Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: “I’ll be better for Israel than Obama” – Hillary to Jewish donors | Wieseltier on J Street, AIPAC | Tesla Israel | Donna Karan’s legacy

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ASPEN SCENE: We had an impromptu Jewish Insider reader summit yesterday, with Sen. Cory BookerJeffrey Goldberg and Seth Siegel, where notes on delivering great ‘Dvar Torah’ speeches were exchanged. [Picture• Katie Couric joked with us that the dinner she MC’d for Abe Foxman two weeks ago with 20+ speakers is probably still going on… but she had to leave eventually. • Rahm Emanuel spoke on education and the closest he got to dropping a selection from his notoriously colorful vocabulary, was when he used the word ‘meshugah’ instead. When asked how he deals with the municipal government money shortage, Rahm replied “I don’t think about it, I just pray.” We relayed this to Rahm’s Rabbi, Jack Moline, who emailed saying “I’ve seen him pray many times. Now I know what he’s praying about.”

Heard Yesterday: Leon Wieseltier discussing “Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and the Future of Religious Racism” with Arsalan Iftikhar: “If you want to understand anti-Semitism don’t study the Jews, study the non-Jews. If you want to understand Islamophobia don’t study the Muslims… To study the object of a prejudice in order to understand the prejudice is actually to express the prejudice.”

“I’m always amused, no that’s too kind of a word. I’m always put out when I hear Jews worrying about Sharia coming to America because Orthodox Jews go to Rabbinical Courts all the time. There is a vast network of Rabbinical Courts in this country. They are sophisticated judicial institutions and they base themselves entirely on halacha, Jewish law with no reference. They pose no threat to American Jewish citizenship in this country so the hypocrisy of those people always puts me out.”

“In the Jewish tradition the basis of social compassion and social solidarity is the memory of one’s own experience of persecution. Because you were once a slave in Egypt. It’s been a long time since American Jews have ever remembered that they were slaves in Egypt. I think that solidarity always requires imagination… There was a time when Jews had memories of anti-Semitism, now they have reports of memories of anti-Semitism — I mean in this country. And that’s good. There are these fools running around saying ‘a little anti-Semitism would be good for Jewish identity.’ That’s crazy! Also, the kind of identity that relies on hostility is a weak, worthless kind of identity.”

“I sometimes wonder about American Jews who pride themselves, rightly, upon the achievements of the immigrants who came between 1880 and 1920. I wonder what the American Jewish community would be like if those immigrants had arrived to a multicultural society and a welfare state. What if they came to an America where people didn’t have to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, an America that didn’t press them, that wasn’t a melting pot. It turns out that the melting pot melted too much.”

On J Street, AIPAC: In the Q&A, Wieseltier was asked “Is J Street having the success in opening up a real conversation?” LW — “I think J Street is having success. I think J Street represents a part of the American Jewish community. I think that certain proponents of J Street have, in my view, exaggerated the extent to which there was not a debate within the American Jewish community. We’ve been quarreling about these things for decades. I don’t think that AIPAC is the monstrous engine of oppression that some people think it is. I think there is a healthy debate going on in the American Jewish community. J Street contributes to it. It existed before J Street. AIPAC is not nearly monolithic. Some views that you may think you could only find at J Street, you’ll find at AIPAC’s Policy Conference too.”

LW on Bibi: “It’s very rare that I begin a sentence with the words “I agree with Netanyahu” but I agreed with Netanyahu when he came to France and told the Jews of France to come home.”

Arsalan Iftikhar: “An attack on one house of worship is an attack on every house of worship.”

Graeme Wood on whether ISIS is part of Islam: “Messianic settlers in Israel also derive from Jewish text but we wouldn’t say they’re not Jewish” [Twitter]

Happening Today at Aspen: Jeffrey Goldberg and David Brooks discuss “Should the Jews Leave Europe?”… Ruth Messinger on “The Faith-Based Fight for Social Justice”… William Browder on “How I Became Putin’s No. 1 Enemy”… David M. Rubenstein on the “Impact of the Fluctuating Price of Oil on the Global Economy.”

2016 WATCH: “Hillary Clinton to Jewish donors: “I’ll be better for Israel than Obama” by Kenneth P. Vogel and Tarini Parti: “Hillary Clinton is privately signaling to wealthy Jewish donors that — no matter the result of the Iranian nuclear negotiations — she will be a better friend to Israel than President Barack Obama. But, even as donors increasingly push Clinton on the subject in private, they have emerged with sometimes widely varying interpretations about whether she would support a prospective deal, according to interviews with more than 10 influential donors and fundraising operatives.” [Politico]

“Clinton ally lobbied Hillary to meet then-envoy Michael Oren, email reveals” by Barak Ravid: “On December 10, 2009, about six months after Oren took up his position in Washington, Brian Greenspun sent an email to the private account of then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking her to check why her staff was not allowing the Israeli ambassador to meet her. It’s isn’t clear whether Oren was the one who asked Greenspun to intervene. Greenspun is publisher of the Las Vegas Sun and was Bill Clinton’s old college roommate.” [Haaretz] • “Last week Hillary Clinton even cited her rapport with Michael Oren. ‘I know Michael well, but I haven’t read the book,’ she said.” [Politico]

Gary Rosenblatt on Michael Oren, Part Two: “Critics didn’t have to read “Ally,” and probably hadn’t, to conclude that Oren was deeply partisan against Obama. And that’s a pity because the strength of the 400-page book is that it is far more nuanced than those essays Oren wrote. It offers numerous examples of the administration not living up to its repeated claims of “having Israel’s back” in regard to political and diplomatic issues… Oren had hoped that his book.. might play a role in preventing the “bad deal” of which Israelis are so fearful. Not unexpectedly, though, it has bolstered critics of the deal and been dismissed by supporters of it — another painful example of Oren’s “journey across the American-Israeli divide.”” [JewishWeek]

“Oren responds to ‘Ally’ backlash” by Ryan Torok: “The attacks on the book haven’t been about the book. They’ve been about me,” he said. “I urge you to accept my earnestness in saying if I hadn’t written the book, I don’t know if could have lived with myself. … I wrote it for the love of my country and the love of my people,” he said, “and I hope that comes across in the book.” [JewishJournalYouTube]

IRAN TALKS: “The Secret Side of the Iran Nuclear Deal” by Eli Lake, Josh Rogin: “Important details of the nuclear agreement President Barack Obama says would bring unprecedented transparency to Iran’s nuclear program will themselves be shrouded from the U.S. and Iranian publics, according to nuclear experts.” [BloombergView]

“The Iranian Spy Empire” by Lee Smith: “The Iranians are clearly at home because they turned Vienna into a police state,” said someone familiar with Iranian security tactics. “They track and document the movements and interactions of journalists, analysts and politicians alike. Iranian reporters and delegates will certainly be held to account for any interactions with Westerners, whether they are journalists, analysts, U.S. government officials or strippers at Vienna’s ubiquitous nightclubs.” “Vienna,” said one Iranian dissident I met at the Marriott, “is the center of Iranian intelligence operations in Europe.” [WeeklyStandard]

Jeb Bush Op-Ed: “The Obama-Clinton-Kerry Iran policy has failed not only because its weak negotiating strategy will not stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability, but also because it has, from the beginning, ignored the comprehensive nature of the threat posed by Iran. The nuclear program is but one symptom of an underlying disease, and the Obama Administration has treated only this one symptom, and ineffectively at that.” [TownHall]

“Does Ted Cruz have advantage in wooing Adelson?” by Ray Hagar: “Nevada Republican political consultant Robert Uithoven, who led Adam Laxalt’s successful campaign for attorney general in 2014, has been named the Nevada state director for the Ted Cruz for President Campaign. Uithoven has also lobbied at the Nevada Legislature on behalf of the Las Vegas Sands Corp… “I assure you that they are unrelated,” Uithoven said about his work for Adelson and Cruz.” [RGJ]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Rubenstein: Carlyle Not in Talks With SEC About Fees” [Bloomberg“Cordish appoints new leaders to gaming division ahead of expansion” [BizJournalNewsWire] • “Sellout at Chetrit and Bistricer’s Gramercy Square would net $754M” [RealDeal]

SPOTLIGHT: “Donna Karan’s Fans and Friends Discuss Her Legacy” by Jacob Bernstein:“On Tuesday, Donna Karan stepped down from her namesake company after more than 30 years in business. In that time she became one of the most famous designers in America, started an enormously successful bridge line, sold her company to LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and was an icon for working women… Ms. Karan was born in Forest Hills, Queens, and went to school at the Parsons School of Design. Then it was off to work at Anne Klein, where she served, at first, as Ms. Klein’s assistant. “She was just a nice Jewish girl, simple, not memorable.” [NYTimes] • “Donna Karan: 7 Easy Pieces, 7 Jew-y Facts” [JewishWeek]

STARTUP NATION: “Tesla’s Battery Push Is Good News for This Israeli Solar Company” by David Wainer: “It’s good to do business with Elon Musk. That’s what SolarEdge Technologies Inc. is discovering, as demand from customers including Musk’s SolarCity Corp. helped the shares double since its March initial public offering. The company, based in Herziliya Pituach, Israel, is poised to get another boost from Musk, by agreeing to provide components for residential energy-storage systems developed by Tesla Motors Inc.” [Bloomberg] • “Negev’s 1st class of social business entrepreneurs sets sights on Israel’s future” [JNS• “The making of an Israeli entrepreneur” [TechWorld]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “A rabbi explains what ‘Orange Is the New Black’ gets right about Judaism”[Vox

“Mennonites and Episcopalians Say No, for Now, to Israel Divestment” by Rick Gladstone:“Two American Christian church denominations dealt a setback Thursday to a pro-Palestinian economic campaign against Israel, with one defeating a resolution calling for divestment and boycott and the other delaying a vote for two years.” [NYTimes]

LongRead: “How a white supremacist tapped into a Jewish fortune” by Rick Newman:“What made Holt such a generous donor, seemingly overnight? Holt won’t say, and he refused to speak with Yahoo Finance for this story. But a Yahoo Finance investigation has found that one month before his political donations began, Holt married Katherine Ann Cook of Longview, Texas, whose husband Irving Falk had died one year earlier, leaving a sizable estate to his wife and other family members. Falk had been a successful Jewish businessman in Longview who eventually acquired dozens of oil and gas leases, several commercial real estate properties, at least two homes, and other assets.” [Yahoo]

“In Memory of a Dedicated Cyclist Who Was ‘A Good Wheel to Follow’” by Jason Gay: “Irving Schachter loved riding a bike as much as anyone. Last August, he died after being struck by a cyclist in Central Park” [WSJ• H/T @HowieWolf

“For an internet entrepreneur who did it twice, a lot more than 15 years separates the dot-com bubble from today” by Mark Patricof: In March of that year Trevor and I went to Israel to assist a start-up called Back Web whose co-founder, Nir Barkat, became (and still is) the Mayor of Jerusalem in 2008. While going through security we were separated by customs officers and each asked the nature of our business in Israel. I explained that Company Number 1 was an entertainment company and 2 booths away Trevor described Company Number 1 as a new type of advertising agency. How could two partners explain what their company does in such vastly different ways? Security was quite concerned and we nearly missed our flight.” [BusinessInsider]

SPORTS BLINK: “A wild decade of Vikings ownership for Wilfs” by Mark Craig: “Highly successful people tend to look in all directions. Except backward. So let’s excuse Zygi and Mark Wilf for being momentarily stumped this week while on a call with a pesky reporter who asked them what piece of advice they would offer to themselves if they could, you know, travel back in time to June 13, 2005, the first day their family assumed ownership of the Vikings from Red McCombs.” [StarTribune]

DESSERT: “Land of Pork and Honey” by Shira Rubin: “Marmorstein’s newest venture is Israel’s first American-style barbecue truck (actually, a truck parked inside a restaurant), inspired by the haunts of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A stalwart atheist, he views the truck as part of a larger movement within Israel. He realizes that the hefty showing of pork on the menu repels some potential customers, who continue to see the food as taboo, but hopes that that will soon change. He blames Judaism, which forbids the consumption of pork, for the stark division between Tel Aviv, widely known as a secular “bubble,” and the rest of the country.” [Roads&Kingdoms]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Gloria Allred turns 74… Daniel Gordis turns 56…

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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