Daily Kickoff: Germany nixes subsidy to Israel, Is Obama to blame?; Soros invests heavily in Israeli companies; Avi Rosenblum on football in Israel

Scene Last Night: The Becket Fund honored Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks at its Canterbury Medal dinner for defending religious freedom. Some highlights from Rabbi Sacks’s speech – “Every persons faith is a flame – your flame doesn’t take from mine – and together we can light the world.” — “Secular societies are much less tolerant than the religions they accuse of intolerance.” — “Religion is the root of America… Don’t believe that when you sever these roots, the tree will survive.” — “America’s great contribution was to make faith into a force for liberty.” Cardinal Tim Dolan also spoke and said, “Rabbi Sacks reminds us that “a world without religion is a world condemned to violence and tyranny.” Mark Kellner profiled Rabbi Sacks for [DesertNews]…. Chelsea Clinton’s Jewish Mother-in-law skipped her own fundraiser headlined by Hillary Clinton: Congressional hopeful, Marjorie Margolies, instead attended a local Montgomery County Democratic Party dinner in her district. It didn’t matter too much as most donors were clearly only there to show early support for a likely Hillary 2016 campaign. The event marked Hillary’s first campaign appearance of 2014. Last night’s host, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, supported Hillary in the 2008 primary but then switched to support McCain in the general election. (more…)

John McCain on Converting to Judaism

In tomorrow’s NYTimes Magazine, Mark Leibovich (author of the best-selling book This Town) interviews Sen. John McCain in a piece titled “How John McCain Turned His Clichés Into Meaning.” In it McCain talks about wanting to convert to Judaism, that is until his friend, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, reminds him about the necessary circumcision.

“Funny story about Lieberman,” he says to me. The Israeli ambassador in Washington honored him after he left the Senate. “Everyone was saying Joe’s the most wonderful guy, the usual crap you hear,” McCain says. “So I got up, I was the last guy, and I say: ‘I’m here to announce that I’m converting to Judaism. Because for all these years with Joe, I’ve had to eat that crappy salmon. I had to ride the damn Shabbat elevator. I’ve observed Shabbat to a point where I couldn’t even ride in a goddamn car. I’ve had all of the bull associated with this religion, and I’ve gotten not a single benefit. So I’m converting to Judaism.’ ”

 

Lieberman then stood up and announced that before McCain could convert, he must first have a proper bris. In the retelling, McCain pronounces it “brits” — which is how he pronounced it when he told me this story a week earlier.

Also in the article, Leibovich describes McCain’s experience as a POW in Vietnam.

In his book about five Naval Academy graduates, “The Nightingale’s Song,” the journalist Robert Timberg described what McCain looked like after two months of imprisonment — weighing less than 100 pounds, with collapsed cheeks and atrophied limbs. “His eyes, I’ll never forget,” McCain’s cellmate, Bud Day, told Timberg. “They were bug-eyed like you see in those pictures from the Jewish concentration camps. His eyes were real popeyed like that.”

Jewish Insider Kickoff

First Look – Meet the Ted Cruz of Israel – Danny Danon is driving Bibi – and just about everyone else – crazy, by Ben Birnbaum in the New Republic: “Many Israelis, even some of his ideological allies, wished Danon would disappear. “Whenever I see him representing my views, I am a little bit embarrassed,” one prominent right-wing figure told me. But over the past year, Danon has parlayed his headline-making power into actual power. He finished fifth in Likud primaries (ahead of many veteran ministers) and was named deputy defense minister after the January election. Then, in a surprise coup, he became chairman of Likud’s central committee, making it impossible for his detractors to just write him off. He’s basically Israel’s Ted Cruz: a 42-year-old media hound doing everything he can to push his party— and his country—to the right.” [New Republic] (more…)