Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Super Tuesday Reactions | Bloomberg unlikely to run | U.S. & Israel team up on ‘The Obstacle’ tunnel detection system | New Forbes List

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HEARD LAST NIGHT: Super Tuesday Speeches — Donald Trump: “This is something I’ve never done before, but I felt we had to do it. When you look at the incompetence of the Iran deal, where we give $150 billion, and we get absolutely nothing. When you look at all of the problems our country has. We are going to make our military bigger, and better, and stronger than ever before and nobody, nobody, nobody is going to mess with us, folks. Nobody.” [CSPAN]

Marco Rubio: “The other day Donald Trump was asked, ‘Will you take sides with Israel in face of its enemies?’ And he said he’s not taking sides. Donald Trump says he’s not taking sides, he wants to be impartial. When I’m President of the United States, we are taking sides. We are on Israel’s side. And the world will know we’re on Israel’s side, because on my first day in office, we will cancel Barack Obama’s deal with Iran.” [YouTube]

Ted Cruz: “Trump pledges to be neutral between Israel and Palestine. As president, I won’t be neutral. We’ll stand unapologetically with Israel. Trump says he’ll keep the Iranian nuclear deal. I’ll rip it to shreds on day one.” [YouTube]

SURROGATE SPIN — Cruz Senior Advisor Nick Muzin: “Jewish Insider is a conversation between friends, so here’s the bottom line: If Cruz was to drop out of the race tomorrow, Trump would sweep every remaining state, because most of our voters would go to him. If Marco drops out, Cruz defeats Trump because Rubio’s people will come to us. To those who are not yet on our team – including some of my friends who are supporting Marco – now is the time to join the only campaign that has beaten Trump, and that will beat Trump. Any dollar raised for any candidate not named Ted Cruz is a dollar that will be spent electing Donald Trump. Email me at nick@tedcruz[dot]org, and we will find a great spot for you on our team. The stakes for our nation and for Israel could not be any higher.”

Rubio’s Director of Jewish Outreach Martin Sweet tells us… “This isn’t Ricky Bobby, folks. It’s not “If you’re not first, you’re last.” It’s about delegates. The American people came out against Donald Trump in different iterations across the country, and Ted Cruz’s southern firewall collapsed. Marco remains the only Republican candidate who can win the nomination, expand the party, and win the general election.”

Senator Norm Coleman emails us after he successfully campaigned for Marco Rubio in Minnesota: “Minnesotans are thoughtful voters on policy matters. It was the perfect environment for Marco Rubio and a poor environment for Donald Trump. The Republican endorsement race is a long way from being decided.”

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl tweets: “The odds of Michael Bloomberg running for President as an independent are “very, very low. Almost zero,” a Bloomberg confidant tells me.” [Twitter]

Noam Neusner writes: “There is no sugarcoating it — these are the darkest days for Republican Jews like myself. Donald Trump, the most likely Republican candidate for president, has built within our party the nearest thing America has ever seen to a European nativist working class political movement. Such movements, to put it mildly, have never been good for the Jews or allies of free thought and the free market.” [Forward]

Trump campaign’s national spokeswoman Katrina Pierson refers to Jewish voters as “interest group” in interview with CBS News Online — CBS News “Does Donald Trump think that Jews control the politics of America?” Pierson: “Mr. Trump tells everybody, not just any special interest group — he talks about special interests and about lobbyists – the people that control everything and every industry for that matter – that he can’t be bought. This is nothing new… When it comes down to making policies, he is not going to be influenced by any special interest on either side.” [CBSNews]

TOP TALKER: “Republican Business Leaders Look to Raise Money to Stop Trump” by Maggie Haberman: “Meg Whitman, Todd Ricketts and Paul Singer, among others, all took part in the call with about 50 people, urging them to fund Our Principles PAC, which was funded largely by a member of the Ricketts family, and which started airing ads in Iowa before the caucuses to try to stop Mr. Trump.” [NYTimes]

Dan Senor on WADR: “I think the convention scenario is highly likely. I don’t want to say it’s certain. A lot can happen. Trump is about to be under enormous scrutiny like he hasn’t been before. I think he is going to be subjected to a paid media campaign – tens of millions of dollars that he hasn’t been subjected to before. He had a totally free ride up until now. That’s going to change.” [Bloomberg]

RNC’s Lewis Eisenberg tells JI’s Jared Sichel: “In the early stages of the primary season, which we’re in right now, positions are not fully defined and laid out. As we move in closer and into the general election a lot of the statements that have been made will have been refined, and positions on the critical issues will be more clearly detailed and explained… Always as the primary runs down you hear many, many substantial Republicans who are working hard for their candidate, who are disenchanted with those who are left when their candidate bows out. But ultimately at the end the candidate who emerges, emerges with a unified Republican party. I think the party will have expanded its traditional base in a very substantial way.”

JI ARENA: Noah Pollak emails… in reaction to yesterday’s news that the ADL & Reut will team up for a new anti-BDS initiative: “This is an astonishing waste of resources. Numerous organizations have already carried out detailed research on the BDS movement and circulated their findings both publicly and privately. We know who they are, what their goals are, and how they operate. What is needed today, and what very few organizations are in fact doing, is counterattack. The ADL could play an important role on campuses by clearly and loudly speaking the truth about BDS — that it is as anti-Semitic hate movement promoting violence and conflict. But the ADL is unwilling to get in the trenches and fight, yet it also knows it can’t be seen sitting out the fight. So it will create the appearance of involvement. Millions of dollars that could be used to great effect battling the enemy will now be wasted studying something that’s already been studied to death.”

The ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt has not yet taken us up on the offer to respond. ICYM the press release, here it is [ADL]

Meanwhile… “Forty Columbia faculty jump on board anti-Israel ‘Apartheid Divest’ petition” by Dave Huber: “The petition, released Monday morning on the first day of Israeli Apartheid Week, notes that the signatories are in solidarity with student groups Columbia University Apartheid Divest, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace.” [ColumbiaSpectatorTheCollegeFix]

**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: “Two major hedge funds lose in February but Einhorn gains” [ReutersFIN• “Schwarzman’s Payouts Swell While Rivals See Them Shrink” [Bloomberg] • “Africa-Israel sells Global Park Lod” [Globes] • Lightstone Group is taking inspiration from Paris’s Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood for its residential project near the polluted waterway [WSJ] • “Harbor Group, Isaac Kassirer buy 38-building Bronx portfolio for $140M” [RealDeal] • “KBS Strategic Opportunity REIT is on the verge of becoming the first U.S. real estate investment trust to successfully issue bonds in Israel”[RealDeal]

New Forbes Billionaires List: 6. Mark Zuckerberg 7. Larry Ellison 8. Michael Bloomberg 12. Larry Page 13. Sergey Brin 22. Sheldon Adelson 23. George Soros 26. Steve Ballmer 35. Michael Dell 42.Joseph Safra 43. Carl Icahn 53. Len Blavatnik 60. David Reuben 63. Mikhail Fridman 72. Steve Cohen 78. Ronald Perelman 80. Stephen Ross 85. David Tepper 90. Alain Wertheimer 108. John Paulson 113. Stephen Schwarzman 122. Leonard Lauder 124. Dustin Moskovitz. [Forbes]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli startup bets on ‘smart’ satellite antennas for global web access” by Ari Rabinovitch: “Israeli startup Skyfi is looking to outflank Facebook and Google in a race to provide worldwide internet access by developing the first self-correcting antenna that can turn mini-satellites into powerful transmitters covering the globe.” [Reuters]

“Israel Ramps Up Fight Against Tunnelers With ‘The Obstacle’” by Rory Jones and Orr Hirschauge: “Israeli security officials recently presented a proposal to a parliamentary committee to fund, develop and construct a system to detect and destroy cross-border tunnels, according to Israeli lawmakers. Known as “The Obstacle,” the system is being funded in part by the U.S. government, which has agreed to offer $40 million this year, according to Israeli and U.S. officials.” [WSJ]

“Osama bin Laden Feared Wife’s Tooth Held a Tracking Device” by Matthew Rosenberg:“Bin Laden, who considered himself a student of history, tended to view events through a conspiratorial lens that often distorted his conclusions. The documents made clear, for example, that he believed the West, and the United States in particular, was controlled by a Jewish cabal.” [NYTimes]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Agencies get first-ever U.S. government grants to help aging Holocaust survivors” by Tara Bahrampour: “Twenty-three Jewish services organizations, including agencies in greater Washington and Baltimore, will receive $2.8 million to help aging Holocaust survivors, the Jewish Federations of North America announced Tuesday.” [WashPost]

Former British Chief Rabbi Wins $1.5 Million Templeton Prize: “Britain’s former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has won the 2016 Templeton Prize, worth 1.1 million pounds ($1.5 million), for his efforts to help steer young people away from the message of extremists by encouraging religions to connect with them.” [Reuters]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “City Council’s Jewish Caucus taking on CUNY anti-Semitism” by Rich Calder: “The City Council’s Jewish Caucus is drafting legislation to require the City University of New York to report all bias incidents on its campuses to the Council. The legislation is in response to a Post report last week about claims of anti-Semitism against Jewish students at several campuses.”[NYPost]

“NYPD Wrapping Up Body Camera Pilot Program” by Pervaiz Shallwani: “The largest technical hurdle to expanding the program is storage of video, since the pilot showed the volume can’t be store on department computers and a cloud system is needed, officials said. Deputy Commissioner Jessica Tisch, the head of the NYPD’s information-technology unit, is creating a mock precinct with docking stations to test streaming, uploading and storing video.” [WSJ]

BIRTHDAYS: Former US Senator (and candidate for US Senate this year), Russ Feingold, turns 63… Jeffrey Chodorow, turns 66… Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the Soviet Union, turns 85…

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