Daily Kickoff: Netanyahu urged to cut deal with Obama | Meet Michelle Obama’s speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz | BDays: Wieseltier, Blavatnik & Trump
Ed note: Today’s Daily Kickoff was crafted in Jaffa, Israel. From visiting refugees in South Tel Aviv to meeting with the ultra-Orthodox community in Bnai Brak (this morning’s itinerary), we’re spending the week with a group of young American Jewish leaders, led by friends Jeff Swartz and David Cygielman, exploring the civic challenges facing Israeli society.
**Join us for Friday Night in Aspen: On July 1st, Jewish Insider will host a Friday Night Dinner, nourished by OneTable, on the sidelines of the Aspen Ideas Festival in downtown Aspen. The dinner will feature a conversation between thought leading JI readers (TBA soon) along with an upscale Israeli/California wine tasting courtesy of Yitz Applbaum, our weekly wine columnist. Details and request for RSVP here**
TOP TALKER: “Donald Trump Suggests Obama May Be Sympathetic To Islamic Terrorism” by Sam Stein: “[Obama] doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands,” Trump said of the president’s response to the nightclub shooting. “It’s one or the other. And either one is unacceptable… We are led by a man who is either not tough, not smart, or he has something else in mind. And the something else in mind, people can’t believe it.” [HuffPost]
“I was referring to the fact that at times President Obama seems more in support of Muslims than Israel,” Donald Trump says in statement to Bloomberg Politics sent by spokeswoman Hope Hicks. “For example the Iran deal, which was one of the worst deals in history, gave $150 billion dollars to a radical regime, which will allow them to fund terrorist activities as well as pursue their stated goal of ‘full annihilation and destruction’ of Israel. It is great for Iran and bad for Israel and the United States.” [Bloomberg]
CNBC’s John Harwood tweets: “ex-Bush national security aide Dan Senor, after Trump suggested Obama complicity: “should be serious concern” over giving Trump classified briefings” [Twitter]
“Trump Will Be ‘Greatly Strengthened’ by Orlando Shooting, Says Former Israeli Ambassador to U.S.” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “If the motive had been hatred against LGBT community, it would benefit Hillary Clinton. But since it is turning out that the motive is jihadist Islam, it will serve Donald Trump. He’ll be greatly strengthened by it,” said Kulanu MK Michael Oren. “Just his name alone – “Ameen Seddique” – a Moslem name, the son of Afghan immigrants who apparently maintained connections of some sort to extremist Islamic organizations, that in itself will greatly influence the presidential race.” [Haaretz]
“Hillary Clinton Pledges to Defeat ISIS After Orlando Attack” by Andrew Rafferty: “The attack in Orlando makes it all the more clear, we cannot contain this threat, we must defeat it,” Clinton said. Though she declared it was “not a day for politics,” Clinton took a clear shot at GOP rival Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., saying the community is best prepared to identify the warning signs of radicalization. “Inflammatory, anti-Muslim rhetoric and threatening to ban the families and friends of Muslim-Americans, as well as millions of Muslim business people and tourists from entering our country, hurts the vast majority of Muslims who love freedom and hate terror,” Clinton said. [NBCNews]
“How Hillary and Bernie can come to terms” by Anthony Weiner: “During my days as Sanders’ colleague in Congress, I recall him being a solid “yes” vote on the many votes that reinforced our strong relationship with the Jewish state. But his representatives to the convention’s platform committee, Cornel West and James Zogby, signal that he wants to challenge the Democratic Party’s long and deep commitment to our sole true ally in the Middle East. He should drop this effort, and Hillary should not give an inch.” [DailyNews]
“Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to Meet as Democrats Head for Truce” by Sam Frizell: “Clinton aides are playing at appeasement, hoping not to aggravate the Vermont Senator before the convention… There have been some tense moments, however. At a Democratic Party hearing last week held by the 15-person committee drafting the party’s platform, Sanders surrogate and activist Dr. Cornel West had a heated exchange with Clinton surrogate Robert Wexler, a former Florida Congressman, over the party’s stance toward Israel. “A commitment to security for our precious Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel can never be predicated on an occupation of precious Palestinians,” West said. “I would oppose the use of the word occupation for the very reason it undermines our common objective,” Wexler argued back.” [TimeMag]
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Netanyahu Urged by Some Advisers to Cut Military Deal With Obama” by Jonathan Ferziger: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his aides are watching the U.S. election with confusion and concern, unsure of Donald Trump and uneasy over Hillary Clinton. Some advisers are therefore urging him to seal a military aid package with someone he has long mistrusted — President Barack Obama.” [Bloomberg]
Former Amb. Zalman Shoval: “It should be tied up now. It is risky for Israel to let the existing agreement run out without knowing the drift of the future administration.”
Aaron David Miller: “I just think it looks really bad for the prime minister to leave this particular file open. He lost the Iran deal, he’s got nothing to show for what was supposed to be the most skillful and willful effort on the part of an Israeli prime minister to keep the Iranians away from the bomb. Even though it may be clear to the Israeli public that he didn’t get everything he needed, he has a stake in going ahead.”
“World in chaos, Israel gets singular focus at UN rights body” by Jamey Keaten: “Israel, which trumpets its bona fides as a democracy in a difficult neighborhood full of enemies, is crying foul. And it is not entirely alone: Other critics, notably the United States, also decry what they see as an entrenched bias in United Nations institutions and an obsession with the Palestinian issue at the expense of other crises around the globe.” [AP] • “Israel elected to head permanent U.N. committee for first time”[Reuters]
KAFE KNESSET by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: The 16th annual Herzliya Conference, which will address challenges in Israel and globally, kicks off today. This year, for the first time, the first night of the conference will be held not in Herzliya, but in Jerusalem, where President Reuven Rivlin will delivery a headline-making speech at his residence. At last year’s conference, Rivlin spoke about his vision for Israel’s future, in a speech that came to be known as “the four tribes speech,” explaining that Israel is no longer a majority-minority society, but rather, a mix of four prominent groups (secular, religious, haredi and Arab). As host of tonight’s event, Rivlin will probably add another layer to his thoughts from last year.
Another speech worth waiting for is from former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who is slated to give his first public address on Thursday since his resignation last month. His predecessor, Ehud Barak, will speak a few hours later. Both have been quite vocal in their critique of Prime Minister Netanyahu in recent weeks.
Netanyahu, meanwhile, met this morning for the first time with the local ambassadors of all NATO member countries, at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The gathering was organized by Danish Ambassador to Israel, Jesper Vahr, who was chief of staff for NATO Secretary General Anders Fohg Rasmussen before being sent to Tel Aviv. Netanyahu offered Israel’s assistance in NATO’s anti-terrorism efforts, and once again stressed the connection between the attacks in Orlando, Paris, Brussels and other Western cities, and those occurring in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
PROFILE: “What’s on Michelle Obama’s mind? Meet the speechwriter who puts it into words” by Krissah Thompson: “When Sarah Hurwitz sits down at her laptop, she puts on her noise-blocking headphones and imagines Michelle Obama’s exacting voice in her head. Hurwitz, the first lady’s head speechwriter, has written for the Obamas for eight years and for Michelle Obama exclusively for nearly seven. The two have worked so closely together that nearly every word the first lady has spoken in public has been written or edited by Hurwitz.”
“The hours are long; there always seems to be some important event looming. Hurwitz has made efforts to focus on her personal life by taking classes on Judaism and exercising regularly — although her time on the elliptical is sometimes interrupted by a burst of inspiration, and she will jump off the machine and tap out an email to herself with an idea of how to turn something the first lady brought up in a meeting into prose.” [WashPost]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “KKR: An Inside View of Henry Kravis’s PE Powerhouse” [Bloomberg] • “Selig shrinks plan for tower on old Federal Reserve Building” [SeattleTimes; Curbed] • “Joe Sitt’s Thor Seals $525M Manhattan Deal” [CPExecutive] • “New coalition says it will spend big bucks to stop north Jersey casinos” [NJ] • “New lawsuit between tenants rattles swanky 740 Park Ave” [NYPost] • “French Billionaires Strike Again in Israel’s Telecom Market” [Bloomberg]
SPOTLIGHT: “Silicon Valley’s Audacious Plan to Create a New Stock Exchange” by Ellen Huet and Brad Stone: “Five years ago, when Eric Ries was working on the book that would become his best-selling entrepreneurship manifesto “The Lean Startup,” he floated a provocative idea in the epilogue: Someone should build a new, “long-term” stock exchange… “It ruined my credibility for everything that had come before,” Ries said he was told. Now Ries is laying the groundwork to prove his early skeptics wrong. To bring the Long-Term Stock Exchange to life, he’s assembled a team of about 20 engineers, finance executives and attorneys and raised a seed round from more than 30 investors.” [Bloomberg]
MEDIA WATCH: “Hobbled Gawker’s Critics Include Jews – And Anti-Semites” by Andrew Silow-Carroll: “Journalists like to comfort themselves with the old axiom that if each side of a conflict thinks you favor the other, you’re doing something right. Gawker Media, the aggressive gossip blog and mini-media empire now facing a fight for its financial life, boasts enemies on all sides. In fact, Gawker has had the distinction of being accused of anti-Semitism and being the frequent target of anti-Semites.”[JTA/Haaretz]
“Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills” by Steve Reilly: “In the interview, Trump repeatedly said the cases were “a long time ago.” However, even as he campaigns for the presidency, new cases are continuing. Just last month, Trump Miami Resort Management LLC settled with 48 servers at his Miami golf resort over failing to pay overtime for a special event. The settlements averaged about $800 for each worker and as high as $3,000 for one, according to court records. Some workers put in 20-hour days over the 10-day Passover event at Trump National Doral Miami, the lawsuit contends. Trump’s team initially argued a contractor hired the workers, and he wasn’t responsible, and counter-sued the contractor demanding payment.” [USAToday]
BIRTHDAYS: Writer, editor and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Leon Wieseltier turns 64… Russian-born billionaire and philanthropist, now a UK resident, Leonard “Len” Blavatnik turns 59… Donald Trump turns 70… Political activist and outspoken critic of Islam, Pamela Geller turns 58… Principal of M+R Strategic Services, Bill Wasserman… Rabbi Levi Shemtov (birthweek)…