yemen, and elsewhere.”

How Doran grades Obama’s policy on Israel: “I can’t distinguish the Israel policy from the wider policy in the region. I think that Obama wants us to do that because he wants to argue that he has unprecedented mil-to-mil relationship and an unprecedented intelligence sharing relationship, and so on. All of that is true, but at the same time, his policies have led to the empowerment of Iran enormously in ways that don’t work to Israel’s advantage. I don’t think he wakes up every morning and thinks, ‘How do I weaken Israel?’ I think his policies have had the result of not necessarily weakening Israel, but of putting Israel in a very difficult spot.”

On Trump and Hillary’s Middle East policy: “I don’t think that we know what either one of them is going to do because the things that they’re saying simply don’t add up on both sides. For example, Trump tells us he’s going to work with Putin in Syria, at the same time that he tells us he’s going to renegotiate the Iranian nuclear deal and shut down all of the Iranian terror networks around the world. How do you that in Syria? If you get tough with Iran, you’re going to get tough with Putin. If you do so, you’re going to have a problem across the board. Hillary Clinton is saying that she wants to reach out to Russia in certain areas but first, crack against it in others. She’s suggesting that she’s going to get tougher in Syria than Obama, but the thing is, if you get tougher in Syria, once again you’re getting tougher with both Iran and Russia. If you do that, you’re going to have problems with Russia, potentially in Ukraine, you’re going to have problem with Iran in Iraq, and so on. You can’t pick and choose, like in a cafeteria, where you’re going to get tougher because these are strategic actors who are operating against us in a number of different areas simultaneously.”

Advice to Trump, Hillary: “They have to look to their traditional partners to build a stable new order in the region. That means Israel, the Gulf states, and to the extent possible, Turkey. They have to see Russia and Iran as rival powers who do not share the same interests as the United States, and they need to impose costs on them for their behavior.”

Why Netanyahu would have a better relationship with Clinton: “I think Hillary and Netanyahu would get along better personally than with Obama. Nothing I hear coming out of the Clinton camp suggests that she has, I would say, the fixation on warm relations with Iran that Obama had. That I see as the number one reason for the friction with Netanyahu, more than anything else.”

Jeffrey Goldberg talks to Jake Sherman on whether Obama will do anything on Israel before he leaves: “On the other hand, maybe there would be a level of coordination between the two foreign policy teams, where the Hillary people could imagine a scenario in which Obama could do something useful in the U.N. or in another setting to pave the way for some kind of initiative. All that being said, it doesn’t seem likely that Hillary Clinton is going to on Jan. 21 say, ‘How do we solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis,’ because it’s not actually a very important crisis anymore, compared to five or six other crises in the Middle East.” [Politico]

KAFE KNESSET — Interview with Dore Gold — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Resigning MFA Director General Dore Gold talked to Kafe Knesset today about his decision: “I resigned for personal reasons, that have to do with my family and the amount of time I wish to spend with them. Public service requires an intense schedule and agenda, and sometimes your family needs you.” He denies any tensions with Netanyahu were part of his decision. “No black cat has crossed between me and the Prime Minister. There are a lot of false rumors and assumptions going around, as if I am leaving out of discontent or frustration with tasks and authorities. They are completely wrong.”

Gold also told us that he “totally” supports the Prime Minister’s foreign policy goals and diplomatic strategy. “His decision to warm up relations with Africa and Arab countries was brilliant, and I was happy to be part of materializing his policy. I will continue working in these areas back as president of the the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs and I can assure you that if the Prime Minister gives me a call tomorrowand asks me to fly to Ivory Coast, Ghana or Nigeria, I will be on the first plane. I recently became a grandfather, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to sitting on a rocking chair on a porch in Kansas and recall memories from diplomatic battles in the 80’s. That’s not the scenario.”

For Once, Some Good News in Jerusalem: An unprecedented, even historic, meeting took place yesterday, bringing together top Jewish and Muslim clerics under one roof – that of the Israeli President’s official residence. President Reuven Rivlin hosted the Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef, and the top Muslim Sharia’a court judge in the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Mahmoud Habbash – who is known to be a close associate of Palestinian President Abbas. The two religious leaders put out a strong statement against religious violence.

“This is the most important meeting that could be held these days,” Rivlin said. The Chief Rabbi gave a rare speech on the Syrian civil war, declaring that “Israel must not be silent in the face of genocide. We must not reenact the world’s silence during the Holocaust.”

The unusual meeting was orchestrated behind-the-scenes in a year long effort by Washington Institute scholars and former State department officials David Makovsky and David Pollock. A year ago, they brought Sheikh Habbash to meet Rabbi Moshe Lichtenstein, a politically moderate leader of a Yeshiva in Gush Etzion. Two more rounds of meetings between different religious figures on both sides eventually paved the way for the event at the President’s residence yesterday.

Makovsky told Kafe Knesset that the event “sends a powerful message of peace at a critical and sensitive moment. It’s been a year since the beginning of the last terror wave and in the midst of the Jewish high holiday season when tensions surrounding the Temple Mount are on the rise, the timing here is crucial. Much of the violence of the last year has been religiously motivated – we think it’s vital for religious leaders to speak out. We hope to have another meeting in Ramallah like this soon. With such an abyss between Israeli and Palestinian political leadership, religious leaders can have a lot of influence.”

FLASHBACK: “Generation Z” by Jordan Hirsch: “How two of Israel’s leading diplomats — Michael Oren and Dore Gold — emerged from a 1970s Jewish commune at Columbia University” [TabletMag]

More Podesta emails – Saban advises Hillary on debating Sanders: “Call me stupid but you don’t shred him on the below, in simple easy to understand one liner,,,,,,,,,,experience is of major importance to govern,and has some value in getting elected,,,,,, However,,,,,crisp,,,,,easy to grasp,,,,,emotion triggering one liner, are much more compelling for the majority of voters. Simple arrow the heart and the brain.,,,and up his butt.” [02-12-2016

Podesta on Sid Blumenthal: “Sid is lost in his own web of conspiracies. I pay zero attention to what he says.” [01-01-2016

Eizenstat on Hillary’s Iran deal speech: “The speech lacks a critical element; a clear statement that Hillary will use military force, if necessary, to deal with violations that threaten the agreement, not just the pablum that all options are on the table.” [09-06-2015]

“Donald Trump Has a Grand Unified Campaign Conspiracy Theory” by Zeke Miller: “For those who control the levers of power in Washington, and for the global special interests, they partner with these people that don’t have your good in mind,” he said at a rally in West Palm Beach. “Our campaign represents a true existential threat like they haven’t seen before.” He add[ed] the “establishment” has “trillions” at stake on the election, and blamed a “global power structure” for the decline of manufacturing cities.” [TIME• Trump just gave an anti-Semitic speech ‘dripping with hatred’ — and the Internet is horrified [RawStory

Jim Acosta on Twitter: “A Trump supporter left behind this sign on media table in press pen. Shows swastika with word “media” [Pic

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: “Trump should avoid rhetoric and tropes that historically have been used against Jews and still spur anti-Semitism. Let’s keep hate out of the campaign.” [Twitter

“Ivanka Trump Hits Trail, With No Sign of Campaign Turbulence” by Trip Gabriel: “On a carefully stage-managed swing through the Philadelphia suburbs, Ms. Trump avoided mentioning the 2005 recording or a series of accusations by women… Her audiences were mainly active volunteers for the Trump campaign, and the news media was kept at a distance as Ms. Trump was whisked in and out of her appearances.” [NYTimes]

“Repulsed By Trump Tape But Sticking With Him” by Stewart Ain: “A board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Kenneth Bialkin, said he disagreed with those who believe Trump’s comments disqualified him from being president. “I think he was tricked into saying things, and he was speaking during a period of time in life when most men are more sex driven,” he said. “He’s now at a different age and nobody should read into it — that was then and this is now.” Bialkin stressed that he has still “not decided nor given any money to either side” in the presidential race, but he added: “My inclination at the moment is that Trump makes a lot of statements that are sensible.”” [JewishWeek] • Why this Jewish millennial woman supports Trump [DCExaminer]

“US voters in Israel say iVoteIsrael flubbed absentee ballot requests” by Lahav Harkov: “Tzeira Ostrovsky, a Tel Aviv resident who is registered to vote in Virginia, submitted a ballot request at [an] iVoteIsrael event, only to find during a recent visit to the US that her request was also never received. “ [Jpost]

“Clinton or Trump: The Jewish dilemma” by Yossi Shain: “Surprisingly, the Israeli issue has almost disappeared in this election. The Democratic camp is avoiding a conflict with the Israeli government at this stage, for fear that the Jewish forces in the center that applauded Trump at the AIPAC conference will take a further step and vote for him.” [Ynet]

“Cut Ties to Donald Trump, Big Donors Urge R.N.C.” by Jonathan Martin,Alex Burns and Maggie Haberman: “We’re headed for destruction,” said Al Hoffman, a former Republican National Committee finance chairman and a longtime Florida donor. Bruce Kovner, a New York investor and philanthropist who with his wife has given $2.7 million to Republicans over the same period, was just as blunt. “He is a dangerous demagogue completely unsuited to the responsibilities of a United States president,” Mr. Kovner wrote in an email, referring to Mr. Trump.” [NYTimes]

“Axelrod: ‘It’s going to be a rough 27 days for the country’” by Louis Nelson: “I don’t think that he can pull her down to the degree or depress turnout to a degree to offset some of the negatives that he’s amassing here,” Axelrod said on CNN’s “New Day” Thursday morning. “But this is a particularly dispiriting tactic. And a dispiriting campaign. I think it’s going to be a rough 27 days for the country.” [Politico

Chemi Shalev on the consequences of Trump’s downfall: “Jewish Republicans will be deserting the party in droves, leaving Sheldon Adelson alone among the ruins. And the political Iron Dome that Benjamin Netanyahu has relied on for the past quarter century to support and protect him against leftist, liberal U.S. Democrats could corrode and crumble, leaving him – and Israel, if you are so inclined – alone and vulnerable.” [Haaretz

HEARD YESTERDAY – Biden on Hillary: “When she came to the Senate, I was her rabbi.” [CSPAN]

PROFILE: “The Obscure Lawyer Who Became Donald Trump’s TV Attack Dog” by Barry Meier and Susanne Craig: “After the 2013 death of Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, Boris Epshteyn praised the Democratic lawmaker for backing a law that helped religious minorities like his Russian Jewish family emigrate to the United States. “Thank you, Senator Lautenberg, for helping open the door to America,” he wrote in an opinion piece for U.S. News & World Report. Before this year, Mr. Epshteyn was a relatively minor player in Republican politics.” [NYTimes]

“Marco Rubio Announces Cross-Party Jewish Leadership Team” by Jacob Kornbluh:“Prominent members of the Jewish leadership team include megadonor Norman Braman, Former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, Ambassador Mel Sembler, Betty Sembler, Ambassador Ned Siegel, Simon and Jana Falic, Marc Goldman, Bob Diener, and Stanley Tate, among others. “Marco is the leader the people of the Jewish community need,” said Sembler.” [JewishInsider]

 
**Good Friday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com*

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Discovery Investing $100 Million to Merge Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo in New Digital Venture. The new company, Group Nine Media, will be headed by Ben Lerer [Variety• Daniel Schreiber, Lemonade CEO, discusses how his start-up company plans to disrupt traditional insurers through its peer-to-peer model organized around charities [CNBC] • How Israel builds its hi-tech start-ups [BBC]
“BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, Keshet Studios Developing Israeli Game Show ‘Touch'” by Natalie Jarvey: “The show is based on Touch, a Keshet game show that airs in Israel that asks contestants to point out the incongruities in photos they see on a screen as a clock counts down. Now, BFMP and Keshet will look to create a game show that will air on linear television while simultaneously launching online and via mobile devices. The show is being developed to air on television and to be syndicated digitally through BuzzFeed’s distribution channels.” [HollywoodReporter]
“Will Frank Gehry build an architectural icon for Tel Aviv?” by Danielle Berrin: “Growing up as a Jewish kid in Canada, my grandfather read Talmud to me,” he said. “The creativity our culture is known for comes from the Talmud, [because] the Talmud embodies curiosity. It starts with ‘why,’ and that curiosity leads us to discovery.”  For Gehry, Jewish achievement is inseparable from Jewish history and heritage. “I grew up in a town 500 miles north of Toronto with 30 other Jewish families,” he said. “I got accused of killing Christ so many times. [And] I remember when I first heard Hitler’s speeches; I never forgot that cadence and anger. … When the State of Israel was created, it meant a lot to my father and grandfather, and it means a lot to me.” [JewishJournal]

SPORTS BLINK: “Vikings Fans, Israel Football Leader Make Overseas Trip to U.S. Bank Stadium” by Lindsey Young: “Vikings Owner Mark Wilf is a sponsor of Israel’s national team, and when he received word that Ben and Shira were coming to Minnesota to attend back-to-back Vikings games at U.S. Bank Stadium, he reached out and invited them to visit the team’s headquarters.”[Vikings]

“This Hockey Engagement Shoot at the Verizon Center is Every Caps Super-Fan’s Dream” by Caroline Cunningham: “Considering that Erica Strudler and Isaac Snyder are huge fans of the Washington Capitals in addition to huge fans of each other, there could have been no better place for their engagement shoot than on the team’s ice itself. Hockey has been a part of Erica and Isaac’s relationship from the beginning. They met for the first time in middle school while at the Maccabi Games in St. Louis—Erica was there to captain the softball team, while Isaac captained the hockey team.” [Washingtonian]

Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week — Sancerre, Chavignol, 2012: “They say that you can take the boy out of Oakland, but you can never take Oakland out of the boy. My group of friends from Oakland recently enjoyed its first collective “out of town” wedding and it was quite the splash. The overly cautious Kosher caterer wanted to make sure that not one drop of fine non-mevushal wine would make its way into the Shabbat festivities. Luckily, we chose both a perfect method to sneak some non-mevushal wine into the meal and an equally edgy wine to fit the occasion.”

“The Sancerre Chavignol, 2012 is one of the greatest kosher white wines to hit the market, ever. This predominantly Sauvignon Blanc based wine is very dry to the tongue’s touch. It then splashes into one’s mid palate with a subtle nutty flavor and then finishes with a grapefruit explosion. The nose is earthy to start, and fruity if you hang around long enough. The off-yellow, green color is also of note. My guess is that it comes from the limestone earth from where the grapes are grown. This wine will last for years to come, or possibly only minutes once you put it in your goblet. Drink it with sharp cheese, Chilean Sea Bass, and if you want to be very adventurous, sardines.”

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Emeritus professor of history at the University of London, Shula Eta Winokur Marks turns 78… Fashion designer, philanthropist, and business executive, Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifshitz) turns 77… Former Major League Baseball player (1965-1972) for the Reds, Mets, Cubs and Athletics, Art Shamsky turns 75… Author, political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Norman Ornstein turns 68… Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi turns 55… Marsha Grossman… President and co-founder of the R Street Institute, a  DC based free-market think tank, Eli Lehrer… International trade attorney who held senior posts in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Ira Shapiro…

Billionaire real estate developer and owner of MLB’s Washington Nationals (who maintains MLB’s only Kosher owners’ box), Ted Lerner turns 91… Vice Chairman of the US Federal Reserve since 2014, after an 8 year term at the helm of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer turns 73… Billionaire, media mogul, major donor to the Democratic Party and producer of Power Rangers, Haim Saban turns 72… Former mayoral press secretary during the Bloomberg administration in NYC, now a political communications strategist, Stu Loeser turns 43… Alain Cohen… Neil Kugelman… Heiko Stoiber… Jack Newman… Kenneth Griffin…

Film director, producer, screenwriter and creator of the The Naked Gun franchise, David Zucker turns 69… Best selling French novelist, one of whose books was made into Steven Spielberg’s “Just like Heaven,” Marc Levy turns 55… Author and staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, Ariel Levy turns 42… Avi Fink turns 31…

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