Daily Kickoff

Michael Bloomberg poised to enter 2020 race

Good Friday morning!

In Rome, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder is speaking today at a conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome on coexistence among people of different faiths.

Tonight in Puerto Rico, the Met Council on Jewish Poverty is hosting a “Jewish and Hispanic partnership” Shabbat reception at the Chabad of Puerto Rico on the sidelines of the SOMOS Puerto Rico conference in San Juan. 

On Sunday, The Jewish Leadership Conference (JLC) is holding its 3rd annual conference in New York City. Featured speakers included Henry Kissinger, Judge Neomi Rao, Malcolm Hoenlein, Mike Doran, Ruth Wisse and John Podhoretz.

On Sunday in D.C., The Jewish Federations of North America is holding its annual General Assembly conference, titled this year the “FedLab,” at the Marriott Marquis.

In Palo Alto, the annual Z3 conference will feature conversations with former MK Tzipi Livni, Professor Ruth Gavison, Bret Stephens, Dr. Daniel Gordis among others. 

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LATE ENTRY — Mike Bloomberg weighs entering the 2020 race

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will file paperwork to run in Alabama’s Democratic primary on Friday, the last day a potential candidate can file to run in the Yellowhammer State. The New York Timesfirst reported that the billionaire was taking steps towards mounting a presidential bid although no final decision has been made.

Top Bloomberg aide Howard Wolfsontweeted Thursday night that “Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned” to defeat Donald Trump in November 2020. Other ballot deadlines are looming after Alabama. The deadline to file in Arkansas is November 12 and in New Hampshire on November 15.

Mike Allen reports in Axios that, according to Bloomberg sources, there’s no way he’ll later run as a third-party or independent candidate, partly because of ballot-access hurdles.

Crowded field gets more crowded? If Bloomberg moves forward, it would deny oxygen to most candidates outside of the four highest-polling candidates in the field: former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Bloomberg’s decision is being seen by some Democratic insiders as a vote of no confidence in Biden, who has lost his footing as the apparent frontrunner since entering the race.

ON THE GROUND — Pro-Israel Democrats rally support in New Hampshire

The advocacy group Democratic Majority for Israel has launched an effort in New Hampshire to advocate for the U.S.-Israel relationship. DMFI kicked off a similar initiative earlier this year in Iowa, recruiting 800 local voters to share its message on the campaign trail.

Carrying the banner: In an interview with JI’s Ben Jacobs, DMFI leader Mark Mellman said the organization has signed up more than 400 New Hampshire Democrats to “carry a pro-Israel message” at campaign events. The goal, he said, is to “make clear to candidates and campaigns that there is really strong grassroots support for Israel in the Democratic party and making them and their views known.”

On the ground: David Adelman, a prominent Democratic activist in Iowa, told JI that he has “heard from those in the Jewish community in Des Moines and in Iowa that they have been supportive of how [DMFI] is putting in the work, and from [campaign] staff about how DMFI has been a good resource on how to talk about the issues.”

Nip it in the bud: “DMFI exists because while we think the Democratic party we know is overwhelmingly pro-Israel, there is no question that we see some trends that are not reassuring,” Mellman said. “And we want to respond to those trends and staunch problems before they become bigger and more serious.”

Read more here.

DRIVING THE CONVO — Is the 2015 Iran deal on its last legs?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Thursday that Iran is accelerating its efforts to produce enough fissile material for “a rapid nuclear breakout” after Iran resumed uranium enrichment at its underground nuclear facility in Fordow. 

Consensus: The International Atomic Energy Agency held an emergency meeting in Vienna yesterday to discuss Iran’s refusal to cooperate with an ongoing probe into illicit nuclear activity in an Iranian warehouse, first revealed by Israel. The U.S. and the European Union also called for action to be taken after an IAEA nuclear inspector was barred from entering the Natanz uranium-enrichment facility. 

David Ibsen, president of United Against Nuclear Iran, tells JI’s Jacob Kornbluh that Iran’s recent action is “entirely consistent” with everything we know about the regime. “It lies, it cheats, and it’s simply waiting out the world while the JCPOA gradually sunsets.” 

Pressure, too much: Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, called Iran’s latest move “a disturbing and problematic development,” and proof that Trump’s “maximum pressure campaign is failing.” 

Next step: According to UANI’s Ibsen, while the administration’s “maximum pressure campaign is achieving its goals,” there are “many ways” the U.S. can improve, including increasing economic pressure and placing “an even higher price tag on the regime’s behavior.” 

Tick tock: Goldenberg maintained that Iran’s gradual steps are not irreversible, “and therefore this does not mean that it is impossible to go back to the JCPOA. But it certainly makes things harder.”

Danielle Pletka, senior vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), agreed that the recent developments will not deter the remaining partners in the JCPOA from trying to get back to the 2015 terms. “The Iranians are still engaging in reversible steps. They haven’t jumped off a cliff yet,” she argued. Nonetheless, she told JI, “this should absolutely be an opportunity to get our allies on the same page.” 

Time for snapback: Rob Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tells JI the U.S. should have used the JCPOA’s mechanism for snapback of U.N. sanctions when it originally decided to withdraw from the nuclear deal last year. “Now that our European partners recognize that Iran is in serious breach of the accord, this is a moment to press for allied cooperation on the Iran nuclear file via the reimposition of U.N. sanctions, per the snapback mechanism,” Satloff said. 

View from Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement that — in the wake of the confirmed revelations of Iran’s secret activities — the international community should “join the United States and Israel and further increase the pressure on Iran.”

Blue and White leader Benny Gantzposted on Twitter that the Iranian provocation is a “wake-up call” for the international community to act, stressing that the Israeli political establishment is united on the Iranian issue. 

HUNGRY FOR MORE — Bringing kosher media moguls together under one roof

A day before the Kosherfest trade show kicks off next week, more than 100 bloggers, brands and burgeoning foodies will convene in Passaic, New Jersey, for the seventh annual Jewish Food Media Conference. The event is the brainchild of Melinda Strauss, a food blogger, health coach and entrepreneur from Long Island. 

Meeting IRL: “The biggest thing every year is that sense of community,” Strauss told Jewish Insider’s Amy Spiro in a recent interview. “Every year, people tell me that they have created new friendships because they get to finally see their friends in person… people that they talk to on social media all the time.”

Wide tent: The Jewish Food Media Conference was originally named the Kosher Food Blogger’s Conference when it launched back in 2012. But several years ago, Strauss rebranded the gathering to make it more inclusive. “I got a lot of questions from people in the first few years: ‘Is it okay if I come if I don’t keep kosher? Is it okay if I come and I don’t have a website? If I’m not a blogger?’” 

Up next: Strauss is already in full planning mode for her next event in December, called Kavana and billed as a conference for Jewish women’s personal growth. “For so many women out there, it’s about your sister, it’s about your mom, it’s about your kids, it’s about your husband — it’s like everybody else is taken care of but you,” she said. “I think we just deserve so much more for ourselves. And this conference is really all about that. It’s about giving yourself time for yourself, and figuring out how to make that happen.”

Read the full profile here.


👵 Remembering a tough woman:The Wall Street Journal’s James Hagerty details how Holocaust survivor Gert Boyle turned her family’s business, Columbia Sportswear, into a success by featuring ads celebrating her grit. Boyle passed away at the age of 95 on Sunday. [WSJ]

👛 2020 Savings: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are planning to hold off on significant contributions to Trump’s reelection campaign to “avoid setting public expectations early in the cycle,” McClatchy’s Michael Wilner reports. The move shouldn’t be seen as wavering support for the president, a source close to the Adelsons insisted. [McClatchyDC

💭 Rational vs. ideological:Politico’s founding editor John Harris suggests that the media has a “centrist bias,” which explains why President Donald Trump and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren frequently complain about coverage. [Politico]

💤 Living a Nightmare: Mireille Juchau writes in The New Yorker about a 50-year-old book by Jewish journalist Charlotte Beradt titled The Third Reich of Dreams, which explores and chronicles the effects of authoritarian regimes on unconscious thoughts. [NewYorker]


💰 Spotlight: Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick’s new start-up, CloudKitchens, has received a $400 million investment from the Saudi government. 

📈 Upswing: Teva Pharmaceuticals said yesterday that any opioid settlement will not derail paying off its debts, as it nudged up its earnings forecast.

📺 Remakes: Israeli thriller series “Fauda” is slated to be adapted for Indian audiences, focusing on the India-Pakistan conflict. Meanwhile, the show’s third season is slated to premiere in Israel on December 26 and hit Netflix sometime in early 2020.

🎬 Silver Screen: Actress Mayim Bialik is set to make her directorial debut with the comedy film “As Sick As They Made Us,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Candice Bergen.

⚽ Sports Blink:The Wall Street Journalprofiles Jürgen Klopp, the well-liked Liverpool coach, who is so popular he was sought after by both Iran and Israel to head their national teams. 

📹 On Tape: Glenn Greenwald was slapped in the face by a conservative Brazilian columnist during a live radio broadcast, after the latter accused Greenwald and his husband, a Brazilian politician, of not taking proper care of their two children. 

👨‍⚖️ On the Hill: The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance Steven Menashi’s nomination to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Menashi, an associate White House counsel, faced backlash over his work on immigration issues and his past writings

🏃 Escaping Danger: 2020 candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders released a comprehensive immigration plan that he referred to as a “plan to reject Trump’s hate” in the context of combating antisemitism. 

👮 Never Again is Now: Liliana Segre, an 89-year-old survivor of Auschwitz, is under police protection in Italy after receiving hundreds of threats over her work to combat hate.

🕍 Heard Yesterday: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited the site of a botched Yom Kippur attack on the synagogue in Halle, Germany. 

🤝 Working Together: The Jewish and Muslim communities in Bosnia marked 100 years since the rescue of a dozen Jews from an Ottoman-era jail by Muslims, in a ceremony touting their ongoing coexistence.

🇬🇧 Across the Pond:The Jewish Chroniclefeatured a plea to the general public on its front page this week to issue a protest vote against Jeremy Corbyn. Rosa Doherty, a JC staffer, writes in GQ that she cannot think of replacing the Tory government she wants to see gone with a “left-wing one that makes Jews contemplate their future in Britain.” 

🤭 Cover-up: JC’s Lee Harpin also reported an attempt by U.K. Labour Party officials to hide a candidate’s antisemitism. According to evidence reviewed by the outlet, compliance officials asked Kate Ramsden, a Labour hopeful in Gordon, to delete a blog referencing the Holocaust.

🏫 Talk of the Town: New Jersey’s Attorney General’s office issued findings on Thursday that the Monmouth County Vocational School District failed to stop years of antisemitic harassment against a Jewish student. 

👨‍🍳 Artistic Cooking: Israeli chef Nir Zook tellsThe Forward that he decided to go kosher and gluten-free in his Upper West Side restaurant, Arba, because the limitations spark his creativity.

🗞️ Transitions: Yael Kohenhas joinedThe Wall Street Journal as an arts and entertainment editor. She previously worked at Refinery29 as an executive editor and as a reporter for the New York Magazine and The New York Sun

✡️ Brian Herstigwas hired as president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Herstig recently served as director of advancement and operations for Twin Cities RISE.

👴 Paying Tribute: Aaron David Miller, a former State Department Middle East analyst who was involved in peace negotiations, writes a deep and personal tribute to late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the 24th anniversary of his murder. 

🕯️ Remembering: Marcelle Ninio, who was imprisoned in Egypt for 14 years for spying on behalf of Israel in the 1950s, has died at age 89.



ESPN’s SportsCenter anchor, Linda Cohn turns 60 on Sunday…

American-born Israeli fighter pilot turned venture capitalist, founder of Clarity Capital, Tal Keinan turns 50 on Saturday… 

FRIDAY: Former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Herbert Jay Stern turns 83… Actress, she played the recurring role of Doris Klompus on Seinfeld, her solo theatre shows include “Yenta Unplugged” and “The Yenta Cometh,” Annie Korzen turns 81… CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Ira C. Magaziner turns 72… Senior managing director and head of global government affairs for Blackstone, Wayne Berman turns 63… President of the board of directors at Jewish Community High School of the Bay, Michael Sosebee turns 63… Financial consultant at Retirement Benefits Consulting, Michelle Silverstein turns 62…

Minister of Aliyah and Integration and member of Knesset for the Likud party, Yoav Galant turns 61… Cedarhurst resident and Manhattan attorney, Charles “Chesky” Wertman turns 57… Senior Director of Bono’s The ONE Campaign, Laurie Moskowitz turns 55… Past president of University Women at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Allison Gingold turns 51… Popular Israeli female vocalist in the Mizrahi music genre, Zehava Ben turns 51… Sports journalist for ESPN Deportes, he was born in Ashkelon, David Moshé Faitelson turns 51… CEO of Boston-based Dimensions Educational Consulting, she founded Ayecha (a nonprofit advocacy group for Jews of color), Yavilah McCoy turns 47… Executive MBA candidate at USC’s Marshall School of Business, Alana Weiner… Allan Waxman

SATURDAY: British Conservative politician and businessman, David Wolfson, Baron Wolfson of Sunningdale, turns 84… British businessman, Sir Maurice Victor Blank turns 77… Professional baseball manager in the minor leagues and college, he managed Team Israel at the WBC qualifier in 2016 and the World Baseball Classic in South Korea and Japan in 2017, Jerry Weinstein turns 76… Israeli war hero who transitioned to a long career in the Knesset (1999-2013) for the National Religious and Jewish Home parties, Zevulun Orlev turns 74… Chairman and CEO of Los Angeles-based PR and public affairs firm, Cerrell Associates, Hal Dash turns 71… Chief innovation officer at World Media Networks, Daniel Ajzen turns 69…

Mitchell Bedell turns 69… Senior producer at NBC Nightly News, Joel Seidman 65… Political consultant and fundraiser, Nancy Jacobson turns 57… Executive director of Los Angeles-based Remember Us: The Holocaust Bnai Mitzvah Project, Samara Hutman turns 57… Professor of journalism and media studies at Fordham University, Amy Beth Aronson Ph.D. turns 57… Partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis, Douglas C. Gessner turns 54… Partner at Covington & Burling, Peter Lichtenbaum turns 54… Founding executive director of OneTable, Aliza Kline turns 48… Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court since 2015, Richard H. Bernstein turns 45… Cleveland-born singer, Ari Benjamin Lesser turns 33…

SUNDAY: Lyricist and songwriter, Marilyn Bergman turns 90… Manager of the Decatur, Georgia-based Connect Hearing, Murray Kurtzberg turns 77… Professor emeritus of history at University of Nebraska at Omaha and a cofounder of the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society, Oliver B. Pollak, Ph.D. turns 76… Former CNN news anchor whose first day on the job was September 11, 2001, Aaron Brown turns 71… Executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles, Raphael J. Sonenshein, Ph.D. turns 70…

DC-based producer for “CBS News” and “60 Minutes,” Howard L. Rosenberg turns 68… Bar-Ilan University Professor, Adam Ferziger turns 55… Senior Rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, Ken Chasen turns 54… Managing editor for news at VoxBenjamin Pauker turns 44… Co-founder and CEO of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppelman turns 42… Senior investigative reporter at ABC News,Josh Margolin turns 40… Global communications official for Bloomberg Philanthropies on public health, Jean B. Weinberg turns 39…

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