Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Democrats’ support for Israel rises | Trump’s would be Treasury Sec. Carl Icahn posts worst loss since ’08 | Forbes Israel 30 Under 30

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TOP TALKER: “Sid Blumenthal Advised Hillary to Acknowledge J Street at AIPAC Policy Conference” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Perhaps most controversial,” Blumenthal continued, “I would argue something you should do is that, while praising AIPAC, remind it in as subtle but also direct a way as you can that it does not have a monopoly over American Jewish opinion. Bibi is stage managing US Jewish organizations (and neocons, and the religious right, and whomever else he can muster) against the administration. AIPAC itself has become an organ of the Israeli right, specifically Likud. By acknowledging J Street, you give them legitimacy, credibility and create room within the American Jewish community for debate supportive of the administration’s pursuit of the peace process. Just by mentioning J Street in passing, AIPAC becomes a point on the spectrum, not the controller of the spectrum.” [JewishInsider]

Alan Solomont and Steve Grossman: “When Bill Clinton, then leading the Democratic Governors Association, addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference back in the late 1980s, he told us, “You really should have invited my wife Hillary. She’s the one with the real connection to Israel.” [JPost]

“American Jews Irked Bernie Sanders Keeps His Judaism In Background” by Rachel Zoll and Josef Federman: “As a presidential candidate, Sanders said he consulted the dovish pro-Israel lobby J Street and the Arab American Institute, founded by Jim Zogby, on Mideast Policy. “That’s not exactly a balanced view of the region,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which has not accepted J Street as a member. “I hope he has other advisers or will take other advisers. He’s never really been that identified that strongly with pro-Israel advocacy.” [AP/CBS]

Is David Plouffe Jewish? From an interview with Glenn Thrush: Thrush — “So I was perusing Wikipedia before I came in, because I realized I’ve read your book, I’ve talked with you 10,000 times, and I never looked at your Wikipedia page. And the first thing I realized about you that I didn’t know is Wikipedia says you’re Jewish. You are not apparently Jewish, right?” Plouffe — “No. I may be honorary Jewish, but no, I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, and now am a practicing Episcopalian.” [Transcript]

“Trump nabs endorsement from Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino” by Daniel Lippman:“Trump has come under heavy fire in the last two days for not immediately renouncing former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s support in a TV interview. But Marino, citing Trump’s daughter Ivanka’s religion, said Trump isn’t racist. “Trump’s daughter, who converted to Judaism in 2009 — I don’t think Trump has any feelings and concerns about the KKK, other than he doesn’t like them,” Marino said. “He renounces them and given the fact that he supported his daughter in that move shows that.” [Politico]

“Farrakhan praises Trump for rejecting ‘Jewish’ money” by Mark Hensch: “Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan admires GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump for avoiding the influence of Jewish special interests. “[Trump] is the only member who has stood in front of [the] Jewish community and said, ‘I don’t want your money,’” Farrakhan said on Monday during the Nation’s annual Saviours’ Day sermon, according to the Anti-Defamation League.” [TheHill]

Bethany Mandel: “Donald Trump Is Playing ‘Mr. Neutral’ on Everything From Israel to the Klan — and It’s Working” [Forward]

Peter Beinart: “Why Liberals Should Vote for Marco Rubio: Democrats must do everything they can to prevent Donald Trump’s nomination—like supporting the one man with a chance to beat him.”[TheAtlantic]

Dan Senor on Bloomberg’s With All Due Respect: “I am not voting for Donald Trump. I am not voting for him in the primary and I am not voting for him in the general. I am confident that Marco Rubio will be the nominee. If he’s not the nominee, I think there will be another Republican in the general election, even if they are not the nominee of the Party. I am not going to throw out names because right now I am focused on Rubio, but I am not voting for Donald Trump.” [Bloomberg]

From Playbook: “Paul Singer, the influential New York billionaire who endorsed Marco in October, is slated to be named his NATIONAL FINANCE CHAIRMAN at a quarterly gathering of Rubio donors in Miami on March 10, a campaign source tells Playbook. This is a sign of the GOP’s Wall Street establishment coalescing (a little late, guys) around Rubio’s bid to derail Trump’s march to the nomination. And it shows Rubio willingness to risk a primary voter backlash to raise the money needed. Wayne Berman, Rubio’s top money man, is a SENIOR ADVISER who handles a large behind-the-scenes portfolio that includes finance.” [Politico]

“LGBT supporting hedgie to join Rubio’s team” by Emily Smith: “The move is sure to spark controversy among Christian conservatives in the party, because super-PAC donor Singer is a gay-marriage advocate and a supporter of LGBT causes.” [NYPost]

From Rubio’s new Jewish Outreach Director Martin Sweet: “We had our grand opening of our Boca Raton office last night, one of our five Florida offices. We kicked off the evening with Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, from Boca Raton Synagogue, who hung a mezuzah on our office doorpost. Rabbi Goldberg and Pastor Russell Silverglate, Hammock Street Church, each said a prayer on behalf of Senator Rubio and his family. Former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner rallied the troops, underscoring how Marco Rubio alone is the single candidate who can win the Republican nomination, expand the Republican Party, and defeat the Democrats in the general election. Hasner reminded the volunteers that Marco has already come from behind in Florida and exposed an emperor with no clothes in Charlie Crist in 2010, but Charlie’s suits weren’t made in China. He then echoed Senator Rubio: “Friends don’t let friends vote for con artists.” Pictured (from R-L) Lothar Mayer, Adam Hasner, Rabbi Goldberg, and Martin Sweet. [Pic]

CORRECTION: Yesterday, we featured a list of Ted Cruz’s new Jewish leadership team that incorrectly included the ZOA’s Mort Klein. An earlier press release had mistakenly mentioned Klein but he has no intention of endorsing at this time. “Of course I am very close to Cruz. But as head of a non profit I am reluctant to use my name which may be seen as an endorsement,” Klein told us in an email yesterday.

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Support for Israel Grows Among Democrats” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Support for Israel grew by four percentage points among U.S. Democrats despite the debate over the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. According to a new Gallup poll released on Monday, 53 percent of Democrats sympathize with Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, up from 49 percent in the 2015 poll. In comparison, 79 percent of Republicans sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians.” [JIGallup]

Yair Rosenberg: “Some pro-Israel conservatives want to cast the Democrats as anti-Israel to steal pro-Israel votes. At the same time, some Israel critics on the progressive left want to claim that recent Israeli policies are alienating Democratic voters, and therefore Democratic politicians need to adopt a more critical stance towards the country. But while this narrative is politically convenient for this unlikely bipartisan bunch, it doesn’t actually bear out in the numbers.” [TabletMag]

“ADL Enters BDS Fray With Hardline Partner” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: “Calling efforts to boycott, divestment from and sanction Israel an “attack on Israel and the Jewish people,” the ADL said on February 29 that it would partner with the Reut Institute, an Israeli think tank, to produce a study of the BDS movement, as it is commonly known. The ADL’s initiative is the latest in a string of new multimillion dollar efforts against the BDS movement. A long list of Jewish groups, including the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish National Fund, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Maccabee Task Force and StandWithUs, along with the Israeli government itself, have announced their own anti-BDS programs in recent months.” [ForwardPressRelease]

–From an anti-BDS insider: “Can there be no such thing as stealth mode in the Jewish world? What’s the point of a big announcement…do the hard work first, and the press releases can follow.”

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Israeli Investment Firms receive $665 Million In Commitments In February” [TechCrunch] • “Carl Icahn posts worst loss since 2008” [USAToday] • “Paul Singer Wins Long Battle With Argentina; Have Emerging Market Bonds Hit Bottom?” [ForbesBloomberg] • “Judge Sets Trial on Mogul Sumner Redstone’s Mental Capacity” [ABCNewsWSJ] • “Heirs to One of Israel’s Biggest Fortunes to Pay Just $27,400 in Taxes” [Haaretz] • “Bram Goldsmith, LA’s ‘Banker to the Stars,’ Dies at 93” [Bloomberg] • “Pitching WeWork’s CEO Adam Neumann in a Manhattan Stairwell” [Forbes]

STARTUP NATION: Forbes Israel Announces Its 30 Under 30 List — “Forbes Israel revealed its first-ever “30 Under 30” list, featuring 60 young innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders in Israel across six categories who are under 30 years of age and who are transforming business, technology, media, government, culture and more.” [Forbes]

ISRAELI TECH: “A new tool is launching that will let publishers know whether Facebook or Google is earning them more money” by Lara O’Reilly: “Taboola — the content recommendation platform that works with companies including Business Insider, AOL, and USA Today — is rolling out a new product that will let publishers know precisely which articles are generating the most ad revenue.” [BusinessInsider]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Mothers fear having babies at hospital once hailed for promoting Israeli, Palestinian coexistence” by Shaina Shealy: “Hadassah was built on a hilltop in a mostly Arab part of Jerusalem in the 1930s, and it has long welcomed both Jews and Palestinians. In fact, in 2005, the hospital’s dedication to coexistence earned it a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Now, though, the surge of violence in Jerusalem is testing the hospital’s self-image as a bastion of coexistence. The number of deliveries at Mount Scopus has dropped by thirty percent since October. Around that time, Palestinians began carrying out stabbings, shootings and car rammings that have killed about 30 Israelis.” [PRI]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “For Jews Born On Leap Day, A Second Chance At A Bar Mitzvah” by Ari Shapiro: “Jewish men and women turning 52 Monday are also having their 13th leap year birthday, finally getting a chance to celebrate their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. NPR takes a look at how they are celebrating.” [NPR]

HOLLYWOOD: “Oscar-winning ‘Son of Saul’ director sits down with Spielberg” by Ian Mohr: “László Nemes — the director of Holocaust drama “Son of Saul,” which won Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday night — may have received an even bigger boost after the awards show. “When he walked into the Governors Ball, Steven Spielberg put his hand on [Nemes’] shoulder and was like, ‘Sit down,’” said a Hollywood exec.” [NYPost]

SPORTS BLINK: “Steve Ballmer Trampoline Dunk? Steve Ballmer Trampoline Dunk.” [Deadspin]

DESSERT: “Kosher Wine Business Booming, Racking Up Tens Of Millions In Sales” — “CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reports that more than 350 different kinds of kosher wines from all over the world are part of the 10th annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience at Chelsea Piers. And some of those bottles can be pretty pricey.” [CBS] • JI’s wine expert Yitz Applbaum: “Each time I do a wine tasting for non-Kosher wine drinkers they are fascinated by the variety, sophistication and great tastes of new Israeli and Kosher wines. I believe in the next few years we are going to see an exponential growth in the quality and diversity of Kosher wines.”

BIRTHDAYS: Hollywood executive, Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment and a co-owner of both the LA Dodgers and Golden State Warriors, turns 74… Painter, sculptor, and author, Robert Grossman, turns 76… Soccer player, Jonathan Spector, a member of the US national team, turns 30… Actor Robert Conrad, born as Conrad Robert Norton Falk, turns 81…

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