Daily Kickoff: Germany nixes subsidy to Israel, Is Obama to blame?; Soros invests heavily in Israeli companies; Avi Rosenblum on football in Israel
Scene Last Night: The Becket Fund honored Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks at its Canterbury Medal dinner for defending religious freedom. Some highlights from Rabbi Sacks’s speech – “Every persons faith is a flame – your flame doesn’t take from mine – and together we can light the world.” — “Secular societies are much less tolerant than the religions they accuse of intolerance.” — “Religion is the root of America… Don’t believe that when you sever these roots, the tree will survive.” — “America’s great contribution was to make faith into a force for liberty.” Cardinal Tim Dolan also spoke and said, “Rabbi Sacks reminds us that “a world without religion is a world condemned to violence and tyranny.” Mark Kellner profiled Rabbi Sacks for [DesertNews]…. Chelsea Clinton’s Jewish Mother-in-law skipped her own fundraiser headlined by Hillary Clinton: Congressional hopeful, Marjorie Margolies, instead attended a local Montgomery County Democratic Party dinner in her district. It didn’t matter too much as most donors were clearly only there to show early support for a likely Hillary 2016 campaign. The event marked Hillary’s first campaign appearance of 2014. Last night’s host, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, supported Hillary in the 2008 primary but then switched to support McCain in the general election.
Josh Rogin: Hillary Celebrates the Iran Sanctions That Her State Department Tried to Stop: Hillary Clinton is now claiming to be the architect of crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy. But during her tenure at Secretary of State, her department repeatedly opposed or tried to water down an array of sanctions measures that were pushed into law by Democrats and Republicans in Congress.. Speaking at the American Jewish Committee Wednesday, Clinton said that she and Obama faced a “hard choice” when deciding to both reach out to Iran and increase the pressure on the Iranian government and economy… “Secretary Clinton’s comments are a blatant revision of history,” Sen. Mark Kirk told The Daily Beast. “The fact is the Obama administration has opposed sanctions against Iran led by Senator Menendez and me every step of the way, as was thoroughly documented at the time.” Rogin writes, “There were several other instances of the administration and Clinton’s State Department working to scuttle or dilute Iran sanctions measures during her time in office.” [The Daily Beast]
Politico: Rand Paul struggles with hawkish GOP donors: “The foreign policy hawks within the establishment GOP — among them pro-Israel donors, national security types and neoconservatives — are impressed by Paul’s attempts to broaden the Republican base and find him willing to listen to their concerns. But ultimately, according to people plugged into the Republican donor class, they worry that a President Paul would dangerously scale back America’s activities abroad. “For a lot of the establishment people that care about foreign policy, he has considerable concerns among that crowd,” the source said. “The interesting question is, how much does that crowd matter anymore? You still have … establishment people, a handful of people, who do care, whether it’s Israel, Middle East policy, policy regarding China. But at the end of the day, if you look at primary voters, it’s pretty low on their totem poll. However, for some bundlers, it’s a big deal. It really hits him, probably, on New York or D.C. bundlers.” [Politico] — One Jewish bundler who won’t be supporting Rand Paul, in the primary, for at least one other reason is Mel Sembler: Sembler’s Anti-medical marijuana group launches website, 9-minute video for the Vote No on 2 campaign. [OrlandoSentinel]
2016 Watch – CNN: Christie, Perry to share table at Jewish event: Gov. Rick Perry and Gov. Chris Christie, two potential 2016 presidential contenders who aren’t known for being the best of friends, are set to sit at the same table at the second annual Champions of Jewish Values International awards gala hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s “This World: Values Network.” … The New Jersey governor will deliver the keynote address at the event, while the Texas governor is set to present for Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, who are being recognized for their roles in promoting Jewish values, according to Boteach. [CNN] Rabbi Shmuley tweets: New story from @CNN about our dinner saying @chrischristie and @rickperry at same table. Is that really such big deal? [Twitter] Boteach emphasized the event is not political. “I want to talk about values, we’re not going to politicize the evening,” Boteach said. “I think there’s something valuable to be said about rivals coming together for something that’s larger than themselves.”
WSJ Scoop – “Iran Recruiting Afgan Refugees to Fight for Regime in Syria”: Iran has been recruiting thousands of Afghan refugees to fight in Syria, offering $500 a month and Iranian residency to help the Assad regime beat back rebel forces, according to Afghans and Western officials. [WSJ] — Reuters Scoop: Iran pursues ballistic missile work, complicating nuclear talks: “Despite apparently reducing illicit purchases that breach U.N. sanctions, Iran is pursuing development of ballistic missiles, a confidential U.N. report says, posing an acute challenge to six powers negotiating with Tehran to rein in its nuclear program.” [Reuters]
Foreign Policy Deep Dive – ‘A’ Jewish State vs. ‘The’ Jewish State: “A conversation with FP’sDavid Rothkopf and former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren — on Zionism, the loyalty of American Jews, and the promise of the Promised Land. The first of the emails came after Oren asked Rothkopf how he felt about a trip to Israel he made in late 2013, the first time he had visited the country. Longtime friends, Oren and Rothkopf were roommates and classmates at Columbia University in New York City.
–The question, while simple enough, ignited a discourse on the United States, Israel,American Jews, Israeli Jews, and the state of the relationship as seen from two different perspectives — that of two men who started out with similar backgrounds and views and who, over time, reached some strikingly different conclusions on one subject important to them both. That two people who are close and who agree on so many things could have such disparate perspectives on this issue seemed more than just a disagreement among friends and appeared to be instead a reflection of the state and some of the critical fault lines in a broader debate.” [ForeignPolicy]
Yossi Beilin – “Why Kerry Failed at Peace”: “The problem was that Kerry acted as if he had to find compromises between the policy positions of Arafat and Rabin 20 years ago – between a Palestinian leader who came to the conclusion that it was best for his people to make peace with Israel, and who genuinely represented the majority of his people, and an Israeli leader who was willing to pay the price of peace. But the situation is far more complex now, and it is hard for me to understand how Kerry and his experienced advisers refused to accept the huge differences between the Israeli and Palestinian leadership that existed then and what we have now.” [PoliticoMag] — David Ignatius: “Why the Mideast peace process is in tatters” [WashingtonPost]
Germany nixes gunboat subsidy to Israel, citing breakdown of peace talks. Is President Obama to blame?: “Senior Israeli officials said they believe the seeds of this decision were sown during Merkel’s White House meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama two weeks ago when he voiced great frustration over Netanyahu’s conduct during the eight months of Israeli-Palestinian talks. The gunboat issue also arose during U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s visit to Jerusalem last week. But Rice vehemently denied that Obama had asked Merkel to pressure Israel and said the two leaders never discussed the issue. Senior German officials said Merkel had taken note of Obama’s statements, but that these did not exert a decisive influence on her decision.” [Haaretz]
Hagel ‘Not Aware’ of Israel Spying on the U.S.: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said on Thursday that he was unaware of anything backing the Newsweek report that Israel had been spying on the U.S. “I have heard of that report. I’m not aware of any facts that would substantiate the report,” Hagel told reporters during a press conference in Tel Aviv. [JPupdates]
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State Dept. Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism Visit Ukrainian Jewish Communities: The U.S. State Department’s special envoy charged with monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, Ira Forman, has been meeting with Jewish leaders in Ukraine to assess the situation facing the country’s Jews amid growing violence between the government and pro-Russian separatists. [JPost]
Ukrainian Jewish channel, JN1, ending focus on Jewish news: “JN1, or Jewish News One, began broadcasting general and Jewish news nonstop in 2011 from offices in Ukraine and Israel. It is co-owned by Ukrainian Jewish businessmen Igor Kolomoisky and Vadim Rabinovich, a presidential candidate in the May 25 elections. But because “a big Jewish TV channel has been launched in France recently [and] taking into account this fact and the current difficult situation in Ukraine, Mr. Kolomoyskiy has taken a decision to shift the focus of the channel policy to Ukrainian news,” a JN1 spokesman told JTA Thursday in a statement.” [ToI]
NEW YORK – Hundreds Attend Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony In Borough Park:Hundreds of holocaust survivors, their families, high school students and members of the Jewish community on Thursday gathered at the Beth El synagogue in the heart of Borough Park at a day of remembrance for Holocaust survivors and their descendants and a special tribute commemorating the 70 years since Jews were forced into the Auschwitz death camp. The event dubbed as “Remembering the Past and Living for the Future,” was hosted b Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), who also served as emcee… Borough Park has the largest number of Holocaust survivors in the United States… [JP Updates]
Interesting Tweet: Kenneth P. Vogel (@KenVogel) – Carlyle CEO David Rubenstein (at SALT Conference in Vegas): “I’m a Jewish person who is happy, which is rare… I’m happier now that I’m giving away my money.”
WSJ: City Real-Estate Royalty Gives to Israeli Hospital: “The National Women’s Division of the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, a hospital in Jerusalem, hosted its annual luncheon on Wednesday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park. The afternoon honored Hadassah Lieberman, the wife of former Sen. Joe Lieberman ; philanthropist Zelda Berger ; and Lee Weinbach, the founder of the association. Over 200 women were in attendance, including philanthropist Fanya Gottesfield Heller, Gail and Gabrielle Propp and Seryl Kushner.
–Ms. Kushner and her husband, Charles, the real-estate developer, have a longstanding relationship with the hospital, though Mr. Kushner didn’t attend the luncheon. “I’m not going to a 300-person lunch where I’m the only man in the room,” he joked the other day in his Midtown office. In April, in honor of their 60th birthdays and 40th wedding anniversary, Mr. and Ms. Kushner committed to an $18 million donation to Shaare Zedek. In August, the Kushners, who visit Israel regularly, plan to attend the dedication of the main Seryl and Charles Kushner Campus in central Jerusalem as a pre-bar mitzvah trip for their eldest grandson.” [WSJ]
Apollo Exodus – Two of the Top Three Apollo Global Executives Reduce Their Stakes: “Marc J. Rowan, a co-founder and senior managing director of Apollo, sold 1.1 million shares this week, according to a filing on Wednesday evening. The sales raised about $28.6 million. At the same time,Joshua J. Harris, another co-founder and senior managing director, gave away 200,000 shares as a gift, a separate filing on Wednesday showed. The shares were worth around $5.1 million, based on Apollo’s stock price this week. The filing did not say who received the shares.” [DealBook] — Top Partner Bails on Leon Black’s Apollo Global: “Scott Ross, 33, in the last several days became the latest top partner to leave the high-flying private-equity firm after it overhauled its compensation scheme. Ross was part of a newer generation at Apollo being groomed to lead the buyout giant, which has just started to invest its latest $17.5 billion private-equity fund.” [NYPost]
Bloomberg: Fairholme’s Berkowitz Trims Holdings of Fannie, Freddie: Bruce Berkowitz, the Jewish money manager battling the U.S. government over the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, cut his stakes in the common stock of both U.S.- owned mortgage finance companies in the first quarter.[Bloomberg]
Business is Business: Soros Buys SodaStream Shares While Boosting Teva Stake: “Soros Fund Management LLC, the family office of billionaire George Soros, bought shares of SodaStream International Ltd. in the first quarter, the Israeli maker of home soda machines that’s plunged 18 percent this year. The firm, based in New York, bought $24.3 million of shares of Lod, Israel-based SodaStream. The holding makes up about 0.3 percent of its $9.3 billion U.S. stock portfolio, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. Soros also increased his stake in Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., already its largest holding, to 5.8 percent of the total.”[Bloomberg]
StartUp Nation Spotlight: Mobli now allows users to broadcast live video from their smartphones: Mobli, an Israeli company with a $60-million dollar investment from billionaire Carlos Slim, updated their app Thursday to allow users to stream live video from their mobile phone for a large audience of users to watch in real time. [CNN] — BillGuard Launches Its Personal Finance App On Android And Adds Data Breach Alerts: Israeli Personal finance startup BillGuard has been working hard over the last several years to help its users to identify fraudulent charges on their credit and debit cards, and also to keep track of their spending on the web and on its iPhone app. Today it’s expanding its reach with the launch of an Android app, and also adding a new feature that will alert users when their cards have been affected by a Target-style data breach. [TechCrunch]
Sports Blink: Avi Rosenblum gets a taste of football in Israel: “He racked up numbers that would send a tingle up the spine of any NFL scout: 1,200 yards rushing, 22 touchdowns, 67 tackles and five interceptions. That sums up 21-year-old Avi Rosenblum’s first — and probably only — season with the Ramat Hasharon Hammers of the fledgling Israel Football League. For Rosenblum, an Albany native who grew up as the adopted son of observant Jewish parents, playing football in Israel was, as he put it, “a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was playing with guys who didn’t know much [about football], but they had heart.” Despite being a 6-foot-2, 210-pound African American man, Rosenblum said hardly anyone he met in Israel blinked twice when he told them he was Jewish. “There are a lot of Africans there,” he said. “There are many Ethiopians. They’ve seen black Jews.” Rosenblum’s team, the Hammers, is one of 10 in the IFL, which kicked off in 2005 with funding from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. They play on a 60-yard field, while adhering to a blend of NFL and college football rules, as well as “a few they make up,” Rosenblum said. “[Football] is not big yet, but it’s getting bigger,” he said. “In the playoffs, we had a full stadium. The fans were crazy. You could not hear. I was captain of defense, and I couldn’t hear the plays.” [JWeekly]
Jewish Owners: Telegraph Video – The Jewish owners behind Manchester United [Telegraph] — Donald Sterling tells NBA he won’t pay fine [USA Today] — Bucks sale to Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens officially approved [CBS Sports]
That’s all folks, have a great Friday and Shabbat Shalom!
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