Daily Kickoff: JI interview with Marco Rubio | Biden brags “I’m more Jewish than Hillary is” as she considers him for Secretary of State

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JI INTERVIEW with Senator Marco Rubio — by Jacob Kornbluh: In a conversation earlier today, Rubio discussed his Senate reelection bid, the 2016 race for the White House, and his plans for the Senate if reelected. Rubio insisted that his initial decision not to run for reelection had nothing to do with his distaste of working in DC. “I was committed to continuing in public service. I had made a decision to try to do it as president. I believe that members of Congress can help shape the direction of our country, but the president sets the agenda. So I made the decision that I would run for president, I wasn’t going to do two things at once, and when that decision didn’t work out I was prepared to move on and be a private citizen and seek other ways to serve. But I did become convinced that it was important for our country to have a senator in Washington prepared to stand up to the next president, no matter who it is.”

Q: Do you plan to bridge the partisan divide in DC?

Rubio: “The partisanship and the gridlock, I am troubled by it. It’s unfortunate. I can tell you, the Iran nuclear deal is a very disappointing development because many of my Democratic colleagues know that it’s a bad agreement, but they chose their party over the right thing. I thought that was an example of hyperpartisanship. And my own party took far too long to address Zika, something I didn’t think was a political issue. I am not happy about it. There are plenty of issues we could fight over, but there are some that we should be able to put partisanship aside, and too often that’s not happening.”

Q: Were you disappointed that Sheldon Adelson didn’t support you in the Republican primary? 

Rubio: “No. I am not disappointed. He is a good friend. He’s always been very supporting and encouraging in many different ways. He chose not to participate in the Republican primary. He didn’t want his money to be used by Republicans to attack other Republicans, and I respect that. My affinity to Mr. Adelson and to his wife Miriam extend beyond politics. I think he is a phenomenal story. I, of course, lived in Vegas for a number of years. I have tremendous admiration to the way he runs his properties there, the way he treats his employees, and, of course, his wife Dr. Adelson is one of the world’s leading experts on addiction. They have always been very helpful to me in so many different ways.”

Q: Has Donald Trump hurt your Senate fundraising efforts the past few months?

Rubio: “It has not. We have been very blessed to have good friends all across Florida and the country who have donated to our campaign. The average donor has given more than $100. We rely on a lot of everyday people who believe in our cause. Just in the last 48 hours, we learned that my opponent lent himself one million dollars of his father’s money and Harry Reid gave him over a million dollars to spend against me. So, we need those resources to communicate, but it hasn’t impacted our ability to get the resources that we need more of.”

Q: Have you made up with Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz since the primary?

Rubio: “Of course. I have talked to Ted a number of times. We had dinner together a month ago, and I talked to Governor Bush just yesterday. He was one of the first people that endorsed me within the hour of me announcing that I was running and he encouraged me to run again. The primary has long been over, and the relationships are enduring. Politics is one thing, and, I think when you are a competitor you respect other competitors. We all wanted the same job and none of us got it (chuckle), and we’ve all now gone in our own direction. Ted, obviously, continues in the Senate and Governor Bush continues to be very active on education reform and his business life, now teaching at Harvard. So, I think we are in good shape.” Read the full interview [JewishInsider]

TOP TALKER: “Clinton eyes Biden for secretary of state” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Neither Clinton, nor her aides have yet told Biden. According to the source, they’re strategizing about how to make the approach to the vice president.”He’d be great, and they are spending a lot of time figuring out the best way to try to persuade him to do it if she wins,” said the source familiar with the transition planning… Among the names most discussed: former undersecretary of state Wendy Sherman, Bill Burns, Nick Burns, Kurt Campbell, Strobe Talbott, and James Stavridis.” [Politico] • Biden campaigning for Ted Strickland in OH: “I have as many yarmulkes as you do .. These are Hillary yarmulkes. I’m more Jewish than Hillary is.” [CSPAN; JTA

“J Street prepares for shift in approach under Clinton” by Michael Wilner: “Top aides to Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president, said, if elected, she plans to shift the administration’s tone with Israel – away from public fighting in favor of private disagreements – to reestablish trust with the Israeli people. “I don’t think it matters to J Street whether the conversations are private or public. What matters is that it’s very clear the lines the United States is drawing on what has to stop, from both parties,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, said in an interview.” [JPost]

In an interview on “TheAxe Files” podcast, Sec. of State John Kerry Kerry refused to rule out the possibility that Obama would act on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before leaving office:“I think we want to encourage the preservation of a two-state solution and our first choice is to try to do that with the government, with the prime minister [of Israel]. I think President Obama is very, very concerned that, increasingly, pressure is being put on the capacity to hold onto that two-state effort.” On settlement activity: “I’m not going to get into intent, but the fact is that it is a problem and it runs contrary to American policy under Republican and Democratic presidents.” [CNN; iTunes

Kerry to students at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics on how the Iran deal protects Israel: “We thought that the principal threat to the region was the fact that Iran was two months away from being able to make bombs, that they had enough fissionable material to be able to make up to 12 bombs. And so for Israel and for the rest of the region, we thought the urgency is to get that program out of the way, because all the other issues would be greatly affected in any negotiation by whether or not they have a nuclear weapon. So if you didn’t get rid of the nuclear weapon, you were going to have a very different negotiation about Hizballah, about Israel, about terrorism, than you do now…”

“I would hope that within the next 15 years we’re going to resolve a lot of these differences. We can get away from this sectarianism. We can begin to deal with the problem of Israel-Palestine and get a peace agreement that would change the dynamics of Hezbollah and Lebanon and the region and other challenges we have. So you’ve got to believe in the possibility of changing things, and I believe we have a sufficient hedge against the notion that it won’t change, that Israel is protected, we are protected, the region is protected, and that’s why I think it’s a good agreement.” [Transcript] • Attorney General Lynch ‘Pleads Fifth’ on Secret Iran ‘Ransom’ Payments [FreeBeacon]

“Rival Palestinian Leaders Agree to Agree, but Not on the Details” by Peter Baker:“Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, run by the Fatah faction, met in Qatar with Khaled Meshal, the political chief of Hamas, and Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza. A photograph of the three men smiling was posted online. The rival leaders agreed that it was time to repair the rift, establish a national unity government and prepare for elections, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. But it was not clear whether the meeting would lead to an actual agreement, or that such an agreement, even if reached, would prove any more enduring than at least five others sealed over the years.” [NYTimes]

“Is Obama Preparing A Parting Shot At Israel?” by Charles Krauthammer: “Before the election, Obama dare not attempt this final legacy item, to go along with the Iran deal and the Castro conciliation, for fear of damaging Hillary Clinton. His last opportunity comes after Election Day. The one person who might deter him is Clinton herself, by committing Obama to do nothing before he leaves office that would tie her hands should she become president. Clinton’s supporters who care about Israel and about peace need to urge her to do that now. It will soon be too late.” [WashPost] • Foundation for Defense of Democracies Vice President Jonathan Schanzer on a White House plan that would kill the peace process [WSJ]

“US Amb. Shapiro keeps open continued tenure under next president” by Herb Keinon: “In a Twitter Q&A session, Shapiro was asked whether there was a chance he would serve here under the next administration. “Every ambassador serves at the will of the president,” said Shapiro. So only time will tell. I am sure that whatever position I will hold, I will want to continue to contribute to Israel-US ties, whether in a public or private capacity.” He also gave no indication of what Obama plans to do in the Mideast in the waning months of his presidency. “I can’t predict any specific decisions that haven’t been taken yet,” he tweeted. “But any decision would be motivated by our goal of keeping two states for two peoples alive and viable for the future.”” [JPost

“In Florida, Ivanka Pitches Trump As Champion for Israel, Jewish People” by Jacob Kornbluh: “My father will be an unbelievable champion for Israel and for the Jewish people,” Mrs. Trump said during a campaign event at The Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside, Florida, according to a recording obtained by Jewish Insider. “You will not be disappointed.” [JewishInsider] Video[YouTube

— “I wanted to know how your father embraced your decision to convert to Judaism?” they asked her. “I so respect the fact that he supported me from day one. There was no question, there was no argument, there was no asking me if I’d miss Easter or Christmas or trying to persuade me otherwise,” she responded. “He was very supportive and you know I think for two reasons, I think he respects me to know that I will make an educated decision that is well reasoned.” [CBSMiami• ‘You can’t buy that. It’s Ivanka’: How Trump’s campaign is hurting his daughter’s clothing line [WashPost]

More Podesta emails — Why Hillary preferred sending a letter over meeting Jewish Orgs re:BDS – Jake Sullivan: “HRC is now thinking that she can send a letter to a broader group — like all the names you’ve offered and then a few more — RATHER than hold a meeting. She is now worried about how to manage a meeting given competing perspectives and the like.” [06-25-2015

“Holocaust Survivor Who Fought Purse Snatcher Gets Note From Hillary Clinton” by Danielle Tcholakian: “Zuckerman also got a letter from Clinton, after DNAinfo New York reported that she planned to vote for the Democratic candidate. “I don’t like rude men,” Zuckerman said in a previous interview after her attack, referring to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. “[Clinton] was very sorry it happened to me,” she said Thursday. “She wishes me to get better, and she’s proud of me that I am so brave.” The Clinton campaign confirmed the letter, in which she told Zuckerman, “I agree, I don’t like rude people either.” [DNAInfo

“Is Trump reversing the gains Republicans have made among American Jews?” by Jan-Jaben Eilon: “Kenneth Waltzer, professor emeritus at Michigan State University, believes the slight decline in Jewish vote going to Democrats in the last election will disappear this year. “Trump is ruining the Republican incursion and making the Republican Party an iffy choice [for Jews this year],” he says, predicting the percentage of Jews voting for the Democratic nominee will be in the mid- 70s. “There were some political and demographic reasons to think the Republicans were making some headway in the Jewish vote the last three elections, but Trump disrupts all of that,” says Waltzer.” [JPost

“Among Cleveland’s Orthodox voters, reluctance reigns” by Ben Sales: “They’re angry about the Iran deal [and] they’re more aligned with conservative positions generally,” said Rabbi Eric Frank, the Ohio director of Agudath Israel of America, a haredi Orthodox group. “There are some that are probably voting for Donald Trump because they like his message, but on the other hand, I would probably interpret it more as a vote for Republican leadership in Congress and other places they feel have had Israel’s back.”[JTA

Trump kippas outselling Hillary yarmulkes: “My kippa (yarmulke) company sells Trump and Hillary kippas and are keeping track of who is selling more,” Uri Turk, founder and “chief kippa officer,” told WND. “We see it as an early exit poll of the Orthodox Jews, a type of bellwether of where this important community is leaning. Once the first debate came around, the orders started flying in, with much more interest in the Trump kippas.” [WND]

Marc Daniels tells us that he only sold a dozen yarmulkes at the Biden rally. “Right after the Washington Free Beacon and NY Post wrote about me during AIPAC in March, I received orders for 800 Trump yarmulkes within 48 hours,” Daniels said. “Since the primaries, things have slackened running 50/50: 300 Trump, 300 Hillary at rallies and online.”

 
**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: It will be years before Slack goes public, CEO Stewart Butterfield says [CNBC;WSJ] • WME-IMG Taps NBA Exec as CEO of China Subsidiary [Billboard] • Roman Abramovich paid Robbie Williams to perform at a new year Moscow dinner for Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, hacked emails have revealed [DailyMail] • Jared Kushner is reportedly responsible for building the digital operation that brought the G.O.P. to its knees, and could give rise to a whole new Trump empire [VanityFair]

“Jerry Seinfeld on Trump, ‘Comedians in Cars’ and Larry David’s Bernie Sanders” by Frank Pallotta: This election has seemingly had everything including Seinfeld’s friend and “Seinfeld” co-creator, Larry David, who has played Bernie Sanders on “Saturday Night Live” during the election. “I didn’t see much adjustment there,” he laughed. “All old Jews are interchangeable.” [CNNMoney

“Roger Waters’ Israel opinions are costing him millions” by Emily Smith: “Roger Waters is planning his most spectacular and expensive tour yet — but the Pink Floyd legend is facing backlash from some big-name sponsors over his views on Israel. Sources tell us that American Express balked at spending up to $4 million to sponsor Waters’ 2017 US + Them North American tour.” [NYPost]

“Mel Gibson on 2006 Anti-Semitic Remarks: ‘I’ve Never Discriminated Against Anyone’” by Arya Roshanian: “It was an unfortunate incident,” Gibson said on “Playback” when asked about the fact that there are many who feel they can no longer support him or his work. “I was loaded and angry and arrested. I was recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime… Ten years have gone by,” Gibson stated. “I’m feeling good. I’m sober, all of that kind of stuff, and for me it’s a dim thing in the past… I’ve never discriminated against anyone or done anything that sort of supports that reputation.” [Variety

KAFE KNESSET — Bibi’s Dilemma: What to do About Oren Hazan? — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: What is on top of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s agenda these days? A possible American move against settlements in the UN Security Council? The upcoming US elections? The fight over the future of Israel’s Broadcast Authority? Well, yes, all of those things, but also another question: what should the Likud party do about its troublemaker-in-chief, Member of Knesset Oren Hazan.

This week, an Israeli court strongly rejected a libel lawsuit by Hazan against Channel 2 News, after the channel aired an investigative report about his career as a casino manager before entering the Knesset. The report cited witnesses who claimed Hazan used hard drugs and hired prostitutes for his friends. The court basically accepted those claims as true, throwing Hazan’s million-Shekel lawsuit out.

An embarrassing silence has emerged from the ranks of the Likud since the ruling, as most of the party’s ministers and Knesset members choose to stay quiet on the matter. Yesterday, it was reported that Netanyahu and a number of party officials held a meeting in order to asses the Likud’s policy towards Hazan, who currently remains in the Knesset and continues to be a member of the ruling party. It’s not at all clear if the party will do anything to distance itself further from Hazan. If it does, he will surely try to rally some support within Likud against the party’s leaders. If not, Likud’s opponnents, most notably Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, will happily make him a campaign issue when the time comes.

Israeli journalist Ari Shavit admits he’s accused of assault, apologizes for ‘misunderstanding: “Danielle Berrin, a senior writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, published an article last week detailing how an unnamed Israeli journalist, whom she described as a husband and father, assaulted her and tried to persuade her to come up to his hotel room during an interview in 2014. The column set Israeli media circles alight with rumors as to the identity of the accused. Ari Shavit, a prominent Haaretz columnist and author of the bestselling “My Promised Land,” confirmed the speculations Thursday with a statement carried by the newspaper, in which he said he had “completely misinterpreted the interaction” with Berrin and “didn’t intend to do anything that was unacceptable” to her.” [ToI; Haaretz• Hillel International has suspended Ari Shavit’s campus tour[Facebook]

Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week — Flam Noble 2011: I have not yet totally figured out how to discuss new vintages of wines that I have previously reviewed. However, last night while sitting with an old friend high atop the New York City skyline, talking about our kids and the state of Jewish philanthropy, we opened a Flam Noble 2011. This wine is sufficiently unique from the previously reviewed 2010 vintage that I thought it warranted its own discussion.

This wine is a blend of 61 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, part Cabernet Franc and part Petit Verdot. This is not an uncommon blend, but somehow these three grapes aged for 20 months in new French oak have combined to create a unique and masterful wine. The wine is thick, juicy, fruity, and has enough tannins to pack a real punch. I believe this wine will have impressive longevity though the tannins are not so thick that they preclude the wine from being enjoyable today. The color is as intoxicating as the alcohol. If available, drink this wine in a Riedel Vinum goblet.  One needs no food to accompany the Flam Noble 2011 – an absolutely stunning wine. [Flam]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Actress Jami Gertz turns 51… Editor of the Drudge Report, Matt Drudgeturns 50… Larry Berlin… Director and screenwriter of animated and live-action films, Ralph Bakshiturns 78… Academy Award winning actor, who played Yoni Netanyahu in the 1976 film “Victory at Entebbe,” Richard Dreyfuss turns 69… Pulitzer Prize winning author and long-time editor of editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick turns 58… Pinny Ringel, senior community liaison for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office… Sports agent who has negotiated over $2 billion of NFL player contracts,Drew Rosenhaus turns 50… Mathematician, cryptologist, computer programmer and professor of mathematics and computer science, Daniel J. Bernstein turns 45… Leora Eisenberg
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Actor, best known for his portrayal of “The Fonz” in the “Happy Days” sitcom, Henry Winkler turns 71… NBC’s anchor, reporter and commentator, married to former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell turns 70… Israeli, violinist, violist and conductor who appears in concerts around the world,Shlomo Mintz turns 59… Former Chief of Staff to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, David Kroneturns 50… Political correspondent for The New York Times and a political analyst for CNN, Maggie Haberman turns 43… EVP of Development and Acquisitions at the Trump Organization, Ivanka ‘Yael’ Trump turns 35… Founding Director at Tech Tribe, formerly Director of Social Media for Lubavitch,Mordechai Lightstone

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