Daily Kickoff: Neera Tanden’s analysis after CAP hosted Bibi in DC | Genack & Hikind debate Hillary in Brooklyn | Drama in the Knesset Chamber

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Memo to the Next President: Avoid the ‘Vision Thing’ in the Mideast” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “George Shultz, one of our old bosses, used to say that when you don’t have a policy there’s a great temptation to give a speech. Words do matter, particularly presidents’ words. But credibility is in essence believability—that allies and adversaries believe what America says because it acts on its words. Far too often, particularly in the Obama Administration, that was not the case. Repeated calls for a comprehensive Israeli settlements freeze disappeared into the gap between words and deeds… Do not chase after Israeli-Palestinian peace without clear indications that the locals themselves and the Arabs, too, are prepared to act…”

“Washington should stay away from high profile U.S.-initiated efforts to take on the big peace process issues. The advice Bill Clinton gave to one of us before the July 2000 Camp David summit is inspirational but not always right: trying and failing isn’t better than not trying at all. Failure undermines U.S. prestige and power in war and peacemaking. It already has.” [Politico]

WSJ Editorial: “President Obama may be the last man on earth to get the memo, but after decades of fruitless efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it might be wiser for the U.S. to step back until the Palestinians recognize that peace cannot be imposed from the outside. If Mr. Obama is still seeking a Middle East legacy at this late stage in his presidency, his best move is do nothing to make it worse.”[WSJ

LONDON DISPATCH: “Kerry promises to work ‘to the last moment’ to end Syrian violence” by Griff Witte and Carol Morello: “In London to accept the Chatham House Prize, given by the prestigious think tank, Kerry said he would “rather be caught trying” to reach seemingly impossible diplomatic agreements than submit to the inevitability of war. Kerry said reaching the deal with Iran had required “an orchestral” diplomatic effort that included members of the P5 + 1. He praised Zarif, who did not attend but is expected to pick up his share of the prize at a later date, as “a patriot who fought hard for his nation’s interests.” He also credited Iran with upholding its end of the bargain, saying the country had “complied with every part” of the deal…”

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said it would have been better to wait until the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire in 10 to 15 years before lauding the deal’s negotiators. “History is filled with awards given prematurely for accomplishments that end up blowing up in the face of both the recipients and the sponsoring organization,” he said.” [WashPost

— “Kerry also took a swipe at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.“There were powerful forces,” Kerry said, “that were deeply opposed to this. I mean, it’s not often that a prime minister of another country comes to the Congress and in the middle of the Congress, speaks against the sitting president’s policy. That happened, and you can imagine the forces that were unleashed as a result, and the tension that existed.”” [CNSNews

“Netanyahu Announces WH Meeting With Next President” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Both candidates in the US presidential election have invited me to the White House after the election,” Netanyahu told Knesset members in a speech to mark the opening meeting of the Knesset’s winter session in Jerusalem. “In contrast to what people say, our relations with the US are as strong as ever and will remain that way.The prime minister also addressed speculations that President Barack Obama may refocus his attention after the November elections on the failed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. “Obama declared in 2011 that peace will not be achieved by the UN resolutions, but through direct negotiations,” Netanyahu said. “He was right. I believe he will stay true to this, and not abandon Israel.  In any case, Israel will oppose efforts to dictate to us from the outside.” [JewishInsider; JPost]  

KAFE KNESSET — Drama in the Chamber — by Tal Shalev & Amir Tibon: Judging by the Knesset’s first plenum session yesterday, the Israeli-Arab divide in the Knesset has never been so wide. It all started last month, when the Joint List announced it would boycott the funeral of former President Shimon Peres. In response, the Likud-led coalition pledged to boycott all appearances of the List’s lawmakers on the Knesset floor. In another tit for tat move, the Joint List then decided to walk out of the Prime Minister’s festive speech at the Parliament’s opening session. Eventually, 2 Likud MKs – Yehuda Glick and Oren Hazan – rebelled against the snub, along with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who made a point out of coming to hear the speech of Joint List MK Taleb Abu Arar.

But that was just the beginning of the drama: Abu Arar used his speech to commemorate the 1956 Kfar Kasim massacre, marked over the weekend, and all of his party members, as well as Meretz MK Esawi Frej, rose for a moment of silence. But that provoked a loud shouting match with Likud Minister Yariv Levin, who was the minister on duty at that hour. “This isn’t a protest, get them out of here. [The Knesset chamber] isn’t a place for protests or demonstrations. This isn’t a mosque. We will not stop the session [for this].” The debacle continued after the session, escalating as Levin and Frej took to the corridor, and Levin supposedly said that “Kfar Kasim was not a massacre, but a controversial event.” Frej, who is descendant of Kfar Kasim massacre victims, wrote a letter to the PM today, demanding he apologize and denounce Levin’s comments. “60 years after the massacre, Levin is rewriting and denying history so it can fit his political agenda. You must take a clear moral stand and clarify that you will not allow ministers from your government to deny history,” he wrote.

Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh told Kafe Knesset about his impressions from the first day. “What we saw yesterday is another step in the de-legitimization campaign waged by the Prime Minister and his cabinet against the Arab minority and its elected officials. As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Kfar Kasim massacre, we are demanding official state recognition, and then comes a minister who actually denies the massacre. 47 men, women and children were slaughtered by Border Guard soldiers just because they are Arabs. Unfortunately, we already know that this is the direction this evil government is going, and it seems it’s going to continue in the next session.”

Dov Lipman posted video of the walkout and wrote: “The Prime Minister of Israel was just introduced to speak in the Knesset and the members of the Joint Arab List stood up and walked out (as they have done in the past). Remember this when they complain if Jewish MK’s decide to walk out when they speak. (Take note of MK Benny Begin who ran over to try to convince them not to do so)” [Video]

More Podesta emails –  Neera Tanden to Podesta after hosting Bibi at CAP: “If I could have the whole thing not happen, would definitely have it not happen. But it happened to us. Things gained: We will never be called anti-Semitic again. No matter what anyone writes. Mainstream press and people think we handled it just right – tough questions. I think for any dismissers, not that i think there were a lot, but we have definitely proven we’re a think tank. And it may have sealed the deal with a new board member. Things lost: Staff is riven. On both sides… And far left hates me.” [11-11-2015

Stu  Eizenstat on Michael Oren’s book claim that the antagonism towards Netanyahu shown by Jewish journalists Thomas Friedman and Leon Wieseltier resembles historic hatred of Jews: “1. Israel must NEVER become a partisan issue in the U.S. That is a real risk. Pew surveys indicate a significant drop in support from Democrats. This is NOT anti-Semitism, it is concern with Israeli settlement policies. 2. Likewise, we must NEVER lump in those, like Tom Friedman and Leon Wieseltier, who are committed Zionists, as being somehow the enemy, if they criticize Israeli policies. Israel has a robust democratic dialogue; the Diaspora is entitled to the same.” [05-20-2015]

“Podesta paid $7,000 a month by top donor,” by Ken Vogel and Danny Vinik: “In February of last year, as Podesta was working to lay the groundwork for Clinton’s soon-to-launch campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, he signed the contract with the Sandler Foundation, which was started by Herb Sandler and his late wife Marion Sandler. The contract is still active, according to Herb Sandler, who said that it calls for Podesta to provide advice on grant-making and other foundation functions. It’s unusual for the full-time chairman of a general election presidential campaign to maintain an active side deal with a major donor to that campaign – let alone to raise money from that donor for the campaign.” [Politico]

“Brooklyn Orthodox Jews Find Themselves Leaderless Over Trump” – Jacob Kornbluh on a 2016 debate that took place yesterday in the Orthodox Jewish community of Brooklyn: “In the invitation to the event, moderated by community activist Leon Goldenberg, members of the conservative-leaning Jewish community were promised to hear Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the OU’s Kashrut division, present – in his personal capacity as a friend of the Clintons – the views of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat who often crosses party lines to support Republicans in national elections, present the views of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. But at the outset of the 90-minute event, Hikind dropped a bombshell: “I cannot vote for Donald Trump,” he told the crowd, consisting mostly of Trump supporters… Picking an alternative, Hikind announced he will be writing in House Speaker Paul Ryan for president.”

–Rabbi Genack on Clinton’s pro-Israel record: “The notion that Hillary is Obama is inaccurate. (“She’s worse,” two audience members shouted back). Hillary has said that the constant condemnation of the U.S. every time some settlement is built, those are things that need to be discussed privately and not publicly. And when Netanyahu made the concession that he froze settlement activity for 10 months, Hillary said that this is a huge, unprecedented concession. The president made her take that back. And she has said – this is explicit in her policy – that is going to change. What Obama has done, he has undermined Israel’s moral standing in the world – with this kind of attitude that he represents. That changes when Hillary is president.”

–Hikind: “Lemme tell you why Bill Clinton was so popular, why he had such a great relationship with the government of Israel. The reason was because you had a left-wing government in Israel; because he had Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, and they were making concessions as Jews were dying in the streets all over Israel from the terrorism of Yasser Arafat. Oh sure, he was very popular. When Shimon Peres ran after Rabin was assassinated, the president of the United States, Bill Clinton, said the following to the people of Israel – he was trying to influence the elections in Israel, and he said to the people of Israel: ‘If you want peace, you know who to vote for, Shimon Peres.’ So, of course, there was a great relationship. He did everything in the world to stop Netanyahu. He didn’t want Netanyahu.”

–On Iran deal – Genack: “When it came to the negotiations, Hillary was always the one that pressed for pressure. The ultimate negotiations were after she had already left. We have the Iran deal. It’s a poor deal, a very poor deal. But who is the person who you think has the ability to mobilize the world; the kind of strength to put it together, and the credibility amongst world leaders to confront Iran? I suggest that Hillary is more suited for that. I spoke to Hillary about the Iran deal. I remember telling her: ‘Hillary, I am really frightened by this deal.’ And she told me, you know, ‘I am also frightened. But if you listen to what I said at Brookings Institute, I will be very tough.'”

–Hikind: “The one thing that automatically disqualifies Hillary in my eyes and made her ineligible for my support, is not just her support for the Iran deal, but she says, I am the architect. I deserve all the credit for this deal. Well, if she wants all the credit, We will give her all the credit. And just based on that, I would not support her.” [JewishInsider]

“Catholics, the ultimate swing voters, lean heavily towards Clinton” by Lauren Markoe: “Catholics favor Clinton over Trump 51 to 40 percent, according to a recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute.” [RNS]

Kenneth Hain: “Reflecting on private moments with Hillary Clinton: My most memorable moment with Clinton occurred in our home at our private family seder on the first night of Passover in 2002, just hours after the Passover Massacre, the Park Hotel bombing in Netanya that killed 30 Israelis and wounded 130 others. All of us, adults and children alike, were completely preoccupied with welcoming the then-senator and former first lady to our seder. As we anxiously and excitedly sat down to begin, Clinton quietly leaned forward and asked a question. She wondered if it would be appropriate to take a moment before starting the seder to reflect on the lives of those who had been killed, and to pray for all those who had been wounded, in that evening’s terrorist attack. And so we did.” [JPost

J Street posts a new video: “Uncovering Trump’s Connections to the Settlement Movement. Trump has some concerning connections to settlements in the occupied West Bank. We can’t afford to see what his policies toward Israel and the Palestinians would be.” [YouTube]

Raphael Ahren: “This J Street clip seeks to deter US Jews from voting Trump. For many US-Israelis, it will do the opposite.” [Twitter] • Orthodox Union’s Nathan Diament: “And it’s subtly (?) anti Orthodox; that’s not a photo of Jason Greenblatt; compare…” [Twitter]

“Adelson pours $25 million into White House race, more may be coming” by Ed Henry:“Two senior Republican sources familiar with the donation described it to Fox News as a “massive” amount of money to be spent during the final week of the presidential race and a sign that Adelson is now going all in on the Republican nominee. The money will benefit Future 45, a Super PAC launched by the Ricketts family in Chicago. The Republican sources said the contribution was made in the last few days as the FBI re-ignited its investigation of Clinton’s email server, and could spark other big GOP donors – who may have thought the Democratic nominee was coasting to victory just days ago — to step up their support of Trump in the final days. Most importantly, one source familiar with the Adelson contribution revealed he is considering pouring as much as another $25 million dollars into the race before Election Day.”[FoxNews

“Down in the Polls, Donald Trump Refuses to Pay His Own Pollster” by Tina Nguyen: “But Fabrizio reportedly made enemies within Trump’s inner circle, clashing with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who said there was no need for focus-group testing.” [VanityFair

“In home stretch, Sid Miller is Trump’s Texas go-to guy” by Patrick Svitek: “In one contentious exchange, Miller got into a back-and-forth with a user who called fellow Trump supporter Milo Yiannapoulos — a high-profile figure on the so-called “alt right” — a “subversive Jew.” Miller initially responded by saying he doesn’t “tolerate Jew haters” and noting he has many Jewish people on his staff. The conversation ultimately turned to liberal mega donor George Soros, whom Miller said is a “self hating Jew who leads the anti Israel forces because Israel is on team USA.”” [TexasTribune

“Obama endorses Lesser in race against Baker-backed Senate candidate” by Colin A. Young: “Sen. Eric Lesser, wrapped up in a competitive bid for re-election in western Massachusetts, locked up an endorsement this weekend from the highest elected official in the land: President Barack Obama. Lesser, a Longmeadow Democrat who worked on Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and in the president’s administration, faces Republican challenger James Chip.” [SHNews]

FLASHBACK: “A Passover tradition for the White House” by Joshua Miller: “This seemingly unlikely tradition, a backbench state legislator celebrating a Jewish holiday with the commander-in-chief, had its genesis during the 2008 presidential contest when Lesser and other Obama campaign aides organized an impromptu Seder and were joined by a surprise guest. The president has since made it a yearly White House event.” [BostonGlobe] • Lesser and Obama at the 2011 White House Seder [Flickr]h/t Boston Globes’s Joshua Miller

“Venom of U.S. Election Seeps Down the Ballot — Way Down” by Declan Walsh: “Ms. Ali said she had been heckled at mosques and criticized by Muslim leaders for her refusal to publicly condemn Israel, and for her participation in a White House program, known as Countering Violent Extremism, that aims to root out potential extremists from communities. Her rival, Ms. Khan, is one of those who criticized the program. She was fending off other attacks, too… There were the lawn signs, posted around Irvine, that accused her of being “anti-Israel.”” [NYTimes

**Good Tuesday 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: Yeshiva sells Cardozo housing in Greenwich Village for $58M [RealDeal] • Gil Shwed’s Check Point Software sees stronger fourth quarter [Reuters• Wanda Group makes deal with Beverly Hills for heftier development agreement [TRD] • Vornado to spin off, merge its D.C. holdings with JBG [DCBizJournal]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Catskills Lawsuit Settlement Shows that Anti-Jewish Prejudice Is Alive and Well” by Armin Rosen: “This week’s settlement puts an end to this long and sordid episode, in which a small town exhausted every possible legal and procedural option in an attempt to block the arrival of outsiders based solely on their religious identity, while making the town’s existing Hasidic population feel as unwelcome as possible… Overall, the case records, and even the case’s conclusion, are a stark reminder that anti-Jewish attitudes are alive and well in parts of the United States—and that they sometimes have the force of government behind them.” [Tablet

“Jewish and Muslim BFFs Dress as Superhero Team ‘the Juslims’ for Halloween” by Hayley FitzPatrick: “Jeff Pearlman’s 13-year-old daughter, Casey, who is Jewish, and her friend and classmate Yasmin, who is Muslim, dressed as “a superhero team: The Juslims” for the holiday, the proud father wrote. He took a picture and posted it to Twitter where it went viral, receiving more 50,000 retweets and over 100,000 likes…. The girls are hoping to bring their story to an ever wider audience on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” [YahooStyle

ACROSS THE POND: “Anti-Semitism Goes to Parliament” by Daniel Johnson: “There, at an event in the House of Lords, Jews were blamed for the Holocaust, Israel was compared to Islamic State and Zionists were said to have power over Parliament. Jenny Tonge, a baroness and former member of parliament who hosted this showcase of anti-Semitic lies on behalf of the Palestinian Return Center lobby group, was launching a campaign to press Britain to apologize for the Balfour Declaration. Even after last week’s event was publicized by the Israeli embassy in London, the baroness was merely suspended from the party. She has since resigned, blaming Israel for manipulating British politics: “They like to be in control of things.”” [WSJ

How DeRay Mckesson Turned Social Media Into a Powerful Tool for Social Justice: “There has been so much misinformation that’s been put out there, specifically from conservatives and the right wing, in attempts to sort of delegitimize DeRay,” says Sinyangwe. “That has an impact as well. There was an article in The Washington Times a while back that said that DeRay was getting millions of dollars from George Soros. Meanwhile, he hasn’t received a dime from George Soros, while a number of other groups have been getting some money from George Soros—but not DeRay, and not us. You can say that, and there will always be people on Twitter going, ‘Oh, this Washington Times article.’” [AdWeek

TRANSITION: Birthright Israel Foundation announced the appointment of Israel (Izzy) Tapoohi as President and CEO effective December 1st. He succeeds David Fisher. “We are fortunate that Izzy has agreed to take this role given his extensive experience serving in complex roles in both the public and private sector, as well as his track record of ensuring that organizations reach their maximum potential,” said Joshua Nash, Chairman of Birthright Israel Foundation.Tapoohi served as President and CEO of Israel Bonds (Development Corporation for Israel) from October 2011 to October 2016.

DESSERT: “UN cafeterias adding kosher food” by Itamar Eichner: “The United Nations decided to begin serving kosher food in its cafeterias Monday in a decision which can be considered a small victory for Israel, which usually fails to extract favorable rulings from the world body. The effort to introduce kosher food was spearheaded by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon who petitioned UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying it would be appropriate for the UN to cater for the religious dietary laws observed by some Jews, especially in light of the fact that it already serves halal food for observant Muslims, as well as vegetarian food. [Ynet] • Vittorio’s Grill Kicks Off Business in Brookline[BostonEater]

Meanwhile in San Francisco, Jonathon Triest tweets: “Here is a map of ALL kosher restaurants in San Francisco. And here’s to a week of pb and j.” [Twitter]

BIRTHDAYS: Rabbi of Baltimore’s Beth Tfiloh Congregation and Sen. Ben Cardin’s Rabbi, Mitchell Wohlberg turns 72… AIPAC Managing Director Elliot Brandt… Country singer, whose failed bid for Governor of Texas in 2006 won him 13% of the votes in a six-way race, Richard Samet “Kinky” Friedman turns 72… Brian Weisberg… Researcher and producer for CNN’s political unit, Marshall Cohen… Senior Rabbi at Beit T’Shuvah, a nonprofit Jewish addiction treatment center and synagogue community in Los Angeles, Mark Borovitz turns 65… Communications Fellow at Schusterman Family Foundation, Mitchell Caminer… Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Energy, formerly a staffer for VPOTUS Dan Quayle (1989-93), Les Novitsky… Pioneering investor in the personal computing industry, founder of Lotus and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mitch Kapor turns 66…


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