Ed note: Today's Daily Kickoff was crafted at Forbes' first ever international Under 30 Summit in Tel Aviv. We'll be here all week so feel free to reach out. And for those of you at Jewish Funders Network in San Diego and the 'Israel and the Media' conference at Brandeis, we're there too!
FORBES IN ISRAEL: Randall Lane writes... "As 600 of the world’s greatest young entrepreneurs and game-changers in every field gather here for the first-ever global convening of the “Davos for Millennials,” the Forbes Under 30 Summit, I’d like to get ahead of what’s become an invariable question: of all the countries in the world, why did we choose Israel? Just as there are famously three meanings of the word Israel, our rationale is threefold..."
"Yes, change moves slowly in the Middle East. But the 600 participants of the Under 30 Summit EMEA can wait it out. Even if the political situation makes a regional agreement unlikely now, this generation can start working together, speaking the universal language of success, with grander conversations to be had down the road. A peace built upon both self-interest and mutual respect is the kind of peace that’s built to last. It starts today." [JPost]
BACKSTORY -- We caught up with Randall in the Start-Up Nation Central lounge at Forbes where he shared the backstory how the idea to host the Under 30 Summit in Israel was born: "I was on the rooftop of Sosa (a start-up hub in Tel Aviv) with my friend Seth Cohen of the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and we started to ask ourselves, 'if we build the summit here, will they come?' Standing here today, it looks like the answer is an unquestionable 'yes!'"
"Can Innovation Lead To Middle East Peace? Israel's Last Founding Father, Shimon Peres, Thinks So" in conversation with Randall Lane: "The Jewish people believe in eternity. The problem is eternity doesn’t have watches. So I can’t tell you in which hour it will happen. But the fact there are things that are happening quicker than we think and others slower than we think. What we have to do is to use the time, not to just get hung up on the watch. And we should invest more energy, all parties, including our own in peacemaking rather than in maintaining an unneeded conflict." [Forbes]
Randall Lane introduced Peres by noting, "many of you here started a company, Shimon Peres has started a country (laughter). On his business cards, it says 'Co-founder: Israel' (laughter)."
Lane: "What do you think of Donald Trump?" Peres: "I don't think there's much to think about him (applause)"
TOP TALKER: "Operation Trump: Inside the most unorthodox campaign in political history" by Gabriel Sherman: "There is, however, a vulnerability to Trump in private that you don’t often see; he comes across as genuinely wounded that he’s not taken seriously... He seemed particularly upset that his fellow billionaires don’t show him respect. “Murdoch’s been very bad to me,” he said. “Bloomberg’s been quite bad to me. I thought he was a friend of mine; he’s no friend of mine. He was nasty.”
"Ivanka also pushed him to act more “presidential,” but in one of our conversations, Trump said he disagrees: “You know, there’s a difference between being presidential when you’re now president of the United States than being presidential when you’re running against 17 other people.” “No one can control him,” said Nunberg. Not even his family. Ivanka’s husband, the real-estate scion and Observer owner Jared Kushner, has also gotten involved in the campaign, serving as an emissary to the Jewish community. He helped plan Trump’s trip to Israel last December, though it didn’t go exactly as planned. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Trump’s proposal to halt Muslim immigration, Trump canceled the trip. “This was all your idea!” Trump scolded his son-in-law, according to a source."[NYMag]
"Mugwump Trump dumps brit to stump instead: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was noticeably absent from his newborn Jewish grandson’s circumcision on Sunday, apparently forgoing the ceremony in an effort to regain his campaign’s recently lost momentum in the Wisconsin primaries."[ToI; DailyMail]
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Denies Expressing Concerns About Presidential Race" by Andrew Kaczynski: "Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said in a radio interview this week that during an overseas trip in January, both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed dismay at the anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from some of the candidates in the presidential race." [BuzzFeed]
A spokesperson for Israel’s PM sent BuzzFeed News this comment: “Prime Minister Netanyahu is very careful to avoid even the appearance of preference among American presidential candidates. In his meeting with Senator Kaine and his colleagues, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not express any opinion about the candidates or any of their positions.”
MK Michael Oren -- Trump Viewed with 'Consternation' in Israel: “It has long been my position, certainly since Donald Trump became a leading candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination, that Israel should respect him as a potential president, but also express its strong opposition to some of the things he has said, particularly about Muslims, as if he were not a presidential candidate,” Oren said."[JewishInsider]
SPEAKER RYAN in Israel: "Paul Ryan in Israel dismisses talk of being Republicans’ compromise pick" David Horovitz: "Speaking soon after arriving in Jerusalem at the start of a visit, Ryan assessed that a Donald Trump victory in Tuesday’s primary in Wisconsin — Ryan’s home state — would put the billionaire front-runner on course to clinching the Republican nomination, while a Ted Cruz victory would make an open convention more likely. And he noted that “Cruz is doing pretty well. He’s pulling ahead in polls.”... Pressed on how he might respond if prevailed upon to come forward as the nominee who could heal a divided party, Ryan was adamant: “No, I’ve already said that that’s not me."[ToI]
"Sanders references the Holocaust when discussing Trump’s ‘intolerance’ toward Muslims" by John Wagner: "In the midst of chastising Donald Trump on Saturday for showing intolerance toward Muslims, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders told an audience in Milwaukee that some of his relatives died in the Holocaust as the result of “a lunatic stirring up racial hatred.”
“On a personal note, some of you know I’m Jewish,” Sanders said during a town hall meeting here. “My father came to this country at the age of 17 from Poland. He came over, other people in his family did not come over. Those people died. Children died. So that is in my heart, to see what a lunatic can do by stirring up racial hatred.”... During an appearance Sunday on ABC News's "This Week," Sanders tried to clarify his comments. “I did not compare Trump to Hitler," he told host George Stephanopoulos."[WashPost; JI]
IRAN DEAL: "Obama: Iran not following 'spirit' of deal" by Julian Hattem: "President Obama on Friday criticized Iranian leaders for undermining the “spirit” of last year’s historic nuclear agreement, even as they stick to the “letter” of the pact. In comments following the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Obama denied speculation that the United States would ease rules preventing dollars from being used in financial transactions with Iran, in order to boost the country’s engagement with the rest of the world. Instead, Obama claimed, that Iran’s troubles even after the lifting of sanctions under the nuclear deal were due to its continued support of Hezbollah, ballistic missile tests and other aggressive behavior." [TheHill]
Yousef Al Otaiba: "One Year After the Iran Nuclear Deal: Don’t be fooled. The Iran we have long known—hostile, expansionist, violent—is alive and well." [WSJ]
Trump: “I hear Obama is very unhappy with Iran because he feels they haven’t lived up to the ‘spirit’ of the agreement. What the hell did he think was going to happen? He is like a baby. He’s like a baby,” Trump said during a campaign rally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. [JewishInsider; Haaretz] "Obama Rebukes Donald Trump’s Comments on Nuclear Weapons" [NYTimes]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Panama Papers: Hundreds of Israeli Companies, Shareholders Listed in Leaked Documents Detailing Offshore Holdings" [Haaretz] "Israel Plan to Bring Down Home Prices May Do Opposite, BOI Says" [Bloomberg] "'Google must pay tax,' protest blimp outside company's Tel Aviv office reads" [JPost] "Meet Casey Wasserman's New Digital Agency That Already Has 2,000 Big Names on Board" [AdWeek]
TRANSITION: "Israel Maimon to head Israel Bonds" by Gil Hoffman: "Former cabinet secretary Israel Maimon will be the next head of Israel Bonds, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon decided over the weekend. The appointment was approved by the Israel Bonds board of directors. Maimon will replace Izzy Tapoohi, who served in the post for five years." [JPost]
NYTimes Room for Debate: "Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism? -- Daniel Gordis, Benjamin Gladstone, Lisa Goldman, Omar Zahzah, and Sherene Seikaly respond: "When the University of California regents condemned “anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism,” supporters of Palestinian rights said the university was suppressing criticism of Israel. In New York, supporters of Israel say critics of Zionism at the City University of New York are thinly disguised anti-Semitics and their actions, like calls for a boycott of Israel, should be stopped." [NYTimes]
HEARD LAST NIGHT at Brandeis: "The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies kicked off its first Troen Lecture on Contemporary Israel Affairs with a public conference on, “Israel and the Media.” Prof. David Ellenson kicked off two days of lectures and panels by pointing out, “Everybody is convinced their version of the Israeli narrative is the right one.” Keynote speaker Ethan Bronner, former head of the New York Times Jerusalem bureau, said during his stint there a not uncommon question was, “What team are you on?” Bronner lamented the growing lack of engagement between Israelis and Palestinians, pointing out he had to hold three farewell parties, one in West Jerusalem that Palestinians wouldn’t attend, one in the West Bank, and one for just Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Is Israel “over-covered” compared to other countries and conflicts? Yes: journalism prefers conflict. “We don’t have correspondents in Denmark and Sweden, theres a reason for that.” Too much? “How much more Israel coverage can we put in the New York Times. You open it up and there’s four stories and it’s like, oh my God.”
Afterward Bronner joined panelists Jodi Rudoren, former NYT bureau chief in Jerusalem, and Boston Globe op-ed columnist Jeff Jacoby to dig deeper. Jacoby: “There’s a lack of diversity of intellectual ideas” in most newsrooms. This is reflected in lack of coverage of Palestinian incident and more coverage of settlements. Rudoren countered that “there is massively less [incitement] than there was before,” while settlements are increasing." Rudoren agreed Israel gets “over-covered” but it is also the focus of American philanthropists, politicians and academics. Jacoby compared Israel coverage to Kim Kardashian news: eventually you know every mole and body part "and inevitably it turns negative.” Bronner said the disproportionate coverage Israel gets is “a fair and legitimate question.” Today's lineup includes Israeli academics, journalists, and a panel on the Jewish media with the Forward’s Jane Eisner, New York Jewish Week’s Gary Rosenblatt, Tablet’s Liel Leibowitz and the Jewish Journal’s Rob Eshman.
NEW YORKER COVER -- Hasid Hipsters: “Bohemian beards may save time because you don’t have to shave, but a big beard demands commitment,” Tomer Hanuka, the artist behind this week’s cover, says. “But I think superbeards can add gravitas to any face.” [NewYorker]
DESSERT: "Local Hip-Hop Stars Open New Jewish Deli In Greenpoint" by Scott Heins: "A cadre of New York hip-hop stars are taking a break from the studio in the name of lox, pastrami, and bagels. Solo rapper Despot and Run the Jewels rapper/producer El-P are two of the investors behind Frankel's, a new Jewish deli situated at the border of Greenpiont and Williamsburg—and from the looks of things, they're doing it right." [Gothamist]
MAZAL TOV to Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein on the wedding of their son Jonathan to Nicole Skydell at the Waldorf in NYC. #NicTakesASchott [TheKnot]
HAPPY 10TH ANNIVERSARY to Campbell Brown and Dan Senor [Facebook]
BIRTHDAYS: Johanna Reiss, an author of books about her childhood experiences during WWII, turns 84... Haviv Rettig Gur... Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a Green Party leader in Europe turns 71... Simcha Jacobovici, a Canadian-Israeli film director and author turns 63... Phyllis Wilner... Gloria Margulies...
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now