Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: May 23, 2016

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U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Vista, California, May 22, 2016.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Vista, California, May 22, 2016. Credit: Mike Blake, Reuters
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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: "Why pro-Israel Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton could have a fight about Israel" by Anne Gearan: "Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont plans to push for revisions in the Democratic Party position about relations with Israel, with a focus on elevating Palestinian rights as a U.S. priority, people involved in discussions over potential changes to the Democratic Party's platform said." [WashPostJI]

"Sheldon Adelson backs Trump trip to Israel after $100m pledge, sources say" by Peter Stone: 
"Three conservative sources with strong ties to Adelson say that the multibillionaire has touted the merits of a Trump trip to Israel, and planning has begun, though nothing has been finalized. “I’m sure Sheldon suggested the trip,” said one conservative donor close to Adelson. Mort Klein, who runs the Zionist Organization of America and is close to Adelson, told the Guardian that Trump’s point man for Israel, Jason Greenblatt, informed him several weeks ago that Trump was “going to go there [Israel] before the [GOP] convention” which begins on 18 July." [TheGuardian]

"Graham privately urges Republicans to support Trump" by Jeremy Diamond: "Graham urged GOP donors at a private fundraiser Saturday in Florida to unite behind Trump's campaign... "He did say that we need to get behind him," Teresa Dailey, a prominent Florida Republican fundraiser who attended the private event, told CNN on Sunday. Graham said at the fundraiser Saturday that he has now spoken with Trump several times to discuss foreign policy, Dailey said. Graham has offered some of the most biting criticisms of Trump, including calling him a "race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot" late last year." [CNN]

“Key G.O.P. Donors Still Deeply Resist Donald Trump’s Candidacy” by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns: “Among the party’s biggest financiers disavowing Mr. Trump are Paul E. Singer, a New York investor who has spent at least $28 million for national Republicans since the 2012 election, and Joe Ricketts, the TD Ameritrade founder who with his wife Marlene has spent nearly $30 million over the same period of time, as well as the hedge fund managers William Oberndorf and Seth Klarman, and the Florida hospital executive Mike Fernandez. Among the more than 50 donors contacted, only nine have said unambiguously that they will contribute to Mr. Trump. They include Sheldon G. Adelson, the casino billionaire; the energy executive T. Boone Pickens; Foster Friess, a wealthy mutual fund investor; and Richard H. Roberts, a pharmaceutical executive.” [NYTimes]

"Some of My Best Friends Are Jewish" by Chris Pomorski: "A group of influential Republican hawks—many of them Jewish—wrote a letter disavowing Donald Trump last year. Here’s how they feel about him now." With comments from Roger Zakheim, Eliot Cohen, Dov Zakheim, David Kramer, Aaron Friedberg... [TabletMag]

“Sanders: 'We don't know' if Trump is a billionaire” by Harper Neidig: “Donald Trump himself at least claims to be a billionaire,” he said. “We don’t know, but he probably is. He is getting help from a multi-billionaire named Sheldon Adelson. So when you have multi-billionaires supporting other billionaires to be elected president that is not democracy that is oligarchy.” [TheHill]

“Clinton's Swelling War Chest Belies Fundraising Challenges” by Zachary Mider:
 “Clinton's super-PAC, Priorities USA, raised $8.6 million in April, including $3 million from media mogul Haim Saban and his wife, as well as $1 million from Slim-Fast founder Daniel Abraham and from the billionaire hedge-fund manager George Soros's son, Alexander. Priorities is already reserving airtime for months of negative television ads aimed at Trump.” [BloombergWashPost]

Larry David playing Bernie has beer with Hillary in SNL cold open: “Remember when I told everyone to stop talking about your damn emails? Phh what a schmuck This might be the beer talking, but can I tell you a secret? You know I constantly railed against the upper class. Well, sometimes when I go to sleep at night, I dream about being a fancy millionaire or a billionaire. And in my dream I wear a fancy hat, I say fancy things like: ‘I will have a tuna sandwich on a croissant.’” [Mediaite]

"Sanders backs DNC chair's primary rival" by Jessie Hellmann:
 "Wasserman Schultz will be facing Tim Canova in the Democratic primary for Florida's 23rd Congressional District. “Well, clearly, I favor her opponent,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview to air Sunday on "State of the Union." "His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz."" [TheHillCapitalNY]

"Democrats turn to Schumer to fix Sanders rift" by Annie Karni: “Schumer has been telling lawmakers in recent days he believes he could be a helpful bridge between the two feuding camps, a Democratic source familiar with the conversations said. Former Schumer operative and Democratic strategist Stu Loeser added: “Chuck Schumer is extraordinarily able to find political common ground between people. What’s fueled his success in the Senate is his ability to get political and ideological opposites to agree on issues.” Loeser said Schumer is the ideal person to bring Sanders back into the fold.”[Politico]

TOP TALKER: "Group that helped sell Iran nuke deal also funded media" by Bradley Klapper: “A group the White House recently identified as a key surrogate in selling the Iran nuclear deal gave National Public Radio $100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues, according to the group's annual report Ploughshares' links to media are "tremendously troubling," said Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, an Iran-deal critic. Pompeo told the AP he repeatedly asked NPR to be interviewed last year as a counterweight to a Democratic supporter of the agreement, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who he said regularly appeared on the station. But NPR refused to put Pompeo on the air, he said. J-Street, the liberal Jewish political action group, received $576,500 to advocate for the deal. More than $281,000 went to the National Iranian American Council.” [AP]

"Where did Ploughshares get its money to sell the Iran deal?" by Eric Cortellessa:
 "Mostly through other large-scale grant-making foundations and philanthropic organizations, some of the largest in the world, such as The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, Open Society Foundations and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, each of which gave more than $100,000 to Ploughshares in 2015. Ploughshares also received its share of support from members of the Hollywood community, particularly Jewish ones. It received a donation of between $10,000 and $24,999 from actor Michael Douglas, and between $5,000 and $9,999 from the Streisand Foundation." [ToI]

Jeremy Ben-Ami's response: "Reading twitter feed from weekend - right wingers seem upset J Street raised money to promote our views on Iran - what exactly did AIPAC do?" [Twitter]

Iranian commander: We can destroy Israel ‘in under 8 minutes’ -- "A senior Iranian military commander boasted that the Islamic Republic could “raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes.” Ahmad Karimpour, a senior adviser to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite unit al-Quds Force, said Thursday if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave the order to destroy Israel, the Iranian military had the capacity to do so quickly." [ToI]

HEARD IN NYC -- Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer at the Jerusalem Post Conference: "In the world of fiction, narrative counts. In the world of fact, truth counts In a world of fiction, Iran will seek to reconcile with the United States after the nuclear deal and become a partner for solving problems in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere in the region. In the world of fact, Iran is vowing to remain an enemy of the United States and is wreaking havoc throughout the Middle East Confusing fact and fiction on the Palestinian issue can have real world consequences for Israel It is at times like this, when the world predictably rushes to defame and demonize Israel, that I am proudest to serve Israel.”[YouTubeTranscript]

Dennis Ross: “Every administration that sought to distance itself from Israel gained nothing. [Arab leaders] were never going to make their relationship with us depending upon our relationship with Israel. The threat to them came from their regional adversaries.” The former envoy also criticized the assumption that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will bring stability to the region. “I still believe it’s important because I want Israel to be able to live peace; I don’t want Israel to become a binational state. I still believe it’s important to work on the issue. But I never worked out of it because I thought this is a game changer in the region,” Ross stressed. “If tomorrow you could solve this issue, it wouldn’t stop one barrel bomb in Syria. It wouldn’t roll ISIS back one meter. It wouldn’t change Iran’s ambitions in the region."[JewishInsider]

“Likud source: Peace initiative will refute Ya’alon’s claim of extremism” by Gil Hoffman and Yaakov Lappin: “The sources said Netanyahu is keeping the foreign affairs portfolio for himself, because he wants to personally handle the diplomatic challenges ahead, including a French initiative and the last few months of the tenure of US President Barack Obama.” [JPost]  "Netanyahu Urges France to Ditch Regional Parley, Set Up Two-way Summit With Abbas" [Haaretz]

ON THE GROUND: "As Hamas Tunnels Back Into Israel, Palestinians Are Afraid, Too" by Diaa Hadid and Majd Al Waheidi: "Now, the tunnels are keeping others up at night: the Palestinians who live on the Gaza side of the fence. People living on the edges of Gaza border towns, like the Israelis a few miles away, complain of hearing surreptitious digging in the wee hours, and voice a parallel anxiety about the tunnels being rapidly rebuilt near their homes becoming targets for Israeli strikes. They are raising unusually harsh — albeit anonymous, for fear of reprisal — criticism of Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, for putting people at risk." [NYTimes]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Beverly Hilton owner Beny Alagem wants voters to approve 26-story condo tower"[LATimes]  "Boston Properties Said to Enter L.A. Market With $500M Office Deal" [Bloomberg "Robert Kraft says team in Las Vegas would be 'good for NFL' if Raiders want to move there"[USAToday]  "In Adelson’s Newsroom, Looser Purse Strings and a Tighter Leash" [NYTimes]  "Sumner Redstone Removes Viacom C.E.O. from Trust" [VanityFair "This Orthodox Jewish Rabbi's Home is Going High-Tech for Shabbos" [Forbes]  "Nasdaq Sees Israeli Biotech IPOs Tapping the Market This Year" [Bloomberg]  "Israel's Government Approves Leviathan Natural Gas Deal"[FortuneMag]  "Shari Arison in Talks to Sell All or Part of Hapoalim Stake" [Haaretz]  "During His 'Bar Mitzvah,' John Malone Talks TV Biz, Presidential Politics and His TCI Regret in Candid Q&A at UJA Federation Event" [VarietyNYPost]

LongRead: "Sting of Myself" by Jane Mayer: "As Dana Geraghty recalls it, March 16th was a “rather quiet Wednesday.” That afternoon, she was in her cubicle at the Open Society Foundations, on West Fifty-seventh Street, where she helps oversee the nonprofit group’s pro-democracy programs in Eurasia. The Foundations are the philanthropic creation of George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire, who is a prominent donor to liberal causes, including Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid. Soros, who has spent nineteen million dollars on the 2016 Presidential campaign, is regarded with suspicion by many conservatives. National Review has suggested that he may be fomenting protests against Donald Trump by secretly funding what it called a “rent-a-mob.”" [NewYorker]

SPOTLIGHT: "Wenner Media to Launch Glixel Website as Lifeline for Gamers" by Sydney Ember: "Gus Wenner, whose father started Rolling Stone magazine in 1967, made quite a pronouncement in an interview last week. “In my mind,” he said, “gaming is today what rock ’n’ roll was when Rolling Stone was founded.” Wenner Media, the company behind Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal and Us Weekly, is set to introduce Glixel, a stand-alone site devoted to gaming." [NYTimes]

HOLLYWOOD: "At 26, He's Handpicking Hollywood's Next Big Directors" by Libby Coleman: "The first day of college changed Eric Fleischman’s life. The professor stood at his podium, before hundreds of USC freshmen, and asked who wanted to be a screenwriter. Half of the students raised their hands. Then the professor asked who wanted to be a director. Nearly everyone shot a hand up in the air, including students who’d just said they wanted to be screenwriters. When the professor asked who wanted to be a producer, just four students raised their hands. “Let’s make it five,” Fleischman thought."[Ozy]

DESSERT: "How to Interview a Rabbi About Kosher Marijuana" by Rachel Abrams: "I also gave a lot of thought to how I’d ask my questions. Sure, the story was about kosher weed, but it was also a business story, and I was talking to religious leaders who had clearly given serious thought to whether or not this was something they wanted to weigh in on. The correct tone, I finally reasoned, was somewhere between “Isn’t this kind of funny?” and “This isn’t funny at all.”" [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Prominent NYC matrimonial law attorney, Casey Greenfield, daughter of TV journalist Jeff Greenfield... British fashion retailer, and once one of Britain's wealthiest people, Stephen Marks turns 70... Best-selling author and journalist, whose works include "Tuesdays with Morrie," Mitch Albom turns 58... Film and television director, Nanette Burstein turns 46... Israeli businessman Ofer Nimrodi turns 59... Stephanie Liss... Sandy Cardin, President of the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (yesterday)... 

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