Daily Kickoff: JI Interview with Joe Lieberman | Clinton, Trump trade punch lines at Al Smith Dinner | Shabbat 2016 Dinner Tonight in San Francisco
HAPPENING TONIGHT: The #Shabbat2016 series, a
HEARD LAST NIGHT: “Clinton and Trump Trade Punch Lines Instead of Punches at the Al Smith Dinner” by Ashley Parker and Matt Flegenheimer: “Breaking with decades of tradition at the gathering once he took the microphone, Mr. Trump set off on a blistering, grievance-filled performance that translated poorly to the staid setting, stunning many of the well-heeled guests who had filed into the Waldorf Astoria hotel for an uncommon spectacle: an attempted détente in a campaign so caustic that the candidates, less than 24 hours earlier, declined to shake hands on a debate stage. Relations did not much improve.” [NYTimes] • “At charity roast, Donald Trump delivered what might as well be a campaign eulogy” [WashPost]
Cardinal says candidates exchanged kind words: “Dolan told NBC’s “Today show” Friday that at one point at the dinner, Trump leaned in and told Clinton: “You are one tough and talented woman.” According to Dolan, Clinton responded by saying: “Whatever happens, we need to work together afterward.” At the dinner, Dolan called his seat between Trump and Clinton the “iciest place on earth.””[AP]
— Trump acknowledged Schumer at the start of his remarks: “Hi Chuck. (thumbs up). He used to love me when I was a Democrat.” Schumer: “There’s still hope, Donald. Come on.”
Hillary dings Trump: “It is great, also, to see Mayor Bloomberg here. It’s a shame he’s not speakingtonight. I’m curious to hear what a billionaire has to say.”
Alfred E. Smith IV joked: “It could not be done without… the amazing support of the many devoted Catholics on stage, Catholics like Henry Kissinger, Howard Rubenstein, Mort Zuckerman (laughter).”[YouTube] • Not mentioned but also on stage: Jim Tisch.
“Trump and Obama agree on one thing: Aleppo is a lost cause” by Josh Rogin: ”Given the latest White House decision to delay any action to respond to the crisis, President Obama may be ensuring that Trump’s vision of a fallen Aleppo becomes a reality. And like Trump, Obama seems to have concluded there’s not much the United States can or should do about it. One senior administration official pointed toward the slow pace of the bureaucracy in responding to the Aleppo crisis as evidence the White House has decided that Aleppo can’t be saved and therefore the United States should not try.” [WashPost]
JI INTERVIEW with Joe Lieberman: The former Senator discussed his support for Hillary Clinton, the Jewish vote, and who his friends McCain and Graham will vote for while he campaigned in South Florida for the Clinton-Kaine ticket in the Jewish community.
On the final TV debate: “I thought that Secretary Clinton won the third debate in a row. In other words, I think she proved she’s smart, she’s experienced, and she’s ready to be a leader. I thought Trump actually, for part of it, did better than before. He seemed a little more disciplined, and then he made a couple of big mistakes. And obviously, the biggest was that he got, I think, caught on his own campaign rhetoric, which lately has been focused on the election being rigged, and hesitated to say he would support the winner, which is really a violation of a kind of broadly-held nonpartisan American ethic that in the end, you accept the results of the election, and there’s the peaceful transfer of power. That’s what is one of the great things about America. So I think that will worry people. It probably won’t upset too many of his supporters now, but I think for people who may have thought at some point about supporting Trump, and have grown increasingly concerned in recent days about his focus on the election being rigged, which there’s no evidence of that whatsoever. What he said last night, will, I think, persuade the persuadables that Hillary Clinton is their best choice.”
On the 2000 election outcome: “I am in Florida this morning, so I always think about it. The 2000 campaign was a wonderful experience for me and my family, obviously until election night. And to have the honor of being the first Jewish-American on a national ticket, and that ticket actually got 544,000 more votes than the other ticket really was proof of the openness and fairness and acceptance of the American people… It was very close in Florida, and to me what was frustrating, disappointing, at the time infuriating, was that the decision was made by the U.S. Supreme Court, five justices, not ultimately by the votes of people in Florida being counted. But I do want to say this: the U.S. Supreme Court decision did open a door to another step for Al Gore, which was to go back to the Florida Supreme Court and ask for a recount of all the votes in the state. And Vice President Gore, to his credit, I remember we talked about it, late on the night that the Supreme Court of the U.S. decision came down, he said it’s time for the good of the country to end this… That was not easy, but Al Gore really did the right thing. That’s why what Trump said last night was so surprising and troubling.”
On the Orthodox Jewish vote: “The modern Orthodox are probably already trending more towards Hillary based on not only on feeling that she is a more proven, reliable, predictable supporter of Israel, but also because they are troubled by the way in which Donald Trump has campaigned. I think we may be surprised by this. I think some of the same may be happening among the ultra-Orthodox/Hasidic community. And here’s the other thing about Hillary which is unique: She was the senator from New York for eight years. She got to know the Hasidic community. And I think, generally speaking, people had a good feeling about their relations with her. She tried very hard to be supportive. So I think the way this race is going within the Jewish world, one of those surprising results will be that Hillary Clinton will get a much higher percentage of the Orthodox vote than a Democratic candidate has gotten for a while.”
Q: Do you believe that the Jewish vote in Florida will make the difference in Clinton carrying the state?
Lieberman: “There is no question the Jewish vote in Florida will matter significantly. Hillary has pulled ahead here, but it is not over, and of course, as I know, as Al Gore was here last week, and he offered himself as Exhibit A for the fact that every vote counts in Florida. I offer myself as Exhibit B from 2000. One important thing here is that turnout, generally, is higher among Jewish voters than generally in the country. I think the Jewish vote will be very important here. So I am very glad to be here today to be helping. I feel very strongly she is the right choice.”
Q: Do you also feel, when you interact with voters, that people trust Hillary Clinton on Israel more than others in the Democratic Party?
Lieberman: “I do. I do. Look, I will be very blunt about this. There has been a kind of movement in parts of the Democratic Party toward what I would call a skepticism toward our relationship with Israel, and that troubles me a lot. But Hillary Clinton is not part of it. In fact, the best evidence is at the Democratic convention and the platform. She and her supporters defeated attempts to really alter the platform positions on Israel from what they have been affected. This platform is quite strong in support of Israel. I think Hillary Clinton as president offers the hope of the party becoming what it has been when it has been at its strongest and best, which is again, a center-left party, not a left party. I think that is the kind of party that can win, but also that can get things done for the country.”
Q: Who do you think your friends, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, who condemned Trump and unendorsed him, will vote for?
Lieberman: “I really don’t know. Well actually, I do know. Unless they say something differently, they both, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have made clear that they are not voting for Hillary Clinton, and as you said, they are not voting for Donald Trump. So who they are voting for? I suppose if you see one write-in vote in Arizona and one in South Carolina for Joe Lieberman, you will know who those votes came from.”
Q: Not Hillary?
“No, I don’t think so. These are two lifelong, really quite sincere Republicans. So it’s a most unusual turn of events that they have said that they would not vote for the Republican nominee. And in McCain’s case, he really held onto the idea of supporting Trump until that tape where Trump was so disparaging, disrespectful to women and he said he can’t be associated with him anymore. That is typical of what’s happened. One of the big stories will be, assuming Secretary Clinton wins, what happens to the Republican party. There is going to be a big fight for the heart and soul and future of that party.”
Q: Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State?
Lieberman: “I would say that the title that is most appealing to me is eighty.”
SCOOP: Jewish Insider has learned that Lieberman will be featured in a new highly targeted campaign kicking off this weekend by the “Jews for Progress” super PAC, aimed at Jewish voters who are still undecided or persuadable. [JewishInsider]
“Importance of undecided Jewish voters dwindles as White House race approaches” by Michael Wilner: “Persuadable Jewish voters in this election appear to be more conservative, observant, and concerned over US relations with Israel, according to several Democratic and Republican operatives. “The bigger the margin, the less important any specific group is,” said Mark Mellman.”[JPost]
“Trump spent massive amounts in September just before donors grew jittery” by Teddy Schleifer: “In recent weeks, according to multiple people familiar with his thinking, Adelson has grown frustrated with his candidate’s performance on the campaign trail. People who have spoken with him say he has bemoaned Trump’s lack of focus and what he sees as squandered opportunities, instead choosing to launch intra-party attacks on Republican leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan. “Sheldon’s got to protect the House and the Senate, and Trump’s going after that isn’t helpful,” said one person who has spoken with Adelson recently. “He’s really upset with the way Trump’s been running his campaign.” Another Adelson associate noted that he, along with other high-powered donors, are more animated these days by the battle for control of the Senate.” [CNN]
“Hedge-fund manager S. Donald Sussman gave $21 million to pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA” by Matea Gold: “Sussman has given a total of $21 million to the top super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, putting him on track to be the Democratic nominee’s biggest political backer this cycle. In an interview with The Washington Post, Sussman said he gave Priorities USA $6 million in September and another $2 million this month. Other top donors for the month included hedge fund founder Steve Mandel ($2.5 million), Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz ($2.5 million) and Chicago venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker and his wife M.K. ($2.5 million), according to a Federal Election Commission filing released Thursday night.” [WashPost]
“Will Donald Trump Stain Jared Kushner Forever?” by Ross Barkan: “Before Trump’s presidential bid, he was known as a fiscally conservative, socially liberal Democratic donor, whose only real burning political passion was Zionism. In that sense, he was just like any other multimillionaire trawling Manhattan, looking to deal… If Kushner had any political consciousness, Trump’s anti–free trade, anti-immigrant campaign must have rattled him, at least briefly. Or he must have wondered how he could silently stand by after his father-in-law said he would remain “neutral” in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, breaking with the Republican tradition of backing Israel at all costs.” [VillageVoice]
“Dirty money: Trump and the Kazakh connection” by Tom Burgis: “On the face of it, Mr Trump was not a beneficiary of the apartment sales. The vendor was another limited liability company, Bayrock/Sapir Organization LLC. It was named after the developers that jointly built Trump Soho: the Sapir Organisation, founded by Tamir Sapir, from Georgia, and Bayrock, founded by Tevfik Arif, a Kazakhstan-born former Soviet official.” [FT]
“Let Fran Lebowitz Soothe All Your Election-Related Worries” by Emily Jane Fox: “The only thing I’ve ever liked about Donald Trump, the only saving grace, is that he’s not Jewish. . . . Because he’s an anti-Semite’s idea of a Jew.” [VanityFair]
More Podesta emails – Paul Begala, who served as a strategist to the campaign of Isaac Herzog in the 2015 election, to Podesta: “I have never seen anything like Bibi’s furious surge to the right in the last 4 days. Nothing like it in America. He had robo-calls calling the President “Hussein Obama, the Muslim,” he had ads saying the Arabs will vote in droves. He accused Herzog of wanting to divide Jerusalem. Bibi did not win because of Iran. He won because of race… All the smart guys in Tel Aviv thought Bibi was having a nervous breakdown. In the US you could never get away with those kind of racist appeals. But, man, did it work.” [03-18-2015]
Jewish Members of Congress Denounce UNESCO resolution denying Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem: “As Jewish Members of the United States House of Representatives, we strongly condemn any effort to blatantly disregard the religious histories of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. That is why we fervently denounce the efforts of certain Member-States of UNESCO to continue denying Jewish and Christian claims to holy sites in Jerusalem, which have irrefutable historic significance for both religions.” [PressRelease]
“Jewish settlers invited Palestinians over for the holidays. Everything went better than expected” by William Booth and Sufian Taha: “The Efrat mayor, Oded Revivi, who is also a colonel in the Israeli army reserve, invited Palestinians from surrounding villages to come to his house and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. A couple dozen Palestinians accepted the mayor’s invitation this week to share brownies, grapes, cookies, apples and coffee, alongside 30 Israeli settlers. This was a first. Everyone talked about peace. Nobody really talked about one state or two states.” [WashPost] • PA intel grills Palestinians who visited settler leader’s sukkah [TimesofIsrael]
“US, Egypt warn Palestinians not to push Security Council on Settlements before US elections” by Jack Khoury: “Both Egypt and the United States have warned the Palestinian leadership not to advance any moves at the UN Security Council until after the US presidential election next month. According to a senior Palestinian official, “the messages were sent both directly and indirectly to the Palestinian Authority, through Western and Arab intermediaries. The messages stressed that until the US election is over, Washington will veto any resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, including a denunciation of the settlements.”” [Haaretz]
STARTUP NATION: “New venture capital fund to invest $5 million in haredi startups” by Jeremy Sharon: “Called 12 Angels, the new fund has amassed $5 million from some of the most prominent Israeli investors in the hi-tech sector, including Chemi Peres, co-founder of Pitango Venture Capital; Adi Soffer Teeni, general manager of Facebook Israel; and Dov Moran, whose company invented the USB flash drive. The “Start-up Succa” event brought entrepreneurs from the haredi community together with investors, entrepreneurs and partners from Israel’s tech community. KamaTech, a nonprofit organization that works to integrate haredim into the hi-tech industry, was founded four years ago by haredi entrepreneur Moshe Friedman and Zika Abzuk, vice-president of Cisco Israel with the help and guidance of Dr. Yossi Vardi, one of the founding fathers of the Israeli high tech industry.” [JPost]
SCENE LAST NIGHT IN NYC: Councilman David Greenfield hosted Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan at the Sukkah of Mendy Reiner, founder of Renewal, in Borough Park. SPOTTED: Amir Sagei, Inon Elroy, Andrew Gross, Assemblymembers Nily Rozic, Phil Goldfeder and Steven Cymbrowitz; Mark Levine, Alan Maisel, Mark Weprin, Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Margery Perlmutter, Jason Koppel, Tiffany Raspberry, Aron Wieder, Kalman Yeger, Jenny Berger, Chanina Sperlin, Ben Barber, Alex Rappaport, Larry Spiwak, Oren Yaniv, Simcha Eichenstein, Pinny Ringel, Joel Eisdorfer, and Moshe Indig.
SPOTTED IN DC, at Avi Goldgraber’s Sukkah Party: State Dept’s Matt Nosanchuk; Slate’s Josh Keating; Elanit Jakabovics, president of Kesher Israel; John Doty from Rep. Jerry Nadler’s office; Amb. Norm Eisen; Georgetown Prof. Lindsay Kaplan; Sarah Arkin; NJDC’s Barbara Goldman Goldberg; Foreign Policy’s John Hudson; Abby Deift, Homeland Security; TOI’s Eric Cortellessa; Bluelight’s Debbie Rubin; Professor Ethan Porter, GW; AIPAC’s Elliot Brandt; Johnny Powell, Sec. John Kerry; Aaron Keyak, Steve Rabinowitz, many other friends, family, and residences of West End Place.
Jeffrey Goldberg: “I love America, part 4,392: A beautiful sukkah in the heart of the (Jesuit) Georgetown University campus.” [Twitter]
“Miri Regev’s Culture War” by Ruth Margalit: “She is often called “colorful,” a charitable description of her internal contradictions. She has amassed considerable political clout but views herself as a perpetual underdog. She rails against Ashkenazi and leftist elites yet is married to an Ashkenazi man who used to vote left. She uses a well-worn phrase to characterize Israel as “a villa in the jungle,” assailing the Palestinians, but speaks in glowing terms about Arab Israelis who “respect the laws of the country.” She identifies as conservative but sees herself as a champion of gay rights. She grew up in a traditional family — “ ‘feminist’ is a word I can’t relate to,” she has said — but spent 25 years in the Israeli military, rising through the ranks to become chief censor and then spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces.”[NYTimes]
New on YouTube — “”Just Jenna” is a story of Jenna Jameson journey to the Jewish faith and using her life experience to help others.” [YouTube]
SPORTS BLINK: “U of Maryland football offers a handy workaround for Shabbat-observant fans” by Gabe Friedman: “As Mitzpeh, the school’s independent Jewish newspaper, reports, the university allows students to obtain wristbands (instead of traditional tickets that require scanning) days before Shabbat. There will always be some gray areas at a game, such as the inescapable jumbotrons that broadcast the action happening below. As one of Maryland’s Hillel rabbis, Aderet Drucker, told Mitzpeh, some Jews will see the giant TV screens as a deal-breaker while others will be happy that they can watch a screen on Shabbat without having to turn it on themselves.” [JTA; Mitzpeh]
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu turns 67… Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University, Shaye J. D. Cohen turns 68… Emmy Award winning reality courtroom personality, “Judge Judy,” Judith Sheindlin turns 74… Russian born classical composer and pianist, emigrated to NYC at four years old, a graduate of Julliard, Lera Auerbach turns 43… Director of Data and Evaluation at NCSY and the Orthodox Union,Dan Hazony… Dori Tenenbaum… Jerusalem Fellow at the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought, Eliana Rudee… Mitch Davis… Brian Rosman…
Australian billionaire, philanthropist and Chairman of Westfield Corporation, owner of shopping malls across the globe, Frank Lowy turns 86… Actor who starred in many high-grossing films such as Jurassic Park, Independence Day and sequels of both of those, Jeff Goldblum turns 64… Washington insider, political pundit and communications consultant, Hilary Rosen turns 58… EVP and chief professional officer of the Orthodox Union, Allen Fagin… Michelle Gordon… VP at West End Strategy Team’s NYC Office, Samantha Kupferman… AIPAC’s Associate Area Director for Bergen and Rockland counties,Ayelet Kahane… Richard Rubenstein…