“A senior Israeli official said it was likely that Netanyahu and Obama will talk on the phone after the deal is signed on Wednesday. It was still unclear if the two will meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next week in New York.” [Haaretz]
AIPAC statement: “We commend President Obama and his administration for forging this landmark agreement. It demonstrates America’s strong and unwavering commitment to Israel…”
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), whose bipartisan House resolution encouraging the swift conclusion of the MOU passed hours after the announcement, said in a statement: “This agreement will serve as the backbone of our security relationship for the next ten years. I look forward to the signing of the deal, bolstering our already-steadfast relationship by enhancing Israel’s defense capabilities and bilateral security coordination on mutual threats.”
Aaron David Miller tells us: “Of the three MOUS – 1998, 2007 and 2016, this is by far the largest and most significant. But the path to negotiating it was torturous–driven by personal tensions between Netanyahu and Obama and broken crockery over the Iran deal. The Americans felt they gave too much; and the Israelis felt they got too little. Finally, despite all the hoopla, we’re likely in for a bad patch should the U.S. decide to push ahead with a peace initiative. Paradoxically, having protected Israel’s back on security, this may now be more likely.”
The Washington Institute’s David Makovsky: “It is a critical signal that the U.S. is sending to the Mideast, namely, not to misread the friction between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to the policy differences between the two countries in recent years. Bottom line is the U.S. stands shoulder to shoulder when it comes to Israel’s vital security. None of Israel’s adversaries has a patron willing to commit 38 billion dollars in advance like the U.S. does for Israel. This is a point that will not be lost on anybody in the Mideast.”
“Can Obama buy the love of his pro-Israel critics?” by Nahal Toosi and Bryan Bender: “I do think it’s important that even a president like President Obama, who many of us don’t see as a good friend of Israel, is willing to increase the aid — that is a milestone,” said Michael Makovsky of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. “I just don’t think it’s enough. I think this should be seen as a floor for military aid to Israel, not a ceiling.” An Obama administration official dismissed the criticisms in a statement to POLITICO. “Any claims that this support is somehow ‘compensation’ for tactical disagreements — including over the Iran deal — are an insult to the both the United States and Israel,” the official said. “They call into question our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and suggest that Israel’s leadership is willing to accept remuneration to paper over legitimate differences of opinion.”
— Elliott Abrams, who served as a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, said that given the growing threats to Israel over the past decade any U.S. president would probably have given Israel a larger aid package. But “the terms that Obama is seeking are fairly tough,” said Abrams. “To say to Israelis for 10 years you’ve got to stay away from Congress is pretty tough… We don’t know what the situation in the Middle East is going to be five years from now.” [Politico]
ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt Op-Ed in Foreign policy:“Sorry Bibi, the Palestinians Are Not ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Jewish Settlers: It is hardly surprising or offensive that Palestinians insist that no Israeli sovereignty, which the settlers insist on bringing, can exist in an independent Palestinian state. There is nothing intrinsically anti-Jewish nor anything remotely amounting to “ethnic cleansing” in this policy position.” [ForeignPolicy]
ON THE HILL: “Anti-Israel BDS Event Cancelled After Democratic Lawmaker Withdraws Sponsorship” by Jenna Lifhits: “The office of Texas congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee had reserved a room on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to host an event on Friday. The briefing was advertised to feature “actual pracitioners” of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, according to the invitation. The event was publicized Monday and drew controversy, with several Democrats, including Jackson Lee, denying any connection to it. Tuesday, however, Jackson Lee’s office confirmed to TWS that the room had been booked by a former staffer, and that they had withdrawn their sponsorship.” [WeeklyStandard]
“Poll: Clinton Leads Trump 61-19 Among Jewish Voters” by Jacob Kornbluh: “According to the telephone-only poll of 1,002 Jews, conducted by the research company SSRS for the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Clinton is supported by 61 percent of Jewish voters, while Trump is supported by only 19 percent. Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is supported by 6 percent of Jewish voters… The poll also shows a majority of Jewish voters think Clinton would be better than Trump in strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship (57 percent vs. 22 percent) and dealing effectively with Iran (58 percent vs.19 percent).” [JewishInsider]
RJC spokesman Fred Brown emails us: “It’s pretty clear that Clinton is consistently underperforming Obama’s support from Jewish voters, which was the lowest level of support in decades for a Democrat.”
NJDC’s Greg Rosenbaum tells us: “We are not surprised by the spread between Clinton and Trump., It’s in line with our own polling and other polling of voters that we have seen. I would expect that when we get to Nov. 8 that the undecideds are going to break heavily for Hillary. If you ask me for a prediction, I would say that I think it’s going to look more like 74-24 for Clinton vs. Trump. She ought to reach Obama’s 2008 numbers and she might even go higher. I still think that the debates are an opportunity to pin Trump down on Israel. He’s been all over the place on Israel.”
New Pew Research numbers on party affiliation among Jewish voters: “Jewish registered voters continue to strongly prefer the Democratic Party over the GOP. Overall, 74% of Jewish voters identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, compared with 24% who identify as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party. The share of Jews who identify as Democrats or lean Democratic has grown slightly over the past few years, though the balance of leaned party affiliation among Jewish voters is about the same as it was in 2008.” [People-Press]
“Donald Trump Says Ivanka Pushed ‘Daddy’ on Family Policy” by Michael Bender: “Daddy, daddy, we have to do this,” the Republican presidential said at an Iowa rally, impersonating his 34-year-old daughter who is a high-ranking executive in the family real estate and branding business. “She’s the one,” Mr. Trump said. “She is the one that has been pushing so hard for it.” [WSJ; Politico]
“Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg Diverge Sharply on 2016 Race” by Josh Dawsey and Mara Gay: “Mr. Bloomberg has done little since taking the stage at the Democratic convention, but representatives of the former mayor and of Mrs. Clinton have discussed a combination of policy events and fundraising, said Howard Wolfson, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg. Any such effort would focus on courting independents, Republicans and business leaders, he said.” [WSJ]
“GOP Strategist: Trump Knows How to Talk to Voters Through Their ‘Kishkes’” by Chemi Shalev: “Republican strategist Noam Neusner said in Israel this week that the common denominator of Trump voters is their disappointment and resentment and anger with everything – with the country, with the administration, with the establishment, with big corporations. If Trump can convince such voters that Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” remark was aimed at them personally, he might inflame undecided voters just enough to get them to give him their vote on November 8 and to push him to victory… Clinton still seems like a favorite, but one sentence that Neusner said about Trump could come back to haunt her overly optimistic Democratic fans. “Trump has figured out something that hits people in their kishkes.”[Haaretz] • “Trump Has 5-Point Lead in Bloomberg Poll of Battleground Ohio” [Bloomberg]
“Nervous Democrats Fret About Clinton’s Stumbles as Race Tightens” by Sahil Kapur:“Trump has brought out anger, fear and hatred to a degree we have never known before. He’s conquered the Republican primary candidates and now he’s trying to fuel this anger to go after Hillary,” said Mark Daniels, who flew from Springfield, Illinois to see Obama in Philadelphia. “Part of the reason I think Hillary got sick is trying to fight this off.” [Bloomberg]
“Michael Oren: Hillary’s not a little girl anymore; race takes its toll” by Nitsan Keidar:“Hillary isn’t young and this race takes its toll, this isn’t the first time a candidate has gotten sick during a campaign… There is a good chance that it will have an impact. She might also gain empathy from this incident. The American public, like the Israeli public, want to be at ease with the ability of the leader to function – and not just on the quiet days.” [INN]
PROFILE: “The rise of GOP mega-donor Rebekah Mercer” by Matea Gold: “After Donald Trump clinched the nomination, the Mercers rallied to his side. Their imprint is now evident on the real estate developer’s campaign, which is led by three close associates who ran Mercer-funded enterprises: former Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon, pollster Kellyanne Conway and Citizens United President David Bossie. Meanwhile, Rebekah Mercer has taken up the day-to-day management of her family’s super PAC. The 42-year-old former Wall Street trader is not your typical mega-donor.”[WashPost]
Trump’s Court Jesters: “Meet the worst political team ever assembled—an inner circle of outcasts, opportunists, and extremists with nowhere else to go.” [NewRepublic]
LongRead: “The Decline Of Premium American Fashion Brands. What Happened, Ralph And Tommy?” by Elizabeth Segran: “Eric Korman, Ralph Lauren’s president of digital and e-commerce between 2010 and 2014, concurs. “There was an over-expansion and distribution into places like factory stores, which presented a tremendous economic opportunity,” he says. “But it came at the expense of the brand. If you start training the consumer to believe that the brand is widely distributed in factory outlets, people who were once your core customer will start doing that, or lose interest in the brand altogether.”” [FastCompany]
HOLLYWOOD: “Jeffrey Katzenberg and the Future of Hollywood” by Michal Lev-Ram: “The day after selling his company to Comcast for $3.8 billion, Jeffrey Katzenberg is doing what he’s always done—presiding over back-to-back breakfast meetings. In Hollywood circles… he is known for his multiple morning mealtime tête-à-têtes. Today’s appointments are being held in a back booth at a trendy pizzeria in Los Angeles’s up-and-coming Fairfax neighborhood. It’s one of those spots that are cool precisely because they don’t look that cool, with its nondescript, neon-green sign and wood-paneled, sauna-like walls. (For even more hipster appeal, it’s located next to an Orthodox Jewish synagogue.)… Katzenberg admits his greatest motivator is, well, winning. An avid gambler, he got kicked out of summer camp at age 15 for playing cards (that was for M&M’s; these days he plays poker for much higher stakes). But DreamWorks wasn’t always a straight flush. The original production company never lived up to the expectations generated by its high-wattage founders: Katzenberg, Spielberg, and music and film mogul David Geffen.”[Fortune]
TOP TALKER: “Shimon Peres, Former Prime Minister of Israel, Suffers a Stroke” by Peter Baker: “Mr. Peres, 93, was sedated and put on a respirator on Tuesday when he was brought to the Israeli hospital, where he suffered the stroke after complaining of a headache. After an all-night vigil in the hospital, with expressions of sympathy pouring in from around the world, his doctor said Wednesdaymorning that Mr. Peres was in critical but stable condition and was not in immediate danger of death, although his chances of recovery remained uncertain. “It’s very emotional, as you can imagine,” the doctor, Rafi Walden, who is also Mr. Peres’s son-in-law, told reporters on a conference call.” [NYTimes]
SCENE LAST NIGHT IN NYC — The UJA of NY and JCRC hosted a welcome reception for new Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan at the offices of UJA in midtown Manhattan. “The bond between Israel and American Jewry is sacred,” Dayan told the crowd, drawing applause, and laughter at times. “If there’s one thing we cannot permit happening, it is anything that endangers that bond. I can promise you that anything that jeopardizes, or even hurts a little bit, the connection between Israel and the Jewish people, I will do whatever I can possibly do to prevent that… If there’s one thing I’ll never compromise on, it is achdut Yisrael – the unity of the Jewish people.”
SPOTTED: Deputy Consul General Amir Sagie, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblymembers Nily Rozic and David Weprin, Jeffrey Schoenfeld, Michael Miller, Charles Temel, Robert Kapito, Eric Goldstein, David Pollock, Jeff Leb, Jonathan Greenspun, Ezra Friedlander, Pinny Hikind, Pinny Ringel, Yoel Lefkowitz, Jeff Wiesenfeld, and Hindy Poupko.
TALK OF THE TOWN: “In East Jerusalem, a Trip Into the Unknown” by Debra Kamin:“Mahmoud Muna, a Palestinian bookseller in East Jerusalem, does not mince words when it comes to his views on Israeli control over his part of the city, and his opinions can be difficult for Israelis to hear. At least, he presumes they are. Mr. Muna rarely engages in conversation with the Israeli Jews who live across the Green Line… everyday travel for Mr. Muna is circumscribed by lines real and invisible. But on a cool summer evening this month, Mr. Muna helped a group of cultural tourists cross one of those lines. His store in the historic American Colony Hotel became a stop on “Seven Ways to Dissolve Boundaries,” city tours billed as “doco-theatrical journeys into alternative realities” that promise to take participants out of their comfort zone and into parts of Jerusalem they might never go.” [NYTimes]
DESSERT: “On Rye changes the face — and taste — of the Jewish deli” by Rachel Nania: “One simple question had a profound impact on Ilyse Fishman Lerner’s career. “How do you make babka the kind of food that you could eat on a Tuesday?” the 31-year-old asked herself. It turns out, all babka needed to go mainstream was a little gelato. Lerner has been selling her babka ice cream sandwiches all summer at the On Rye pop up at Nationals Park. The good news: They’ll be available long after baseball season ends, since On Rye is opening a permanent shop in Chinatown later this year.” [WTOP]
“‘The Gefilte Manifesto’: A Loved, And Loathed, Jewish Staple Gets Updated” by Joel Rose:“I never ate gefilte fish,” says Liz Alpern. “It was disgusting to me. I literally think I never ate it, until I started making it.” That’s a remarkable statement coming from someone in the gefilte fish business. Alpern is half of the team behind the Gefilteria, which makes artisanal gefilte fish. Yes, that is a thing. Alpern gave me a demonstration at a catering kitchen in Brooklyn.” [WBUR]
BIRTHDAYS: CEO of of MDC Holdings, Chairman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and AIPAC board member, Larry A. Mizel turns 74… Los Angeles based attorney Roxana Pourshalimi… Amy Kauffman… Actor, writer and director with a fifty year career in film and TV, first known for his role in the original Star Trek television series, Walter Koenig turns 80… New York Times reporter covering the 2016 presidential election Matt Flegenheimer… Senior Associate Editor at The Atlantic Russell Berman… Brittany Parker, WINEP alum now a grad fellow at the Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World at Tufts’ Fletcher School (h/t Playbook)… Public relations professional, formerly of ABC News Courtney Cohen Flantzer turns 38…
Report: “Jacob Nagel, acting head of Israel’s National Security Council, landed in Washington D.C. on Tuesday ahead of a meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice at which he is expected to sign an agreement on a new military aid package. The signing ceremony is expected to take place on Wednesday.” [Haaretz]
KAFE KNESSET — A Rare Agreement with the Palestinians — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: While most of the headlines today surround the upcoming signing of the new security aid package in Washington (the “MOU”), another interesting agreement was announced last night — this time between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The agreement will put an end to a long dispute between the two sides regarding the Palestinians’ huge debt to Israel’s state-owned Electric Corporation, which provides electricity to Palestinians in the West Bank. Over the years, the PA hasn’t paid the Israeli company, accumulating a debt of approximately two billion shekels. Under the new agreement, which was orchestrated by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and IDF General Yoav (Poli) Mordechai, Israel will erase 500 million shekels of that debt, while the rest – a sum of 1.5 billion shekels – will be paid by the PA in a gradual process.
A ceremony for the signing of the agreement, in the presence of Kahlon and the PA’s Civil Affairs Minister, Hussein al-Sheikh, will take place today in Jerusalem. At the same time, diplomatic sources tell us that Israel is also in touch with a number of Western countries regarding the possibility that these countries will assist in building a gas pipeline that could serve Gaza, and improve the bad energy situation in the Palestinian enclave (Gazans experience power cuts on a daily basis). Though the project is far from guaranteed, Israeli officials stress that the country has a clear interest to improve living conditions in Gaza in the hope of prolonging the current quiet along Israel’s southern border.
“Benjamin Netanyahu Draws Fire After Saying Palestinians Support ‘Ethnic Cleansing’” by Isabel Kershner: “Days after the release of the video, Israelis and Palestinians were still debating the effects of Mr. Netanyahu’s “hasbara” offensive, using a Hebrew term for pro-Israeli advocacy. Was Mr. Netanyahu destroying Israel’s international relations, ties already strained over the continued settlement construction in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that much of the world considers illegitimate? Or was he a public relations genius, using the world stage to score points with his home audience?” [NYTimes]
“Why Netanyahu is right and wrong about Palestinian ‘ethnic cleansing’” by Shmuel Rosner: “Netanyahu is right on principle: a demand that all Jews vacate Judea and Samaria when a Palestinian State is established is preposterous… Netanyahu is also wrong on principle: the idea of having a Palestinian State – if one supports such an idea, and the PM has publically endorsed it – is to let the Palestinians decide for themselves how they want to live… There are two answers to the question why now: The first one is that the PM is getting prepared for a UN blitz right after the US election… The second one is that the PM taped this video to divert the attention of Israelis back to where Netanyahu is strong.”[JewishJournal]
Jewish Insider interview with MK Erel Margalit — On Netanyahu and Abbas meeting in Moscow: “I’m against the notion that Netanyahu is going and turning the negotiations over to Putin, together with Abbas… I think it’s undermining the role of the U.S., which I think should stay central if we’re ever going to get somewhere. I think it’d be really hurtful to the process… I think that going and dancing with Putin and making him in charge now of the negotiations with the Palestinians was also playing with fire. I think that maybe more aiming at making the Democratic administration look weak, I don’t know. I don’t know why he’s doing that, seriously.”
Q: What would be your advice to the presidential candidates regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship?
Margalit: “My piece of advice is open up a new chapter with Israel that’s built on trust, and it’s built on a vision of positive progress in our region when Israel is part and parcel of it. Where you have the discussion on a two-state solution but you also have a discussion about both security initiatives and economics initiatives that involve Israel, that are part of the region.”
Q: How do you feel about being compared to Donald Trump thanks to your recent viral video?
Margalit: “I made my money with young Israelis, creating companies from nothing and I’m proud of that. I didn’t invest in casinos, and I didn’t invest in some other ventures. I’m proud that I’m against racism and against some of the radicals that exist in our society in Israel. And If I speak forcefully against them with a tough language at times, I’m proud of it. I think it’s a little different with some of the things that are going on here.”
HAPPENING TODAY: The Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosts a roundtable discussion with Israeli Member of Knesset Erel Margalit and Martin Indyk.
**A message from the Israeli-American Council: It’s less than two weeks until the 3rd annual Israeli-American Council National Conference! Join thousands of activists, policymakers, diplomats, journalists, Jewish communal leaders, and business innovators from the U.S. and Israel to dive deep into the most pressing issues facing the Jewish people today. All will convene in Washington, DC from 9/24-9/26. [IsraeliAmerican] **
DEEP DIVE: “Punished U.S. Navy Officer Believes He Prevented a War With Iran” by Dan De Luce: “Speaking publicly for the first time about the case, Nartker last week offered an alternative narrative to the one painted by the U.S. Navy, which has reprimanded him for “dereliction of duty.” He described a harrowing confrontation near Farsi Island as two Iranian vessels equipped with machine guns encircled his riverine boats. He said he had only seconds to decide whether to order his crew to open fire or to look for a way out of the showdown. After his boats tried and failed to evade the two Iranian vessels closing in around them, Nartker considered the possibility of aiming his M4 assault rifle at a Iranian gunner only about 10 feet away. Nartker ruled it out. “I was thinking, ‘I am not going to kill this guy right now over a bullshit navigation mistake,’” he said.” [ForeignPolicy]
Jack Lew on Cash Payment: ‘Iran Wanted To Be Paid Quickly’ by Jacob Kornbluh: “In a world where you’ve cut Iran off of much of the global financial system, they wanted to be paid quickly – which is not unusual when there is a settlement – and cash was the method that was chosen,” Lew said during a question-and-answer session at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, on Monday. “I think that the issue is the same whether it was a wire transfer or cash. It was a settlement that saved the American people billions of dollars, and it resolved a long-standing legal dispute.” [JewishInsider;CFR]
2016 WATCH: “Pence declines to call David Duke ‘deplorable'” by Matthew Nussbaum:“Mike Pence declined to call former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke “deplorable” in an interview on Monday, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he’s “not in the name-calling business.” “I’m not really sure why the media keeps dropping David Duke’s name,” Pence said. “Donald Trump has denounced David Duke repeatedly, we don’t want his support and we don’t want the support of people who think like him.”[Politico] • Pence reiterates denunciation of David Duke, but won’t “validate” Clinton’s “deplorables” language. [ABCNews]
Dan Senor tweets: “As governor, Bob Ehrlich was serious straight-shooter. Now he’s dancing around question about Duke. Sad!” [Twitter]
SPOTLIGHT: “Mike Rothenberg’s VC firm was young, splashy, cutting-edge and loaded with investor cash. Now it’s all come crashing down” by Lauren Smiley and Jessi Hempel: “On the last Monday in August, Mike Rothenberg — millennial venture capitalist, virtual reality check-writer, unhappy title-holder of “The Valley’s Party Animal” — called an emergency meeting with his investors. Rothenberg, 32, greeted them with the confidence that comes from accomplishing significant things at a young age… But by this summer, Rothenberg Ventures’ culture of awesome evaporated as it apparently ran out of operating money and came under federal scrutiny. The future of the firm — and the $50 million it has under management — is now up in the air as his investors wonder if he has lost control of his business.”
“By the time Rothenberg hosted Zuck at Sigma Nu, he was already a master networker at Stanford — he calls that time “the foundational experience of my life.” He introduced his frat brother Kevin Systrom to Zuckerberg years before Facebook acquired Systrom’s Instagram for $1 billion. He headed up a lecture series of startup founders that brought not only Zuck but also Reid Hoffman and Marissa Mayer to campus — and ran a tutoring business on the side to help pay his tuition. Rothenberg had grown up in a tight-knit Jehovah’s Witness family in Georgetown, Texas, an Austin suburb best known for being one of the filming sites for the high school football flick “Varsity Blues.”” [BackChannel]
SPORTS BLINK: “Ivanka Trump and Wendi Deng Sat in the Most Interesting US Open Box This Weekend” by Sam Dangremond: “Beatrice of York, Karlie Kloss, Dasha Zhukova, Geffen, gifted partier Michael Hess, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Hollywood agent Michael Kives, Wendi Deng, billionaire Leon Black, and John Hess.” [Town&Country]
INTRODUCING: “A way for college graduates to do good and do well” by Sacha Pfeiffer:“When 22-year-old Becky Andrews graduated from Indiana University last spring, she already had what so many young grads hope for: not just a college diploma, but a good job offer. In her case, she’d be using her degree in math and economics to work in financial management at General Electric. Then GE made Andrews what she considered an even more enticing proposal: Would she like to defer her start date for a year to work at a nonprofit? Andrews is among the first 11 members of ServiceCorps, a new program that launched in Boston and New York City this summer in partnership with GE and Citigroup. “Historically, if you wanted to pursue service but you had a great job opportunity right out of college, the . . . costs of saying no to that position were too high,” ServiceCorps founder Matt Ronen said, “because if you say no to Google or Goldman Sachs or whomever, they might not call back.” [BostonGlobe]
TALK OF THE TOWN: NYC Councilman David Greenfield on his confrontation with head of Neturei Karta: “I noticed a Hasidic man in full Hasidic dress – hat, beard, peyos and coat. The man was approaching all the witnesses that dripped the most hatred towards the Jewish state and people, and was introducing himself to them. At first I thought he must be challenging them, then I realized he was laughing with them and sharing common cause.” [YWN] • JI story from Thursday: “WATCH: Greenfield Scolds Neturei Karta Leader at Anti-BDS Hearing” [JewishInsider]
CAMPUS BEAT: “Netanyahu panel interrupted by protest” by Cassidy Jensen: “On Thursday, a group of students interrupted an event hosted by the Center for Jewish Civilization on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s career in protest of the leader. The students held a banner that read “Netanyahu is a War Criminal” and chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”[TheGeorgetownVoice]
DESSERT: “For College Students Who Keep Kosher, More Campuses Offer More Options” by Yair Rosenberg: “While the “anti-knish tutor” has long since departed Harvard, his unwitting legacy lives on—in the form of kosher microwaves, toaster ovens, and well-stocked fridges in every house dining hall. It’s a success story that has repeated itself across the United States, as kosher food makes inroads into many of the most unlikely of campuses: from east coast to west, public universities to private ones, historically Christian colleges to the avowedly secular.” [TabletMag]
“How the 20 Jews left in Kolkata are using food to keep their culture alive” by Tania Bhattacharya:“A new restaurant, Calcutta Stories, aims to draw attention to Kolkata’s Jewish heritage. Calcutta Stories is trying to pique the city’s interest in the migrant cuisines of Kolkata’s roots, including Jewish, Parsi, and Armenian Indo-fusions. It is owned by Prithvish and Baishali Chakravarti, who launched the traditional Kolkata-Chinese eatery Tak Heng last year. The Jewish section of the menu was crafted by 86-year-old Flower Silliman, who has been chronicling Jewish-Calcuttan cuisine through cookbooks in a bid to preserve an essential part of the community’s culture.” [Quartz]
SCENE YESTERDAY — Yesterday, the White House hosted an event featuring an abbreviated screening of Ken Burns’ newest documentary, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War, which chronicles the heroic efforts of Waitstill and Martha Sharp, an American Unitarian minister and his wife, who risked their lives to save Jewish refugees and other dissidents fleeing Nazi persecution in Eastern Europe during World War II. Chanan Weissman, White House liaison to the American Jewish community, convened the afternoon’s discussion which was moderated by Michael Abramowitz of The Holocaust Museum and featured co-directors Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines. They discussed the film and the current global displacement crisis. Full video can be found here: [WhiteHouse]
SCENE LAST NIGHT: Jeremy and Katrin Katz hosted a Chicago book party for Tevi Troy’s “Shall We Wake the President?: Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office.” Both Jeremy and Katrin were White House aides under George W. Bush. Troy said he wanted to have his disaster book party at the Naked Gun 2 1/2’s Blue Note Inn — with pictures of the Hindenburg and the Titanic on the walls — but that Katz’s Gold Coast apartment was an acceptable substitute. Notable attendees included former Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Cam Findlay, Nora Daley, mayoral aide Scott Yonover, and former Assistant Secretary of State Evan Feigenbaum.
BIRTHDAYS: Analyst at NYC’s Mission Capital Advisors, David Behmoaras… Bob Blumenfeld… Comedian who earned the title “Roastmaster General.” for his Comedy Central celebrity roasts, Jeff Ross (born Jeffrey Ross Lifschultz) turns 51… Ice dancer, who, with her partner Michael Seibert, won the 1981 and 1985 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Judy Blumberg turns 59… Television executive who held high level programming positions at CBS (1970-75), then ABC (1975-78), and then NBC (1978-81), Fred Silverman turns 79… Betty Grinstein… Media consultant, formerly CEO of NPR and head of news partnerships at Twitter, Vivian Schiller turns 55… Orrie Wilner… United Hatzalah’s Eli Beer…
Correction: Yesterday’s Daily Kickoff incorrectly listed a birthday. Rabbi Meyer May’s birthday isNovember 15th.
“The administration hasn’t complained to Graham directly; it told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about its problem, and he talked to Graham about it in a phone call last month. “The Israeli prime minister told me the administration is refusing to sign the MOU until I agree to change my appropriation markup back to $3.1 billion,” Graham said. “I said, ‘Tell the administration to go F themselves.’ ” What’s more, during the negotiations, the administration advocated for a provision that would bar the Israeli government from lobbying Congress for additional money for the life of the MOU, Graham said. “I’m offended that the administration would try to take over the appropriations process. If they don’t like what I’m doing, they can veto the bill,” Graham said.” [WashPost]
U.S. Amb. Dan Shapiro speaking Sunday: “A defense agreement between Israel and the United States is expected to be signed in the coming days, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro saidSunday. Speaking to a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Shapiro said the agreement would provide for Israel’s defense needs until 2029 and constitutes the largest aid grant the United States has ever given a foreign country. Shapiro’s remarks were the first public comments on the aid package by any official Israeli or American source in several weeks.” [Haaretz]
KAFE KNESSET — Bibi probably staying away from DC — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: As Netanyahu’s annual visit to the Big Apple approaches, his team has a busy schedule to craft. The highlight of the trip, as usual, will be the Prime Minister’s address to the UN General Assembly, slated to take placenext Thursday at noon. Netanyahu’s office is still trying to organize a “sidelines” meeting with President Obama, as well. In recent weeks, Jerusalem tried to set up the meeting in DC, but the White House was less enthusiastic, according to Israeli sources.
Netanyahu had hoped to officially mark the signing of the MOU in a joint meeting with President Obama, but one last stumbling block is stalling the conclusion of the intense negotiations… While Jerusalem agreed to the White House’s demand that it not ask for additional funding from Congress, Senator Lind se y Graham refuses to abide by this deal, stating C ongress is not party to the agreement. Netanyahu himself told a group of reporters last week that Graham is the reason for the delay, Kafe Knesset has learned. “Everything has been agreed upon between us and the White House, b ut Lindsey Graham is delaying the final announcement because he refuses to withdraw proposals for additional funding ,” he said.
Without a scheduled Oval Office visit, it appears Netanyahu will skip Washington D.C. on this trip , despite an invitation to address the Israeli- A merican Council’s annual conference kicking off the following weekend . In addition to missing Obama on this visit, the Prime Minister will probably not be seeing Sheldon and Miriam Adelson either. The couple is slated to attend the IAC event, but a source tells us they will likely not be in NYC during the General Assembly, which they traditionally attend as Netanyahu’s guests of honor.
“U.S. condemns Netanyahu’s charge that Palestinians want to ‘ethnically cleanse’ Jews from West Bank” by William Booth: “U.S. officials condemned a provocative video posted Friday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that accused the Palestinians of wanting to commit “ethnic cleansing” by ridding the West Bank of Jews… Robert Danin, former senior U.S. State Department official and peace negotiator, told The Washington Post: “My sense is that by saying there will be ‘no ethnic cleansing of Jews’ in the West Bank, Netanyahu is positioning himself for possible future negotiation with the Palestinians. While showing he is tough, he is also trying to establish a principle: Just as there have been and will continue to be Arab citizens of Israel, so, too, should there be the right for Jews to remain in a future West Bank state.” [WashPost; Haaretz]
“Ivanka Trump Credits Emma Watson For Famous Rabbinic Proverb In Instagram Post” by Daniel Marans: “Ivanka Trump raised some eyebrows with an Instagram post on Friday crediting actress Emma Watson for a famous quote by the rabbinic sage Hillel. “If not me, who? If not now, when? ― Emma Watson,” a graphic posted by Trump’s account said. (It was also posted on Trump’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.)” [HuffPost]
Yair Rosenberg tweets: “Uh, Ivanka Trump, as an Orthodox Jew, you should know this was not coined by Emma Watson” and… “This is what happens when you let Melania’s speechwriter run your Instagram account” [Twitter]
“Chelsea Clinton promises to stay friends with Ivanka after election” by Jesse Byrnes: “We were friends long before this election. We will be friends long after this election,” Clinton said on ABC’s “The View.” “Our friendship didn’t start in politics, it certainly is not going to end because of politics,” Clinton continued. “I have tremendous respect for Ivanka. I love her family.” [TheHill]
“Hillary Clinton’s Pneumonia Jolts the Presidential Race” by Peter Nicholas and Janet Hook: “I can’t understand the Clinton operation. You have to frankly tell people what happened and do so right away,” said Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary under President George. W. Bush. “If you do that, these things really are not big deals. They only become big if it doesn’t appear you’re dealing straight.” [WSJ]
“Democratic Rep. Nadler: ‘Ideally’ Clinton should have disclosed pneumonia sooner” by Nolan D. McCaskill: “Ideally, they should have,” Nadler, a Clinton supporter, told CNN when asked if the campaign should have disclosed Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis Saturday. “But I think in this day and age when everything about a candidate’s health or anything else is exaggerated, they thought they could avoid doing that. Unfortunately, they couldn’t. But the fact of the matter, she’s a generally healthy candidate and person. She has walking pneumonia and she’ll get over it.” [Politico]
Tevi Troy’s latest — Don’t Worry, America: The 3 A.M. Phone Call Is a Myth: “As Henry Kissinger once put it after the Apollo 13 spacecraft crisis of 1970, when as national security advisor he recognized that there was literally nothing President Nixon could do about it but he woke him up anyway for PR reasons: “We couldn’t tell the public that we had not alerted the president. … It is important the public has a sense that the president is on top of the situation.” But actual necessity? Those incidents have been few and far between.” [PoliticoMag]
SPOTLIGHT: “Why Sheldon Adelson is against daily fantasy sports” by Daniel Roberts:Yahoo Finance: “Since the NFL owners will vote on whether the Raiders can move, have you tried to talk to owners and win them over? Might they object to you being an owner because you are in the gaming industry? Sheldon Adelson: “I’ve met with [Dallas Cowboys owner] Jerry Jones and I’ve talked to [New England Patriots Owner] Bobby [Kraft]. Bob is the chairman of the committee for relocation in the NFL. He’s in favor of it. It’s an old wives’ tale that they [the NFL] say gambling is no good. I’ve read that 28 of the 32 teams have interest in fantasy sports. Well, that’s gambling. So 28 teams are involved in gambling.”
As you say, you are in the gambling business. So why are you against daily fantasy?
Adelson: “I think it exploits poor people. I was one myself. And I don’t want people that are exploitable to be exploited. I can make money in an honest way—as a form of entertainment. If people want to come and be entertained I’m very happy to provide that service. But why do I need it, the fantasy sports? We’re making money [without it]. I don’t need it. And I think it’s immoral. Anyone can get addicted to it. You could do it in the bathroom, you could do it in your kitchen, you could do it anywhere, privately or publicly. You know, this Pokémon thing, I don’t know what it is, but as I understand it, people do it in public. They’re chasing pokémon in public. It’s like that. I don’t want people to be incentivized to make it so easy to play on your cellphone. It gets young kids, just like marijuana.” [YahooFinance]
STARTUP NATION: “This guy’s startup is one of the best ideas we’ve heard in a while: helping companies test-drive startups” by Julie Bort: “An Israeli startup called prooV is building what it calls the first “proof of concept” platform, which lets an enterprise test-drive a startup’s technology before they sign a purchase order for it. Toby Olshanetsky, founder and CEO of prooV, has spent his 20-year career building enterprise software, mostly for startups, he says.” [BusinessInsider]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “The Collegiate Sock Fairy Who Warms the Feet of New York’s Homeless” by Tova Ross: “Adina Lichtman started Knock Knock Give a Sock out of her college dorm two years ago. Now, her organization has given out over 50,000 pairs of socks to homeless men and women around the U.S.” [TabletMag]
“Kids boutique accused of discrimination over limited return policy” by Dean Balsamini: “A luxury online retailer offers full refunds to “dissatisfied” shoppers — unless they live in Brooklyn. Shan and Toad, a children’s clothing boutique based in California, also won’t refund customers living in Passaic or Lakewood in New Jersey, or in upstate Monroe or Monsey. Customers in the five areas can only get store credit or exchanges. “It’s blatantly discriminatory. Those places are clearly identifiable with Jewish populations,” said Brooklyn Heights Rabbi Joseph Pastanik. Shana Laub, 31, who owns the Murrieta-based shop and is Orthodox herself, denied discriminating, saying the policy is a matter of “survival.””[NYPost]
“Nurse kissed in iconic V-J Day photo dead at 92” by Amanda Jackson:“Greta Friedman, the woman kissed by a sailor in the iconic picture taken in Times Square on V-J Day in 1945, has died, according to her son Joshua Friedman. The black-and-white photograph of Friedman, dressed in a white uniform, being embraced and kissed by a sailor to celebrate the end of World War II became an enduring image.” [CNN]
SPORTS BLINK: “Football Dream Leads Jewish Player To Catholic High School And Stanford” by Justin Breen: “Lisa Burik said her football-playing son, Lewis, “fell in love with the game from day one.” That first day was as a fifth-grade player at Welles Park, and that passion for the sport has taken Lewis to a West Side Catholic high school, even though he’s Jewish, and as a walk-on to one of the nation’s top collegiate teams even though he might never play a down in an actual game.” [DNAinfo]
WEEKEND WEDDING — Victoria Edelman, Matthew Klapper: “Rabbi Erica Gerson officiated. Senator Cory Booker participated in the exchange of vows and delivered remarks about the couple. Mrs. Klapper, 30, works in Weehawken, N.J., as an associate director and a senior recruiter for UBS, the Swiss bank… Mr. Klapper, 33, is the chief of staff to Senator Booker. He is a former firefighter in Summit, N.J. … The couple were introduced in April 2013 through JDate, after Mr. Klapper’s platoon at his firehouse signed him up as a Hanukkah gift.” [NYTimes]
BIRTHDAYS: 20 term Democratic Congressman (1975-2015) from Los Angeles, Henry Waxman turns 77… Israeli singer, songwriter and musician, who has performed around the world, Idan Raichel turns 39… Miami-based Chairman of American Principles Super PAC, Eytan Laor turns 57… Internet entrepreneur and a pioneer of VoIP telephony, Jeff Pulver turns 54… Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museums of Tolerance, Rabbi Meyer H. May… Kelly Stein… Sara Greenberg… Attorney specializing in the recovery of looted artworks during the Holocaust and featured in the 2015 film “Woman in Gold,” E. Randol (Randy) Schoenberg turns 50… Sherri Jankowski… Jason Stverak, legislative director and Washington lobbyist for Christians United for Israel Action Fund (h/t Playbook)… Avital Chizhik Goldschmidt (yesterday)…
Donald Trump on Thursday earned high praise from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a group that hosted Ted Cruz and Michelle Bachmann at its annual dinner, for…
An overwhelming majority of Republican voters, including Donald Trump’s primary supporters, sympathize more with Israel over the Palestinians in the Middle East conflict, while Democratic voters, especially Bernie…
Donald Trump will have an easy task courting voters in the general election by proving he’s not Adolf Hitler, a media surrogate for the Republican presidential front-runner said…
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Sunday touted her strong support for Israel as Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz suggested that she and Donald Trump share a similar…
Under a Trump administration, Iran will never be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said on Wednesday. In a foreign policy speech at…
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif defended the regime’s decision to host a cartoon festival on the Holocaust in June 2016 by drawing a parallel with the existance…