Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Wall Street Dems fret their 2020 choices | Milken scene | Inside Blavatnik’s meteoric rise

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TALK OF OUR NATION — CNN host Jake Tapper discussed the “horrifying” attack at the Chabad of Poway synagogue during his opening monologue of yesterday’s State of the Union program: “The state of our union is horrified again, horrified… The violence in California especially shocking coming on the final night of Passover and exactly six months after the massacre at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue. For a lot of American Jews, this was a hideous end to a holy week.”

“Along with this second fatal synagogue shooting were events less horrific, but still rather upsetting. White supremacists interrupted a talk by author Jonathan Metzl at a bookstore in Northwest Washington, D.C. And the New York Times published a cartoon in its international division that could just have easily appeared in ISIS or neo-Nazi propaganda containing, as the newspaper later acknowledged, antisemitic tropes… And today, we should note, begins Holocaust Remembrance Week.” [Video]

COVERAGE — Read an on-scene account of the horrific shooting which left a 60-year-old woman, Lori Gilbert-Kaye, dead and three injured. [LATimes]• Hero Lori Gilbert-Kaye killed in synagogue shooting took bullet to save her rabbi’s life [NYPost• Survivors described a chaotic scene and heroic actions as they sought shelter [WSJ]

One of those injured was Noya Dahan, an 8-year-old girl whose parents moved to Poway from Israel after being injured by rocket fire, she suffered shrapnel wounds. The father, Israel Dahan told CNN that his children now want to leave the U.S., and that after the shooting they came to him and asked, “Why we are staying here?”

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the synagogue’s rabbi, who lost an index finger while confronting the shooter, told reporters after returning to his congregation: “I guarantee you, we will not be intimidated or deterred by terror. Terror will not win.” He added, “We are a Jewish nation that will stand tall. We will not let anyone or anything take us down.”

President Trump offered condolences to the Poway victims and their families and condemned acts of antisemitism: “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community,” Trump said at the start of a campaign rally in Wisconsin Saturday night. “We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.”

On Sunday, the president placed a condolence call to Rabbi Goldstein. According to the White House, “The President expressed his love for the Jewish people and the entire community of Poway.”

Rabbi Goldstein described the phone call to Kasie Hunt on MSNBC’s Kasie DC: “I’ve never spoken to a president before. He was so gracious and generous with his words. Exceedingly comforting to me, to my community, and he spoke to me like a friend, like a buddy, and I didn’t realize I’m talking to the president of the United States of America. He is just exceedingly kind and sensitive and we spoke for close to 50 minutes. I thought to myself, for the president of the United States of America to take time out of his day, 50 minutes to talk to me about the issues at hand, was just absolutely incredible and admirable.”

Trump tweeted this morning: “I spoke at length yesterday to Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Chabad of Poway, where I extended my warmest condolences to him and all affected by the shooting in California. What a great guy. He had a least one finger blown off, and all he wanted to do is help others. Very special!” 

2020 candidates react — Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Mayor Pete Buttigieg also tweeted condolences and condemned acts of hate and antisemitism.

HEARD YESTERDAY — ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on a conference call with reporters: “This needs to serve as a wake up call for society to deal once and for all with this kind of hate because as Jews and people of all faiths, we should not have to live in fear visiting our houses of worship, of praying to God… And we desperately need our leaders to stop politicizing these issues. I am sick and tired of finger pointing. Those who dismiss antisemitism when it comes from their side of the aisle are only trivializing the issue and perpetuating the problem. Neither side of the political spectrum is exempt from intolerance, and we need to fight it ferociously regardless of the source.”

DRIVING THE CONVO —  On Saturday, the New York Times walked back an offensive cartoon with antisemitic imagery which appeared in its April 25 international edition. According to the editors, the cartoon depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a guide dog with a Star of David collar leading a blind Trump with a yarmulke “was offensive, and it was an error of judgment to publish it.”

After further criticism of their initial response, the Times issued a clear apology on Sunday afternoon: “We are deeply sorry for the publication of an anti-Semitic political cartoon last Thursday in the print edition of The New York Times that circulates outside of the U.S., and we are committed to making sure nothing like this happens again.”

Bret Stephens writes in the New York Times… “A Despicable Cartoon in The Times: Here was an image that, in another age, might have been published in the pages of Der Stürmer. The Jew in the form of a dog. The small but wily Jew leading the dumb and trusting American. The hated Trump being Judaized with a skullcap. The nominal servant acting as the true master. The cartoon checked so many anti-Semitic boxes that the only thing missing was a dollar sign.”

“I have now been with The Times for two years and I’m certain that the charge that the institution is in any way anti-Semitic is a calumny. But the publication of the cartoon isn’t just an ‘error of judgment,’ either. The paper owes the Israeli prime minister an apology. It owes itself some serious reflection as to how it came to publish that cartoon — and how its publication came, to many longtime readers, as a shock but not a surprise.” [NYTimes]

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted on Sunday, “We stand with Israel and we condemn antisemitism in ALL its forms, including NYTimes political cartoons.”

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) said in a statement on Twitter, “Apology not accepted. How many @nytimes editors looked at a cartoon that would not have looked out of place on a white supremacist website and thought it met the paper’s editorial standards? What does this say about your processes or your decision makers? How are you fixing it?”

ADL’s Greenblatt tells JI“That kind of propaganda was despicable. It reinforces the myth of Jewish control, some kind of sinister influence, which literally inspired this individual to burst into a synagogue and shoot people with an intent to murder as many as he could. It is profoundly offensive that that would be published in the New York Times. And so while the timing of that cartoon and this incident are not necessarily linked, specifically, generally they are absolutely linked. We are living in an environment where antisemitism is being normalized, and that should not just alarm all of us, it should outrage all of us and inspire us to act.”

Netanyahu’s son Yair chimed in“NYTimes, you are antisemitic newspaper! The New York Times deliberately hid the news about the extermination of millions of Jews in Europe in WW2!”

Flashback to September 11, 2015 — New York Times Quietly Removes List Highlighting Jewish Lawmakers Who Oppose the Iran Deal [NYMag]

AIPAC pushed backagainst Sen. Bernie Sanders for calling Netanyahu’s government ‘racist.’… A new Pew Research poll showed that only 41 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of the Israeli government… Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) did not meet with Netanyahu during his Israel trip last week since the PM was vacationing in the north during Passover, but the two spoke over the phone… Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro speculated that Netanyahu avoided meeting Romney because he didn’t want to be photographed with a critic of Donald Trump.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned last Wednesday that the U.S. must be ‘prepared for consequences’ if it tries to stop Iran from selling oil… Zarif also maintained that Trump doesn’t want war with Iran, but he could be lured into a conflict by what he called a “B-team” — John Bolton and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu… A Bloomberg editorial called on the Democratic 2020 candidates to move on from vowing to return to the 2015 nuclear deal and instead push for a new and better deal… Meanwhile, the European Union is pursuing new ways to contain Iran’s ballistic missiles work, including tighter export controls and pressure on non-EU countries to clamp down on sales of sensitive technology to Iran.

Netanyahu announced while touring the Golan Heights with his family that the government will approve the naming of a village or community on the Golan after Trump… During a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Saturday, Trump said: “This is very important strategically for victory — heights — because you’re up high, very important.”… Jared Kushner said during an appearance at the Time 100 Summit in New York that the administration will present the Middle East peace plan after Ramadan.

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — The Palestinian leadership will soon dispatch delegations to several countries as part of its effort to rally support for its opposition to President Trump’s peace plan, Palestinian officials told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. 

INTERVIEW — Farouk Shami, a beauty industry mogul who said he has known Trump for nearly two decades — when sponsoring the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants — told AFP during a visit to the West Bank, that the president, who uses his products to sculpt his iconic hair, is a “great man” who “is committed to peace in the Middle East, and especially in Palestine. There is a commitment.” Calling Trump a friend, the Palestinian-American proclaimed, “I am still hopeful that one day we will have peace, even while Trump is in position.” According to Shami, during a dinner a few months ago in Houston, Texas, Trump asked him how he was, to which he replied, ‘Business is good, but we need peace in Palestine.’ “He said, ‘Me too, I want peace in Palestine.’”

TALK OF THE REGION — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon have reportedly discussed emergency plans, should the Palestinian Authority’s financial system collapse over its refusal to accept tax dividends collected by Israel. The two met on Sunday to discuss how to persuade President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the $182 million recently offered by Israel. On Monday, Abbas restated his refusal to accept tax revenues collected so long as Israel deducts millions of dollars over a dispute about prisoners.

Meanwhile, Abbas underwent a series of medical checks at a hospital in Berlin last week, a Ramallah-based official said on Sunday.

Israel announced on Saturday that it will release two Syrian prisoners as a “goodwill gesture” three weeks after the return of the remains of soldier Zachary Baumel. An Israeli military official insisted that the decision was made “in recent days” and was not a condition for the return of the Baumel’s remains days before the April 9 election. The statement, however, was contradicted by Russia, which brokered the Baumel deal, whose representative said the release of the Syrian prisoners was part of an exchange agreement.

LONG READ — John Bolton on the Warpath — by Dexter Filkins: “Mort Klein, the head of the Zionist Organization of America, told me he believed that H.R. McMaster was ‘hostile to Israel,’ citing offenses that ranged from advocating ‘Palestinian self-determination’ to dodging a question about whether the Western Wall is in Israeli territory. Klein began a quiet campaign against McMaster, with help from Sheldon Adelson, the Republican casino magnate, and Safra Catz, the CEO of Oracle, both of whom are fervent supporters of the Israeli right wing. ‘We were pushing for him to be fired,’ Klein told me. For Klein and his allies, Bolton’s politics were more appealing. He has deep connections to the Israeli national-security establishment and to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2018, he gave a well-compensated speech to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. ‘John almost regards Israel as part of the United States,’ the former official who worked with Bolton told me. ‘He thinks our interests and their interest are identical.'” [NewYorker]

2020 BRIEFS — The 2020 Democratic field has resembled a sorting-out process, with candidates taking contrasting approaches to fundraising, reaching voters and challenging Donald Trump… In a crowded field, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke stake out similar turf… Dem donors swoon, and sometimes fight, over Buttigieg… Buttigieg will have lunch with Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem on Monday… BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith writes about how the new movements, not the old media, are driving politics… John Delaney slammedSanders for calling Israeli government ‘racist.’

BIDEN 3.0 — Former Vice President Joe Biden announced his entry into the presidential race on Thursday. In a 3-minute video, Biden spotlightedPresident Trump’s ‘both sides’ comments during the deadly neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 as a defining moment that convinced him we were in a “battle for the soul of this nation.” Mike Signer, who was the city’s mayor during the rally, lauded Biden for drawing attention to the events that Charlottesville presented. In a phone call with donors, Biden suggested that world leaders are “almost begging me to do this.” The Biden campaign raised$6.3 Million in the first 24 hours… In one of their first direct faceoffs, Trump and Biden sparred over vigor… With Biden’s entry, Obama’s legacy becomesa focus… In Pennsylvania, on his first campaign stop, Biden finds support where he most needs it.

Wall Street Democrats Are Absolutely Freaking Out About Their 2020 Candidates — by Gabriel Debenedetti: “One night in early April, roughly 20 of the Democratic Party’s highest-profile donors from the financial industry sat down over dinner to discuss how exactly they were feeling about the 2020 presidential race… Convened by two veterans of liberal fund-raising — investors Steven Rattner and Blair Effron — the group had no hard-and-fast agenda except to share notes on the overflowing field of candidates.”

“The crowd of Democratic heavyweights, including Clinton-administration Treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs and Citi alum Robert Rubin, former ambassador to France Jane Hartley, and venture capitalist Deven Parekh, knew most of the contenders well. But coming to some kind of consensus, picking a plausible candidate they felt they could all live with and throw their considerable money behind — that was a far-fetched proposition. ‘There’s tremendous fear,’ said one banker who was there.” [NYMag]

HEARD ON CABLE — White House CounselorKellyanne Conway defended Trump over renewed criticism for the 2017 Charlottesville comments on CNN’s State of the Union: “He was talking about the debate over removing statues and renaming… He’s not talking about white supremacists. In fact, he condemned them in no uncertain terms, unequivocally.” [Video]

WATCH — Ambassador David Friedman, during a visit at the home of Rabbi Baruch Dov Povarsky, dean of the Ponovezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak last week, warned that the strong U.S.-Israel relationship could be jeopardized after the 2020 presidential election. “The question is what will be two years from now, or less than two years from now,” Amb. Friedman remarked in response to the rabbi’s observation that Trump is a true friend of Israel. “Because what we see on the other side, on the Left, is very frightening. So you need to bless us that we will be successful again. We need all the blessings.” [Video]

ON THE HILL – By JI’s Laura Kelly: Members of Congress return to Capitol Hill today after a two-week district work period.

A bipartisan group led by Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY) and Brian Mast (R-FL), is pushing the Department of Homeland security to add Israel to the Global Entry program, which gives travelers between approved countries expedited entry to the U.S. The request was sent to Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan last week.

** 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 **

MILKEN 2019 — The 22nd annual Milken Institute Global Conference is taking place in Beverly Hills, this week from Sunday through Wednesday. Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were among the speakers on the first day of the gathering, described by some as “Davos of the West.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric GarcettiIvanka Trump, former Google chief Eric Schmidt, and Mark Weinberger, global chairman and CEO of EY, will speak today at the lunch program titled ‘Driving Shared Prosperity.’ Other speakers on Monday include Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, Viacom CEO Robert Bakish and Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman.

Three 2020 candidates are also set to speak — former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH).

New England Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft was spotted on Sunday attending the conference after Mnuchin’s private session. [Pic]

Spotted at the WorldQuant opening reception for top Milken guests and speakers: 
Michael Milken, Norm Brownstein, Steven Demby, Glenn Yago, Makan Delrahim, Anousheh Ansari, Frank Luntz, Danielle Abraham, Joe Sitt, Naty Barak, Gary Lauder, Simone Friedman, Gabriel Erem, Nola Weinstein.

SPOTLIGHT — Big Money Enters Debate Over Race and Admissions at Stuyvesant — by Eliza Shapiro: “Ronald S. Lauder, the billionaire cosmetics heir, and Richard D. Parsons, the former chairman of Citigroup, are teaming up to try to influence one of the city’s most intractable and divisive debates: how to address the lack of black and Hispanic students at Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science and the other elite public high schools that use a test to determine admission. Mr. Lauder this week announced that he was financing a multimillion-dollar lobbying, public relations and advertising effort called the Education Equity Campaign, whose immediate goal is to ensure that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to eliminate the entrance exam does not pass the State Legislature… More broadly, the two men are trying to make their mark on the future of the system, the nation’s largest, with 1.1 million students.” [NYTimes]

The Meteoric Rise of Billionaire Len Blavatnik — by Devon Pendleton: 
“Scarcely a month goes by without news of a splashy purchase, major donation or black-tie appearance by the 61-year-old, who was born in Odessa, Ukraine. Three weeks ago, he feted the honorees of the 2019 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel at a lavish ceremony in Jerusalem. In February, donning a purple paisley jacket, he presided over Warner Music’s Pre-Grammy Party, rubbing shoulders with pop stars Rita Ora and Lizzo. In November, he gifted $200 million to Harvard Medical School, and in June he bought London’s historic Theatre Royal Haymarket for a reported $59 million… Such largesse isn’t unheard of for a billionaire, nor is the frequent hobnobbing. What’s remarkable is the speed at which his wealth has swelled and how quickly he’s expanded his influence across finance, entertainment and society.”[Bloomberg]

PROFILE — Mad About Bari Weiss: The New York Times Provocateur the Left Loves to Hate — by Evgenia Peretz: “For people of a certain age, it might seem odd that Weiss should be a favorite punching bag for lefties with itchy Twitter fingers. If you read her work, she’s a liberal humanist whose guiding principle is free expression in art, love, and discourse, something the left spent decades fighting to achieve… She is an ardent Zionist, and has come to believe that much of the anti-Zionist talk on the left is tantamount to anti-Semitism, a view that many American Jews find objectionable and even infuriating. But her passion for Israel has not defined her overarching belief system—the need to protect what makes America great—and in this, she believes it’s right-wing American Jews who have lost their way.” [VanityFair]

STATE-SIDE — For the third time, a federal judge blocks an Israel boycott ban on First Amendment grounds — by Isaac Stanley-Becker: “‘God is great.’ Those were the first thoughts that came to Bahia Amawi, 46, when she learned that Judge Robert L. Pitman of the Western District of Texas had found that [signing an anti-BDS declaration as part of a contract with a local school district to provide speech therapy and early-childhood evaluations] likely violated her First Amendment rights… His holding is the third by a federal judge since last year to turn back state legislation that aims to use public money to deter anti-Israel activity. A spokesman for the Texas attorney general said his office intends to appeal the ruling.” [WashPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Belarus Building Site Yields the Bones of 1,214 Holocaust Victims — by Andrew Higgins: “Tatyana Lakhay, a cheerful fitness instructor in the Belarus city of Brest, returned to her apartment after a morning exercise class when she glanced out a window and came face to face with the horrors of the Holocaust. Instead of the construction workers who for weeks had been preparing the foundations for a new luxury apartment project, soldiers in masks and gloves were pulling human skeletons from the earth… In the three months since that day, the ground next to Ms. Lakhay’s building has yielded the bones of 1,214 people. Most are believed to be the remains of Jews slaughtered by the Nazis after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Belarus was then part of the Soviet nation. The discovery of such a large mass grave… has also put pressure on the local authorities to halt their plans for the elite housing development and explain why they approved the project in the first place.” [NYTimes]

DEEP DIVE — Convicted terrorist-turned-US citizen to be deported following prison sentence — by Scott Glover: “Shortly before imposing sentence on a convicted terrorist who managed to become a U.S. citizen, a federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday directed two questions at the prosecutor in the case: How did Vallmoe Shqaire get into the country in the first place? And what took the government so long to prosecute him once his terrorist past had been discovered? The questions by U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter echoed those raised in a CNN report published Thursday detailing how Shqaire was made a U.S. citizen in 2008 despite having served time in an Israeli prison for attempting to blow up a bus. Assistant US Attorney Annamartine Salick acknowledged that Shqaire, 51, had “slipped through the cracks” of the immigration vetting system.” [CNN]

SPORTS BLINK — ‘Tale of Team Israel’ documentary transcends nationality, religion — by Jeff Agrest: 
“For 10 days in March 2017, a team of mostly American Jews with major-league experience caught the attention of Jewish baseball fans… with a memorable run in the World Baseball Classic. Team Israel swept first-round pool play in South Korea and beat Cuba to start the second round in Japan before losing its last two games and falling short of the semifinals. The team’s journey was captured on film, from its qualifying-round win in Brooklyn to its travels through Israel to its final out of the WBC. ‘Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel’ has been playing at film festivals since its premiere in February 2018, but now it’s being released in theaters.”[ChicagoSunTimes]

CULTURE — Becoming a Woman Before Their Eyes: The American bat mitzvah has never been more widely broadcast than in 2019 — by Jaclyn Peiser: 
“Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor at Brandeis University and a scholar of American Jewish history, said the tradition of celebrating a bat mitzvahs didn’t pick up until after World War II, when the G.I. Bill brought about an influx of wealth and the expansion of suburbia. All of a sudden Jews, who were long unwelcome in the outskirts of big cities, were able to leave their multigenerational households and move their families into sprawling homes. And where the Jews went, so too went the synagogues… Bat mitzvah receptions are now documented not only by professional photographers and videographers, but also their teen attendees, on Instagram, Snapchat, VSCO and TikTok. Accordingly, the stakes of a bat mitzvah have risen.” [NYTimes

Israelis crazy for mass singings — by Mordechai Goldman: 
“Koolulam gathers thousands of strangers without musical backgrounds for a new arrangement of a familiar song in three-part harmony following a 45-minute lesson… The event, which usually lasts about three hours, includes all sorts of social interaction exercises. The common singing and the final video clip are just the artistic product and the viral source of inspiration for other participants. The phenomenon, which started with local events with only a few hundred participants, has become over the past few months a social movement that has stirred hundreds of thousands, been viewed by millions on YouTube and drawn international attention.” [Al-Monitor]

TRANSITIONS — Rachel Rosen was hired as communications director for Democratic Majority for Israel after serving as communications director for the Center for American Progress (CAP) and previously a producer at CNN. Democratic Majority for Israel also hired Joel Wanger, a DCCC alum, to be the political director.

Former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) will direct a new Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University beginning in the 2019-20 academic year. 

DESSERT — DeKalb Market Hall Welcomes Brooklyn Hummus — by Pamela Wong: “DeKalb Market Hall (445 Albee Square West) has added Brooklyn Hummus to its always bustling 27,000-square-foot food hall… Brooklyn Hummus serves kosher Israeli cuisine created with healthy Mediterranean ingredients. Born and raised in Israel, owner and chef Asher Oknin makes each dish to-order and serves fresh, warm hummus.” [Bklyner]

Corey Andrew Jacobson, legislative director and national security adviser for Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Annie Katerine Maco Quispe, the deputy head of digital diplomacy at the Embassy of Peru, were married on Saturday. On May 4, they are to take part in a second ceremony led by an uncle of the groom, Rabbi David Weis, at Villa Mamacona in Lima, Peru.

REMEMBERING — Rabbi Menachem Mendel Taub, who was an advocate for fellow Holocaust survivors and for strengthening Jewish lives, passed away on Sunday at age 96 at his home in Jerusalem… Ira Neimark, who started in retail as a department store pageboy and went on to build Bergdorf Goodman into the standard-bearer for luxury shopping, passed away on April 18 at his home in Harrison, N.Y. at age 97… Henry Bloch, Co-Founder Of H&R Block, who together with his brother Richard were among the nation’s first franchising pioneers, passed away on April 23 at age 96 in Kansas City… Warren Adler, a best-selling author who chronicled dysfunction and duplicity, most notably in his divorce novel ‘The War of the Roses,’ a dark comedy that served as the basis of a hit film, passed away on April 15 at his home in Manhattan at age 91… Michael Koskoff, a longtime Westport resident who for more than 40 years defended people’s civil rights and protected residents from medical malpractice, passed away on April 24 at age 77… 

Former Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), a prominent voice on foreign policy, passed away on Sunday at age 87. Lugar, who served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was a leader on nuclear nonproliferation. As Senator, he was known for pushing a more active U.S. approach to brokering Middle East peace. In 2009, Lugar criticized then-Vice President Joe Biden for suggesting that the administration would take a hands-off approach if Israel decided to attack Iran. Yet, when he faced a tea party challenge in 2012, a race he ultimately lost, Lugar received $20,000 from NORPAC. “We sent extra money to Lugar because he called and asked,” NORPAC President Ben Chouake said at the time, acknowledging that while Lugar was “never the most” pro-Israel member of Congress, “sometimes you have to back someone because of who a person is.”

BIRTHDAYS: Inmate #61727-054 at the Butner Federal Correctional Institute in North Carolina, his scheduled release date is in 2139, Bernard Madoff turns 81… Nobel Prize-winning economist, professor at MIT, known for his analysis of Social Security policy, he was nominated in 2010 to the Federal Reserve by President Obama but never confirmed by the Senate, Peter Diamond turns 79… Award-winning broadcast journalist for more than 30 years including as GM of CBS Radio News, he is now SVP of communications at University of Maryland University College, Michael Freedman turns 67… Marcy Smith turns 67… Comedian, actor, writer, producer and director, he is best known for playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the 180 episodes of the sitcom “Seinfeld,” Jerry Seinfeld turns 65… London-born highly acclaimed actor, knighted at Buckingham Palace in 2014, Sir Daniel Day-Lewis turns 62… Sportscaster, best known as the radio and television play-by-play announcer for MLB’s New York Mets, Gary Cohen turns 61…

New York City Comptroller since 2014, he was previously Borough President of Manhattan (2006-2013), Scott M. Stringer turns 59… CEO and chairman of 20th Century Fox until its acquisition by Disney, she was previously a senior executive at DreamWorks and Universal Pictures, Stacey Snider turns 58… Political Director at AIPAC, Rob Bassin turns 57… Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight and author of many books including “Predictably Irrational,” Dan Ariely turns 52… NYC-based award-winning artist who works with sound, kinetics, optics, magnetism and other materials to make sculptures and photographs, Julianne Swartz turns 52…

Israeli-born, NYC resident, stand-up comedian, actor and sometimes chazzan, Modi Rosenfeld turns 49… Member of the Knesset since 2013 (and recently re-elected), she is the chairwoman of Meretz party, Tamar “Tami” Zandbergturns 43… Russian-born Israeli model and actress, she has appeared in many American movies, TV shows and advertisements, Bar Paly turns 37… Director of state political affairs for Teach Advocacy Network since 2018, he was previously AIPAC’s director of the Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island region, Daniel Mitzner turns 33… Commercial, industrial and residential real estate developer in the Mid-Atlantic region, Samuel Neuberger

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