Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Eric Cantor blasts Trump’s remarks: “there’s no moral equivalence” | Abe Foxman: This is Javanka’s ‘Mordechai and Esther’ moment

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DRIVING THE CONVO: “Trump Gives White Supremacists an Unequivocal Boost“ by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman: “President Trump buoyed the white nationalist movement on Tuesday as no president has done in generations — equating activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend… Members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably… No sooner had he delivered the Monday statement than he began railing privately to his staff about the press. He fumed to aides about how unfairly he was being treated… He felt he had already given too much ground to his opponents, the official said.”

“Eric Cantor, a former Republican congressman from Virginia… said the president needed to have spoken out earlier. “It really did demand a statement at the very beginning,” said Mr. Cantor, who is Jewish. He added that efforts by the president to equate the actions of the counter-protesters… with the neo-Nazis and the driver of the car that murdered a protester were “unacceptable.” “There’s no moral equivalence,” Mr. Cantor said.” [NYTimesDailyBeast] • Read the full text of Trump’s comments[Politico]

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY): “These two sides are not equal. They are different. I would add, though, that it is not right to suggest that President Trump is wrong for acknowledging the fact that criminals on both sides showed up for the purpose of being violent. That particular observation is completely true.”[Newsday]

HOW IT PLAYED: “With New Remarks on Charlottesville, Trump Leaves Himself Isolated” by Gerald F. Seib: “Even Candidate Trump may never have left himself quite so isolated as President Trump did with a remarkable news conference inside Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon.” [WSJ

RJC STATEMENT: “We regret that we continue to be faced with these issues, but the RJC will never shy away from our role of standing up to racists, fascists, and Nazis.”

Norm Eisen: “Trump’s comments just now were the single most disgraceful by an American president in my lifetime.” [Twitter]

Martin Sweet, who served as Marco Rubio’s Director of Jewish Outreach in 2016, emails us… “The moral equivalence that we all roundly reject when it rears its ugly head regarding Israel (“we urge restraint on both sides…”) is wrong there and it is wrong regarding Charlottesville. Those on the side of moral clarity are on the right side of history.”

HEARD YESTERDAY — Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Situation Room: “My parents came to this country after the Holocaust. All four of my grandparents were murdered during the Holocaust. And what I don’t understand is — the President of the U.S. has a daughter who is Jewish, a son-in-law who is Jewish, grandchildren who are Jewish. His son-in-law, his grandparents were Holocaust survivors. I don’t understand how [Trump] isn’t moved by that to simply condemn this group shouting out ‘Jews will not replace us.’”[YouTube] h/t Brian Stelter

Abe Foxman: Now is Jared and Ivanka’s ‘Mordechai and Esther’ Moment — by Jacob Kornbluh: “This is a dark moment for those of us who remember what hatred can do. As a Holocaust survivor, I never thought that I would witness the day that a president of the United States would rationalize away Nazism, its hatred, its violence, and find excuses for it,” said Foxman, who now serves as Director of Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. “For him to have seen the torch parade and the epithets against his daughter, his grandchildren, his son-in-law, and stand up and say both sides are equal? Shame, shame, shame.”

Recognizing that Trump has a tendency of doubling down on irrational behavior when being pushed into a corner, Foxman said now might be the time for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to take matters into their own hands and step into the roles of Mordechai and Esther. “Trump loves his daughter. She is the apple of his eye, and I saw him, he likes his son-in-law, but he certainly loves his grandchildren,” Foxman explained. “They need to sit down with him, and say to him, face-to-face, ‘Do you understand what message you’re sending to your grandchildren? That it’s okay for people to march down and yell get rid of the Jews, we don’t want the Jews. And you say this is nothing..’ People have said, ‘Well maybe Jared …’ Jared’s grandparents are Holocaust survivors. People say, ‘Well, maybe they were put there to be Esther or Mordechai.’ Well, maybe they have.” [JewishInsider

WHERE IS JAVANKA? — by Annie Karni: “A White House official said the couple are currently on a long-planned, two-day trip to Vermont and are expected back in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday, when they will rejoin the president.” [Politico

“Leon Wieseltier on Charlottesville: ‘The Darkness Is Now in the Light’” by Marilyn Cooper: “This man (Trump) is either amoral or immoral, it’s hard to decide which… It’s hard for me to think of a question that would be easier to get right than that, but somehow he just can’t. He screws it up every time… Those Jews who supported Trump should welcome the season of introspection that the month of Elul inaugurates. They made a terrible mistake. Jews should respond by offering and displaying our solidarity to those groups in this country who really are threatened by the Trump presidency—meaning immigrants, refugees, Muslims and Mexicans.” [MomentMag

Washington Post editorial… “The nation can only weep: Tuesday was a great day for David Duke and racists everywhere. The president of the United States all but declared that he has their backs.” [WashPost

“Why the Charlottesville Marchers Were Obsessed With Jews” by Emma Green: “In the world sketched by white supremacists, Jews hover malevolently in the background, pulling strings, controlling events, acting as an all-powerful force backing and enabling the other targets of their hate. That’s clear in statements made by people like Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who proudly marched with other white supremacists in Charlottesville. Jewish Zionists, he complained to a gathered crowd, control the media and American political system.” [TheAtlantic

KAFE KNESSET — View from Israel: Just one side — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: POTUS’ blaming “both sides” drew strong criticism in Israel. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked – displaying a misunderstanding of American Constitutional law – said “neo Nazis in the US must be put on trial. This was not the intention of the American Constitution. A democratic state cannot show tolerance towards such phenomena.” Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid took issue with the idea of creating moral equivalence between the neo-Nazis and counter-protesters, saying “There are not two sides. When neo Nazis march in Charlottesville and scream slogans against Jews and in support of white supremacy, the condemnation has to be unambiguous.” Similarly, former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said “with racism, anti-Semitism and Nazism there are no two sides. There is good, and there is bad. Period. The battle against anti-Semitism must be a joint one, with Israel as the state of the Jewish People, and leaders in places in which it raises its ugly head.”

Livni didn’t miss an opportunity to criticize Netanyahu for waiting three days to come out against the neo Nazis, saying: “We must stand up against such phenomena immediately, and without hesitation.” But someone else in the Netanyahu home had a different view. Yair Netanyahu wrote on his newly-active Facebook account that “the neo Nazis scums (sic) in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past… However the thugs of Antifa and BLM who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger.” And Likud firebrand Oren Hazan, who never misses a chance to declare his undying love for Trump, said POTUS was right and “extremism and violence on all sides are prohibited and should be denounced!” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Jared and Ivanka Aren’t Pushing Bannon Out—Yet” by Emily Jane Fox: “Back then, it was no secret that [Jared and Ivanka] wanted Bannon out of the West Wing. Now, however, they are not actively pushing him out the door, one person familiar with the situation told me. Bannon’s current influence within the West Wing doesn’t amount to much, and those kinds of staffing decisions are now made by Kelly, whose appointment they fully supported… The episode in Charlottesville underscores most profoundly not only how Trump keeps his uneasy coalition in fragile condition, but also how Ivanka and Kushner are able to balance their support of the president, and their boss, with their other beliefs and interests. “[VanityFair

“Banish Bannon? Trump weighs his options as top aides feud” by John Walcott and Jeff Mason: “A source close to the ZOA bristled at the suggestion that Bannon was influencing its approach and said it would not tone down the campaign against McMaster, despite entreaties by Bannon to do so. “We find it remarkably offensive that anyone would suggest that Steve Bannon or anyone else tells us what to say or what not to say,” the source said. “It makes me feel awful that he’s getting blamed for this, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”” [Reuters

“Firing Steve Bannon Won’t Change Donald Trump” by Ryan Lizza:“Despite showing it off to a few other reporters and me, Bannon tried to keep the whiteboard’s contents secret. That plan was blown in [May], when a visitor posted a picture of himself and Bannon in front of the whiteboard, and the board became a sensation online and among late-night comedians, generating dozens of memes and jokes. Trump was furious at the leak, perhaps because the writing was so messy, and the whiteboard was subsequently erased and redrawn with a cleaner and more professional look.” [NewYorker]

UN WATCH: “Israel Seeks UN’s Respect in Campaign for Security Council Seat” by Kambiz Foroohar: “Israel is working to rally enough votes in the 193-member General Assembly to defeat either Germany or Belgium in a three-way race for two spots on the UN’s most powerful body… One Israeli official said the election may become a political landmine for Netanyahu domestically amid his legal troubles. Failure to win the UN seat would let rivals call him foolish for seeking acceptance in a club he has long denounced as hostile to Israel, according to the official… Don’t count Israel out, said Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations. One potential twist: With the balloting conducted in secret, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni neighbors might cast their ballots for Israel on the bet it would take a tough stand against their common archenemy Iran.” [Bloomberg

IRAN DEAL: “U.S. envoy says Iran cannot ‘hold world hostage’ with nuclear deal” by Michelle Nichols: “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday Iran must be held responsible for “its missile launches, support for terrorism, disregard for human rights, and violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions… Iran cannot be allowed to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage … The nuclear deal must not become ‘too big to fail’,” Haley said in a statement, adding that new U.S. sanctions were unrelated to the Iran nuclear deal.” [Reuters]

“Trump Reminded Threats Work Differently in Diplomacy Than in Real Estate” by David Sanger: “Mr. Trump has made clear he would like to exit from the Iran deal as fast as he can… Some in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps would also like to see the deal collapse, so they can resume their nuclear activities. [Hassan] Rouhani has no interest in watching the agreement dissolve… But Mr. Rouhani’s statements to Iranian lawmakers were driven by a domestic imperative not to be seen giving in to American threats to pull out of the deal or renegotiate or widen it… Several other Iranian officials have recently threatened to restart industrial-scale uranium enrichment. Ali Akbar Salehi, the president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and a key negotiator of the deal, said the country could go up to 20 percent enrichment of uranium to “surprise the Americans and their supporters.”” [NYTimes]

FOGGY BOTTOM POLICY: State Dept annual report critiques Israeli actions in West Bank — by Aaron Magid: In a move likely to upset conservative supporters of President Donald Trump, a new State Department report released yesterday criticized both Israeli and Palestinian policies in what they referred to as “Israel and the Occupied Territories.” “In some cases the Palestinians killed reportedly did not pose a threat to life at the time they were shot, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) published reports saying that Israeli security forces committed unlawful killings,” the State Department noted in its annual International Religious Freedom report.  While pointing out numerous cases of Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians, the State Department also faulted the Israeli government for not prosecuting Jewish assailants who strike Palestinian targets. “Many “price tag” attacks reportedly continued to go unprosecuted.” [JewishInsider]

“Abbas sends greeting to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un” by Elior Levy: “In an official letter to Kim Jong-un, Abbas said the Korean people “sacrificed the most precious sacrifices for its freedom and honor” and expressed his appreciation to the support North Korea has shown the Palestinian people in their fight for freed.” [Ynet]

Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt met with PLO Representative to DC Husam Zomlot at the White House yesterday ahead of the U.S. delegation’s trip to the region. Zomlot “reaffirmed the full readiness of the Palestinian leadership to support President Trump’s efforts to reach a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli issue,” the PLO delegation said in a readout. [Facebook]

“Is Trump’s Middle East Peace Effort Dead in the Water?” by Daniel Shapiro: “Trump and his team have essentially three options: First, keep up the usual diplomatic dance: visits, shuttle talks, speaking about achieving the “ultimate deal,” and capitalizing on the alignment of Israeli and Sunni Arab states’ interests to achieve a regional political opening. The problem? No one buys it. Such efforts, even well-intentioned, will soon look phony and worn, like they are just buying time. Second, walk away. Trump could argue that there is nothing to be done, that the United States has more urgent business to attend to, that circumstances are not favorable for renewed talks… This approach might be the most honest. It also might kill the two-state solution once and for all. Third, refocus their work on taking steps to manage the conflict and keep a two-state solution alive for when better leadership circumstances emerge in the future.” [FP

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: “Another Democratic Congressman Drops Support for Controversial anti-BDS Bill” by Amir Tibon: “Speaking at a town hall meeting, Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington, said that he intends to withdraw his support because the bill is “more complicated” than how it was originally presented to him. “I do not support a boycott and divestment campaign against Israel,” he clarified, stating that the change in his position… is a result of its “very complicated” language, which comes “very close” to punishing American citizens for choosing to boycott Israel.”[Haaretz

SCENE YESTERDAY: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens And Israeli Ambassador Participate In Business Roundtable — by Jill Enders: “Greitens hosted the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer during his visit to the St. Louis area. They participated in a business roundtable at the Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Couer… “Missouri is one of the leaders in agriculture technology today as is the state of Israel. So part of the discussion is how we can enhance those relationships in agriculture technology.” said Greitens… “I frankly did not know how important agriculture and ag tech is to this economy. I think if we’re not the best in the world, we’re one of the best in the world in that area.” said Dermer “I think Israel is going to be a great resource.” Dermer added.” [STL

COMING SOON: Registration open for governor-led trade mission to Jordan and Israel: “World Trade Center Utah is currently accepting registrants for a governor-led trade mission to Jordan and Israel Oct. 22 through 26. “The trade mission to Jordan and Israel presents a unique opportunity for companies to explore business opportunities in the Middle East,” Derek B. Miller, president and CEO of the organization, said in a statement.” [DeseretNews

** 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: Westfield hits Milan as it upgrades its shopping centre portfolio [SMH] • LionTree CEO Aryeh Bourkoff Expects More Cross-Border Telecom Deals [Bloomberg] • Blue Apron jumps after Gary Rosenstein’s Jana Partners, that pushed Whole Foods into Amazon’s arms, buys a stake[CNBC] • Kushner Cos faces lawsuit claiming rent overcharging in New York[Reuters] • Alice Rogoff borrowed, but it wasn’t enough to save newspaper[MRA

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Eva Moskowitz sends letter calling Success board chair’s comments ‘indefensible’ — but also defending his record” by Monica Disare: “In the letter, Moskowitz used strong language to condemn Daniel Loeb’s comments… Moskowitz called the comments “indefensible,” “insensitive” and “hurtful,” a more aggressive rebuke than her previous statement. Yet she also defended Loeb’s track record in the letter, pointing out his commitment to Success and various social causes. A spokeswoman for Success Academy confirmed that Loeb remains the board’s chairman. ” [Chalkbeat]

MEDIA WATCH: “Down the Breitbart Hole” by Wil Hylton: “Breitbart often disparages its political opponents as ‘‘globalists’’ and ‘‘corporatists,’’ which is easy to interpret as an anti-Semitic dog whistle… When a Breitbart article appeared two weeks ago linking McMaster to a foundation financed by George Soros, the website Slate quickly posted a response arguing that it ‘‘makes sense’’ for Breitbart to think ‘‘the worst thing it could possibly reveal about H. R. McMaster is that he has a thirdhand connection to a Jewish guy.’’ No criticism of Breitbart irritates its leadership more than the charge of anti-Semitism. That’s partly because many of the top figures at Breitbart, including Andrew Breitbart, Larry Solov and the entire editorial team when the site relaunched in 2012 — Joel Pollak, Ben Shapiro and Alex Marlow — were all of Jewish descent, but also because a fundamental commitment on the site is to a borderline fanatical advocacy for Israel.” [NYTimes]

“David Steinberg celebrates birthday with wife and head honchos” by Ian Mohr: “Comic David Steinberg and his producer wife, Robyn Todd, were seen celebrating Steinberg’s birthday at Primola on the Upper East Side with good friends… A spy said of the birthday boy — a director on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and executive producer with Todd of Discovery’s revived “Cash Cab” — “David was still glowing over the attendance at his performance at the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival” in and around Jamestown, NY, this month.” [PageSix

BIRTHDAYS: Former member of Congress (1991-1997) and both houses of the New Jersey Legislature (NJ General Assembly 1982-1987 and NJ Senate 1987-1991), Richard Alan “Dick” Zimmer turns 73… Sportscaster who is known as the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys,” he has broadcast the Cowboys since 1976, Brad Sham turns 68… Co-founder and managing director of Rock Creek Global Advisors, previously White House Chief of Staff (2006-2009) following three years as OMB Director (2003-2006), Joshua Brewster “Josh” Bolten turns 63… Gerald Platt turns 63… Commander of the Israeli Air Force (2004-2008) and CEO of El Al (2010-2014), General Eliezer Shkediturns 60… Senior partner in the Denver office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and an AIPAC board member, Steven C. Demby turns 59… Sports journalist and executive, she spent 17 years on-air at ESPN/ABC and CBS covering everything from Super Bowls to NBA and MLB playoffs, now she is a VP at Campus Insiders, Bonnie Bernstein turns 47… Senior staff writer for Politico Magazine and editor-at-large of The Agenda, Miami Beach resident, Michael Grunwald turns 47…

Senior editor of Kol HaBirah (a Jewish newspaper that serves the Washington and Baltimore Jewish communities), Kami Troy turns 43 (h/t Tevi)… Co-founder and co-CEO of The Creative Counsel, South Africa’s largest advertising agency, in 2014 he was named by GQ as one of the Best Dressed Men of the Year, Gil Oved turns 42… Events Director for the Republican Governors Association, Patricia W. “Tricia” Moffatt turns 39… Producer for CBS’s Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show “The Talk,” Matthew Silversteinturns 36… Executive assistant to the ambassador at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, Galit Tassi… Analyst on the brand strategy team at Blackrock, he was the founder of the University of Michigan program Music Matters and served as an intern at the White House National Economic Council, Phillip Schermer… Staffer in the New England office of J Street, after interning there for 3 semesters while he was at Brandeis University, Cooper Boyar… Ellen Weissfeld

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