Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Cliff Sims exclusive | How Israel could factor in the 2020 Dem primary | Meet the Orthodox Marathon Mother

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JI EXCLUSIVE — The following is an excerpt from the twelfth chapter of former White House comms aide Cliff Sims’s forthcoming memoir, Team of Vipers (Jan 29.) In it, he gives a behind-the-scenes view of Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem:

“The day after the announcement was made, the president walked out of the Oval Office to record a video. His attention immediately went to the muted television hanging on the wall. Images of Palestinians protesting the Jerusalem decision were flashing across the screen. ‘How widespread is it?’ Trump asked. ‘It’s hard to tell,’ I replied. ‘They always just show footage from the hot spots.'”

“Some protestors screamed ‘Down with America!’ and ‘Down with Israel!’ while others chanted in Rhythm, ‘Trump, Trump, you will see— Palestine will be free.’ They torched American flags and burned posters of the President’s face. Angry mobs stomped on his picture and others hanged him in effigy. As we continued to watch, I felt an urge to look away. It reminded me of the feeling I get when I see someone trip and stumble in public. Their instinct is to immediately look around to see if anyone noticed; my instinct is to look away so they won’t feel embarrassed.”

“The President had done nothing wrong. He had taken a stand and made good on a promise that Clinton, Bush, and Obama had all bailed on. I was proud of what he had done — we all were. But I could not help but feel uncomfortable as he calmly watched a mob carry a stuffed Trump through the streets on a cross. I find it difficult to explain what it feels like to watch that level of hatred being displayed on TV screens all over the world while standing right next to the person at whom the hatred is being directed.”

“And yet the President was the calm in the eye of the storm. He watched the segment casually but intently, without his usual running commentary. And when it concluded, he turned to me without seeming to have been affected negatively in any way and asked — à la President Jed Bartlet in The West Wing — “What’s next?” [JewishInsider]

Amb. Dan Shapiro writes… “Democratic members of Congress and presidential candidates should commit to the following: While a Democratic administration would keep the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, the United States would also speak openly about its expectation that any two-state solution include two capitals in a unified city, with a U.S. embassy to the State of Palestine in Arab East Jerusalem. In order to harmonize the U.S. diplomatic posture with the goal of two states, a Democratic administration will re-establish a U.S. consulate general, which conducts diplomacy with the Palestinians, as a separate mission from the U.S. Embassy to Israel, reversing Trump’s merger of the two missions.” [ForeignPolicy]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired from CNN following comments he made about Israel, joined Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, on the Intercept’s Deconstructed podcast, hosted by Mehdi Hasan, where they discussed how Israel will feature in the 2020 Democratic primary:

Hill: “It will not be an issue. I think saying that you support Israel unequivocally is like kissing a baby in politics. I think everyone will say it, they’ll have their quick purity test, and then we’ll move on. I don’t think there’s going to be space for nuances.”

Hasan: In the media, yes. But don’t you think the Democratic base is shifting a bit on this?

Hill: “Not enough to make a demand in the primary, I don’t imagine… Now, the one thing that could complicate that is Bernie Sanders because he obviously, in the last election cycle, was a little more nuanced on this issue.”

Friedman: “I think it will be… I think [that] you are going to see the people who want to see Democrats tearing each other apart, folks from the right, who are going to insist on raising this. We saw this issue weaponized to effectively destroy the Women’s March. And it’s not because anyone really saw this as the number one issue. This was manufactured as an issue to take what was one of the most significant grassroots movements in my lifetime and shred it, and it was progressives doing it to themselves at the behest of outside parties.”

Hasan: So there could be a pincer movement on some of these centrist candidates, where the right is demanding loyalty tests, and the left is saying, ‘We’re demanding you speak for justice and equality for the Palestinians.’

Friedman: “I think you are going to get either one or both of those, and if either one of those is present, this becomes an issue. Not because it’s important, not because people actually care about it, not because voters are voting on it, but because this is political.”

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) discussed recent comments made by Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on the AJC Passport podcast with Seffi Kogen: “In general, the freshman class has some young people. They have strong views that may differ from ours, but there’s not a movement there. I don’t see the movement… Don’t make a generalization over a couple of representatives who have deep roots in other communities.”

“I think it’s important to know that there are lots of people like me, who are not Jewish. In fact, one of the reasons I love Project Interchange is because it takes lots of people that aren’t Jewish. We’ve got to get more people that aren’t Jewish to go to Israel. You know, I love the programs that send young Jews to Israel, but they ought to take their roommates with them. Israel’s going to survive, in my judgment, only if we have non-Jews that understand Israel, its history, and its importance to our future.”

Freshman Rep. David Trone (D-MD) writes… “Optimism for bipartisan solutions in Congress: The source of my optimism is from the possibilities I saw on a recent trip to Israel with other incoming members. The visit emphasized the importance of bipartisanship in our support for this strategic alliance. Just as important, it provided an opportunity for future colleagues to begin building personal relationships on both sides of the aisle, relationships that will be crucial in finding common ground on the many important issues facing our country.” [TheHill]

HEARD ON THE SENATE FLOOR — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), responding to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), who accused him of shedding “crocodile tears” over Coast Guard members not being paid during the government shutdown: “The senator from Colorado spent a great deal of time yelling, spent a great deal of time attacking me personally… It takes some degree of chutzpah to stand up after filibustering funding for the government, as the Democrats did, and to blame the shutdown on the opposing party.”[CSPAN]

STATE-SIDE — Airbnb faces civil rights suit in U.S. over West Bank settlement boycott — by Tovah Lazaroff: “Five US citizens filed a civil rights lawsuit in California this week against Airbnb, claiming its decision to delist rental properties in settlements was discriminatory to Jews and akin to Nazi boycotts. Two of the plaintiffs also hold Israeli citizenship and live in the Efrat settlement in West Bank, and three live in the US.” [JPost

ACROSS THE SEA — Irish parliament passes bill to penalize firms trading with Israeli companies in the West Bank — by Peter Flanagan: “The proposal, which aims to prohibit the purchase of goods or services produced in settlements, passed the so-called second stage in the Irish parliament by 78 votes to 45. Ireland’s minority government opposed the bill, which passed with support from opposition parties and independent lawmakers… The bill is “not legally sound,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in parliament Wednesday. “These are issues we need to discuss at an EU level.”

“Israel’s Foreign Ministry called the bill “an expression of pure hostility on the part of its initiators that deserves every condemnation.” … The proposals raises questions as to whether it could hit U.S. tech firms with Irish and Israeli operations. Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are among firms with offices in both countries.” [Bloomberg]

INTERVIEW — Deborah E. Lipstadt compares anti-Semitism on the Left and the Right in an interview with Isaac Chotiner: “We’re not talking about completely different phenomena. They’re the same because they rely on the same stereotypical elements. I know it when I see it. Now, that’s not a sufficient definition, but it’s that way with anti-Semitism. I know it when I see it because these are the elements that are there—something to do with money, something to do with finance, that Jews will do anything and everything, irrespective of whom it harms or displaces or burdens. Both the right and the left share those kinds of stereotypes.” [NewYorker]

INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — Officials rejected Jared Kushner for top secret security clearance, but were overruled — by Laura Strickler, Ken Dilanian and Peter Alexander: “Jared Kushner’s application for a top secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him — but their supervisor overruled the recommendation and approved the clearance… Kushner’s FBI background check identified questions about his family’s business, his foreign contacts, his foreign travel and meetings he had during the campaign.” [NBCNews]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Benjamin Netanyahu’s obsession with the press — by Anshel Pffefer: “In October 2015 a journalist called Amir Tibon was asked by his editors at Walla!, a popular Israeli news website, to analyze Netanyahu’s handling of a wave of shooting and stabbing attacks by Palestinians. The resulting piece was balanced, but included some mild criticism of the prime minister. According to Mr. Tibon, the next morning he received a phone call from his editor-in-chief, who said, “We can’t publish this. You know what the circumstances are right now.” Other reporters at Walla! now tell similar stories of being censored when their reports were critical of Mr. Netanyahu… But claims that Israel is going the way of Hungary, where Viktor Orban, the prime minister, has throttled the press, are overstated.” [Economist]

ROAD TO THE NEW KNESSET — Ehud Barak Says Israel’s Opposition Must Unite to Beat Netanyahu — by Eric Martin and Michael Arnold: “I hope after the attorney general announces his decision people will go to the ballots and, with all due respect, send Netanyahu back home, ” former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Netanyahu “is fragile, he’s weaker and he could be removed. But if the opposition ends up being split between a half-dozen small parties, it won’t work — Bibi will lead the next government as well.” [Bloomberg]

When the IDF’s chief of staff had a snowball fight with a Palestinian family ― by Judah Ari Gross: “Five years ago, after a massive snowstorm, the IDF chief of staff got into a snowball fight with a Palestinian family on the side of a West Bank highway. I was then the chief of staff’s photographer and, as was my duty, I caught on film the improbable encounter. But the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit refused to allow the picture to be printed, saying it would only be released to the public “when there’s a peace agreement.” Now, however, the chief of staff in question, Benny Gantz, has entered politics and is campaigning for the premiership, and — peace be damned — the Israel Defense Forces has decided the photograph can be published.” [ToI]

2020 WATCH — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will propose a wealth tax on those with more than $50 million… Beto O’Rourke has a campaign-in-waiting awaiting his decision whether or not to run for president… The conservative Koch political network has told donors that it plans to once again stay out of the presidential race and will not work to help reelect President Trump in 2020… Joe Biden defended his decision to praise an embattled Republican lawmaker during a paid speech in Michigan last fall, telling a group of mayors that it reflected his philosophy of how to “get things done.”

** Good Friday 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: GFI Capital Resources Group and Elliott Management Corp. close on purchase of the Parker New York hotel for about $420 million[WSJ] • Stewart Butterfield’s Slack faces growing challenge from Microsoft [FinancialTimes] • Goldman CEO David Solomon sees a small chance of a recession this year, 50-50 next year [CNBC] • The New Hedge Fund Manager, Brant Rubin, Flies Economy and Stays in Hostels [Bloomberg

** A message from The Maimonides Scholars Program: Do you know a student interested in Jewish Thought, Zionism, and Philosophy? The Maimonides Scholars Program is a two-week summer institute for high school students hosted at Yale University. Our faculty members include Rabbi David Wolpe, novelist Dara Horn, historian Daniel Gordis, and former MK Einat Wilf. Students with all levels of familiarity with Jewish text study are encouraged to apply—the only prerequisite is a hunger to learn. Application deadline is February 3rd. [Visit The Maimonides Scholars Program]  **

TALK OF DAVOS — Soros Warns China Uses AI to Find Threats to One-Party Rule — by Saijel Kishan, Katherine Burton and Melissa Karsh: “Billionaire George Soros warned of the “mortal danger” of China’s use of artificial intelligence to repress its citizens under the leadership of Xi Jinping, who he called the most dangerous opponent of democracies… In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros touched on subjects including his childhood, running a hedge fund and his efforts to protect human rights… He also called out Russian President Vladimir Putin as another enemy of democracy.” [Bloomberg]

— Soros: “My deep concern for this issue arises out of my personal history. I was born in Hungary in 1930 and I’m Jewish. I was 13 years old when the Nazis occupied Hungary and started deporting Jews to extermination camp.”[BuzzFeed]

Davos Elites Fear They’re on a Toboggan Ride to Hell — by John Harris: “In other years, Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg would be treated like royalty. This year, she was the one bowing, acknowledging in speeches and interviews that Facebook had made mistakes in not preventing data breaches and manipulation of audiences by Russian agents. But she said overall that Facebook is a force for good and current leadership is in the best position to fix the problems with social media.” [Politico]

HOLLYWOOD — Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman: Hollywood’s New Odd Couple — by Sheila Marikar: “If it seems audacious for two relative dinosaurs to think they’ve cracked the code for what people young enough to be their grandchildren want to watch—Katzenberg is 68, and Whitman is 62—it’s also an opportunity for each to rewrite their legacies… Quibi does not yet have a media player to test, and there’s no “sizzle reel” to entice would-be collaborators. Instead, it has Katzenberg and Whitman, who have been tooling around Hollywood with a spiral-bound, 32‑page presentation, selling roomfuls of producers, executives, and talent agents on why they and their clients should carve out time for Quibi. They have proved to be a curiosity. “Typically, when we have someone come up and tell us what’s happening at Warner Bros. or HBO, you get 20 people in a room,” says Ari Greenburg, a partner at the William Morris Endeavor talent agency. “This was a single email, and 150 people showed up.” [Fortune]

The Meaning Behind the Bracelet Donned by Well-Armed Stars — by Elycia Rubin: “The pencil bracelets are part of The Expression Collection by Tzuri that debuted in 2016 to convey a message of social consciousness. A portion of sales are donated to the nonprofit humanitarian group Pencils of Promise, started by Adam Braun (brother of Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun) that is dedicated to increasing educational opportunities for children around the world.” [HollywoodReporter]

PROFILE — Meet Beatie Deutsch, the Ultra-Orthodox Runner Setting Records and Shattering Expectations — by Hailey Middlebrook: “Though she’s now within striking distance to the best marathoners in the world, Deutsch is still, shockingly, new to running. Before moving to Jerusalem in 2008 and becoming an Israeli citizen, she grew up in New Jersey, where she did gymnastics, but didn’t participate in track or cross country, she said. She met her husband, Michael, an avid cyclist, shortly after immigrating and becoming an Israeli citizen… Over the next six years, she had four children—and between raising them and working full-time as a communication officer for an Olami international Jewish organization, she didn’t have much time for exercise… For now, Deutsch is taking a few weeks off from running, but the “Marathon Mother” (as she’s known on Instagram) is looking forward to shaving more minutes off her marathon time this fall.”[RunnersWorld]

TALK OF THE NATION — Staying At The Intersectional Table? Women’s March Movement Plans Next Steps — by Shira Hanau: “As the Women’s March movement plans its next steps in the wake of last weekend’s marches, Jewish women and the Jewish community as a whole are having to navigate choppy waters in a debate that touches on fraught issues like anti-Semitism… “The issue really came down to, do you engage with people who have associated with people that we consider anti-Semitic, with movements like BDS that we consider problematic for Israel? Do you engage or do you ignore? That is the big question,” said Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women.” [JewishWeek]

The Black Hebrew Israelites and their connection to the Covington controversy, explained —by  P.R. Lockhart: “The differing offshoots or “camps” affiliated with One West have some common beliefs, including a strong sense of black nationalism and an ardent belief in the end of the world being imminent. When compared to other facets of Black Jewish groups and Black Israelites, this group is largely seen as a fringe sect, and has fractured further since 2000, spawning groups like the House of Israel. But the internet has helped these groups spread their message. If you live in a city like Washington, DC, Philadelphia, or New York, there’s a good chance you’ve seen members of the House of Israel or other offshoots of One West engaged in a highly confrontational form of street ministry.” [Vox]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Michigan family kicked off American Airlines flight in Miami because of ‘body odor’ — by Ella Torres: “Coming home from vacation really stinks. That’s what one Michigan family learned when they were kicked off their flight back to Detroit Wednesday because of body odor. Yossi Adler and Jennie Adler were headed home from their trip in Miami with their 19-month-old daughter when the incident occurred, the two told Local 10 News, a Miami TV station. They had boarded their American Airlines flight at Miami International Airport, but were soon escorted off.” [NYDailyNews

DESSERT — Sara Polon and her mom, Marilyn, the founders of locally sourced soup company Soupergirl share how they overcame the setback of not getting funded on “Shark Tank” to creating a successful business. [Today]

The Secret Sushi Bar on the 10th Floor — by Helene Stapinski: “Sushi by Bou Suite 1001 — David Bouhadana’s latest project and part of his growing line of dining experiences — opened in December [in Midtown Manhattan]… Mr. Bouhadana, with the help of investors Michael Sinensky and Erika London, has partnered with the 32nd Street hotel to install a four-person sushi counter in one of its rooms. He is there every night, making his creations, from 5 p.m. to midnight… As a Jewish sushi chef, he is the odd man out, but at the same time, stands out from the crowd.” [NYTimes]

WINE OF THE WEEK — Covenant Israel Blue C Viognier 2017 — by Yitz Applbaum: “This year I attended a Tu BiShevat meal which was reminiscent of a Passover Seder. It was a great experience with poignant Kabbalistic overtones, and to my delight, four cups of wine. One of the wines served was the Covenant Israel Blue C Viognier 2017. This, perhaps, is not a wine with sufficient gravitas to serve at a Passover Seder, but on a Monday in January it fit in perfectly.”

“The Viognier grape is neither Chardonnay (although it has lovely full-bodied floral characteristics), nor is it Sauvignon Blanc (with its dry and crisp finish). It contains characteristics of both, and flutters between them. In this one bottle I was able to tease out honey in the mid-palate, peach on the front palate and strong earthiness on the finish. Drink this wine with figs and dates while studying the deep mysticism of Kabbalah.” [CovenantWines]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Israeli peace activist and author, whose fiction and non-fiction books have been translated into more than 30 languages, David Grossman turns 65… Journalist and political commentator, author of five books, he is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo and editor-at-large of The Investigative Fund, Joe Conason (family name was Cohen) turns 65… Dean of the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion since July 2009, Naamah Kelman-Ezrachi turns 64… Robert N. Newman turns 64… Stage, film, and television actress and television director, Dinah Beth Manoff turns 63… Los Angeles resident, Helene S. Ross turns 62… Partner at NYC-based ICM Partners Broadcasting where he represents anchors, reporters, hosts and producers in news, lifestyle, and sports broadcasting, Michael Glantz turns 60… Member of the Canadian Parliament from Montreal since 2015, he won 12 medals in swimming at the 2013 and 2017 Maccabiah Games, Anthony Housefather turns 48…

Born in Rishon LeZion in Israel, author of multiple novels, she earned a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of London and is a lecturer in Jewish Studies at Stanford University, Maya Arad turns 48… Toronto-born movie and television actress, writer and social activist, a regular on Showtime’s “The L Word” (2004-2009), she had a recurring guest role on the Fox TV series “24,” Mia Kirshner turns 44… National political reporter at The Washington Post since 2017, he was previously the Washington bureau chief for Time magazine, Michael Scherer turns 43… Consultant for the Central Queens YMHA and YWHA, he was previously the Northeast Regional Manager for AIPAC’s Fellows Program, David Newman turns 42… Benjamin Newton turns 34… Director of executive communications for the National Association of Manufacturers since 2015, he was previously a speechwriter at the Republican National Committee, Mark Isaacson turns 30 (h/t Politico)… Policy analyst at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), Ari Cicurel turns 26…

SATURDAY: Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter, adult and children’s book author, illustrator and art instructor Jules Feiffer turns 90… Actor, film director and playwright, Henry Jaglomturns 81… Singer-songwriter, socialite and political fundraiser, Denise Eisenberg Rich turns 75… Connecticut attorney, Herbert Ira Mendelsohnturns 70… Founding rabbi of the Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, NY, Rabbi Marc Schneier turns 60… Argentinian real-estate developer, President of Chabad Argentina, President of Hillel Argentina and President of Taglit Birthright Argentina, Eduardo Elsztain turns 59… Long-time judge in New York, appointed in 2017 to the New York Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court, Judge Paul George Feinman turns 59… Santa Monica, CA resident, tech executive focused on blockchain, digital capital markets and crypto finance, Brent Cohen turns 56… Former CNN anchor and correspondent (1994-2006), she runs a website and newsletter focused on uplifting and positive news, Daryn Kagan turns 56…

Better half of Congressman Ted Deutch and development director at Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach since 2008, Jill Weinstock Deutch… Elected to multiple governmental positions in Michigan, she serves on the board of the Jewish Association for Residential Care, Lisa Brown turns 52… Retired tennis player who was the top ranked player in his age group at the ages of 12, 14, 16, and 18, then as an adult he won 15 doubles championships, Justin Gimelstobturns 42… Actress, she hosted The CW reality series Shedding for the Wedding and is known for her performances as Carmen Ferrara on Popular and as Claude Casey on Less than Perfect, Sara Rue (born Sara Schlackman) turns 40… Executive at Bloomberg LP focused upon disaster response and recovery, he was previously an Obama White House Jewish Liaison (2011-2013), Jarrod Neal Bernstein turns 39… Director of Partnerships at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Tamar Remz turns 34… Barbara Simons

SUNDAY: Senior counsel focused on mergers and acquisitions in the NYC office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Arthur Fleischerturns 86… Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, Barry Clark Barishturns 83… Priscilla Alexander turns 80… Casino operator, Steve Wynn(born Stephen Alan Weinberg) turns 77… Corporate venture capitalist and scientist, he served as VP at Intel Corporation (1984-1999) where he co-founded Intel Capital, Avram Miller turns 74… Topanga, California resident, Joseph Helfer turns 72… Accountant at North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction, Gene Bruton turns 70… Professor in Medieval Judaism and Islam at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Reuven Firestone turns 67… Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts turns 64…

Television writer and producer best known as the creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005), he is now starring in a Netflix world cuisine program, Philip Rosenthal turns 59… CEO of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, a global hedge fund, Daniel Och turns 58… Communications director at C-SPAN since 2009, Howard Mortman turns 52… Founder and general partner of Multiplier Capital, Ezra M. Friedberg… English fashion model, Daisy Rebecca Lowe turns 30… Research assistant at the Washington Institute, she is also a researcher helping with the sequel book to “Start-Up Nation,” Lia Michal Weiner… M.A. candidate at Johns Hopkins SAIS, he was previously an associate at the federal government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation and an associate at Baron Public Affairs, LLC, Joshua Henderson… Columbia, SC resident, Charles Geffen… Josh Weinstein

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