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Daily Kickoff: FBI releases documents from probe into Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich | Peter Baker profiles Muhammad Dahlan | Light-up Nation

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “FBI Releases Documents From 2001 Probe Into a Bill Clinton Pardon” by Devlin Barrett: “The heavily redacted case files released were part of a 2001 probe into Mr. Clinton’s pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich. FBI officials said the release wasn’t intentionally done during the last days of the election campaign… Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Mr. Comey’s disclosure of the newly discovered emails, contained in a letter to lawmakers on Friday, was now prompting the public—rightly or wrongly—to second-guess almost any FBI action. “It opens you up to a lot of concerns that you are being unfair, that you are trying to affect the outcome, and causes people to ask whether you are disclosing things about one candidate and not another,” Mr. Schiff said.” [WSJ]

— “The Rich pardon was extremely controversial at the time… At the time many speculated that the pardon was wrapped up in Middle East politics. In January 2001, Clinton’s last ditch effort to produce an Israeli-Palestinian settlement had faltered, but Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were going to give it one more try in meetings in Taba, Egypt just after Clinton left office. The White House was trying to bolster the political fortunes of Ehud Barak, the Israeli Prime Minister who was facing an election. Israel had long lobbied for the pardon of Jonathan Pollard who was convicted for spying for Jewish state but Clinton was unwilling to free Pollard over the objections of the CIA and other government agencies. But by pardoning Rich, who was popular for his philanthropic work in Israel, the president, it was widely assumed, was able to at least offer some help to Barak. In March 2001, Barak lost to Ariel Sharon.”[Newsweek

“Dems, Republicans See Opportunities in Tightening Race” by Jacob Kornbluh: “It’s hard to see, after all he’s been through and the charges leveled against him, a clear path to 270 electoral votes. That’s the key issue, ” Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf told Jewish Insider on Tuesday. “Hillary has solidified her base, women are entirely motivated, and Trump’s problems are not insignificant. He can’t have this kind of revelations, even if they are 20 years old, thrown against him and survive. And he has not run the best campaign.” On the other side of the aisle, most anti-Trump Republicans want to see him lose the presidential race, but not get crushed in order to save the Senate. “The FBI news appears to be dampening Democrat enthusiasm, which could be enough to push Republicans over the finish line in close Senate races,” said Republican attorney Charlie Spies. Trump, according to Spies, has refused to significantly finance his campaign and “doesn’t have the infrastructure to take advantage of good news.”[JewishInsider

“Few Republican Jewish Coalition leaders open wallets for Donald Trump” by Ben Sales:“The Republican Jewish Coalition has 55 members on its board of directors. So far, only nine have donated to Donald Trump’s campaign… This year, the Trump donors on the board besides Adelson have given less than $500,000 — just one quarter of the 2012 total.” [JTA]

Katie Rosman:“OH at a shiva tonight: “Well at least it’s one less vote for Trump.” “Too soon,” said the departed’s son.” [Twitter]

David Brooks: “There has been so much bad communication over the past year: people talking in warring monologues past each other, ignoring the facts and using lazy stereotypes like “elites” and “Trumpeans” to reduce complex individuals into simplistic categories… As an antidote for all this, I’ve been reading the work of Martin Buber, the early 20th century Jewish theologian who dedicated his career to understanding deep intimacy.” [NYTimes]

“The one place on earth where Donald Trump’s campaign is perfectly coordinated: Israel” by Miriam Berger: “Brot has read about how disorderly Trump’s campaign in America is and contrasts it with the Israeli one. “That’s something we’re very proud of,” he says. The campaign seems also to be better, and more loudly, organized than Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Israel. Part of the reason is that while Republicans in Israel and the local Trump campaign are in touch with their US counterparts, they are legally and financially separate entities… In contrast, Democrats in Israel is associated with the Democratic National Committee and party, and can’t raise money because of federal election regulations.”[Quartz

“Courting South Florida Jewish voters” by Sergio Carmona: “Hagit Morris, an Israeli Clinton supporter of Pompano Beach who attended her rally at Broward College’s North Campus in Coconut Creek, said: “She’s more for peace than war, while Donald Trump doesn’t care about what’s going on in Israel.” Allen Licht, a Trump supporter from Hollywood who attended the Shul event, said about the candidate he’s supporting: “As soon as a candidate is a business-minded candidate, he will be good for a relationship with Israel, as his relationship with Israel is also business-minded.”” [SunSentinel] • Trump lags with Jewish voters, Ohio State analysts say [Dispatch]

“War-Weary Billionaire Backs Trump for the Wrong Reasons” by Eli Lake: “Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is supporting Donald Trump for many reasons. One of them is that he is weary of endless war. This is at least what he told a room full of journalists Monday at the National Press Club. As all of us have learned since 2014, there is no substitute for American power. If you don’t believe me, ask the current president who tried his best to test that hypothesis.” [BloombergView]

“Israeli Ambassador To Receive Award From Group Peddling Huma Abedin Conspiracy Theories” by Jessica Schulberg: “Ambassador Ron Dermer will be a guest of honor at the Center for Security Policy’s annual Freedom Flame award dinner in December. It’s customary for diplomats to avoid being associated with partisan or extremist groups. But the Center for Security Policy, founded by Frank Gaffney, openly espouses far-right, anti-Islam views. On Tuesday, for example, Gaffney tweeted a conspiratorial YouTube video accusing Huma Abedin, a Clinton aide, of having connections to a Saudi financier of al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood…”

“A spokesman for the Israeli embassy rejected the law center’s suggestion. “Accepting this award does not mean that the ambassador subscribes to every point of view expressed by individual members of the center, as would be true of any other organization,” spokesman Itai Bar Dov said. Dermer will share the Freedom Flame award with Morton Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America.” [HuffPost]

Alan Dershowitz: “Obama, don’t destroy the peace process by turning it over to the UN: Our next president will undoubtedly have to wade into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process again. The new administration—with the agreement of the Senate—should have full latitude to do what it deems most appropriate. It should not be stuck with parameters bequeathed to it by a president desperate to secure a short-term foreign policy “victory” that in the long term will make a resolution of the conflict more difficult to achieve. [JPost

More Podesta emails – Podesta on the invitation to Hillary to participate in the URJ’s Biennial General Assembly’s presidential forum last year: “Just to be clear, we don’t have to do this, just putting on the screen because it’s a super friendly Jewish audience. I would only think about it if Dennis could use time there. But not a priority.” [10-16-2015

“Clinton campaign weighed forcing out Democratic chairwoman” by Andrew Tayloir: “As early as last December, the Clinton campaign was planning to neutralize Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and forcing her out after the party convention was one of the options under discussion… Other options forwarded by top campaign aide Heather Stone would have kept Wasserman Schultz in place but in a weakened capacity as a figurehead or a co-chairwoman that would cede power to a “general election chair” named by Clinton. The memo urged “systemic shifts at the DNC leadership level” to help Clinton win a general election.” [AP

“Mara Wilson’s tweetstorm nails why being Jewish in the Trump era is so terrifying” by Anna Swartz: “Wilson tweeted out an illustration of Hillary Clinton onto which someone had doodled a six-pointed star, or a Jewish star. “Saw this on the subway platform last night,” Wilson wrote. “I know it’s just hastily drawn graffiti on a drawing, but it bothered me…” She continued, explaining, in more, tweets, that before this past year, she can only remember one instance in which she, says, she felt “scared to be a Jew,” citing a frightening incident in which she was confronted with anti-Semitism on the subway. But this year, she explained, things feel different thanks to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.” [Mic

“White nationalists plot Election Day show of force” by Ben Schreckinger: “In an email, Anglin, the editor of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, said he had already led a “big voter registration drive” and that he was “sending an army of Alt-Right nationalists to watch the polls.” Mark Pitcavage, who monitors extremists for the Anti-Defamation League, said Anglin lacks a track record of organizing real-world action and that he was skeptical he could “get even close” to what he was promising… David Duke said his supporters plan to monitor polls with an eye toward “some of the more inner-city areas” that he said exhibited suspicious voting patterns in the state’s 1991 governor’s race.” [Politico]

“CNN Guest in Fight with Lewandowski: ‘I’m Not Getting Paid by One of the Candidates, OK?’” by Josh Feldman: “Journalist Peter Beinart and former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski got into a big fight on CNN tonight after Lewandowski trotted out one poll that shows Trump doing well with minorities in one swing state. Beinart bewilderedly asked him why he would rely on one poll instead of an average of all the polls. They kept going back and forth over the one poll versus the aggregate before Beinart exclaimed, “Corey, listen, I’m not getting paid by one of the candidates, okay?!” Lewandowski actually shot back by insulting Beinart in saying he isn’t good enough to get paid by a candidate.” [Mediaite]

PROFILE: “In Muhammad Dahlan’s Ascent, a Proxy Battle for Legitimacy” by Peter Baker:“It has been five years since Mr. Dahlan, 55, set foot in the territory Palestinians envision as their future state. But this onetime strongman turned millionaire in exile is the focus of intrigue across the region as Arab leaders seek to force changes over the objections of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. With each passing day, the Israeli-occupied West Bank feels increasingly at war with itself as Mr. Abbas, 81, with heart trouble and no designated successor, lashes out at anyone perceived to support Mr. Dahlan.” [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev & Amir Tibon: The Western Wall dominates headlines today, following a progressive prayer service this morning of Reform, Conservative and Women of the Wall worshippers. Some 200 activists tried to enter the main compound, holding Torah scrolls, in defiance of the regulations at the holy site. Police tried to stay away, but the Kotel security guards and ultra-orthodox worshippers attacked the activists, knocking some to the ground. The event is the first in a series of planned protests against the delay in the implementation of the government resolution which created an unprecedented pluralistic prayer section at the Wall.

According to Haaretz, “Just before the procession arrived at the Western Wall security checkpoint, its members were met by Motti Dan, head of Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing organization that has lobbied against the government plan to create a new egalitarian space at the Western Wall. Dan pleaded with the protestors to “respect the custom of the place” and not enter with their Torah scrolls. His pleas fell on deaf ears.”

Hours later, the Prime Minister criticized the progressive worshippers: “The unfortunate events that happened today at the Western Wall plaza do not contribute to advancing the agreed-upon solution for prayer arrangements at the site,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement, recalling that just yesterday, speaking to The Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors, Netanyahu urged the Jewish diaspora to keep calm and quiet so a resolution on this sensitive issue could be reached. “The one-sided violation of the status-quo at the Western Wall harms the ongoing efforts to reach a solution.”

The incident – and Netanyahu’s reaction – sent shock waves in the Knesset, mainly among the opposition. MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), who chairs the Parliament’s Pluralism and Equality Caucus, told Kafe Knessetthat Netanyahu “is pointing the finger against the denominations he himself is discriminating against instead of taking responsibility for his weakness with the Orthodox establishment.”

**Good Wednesday 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: Greece Defies EU, U.S. on Sanctions for Iran’s Bank Saderat [WSJ] • Avi Katz to Expand His $650 Million Real Estate Fund to New York [Bloomberg• Viber launches bot to poll its 800 million users on US elections [ToI] • Beverly Hills squeezes Chinese hotel builder for big bucks instead of offering a handout [LATimes] • Mogul vs. Mogul: Real estate’s battles royal — The recent matchup between media mogul Barry Diller and NYC real estate patriarch Douglas Durst has put the spotlight on the industry’s ugly rivalries [RealDeal]

STARTUP NATION — Light-up nation: “Israel’s right-wing government is adamantly opposed to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. But it is also rather lax when it comes to medical marijuana. In August the agriculture minister announced that local cannabis growers will soon be allowed to export medical marijuana. Saul Kaye, the CEO of iCAN, a venture fund and technology incubator, says there are already 36 Israeli companies doing clinical research on cannabis.” [Economist] • Why An Israeli Company Is Sucking Water From The Sky [HuffPost]

“Sony Music Japan apologises after girl band wear Holloween costumes that looked like SS uniforms” by May Bulman: “The group, called Keyakizaka46, wore military-style black coats similar to those worn by the paramilitary wing of Hitler’s Nazi party in a Halloween performance. The costumes consisted of long, black coats and caps featuring a bird insignia that ressembles the Pateiadler eagle emblem of the Nazis. They provoked a wave of criticism on social media and were described as “deeply offensive” by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights organisation. Sony Music Japan, the band’s record label, has since issued a statement saying: “We express our heartfelt apology for causing offence […] because of our lack of understanding. We take the incident seriously and will make efforts to prevent a reoccurrence of a similar incident in the future.”” [Independent]

HEARD LAST NIGHT: “Stewart, Seinfeld, Springsteen headline benefit” by David Bauder: “Somewhat incredulously, Jon Stewart on Tuesday recalled getting into a Twitter war three years ago with the man who could be elected president of the United States next week. The former host of “The Daily Show” talked Donald Trump and betrayed some nervousness about the election during an appearance at a benefit for veterans. The 10th annual event run by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, held at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, featured a who’s who of comics including Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan, and four songs by Bruce Springsteen.” [AP]

MEDIA WATCH: “In primary color” – CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash and Jake Tapper on the cover of American Way magazine: “Blitzer, 68, got his start in traditional print journalism, first with the Reuters news agency in Tel Aviv and then as Washington correspondent for The Jerusalem Post… Blitzer is renowned for his stamina. During the conventions, he was on the air for as long as eight hours a day. “My joke with Wolf is that he doesn’t sleep at night,” says [Dana] Bash. “They just plug him into the wall.” Actually, he does have an outside life. Blitzer is married and the father of a grown daughter who recently made him a grandfather. He attributes his vigor to eating properly, an hour a day running on a treadmill and, yes, getting plenty of sleep. As it happens, the very first time Blitzer read from a teleprompter in his new role as anchor in 1998, the person on the other end scrolling the script for him was Bash.” [AmericanWay

TRANSITION: “Stacy Ettinger, a top aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), has been hired by the law and lobby firm K&L Gates, becoming the latest ex-Schumer staffer to land a K Street job at a time when their former boss is poised to become the most powerful Democrat in the Senate. “The elections next week will bring a new administration and Congress,” said Bruce Heiman, co-chair of the K&L Gates’ lobbying practice. “Stacy knows the personalities and positions of many key members and staff, which brings significant value to our clients.”” [WashPost

DESSERT: “David Chang, Momofuku and Expa’s Delivery-Only Restaurant, Ando, Announces $7M in Series A Funding: Ando, the delivery-only, online restaurant from David Chang, Momofuku and Expa has closed a $7 million Series A financing round led by Forerunner with participation from BoxGroup and Wildcat Venture Partners. Strategic Angels in this round include,William Lauder, Chairman of Estee Lauder; Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker; Andy Katz-Mayfield, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Harry’s.” [NewsWire]

BIRTHDAYS: Head of School at Los Angeles’ Weizmann Day School, Lisa Feldman… Alan Abbey, Director of Internet and Media at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and who covered Mayor Bernie Sanders for the Burlington Free Press 35 years ago… Actor, director, and producer, best known for playing Ross Geller in the sitcom “Friends” (1994-2004), David Schwimmer turns 50… Denver-based radio host and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, David Sirota turns 41… Mordechai Ba-or… Marc Solomon… DNC’s Director of Jewish Engagement, Aaron Weinberg… Washington Post Outlook editor, formerly at Newsweek, National Journal and The New Republic, Adam B. Kushner… Director of Federal Government Affairs at Microsoft, John Sampson… Marc Rosen

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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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LongRead: “The Final Days of Trump’s Unprecedented Campaign” by Gabriel Sherman:“Another way Ivanka has tried to exert influence on the campaign is by positioning Kushner to all but run it. “You have to remember something: Jared is the final decision-maker,” a senior adviser said — except, he noted, when Trump is. “Jared is a brilliant young man,” Trump told me. Kushner, a lifelong Democrat, declined to comment, but a Republican close to the campaign said of his feelings: “Jared doesn’t look at supporting the campaign as taking a philosophical position. He’s opportunistic.” In recent weeks, Kushner has served as an all-purpose fixer for the campaign. According to sources, he recruited ­Clinton-era CIA director James Woolsey to advise Trump on national security. Kushner’s access to Trump has caused friction with senior advisers who have chafed at his lack of experience.”

“According to one adviser, Kushner told pollster Tony Fabrizio during the convention that the campaign didn’t need to conduct focus groups. “ ‘I can tell from the applause what’s working,’ ” Kushner said, according to this source. The merits of focus groups aside, Kushner definitely likes data. He and Brad Parscale, a digital strategist who got into Trumpworld by designing websites for the Trump children, began ramping up the campaign’s data operation before the convention. “Trump knows nothing about it; this is Jared’s thing,” a senior adviser told me. “Jared was smart enough to know the key to power was money. He set the data operation up to raise money.””

“In recent weeks, the mood at Trump Tower has veered between despair and denial—with a hit of resurgent glee when the news broke that the FBI was looking into more of Clinton’s emails. When I asked one senior Trump adviser to describe the scene inside, he responded: “Think of the bunker right before Hitler killed himself. Donald’s in denial. They’re all in denial.”” [NYMag]

“Trump offered Christie his VP slot — then rescinded it” by Aaron Short: “Donald Trump initially offered the vice-presidential running-mate slot to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie but then withdrew it, sources said. After Trump tentatively decided on Christie, Manafort told Trump his plane had a mechanical problem, campaign sources said, forcing Trump to spend another night in the Hoosier State. Pence then made his case to be Trump’s No. 2 over dinner as Trump’s advisers argued that Christie’s Bridgegate troubles would sink the campaign.” [NYPost]

“If Clinton Wins, The Next Energy Secretary Might Be The Current One” by Dino Grandoni:“Moniz is well liked by members on both sides of the aisle and keeping him on would allow Clinton to avoid at least one contentious confirmation. He had a brief star turn as the administration’s top salesmen on the Iran deal… Moniz was crucial in getting Iran to agree to curtail its development of weapon-grade nuclear fuel — and, importantly, convince the Iranians that the US is scientifically capable of monitoring whether enrichment facilities have truly been shut down. And because Moniz is already energy secretary, he would not need to be confirmed again. Avoiding a new confirmation hearing for energy secretary also prevents Congress from re-litigating the Iran deal, which many in the GOP thought gave too many concessions.” [BuzzFeed]

US treasurer Jack Lew visits Israel for talks on Iran sanctions: Readout by Ambassador Dan Shapiro: “Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew visited Israel today for a series of productive talks. Topics included bilateral economic issues, an update on Implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, and the sanctions we continue to apply against Iran and others in the region engaged in destabilizing behavior. It may be his last visit to Israel in his current job, and I have appreciated his friendship and his steadfast commitment to close US-Israel ties.” [Facebook

“Schumer: Iran Deal Vote Proof I’ll Not Be Rubber Stamp To Pres. Clinton” by Jacob Kornbluh: “When I disagree with Secretary Clinton, I will. She and I disagreed greatly, for instance, on the Iran agreement,” Schumer said in a TV debate with his Republican challenger, Wendy Long, aired on NY1, when asked how he will demonstrate his independence should he be in control of the chamber. “I thought that was a very bad idea. She thought it was a good idea. And that didn’t stop me; I studied it, I had lots of briefings, and I came to the right conclusion. So when I think President Clinton is wrong, I will disagree with her.” [JewishInsider

TOP TALKER: “For Democrats, Anthony Weiner Makes an Unwelcome Return” by Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns: “Carolyn B. Maloney, the congresswoman from the Upper East Side, was riding in a taxi on Friday when she heard the news: Emails discovered in an investigation into Anthony Weiner’s sexting had revived the F.B.I.’s interest in the case of Hillary Clinton’s private server. “I said: Oh, no, not this, not happening now,” she said. Around the country, former aides to Mr. Weiner, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, traded emails and texts throughout the weekend fuming at the “collateral damage” inflicted by their onetime boss…  [In 2009] Senator Chuck Schumer, for whom Mr. Weiner once worked, privately expressed frustration that Mr. Weiner was insufficiently interested in substance. The senator is said to have made his peace with Mr. Weiner’s problems long ago. But Mr. Schumer is in line to lead Senate Democrats next year, and any damage from Mr. Weiner’s latest scandal could impede the party’s quest for a majority.” [NYTimes] • Joe Biden: ‘I’m not a big fan’ of Anthony Weiner [Politico

“Anger, disbelief in Clinton camp” by Amie Parnes and Jonathan Easley: “This is just a distraction,” said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman. “People had already reached their conclusions about the emails. Certainly everyone on my side of the aisle would rather be talking about something else, but I don’t think it’s sufficient to change the outcome.” [TheHill

“Don’t Let the FBI’s E-Mail Surprise Swing the Election” by Eli Lake: “When it comes to mishandling classified information, I can tell you from experience, many government officials at one time or another will leak classified information to reporters. But there is a greater issue at stake. As a member of the press, I have an interest in less government secrecy and less scrutiny for government sources. It’s not healthy for the republic in the long run for the FBI to investigate the mishandling of national security information wherever it finds it.” [Bloomberg]

Chemi Shalev: Comey’s letter “may have also galvanized Clinton’s hitherto complacent base. The anger at what seems to many Democrats to be Comey’s unwarranted and inexcusable intervention in the political process, coupled with Clinton’s steadily evaporating lead over Trump, might energize activists, volunteers and voters just enough to give the Democratic candidate the extra oomph she needs in order to win.” [Haaretz

“Trump Gives a Grateful Shout Out to … Anthony Weiner” by Ali Vitali: “We never thought we were going to say ‘thank you’ to Anthony Weiner,” Trump joked with his audience at one of conservative casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Hotel ballrooms. Trump, the owner of another Vegas strip hotel himself, thanked Adelson for being “so supportive” of his campaign but ribbed him Adelson for providing a ballroom that was maybe not big enough for Trump’s taste. “Great hotel,” he said, but “we could’ve made this ballroom a little larger, maybe.” [NBCNews

Roger Cohen on why Obama/next president should avoid pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative: “There is no point beating a dead horse. It is time for incremental steps instead. Israel could find lots of ways to ease humiliations and economic hardship for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, without compromising its security… The worst thing would be for Western leaders to come up with some new “peace initiative” that would offer a convenient diversion from political responsibility.”[NYTimes

— “Speaking at a conference to mark re-launch of New York Times’ international edition,Cohen recommended that U.S. President Barack Obama, before leaving office, present America’s principles for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a U.N. Security Council resolution. “I’m in favor of this idea, or partly in favor of it, because Israel is opposed to it,” he said.” [Haaretz

“2006 Audio Emerges of Hillary Clinton Proposing Rigging Palestine Election” by Ken Kurson: “The tape was never released and has only been heard by the small handful of Jewish Press staffers in the room… “I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” said Sen. Clinton. “And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win instead of signing off on an electoral system that advantaged Hamas.” Chomsky told the Observer, My bosses didn’t think it was newsworthy at the time. I was convinced that it was and I held onto it all these years.”” [Observer;JewishPress

“Eizenstat, former Clinton official, hopes for refocusing on Israel” by Michael Wilner: “On Holocaust and Jewish issues, besides being senator from the state with the largest number of Jews, she has a feel for Israel and for Jews that’s in her kishkes,” Eizenstat said in an interview. “I mean, I saw it…I think she’s a very tough cookie when it comes to Iran, and I don’t think she’s going to tolerate a lot of slippage.” [JPost

“Trump boasts about his philanthropy. But his giving falls short of his words” by David Fahrenthold: ”He promised to donate $250,000 to a charity helping Israeli soldiers and veterans… But the Post has been unable to verify that he followed through on any of them.” [WashPost

Israeli Paper Publishes Trump’s Western Wall Note: “May you bless the United States, our armed forces and our allies. May your guiding hand protect and strengthen our great nation.” [JI; Pic

“Trump Campaign Condemns ‘Deplorable’ Anti-Semitic Supporter” by Jacob Kornbluh:“The Trump campaign on Sunday strongly condemned an anti-Semitic reporter who yelled “Jew-S-A” at reporters during a Trump rally in Arizona on Saturday. “His conduct is completely unacceptable,” campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “That man’s conduct was deplorable, and had I been there, I would have asked security to remove him immediately. Clearly, he doesn’t speak for the campaign or the candidate, and what he had to say was disgusting,” Conway said.” [JewishInsider;CNN]  Trump Supporter Who Chanted “Jew-S-A” Says We Just Misheard Him [BuzzFeed]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: “It’s troubling in the first place that someone would feel comfortable to spout anti-Semitism at a political rally. But we’re heartened that Kellyanne Conway immediately spoke out in a clear and forceful manner. Too often intolerance has been given a pass during this campaign, so this was an important step. We hope this approach of quickly condemning hate will be the new norm for the candidates and for all public figures, not just in the remaining days of the campaign, but in the future long after this election.” [WashPost]

Heard yesterday on Israel’s Channel 10 News – Boris Epshteyn on Trump’s alt-right support: “As a Jewish American, the amount of vitriol and hate I receive on social media from the Left is absolutely disgusting. The things I hear will make your ears shrink, and it’s all related to my Jewish background. What we are concerned about, is national security and foreign policy, and Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he will not allow the U.S. and Israel relations continue in the bad course it has been under Barack Obama. He will make sure that Israel is our number one friend in the Middle East and around the world; Israel is protected and that Jerusalem is the capital.”

Ch. 10’s Tamar Ish-Shalom: “Can you say here on behalf of the Trump campaign to these people: ‘We don’t want your vote, don’t vote for us’?

Epshteyn: “That’s not how politics works here. What we’re saying is we absolutely disavow, and we’re absolutely against any sort of hate from all sides.” [Nana10

“Trump attacks ‘puppet’ Evan McMullin: ‘The guy takes votes away from me’” by Rebecca Morin: “I love the people of Utah. I have great relationships in Utah,” Trump said. “But you have a guy named Bill Kristol who’s called it wrong for two years. He’s a loser. He’s called me wrong. He’s called everything wrong. He’s called the wars wrong,” Trump said during the interview. “Everything he does is wrong. He gets his puppet to go and run in Utah.” [Politico

“Israeli GOP appears to dramatically inflate numbers of Israelis voting in US election” by Raphael Ahren: “I Vote Israel has assisted only about 12,000 Americans in Israel who requested absentee ballots for the 2016 election… Zell’s claim to have signed up “several thousand” voters through his website appears highly exaggerated. The voter registration section of the Republicans’ website forwards users to the I Vote Israel site, and Charnoff said his digital analytics showed that only about 200 of the completed ballot request forms came from leads from the Republican Overseas websites.”[ToI] • U.S. Voters in Israel Say Their Ballot Requests Have Gone Missing [Haaretz

“Clinton adds pop of celebrity in homestretch of campaign” by Roberta Rampton:“Presidential candidates have long sought to create buzz with help from celebrity pals, said Tevi Troy, who chronicled the strategy in his book “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Pop Culture in the White House.” “Campaigns do it to reach out to people who are not necessarily interested in politics but are interested in pop culture,” said Troy, a presidential historian who worked in the George W. Bush White House.” [Reuters

“Schumer deploys last-ditch Senate money drop” by Burgess Everett: “The New York senator is seeding nearly $1 million from his personal campaign coffers into four competitive Senate races, a source familiar with the moves said. He’s also distributing $725,000 from a joint fundraising account to candidates across the country. The new push brings his total direct commitments to about $8 million after he made a flurry of investments in Democratic candidates in September. Even though Florida Democratic donors are clamoring for help in Rep. Patrick Murphy’s race against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Schumer is sticking to his strategy of competing in cheaper markets where he believes Republicans are more vulnerable to a wave election.” [Politico

“In Rare New Jersey Swing District, House Race Becomes a Brawl” by William Neuman: “At least 50 percent of the time my phone rings it’s something related to the election. [Josh] Gottheimer (a former speechwriter and White House aide to President Bill Clinton). Garrett. And I get Trump calls all the time,” said Karen Abraham, who was watching her two children play in a school playground in this suburb. Most of the television ads were negative, Ms. Abraham said, adding, “It makes you glaze over after a while.” [NYTimes

**Good Monday 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: Israel’s Largest Bank to Cut 12% of Jobs in Cost Saving Plan[Bloomberg] • Bryan Goldberg’s Female-Targeted Site Bustle on Pace to Triple Revenue [WSJ] • Is Paramount “Unsalvageable”? As the Redstones figure out how to save Viacom, they need to start by turning around Paramount [VanityFair] • TD Ameritrade founder Ricketts: Cabela’s investor Paul Singer a ‘very good friend’ [OmahaHerald]

PROFILE: “A Daughter Wants to Learn the Family Real Estate Business From the Ground Up” by Emily Nonko: “Only 18 months out of Syracuse University, the 23-year-old Ms. Naftali is playing a bigger role with a take-charge attitude reminiscent of her father, Miki Naftali, an Israeli immigrant who appeared on the New York real estate scene when he oversaw the conversion of a portion of the Plaza hotel into condominiums for Elad Properties. Ms. Naftali’s title is manager of marketing and design, and she has embraced the work, helping launch sales at 275 W. 10th St. as well as 221 and 210 W. 77th St., two new condo buildings on the Upper West Side. For Mr. Naftali, the addition of his daughter to the company has made him “think how the company may look 20 years down the road.” Other daughters who have proved themselves include Ivanka Trump, Helena Durst and Samantha Rudin.” [WSJ]

STARTUP NATION: “Israel: The Promised Land of Breast Tech” by Zara Stone: “Israel has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in OECD countries. That’s because mutations of the BRCA1 gene, which increase the risk of breast cancer, are hereditary in Ashkenazi Jewish women, who make up around 40 percent of Israel’s population. Many med-tech companies expand their technology into treating breasts after initially addressing other types of cancer. “Take InsightTec,” Melcer says. “Right now, it’s creating a microwave-like device that can ablate solid tumors. If they can focus that beam on deeper parts of tissue, we might be able to burn tumors from breasts.” [Ozy]

“WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg slams Wix: ‘Your app editor is built with stolen code’” by Ken Yeung: “WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg has taken exception to the editor used in Wix’s mobile app, alleging that the do-it-yourself web building service has copied his platform’s editor and failed to give proper attribution and adhere to the general public license (GPL) — basically, to open source the work. Wix chief executive Avishai Abrahami has responded to Matt Mullenweg’s allegations, denying that his company stole code.” [VentureBeat]

“Ari Shavit, Celebrated Israeli Columnist, Resigns After Sexual Harassment Accusations” by Peter Baker: “The unexpected fall from grace of one of Israel’s most prominent figures shocked his admirers both here and in the United States. In effect, it was unexpected collateral damage from the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. Ms. Berrin wrote about her encounter with Mr. Shavit to make a point about sexual harassment, after similar accusations were made against Mr. Trump. But unlike Mr. Trump, Mr. Shavit acknowledged wrongdoing and did not attack his accuser’s truthfulness.” [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET — Recess Over — by Tal Shalev & Amir Tibon: After 3 months of summer recess, the Knesset corridors are busy again, and 120 lawmakers are back at work. The winter session will open today in a special plenum meeting, which will include speeches from PM Netanyahu, President Rivlin and Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog. The main mission on the Knesset’s agenda for the upcoming months is passing the two year budget; that was overshadowed today as the political system is once again in turmoil over the PM’s plans for the Public Broadcast Association.

Netanyahu and his Finance minister, Moshe Kahlon, are at odds over the Premier’s intention to close the new public broadcaster and keep the current broadcasting authority alive. Netanyahu announced yesterday that he will bring his proposal to a cabinet vote next week, but Kahlon remains opposed, citing the Finance Ministry calculation that Netanyahu’s move could cost almost 100 million dollars a year. This morning, Kahlon addressed the Knesset Finance Committee, and said that he “does not have any intention to make budget cuts for this plan. If someone want to bring a plan to the cabinet he should think about where he gets the money. I am not going to throw millions away.”

This afternoon’s plenum meeting will also put to test one of the controversial proposals currently occupying the coalition’s time. Earlier this month, when the Joint Arab list MKs decided to boycott the funeral of former President Shimon Peres, their move sparked a harsh political reaction and condemnations all around, as well as suggestions to “punish” the MKs. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman then proposed a boycott of the Arab lawmakers, an offer which was immediately endorsed by the Prime Minister, though Knesset Speaker Edelstein has expressed his objections. Reports suggest a huge walkout of coalition members this afternoon as the Joint List will be taking the podium to present a no confidence vote at the plenum. However, as always in Israeli politics, we’ll have to wait and see…

SPORTS BLINK: “Cubs Fanatic Dan Shapiro Shares Love of Sports with His Boss, Barack Obama” by Hillel Kuttler: “Then there was Obama’s visit to Israel in March 2013. Shapiro and other key personnel, including then-National Security Advisor TomDonilon and Secretary of State John Kerry, were with the president in his hotel suite. “ESPN was on, and he was tracking the games with his bracket,” Shapiro said of Obama’s March Madness fandom. “We were talking about his next meeting with [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu…and he said, ‘Dan, I want to hear your view of this.’ I forget what the issue was, and I said, ‘Well, Mr. President, I think,’ and he said, ‘Oh, my God, what a dunk!’ And I lost my train of thought.” All Shapiro wants now is for his beloved Cubbies to pull off a historic rebound from 3-1 down and earn an invitation to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” [BleacherReport]

BIRTHDAYS: Founding partner at Lanx Management, former President of AIPAC (2006-2010) and Chairman of the Orthodox Union, Howard E. (Tzvi) Friedman turns 51… Entrepreneur, bestselling author and philanthropist, founder of Pencils of Promise, Adam Braun turns 33… Marilyn Rosenthal, National Director for Progressive Engagement at AIPAC (h/t Playbook/Ben Chang)… Actor with a lengthy career in film, television and theatre, Ron Rifkin turns 77… British historian, born in Baghdad, emeritus professor of International Relations at Oxford, Avi Shlaim turns 71… Author, historian and journalist, formerly editor of The New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus turns 61…

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Joint Distribution Committee Centennial Celebration in DC

Monday, December 9, 2013

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, celebrating its 100th anniversary, held its opening dinner tonight at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.  …

Netanyahu at Saban 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Watch Netanyahu’s Speech Here I am pleased to be joining you today, even if I’m doing it by remote satellite. I remember the Willard Hotel when I came…

Video: John Kerry at Saban 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks at the Saban Forum in Washington, DC on December 7, 2013. SECRETARY KERRY: (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Tamara, for…

Innovate Israel 2013 – Video & Pics

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Innovate Israel is Europe’s largest Israel focused digital & tech conference and it took place on December 4, 2013 in London. Here are some highlights… Conversation – Israel…

Top Tweets from White House Hanukkah Party

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Update: Scroll down for video of President Obama chatting with Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi   Father daughter dinner @whitehouse with Larry David pic.twitter.com/3JfgmDDxkP — Jerry Silverman (@JerrySJFNA)…

Scene at the UJA-Federation of New York Wall Street Dinner

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Last night was the annual Wall Street Dinner to benefit the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York. A large (over 1,700) and generous crowd of bankers and hedge-fund…