DONOR CIRCUIT — 2020 Democratic hopefuls still relying on major donors — by JI’s Ben Jacobs: The rules to qualify for the Democratic 2020 presidential debates have overturned the way the candidates are fundraising. With campaigns required to hit donor thresholds to land on the debate stage, they’re scrambling for unique contributions from small donors. Since the cost of acquiring a single new donor online can be as high as $70, campaigns are relying on large contributions to subsidize their drive for small donations.
One aide for a leading campaign noted that “the pursuit of high-dollar donors has become more important because of the need for the resources to get lower-dollar donors.” An aide on a different presidential campaign put it frankly: “You need bundlers in order to get small donor donations.”
Zac Moffatt, the CEO and founder of Targeted Victory and a former top strategist for Mitt Romney, estimated the benefits of debate participation at $7-$10 million. This means campaigns have no choice but to try to participate, even if it starves them of resources needed in the long-term.
And, with nearly two dozen candidates still in the race, many significant Democratic donors have yet to make up their minds.
Marc Stanley, a prominent Democratic donor and Dallas attorney, is supporting former vice president Joe Biden, but he noted that some donors are giving to a number of candidates. “In a primary like this, we all have lots of friends running, all of these senators running,” Stanley told Jewish Insider. “We all supported them for Senate, governor or vice president. They are all friends and I think we are all blessed with a great stable of candidates.”
Greg Rosenbaum, a longtime Democratic donor, is playing the waiting game. “If I looked at the field of candidates and looked at everyone I had a personal relationship with, or have supported in past races in their careers, I would have probably given to more than 14 candidates,” said Rosenbaum.
Andrew Weinstein, a Florida attorney and major Democratic donor, noted that 12 years ago “it looked like a pretty brave risk” for him to back Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. But Weinstein, a Biden supporter, noted that “in retrospect, it’s less of a risk than people are taking now given all the candidates.” [JewishInsider]
BEHIND THE SCENES — How Jared Kushner is trying to help Trump win in 2020 — by Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey: “Kushner, 38, is the hidden hand of Trump’s 2020 campaign — rarely glimpsed in its Northern Virginia headquarters but signing off behind the scenes on everything from spending to digital initiatives to top-level hires… Jon Lerner, a Republican pollster and strategist who worked closely with Kushner in the administration for two years when he served as deputy to former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, said Kushner’s campaign role is similar to his administration one. ‘It strikes me that the campaign operation is like the White House operation: others are involved, but the president is unquestionably the top decision-maker, and then there is Jared,’ Lerner wrote in an email.” [WashPost]
PODCAST PLAYBACK — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in an interview on the Pod Save America podcast with Jon Favreau that he’d “absolutely” consider using U.S. aid to Israel to pressure the Israeli government on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“I lived in Israel. Actually, I worked in a kibbutz for a number of months. I have family in Israel. I am Jewish. I am not anti-Israel,” Sanders said. “I believe that the people of Israel have absolutely the right to live in peace, independence and security. End of discussion — that is what I fervently believe. But I think what has happened is in recent years under Netanyahu, you have an extreme right-wing government with many racist tendencies.”
“The role of the United States, and this is not easy — you know, believe me — [Bill] Clinton tried it, [Barack] Obama tried it, Jimmy Carter tried it. This is not easy stuff — is to try to finally bring peace to the Middle East and to treat the Palestinian people with a kind of respect and dignity they deserve. Our policy cannot just be pro-Israel, pro-Israel, pro-Israel. It has got to be pro-region working with all of the people, all of the countries in that area.”[PodSaveAmerica]
HEARD ON CABLE — Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) defended her support of the BDS movement in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper on Sunday. “I grew up in the most blackest, beautiful city in the country, where every corner in Detroit here, you will see a reminiscence of the civil rights movement, of the labor rights movement. And we did it through economic boycott. It is a form of freedom of speech,” she explained. “But people want to dismiss it because they’re trying to say it’s antisemitism. That’s the way they’re trying to discredit the fact that we all know, under Netanyahu’s regime, human rights violations have gotten worse.”
Asked by Tapper about the movement singling out Israel, Tlaib proclaimed, “If there was an economic boycott movement around Saudi Arabia, I would be the first to sign up for it.”
Tapper also asked Tlaib if she believes Israel has a right to exist. “Oh, of course,” she replied, after a second attempt. But added, “But just like Palestinians have a right to exist. Palestinians also have a right to human rights. We can’t say one or the other. We have to say it in the same breath, or we’re not going to actually have a peaceful resolution.” [Video]
The New York Times asks: “Is BDS antisemitic? A closer look at the boycott Israel campaign: In a matter of months, a campaign to boycott Israel has moved from the margins of politics — liberal college campuses and protest marches — to Congress… Actual accomplishments have been minimal: a few dozen resolutions in university student assemblies; a handful of decisions by law-enforcement agencies to stop training with the Israeli military; votes by two faculty groups last year — the Association for Asian American Studies and the larger American Studies Association — for limited boycotts of Israeli academia. Opponents of B.D.S. have more to show for their efforts. Legislatures in at least 26 states have passed laws barring government agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that support B.D.S.” [NYTimes]
Eric Alterman writes… “Does anyone take the BDS movement seriously? For both sides, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement today has very little to do with the movement’s original goals… with each iteration of the B.D.S. ‘debate,’ the underlying issues seem to recede into obscurity… B.D.S. has become a purity test of sorts for progressives in certain corners of American society — a defining part of what it means to be woke.” [NYTimes]
NO DAYLIGHT — Israel successfully conducted several tests of the Arrow 3 missile defense system with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Alaska last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday. “Today, Israel has the ability to act against ballistic missiles that could be launched against us from Iran or anywhere else. This is a great achievement for the security of Israel,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attended the meeting.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer secretly travelled to Alaska to closely monitor parts of the tests, Channel 13’s Barak Ravid reported on Saturday.
Netanyahu’s remarks boasting about the success, and footage of the tests, were also featured in an official Likud campaign video, ending with the slogan “proven leadership.”
On Sunday, the Likud campaign unveiled three huge posters on its party headquarters in Tel Aviv, depicting Netanyahu meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Netanyahu and the Likud promoted the posters online under the slogan: “Netanyahu. In another league.”
Kachol Lavan responded by photoshopping the posters to read “in another league surrendering to terror” and “in another league in deficit.”
REPORT — Israel’s Foreign Ministry has allocated NIS 50 million ($14.2 million) to encourage and subsidize the move of foreign embassies to Jerusalem, Israel Hayom reported on Sunday. The plan is being pushed by Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who described it as a “national, diplomatic and strategic objective of the highest order.”
AT THE CROSSING — Israel invests in high-tech upgrades at West Bank crossings — by Ilan Ben-Zion: “It’s just after 6 a.m. and a Palestinian man’s face is momentarily bathed in crimson light, not by the sun rising over the mountains of Jordan, but by a facial recognition scanner at an Israeli checkpoint near Jerusalem. The Israeli military has installed the face scanners as part [of] a multimillion dollar upgrade of the Qalandia crossing that now allows Palestinians from the West Bank with work permits to zip through with relative ease.” [AP]
IRAN WATCH — Delegations from Iran, Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union met in Vienna on Sunday and recommitted to saving the 2015 nuclear accord. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi told reporters that “the atmosphere was constructive, and the discussions were good.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday he hoped new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “familiarity” with Iran could help calm ties between the nations.
But Araghchi also said Sunday that Britain’s seizure of an Iranian oil tanker was a breach of the deal. And later, an Iranian government spokesman said Tehran isn’t willing to first release the Stena Impero — the British flagged oil tanker it seized earlier this month — in return for the Iranian ship. And Britain rejected on Monday any possibility of an oil tanker swap to diffuse the standoff: “There is no quid pro quo,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC radio. “This is not about some kind of barter. This is about the international law and the rules of the international legal system being upheld and that is what we will insist on.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Monday that talks between Iran and the U.S. are possible “when we have a certain agenda in place and when we could get some tangible and practical results out of it.”
TOP TALKER — On Sunday, President Donald Trump doubled down on his attacks against Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) — calling him a ‘racist’ and assailing him for ignoring his district — that provoked strong condemnation.
A report in Haaretz on Sunday hailed “a long-standing partnership between Cummings and the Jewish community of Baltimore – a community where many are now standing by the congressman in light of Trump’s attacks against him.” The Jerusalem Post pointed out that part of that relationship is fueled by the fact that “for the last two decades, Cummings has partnered with the Baltimore Jewish Council in backing the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel (ECYP), a two-year leadership fellowship that aspires to build leadership and bridges between the African-American and Jewish communities.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), tweeted that “using words like ‘infested’ seems intended only to offend. We know firsthand the dangers when a group of people are rendered sub-human. Such comments demean entire communities and divide the country.”
The Washington Post reported on Sunday that White House senior advisor Jared Kushner “owns more than a dozen apartment complexes [in Baltimore County] that have been cited for hundreds of code violations and, critics say, provide substandard housing to lower-income tenants… In an investigationby the New York Times and Pro Publica published earlier that year, tenants of Kushner properties reported mouse infestations, mold problems and maggots.”
HEARD YESTERDAY — Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended the president’s attacks on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He claimed Trump would attack Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) the same way he attacked Cummings and that it has nothing to do with race.
“It has zero to do with the fact that Adam is Jewish and everything to do with Adam would just be wrong if he were saying that,” Mulvaney said. “This is what the president does. He fights and he’s not wrong to do so.” [Video]
Trump says Minnesota can’t stand Ilhan Omar. His attacks have made her more popular than ever back home — by Molly Hensley-Clancy: “‘I feel very bad about [Trump’s] racist comments about her,’ said Esther, a retired Jewish resident of the affluent Kenwood neighborhood in Minneapolis who would not give her last name. ‘They were awful.’ And Omar’s comments? ‘I feel very bad about those. I feel that she’s antisemitic, very strongly. And I feel very badly that she’s on the Foreign Affairs Committee where she can do a lot of damage — I feel very strongly about that,’ Esther said. ‘But I don’t like Trump, either.’ Esther hoped, she said, someone would run against Omar. ‘Well, all my people do,’ she said.” [BuzzFeed]
TRANSITION — President Trump announced on Sunday the nomination of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence. Ratcliffe, according to an earlier Axios report, became Trump’s favorite candidate following his tough questioning of Robert Mueller at the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.
2020 BRIEFS — Democrats find themselves grappling with a central question: Is beating President Trump enough?… Candidates prepare Kill Biden strategies for this week’s debates… Hoping for a Warren-Sanders clash? Their campaigns say don’t hold your breath… Cory Booker promised to run a positive campaign. Now he’s prepping for a standoff with Biden at the next debate… Press 1 for Kamala Harris. Press 2 for Joe Biden: ‘Tele-voting’ comesto the presidential race… Beto O’Rourke, the breakout star of 2018, has had a disappointing 2019 presidential run. Can he turn it around?
ROAD TO THE KNESSET — Education Minister and Habayit Hayehudi chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz announced on Sunday that he would step aside to allow the New Right’s Ayelet Shaked to head the merged electoral slate of right-wing parties. Peretz’s decision has cleared the way for the two parties to join up in a technical bloc, which is expected to be finalized in the next day or two, despite sticking points remaining between the two parties.
Meanwhile, four Arab parties agreed over the weekend to run on a merged slate, signaling the return of the Joint List that ran in the 2015 election. Hadash, Ta’al, and the United Arab List first announced their deal on Saturday, and Balad joined the merger agreement on Sunday. All parties must present their final electoral slates to the Central Elections Committee by Thursday.
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: ‘Billions’ writer Brian Koppelman outguns hedge fund titans Marc Lasry and David Einhorn at charity poker [Bloomberg] • Israel’s Spacecom looks to rebound from rough patch with Africa satellite [Reuters] • Alan Fuerstman started as a doorman at a Marriott. Now he runs a $3 billion hotel empire [Inc] • Can broadcast legend Susan Zirinsky save CBS News? [VanityFair]
IN THE SPOTLIGHT — Federal inquiry of Trump friend focused on foreign lobbying — by Sharon LaFraniere, Maggie Haberman, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and David D. Kirkpatrick: “The exchanges about Mr. Trump’s energy speech [in 2016] are among a series of interactions that have come under scrutiny by federal prosecutors looking at foreign influence over his campaign, his transition and the early stages of his administration… Investigators have looked in particular at whether [Tom] Barrack or others violated the law requiring people who try to influence American policy or opinion at the direction of foreign governments or entities to disclose their activities to the Justice Department.”
“Among other lines of inquiry, they have sought to determine whether Mr. Barrack and others tried to sway the Trump campaign or the new administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia… Investigators have also questioned witnesses about Mr. Barrack’s involvement with a proposal from an American group that could give Saudi Arabia access to nuclear power technology. And they have asked about another economic development plan for the Arab world, written by Mr. Barrack and circulated among Mr. Trump’s advisers.” [NYTimes] • Barrack will exit as CEO of Colony Capital as part of a deal to buy digital infrastructure firm [RealDeal]
PROFILE — Alan Dershowitz, devil’s advocate — by Connie Bruck: “If you are a television producer putting together a segment about a celebrated criminal case, Dershowitz is an ideal booking. Intellectually nimble and supremely confident, he is an emeritus professor at Harvard Law School but also an occasional reader (and subject) of the tabloids… In recent years, as Dershowitz approached the age of eighty, his public presence faded a bit. But Trump’s Presidency has enabled a comeback. Dershowitz, a proponent of civil liberties, has made a specialty of defending people who do outrageous things, and Trump does outrageous things constantly.” [NewYorker]
INTERVIEW — Barbra Streisand riffs on music, antisemitism and how Chicago has always brought her good luck — by Howard Reich: “‘As [a] person who is proud of my Jewish heritage, it’s deeply concerning. It’s undeniable that antisemitism is one of the most vexing, terrifying issues of our times. But this anger and hatred has actually been here for 3,500 years. It just reveals itself in different ways through the millennia, but it’s ever-present. Jews have always been the scapegoats, blamed for the ills of the world. I’m not articulate enough to enumerate the many ways antisemitism manifests itself or how to end it.’” [ChicagoTribune]
TALK OF THE NATION — Jews, outraged by restrictive abortion laws, are invoking the Hebrew Bible in the debate — by Lindsay Schnell: “U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) likes to joke that she took tikkun olam so seriously, she wound up in politics… Wasserman Schultz, the first Jewish woman to represent Florida in Congress, says her faith informs her politics every day. ‘I have always served and looked at policy through a distinctly Jewish lens,’ Wasserman Schultz says. ‘And so for me, when I’m thinking about a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, the Jewish tradition that I’ve always been taught holds that existing life should take precedence over potential life, and a woman’s life and her pain should take precedence over a fetus.’” [USAToday]
TALK OF THE TOWN — Drive-by shooting outside Miami-Dade synagogue sends man to hospital, police say — by Monique O. Madan: “A man walking outside a synagogue in North Miami-Dade County was injured in a drive-by shooting Sunday evening, Miami-Dade Police said. The shooting occurred outside Young Israel of Greater Miami near Northeast 10th Avenue and 171st Street at around 6:30 p.m. The 58-year-old man, who was shot several times in the leg, was taken to Aventura Medical Center, and is in stable condition, according to Miami-Dade police.” [MiamiHerald]
Central NY’s oldest Jewish congregation votes to sell historic synagogue for student apartments — by Rick Moriarty: “Temple Concord, Central New York’s oldest Jewish congregation and the ninth oldest in the U.S., has agreed to sell its historic, 108-year-old Syracuse synagogue to a developer of luxury student apartments. Members of the temple voted ‘overwhelmingly’ on Sunday to approve the sale of the synagogue for $9 million, said Rabbi Daniel Fellman.” [Syracuse]
Jewish center sued over controversial chicken-killing ritual — by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde: “In the Jewish tradition, the slain chickens are meant to be given to the poor to eat, but an animal rights group says that’s not what happened, according to a lawsuit filed this month in Los Angeles Superior Court. The Animal Protection and Rescue League alleges that Rabbi Netanel Louie killed and discarded the chickens without using them for food, violating an animal rights law that bars maliciously and intentionally mutilating, torturing or wounding animals. The group is seeking an injunction against the Hebrew Discovery Center forbidding the kapparot practice.” [LATimes]
Krakow’s Jewish culture is in the midst of a revival — by Jason Najum: “In the 1980s a Catholic teenager named Janusz Makuch discovered his Polish hometown of Pulawy had once been 50 percent Jewish — yet he had never met a Jew in his life. His discovery of this lost history inspired a lifetime of exploration into his country’s Jewish heritage, leading to the creation of the Jewish Culture Festival in 1988. Over the past 30 years, the festival has grown into the biggest of its kind, with hundreds of events showcasing Jewish arts and culture. Staffed by dozens of dedicated volunteers, most of them young non-Jewish Poles, the work done by the festival team has helped spark a revitalization of Jewish life in Krakow.” [LonelyPlanet]
Rape case that roiled Israel falls apart, with 12 suspects freed — by Isabel Kershner: “An allegation of gang rape at a Cyprus resort that produced a bout of national soul searching in Israel took a dramatic turn on Sunday with the release of the remaining teenage Israeli suspects and the arrest of the woman who accused them… on charges of making a false accusation… The case has roiled Israel, where the reaction has revolved around concerns about victim shaming and about the pressures in Israeli society to prove manliness… But then the case appeared to fall apart.” [NYTimes]
White supremacist’s death sentence overturned because of prosecution’s focus on Nazi tattoos — by Antonia Noori Farzan: “When Jeffrey Scott Young went on trial for murder, one prosecutor described him as ‘a walking billboard of hate.’ The white supremacist’s body was covered from head to toe with tattoos, including a swastika and other Nazi symbols, a Confederate flag, and a tree with a noose dangling from it. Some made coded references to Adolf Hitler and the white power movement, while others were more blatant… the California Supreme Court… overturn[ed] the 45-year-old’s death sentence in a unanimous decision on Thursday.” [WashPost]
LONG READ — The life and tragic death of Trinity graduate and writer Sophie Hingst — by Derek Scally: “The [Der Spiegel] magazine claimed Sophie [Hingst] had invented 22 Holocaust victims, many in her family, and had lodged documents memorializing them with Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem… Days later, as we sat on a dusty river bank, she said her life as she knew it had evaporated in the previous six days… When our walk ended, I had nothing more to say, realizing I was out of my depth. This was no news story. This was a very agitated woman who needed help – and, knowing we were parting company soon, I was afraid that I might be the last person to see her alive.” [IrishTimes]
ON THE STAGE — Spiritual resistance in the rewarding ‘Hannah Senesh’ at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene — by Joe Lombardi: “Spiritual resistance in the face of oppression is the theme for this season of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene… Hannah Senesh, the first of four mainstage productions, is definitely worth a journey to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park. Hannah is an iconic heroine from World War II. She was 22 years old and living in Palestine when she volunteered to join with British forces in their fight against Hitler and the Nazis. She parachuted into Yugoslavia and successfully crossed the border into her native Hungary. She was captured, tortured and executed in 1944. The play is a living, breathing diary using Hannah’s own words.” [BroadwayWorld]
SCENE IN THE HAMPTONS — New York Times columnist Bret Stephens discussed antisemitism, Israel and Trump’s attacks on “The Squad” at the Met Council on Jewish Poverty’s Hampton Brunch hosted by Ben and Daniela Tisch on Sunday morning. [Pic]
SPOTTED: Merryl and James Tisch, Met Council CEO David Greenfield, Dan Och, Jeffrey and Lee Feil, Brian and Mara Feil, Ellen and Jonathan Polkes, Lisa and Barry Bergman, Terri and Andrew Herenstein, Susan and Evan Ratner, Lindsay and Will Bressman, Claire and Michael Allaham, Lesley and Rob Vecsler, Joseph and Randi Allerhand, Richard Mack, Scott Steinman, Ken Eckstein, Linda and Jerry Spitzer, Sara and Scott Weiner, Stacy and Ron Scheinberg, Bob Mitzmam, Willy Pilku, Andrew Bergman, Richard Mack, Jay Lieberman, Craig Klosk, Ronnie Wexler and Brian Tregerman.
DESSERT — Pastrami on rye — hold the meat — by Flora Tsapovsky: “Whether they’re dairy delights like bagels and lox, or meaty favorites like pastrami on rye, many classic Jewish dishes have one thing in common: They’re off limits to vegans. Or they used to be. Vegan Jewish deli is starting to change that.” [Tablet]
BIRTHDAYS: Chairman of BOK Financial Corporation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, George Kaiser turns 77… Author and newspaper columnist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Meir Shalev turns 71… Shoe designer, entrepreneur and founder of an eponymous shoe company which he sold in 2015 for $574 million, Stuart A. Weitzman turns 70… Denver-based trial lawyer, film producer and author of both fiction and nonfiction, Kenneth Eichner turns 65… Deputy health and science editor at The Washington Post, Carol Eisenberg turns 62… Economics journalist at The New York Times, Peter S. Goodman turns 53… Twin brothers, Los Angeles-based philanthropists and businessmen, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz and Yisroel Zev Rechnitz turn 48…
Actor, filmmaker and musician, he is best known for his role in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014), Joshua Radnor turns 45… Scottsdale, Arizona-based VP for Community Engagement at BBYO, Jayme David turns 42… Director of the Straus Center at Yeshiva University, he is also the Rabbi of NYC’s Congregation Shearith Israel (often called The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue), Rabbi Meir Soloveichik turns 42… Senior producer of data-based news and investigations at CNN, Aaron Kessler turns 40… Member of the Canadian Parliament for the Liberal Party since 2015, his great-grandfather founded a Yiddish-language newspaper in Montreal in 1907, David Grahamturns 38…
Rabbi and physician assistant, he has served Jewish communities in San Francisco, Sydney, Montreal and the Hamptons, Rabbi Levi Welton turns 36… Former Obama White House aide, now an SVP in the NYC office of SKDKnickerbocker, Herbie Ziskend turns 34… Former director of Israel and Jewish Advocacy at the Baltimore Jewish Council, now a manager at the Baltimore Humane Society, Adrienne Potter Yoe… and her twin sister, Moira Yoe Bauer, who works in NYC on corporate governance and sustainability at Prudential Financial, both turn 32… Law student in the 2021 class at Georgetown, he was previously the assistant editor of The Agenda atPolitico and a staff writer at The New Republic, Danny Vinik turns 29… Uriel Wassner turns 25… Jason Levin…