LUNCH TALK with James Baker — by Lionel Barber: “Shortly after James Addison Baker III was named the 61st US Secretary of State, an up-and-coming Israeli diplomat by the name of Benjamin Netanyahu asked a friend of Baker’s what made him tick. Simple, came the reply: just watch him hunting wild turkey in south Texas. “He gets up at 3.30am-4am. Smears camo paint over his face. Waits patiently in the bush. The heat’s rising, all sorts of animals are crawling up his leg and biting,” the friend recalled, “Baker doesn’t move, not even an eyebrow, and then: Boom! He blows its ass off.” As the Israelis discovered, patience, along with an acute sense of power, are the qualities which made Baker between 1980 and 1993 one of the most powerful men in Washington.”
–Baker grades Secretaries Clinton, Kerry: “Hillary Clinton was never given anything to do. She was just there [at the State Department] to run for president,” says Baker. He gives John Kerry decent marks for pushing the Middle East peace process, but notes acidly that Kerry was not even consulted when Obama pulled back from the bombing of Syria, retreating in 2013 from his “red line” of a year earlier if President Assad used chemical weapons. This violated a principle of American power. “The president can never threaten anything that he does not intend to carry out. Never. Never.” [FinancialTimes]
DRIVING THE DAY: “Diplomats try to revive Mideast peace process in Paris” by Sylvie Corbet: “France on Friday hosted top diplomats from the West and the Arab world to organize a peace conference by year’s end that would launch long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian negotiations — despite slim chances of success.” [WashPost; Guardian]
KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev & Amir Tibon: “While the world’s eyes are set on Paris today, the Israeli PM’s vision is gazing in a totally different direction: Cairo. Netanyahu prefers the Egyptian route for renewing the peace process. The peace messages, however, are not directed only to the world’s ears, but rather to Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni. Despite forming a new wide right wing coalition with Avigdor Liberman this week, Netanyahu hasn’t given up on his original plan — bringing in the Zionist Union, and his confidants are now focusing the pressure on Livni, who so far has adamantly objected to any such move and is crucial for Herzog to be able to do so.”
“In recent days, various portfolio proposals have been floated, in an attempt to lure Livni to the government. And while Herzog is trying to brush off the rumors of additional behind-the-scenes maneuvers to join the coalition, Likud ministers are doing the opposite, constantly chattering and briefing the media while negotiators are still at the table. If the Cairo initiative materializes (and that’s quite a big if) Herzog will have an easier path in, and will be able to justify his decision by a historic diplomatic process. Netanyahu might have expanded his goverment, but the stars predict more political wobbling is on the way. As a senior Likud minister told us this week, “it ain’t over till it’s over.””
BROKER: “Israeli officials have held discussions with Mr. Sisi about reviving an Arab states-led initiative to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, people familiar with the matter said. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, has attempted to persuade Mr. Sisi to play a key role in an initiative put forward by France, Palestinian officials said.” [WSJ]
Liel Leibovitz: “Israel’s Real Enemy Isn’t Iran or the Palestinians. It’s the Idea of Crisis Itself: Steeped in constant anxiety, Israeli leaders, left and right, offer no real vision for the future” [TabletMag]
HEARD YESTERDAY: “Clinton: Trump’s ‘Neutral’ on Israel Comments Is ‘No Small Thing’” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Trump’s comments about remaining “neutral” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be easily dismissed, Clinton said on Thursday. “It is no small thing when [Donald Trump] says he’d be neutral with Israel,” Clinton said during a major national security address in San Diego on Thursday, in which she labeled Trump “temperamentally unfit” to serve as president and called his ideas “dangerously incoherent.” Adding, “Israel’s security is non-negotiable. They are our closest ally in the region, and we have a moral obligation to defend them.” Clinton also touted her role in leading the effort to impose crippling sanctions on Iran and defended the nuclear deal “that should block every path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon.” [JewishInsider; Haaretz; HuffPost]
“Hillary Clinton Nukes Donald Trump With Marco Rubio’s Bombs” by Tim Mak: “She actually sounds more Reaganesque than the GOP nominee,” Dan Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University, said.” [DailyBeast]
Ari Fleischer: “The general election will pit Clinton’s steadiness against Trump’s more unorthodox positions on foreign policy, especially his opposition to interventionism. “Her strength is her temperament: She is so cautious, so scripted, that she won’t scare people in the knee-jerk way that Donald Trump can scare people,” he said. “Trump, on the other hand, risks knee-jerk scaring people, but he’s against so many of the interventions that many of the American people themselves are against — it’s a real fair fight.”” [WashPost]
“At Odds Publicly, Donald Trump and Karl Rove Hold a Private Meeting” by Maggie Haberman: “Mr. Rove also has a long relationship with Sheldon Adelson… Mr. Rove has talked with Mr. Adelson about his options for what super PAC to use as a vehicle for donating such a large sum of money to support Mr. Trump, including possibly using the Crossroads fund-raising groups, which he helped establish, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Mr. Adelson is also discussing the possibility of creating a new entity that would back Mr. Trump… Creating a new group would give Mr. Adelson more direct control over how his money is spent.” [NYTimes]
DEEP DIVE: “Coincidence Detector”: The Google Chrome Extension White Supremacists Use to Track Jews — by Cooper Fleishman and Anthony Smith: “A Google Chrome plugin with the seemingly innocent name of “Coincidence Detector” has one sole purpose: compiling and exposing the identities of Jews and others who are perceived as “anti-White.” Drawing from a user-generated list of Jewish names, the extension works in the background while users browse the web and encases the names in three sets of parentheses — i.e., (((Fleishman))) — on web pages.” [Mic; DailyBeast]
“(((Goldberg)))” — Jeffrey Goldberg’s new Twitter look: “Thanks to everyone participating in this act of (((cultural appropriation))). Since the culture in question is Nazi, it’s permissible.” [Twitter]
“Trump says ‘no place in society’ for anti-Semitism” by Michael Wilner: “Addressing a number of incidents online in which his avowed supporters have targeted Israel, Jewish figures and journalists, Trump said in a statement that “anti-Semitism has no place our society, which needs to be united, not divided.”” [JPost]
“Someone Is Launching Cyber Attacks on Websites Critical of Israel” by Justin Ling: “Early this year, swarms of thousands of bots took aim at the main website for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, with the intent of taking the website offline for good. The Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) employed tens of thousands of unique IP addresses to send a huge flux of malicious traffic to the website. To do it, they employed two so-called ‘botnets’ — basically linked networks of dummy or infected computers that work in unison.” [ViceNews]
Rep. Keith Ellison’s Tweet: “Ellison shared a photo on Twitter on Thursday that refers to Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian territories as apartheid. Ellison, a Democratic congressman representing Minnesota, said he took the photo as he walked down a segregated street in Hebron, a city in the occupied West Bank. It shows a sign reading: “Caution: This was taken by Israel. You are entering apartheid.”” [Salon]
AGITATOR: “Bernie’s wrecking crew: Sanders’ New York delegation is threatening to sow chaos on the convention floor” by Annie Karni: “Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York, posted on Facebook that she was going to the convention as one of Sanders’ 23 at-large delegates from New York and had to “decide if I’m going to behave or not.” Sarsour said she wants concessions in the party platform on a $15 minimum wage, “super robust language prioritizing immigration reform,” and a discussion of the Israel-Palestine conflict in which she said America “has not been an honest broker in the conflict.” If she doesn’t feel there was movement on her issues, Sarsour said she will have a hard time encouraging voters to support Clinton over Trump.”[Politico]
VIRAL: “Jake Tapper goes off on State Dept. over edited video” by Paulina Firozi: “CNN’s Jake Tapper slammed the State Department on Thursday after it admitted that a video of a 2013 press briefing was intentionally edited to remove part of a conversation about the Iran nuclear deal. Tapper laid out three different lies that the State Department told the public about the workings of the Iran deal: First claiming there were no secret talks between Iran and the Obama administration; the deletion of the video; and putting blame on a glitch.” [TheHill; Mediaite]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “China’s Huawei Coy About Its Ties to Israeli Firm” [WSJ] • “The Wall Street Golden Boy Who Allegedly Fleeced His Friends And Family” [VanityFair] • “Doctor OKs Sumner Redstone’s mental capacity” [NYPost; Reuters] • “Harris Rosen hopes to replicate success of Tangelo Park project” [FloridaPolitics] • “Paul Singer to cash in on $3B takeover of Qlik Technologies” [NYPost] • “Hirsch family buys mixed-use DoBro building for $47M” [RealDeal]
STARTUP NATION — Tales from Silicon wadi: “The ingenuity and nimbleness of the Israeli tech sector does not extend to industries less closely linked to the work of the IDF: across the economy as a whole, Israel’s productivity is among the lowest in the rich world. The paucity of trade with its neighbours is partly to blame. There is no difficulty in selling high-tech services to distant clients, but manufactured goods are another story. Another problem is a dearth of competition in the low-tech parts of the economy.” [Economist]
MEDIA WATCH: “Should There Should Be Different Rules for Jews and Muslims at Public Pools?” by Yair Rosenberg: “The New York Times opposes women-only swimming hours for Orthodox Jews, but the paper has been silent on the same accommodations for Muslim women.” [TabletMag]
Seth Lipsky: “Let my people swim” [NYPost]
SCENE LAST NIGHT in NYC: Judges Jonathan Lippman and Alvin Hellerstein addressed the annual Jewish American Heritage Month event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Louis Brandeis’ confirmation to the Supreme Court, hosted by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and members of the Jewish Caucus at City Hall. “As a Jew, as a judge and as a lawyer, Louis Brandeis resonates like no one else in the history of our country,” said Lippman. “From what I’ve read, 100 years ago many American Jews were against Zionism. They were uncomfortable; they were worried about questions of dual loyalty. And the main individual who brought Zionism to mainstream was in fact Louis Brandeis,” Councilman David Greenfield remarked.
Spotted: Councilmembers Mark Levine, Rory Lancman, Andrew Cohen, Ben Kallos, Helen Rosenthal and Mark Treyger; Knesset Members David Biton, Yoel Razvozov, Yoel Hasson, Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, Nurit Koren and Yaakov Margi; Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joel Schnur, Ezra Friedlander, Kalman Yeger, Jennie Berger, Pinny Hikind, Joel Eisdorfer, Josh Mehlman, Barry Spitzer, Rabbi David Niederman, Yaakov Behrman, and Meir Leifer.
AIPAC held their NYC Young Leadership Gala at Capitale last night, with over 350 attendees, featuring remarks from Sen. Chuck Schumer who, according to a source, “discussed the importance of increasing sanctions on Iran if they violate the agreement and that the U.S. needs to oppose any resolution at the U.N. that deals with dictating a resolution on the peace process.” Spotted: Reut’s Gidi Grinstein, JF Capital Advisors’ Jonathan Falik, Andy Weiss, Stella Binkevich, Sarah Kaminetsky Jonas & Isaac Jonas, Joe Richards, Abigail Cable, Sharon Goldman, Jason Koppel, Jay Haberman, and Jason Pressberg.
SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT: “It’s hard to compete with Charlie Puth performing his hit single “One Call Away,” and then, with Muppet versions of “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Sing,” but the Museum of Modern Art put up a fair fight. What this party lacks in hand puppets and Big Bird, it more than makes up for in heavy hitters. Among the guests at Wednesday’s affair, which raised $4 million, were Leon and Debra Black, Marlene Hess, Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder, Catie and Donald Marron, Amy and John Phelan, Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford, Jerry Speyer and Katherine Farley, Aby Rosen and Samantha Boardman, Jeff and Justine Koons and Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer.” [WSJ; Bloomberg]
DESSERT: “Meet the Israelis Who Are Creating Some of the World’s Best Olive Oil” by Scott Hertzberg: “Makura is one of the most ancient olive farms in Israel. The farmers and owners of these fields, Orna and Guy Rilov, claim their Carmel Mountain groves date back to Roman times. Their meticulous methods of making their award-winning olive oil may date that far back too.” [FigTree&Vine]
ENGAGED — JI readers Simone Friedman and Ted Frank: After flying back to D.C. from a Seventh Circuit argument in Chicago, Ted proposed to Simone last night during the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) Gala at the JW Marriott. Simone is head of philanthropy for Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies while Ted is the founder of the Center for Class Action Fairness, which merged with CEI last year. From Simone: “Right before Steve Forbes was about to give his keynote address, Ted walked me up near the stage and said that he was going to take the microphone and ask me something. But I said that I didn’t want him to do that – by then I had an idea of what was going on – and so he took me back to our table where he proposed privately, which was so much better. He quoted Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton (Ted had recently taken me to see it) and said that he “is not throwing away his shot” and asked will I marry him :)” [Pic]
Earlier this week, friends and family gathered for Marty Granoff’s 80th birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall. Alexander Gemignani turned the Hamilton title song into a birthday tribute and Gov. Andrew Cuomo regaled the crowd with old stories. Spotted: Stephen Sondheim, Norman Brownstein, Craig Carnelia, Michael Granoff, Steve Cohen the hedge fund manager, Steve Cohen the magician, Barry Rosenstein, Gary Winnick, Robert Raiff, Tufts University President Emeritus Larry Bacow. and President of Brown University Christina Paxson.
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft turns 75… Israeli supermodel, Bar Refaeli turns 31… Game show creator (The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game) and game show host (The Gong Show), Chuck Barris turns 87… Jason Moss… Rick Munitz… Billionaire philanthropist, co-founder of Boston Properties, and owner of the NY Daily News and of U.S. News & World Report, Mort Zuckerman turns 79… First ever Jewish governor of Hawaii (2002-2010) and now Chief Operating Officer of Illinois, Linda Lingle turns 63… Marlene Greenly… Ken Moss… Emeritus Professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology, David Kristol turns 78… Tiffany Harris… Survivor of the Holocaust via the Kindertransport, sniper for the Haganah and renowned sex therapist, Ruth Westheimer (“Dr. Ruth”) turns 88… Longest tenured member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (42 years), Mark B. Cohen turns 67… Beth Freeman… Clara Moskowitz… TV host, author and financial advisor, Suze Orman turns 65… Best selling instrumental musician, the saxophonist “Kenny G,” Kenneth Bruce Gorelick turns 60…