Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Debate Recap | Adelson met with Trump, Jeb, Rubio & Cruz | NJDC Downsizes | Steven Spielberg on Hollywood’s Holocaust Survivors

Have our people email your people. Share this sign up link with your friends.

DEBATE RECAP: “Little Risk Taking at Year’s Final Republican Debate” by Mark Halperin: “National security dominated in a debate that featured limited sustained candidate clashes and not a lot of risk taking. No candidate truly excelled, and no one had a dreadful evening. That means the race likely will go into the New Year without much of a change in the rank order of the candidates—the leaders coming into the debate are the winners leaving the debate. Standing out on such a crowded stage remains a real challenge.” [Bloomberg]

Spotted in the Vegas crowd: Sheldon Adelson, RJC’s Matt Brooks, Yitz Applbaum, Edward and Elissa Czuker, Elliott Broidy, Lew Eisenberg, Abbie Friedman, Lenny Sands, Jeffrey Gunter.

HIGHLIGHTS: Donald Trump — “Certainly would never have made that horrible, disgusting, absolutely incompetent deal with Iran where they get $150 billion. They’re a terrorist nation… We have to do one thing at a time. We can’t be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad. Assad is fighting ISIS… Iran is fighting ISIS. After we get rid of ISIS, we’ll start thinking about it… Walls do work, you just have to speak to the folks in Israel. Walls work if they’re properly constructed..”

Jeb Bush: “Trump “is a chaos candidate. And he’d be a chaos president… Just two months ago he said that Hillary Clinton would be a great negotiator with Iran. And he gets his foreign policy experience from the shows. I don’t know if that’s Saturday morning or Sunday morning. I don’t know which one. That is not a serious kind of candidate… Donald, you’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. That’s not going to happen…”

RUBIO VS. CRUZ: Rubio — “Three times he voted against the Defense Authorization Act, which is a bill that funds the troops. It also, by the way, funds the Iron Dome and other important programs. And I have to assume that if you vote against it in the Senate, you would also veto it as president.”

Cruz — “Marco has continued these attacks, and he knows they’re not true. Yes, it is true that I voted against the National Defense Authorization Act, because when I campaigned in Texas I told voters in Texas that I would oppose the federal government having the authority to detain U.S. citizens permanently with no due process… And one of the problems with Marco’s foreign policy is he has far too often supported Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama undermining governments in the Middle East that have helped radical Islamic terrorists… Obama, Clinton, and far too many Republicans — want to topple Assad… if we topple Assad, the result will be ISIS will take over Syria, and it will worsen U.S. national security interests.”

Rubio — “The government in Saudi Arabia is not a democracy, but we will have to work with them. The government in Jordan is not perfect, but we will have to work with them. But anti-American dictators like Assad, who help Hezbollah, who helped get those IEDs into Iraq, if they go, I will not shed a tear.”

Cruz — “I’ll tell you whose view on Assad is the same as mine. It’s Prime Minister Netanyahu. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said Israel doesn’t have a dog in that fight because Assad is a puppet of Iran, a Shia radical Islamic terrorist, but at the same time, Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn’t want to see Syria governed by ISIS. And we need to focus on American interests, not on global aspirations.”

At Heritage last week, Cruz said “I’m guided by Netanyahu’s policy on Syria” [JewishInsider]

Lee Smith fact-checks Cruz: “This is not Israel’s policy. Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, senior Israeli officials, including Netanyahu, have been quite clear that Assad should go. Israel’s operations in Syria have all been directed against Assad’s partners in the Iranian axis, including Iranian arms convoys headed to Hezbollah and weapons depots throughout Syria. Moreover, Israel is quietly cooperating with various anti-Assad rebel groups in order to keep Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah units from opening another front on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.” [WeeklyStandard]

Michael Crowley: “How Cruz and Rubio exposed the GOP’s rift on foreign policy” [Politico]

“Clinton Slams Trump and Cruz in Counterterrorism Speech” by John Hudson: “In the nearly hourlong speech Tuesday, Clinton emphasized the importance of shutting down Islamic State recruitment in the United States by cracking down on cyber-jihadists, tightening the U.S. visa waiver program, disrupting potential terrorist plots by ramping up surveillance and reconnaissance efforts, and forging closer ties with Muslim American communities.” [ForeignPolicy]

“Senior Dems: Bring a Muslim-American to the State of the Union” by Lauren French: “In a letter sent to House Democrats and Republicans on Tuesday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, said lawmakers should bring Muslim-Americans to the Jan. 12 speech as a way to rebut anti-Muslim rhetoric.” [Politico]

TOP TALKER: “Democratic Jewish Group Downsizes as GOP Counterpart Gains Cash and Influence” by Nathan Guttman: “The NJDC now has no office of its own. Instead, its work is carried out by Bluelight Strategies, a PR firm it has contracted with that does work for many Democratic party clients. In 2013, NJDC operated with a budget of less than half a million dollars. And though it never matched its Republican counterpart in size, NJDC has undergone a reorganization this year, making it an even leaner operation… NJDC now operates out of the offices of Bluelight Strategies, with Aaron Keyak holding the position of de facto executive director and Greg Rosenbaum, the top lay leader, playing a larger role as the organization’s public face.” [Forward]

“Reid suspects Adelson is Las Vegas paper’s mysterious buyer” by Burgess Everett: “We have a few rich people in Las Vegas, one of whom is well known, so we’ll see. And he owns newspapers in other places,” Reid said cryptically of Adelson, who owns newspapers in Israel. Though he did not refer to Adelson by name, an aide confirmed Reid believes Adelson is the buyer.” [Politico]

ADELSON PRIMARY: “Trump meets with Sheldon Adelson but says, ‘I don’t want his money’” by Robert Costa and Matea Gold: “In a telephone interview before the meeting, Trump described it as a courtesy and a conversation rather than a solicitation for campaign donations. “Sheldon knows that I’m in town because of the debate, and he’s been a friend of mine for a long time,” Trump said. “He called to see whether or not we could meet, and we are going to meet.” When asked for a comment, Adelson adviser Andy Abboud wrote in an email that Trump was coming by to visit Adelson and his wife, Miriam.” [WashPost]

Jon Ralston tweets — “I am reliably told Adelson has had private meetings with Trump, Bush, Rubio and Cruz. I understand his ring was washed after each meeting.” [Twitter]

“Why Does Donald Trump Hire Terrible Doctors and Lawyers?” by Jonathan Chait: “Perhaps Trump trusts Dr. Bornstein because he’s Jewish? The hypothesis that Trump is a hyper-philo-Semite would explain his relationship with Michael Cohen, special counsel to the Trump organization… Gentiles, as a Jew, I am here to tell you from life experience that many of my people are not terribly bright. Do not assume that your Jewish doctor, lawyer, or accountant knows what he is doing.” [NYMag]

“DOJ: Trump’s Early Businesses Blocked Blacks” by Gideon Resnick: “The DOJ claimed that a former rental agent for the Trumps, Donald Herman, said he was told “that Trump Management believes that Jewish tenants are the best tenants” and while some black residents were allowed, it was not preferred.” [DailyBeast]

HEARD YESTERDAY: “U.S. President Barack Obama told immigrants being sworn in as U.S. citizens at the National Archives in Washington on Tuesday that “in the Syrian seeking refuge today, we should see the Jewish refugee of World War II.” [Haaretz]

Bernard-Henri Lévy: “Could greater understanding between Catholics and Jews help bridge the divide with Muslims?” [VanityFair]

IRAN DEAL: “IAEA Board Agrees to Close File on Iran’s Past Nuclear Activities” by Laurence Norman: “Diplomats said the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors unanimously approved a resolution drafted by the U.S. and five other countries that will close the investigation in the coming weeks.” [WSJ]

“AIPAC ‘Deplores’ IAEA Vote Amid Iranian Violations” by Jacob Kornbluh: “This decision to whitewash the past represents an inauspicious beginning to the implementation process of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” AIPAC said in a statement. [JewishInsider]

Barak Ravid Scoops: “Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, relayed a personal letter to the White House from Esther Pollard, the wife of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, in which she asked President Barack Obama to ease the terms of her husband parole to which he has been subject since his release from prison, according to senior Israeli officials.” [Haaretz]

**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: “Dispute With Egypt Threatens Israeli Gas Plan” [WSJ] • “What Will Happen When Sumner Redstone’s Empire Goes Up for Grabs” [HollywoodReporter] • “The Terminal Patient: Is Bloomberg’s Return Bad for Bloomberg?” [Spiegel] • “OurCrowd on Being in Top 10 of Fintech 100: “We are glad to be leading an Israeli contingent of 8 companies on the list” [CFInsider] • 

SCENE LAST NIGHT: The Jewish Week held its biennial dinner at the Pierre Hotel in NYC with approximately 300 guests in attendance. The featured speaker of the evening was former Israeli MK Ruth Calderon and honorees included Rabbi Haskel Lookstein and Leon Wieseltier. The dinner raised funds for the Jewish Week’s charitable projects including Write On For Israel, The Conversation, Fresh Ink for Teens, etc. Spotted: UJA’s Eric Goldstein, Gary Rosenblatt, Israel Bonds’ Richard Hirsh, Eugene Grant, Thea Wieseltier, Stuart Himmelfarb, and Peter Wang.

FIRST LOOK — Out Today: “The Hollywood Reporter will release an inspiring and heartrending dedication to the remaining 11 Holocaust survivors—including actors, directors, producers and writers—who survived the brutality and persecution of Nazi-occupied Europe and German concentration camps to go onto build lives and careers working  in entertainment in Hollywood. Marking the momentousness of “The Last Survivors,” Steven Spielberg will contribute a reflective essay explaining the context of the project. Additionally, The Hollywood Reporter will publish an exclusive interview with Roman Polanski—one of the world’s most high-profile Holocaust survivors about never-before-seen footage excerpted from a video testimonial that he created 10 years ago detailing the horror of his experience.”

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Wedding guest charged in Waldorf shooting” by Rebecca Rosenberg and Larry Celona: “The drunken wedding guest who accidentally fired a handgun at a Waldorf-Astoria reception was finally charged Tuesday with two felony counts for the June melee. “It wasn’t me. I’m not a criminal. I ripped my pants getting out of the cab,’’ klutzy liquor-store owner Vladimir Gotlibovsky lied to a worker at the storied hotel as he tried to get away, according to police statements revealed at his Manhattan arraignment. But cops quickly nabbed Gotlibovsky, 42, of Brighton Beach, in the bizarre incident, which left four people injured.” [NYPost]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Speaking to Shari Leibler, a young traditional Jew, about how she navigates the Christian holiday” by Sarah Gooding: “I never felt alienated in any way. Growing up I never felt like I was missing out on the hype. I celebrate Hanukkah close to Christmas time and we have doughnuts and light candles for eight days. We also have parties with our friends and families.” [Vice]

INBOX — Eric Fingerhut: “At Hillel, fostering a culture of disabilities inclusion” [JTA]

SYNAGOGUE TALK: “Rabbi Levi Welton Sees Role Expand At Hampton Synagogue” by Alisha Steindecker: “Today, nearly two years after his arrival, Rabbi Welton no longer carries the title of “assistant rabbi” like all of those who preceded him over the years in helping Marc Schneier, the founder of The Hampton Synagogue, run the Sunset Avenue house of worship. Rather, Rabbi Welton is now known by that exact title—Rabbi Welton, minus the “Assistant”—a significant accomplishment considering that he is the first to be entrusted with such a role in the synagogue’s 25-year history.” [27East]

DESSERT: “New Kosher Dining Comes to Harvard Law School” by Dani Klein: “A kosher station opened yesterday inside Harvard Law School’s “The Hark” dining hall in Cambridge, MA. The kosher station offers meat and pareve options available to both students & the public, however the menu changes weekly and is relatively limited in its options.” [YeahThatsKosher]

BIRTHDAYS: Israeli-American pianist Menahem Pressler turns 92… British chemist, Sir Martyn Poliakoff turns 68… Nobel laureate Adam Riess turns 46… Craig Silverman…

Gratuity not included. We love receiving news tips but we also gladly accept tax deductible tips. 100% of your donation will go directly towards improving Jewish Insider. Thanks! [PayPal]