Daily Kickoff: Seth Klarman slams Trump | Athletes visit Israel via Air Adelson | Joseph Wilf passed away at 91 | Profile: Jonah Hill Is No Joke
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GAME CHANGE — “Billionaire Seth Klarman slams Trump, vows to work for Clinton” by Lawrence Delevingne: “Billionaire hedge fund manager Seth Klarman said on Wednesday he would work to get Hillary Clinton elected president because he finds recent comments by Donald Trump “shockingly unacceptable.” “His words and actions over the last several days are so shockingly unacceptable in our diverse and democratic society that it is simply unthinkable that Donald Trump could become our president,” Klarman said of the Republican presidential nominee. Klarman, whose Boston-based investment firm manages $29 billion, is registered as an independent voter. But a review of filings showed that his political giving has largely benefited Republicans over the years, including donations this election cycle to political action committees that supported primary candidates Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio.” [Reuters]
Worth Noting: Klarman is the Chairman of the Board of the Times of Israel. The news site was quick to clarify that Klarman “plays no role in The Times of Israel’s editorial operations.” [ToI]
KAFE KNESSET — The Jabotinsky Day Brawl — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Last night, the Knesset ended its summer session and 120 lawmakers began vacations that will last until after the Jewish holidays. But before the break, they spent a long night debating two controversial pieces of legislation concerning the Israeli media, which Prime Minister Netanyahu has promoted (they passed). The first delays the launch of the Public Broadcasting Association and the second regulates the Israeli version of C-SPAN, the Knesset Channel. Both bills have been at the top of the agenda in recent weeks.
The debate over Netanyahu’s influence on the media in Israel also took a historical twist yesterday, when the Knesset marked “Jabotinsky Day,” commemorating the death of the Likud Party’s ideological forebear. The special Knesset session in his honor quickly turned into a heated exchange between Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog about what Jabotinsky would have thought of today’s Likud.
Netanyahu used the podium to defend his media policies as a democratic attempt to open up monopolies to competition, and to lash out at the left and its recurring criticism of “fascist” trends under his rule. “Fascism is the left’s derogatory name for its enemies,” Netanyahu said, rolling back into Jabotinsky’s history and recalling how David Ben Gurion used to call his right-wing opponent “Vladimir Hitler.” Herzog accused Netanyahu and the Likud of drifting far away from Jabotinsky’s liberal doctrine. “What would Jabotinsky say about a debate within the cabinet aimed at denying the public its right to a free, creative, varied and valued free press?” he asked.
In a rare step, Netanyahu returned to the podium, challenging Herzog with words — “what is your position on opening TV channels for competition? Because I hear it’s a threat to democracy.” Herzog answered that everyone is in support of a free market but not as long as Netanyahu is Minister of Communications and is sending out his “commissars” to silence journalists. All in all, it looks like both sides could use the long vacation…
STATE VISIT — The Omri Casspi Foundation’s annual Israel trip featuring Hollywood celebrities and athletes from the NBA, WNBA and UFC took off yesterday on Air Adelson from Las Vegas. Participants include Actor Jeremy Piven, NBA players Shawn Marion, Amar’e Stoudemire, Beno Udrih, Rudy Gay, Donald Sloan, Chris Copeland, UFC’s Georges St Pierre, WNBA’s Alysha Clark, Mistie Bass, and professional poker player Maria Ho. [GroupPic] • Adelson’s plane [Pic]
NOT VISITING NOW — “Clinton Camp Not Planning Foreign Trip, Citing State Department Experience” by Liz Kreutz: “Don’t get any hopes up for a photo-op of Hillary Clinton at the Western Wall in Jerusalem or shaking hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Clinton campaign has now all but ruled out the possibility of the Democratic presidential candidate and former secretary of state taking a foreign trip between now and Election Day in November, ABC News has learned.” [ABCNews]
“Israeli training course for parents gets a boost from Bill Clinton” by Josh Jackman: Miriam Westheimer, Hippy’s international director, said it was “pretty thrilling” to have a former president speak glowingly about her programme, “but not surprising.” Since the speech on July 27, she said Hippy had received enquiries from authorities in Kenya, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Bermuda about taking the programme to their countries. “It’s exciting to get that level of recognition,” Ms Westheimer said. [TheJC]
“Netanyahu, at variance with Republican platform, tells GOP senators he favors two states” by Eric Cortellessa: “During a meeting with six Republican members of Congress — they were visiting Israel on a fact-finding mission sponsored by the AIPAC-affiliated American Israel Education Foundation — Netanyahu said he wanted to resume talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reach a comprehensive accord, Montana Sen. Steve Daines said.”[ToI]
Billboard Outside AIPAC HQ: “Left Side • Right Side • United Outside” from the retail company REI[Pic]
U.S., Israel close many gaps in defense aid talks, hope for deal soon — by Matt Spetalnick:“The United States and Israel have closed many of the remaining gaps in negotiations over a new multibillion-dollar military aid package for Washington’s top Middle East ally, and the two sides hope to reach a deal soon, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday. Jacob Nagel, acting head of Israel’s national security council, wrapped up three days of closed-door discussions in Washington over a new 10-year defense pact, including a meeting with U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice.” [Reuters; Haaretz]
Trump’s Israel advisor David Friedman says Trump might meet with Abbas during pre-election trip to Israel: “I think he might. I don’t know. I haven’t had that discussion with him. I think there are good reasons not to and I think there are some reasons not to do it. I’m not sure what the decision will be.” [MediaLine]
“Donald Trump’s man on Israel” by Katie Glueck: “Jason Greenblatt, an observant, yarmulke-wearing real estate lawyer educated at Yeshiva University and New York University School of Law, cares deeply about Israel. But he acknowledges that he hardly has the qualifications or the contacts typical of a presidential nominee’s top policy advisers, especially those advising on an issue as charged and complex as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “To me it’s almost degrading to say, just because you’re Jewish, you know this,” said Lisa Spies, who ran Jewish outreach for Mitt Romney in 2012 and works extensively with pro-Israel donors. “This is degrading to people who actually do this professionally.”
Dr. Rich Roberts on his role with team Trump: “I’m the one charged with writing the policies on the Israel-U.S. relationship, first drafts of them. I’m doing work with many, many experts. Then as I make progress along the way I’m putting it to these two guys [Greenblatt and Friedman] for their comments, edits, changes, approval,” Roberts said, declining to name the experts with whom he has consulted, though noting that he has not consulted AIPAC, the more conservative Zionist Organization of America, or former Israeli Amb. Michael Oren, who now serves in the Israel government but has many American contacts.[Politico]
“Republican Donors Panic As Trump Melts Down” by Tarini Parti & Rosie Gray:“Republican donors weren’t expecting a traditional campaign from Donald Trump, but they weren’t expecting the level of this week’s implosion either. “I don’t know what he’s doing — trying to commit suicide?” said Stan Hubbard, a Minnesota-based top donor to a pro-Trump super PAC. Hubbard said he’s not jumping ship yet, but suggested that if Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson picked up significant momentum, he would be willing to switch over. “It will be interesting to see,” he said. “He was a good governor. He’s not over the top. He’s not loony. If there is some sort of effort, you’re darn right I could.” A top Republican fundraiser, Fred Malek, also said Trump’s actions are “cause for alarm.”” [BuzzFeed]
“Amid GOP distress, Trump gets on message — briefly” by Jeremy Diamond: “For the first 11 minutes of his rally here on Wednesday, Donald Trump sounded like the candidate his campaign advisers and top Republican Party officials wish he would be more often… The Republican nominee turned to slamming President Barack Obama and the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, over a report that the US shipped $400 million to Iran at about the same time Iran released four American prisoners. For several minutes more, he stayed on message, turning the report about the cash flight to Iran into a broader condemnation of Obama and Clinton’s foreign policies — from Clinton’s advocacy for the military intervention in Libya to the dangers of the nuclear deal with Iran.” [CNN]
DEEP DIVE: “Justice Officials Raised Objections on U.S. Cash Payment to Iran” by Devlin Barrett: “The timing and manner of the payment raised alarms at the Justice Department, according to those familiar with the discussions. “People knew what it was going to look like, and there was concern the Iranians probably did consider it a ransom payment,’’ said one of the people… but their objections were overruled by the State Department. The disclosures reignited a political furor over the Iran deal in Washington that could complicate White House efforts to fortify it before Mr. Obama’s term ends.” [WSJ]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Israel’s Stock Market May Start Opening Fridays [Bloomberg] • Chief Scientist’s Office to Move Out of Jerusalem, Contrary to Law [Haaretz] • Tel Aviv-based IronSource, Israel’s largest internet company, is in advanced talks to be sold to a Chinese technology firm [TheMarker] • Kushner, CIM and LIVWRK close on Watchtower buy in Dumbo for $340M[RealDeal]
TALK OF OUR NATION: “Antisemitic incidents in UK rise 11% in first six months of 2016” by Harriet Sherwood: “Incidents of antisemitism rose by 11% in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2015, according to the Community Security Trust. The most common type of incident recorded involved verbal abuse of Jews in public. Other types of antisemitism included graffiti, abuse via social media, threats, damage and desecration of Jewish property and leaflets.”[TheGuardian]
CAMPUS BEAT: “The Middle East Conflict on Campus” by Linda K. Wertheimer:“Whenever Friends of Israel or Hillel staged a lecture or event, it seemed, S.J.P. was there. There had been die-ins (students had to step over bodies on red cloths signifying blood) and checkpoints (mock Israeli soldiers conducted security checks around campus). Friends of Israel had already requested campus security at programs, but after the food festival they filed a complaint with Tufts’s judicial affairs office. “It’s bullying masquerading as social justice,” Anna Linton, co-president of the club, told me.”
“When it comes to the Middle East on campus, the environment is increasingly uneasy and even hostile. Many universities are grappling with how to balance students’ right to protest with Jewish students’ fears that their culture is under attack. Some students say they are ostracized when they show support for Israel, while Palestinian activists talk of being labeled “terrorists,” and finding their photos and names posted on canarymission, a website that tracks professors and students who, it says, promote “hatred of the United States, Israel and Jews.” S.J.P. members insist they are anti-Israel, not anti-Semitic — a debatable distinction to those who cannot separate the state of Israel from their Jewish identity.” [NYTimes]
“In platform, Black Lives Matter accuses Israel of ‘genocide,’ backs BDS” by Eric Cortellessa: “Following the Republican and Democratic national conventions, groups associated with the Black Lives Matter movement released a platform Monday that labels Israel an “apartheid state” and excoriates the United States for its alliance with a country it alleges systemically perpetrates a “genocide” against the Palestinians.” [ToI; JPost]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “Prime Grill’s Allaham Calls Top Rabbi’s Ruling ‘Absurd’” by Hannah Dreyfus: “Noted restaurateur Joey Allaham claimed in a court filing last week that Rabbi Hershel Schachter’s June ruling against him and in favor of Lincoln Square Synagogue was “absurd and irrational.” The two parties had agreed on Rabbi Schachter, a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University and a renowned halachic authority, as sole arbitrator (or dayan) of their dispute in February… The latest twist in the protracted legal battle puts the spotlight on the Orthodox Union (OU), the effective third party in the dispute, which currently gives its kashrut certification, or hechsher, to Allaham’s restaurants. A representative from the OU told The Jewish Week in March that the organization would pull its certification from Allaham’s restaurants if he refused to comply with Rabbi Schachter’s ruling.”[JewishWeek]
Heshy Jacob, 71, part of Grand St. power trio: “Harold “Heshy” Jacob, who along with former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and William Rapfogel, former director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, formed a triumvirate of political influence and power on the Lower East Side, died at the age of 71 last month.” [TheVillager]
REMEMBERING: “Joseph Wilf, father of Vikings owners, dies at age 91” by Mike Florio: “A native of Poland, Joseph and his family were deported by Russian forces to a Siberian labor camp during World War II. After the war ended, Joseph Wilf fled Poland for the portion of Germany occupied by American forces. In 1950, Joseph and his bride immigrated to the United States. Four years later, Joseph Wilf and his brother, Harry, founded a real estate development company named Garden Homes. It grew into one of the largest real estate operations in the United States and Israel. In 2005, Zygi and Mark Wilf purchased the Vikings.” [NBCSports;StarTribune]
HOLLYWOOD LongRead: “Jonah Hill Is No Joke: He’s proved himself as a dramatic
actor. Why isn’t he taken seriously?” by Molly Young: “A Jewish Journal profile from 2012 — a rare flattering one — includes a quote from Cantor Yonah Kliger of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, where Hill had his bar mitzvah, describing him as “destined for something great” and “electric” even at 13, reciting his Torah portion in a prayer shawl. Three years after “Huckabees,” Hill co-starred in “Superbad” as a high-schooler who cries, dances, lies, has his heart broken, is struck by a number of vehicles and exchanges tender I-love-yous with Michael Cera’s character in a final scene that still makes me weep in a way that no Pixar movie ever will. This was his breakthrough.”[NYTimesMag]
BIRTHDAYS: President Barack Obama turns 55… Owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson turns 83… Executive Director of European Union of Jewish Students, Jonathan Keyson turns 24… Natalie Roberts… Professor of American history at Yeshiva University and Stern College, expert on the history of McCarthyism, Dr. Ellen Schrecker turns 78… Long-time member of the Knesset for Likud (1992–2015) including multiple ministerial positions, Silvan Shalom turns 58…
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