HEARD OVER THE WEEKEND — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was asked about support for Israel during a town hall meeting in Muscatine, Iowa on Saturday. “Let me be very honest with you,” Sanders told the questioner, Marc Daniels, who was equipped with ‘Jews for Bernie’ and ‘Make America Kosher Again’ gear. “I think that Benjamin Netanyahu is an extreme right-wing leader in Israel. I do not support his policies, and I think that to speak against Netanyahu is not to be anti-Israel. And what I believe is that we, in fact, need a two-state solution to the Middle East’s ongoing crisis and that the United States needs to have an even-handed policy… That is the kind of president that I would be.” See the full exchange here [JewishInsider; Video]
Beto O’Rourke discussed Israel in Iowa City: “The U.S.-Israel relationship is one of the most important relationships that we have on the planet. And that relationship, if it is to be successful, must transcend partisanship in the United States, and it must be able to transcend a prime minister who is racist (🚨), as he warns about Arabs coming to the polls; who wants to defy any prospect for peace, as he threatens to annex the West Bank, and who has sided with a far-right racist party in order to maintain his hold on power. I don’t think that Benjamin Netanyahu represents the true will of the Israeli people or the best interest of the U.S.-Israel relationship, or any path to peace for the people of the Palestinian Authority, the Gaza Strip and the State of Israel.” [CNN; Video]
Mayor Pete Buttigieg commented on Netanyahu’s annexation announcement on Saturday: “This provocation is harmful to Israeli, Palestinian, and American interests. Supporting Israel does not have to mean agreeing with Netanyahu‘s politics. I don’t. This calls for a president willing to counsel our ally against abandoning a two-state solution.”
In an interview with Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, Haim Saban said, “I sincerely hope the [presidential] nominee continues the traditional Democratic Party [policy] as it relates to the U.S.-Israel alliance.”
HEARD AT THE RJC IN LAS VEGAS — President Trump mentioned the much-anticipated Mideast peace plan in his remarks at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) annual gathering on Saturday: “And a big thing for me — some of you won’t like this, maybe, but I would love to see peace in the Middle East.” [Video]
TRUMP EXPLAINS THE GOLAN DECISION — Trump said he made the snap decision during a discussion with his top Middle East peace advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, including U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who was on the phone. “I said, ‘Fellows, do me a favor. Give me a little history, quick. Want to go fast. I got a lot of things I’m working on: China, North Korea. Give me a quickie.’ After a short presentation, Trump recounted telling them, ‘How do you like the idea of me recognizing exactly what we’re discussing?’ Amb. Friedman was shocked, “like a wonderful, beautiful baby,” Trump said. “We make fast decisions.. and I went ‘bing’ and it was done.”
HIGHLIGHTS — Trump began his speech by saying “Shabbat Shalom” and was quickly interrupted by protestors from IfNotNow. After the protestors were escorted out, Trump said they’re “going back home to mommy… And will be reprimanded.” Trump’s speech made national headlines for his long digression on immigration and asylum, in saying that America is already “full.” He also referred to Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister,” in discussion his historic recognition of the Golan Heights. In jest, he gave special thanks to “Representative Omar, oh, oh, oh, I forgot, she doesn’t like Israel, I forgot.” [CSPAN]
Spotted at President Trump’s speech: Jared Kushner, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Andy Abboud, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (who flew back to D.C. with Trump after the speech), Reps. Billy Long (R-MO), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), David Perdue (R-GA), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Amb. Danny Danon, Jason Greenblatt, Elan Carr, Norm Coleman, Yitz Applbaum, Ari Fleischer, George Klein (who received two separate shoutouts from the president), Phil Ruffin, Phil Rosen, Sander Gerber, Kyle Kashuv, Charlie Kirk.
ADELSON’S APPEARANCE was rumored in the days before the RJC event, even though he’s reportedly undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in southern California. After taking his seat in the front row, he put on an RJC “Trump” yarmulke, pictured here. Israeli Ambassador Danon and the State Department’s Elan Carr immediately hurried over to give Adelson a hug and kiss. [Video]
HOW IT PLAYED — Pushing for tighter borders, Trump asks Jews for support… Trump to Jewish Republicans: Democrats pushing ‘extreme, anti-Semitic agenda’… Trump says Rep. Omar ‘doesn’t like Israel,’ one day after arrest in threat case…It’s a Las Vegas honeymoon, of sorts, for Trump and Republican Jews… Trump on Israeli election: It’s going to be close, there are two good people…
Other speeches: Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and David Perdue (R-GA) spoke Saturday afternoon, along with Vice President Mike Pence.
Ari Fleischer tells Jewish Insider on the embassy move: “I only think an outsider could move the embassy. I think anybody who is an insider, more establishment, who is steeped in the lectures we received from the State Department and the NSC about what would happen if we moved the embassy, that influenced you as an insider … And you listened to those people, they’re experts, Donald Trump doesn’t listen to those people. And Trump turned out right, the State [Dept.] turned out wrong. I can’t tell you how many briefings I sat in on with State and NSC talking about unrest in the Arab street— that was always the prediction from the experts and Donald Trump knew more than the experts in this instance. I think that’s a fair-minded observation from somebody who is establishment, who did listen to them previously, they were too cautious and they were wrong.”
Fleischer on the Republicans and the RJC in the Trump Era: “I was never a never-Trumper. I always was open minded, I ended up not voting in 2016 on the presidential level. I voted straight Republican everywhere else. But I’ve always tried to be and still am open minded, so I’m willing to call the balls and strikes of what Trump does wrong, what he does right. And when it comes to Israel, he’s done everything right.”
Q. Will you vote for Trump in 2020?
INTERVIEW — House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to Jewish Insider on Rep. Ilhan Omar: “It’s very concerning to me. I think she’s said enough now that we should have had a resolution on the floor actually naming the antisemitic comments that she made. For the Democrat leadership to back away shows the Democrat leadership has changed… I’ve made the example of Steve King, they should make the example of her. They should stand up for what’s right.”
On the GOP’s response to Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and the absence of any GOP rebuke during King’s first 7 terms: “Not since I became leader… I believe that in the party of Lincoln we cannot let that type of talk stand. And we should stand up to it just as we should stand up to the antisemitism we hear. We’ll fight it in any direction.”
On working with Pelosi: “I’ll work with anyone who’s willing to stand up against antisemitism, the challenge is what they’ve been backing away from, it’s not who I thought they were.”
OF NOTE — Not at this year’s meeting: RJC Board member Elliott Broidy.
As per the AP’s Zeke Miller, “Trump was greeted at the steps of Air Force One by Steve Wynn.”
DAYENU — Former Senator Norm Coleman, the current national chair of the RJC, led the audience in an adapted version of the Passover reading “Dayenu” as he recounted what Trump had done for Israel. “Had President Trump only passed the largest tax cut in history — say it with me —Dayenu,” he said before introducing Trump.
RJC’s Matt Brooks tweeted on Saturday: “Today is an historic day for the Jewish community and for RJC. We are honored to welcome Donald Trump to address our group.”
Bill Kristol responded: “The RJC is free to invite Donald Trump to address them. That may make this an historic day for them (though they’ve been addressed by other and better presidents). But for the record: The “Jewish community,” i.e. Jews, have seen many historic days. This is not one of them.” Kristol also shared an op-ed that Coleman authored in 2016, titled “I will never vote for Donald Trump: He’s a bigot, a misogynist, a fraud and a bully.”
DRIVING THE CONVO — Trump’s remarks about Ilhan Omar, warning American Jews that Democrats “could leave Israel out there all by yourselves,” and his reference to Israeli PM Netanyahu as “your prime minister” drew strong reactions on social media.
NOT THE FIRST TIME — In remarks at the White House Hanukkah reception last December, Trump referred to Israel as “your country.”
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) suggested Trump was being insensitive when it comes to the Jewish people. “I somehow doubt the president would say ‘your Taoiseach’ to a roomful of Irish-Americans,” he asserted. Rep. Elissa Slotkin(D-MI) condemned Trump’s comment as being an “anti-Semitic trope” and “deeply offensive.”
ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt posted: “Mr. President, words matter. As with all elected officials, it’s critical for you to avoid language that leads people to believe Jews aren’t loyal Americans.”
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) tweeted: “Mr. President, the Prime Minister of Israel is the leader of his (or her) country, not ours. Statements to the contrary, from staunch friends or harsh critics, feed bigotry.”
Trump’s Consistent: Jews are Outsiders — by Josh Marshall: “Trump doesn’t talk about dual loyalty. He doesn’t seem to see American Jews as Americans at all. Just Israelis who happen to live in the US. This may sound like hyperbole. But again, he repeatedly calls Benjamin Netanyahu the Jews Prime Minister and refers to Israel as the actual country of Jews who live in America.”[TPM]
HEARD ON CABLE — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper: “I hate to even dignify those remarks. But, look, it’s not the Democratic Party that believes that there are good people on both sides of a Nazi rally. There’s just one party and one party leader who believes that, and that’s Donald Trump. If there’s anything that is likely to cement the relationship between the Democratic Party and the Jewish community, it’s the presidency of Donald Trump.” [Video]
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said in an interview with The Nevada Independent: “One of the reasons we have so much hate is people are passing blame and trying to make this a partisan issue. I refuse to do that. I don’t think anti-Semitism is anything caused by Democrats or Republicans. I think it’s an issue that Democrats and Republicans and independents need to join hands and do everything we can to wipe it out.”
KAFE KNESSET — Bibi Pushes Back Against ‘Fake Gevalt’ — by Neri Zilber: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing with his unprecedented media blitz, and likely gave more interviews yesterday — primarily television and radio — than in the previous four years combined. His message was consistent: right-wing rule is in danger and nationalist voters must return “home” to the Likud. The problem for Bibi is that after pulling the same “Gevalt” (“alarm”) campaign in the final days of the 2015 poll, the political class is extremely skeptical. Bibi, though, was adamant. “The media says it’s ‘fake Gevalt,’” he told Army Radio yesterday. “We don’t have a [right-wing] bloc, it’s made up… the media is trying to lull the public to sleep.” Netanyahu emphasized this point in a muffled online video uploaded to the internet, where he could be seen lecturing to senior Likud officials called to the prime minister’s residence for an “emergency summit.”
The danger for Likud, as Kafe Knesset explained yesterday, is that Netanyahu is too successful siphoning off votes, potentially lowering several of the right-wing factions below the electoral threshold — and thereby potentially altering the right-left bloc balance. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset newsletter by subscribing here [KafeKnesset]
The Last Polls: Caveat Emptor — Neri Zilber writes in Sunday’s edition of the Kafe Knesset newsletter: After the last two weeks of shrinking poll numbers, three of the major surveys had Blue and White back with a 4-5 seat lead over Likud. Three others, however, had the two largest parties in a dead heat. It’s worth remembering that in the previous election cycle in 2015, Bibi’s then-chief rival, Isaac “Bougie” Herzog, held a four seat lead heading into the last weekend. He ended up losing to Netanyahu’s Likud by six seats. In other words, as Trump and Brexit in 2016 taught us — caveat emptor regarding the polls.
BUZZ ON BALFOUR — “This is going to end up being a referendum on Netanyahu because he’s made it so; he’s saying, ‘I am the only one who can play at this level internationally,’” Reuven Hazan, a political-science professor at Hebrew University, told the Wall Street Journal’s Felicia Schwartz. A loss would likely end Netanyahu’s career just as he is enjoying the limelight at the vanguard of a rising global movement of tough-talking, nationalist world leaders, AP’s Josef Federman notes. In an interview with Udi Segal, Netanyahu said that he would serve as opposition leader if he loses to Gantz.
Netanyahu pulled out the ‘annexation’ card in a bid to rally his right-wing base over the weekend. In the most detailed overview to date, Netanyahu told Army Radio that he would extend Israeli sovereignty to all settlements in the West Bank — not just the blocs but also those “80 to 90 thousand settlers” living in outlying areas. The prime ministers told i24News,“I want to do it, as far as I can, with American support.”
HOW IT PLAYED — In Israel election, the future of the West Bank is nowon the ballot… “This is Bibi being Bibi,” former Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer told the NYTimes… “The annexation card — popular among a large swath of Netanyahu’s supporters — is the ultimate Hail Mary pass,” Shalom Lipner explained to Bloomberg News… Netanyahu, Gantz, and Five Scenarios for the Israeli Election — by The New Yorker’s Bernard Avishai
FDD’s Mark Dubowitz explained to Jewish Insider why annexation would be the ‘mother of stupid moves’: “It takes the foreign minister from Oman to explain what too many in Washington and Europe don’t get: ‘Israel is holding onto the West Bank and Golan because it is worried for its future.’ While no one should be under any illusions that the Palestinian leadership is serious about reaching a peace deal with Israel, unilateral moves to annex parts of the West Bank will only redound to the advantage of those looking to further isolate Israel.”
Amb. Dennis Ross observes and asks the question: “If Netanyahu acts on his annexation statement, Israel will no longer be able to separate from Palestinians. One state for two peoples will result. Expect Palestinians to start saying ok, let’s have one person one vote. Will that not resonate everywhere, including the U.S.?”
ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — In an interview with Makor Rishon, Netanyahu suggested he is in the dark about Trump’s peace plan rollout: “I asked that question in a visit to Washington now, and I did not get an answer: If they had wanted to present the plan right after the elections, they would have said so.”
Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi said in an interview with the Times of Israel, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Jordan on Sunday: “If [the Trump plan] avoids mentioning a Palestinian state, it will not have a future.”
NEXT PM? — The Financial Times’ Mehul Srivastava profiled Benny Gantz, ‘a warrior-politician bidding for power’ — “His military background cancels out allegations of weakness, while his patrician bearing suggests leadership qualities. His striking good looks — he is tall, lean, with piercing blue eyes — are redolent of a movie star playing the warrior-statesman… His personal mobile phone was alleged to have been hacked by the Iranians, but if they found anything embarrassing, it hasn’t yet emerged. One report suggested he may have sought counseling, after leaving the pressure cooker of military leadership. However, Israelis, many of them enthusiastic consumers of therapy, have shrugged that off.” [FinancialTimes]
Bret Stephens interviewed Gantz while he was in D.C. for AIPAC’s policy conference and wrote about their interaction over the weekend. Asked by Stephens whether he would serve in a coalition with Netanyahu, either over or under him: Gantz replied, “No.”
Gantz on relations with the United States: “We share the same values and moral standards and we share the same interests. And it stands for both sides of the aisle.” [NYTimes]
ON THE HILL — by JI’s Laura Kelly: A resolution introduced late last week, authored by Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), recognizes Israeli-Americans as a unique and contributing immigrant community that is particularly open to harassment, especially on college campuses, based on anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism.
In an email to Jewish Insider, Dillon Hosier, Chief Advocacy Officer of the Israeli-American Civic Action Network (ICAN), which helped draft the resolution, said ICAN had “positive meetings” with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) and “fully expect that they, along with all Senate Democrats, will support this resolution to final passage.”
The House enjoys a short week of legislative business this week, meeting Monday evening for their first votes and closing on Wednesday before heading to a two-week District Work period ahead of Easter and Passover. The Senate will meet today at 4:00 pm EST.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said at the RJC meeting on Saturday that it’s time for the U.S. to enter into a mutual defense agreement with Israel to tell the world that “an attack against Israel would be considered an attack against the United States.” He also suggested that the Senate will vote next month to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and force Democrats to go on the record on the issue.
DRIVING THE DAY — The Trump administration is expected to designateIran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal. This would mark the first time that an element of a foreign state has been officially designated a terrorist entity. As a precaution, the U.S. Central Command is planning to issue a regional alert to U.S. troops in the coming days in case the move spurs the retaliation of Iran or Shiite militias in the region.
A GOP aide tells Jewish Insider that the White House and the State Department will have late morning press conferences today on the IRGC designation.
REPORT — PM Netanyahu’s revelation that Israel broke into an Iranian archive of nuclear-related documents a year ago caused damage to Israel’s security, senior intelligence officials tell Haaretz.
Netanyahu’s office pushed back: “Revealing the nuclear archive gave Israel enormous strategic advantages and was noted by Trump when he withdrew from the nuclear agreement and declared sanctions on Iran.”
TALK OF THE REGION — Foreign ministers from G-7 countries had “clear differences” during discussions on the Israeli-Palestinian situation, the group said in a joint statement. The final communique from the G7 came after a two-day meeting in Brittany, France.
SCENE IN AMMAN — Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) posted on Saturday: “Always a privilege to visit with King Abdullah to discuss the importance of the US-Jordan relationship, and security and stability in the region. He plays a vital role in the pursuit of peace.”
SAUDIS AGAIN IN THE SPOTLIGHT — Saudi Arabia arrested two U.S. citizens Friday in a direct snub to Congress, a move sure to create even more domestic political heat for President Donald Trump. Given the timing, the arrests are “absolutely baffling — and enraging,” said John Hannah, a senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The Wilson Center’s Aaron David Miller said it’s “not all that surprising” that the Saudis would feel emboldened to target Americans. “MBS believes Trump has his back. There’s not a shred of empirical evidence to suggest that he doesn’t,” Miller opined.
INSIDE THE ADMIN — Two senior aides to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are soon to depart as House Democrats ramp up pressure on his department to release President Trump’s tax returns. Eli Miller, Mnuchin’s chief of staff, will leave the department next week, according to an email sent to staff Friday afternoon. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Public Affairs Tony Sayegh has also planned for months to leave by the end of May and is interviewing candidates for his replacement.
** Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip? 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: Harvey Spevak’s Equinox’s first hotel where guests will be ‘sleep-coached’ into bed [WSJ] • NFL-Backed Event Business Is Nearing Sale to Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor [Bloomberg] • Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities is feeling the pinch during the retail slump [WSJ] • In an interview, A-Rod says he looks up to Jamie Dimon, Barry Sternlicht at Starwood, Jon Gray at Blackstone in business like he did Cal Ripken for baseball [NYTMag]
STARTUP NATION — Israel looks to ultraorthodox to fill tech skills shortage — by Harriet Agnew and Mehul Srivastava: “We are trying to close the cultural and educational gaps,’ says Moshe Friedman, whose great-grandfather co-founded the Haredi community in Jerusalem in 1921 and banned maths, science and English from its schools. ‘The challenge is to bring the ultraorthodox coming from a religious culture and lifestyle and connect them with a secular Israel, which is an innovative high-tech economy.’ The success or otherwise of initiatives such as Ampersand — a WeWork for the ultraorthodox community — and the potential to emulate them across the country and for other minority parts of the population, is crucial to Israel’s ability to integrate isolated communities such as Haredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into the workforce.” [FinancialTimes]
SPOTLIGHT — How a Cold Email Brought Mark Cuban to Box — by Laine Higgins: “Aaron Levie’s career path looks a lot like that of the typical Silicon Valley wunderkind. He got the idea for a better way to store data on the cloud while a student at the University of Southern California in 2004, founded Box in his dorm room with a childhood friend… Levie sent unsolicited emails to dozens of prominent businessmen, seeking seed funding and hoping for publicity. He got a response from tech mogul Mark Cuban, who ultimately became one of Box’s first investors in 2005 and a bona fide source of business counsel.”
“So Mr. Levie and his co-founder went all-in on the cloud. And even as Box has grown from a two-person data-storage operation into a publicly traded technology company that provides businesses with a platform for collaboration with over 2,000 employees, Mr. Levie has stuck with his belief in the virtue of cold emails. ‘There are lots of unread emails from me in lots of inboxes all over the world,’ he says. ‘Literally the worst-case scenario is you don’t get a response. I’ve never gotten someone to say ‘Don’t email me ever again.’'” [WSJ]
BOOK REVIEW — Jared Cohen talks about his new book Accidental Presidents — by Martin Pengelly: “Cohen is chief executive of Jigsaw, formerly Google Ideas, the tech giant’s New York incubator… He’s only 37 but he has also been an adviser to secretaries of state under George W Bush and Barack Obama (he calls Condoleezza Rice his mentor), a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, one of Time’s 100 most influential people, a member of countless advisory boards and a juror for the Tribeca Film Festival. He’s a regular at Davos and he’s written three other books, two on his own and one with Eric Schmidt of Google. The publicity tour for that one included a chat with the pope.”
“Accidental Presidents is really a book about vice-presidents… He questions the practice of picking a running mate simply to balance a ticket… So the question follows: should Trump leave office before his time is up, does Cohen think Mike Pence is ready? ‘I think Pence is in the loop,’ he says, carefully. ‘I think it’s a different question whether he is the right person to lead this nation.'” [TheGuardian]
‘Martin Buber’ Review: The Hebrew Humanist — by Benjamin Balint: “In ‘Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent,’ Paul Mendes-Flohr, a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, traces the historical path that led Buber from Europe to Israel, and, throughout his engrossing narrative, tracks Buber’s intellectual journey, one that made him both a revered figure and a controversial one.”[WSJ]
ACROSS THE POND — Jewish Labour Movement passes motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn — by Alan McGuinness: “The Jewish Labour Movement has passed a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn over the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints… National secretary Peter Mason said Jewish members of the party were ‘looking on in horror’ at what has been happening in the party in recent years. He also said the group would be prepared to consider voting to disassociate from the party… The no confidence vote comes after the Sunday Times reported a total of 249 cases of alleged antisemitism had been reported to the party and not acted on.” [SkyNews]
BIRTHDAYS: Comedian known for his nightclub performances in Las Vegas, Shecky Greene (born Fred Sheldon Greenfield) turns 93… Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and political writer, longtime contributor to The New Yorker magazine on national security matters, Seymour Myron “Sy” Hersh turns 82… French actor who has appeared in over 60 movies during a career spanning five decades, Jean Benguigui turns 75… Socialite and political fundraiser, Joy Silverman turns 72… Bassist for the rock band Grand Funk Railroad, Melvin George “Mel” Schacher turns 68… Assistant coach of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Larry Shyatt turns 68… Russian-born businessman, he emigrated to Israel in 1972 and was appointed in 2005 as President of the Congress of Jewish Religious Communities of Russia, ArcadiAleksandrovich Gaydamak turns 67… Member of the National Assembly of Quebec elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, he was previously the regional executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress (1998-2004), David Birnbaum turns 63… President of Wesleyan University since 2007, he is known as a historian, curator, author and public advocate for liberal education, Michael S. Roth turns 62… Member of Knesset since 2015 (Likud), David Bitan turns 59…
Cedarhurst, NY resident, Jeffrey Kramer turns 51… Television journalist, political director for NBC News and moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, Charles David “Chuck” Todd turns 47… Professional baseball pitcher who played briefly for the Milwaukee Brewers and currently works as a coach in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Matthew Lee “Matt” Ford turns 38… Israeli actor, entertainer, model and TV host, Ofer Shechter turns 38… NYC-based head of investor relations for the Israeli Ministry of Finance, focused on global debt capital markets, Jason Reinin turns 37… Television personality and entertainer, best known for starring on the first season of the reality TV series Beauty and the Geek, Richard Rubin turns 36… Deputy business editor of The Washington Post, Zachary A. Goldfarb turns 36… Musician, singer, songwriter, radio personality and the lead vocalist and guitarist of the indie rock band Vampire Weekend, Ezra Michael Koenig turns 35… Livingston, New Jersey native and New York Associate at UN Watch, Daniel E. Smithturns 27… Janet Goldstein…