Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: JI Interview with Leon Wieseltier | Meet the Ivanka voter | Trump wins first state: Israel | Watch Amb. Dan Shapiro sing ‘Go Cubs Go’

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TOP TALKER: “David Duke Rails Against Jews, Brings White Supremacy To Debate At Historically Black University” by Claudia Koerner and John Stanton: “I’m not opposed to all Jews,” Duke said Wednesday night in response to a question about why he insisted “CNN Jews” were behind negative coverage of Donald Trump. “There’s a lot of great Jews,” he said. “I’m against Jews or anybody else that puts the interests of some other place, another country over our own country, that is controlling and dominating the media, that is teaching black people and inspiring black people to hate white people and inciting them to violence like the Black Lives Matter.”  Duke characterized the rest of the candidates as insiders who would be swayed by big money — by his explanation, powerful bankers who were mostly Jews. “If you want a real change, you know who to vote for and it’s me, David Duke.”[BuzzFeed; DailyBeast] • “How Do You Get David Duke to Leave Your Party?” by Olivia Nuzzi [Esquire]

“Trump wins his first state: Israel” by Katie Glueck: “According to a survey of 1,140 U.S. citizens living in Israel, most of whom have mailed in absentee ballots, Trump is ahead of Hillary Clinton by 49 percent to 44 percent… Also reflecting stateside trends, Clinton won women voters, 52-42 percent, and Trump won men, 59-33 percent. Trump cleaned up with those who consider themselves ultra-Orthodox Jews, landing 85 percent of that vote, while Clinton was strongest with secular Jews, earning 75 percent of their vote.” [Politico; Haaretz]

Marc Zell, Chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, tweets: ‏“This is complete nonsense. The real numbers are 80% Trump and 20% Clinton. The total vote is way low.” [Twitter

FIRST LOOK: “Jewish Democrats See Florida as Hillary’s Blue Wall” by Jacob Kornbluh: On Wednesday, Yuval Rabin, the son of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, sent an email to nearly 50,000 target Jewish households in Florida sharing a video of past and present Israeli and Jewish community leaders praising Clinton and her commitment to Israel’s security. The video, a project of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) and its newly-created super PAC “Jews for Progress,” features quotes by former President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Knesset Member and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Senator John McCain… The Clinton campaign and their supporters are hoping that the concentrated efforts among persuadable Jewish voters will bear fruit and prevent Trump from winning Florida, a state he needs to win to become president.”[JewishInsider

‘Jews for Progress’ Chair Ron Klein tells us: “We are taking nothing for granted in making sure that Jewish voters understand what’s at stake in this election and why their vote matters. Hillary Clinton is a tried and true friend of Israel with a long steady history of understanding Israel’s needs and strategic interests. Donald Trump will say anything to anybody, and in particular, as it relates to Israel, he is reckless, uneducated, and unreliable in his understanding of the Middle East. Jewish voters are also deeply offended and even frightened about Trump’s stoking of hate in his political campaign. The Jewish community has a long, historic perspective on what starts as political populism and demagoguery, and evolves into political discrimination and persecution.”

JI INTERVIEW with Leon Wieseltier, the Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy at the Brookings Institution and a contributing editor at The Atlantic. “The most important thing is that Trump be slaughtered in next week’s presidential election,” Wieseltier told us by phone on Wednesday. “The poisons that he’s unleashed are not going to go away after Tuesday. The country needs healing, but nobody seems much in the mood for healing.”

On Hillary Clinton’s struggle to close the deal: “I think it’s shameful that she has not been able to open a decisive lead against Trump. But nobody loves her. I mean, it’s a mitzvah (commandment) to vote for her against Trump, but she’s not an exceptionally attractive candidate. I think she should remind people, as often as she can, who Trump is. I don’t know what else she does.”

On the difference between Clinton and Obama’s Middle East policy: “One of the reasons that I will be voting for her — I mean, I will vote for her because she’s running against Trump. But one of the reasons I will be voting for her, that has to with her and not with her competitor, is that she really does have a more hawkish and interventionist inclination about Syria, and I support that. She seems to be serious about a safe haven. She is not averse to using American force when it seems to be justified, which, in my view, is. The use of American force has been justified in Syria for years. So, I think, with any luck, she won’t agree to inherit Obama’s shameful passivity. There is no question that many of her foreign policy inclinations are not congenial to the Democratic Party. And if she has actually had to disguise them or ignore them during the campaign, there is a decent chance that she won’t just agree to accept to inherit Obama’s despicable policy.”

On the Syrian civil war: “Syrian refugees are fleeing Syria because they have been the victims of secular tyranny, religious tyranny, genocide, chemical warfare, mass murder; I mean, this is as atrocious than atrocity as we have seen in our time. No analogy with what was done to the Jews in the middle of the 20th century is ever perfect, but their predicament on moral grounds, it seems to me to justify assistance, rescue, protection and certain kinds of intervention. And I should add – on strategic grounds too because the strategic stakes in Syria are high.”

On the possibility President Obama will re-engage on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before leaving office: “The only thing that matters now is an improvement of relations on the ground between the populations. I don’t see much hope for a solution right now. The only thing that matters is that the situation isn’t made worse. I think that the continued settlement of the West Bank and the continued augmentation of existing settlements and legitimation of the so-called outpost settlements, all this is madness, pure madness. And until there arises a leader in Israel with some courage, I think the madness will continue. It makes no sense strategically. It poisons the situation communally, socially. It’s just about the most short-sighted policy for Israel that I could imagine. I don’t think American pressure will affect that policy, and I don’t see any Israeli leader in Israeli politics who has the guts to recognize the lunacy of this policy and put an end to it. I should add that I don’t see much leadership or political courage on the Palestinian side either. That’s the really crushing truth about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict right now  – that there are no heroes on either side. Without political leadership, it’s going to be a slow and steady decline into disaster.”

On the state of Jewish literacy among America Jews: ”First, American Jews need to made to feel terrible about their Hebrew illiteracy. That’s very hard to do. I think that American Jews, of all kinds, are much too satisfied with their Jewish attainments and have to recognize how much they cripple their Jewishness and damage the possibility of a successful transmission of the tradition to their children if they don’t possess a Jewish language. The Jewish tradition does not take place in English, even if many American Jews seem to think that it does.” [JewishInsider]

ELECTION FLASHBACK: “White House Is Trying to Topple Me, Netanyahu Said on Israeli Election Day” by Gidi Weitz and Nati Tucker: “At 1:36 P.M. on March 17, 2015, a senior Israeli journalist fielded a phone call. “I’m transferring the prime minister,” the voice on the other end told him. “I want to tell you that what’s happening today is election stealing,” Benjamin Netanyahu thundered. “Nothing like this has ever happened in any democracy anywhere. Because you’re in the press, you didn’t report on this scandal here. I’m about to lose the election.” The astonished reporter asked the prime minister what he was talking about and added, “You’re [going to be] the next prime minister.” “I’m not,” Netanyahu answered. “The V15 movement, backed by the American administration, brought software programs here.”” [Haaretz

“Trump’s Advisers Issue Position Paper on Israel” by Jacob Kornbluh: “The position paper proposes a number of changes to longstanding U.S. policy on Israel, if Trump is elected as president, including a pledge to veto any United Nations vote that unfairly single out Israel. cut off funds for the UN Human Rights Council, and ask the Justice Department to investigate coordinated attempts on college campuses to intimidate students who support Israel… Trump advisors recommend him to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state that forbids the presence of Christian or Jewish citizens, or that discriminates against people on the basis of religion, and not to pressure Israel to withdraw to borders “that make attacks and conflict more likely.” Additionally, even before negotiations take place between the two sides, the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.” [JewishInsider]

–The Clinton campaign pointed to her national security plan released in September 2015, her Saban speech in December, and address at AIPAC in March, as a summation of her Israel plan.

“Atlantic Editor: Onus On Israel To Improve Relations With U.S.” by Gary Rosenblatt:“[Jeffrey] Goldberg said he wonders what makes Jewish supporters of Trump think he will be consistent in backing Israel. “We have no idea what his policies are.” He described Clinton as “more emotionally attuned to Israel than Obama,” and as “pro-Israel from center-right to center-left,” including support for a two-state solution with the Palestinians. Goldberg predicted that Clinton “would not publicly criticize Israel, as Obama has done.” He said she would “restore equilibrium” so relations would be “quieter, smoother.”” [NYJewishWeek

“Donald Trump Will Not Get His Son-In-Law’s Newspaper’s Endorsement” by Michael Calderone: “Editor-in-chief Ken Kurson told The Huffington Post Wednesday that the “Observer is not going to make an endorsement in the general.” The Observer has struggled at times with covering Trump given Kushner’s familial, political and business ties.” [HuffPost

Hillary Clinton’s face appears on cover of Orthodox Jewish publication: “The Orthodox Jewish weekly Mishpacha has put a photo of Hillary Clinton’s face on its cover — perhaps the first time a women’s photo has been featured in the magazine or any haredi Orthodox publication. The graphic for the publication’s cover story this week on the 2016 presidential election, “The Finish Line in Sight,” features side-view headshots of both Clinton, the Democratic candidate, and Donald Trump, her Republican rival, facing each other. The headshots are a negative exposure, and include signs and slogans from the campaigns.” [JTA]

TRENDING: “Meet The Ivanka Voter” by Anne Helen Petersen: “The Ivanka Voter is not the stereotypical Trump voter. She doesn’t have a Trump sign in her yard, either because it would get egged or she doesn’t want to fight with the neighbors. She knows all about Ivanka’s clothing line and brand, and thinks she would be great in the White House, because she’s classy and sophisticated, polished and well-spoken, all the things her father is not. She’s very clear that there are things that Trump says that she doesn’t agree with. She does not think of herself as racist. She describes herself as “socially moderate.” But she’s voting for him.” [BuzzFeed]

Portrait of a Trump West Wing — by Ben Schreckinger: “Savvy observers have noted that the GOP nominee has sent a disproportionate number of his most self-destructive tweets on Saturdays, when Ivanka, a convert to Orthodox Judaism, strictly observes the Sabbath.” [Politico]

“In NJ, a Trump-Clinton surrogates’ debate gets almost as nasty as the real thing” by Elaine Durbach: “Another audience member was nearly drowned out by audience boos when he asked how Clinton supporter Aaron Keyak felt about the “close family ties” between Clinton aide Huma Abedin and “radical Islamists.” Berkowitz hushed the accuser. “It doesn’t help our community when you make wild statements about people,” he said. [JTA

“‘What Are We Supposed To Do?’: Conway Responds To Question About Trump Supporters’ Anti-Semitism” by Justin Baragona: “Towards the end of the interview, Todd played Conway a clip of a rallygoer earlier in the day shouting at the media pen, calling them an embarrassment and yelling that they’re selling out for “a few shekels.” The MSNBC host wanted to know what the campaign was doing to stop this… “What are we supposed to do about fools,” a frustrated Conway cried out. “The First Amendment right — you can sound like a fool. I hear people sound like that everyday.” She further said that those views “don’t reflect” that of the campaign and that they denounce those types of views.”[Mediaite

DOWN BALLOT: “In 10th Congressional District, it’s Dold vs. Schneider — again” by Lauren FitzPatrick: “Dold would dismantle the treaty and still supports heavy sanctions on Iran. Schneider now calls for closer enforcement of the deal to make sure Iran fails to procure nuclear weapons. “One thing he did that I agreed with is, he opposed the Iran deal initially,” Dold said, adding that he asked Schneider in a letter to join him “in opposing the Iran deal to let the world know this was not a partisan issue and the 10th District was going to be unified in opposition to it. “Unfortunately, he flip flopped on that one.” Schneider counters: “When he goes lockstep with Donald Trump and the other Republicans saying, ‘Walk away from the Iran deal,’ I think that’s irresponsible,” Schneider said.”[ChicagoSunTimes

**Good Thursday 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: Israel’s Meir Brand Appointed Google VP [Haaretz] • Israeli otonomo raises $12 million to help autonomous and connected cars share data [GeekTime] • Why Jerusalem-Based Glide Is Building Cameras Into A New Apple Watch Band For Video Messaging [FastCompany] • Stewart Butterfield’s Slack took out a full-page ad in The New York Times so it could write an open letter to its new competitor, Microsoft [BusinessInsider] • Noah Kraft’s Earbud That’s Like Google Glass For Your Ears[Billboard]

SPOTLIGHT: “Vornado post Roth?” by Hiten Samtani and Will Parker: “Trump and [Steven] Roth are partners on a skyscraper at 1290 Sixth Avenue, and have been good friends for years. Both men, sources said, are vicious negotiators and share an extreme arrogance. But Roth’s support of Trump’s presidential run took many by surprise. Trump even gave Roth a special shout-out in his New York primary victory speech, calling the Vornado chief “my man.” And in August, the Trump campaign announced that Roth would be part of its economic advisory committee, While few in the real estate industry reacted out loud, an executive at a rival developer said, “it was very hard to take [Roth] seriously on this Trump thing.” For his part, Roth seems to have distanced himself from the Trump campaign. Federal election filings show he gave no money to the Republican candidate since Trump announced his bid last year, in contrast to Roth’s previous donations to Barack Obama, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Hillary Clinton, among other politicians.” [TRD]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “The military trial that’s tearing Israel apart” by William Booth and Ruth Eglash: “One of the most divisive trials in Israeli history is taking place in a cramped military courtroom in a peeling mansion in the poor Arab section of Jaffa. It is the trial of a teenage Israeli sergeant, but in many ways it is about the soul of the Israeli army… In March, Sgt. Elor Azaria fired a single bullet at close range into the skull of a Palestinian assailant as he lay wounded, sprawled on his back, on a street in Hebron in the West Bank minutes after lunging at soldiers with a knife. The question the court is asking is why Azaria shot Abdul Fattah al-Sharif in the head. Was it malice or self-defense?”[WashPost]

KAFE KNESSET — Supreme Court on Fire — by Tal Shalev & Amir Tibon: Political debacles continue to pile up on the Knesset’s agenda: a day after the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister announced a temporary ceasefire in their emotional argument over the fate of the Public Broadcasting Authority, another tense issue surfaced to dominate this morning’s headlines: the sensitive relationship between the judicial system and the executive and legislative branches. Four looming appointments for new Supreme Court judges are the reason for the latest issue.

Supreme Court judges are appointed by a special committee, which includes four politicians, three judges, and two lawyers representing the Bar Association. However. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, one of the two co-chairs of the panel, decided earlier this week to support a new bill, which would change the required majority for appointing new judges from a special majority (7 out of 9) to a regular majority, basically aiming to dismantle the “judges block,” which can veto any appointment under the current arrangement. When the news of Shaked’s new initiative reached the Supreme Court’s chambers, it was not accepted well. “Submitting this bill now is like putting a gun on the table,” Supreme Court President Miryam Naor wrote to Shaked in a public letter sent this morning, in which she announced that the court judges will be halting all discussions about potential appointees until the proposed legislation is abandoned.

Shakes replied, saying she intends to continue the appointment process as planned, and the controversial bill is not even being advanced at this point; many observers believe the she is only using the bill as a threat, aiming to pressure the judges to accept her preferred conservative nominees. However, Naor’s rare and outspoken statement sparked harsh reactions from both sides of the political spectrum. Right-wing lawmakers accused her of interfering in the legislative process and left-wing politicians accused the Justice Minister of aggression against the rule of law. Likud MK Yariv Levin said he was “shocked” by the “blatant” letter and accused her of intimidating the government and the Knesset, as well as presiding over the court as if it is her “private property.” Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, on the other hand, accused Netanyahu’s government of leading a “coup to cleanse the courts, the media, and the democratic system altogether in order to stay in power.”

HOLLYWOOD: “Making Comedy on a Budget Pays Off for Studios, Networks” by Rob Owen: ““A smaller budget is one of the things that makes the risk more reasonable to the studios,” says “Sausage Party” co-writer and actor Seth Rogen. Rogen’s producing partner, Evan Goldberg, says the pair know they have a worthwhile idea when they can’t forget about it. With “Sausage Party,” Rogen and Goldberg found that had to both spoof the Pixar films they love and embrace Pixar’s style of storytelling. “We talk a lot about the phrase, ‘having our cake and eating it too,’” Rogen says.” [Variety

SPORTS BLINK: “The First Hasidic Jew Who Threw The First Pitch In The World Series” by Sara Levine: “Daniel Eleff, Lubavitch rabbi and CEO of the popular savings and credit card points forum DansDeals.com opened the final game of this year’s World Series. Having pledged 1.06 million Starwood Points in an auction, lifelong Cleveland sports fan Eleff not only won tickets to the game, but had the honor of the first ceremonial pitch. He proceeded Jim Thome, a hall-of-famer whose statue stands just outside the stadium where the game is taking place.” [JewInTheCity; MediaPost]

“Charlie Sheen had a golden ticket — an invitation to get on the mound for Game 7 of the World Series — but a fan says MLB rejected his request to bring the actor on the field… The fan, Daniel Eleff, tells TMZ… he won a Starwood Hotels contest and got 2 tickets to Wednesday’s Cubs-Indians showdown. He’ll also be throwing a ceremonial pitch. Daniel says he wanted to use the ol’ “Get me Vaughn” from “Major League” … and have Charlie run out on the field.” [TMZ]

Watch Dan Shapiro, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, sing ‘Go Cubs Go’ after last night’s game [Video]

DESSERT: “Keeping kosher: it may be bad for your economic health” by Ari Rabinovitch:“Behind Israel’s food and tourism industries thrives a parallel economy run by rabbis and a legion of inspectors whose business it is to make sure everything is kosher. But new data shows the system is weighing on the economy, draining productivity, pushing up prices and allowing large cash balances to accumulate off the books, angering tax authorities.” [Reuters]

BIRTHDAYS: Major League Baseball pitcher (1965-1979) with more career victories (174) than any other Jewish pitcher (Koufax included), Ken Holtzman turns 71… Paul Caplan… Regional Director of Development at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Jeanne Epstein…

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