Daily Kickoff

Terry McAuliffe on white supremacy | Tulsi Gabbard boosted by neo-Nazis | Failed Israeli lunar mission left water bears on moon


CNN Democratic Presidential Debate Detroit, Michigan 2019 Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Washington Gov. Jay Inslee New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

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JI INTERVIEW — Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe discussed his new book, Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism, in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh on Monday. 

McAuliffe said that the images of neo-Nazis marching in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 with torches — chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’ — was a defining moment in America’s history, and in Donald Trump’s presidency. 

“People were shocked at how people could spew such hatred and feel these feelings towards members of the Jewish faith,” McAuliffe said Monday. And though he urged the president to condemn the white supremacists, “I think unfortunately what happened is his political advisors, [Steve] Bannon or [Stephen] Miller or whoever it was in the White House, said to the president ‘No, you are not going to condemn neo-Nazis, you are not going to condemn white nationalists.’” 

In wake of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, McAuliffe said Trump ought to “apologize” to the American public, and stand up and say: “‘You know what? My words have incited individuals and [have] fostered hatred and division in our country, and I apologize for that.’”

McAuliffe told JI that he enjoys the Yiddish nickname — “The Macher” — that he earned over the years as a political fundraiser. “Listen, Haim Saban and many have called me that for years,” he said. “It’s a big compliment, I guess. Right?” 

The former governor also stated with pride that his daughter, Mary, lives in Israel and that he has visited the Jewish state many times. [JewishInsider]

DRIVING THE CONVO — On Monday, Trump issued a public rejection of white supremacy following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend. “Our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Trump said in his formal address to the nation on Monday, something he was reluctant to say in response to the 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville.

Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, tells JI’s Jacob Kornbluh that Trump’s remarks did not go nearly far enough. “While it was good to hear him finally utter those words  — white supremacy — lumping this issue with mental health and gun control obscures the fact that white supremacy is amongst the primary, if not the primary, motivating factor of these domestic terrorists,” Lipstadt explained. “These are not a bunch of crazies who need help. They are haters who are doing great damage. It’s time for our government to take them very seriously. Thankfully, the FBI seems to be doing so.” 

Lipstadt added: “At the heart of white supremacy is not just racism, but deep-seated antisemitism.” [JewishInsider]

Abe Foxman emails JI: “I am not satisfied with the president’s comments. He did for the first time clearly condemn hate and link it with white supremacy. We should welcome that because it is important coming from him, especially at this tragic moment in our country — it was too much to expect him to take blame for his hateful rhetoric. But having condemned hate, he didn’t move the ball forward to help prevent future tragedies. He reverted to political expediency — patronizing his base, ignoring the issue of guns, and being intellectually dishonest in blaming the crisis on the media, internet and mental illness. This is a good beginning, but sadly, again, a lost opportunity.”

Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, noted on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports that “we did not hear from the president the words ‘I, personally, rebuke and reject the ideology of hate. I will not stand for this anymore. I do not need or want your support.’ I didn’t hear that. I didn’t hear the active voice. I heard a passive collective voice of ‘our nation must reject,’” he said. 

Former President Barack Obama released a lengthy statement on Monday, taking an indirect jab at his successor. “We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people,” Obama wrote. “Such language isn’t new — it’s been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.” 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and CNN anchor Jake Tapper exchanged barbs on Twitter over comments made about the threat of white nationalism. “You hear conservatives all the time, rightly so, in my opinion, talk about the tone set by people in the Arab world,” Tapper said during a panel discussion on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “Palestinian leaders and the way they talk about Israelis, justifying, in the same way you’re doing — no direct link necessarily between what the leader says and the violence against some poor Israeli girl in a pizzeria, but the idea that you’re validating this hatred… Either tone matters or it doesn’t.”

On Twitter, Tlaib called the comparison “fundamentally a lie.” To which Tapper replied, “You’re 100% right… it’s a lie. Because I never said that. What I said was those who believe Palestinian leaders bear responsibility for the incitement of terrorism cannot then let U.S. leaders off the hook and act as if words don’t matter.” 

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a proponent of gun control, writes… “Don’t let this moment pass: These new atrocities need to change the political dynamic… Until the superheroes turn up, laws will have to do… That will change only if more Americans demand it — and send a clear message to their representatives that voting against gun safety will cost them on Election Day.” [Bloomberg]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Former Vice President Joe Biden in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN’s AC360: “Hatred is sick, but it’s not a mental illness,” Biden said in reaction to Trump’s remarks. “White supremacy is wrong, but it’s not mental illness.” The 2020 Democratic frontrunner warned that “the white supremacists are winning the battle” for the soul of the nation. “This is domestic terrorism.”

2020 WATCH — Neo-Nazis boast ‘We got Tulsi in the debates’ — by JI’s Ben Jacobs: A neo-Nazi website took credit for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) qualification for the first two Democratic primary debates. Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, wrote in April, “We got Tulsi in the debates.”

Anglin added: “I kind of didn’t really want to do the whole big push on this site and have her linked to us if she was going to make it without us (both because I don’t want the media attention and I doubt she wants to be considered a nazi candidate), but as it was clear she wasn’t going to make it without us, I figured it didn’t matter.”
The website said it had promoted Gabbard to “make the Jews go nuts” and “trigger the kikes.” Although the site did not explicitly support Gabbard’s candidacy, it said her participation in the debate was an opportunity to “talk about Jews starting all the wars.”

The Gabbard campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment from Jewish Insider about whether her campaign was aware of The Daily Stormer’s effort, and if it would return any contributions from neo-Nazis and white supremacists. [JewishInsider]
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, tells JI: “My initial reaction is that this is similar to what white supremacists declared about Trump 4 years ago. [I] don’t know anything about her campaign but cannot imagine that any mainstream candidate would seek or accept any ‘support’ from overt Jew haters and racists.”

IRAN WATCH — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that a potential war with Iran would be “the mother of all wars.” Rouhani also said he is in favor of negotiations with the United States, but that the U.S. must first lift all sanctions against the Islamic Republic. An Iranian official told European powers on Monday that it will continue to breach the 2015 nuclear deal if U.S. sanctions do not let up. 

Israel’s Channel 12 News reported on Monday that Iran has agreed to increase payments to Hamas in exchange for intelligence on Israeli missile capabilities. 

REPORT — Israeli Foreign Ministry officials reportedly warned cabinet ministers last month that if the government doesn’t create a strong monitoring mechanism on Chinese investments, “it could lead to a harsh confrontation with the Trump administration.” 

Jacob Nagel and Jonathan Schanzer write… “U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation sends clear message to foes: America does not face the same threats that Israel does on its borders. But some of Israel’s missile defense solutions can help augment or improve the systems deployed in the United States. Moreover, such cooperation sends a clear message to common foes, like Iran, that new and effective missile defense solutions are the result of an alliance that is multi-layered, as well.” [TheHill]

PROFILE — Meet the ‘Anti-Squad’: Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and her ‘gang’ offer Democrats a path of moderation — by Ron Kampeas: “Slotkin, a former CIA analyst, is one of nine veterans of the national security apparatus who are freshman Democrats in Congress and who call themselves the ‘Gang of Nine.’ Three of them are Jewish: Slotkin, Elaine Luria of Virginia, a Navy veteran, and Max Rose of Staten Island, an Army veteran… Call the gang — whose security backgrounds and moderation form an alternative to the progressives who have become symbols of divides within the Democratic Party (and between the parties) — the ‘Anti-Squad.’” [JTA]

ON THE HILL — Senators press Poland to repay victims for property stolen by Nazis — by Rebecca Klar: “A bipartisan group of senators is asking the Trump administration to urge Poland to pay victims whose property was stolen by Nazis. In a letter dated Monday, more than 80 senators from both parties asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ‘pursue bold initiatives to help Poland resolve this issue as quickly as possible… Now is the time, while the last Holocaust survivors are still alive, to back up our words with meaningful action,’ the senators wrote. The letter comes weeks ahead of President Trump’s planned trip to Poland and Denmark to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II.” [TheHill]

POLLARD PLEA — Former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard opened up about his parole restrictions and pleaded for a complete commutation in an interview with Israeli Channel 12’s Yuna Leibzon on Monday night, describing it as a “matter of life and death.” Inviting the reporter into his apartment, Pollard revealed that his wife, Esther, has recently been diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, and his restrictions are making it impossible to take care of her or accompany her on her treatments. Pollard said he was told by Netanyahu’s office that the prime minister would get involved, and said he “can’t imagine Trump refusing” the request.

SUCCESSION — The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations formally announced on Monday the appointment of William Daroff as CEO of the organization. Daroff will succeed Malcolm Hoenlein as chief executive in early 2020, while Hoenlein will keep his title as vice chairman “providing counsel and guidance, as well as leading special projects.”

Hoenlein tells JI: “I think the conference has grown increasingly important over the years, and our motto — strength through unity — is more significant than ever. We have built many bridges within and outside the community and they need to be enhanced. I am confident that united together we can accomplish anything.” 

Aaron Keyak, a former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council emails JI: “Already the ‘King of Jewish Twitter,’ William is the right pick at the right time to take over for as the ‘King of the Jews,’ as Malcolm is widely known. It’s rare that someone is truly post-partisan, but even during these highly contentious times William was able to rigorously stay in that space as he found a way to get things done. Whether it’s among both the left and right in a partisan sense or the left and right along the Jewish denominational spectrum, William is well liked and has genuine relationships with top Democrats and Republicans, as well leaders of the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements. There’s no one in our community who combines such broad reach and downright effectiveness.”

2020 BRIEFS — Trump set to visit the Hamptons on Friday for a fundraiser hosted by Related Companies’ developer Stephen Ross… Elizabeth Warren wants to change the bankruptcy code. Here’s what that could mean for American workers… Team Buttigieg aggressively courts superdelegates in prep for a contested convention… De Blasio says Bernie would have won in 2016

RACE TO THE KNESSET — Yair Lapid found himself at the center of criticism from both outside and within his own Kachol Lavan Party this week, after a video he published about haredi politicians. The video depicted a fake Whatsapp conversation in which both Shas leader Arye Deri and United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman demanded money from Netanyahu in exchange for support. Deri, Litzman and Netanyahu all said the video was antisemitic. Moshe Ya’alon, number 3 in Kachol Lavan, said he was “not in favor” of such discourse and other party MKs also denounced the video though Lapid stuck by it.

Police on Tuesday said there is enough evidence to indict Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman on charges of bribery, fraud, witness tampering and breach of trust. Litzman is accused of using his position to help accused pedophile Malka Leifer avoid extradition to Australia, where she faces dozens of charges. Litzman has denied any connection to the case, and said he always acted only to help members of the public. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will have to ultimately decide if Litzman will face charges.   
MORE TROUBLE FOR BARAK — The Daily Beast reported on Monday that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was spotted “multiple times over the last few years” entering a building owned by Jeffrey Epstein’s younger brother Mark on the Upper East Side. Mark Epstein admitted to renting out apartments to his older brother Jeffrey for personal use, but maintains that his brother has no ownership stake in the building. Barak refused to respond to the details in the report “because in the current political environment in Israel, the mere fact of my response to such a question is churned up as spin in the political game.”

** Good Tuesday 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: An outside hedge fund is driving Steve Cohen’s gains [WSJ] • Barney’s New York files for bankruptcy [FinancialTimes• Israel’s Cybereason raises $200 million for its enterprise security platform[TechCrunch] • William Ackman’s Pershing Square exited ADP and United Tech investments [Reuters] • Edward Razek, Victoria’s Secret parent’s longtime marketing chief, to resign [WSJ

MORE BRIEFS: Amazon pushing hard for Sept launch in Israel [Globes• World’s largest beer company AB InBev to scout for Israeli startups [Calcalist]• Miki Naftali facing $725K lawsuit from boat broker [TheRealDeal]

HAMPTONS SCENE — Ron Perelman draws Hollywood, Wall Street for ‘bittersweet’ bash —  by Amanda L Gordon: “Jessica Seinfeld and Spike Lee were hanging out in Ron Perelman’s East Hampton living room Saturday night when Pharrell Williams…  reflected on their host’s decision to make this evening the 10th and final benefit for Harlem’s Apollo Theater. ‘It’s bittersweet,’ Williams said… On the patio, Two Sigma’s Tom Hill talked with the Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker, and Robert Kraft chatted with Jon Bon Jovi. In the dining room… Governor Andrew Cuomo got a hug from Ashley Schiff. Netflix’s Ted Sarandos was on a couch in the living room when former HBO head Richard Plepler arrived. Ari Emanuel sat for dinner at the same table with Woody Harrelson, while LionTree founder Aryeh Bourkoff shared one with former Nascar racer Jeff Gordon and Jeff McDermott.” [Bloomberg] • Robert Kraft brought his new girlfriend, Dana Blumberg, to the bash [PageSix

SPOTLIGHT — Gilbert video, 6 weeks into rehab, offers first look into his recovery — by Chad Livengood and Jay Greene: “A video message from Quicken Loans Inc. Chairman Dan Gilbert to his mortgage company’s 17,000 employees last week provided the first glimpse outside friends and family at how his rehabilitation from a stroke is going. The 57-year-old billionaire businessman has been recovering from a May 26 stroke at a Chicago rehabilitation center.” [CrainsDetroitVideo]

HOLLYWOOD — Village Roadshow options David Grossman novel for movie —  by Etan Vlessing: “Village Roadshow Pictures has optioned Israeli writer David Grossman’s 2017 Man Booker-winning novel A Horse Walks Into A Bar for a feature film adaptation. Village Roadshow will produce the project about a tormented stand-up comic with Veritas Entertainment Group.” [HollywoodReporter

DEEP DIVE — A crashed Israeli lunar lander spilled tardigrades on the moon — by Daniel Oberhaus: “Only seconds before [Beresheet’s] scheduled landing, the numbers on the left screen stopped. Mission control had lost contact with the spacecraft, and it crashed into the moon shortly thereafter. Half a world away, Nova Spivack watched a livestream of Beresheet’s mission control from a conference room in Los Angeles… Spivack had a lot at stake in the Beresheet mission. The spacecraft was carrying the foundation’s first lunar library, a DVD-sized archive containing 30 million pages of information, human DNA samples, and thousands of tardigrades, those microscopic ‘water bears’ that can survive pretty much any environment — including space… Spivack was faced with a distressing question: Did he just smear the toughest animal in the known universe across the surface of the moon?” [Wired

TALK OF THE TOWN — Artwork stolen by Nazis returned to Jewish family: “Descendants of a Jewish couple were reunited with nine works of art on Monday, more than 80 years after the Nazis stole the paintings, casts and engravings. The return took place in a ceremony at the Bavarian National Museum in Munich, with Art Minister Bernd Sibler handing over the pieces along with the Director General of the museum, Frank Matthias Kammel, and the Deputy Director, Kurt Zeitler. The artworks include five paintings, three color casts, created at the end of the 19th century, and a wooden panel with ivory. They were confiscated in Munich in 1938.” [DW]

NEW POD — The Hudson Institute announced on Tuesday the appointments of two new media fellows, Saagar Enjeti and Marshall Kosloff. The pair will collaborate on a new podcast, The Realignment, which will explore “shifting norms in national security, economics, technology, and the role of government.”  

MAZELS — Two wedding celebrations is the newest trend for A-list couples — by Roxanne Adamiyatt: “So how did dual wedding celebrations come about? Bryan Rafanelli, founder and CCO of Rafanelli Events explains that it’s a reflection of the fact that couples are more comfortable now with breaking with tradition… The couple can get married and have a smaller ceremony and celebration, perhaps for religious reasons, and the second wedding is more to share with other people, [wedding planner Jung Lee] explains.” [Town&CountryWSJ]

REMEMBERING — Richard Rosenbaum, 88, loyal Rockefeller Republican, is dead — by Sam Roberts: “Richard M. Rosenbaum, an ebullient Republican state chairman of New York who helped deliver to Nelson A. Rockefeller the job he avowed he never wanted, the vice presidency of the United States, died on Sunday in Rochester… Richard was prone to being bullied as a child both as a Jew and because he was balding prematurely as a result of alopecia totalis, which causes complete hair loss. But by the time he was 13 he was a strapping 6 feet 2 inches tall and fully able to defend himself.”[NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Century City-based partner at the Jaffe Family Law Group, Daniel J. Jaffe turns 82… E-sports executive and casino owner, he is a three-time winner of the World Series of Poker, and former executive of Wilsons Leather and Rainforest Cafe, Lyle Berman turns 78… Founder and spiritual leader of The Elijah Minyan in San Diego, Wayne Dosick turns 72… Austrian businessman with many U.S., Israeli and Eastern European investments, Martin Schlaff turns 66… Senior career coach at George Washington University’s School of International Affairs, she was formerly Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy (2012-2013), Tara D. Sonenshine turns 60… Professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical Center and the director of the Center for the Study of Violence, he is an expert on mass shootings, Alan J. Lipman, Ph.D. turns 59…

NASA astronaut who spent 198 days on the International Space Station during 2008, he brought bagels from his family’s bagel store in Montreal into space on his first mission into orbit, Gregory Chamitoff turns 57… Famed computer hacker, now a computer security consultant, Kevin Mitnick turns 56… AVP of public affairs at the American Council on Education, Jonathan Riskind turns 56… Chair of the executive grantmaking committee of the board of directors at the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Susie Sorkin turns 54… Television and radio sports anchor on ESPN and ABC, he was one-half of the “Mike & Mike” team but now hosts his own morning program, Mike Greenberg turns 52… Boxing commentator and co-host of ESPN’s First Take, Yiddish-speaking Max Kellerman turns 46…

Co-founder and former CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick turns 43… CEO at workforce cooperative Climb Hire, which helps prepare people from low income backgrounds for entry level jobs, Nitzan Pelman turns 43… Actress, director and screenwriter, when she was seven years old she won the role of Penelope “Punky” Brewster in the sitcom Punky Brewster (which ran from 1984-1988), Soleil Moon Frye turns 43… PR consultant, he was previously a national political director at the DNC and an EVP at PR firm DKC, Jeffrey Lernerturns 42… Creative director at Godfrey Dadich Partners, Rachel Gogel turns 37… Legislative director for Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), Corey A. Jacobson turns 30… Senior producer at 10% Happier, Jessica I. Goldbergturns 28…

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