Daily Kickoff: Eric Cantor’s Loss Stuns – ‘Jewish Insiders’ React; J Street Donors to Host President Obama Today; Rising Jewish Star Raises Millions
By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff
SHOCKED! – The One Word To Describe How Everyone Felt Last Night When They Heard That House Majority Leader & Sole Jewish GOP Congressman, Eric Cantor, Lost His Primary Election – The First House Majority Leader to Lose Renomination Since The Office Was Created in 1899. Tea Party Challenger Dave Brat, an economics professor for the past 18 years at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Va., defeated Cantor 55.5% to 44.5%.
Several Prominent ‘Jewish Insiders’ Sent Us Their Reactions…
Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations: “It is very surprising to say the least, and it will have long term after effects. Eric Cantor will be sorely missed.”
Jeff Ballabon: “He’s a good friend, a dedicated public servant, a trailblazer and an outstanding role model. While his leadership in Congress most surely will be missed, he’s a great patriot and a proud Jew who will continue to be an influential leader. Sorry to see a friend go, but in the big picture, it high time the GOP paid more attention to its conservative base.”
Douglas Bloomfield – who on Sunday wrote a piece titled “Could GOP Lose Its Only Jew In Congress?” and who might be one of the few people not shocked by the news – sent us this:“He bears major responsibility for the deterioration in U.S. – Israel relations over the past several years. He encouraged Prime Minister Netanyahu to oppose anything the Obama administration wanted by promising that Republicans would run interference for him. Perhaps this will send a wake up call to the Prime Minister to take seriously his need to repair relations with the administration.” Bloomfield also emailed us a November 11, 2010 article in Politico titled “Before Clinton meeting, Cantor’s one-on-one with Bibi” to compliment his point.
Hank Sheinkopf: “He was–a conservative republican and a Jew–unusual and endangered. Most of his fellow Jews might disagree–based upon how they vote–that this a great loss. It is. Who would speak for Jewish concerns in a republican dominated congress now?”
AIPAC Board Member: “He should run as an independent aka Joe Lieberman.”
William Daroff: “Eric Cantor is a good friend; his leadership was impactful on many issues including: Israel, charitable tax deduction, and Holocaust survivor issues.”
Other Jewish reactions in the media and on social media…
NYTimes: “David Wasserman, a House political analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said another, more local factor has to be acknowledged: Mr. Cantor, who dreamed of becoming the first Jewish speaker of the House, was culturally out of step with a redrawn district that was more rural, more gun-oriented and more conservative. “Part of this plays into his religion,” Mr. Wasserman said. “You can’t ignore the elephant in the room.” [NYTimes]
POLITICO – “For Jewish Republicans: Oy vey” by Alexander Burns: ”The dream of a Jewish Republican speaker of the House is no more. Now, with Cantor’s defeat, there’s no longer a point man to help organize trips to Israel for junior GOP lawmakers, as Cantor routinely did. Jewish nonprofits and advocacy groups have no other natural person in leadership to look to for a sympathetic ear. No other Republican lawmaker can claim to have precisely the same relationship with gaming billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a primary benefactor of both the Republican Party and the Republican Jewish Coalition.[Politico]
Matt Brooks, Director of the RJC: “One of those incredible, evil twists of fate that just changed the potential course of history.” “There are other leaders who will emerge, but Eric was unique and it will take time and there’s nobody quite like Eric in the House to immediately fill those shoes,” Brooks said. “I was certainly hoping that Eric was going to be our first Jewish speaker.”
Ari Fleischer, former Bush White House press secretary: “From a historical perspective Cantor’s defeat was “very sad – but my politics don’t revolve around my identity as much as they do my ideology.” “It was a real point of pride to have Eric as a Jewish Republican. There are some other Jewish Republicans running in 2014,” Fleischer said. “Let’s wait and see.”
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: “Shocked by Eric Cantor’s primary loss. Huge Mistake. Eric one of the finest, nicest, more astute kind of public servants in all of american political life.”
TOP TWEETS: @IsaacDovere: “Cantor’s defeat means no more point man for House GOP trips to Israel… so less Galilee skinny dipping now? @J_Insider: “On a trip to Israel a few years ago, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef told Eric Cantor that he would become POTUS one day. #Cantor2016?”
SCENE LAST NIGHT by journalist & producer Ari Werth for the Daily Kickoff: Some of the biggest Jewish names in journalism, politics, and business were on hand last night for the Algemeiner’s annual Summer Benefit fundraiser at the Carriage House in Manhattan. Journalism awards were given toKen Kurson, editor of the New York Observer, and Michael Behar, the award-winning former investigative journalist for Forbes. “Ken is a mensch,” declared former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey who made a surprise appearance as award presenter. Israel Consul General Ido Aharoni also praised the Algemeiner for its positive contributions to public discourse about Israel security. “Few people have the courage to look at the issue from a different angle,” he told the crowd, which included Forbes editor Randall Lane and New York Observer owner Jared Kushner.
“The night’s other surprise, the primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, was obviously the talk of the room. We pigeon-holed politico Ezra Friedlander to discuss the meaning of it all. “Cantor lost because politics today does not include a component for compromise,” Friedlandler opined over a plate of baked salmon. “It sends the strong message that the Tea Party won’t compromise and work with Democrats.” Luckily, both Democrats and Republicans at the Algemeiner event managed to unite and sing “Happy Birthday” to Algemeiner editor Dovid Efune, who is still a twentysomething.
HAPPENING TODAY: J Street donors Paul & Joanne Egerman to host President Obama at their house in Weston, Massachusetts: “Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) are all expected to attend. Tickets to the event, which include dinner and a photo, are $32,400 per person. Egerman most recently served as Warren’s finance committee chair. In addition, he is a member of J Street’s Advisory Council and J Street Boston’s Leadership Council. Paul also serves as a board member at the New Israel Fund and on the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Greater Boston’s Jewish Federations, tech committee. Joanne Egerman serves on the boards of the Anti-Defamation League in New York and of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusett’s in Boston.” [JewishInsider]
WSJ: “Nationalist Politician Reuven Rivlin Chosen as Israel’s Next President”: Israel’s parliament on Tuesday chose Reuven Rivlin, a veteran nationalist politician and supporter of the Jewish settlement movement, as the country’s next president, putting a man opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state into the ceremonial but influential post. [Wall Street Journal]
—President Obama Statement on the Presidential Election in Israel: “The people of the United States join me in offering Reuven Rivlin congratulations on his election as the next President of the State of Israel. President-elect Rivlin has a long and dedicated record of public service and we look forward to continued strong ties, to the benefit of both our nations, under Mr. Rivlin’s presidency. As President Shimon Peres nears the end of his term, he can look back on a remarkable legacy of courage, conviction, and compassion. He has dedicated his extraordinary life to the cause of peace, and I look forward to welcoming him in Washington later this month where he will receive the Congressional Gold Medal.”[WhiteHouse]
—Exit Interview: WSJ Q&A with Outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres: “WSJ: You’re visiting Washington next month, your last trip as president. Where do U.S.-Israeli relations stand under President Obama in your view? Peres: “I think that our relations are good relations and are permanent. It doesn’t mean that we should ignore troubles and problems, we should handle them properly. I believe Obama kept to his word when it comes to the security of Israel [to] this very day and we have to handle the situation as friends and not to make the problems or come to the wrong conclusions.” [Wall Street Journal]
PLAN B: “Is An Alternative To The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process Having Its Moment?” by Rosie Gray in BuzzFeed: “Michael Oren, a historian who served as Israel’s U.S. ambassador for four years until late last year, has been advocating what he calls Plan B, a proposal that would have Israel unilaterally withdraw from the occupied West Bank, redraw its borders to include most of the settlers, and end the occupation — all without first negotiating a deal with the Palestinians. Plan B is intended to outmaneuver potential forthcoming Palestinian moves at the United Nations to seek acknowledgment of statehood. The U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro appeared to approve of the plan.”[BuzzFeed] — Palestinians avoid U.S. aid cutoff, but what happens when Hamas runs in elections? by Ron Kampeas [JTA]
**Good Wednesday Morning! 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 email@example.com**
START-UP NATION: Israeli Platform lets ‘owners’ sell their start-up stakes [ToI] — Tel Aviv to get first Bitcoin ATM in Middle East [Haaretz] — Meet the 6 Israeli Startups On ‘Forbes’ Top 10 Health Tech Changing The World [NoCamels] — Index Ventures Raises $543 Million for New Fund [WSJ]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: “Income Inequality Is A Very Destabilizing Thing In The Country” [BuzzFeed] — Longread: Josh Kushner’s Healthcare Start-up Oscar Tries To Cover a New Generation of Uninsured [NYMag] — Joseph Chetrit aims to build condos in the Sony Building [WSJ] — Argentina’s Dispute With Paul Singer’s Hedge Fund Goes To Pope Francis [ValueWalk] — Akiva Shmidman, a physical therapist and inventor of the BeActive Brace, says his device is proven to ease back pain [DailyRecord]
RISING STAR: Young Jewish Entrepreneur Who Is Building The ‘Holy Grail Of Email’ Just Raised Millions: “RebelMail, formerly called EngageInbox, has raised a $US2 million seed round for an interactive email product that launched a few months ago. RebelMail, which is based in Washington, D.C., takes an email marketing campaign and adds instant check-out to the message rather than redirecting readers to a website. It dumbs down the multi-step purchasing process and puts it all in a single email, which translates into a clean mobile shopping experience. The founders, Joe Teplow and Trever Faden, were surprised to see investors clamor to fund their two-person startup. A source close to the company says the valuation jumped three times during their fundraising process.” [BusinessInsider] —— In 2009, at age 17, Teplow was featured in the Jewish Week’s 36 under 36 [JewishWeek]
NYTimes: “Genealogy Shows Cardinal O’Connor’s Mother Was Jewish”: “In his 16 years as the Catholic Church’s top official in New York, Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor was a staunch friend and defender of the Jewish people. He spoke often about what he had seen at Dachau as a Navy chaplain. He used his platform as head of the Archdiocese of New York to support Soviet Jewry, and played a role in the Vatican’s recognition of the state of Israel. Mayor Edward I. Koch, a Bronx-born Jew who worked closely with the cardinal, proclaimed that he loved him “like a brother.” Yet there was something Cardinal O’Connor apparently never knew: His mother was born a Jew, the daughter of a rabbi and butcher.” [NYTimes]
That’s all folks, have a great Wednesday!
**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org**