Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Open Hillel Debate | Guess the Headline’s Publisher – Iranian or Israeli? | Bank Leumi to pay U.S. $289M

By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff

TOP TALKER: Questionable AP Wire Story Runs In Papers Across The Country Today – “Israel no longer a cause that unifies U.S. Jews” by Rachel Zoll: “Once a unifying cause for generations of American Jews, Israel is now bitterly dividing Jewish communities. Jewish organizations are withdrawing invitations to Jewish speakers or performers considered too critical of Israel, in what opponents have denounced as an ideological litmus test meant to squelch debate. Some Jewish activists have formed watchdog groups, such as Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art, or COPMA, and JCC Watch, to monitor programming for perceived anti-Israel bias. They argue Jewish groups that take donations for strengthening the community shouldn’t be giving a platform to Israel’s critics.

“American campuses have become ideological battle zones over Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories, with national Jewish groups sometimes caught up on opposing sides of the internal debate among Jewish students. The “Open Hillel” movement of Jewish students is challenging speaker guidelines developed by Hillel, the major Jewish campus group, which bars speakers who “delegitimize” or “demonize” Israel. Open Hillel is planning its first national conference in October.” [AP]

—Two Jews, three opinions: J Street U and (Open) Hillel: “The Times of Israel spoke with a cross-section of Jewish students and professionals about the convergence of these three campus groups, and, unsurprisingly, found a span of voices and opinions. The following are selections from conversations.” Holly Bicerano – Member of the Open Hillel Steering Committee, Boston University;Andy Gitelson – Executive director at Oregon Hillel Foundation; Tracy Frydberg – Texans for Israel, the pro-Israel organization at the University of Texas at Austin; David Eden – Hillel International’s CEO;Jeremy Ben-Ami – Executive director of J Street; Lex Rofes – Open Hillel steering committee, former student rep to Hillel’s international board; Joanna Kramer – J Street U Brown activist; Daniel Mael – pro-Israel activist at Brandeis University; Sarah Turbow – Deputy Director, J Street U. [ToI]

OVERHEARD: Ex-envoy Kurtzer: US-Israel ties have never been so bad: Speaking to the opening session of J Street’s national summit in San Francisco this weekend, former U.S. AmbassadorDaniel Kurtzer said, “I find it extraordinary over these past few years, the degree to which this government of Israel has interfered in our domestic politics in a way to which, if we had done the reverse, it would have created a firestorm. [Haaretz— Related: At the J Street national summit, wondering what’s next: BDS is still a ‘red line,’ says J Street head Jeremy Ben-Ami, who claims his group is ‘squarely in the middle of the conversation’ [ToI]

—”Israel May Have To Go Alone On Iran”: Former National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror at Herzliya: Israel will stand “more or less alone” on Iran. Ties with the US are vital, but not enough. [JPost]

DENIES BUZZFEED REPORT: Not Talking With Hamas, Says US Envoy: US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said Sunday that recent reports about the Obama administration engaging with Hamas in indirect negotiations “are nonsense.” .. “Based on what we know now, we intend to work with this government,” he said. “But we will be watching closely to ensure it uphold the principles that President Abbas reiterated.He said that the US continued to view Hamas as a foreign terror organization that calls for the destruction of Israel. “We do not have any contact with Hamas, and recent reports to the contrary are nonsense.” [JPostVideo [YouTube]

Annexation Plan Sparks Threat to Topple Israel Government: “If there is any effort to annex even one settlement unilaterally, Yesh Atid will not just leave the government, it will bring it down,” Yair Lapid said at the Herzliya Conference on politics and security. Lapid also challenged Netanyahu to reveal a map showing how he would delineate the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state. Tzipi Livni said she would also withdraw her party’s support if there is any annexation attempt…. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett outlined a proposal for Israel to assume sovereignty over about 60 percent of the West Bank where more than 100 settlements are located, while giving “enhanced autonomy” to Palestinians in the rest of the territory.” [Bloomberg] — Israel seeks return of PA forces to Gaza, dismantling of Hamas military arm [BarakRavid]

DANI DAYAN NYTimes OpEd: “Peaceful Nonreconciliation Now” – Dayan is a former chairman of the Yesha Council: “Israel must initiate an ambitious and bold plan to improve every aspect of day-to-day life for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria — commonly referred to as the West Bank in these pages. Israelis must let go of the trauma of the Second Intifada that terrorized them between 2000 and 2005. The security barrier separating Judea and Samaria from the rest of Israel should ultimately be dismantled and Palestinians should enjoy complete freedom of movement and be able to re-enter the Israeli job market.” [NYTimes]

2016 WATCH – In New Book, Hillary Shows Daylight With Obama On Israel Policy: In some sections of Hillary Clinton’s new memoir (titled “Hard Choices”), the former secretary of state describes her disagreements with President Barack Obama and his aides. One sticking point was the Israeli construction freeze that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted and implemented between 2009 and 2010. Clinton said that the U.S. administration made a tactical mistake demanding a settlement freeze. “In retrospect, our early, hard line on settlements didn’t work,” she wrote… Clinton explained that the American stance on the settlements hardened Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s position. She said Abbas dismissed the Israeli construction freeze. Clinton herself called the Israeli decision to freeze construction “unprecedented.” [JNS]

—-Sunday Shows: Cruz Rallies Pro-Israeli Americans: On ABC’s This Week, Sen. Ted Cruz delivered an argument against those ‘Ready For Hillary’: “Internationally the Obama-Clinton foreign policy is a disaster… We’re in the middle of cutting a deal right now with Iran that I fear is repeating the mistakes of the Clinton administration in 1990s, setting up Iran, acquiring nuclear weapons capability…”On Israel visit:  “I just got back last week from traveling to Israel, Ukraine, Poland and Estonia. And it was striking — what our allies are expressing over and over again is that leadership is missing. And the most frequent thing you hear when you talk to an ambassador, a foreign minister of our friends and allies when they pull you aside quietly in hushed tones; they say, “Where is America?” [ABC News]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Texas Governor Rick Perry addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual Summer Bash in Beverly Hills. GOP California Gov. candidate Neel Kashkari was in attendance… Foreign Affairs Committee Chairmen Reps. Ed Royce and Eliot Engel received an award from Israel Bonds at a DC event hosted by Ambassador Ron Dermer who said “Ukraine, Bergdahl are media distractions from Iran but for Israel we’re keeping our eye on the ball”…. Rep. Jackie Speier and Knesset Member Merav Michaeli (Labor) addressed J-Street’s annual Gala in San Francisco

**Good Monday 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 editor@jewishinsider.com**

GUESS THE PUBLICATION: Iranian or Israeli? The following is from an article posted on several Iranian news sites: “The major organizations that comprise the Israel Lobby are well known: AIPAC, the ADL, the AJC, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and CUFI. All are well known, benefiting from large budgets and staffs. They are extremely effective, having excellent access to politicians and the media to promote their points of view, and are, as a group, regular visitors to the White House. AIPAC is without doubt the most powerful lobby in the United States that is focused on a foreign policy issue.” [Unz] — Meanwhile Haaretz Ran This Headline – “Israel’s moral retirement: Feeling they have accumulated a moral fortune, the Jews feel free to lecture the world while doing what they please” [Haaretz]

At Vatican, Day of Prayer With Focus on Uniting: “In a richly symbolic ceremony, Pope Francis oversaw a carefully orchestrated “prayer summit” with the Israeli and Palestinian presidents on Sunday as Jews, Christians and Muslims offered invocations for peace in the Vatican gardens. Many Mideast analysts, while applauding the gesture, have been skeptical that the meeting would help revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but it did, at least, bring together the two presidents, who held a private meeting after the ceremony with Francis.” [NYTimes]

Jewish Agency to get new competition: “Israel may establish a new body to encourage Jewish immigration from the Diaspora that will operate alongside the Jewish Agency, according to a report in the Hebrew press.” [JPost] — Thane Rosenbaum: “Fascism Is Fashionable Again in Europe” [DailyBeast]

36-UNDER-36 LIST: Read profiles of all 36-under-36 selected in The Jewish Week’s annual list of Millennials And Gen-Xers Reinventing The Jewish Community: Yuri Foreman, Gleneara Bates, Nily Rozic, Rabbi Jessica Minnen, Mati Esther Engel, Yelena Zatulovsky, Anne Lieberman, Anat Coleman, Mikaela Gerwin, Rebecca Fischer, Ethan Metzger, Akiva Shapiro, Mark Weingarten, Jessica Abo, Joshua Nass, Noah Bernamoff, Yocheved Sidof, Andrew Klaber, Ariela Rothstein, Shlomo Klapper, Rebecca Goldstein Shomair, Anya Kamenetz, Eli Lunzer, Matthue Roth and Itta Werdiger-Roth, Yaacov Behrman, Isaac Bleaman, Dina Muskin Goldberg, Peter Bernstein and Andrew Wiener, Dina Silberstein, Robert J. Saferstein, Vladimir Ronin, Leah Vincent, MaNishtana Rison, Yaniv Meirov, Alex Goldberg, Hart Levine [The Jewish Week]

—Our Favorites: “Bringing the Heights to The Hill: Dina Muskin Goldberg”: – “Following the example of her father, Rabbi Elazar Muskin of the Young Israel of Century City in Los Angeles, who has led Israel lobbying missions, and drawing on her experience working for AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, and founding C-PAC at YULA High School, Dina rounded up YU and Stern students for a day of lobbying members of Congress. The mission: round up support for efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program. And so YUPAC was born with the support of top YU officials, up to President Richard Joel.” [Dina Muskin Goldberg] —— “Building a Network: Peter Bernstein and Andrew Wiener”: “Andrew Weiner and Peter Bernstein have a lot in common. Both are young, newly married and Upper East Side residents, members of fortunate families that are well established in New York’s real estate community. Perhaps it was inevitable that their paths would cross, as they did when they took on leadership roles in the Real Estate New Leadership Cabinet of Israel Bonds.” [Berstein & Wiener]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: NYMag Feature Story – “The Taming of the Trading Monster” – “After his firm’s indictment, Steven A. Cohen is richer than ever—but almost everything has changed.” [NYMag] —Judge denies Paul Singer, won’t rebuke Argentina on debt plan: “The long-simmering battle for billions of dollars in Argentina debt payments has begun to boil. A Manhattan federal court judge refused a request by hedge fund investor Paul Singer to chide Argentina over its apparent “best option” plan to default on all its debt should it lose its last-chance appeal later this week. Singer was enraged by a leaked confidential memo written by the country’s lawyers at Cleary Gottlieb that indicated Argentina was considering defaulting on all of its debt should the Supreme Court decline a request to hear the case.”[NYPost]

Real Estate RoundUp: Joe Sitt’s Thor to buy 57th Street retail across from Gary Barnett’s Extell development [RealDeal] — Mitch Rudin to leave Brookfield [Observer] — Frank Lowy’s Westfield’s Underground Mall at World Trade Center Draws Marquee Retailers [WSJ] — Cordish’s Maryland Live casino plans hotel, spa [BaltimoreSun] — Michael Shvo moving ahead with Soho residential tower [RealDeal]

—-Israel’s Bank Leumi to pay $289 million in U.S. tax probe deal: “Bank Leumi, Israel’s second largest bank, said on Sunday it was close to a deal to pay nearly 1 billion shekels ($289 million) to the U.S. Justice Department in relation to its investigation into possible tax evasion by the bank’s American clients.” [Reuters] —— Exodus to New York a Boon for Tel Aviv Stock Returns: “Israeli traders are avoiding this year’s rout in shares of computer and software makers as more technology companies seek to list their shares abroad. Local investors avoided getting burned by declines in U.S.- traded technology stocks amid concern prices have outrun earnings. Instead they are benefiting from gains in Israel’s energy and banking sectors, according to Steven Schoenfeld, whose firm built the BlueStar Israel Global Index, which includes Israeli companies listed both in Tel Aviv and abroad.” [Bloomberg]

STARTUP NATION: Backstory: The lawyer who brought a poor kibbutz to a $300 million exit: “When Yoav Caspi first met with members of Sdot Yam, they barely knew what an IPO was. Now they’re considering how to spend the proceeds of last month’s partial sell-off.” [Haaretz] — Israeli LTE chip firm Altair Semiconductor has raised a fresh $25 million, led by new investor Jerusalem Global Ventures [VentureBeat] — New Israeli breath-alcohol app Alcohoot generating buzz [WTOP] — The Israeli start-ups behind Google’s 3D technology [ToI] —— The Top Ten Coolest Ever Israeli Military Inventions [BuzzFeed]

SPORTS BLINK: Source – NBA’s Cleveland Cavs Contacted Maccabi Tel Aviv Coach David Blatt Regarding Their Coaching Job [AP]

TALK OF THE TOWN: Jewish Day School wants to end teachers union: “When teachers at the Perelman Jewish Day School in Montgomery County were told in March that the private religious academy would no longer recognize their 60-member union, they filed a federal labor complaint – and then they went to a higher authority. With the clock ticking toward the end of their existing contract, Perelman teachers and their supporters are hoping a last-ditch appeal to Jewish religious law – specifically a 2008 finding by the religion’s conservative movement that affiliated institutions can’t interfere with labor organizing – can save their union.” [Philly]

—In Crown Heights, Once Torn by Race Riots, a Friendly Game of Soccer: “The World Cup may be days away, but in Brooklyn, the Crown Heights Cup game on Sunday may be almost as important. In some ways, it is more important…. Since 2011, teams of Hasidic Jews, give or take a ringer or two, have faced off at least once a year against teams made up largely of black immigrants from the Caribbean. They have jostled and elbowed one another while deftly kicking and passing the ball on an artificial grass field in a neighborhood playground, Hamilton Metz Field. The Hasidim, despite stereotypes of their lackluster athleticism and obsessive absorption in Torah study, have won two of the games and lost one. They won again Sunday, 4-2, with a player named Mendy Vogel, a 20-year-old immigrant from London, scoring three goals.” [NYTimes]

NYPOST: “How one rabbi modernized Judaism and began a movement”: “From a spartan basement synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson became the spiritual leader to tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews across the globe, a man whose counsel was sought by world leaders and rock ’n’ roll icons…. At its core, his philosophy was simple. Instead of citing the old Yiddish expression repeated for generations during times of stress that “it’s hard to be a Jew,” Schneerson turned the mindset around — and it caught on: “It is good to be a Jew.”…. “He launched the first effort I know of in Jewish history to reach every Jewish community and every Jew in the world,” Telushkin said. “As the former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks commented, ‘If Hitler wanted to hunt down every Jew in hate, the Rebbe wanted to track down every Jew in love.’” [NYPost]

That’s all folks, have a great Monday!

**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**

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