Ed note: In honor of Memorial Day, our next Daily Kickoff newsletter will be on Tuesday morning. Wishing you all a wonderful extended weekend.
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HEARD AT THE NEW YORK HILTON — Former President Bill Clinton delivered remarks last night on behalf of his friend and UJA Federation dinner honoree Marc Lasry, Chairman of Avenue Capital and co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. “Marc Lasry is devoted to UJA,” Clinton remarked. “This is it, I mean the Bucks are in Game 5 [of the Eastern Conference Finals] in Milwaukee and he’s here!” [Pic]
ON THE TRAIL — Buttigieg talks Bibi while making the rounds in D.C. — by JI‘s Jacob Kornbluh: South Bend Mayor and 2020 Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship during an appearance at a Washington Post Live event with Robert Costa on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
Costa: What should Prime Minister Netanyahu expect if you were President of the United States? Should he expect the same level of support and alliance that he sees with President Trump?
Buttigieg: “He should expect America to be a friend and ally to Israel.”
Costa: What about to him?
Buttigieg: “One that is loyal to the terms of our alliance and concerned about Israeli security interests, but also not loyal to him or anyone. Look, being supportive of Israel, in the same way that being patriotic and pro-American doesn’t have to mean you are pro-Trump. Being supportive of Israel does not have to mean that you are on board with the agenda of the Israeli political right wing. I am not… And so what Israel can expect from the U.S., as any friend ought to be able to expect from an honest friend, is that when they take a step that is harmful, you put your arm around your friend and you try to guide them somewhere else.” [Video]
Buttigieg later pitched his 2020 candidacy at a meeting with Jewish activists hosted by veteran Jewish Democratic consultants, Steve Rabinowitz and Aaron Keyak, at their office in D.C. [Pic; Pic; Pic]
During a question-and-answer session, Buttigieg suggested that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or Trump’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights were gifted to Netanyahu for political reasons, according to people in the room. “You don’t do something specifically for the purpose of reinforcing him politically and domestically, even if those gifts are endorsed,” he said.
The 2020 presidential hopeful also stressed that fighting antisemitism “must be a bipartisan cause.” While not mentioning Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) by name, Buttigieg said that while criticizing Israel’s policies, we should “never allow that vocabulary to define any of both parties or let these stereotypes reverberate antisemitic language.” [JewishInsider]
SPOTTED: Dennis Ross, Rob Satloff, Ken Baer, Norman Goldstein, Ron Klein, Ira Forman, Stu Loeser, Julia Gordon, Alan Gross, Mort Halperin, Thomas Kahn, Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Stuart Kurlander, Noam Lee, David Makovsky, Mark Mellman, Rabbi Jack Moline, Laurie Moskowitz, Matt Nosanchuk, Shai Franklin, Melissa Weiss, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Josh Protas, Alan Ronkin, Greg Rosenbaum, Joel Rubin, Ben Shnider, Adam Szubin and Susie Turnbull.
ON THE HILL — by JI’s Laura Kelly: House Republicans pushed for a vote on condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel on Thursday, introducing a last minute amendment to a bipartisan bill on improving opportunity for retirement savings.
While the motion failed, at least 12 Democrats broke party ranks to vote in favor of the Motion, including Reps. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Kendra Horn (D-OK), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Max Rose (D-NY), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) and Susan Wild (D-PA).
“I guess you could say that I am intolerant of any anti-Israel sentiment,” Rep. Van Drew told Jewish Insider. “I’m just tired of it. Because of that, when an issue like this comes up, it’s a way you can show your support for Israel and show your lack of support for anybody that would attack Israel in any way. That’s something we’re going to have to speak more about in the future as an entire caucus.”
Rep. Wild wrote in an email to JI: “For the most part, I believe these procedural tactics distract from the overall legislation. But I voted in favor of today’s motion to send a message on this issue – the BDS movement is harmful to Israel and ultimately undermines our national security.” [JewishInsider]
LATEST ON IRAN — The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) presentedthe White House with a proposal to send thousands of additional troops to the Middle East for security reinforcement during a briefing with President Trump on the security situation with Iran. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan dismissed reports that the United States was preparing to send as many as 5,000 or 10,000 more forces to the region. “There is no 10,000 and there is no 5,000,” the Pentagon chief said.
Speaking at the White House, President Trump said he would consider sending troops to the Middle East to counter Iran, but “I don’t think we’re going to need them… if we need it, we’ll have — we’ll be there in whatever number we need.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box: “This threat from Iran remains. We have had some luck in disrupting some of the tactical things that were in front of us, I think it’s fair to say. But make sure we’re still on high alert. We’re still making sure we have the right resources in play.” [Video]
Meanwhile, Germany’s Foreign Ministry sent its political director, Jens Ploetner, to Iran to meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi in an attempt to salvage the nuclear deal.
ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Jared Kushner is expected to travel to Israel and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, possibly next week to discuss the ‘economic workshop’ scheduled for late June in Bahrain, Kan 11reported on Thursday. U.S. and Israeli officials are in “advanced stages of the planning” of the visit.
Meanwhile, Palestinian business organizations, claiming to represent 80 percent of Palestinian gross domestic product, announced their boycott of the summit in a joint statement. “Economic peace — regardless of how it is repackaged — has been tried by successive U.S. administrations and has failed every time precisely because freedom and sovereignty for Palestinians was lacking,” the organizations said.
White House Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt thanked Palestinian businessman Ashraf Jabari for confirming his attendance at the Bahrain summit. Greenblatt called Jabari’s stance, an “open minded approach.” The remaining businessmen, Greenblatt further suggested, “can’t afford to be as open or have been intimidated to avoid our workshop.”
SCENE LAST NIGHT — Greenblatt gave an off-the-record briefing on the peace plan to a group of activists at Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills in Queens, NY. The event was co-hosted by Jexodus and the Coalition for Jewish Values.
One JI reader familiar with the event speculated that while few details were shared, the effort is an attempt to neutralize criticism from the right in advance of the peace plan rollout.
REPORT — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger spoke about Trump’s peace plan at an event with former Israeli Ambassador Zalman Shoval in Washington, D.C. last week, Arutz 7 reported. Kissinger also praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he “correctly analyzes the situation.”
James Kirchick writes… “The world faces many tragedies. The lack of a Palestinian state ranks low on the list: The amount of global resources heaped upon the Palestinians appears wholly disproportionate when contrasted to the measly efforts expended upon other stateless peoples, like the Tibetans and Kurds, whose claims are at least as justified and whose tactics have been nowhere near as morally objectionable.” [LATimes]
CAMPUS BEAT — NYU President backtracks after applauding pro-BDS speaker: On Thursday, NYU President Andrew Hamilton condemnedthe speaker who delivered pro-BDS remarks at NYU’s Doctoral Convocation Ceremony held on Monday after the comments went viral on social media. Hamilton was earlier seen applauding Thrasher when the speaker concludedhis remarks.
The NYU head called Stephen William Thrasher’s comments “objectionable.” According to Hamilton, Thrasher didn’t include his remarks on BDS in the version of the speech he submitted before the ceremony. “We are sorry that the audience had to experience these inappropriate remarks,” he said. “A graduation should be a shared, inclusive event; the speaker’s words — one-sided and tendentious — indefensibly made some in the audience feel unwelcome and excluded.” [JewishInsider]
STATE VISIT — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will depart on Saturday for a 6-day trip to Israel, his first trip overseas since taking office in January. The Republican governor — joined by some 90 political, business and community leaders — is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hold a cabinet meeting, and visit the Old City of Jerusalem, according to an itinerary released by DeSantis’s office on Thursday. [JewishInsider]
Members of the delegation include Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Representative Randy Fine, Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman, Simon and Jana Falic, Marc Goldman, the ZOA’s Mort Klein, and RJC’s Matthew Bogdanoff.
BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering declaring new elections days before the deadline to form a coalition government due to a hardened stance by Avigdor Lieberman, who holds the key to a majority government. Netanyahu met with the heads of parties that had recommended him for PM on Thursday and decided to create a bloc of 60 seats to prevent President Reuven Rivlin from putting the task on a different MK if he fails to meet the May 29 deadline.
Lieberman said on Friday that Israel might be “on its way to elections” due to a disagreement over the Haredi draft law. Speaking to Channel 13, Lieberman accused Netanyahu’s Likud of conducting the coalition talks “in an arrogant and pathetic manner.”
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Hedge Fund Titan David Tepper plans to turn Appaloosa LP into a family office managing his personal wealth as he spends more time focused on running his NFL team, the Carolina Panthers[WSJ] • ‘Severe Cash Flow Issues’ Send Thor’s 545 Madison Avenue to Special Servicing [CommercialObserver] • Kushner Companies closes $1.1B multifamily buy with financing from Berkadia [RealDeal] • Philip Green’s Arcadia to Close Stores in Major Restructuring [BusinessofFashion; Independent]
SPOTLIGHT — Hollywood’s biggest talent agency owner is finally going public — by Sarah Whitten: “Ari Emanuel’s company Endeavor is finally going public. The global entertainment, sports and content company will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘EDR,’ according to registration documents filed publicly Thursday… Endeavor said it plans to raise $100 million in the offering. Companies typically use $100 million as a placeholder before disclosing the actual figure at a later date. Proceeds the company receives from this offering will go towards working capital and general corporate purposes.” [CNBC; Bloomberg]
TALK OF THE TOWN — Hate speech written on synagogue wall on Staten Island shocks on eve of Jewish holiday — by Joseph Ostapiuk: “Hate speech written on a synagogue wall in Meiers Corners was discovered early Thursday morning on the eve of a Jewish holiday celebrating unity and freedom from persecution. The words “synagogue of Satan” were visible from Bradley Avenue, written on the Chabad of Staten Island synagogue. Across the street, the letters “SOS” were written with spray paint on the Yeshiva Zichron Paltiel of Staten Island… A spokesman for the NYPD said that police were aware of the incident and were investigating.” [SILive]
Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) tweeted: “This has become more and more common in our city and it’s absolutely reprehensible. As a Jew, as a Staten Islander, and as our Congressman I refuse to sit by when these kind of incidents occur in this district.”
ACROSS THE SEA — More Than 1,000 Holocaust Victims Are Buried In Belarus After Mass Grave Discovered — by Sasha Ingber: “More than 1,000 victims of the Holocaust were buried Wednesday in Belarus, some 70 years after they were killed in the genocide. Their bones were unearthed this winter by construction workers as they began to build luxury apartments in the southwestern city of Brest, near Poland… On Wednesday, their remains were placed into 120 coffins decorated with the Star of David… A burial and ceremony was held at a cemetery outside of the city.” [NPR; AP]
My Family’s American Life Almost Wasn’t — by David Molton: “My father’s family tried to come to America 80 years ago. They were among more than 900 passengers on the M.S. St. Louis, a German refugee ship that was turned away from North American ports. The lessons from that saga are relevant today.”
“As the ship neared Havana in May 1939… the Cuban government ordered the ship to leave, but it didn’t immediately return to Europe. My father recalled seeing the lights and hotels of Miami as the ship steamed up the Florida coast, while passengers hoped for good news. They didn’t know that the American government had already prohibited the St. Louis from docking at any U.S. port. Canada also turned the ship away… On June 6, the St. Louis headed back to Europe, where the passengers were allowed into Britain, France, Holland and Belgium… My family — through their own cunning, the assistance of righteous Christians, and a good amount of luck — survived the Nazi invasion of Belgium and France.” [WSJ]
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Professor at Brooklyn College and painter whose realist art works appear in many museums, Philip Pearlsteinturns 95… Co-founder of the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, he is written about in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers,” Herbert Wachtell turns 87… Film director and daughter-in-law of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, Joan Micklin Silver turns 84… Biographer of religious, business and political figures, including Elizabeth II, the Dalai Lama, Nixon, JFK, Billy Graham and Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, Deborah Hart Strober turns 79… Born Robert Allen Zimmerman, he is one of the most influential singer-songwriters of his generation, Bob Dylan turns 78… Member of Congress since 2007 [D-TN-9], his district includes almost three-fourths of Memphis, he is Tennessee’s first Jewish congressman, Stephen Ira “Steve” Cohen turns 70…
Director of planned giving at American Society for Yad Vashem, Robert Christopher Morton turns 68… Former Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs (2000-2003), author of articles in magazines such as Newsweek and Foreign Affairs, author of more than a dozen books, Jorge Castañeda Gutman turns 66… First-ever Jewish member of the parliament in Finland, first elected in 1979, in 2011 he was elected as the acting speaker of the Finnish parliament,Ben Zyskowicz turns 65… Constitutional historian, lecturer and writer, Richard B. Bernstein turns 63… Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer, one of his novels is “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” Michael Chabon turns 56… US Ambassador to Singapore (2010-2013), member of the Georgia State Senate (2003-2010), now a partner in the global law firm Reed Smith, David Adelman turns 55…
Director of development at Schwarzman Scholars, she was previously VP for development at ProPublica and SVP for development at the Center for American Progress, Debby Goldberg turns 54… Senior development director in AIPAC’s northeast region, Nora Berger turns 52… Founding partner at Rosemont Seneca Partners and former board president of DC-based non-profit 826DC, Eric D. Schwerin turns 50… Patron of the Ukrainian Jewish community in Ukraine, Hennadiy Korban turns 49… In 2019, he became the first Israeli winner of an Academy Award in four decades for the Best Live Action Short, Guy Nattiv turns 46… Actor, who starred in the HBO original series “How to Make It in America,” Bryan Greenberg turns 41… Chief of staff at The National September 11 Memorial and Museum, he was previously deputy chief of staff at the Department of the Interior during the Obama administration, Benjamin E. Milakofsky turns 35…
SATURDAY: Physicist and winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics, Jack Steinberger turns 98… Academy Award winning film producer and director, Irwin Winkler turns 88… Co-founder and CEO of the clothing manufacturer, Calvin Klein Inc., which he formed with his childhood friend Calvin Klein, he is also a former horse racing industry executive, Barry K. Schwartz turns 77… Judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 1986 (including 7 years as Chief Judge), he is now on senior status, Douglas H. Ginsburg turns 73… British journalist, he has been the City Editor of the Daily Mail (London) since May 2000 and a past VP of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Alex Brummer turns 70… Los Angeles resident, Robin M. Kramer turns 66… Retired CEO of Denver’s Rose Medical Center (1997-2017), he is now the CEO of Velocity Healthcare Consultants and principal of the Leadership Advance, Kenneth Feiler turns 66… Actor, voice actor and stand-up comedian sometimes referred to as “Yid Vicious,” Bobby Slayton turns 64…
Consultant at Rubiner Strategies, she was previously CEO at Los Angeles-based Alliance for Children’s Rights (2017-2018) and chief of staff for Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (2011-2017), Laurie Rubiner turns 57… Cape Town native, tech entrepreneur and investor, he was the original COO of PayPal and founder/CEO of Yammer, David Oliver Sacks turns 47… Member of the Australian Parliament since 2016, Julian Leeser turns 43… Political reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Greg Bluestein turns 37… NYC-based senior coordinating producer at i24NEWS and director of communications and marketing for the Royal Star Theatre, Alison Kurtzman turns 29… Pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays organization who had two effective appearances for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers, Ryan Sherriff turns 29… Olympic Gold medalist at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, gymnast Aly Raisman turns 25… South Florida resident Marjorie Moidel… Laura Goldman…
SUNDAY: Political cartoonist for Yediot Aharonot (1957-1967), Life Magazine (1968-1972) and many world-wide newspapers, Ranan Lurie turns 87… Public speaker, teacher and author of more than 30 books and a weekly column “Looking at Language” that is syndicated in newspapers throughout the US, Richard Lederer turns 81… Member of the US House of Representatives (D-IL-9) since 1999, Janice Danoff “Jan” Schakowsky turns 75… Lake City, Florida resident, John W. Davis turns 70…
SVP of News at NPR until 2017, after a long career at the NY Daily News, the New York Times and the Associated Press, Michael Oreskes turns 65… Co-founder and CEO of Mobileye, he became an SVP of Intel after Intel acquired Mobileye in 2017, Amnon Shashua turns 59… NYC real estate developer, chair of The Charles H. Revson Foundation and a former commissioner on the NYC Planning Commission, Cheryl Cohen Effron turns 54… Former Brigadier General in the IDF, she has been a member of the Knesset for the Likud party since 2009 and has served as Minister of Culture and Sport since 2015, Miriam “Miri” Regev turns 54…
Counsel in the government affairs practice and fintech practice at the DC office of Paul Hastings, she was previously a lobbyist for Quicken Loans and Chrysler and a senior aide on Capitol Hill, Dina Ellis Rochkind turns 50… South Florida entrepreneur, Sholom Zeines turns 39… Tel Aviv-based freelance journalist, she was formerly a producer at NBC News in New York, Yardena Schwartz turns 33… Litigation associate in the Washington office of Covington & Burling LLP, Benjamin L. Cavataro turns 30… Program Assistant at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Morgan A. Jacobs turns 29… Student at Yeshivat Har Etzion, Eytan Merkin…
MONDAY: Media mogul, until 2016 he was the executive chairman of both CBS and Viacom, Sumner Redstone (born Sumner Murray Rothstein) turns 96… National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford, he won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize, Henry Kissinger turns 96… Professor of International Marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Philip Kotler turns 88… CEO of British real estate firm Heron International, Gerald Ronson turns 80… Actor, producer and real estate developer, Zack Norman (born Howard Jerrold Zuker) turns 79… Retired in 2014 as school rabbi and director of Jewish studies at The Rashi School, a K-8 Reform Jewish school in Dedham, Massachusetts, Ellen Weinstein Pildis turns 69…
Former MLB pitcher (1978-1982) who played for the White Sox and Pirates, he is now a financial advisor at RBC Wealth Management, Ross Baumgartenturns 64… Former MLB pitcher (1979-1990) who played for the Angels, Red Sox and Brewers, he was an MLB All Star in 1979 and 1982, Mark Clear turns 63… Marriage counselor, therapist and author, Sherry Amatenstein turns 62… Dallas-based class action trial lawyer, political activist and Jewish community leader, he served for six years as Chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Marc R. Stanley turns 62… Beverly Hills-based immigration attorney, founder and chairman of the Los Angeles Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, Neil J. Sheff turns 58…
Political strategist best known as the campaign manager for Barack Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign, David Plouffe turns 52… General Manager of Phibro Israel and co-founder of LaKita, a non-profit crowd-funding platform for Israeli public schools, Jonathan Bendheim turns 43… Workplace and labor reporter at The New York Times, he was a Rhodes Scholar and then a long time senior editor for The New Republic, Noam Scheiberturns 43… Associate director of development at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Grant Silverstein turns 37… Sports reporter for The Wall Street Journal in New York covering the NBA, college basketball and college football, Benjamin Zachary Cohen turns 31… Joshua Fitterman turns 26… Philadelphia Inquirer’s reporter in Trenton, Andrew Seidman… Emily Cohen…