Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: November 2nd, 2016

FBI Releases Documents From 2001 Probe Into a Bill Clinton Pardon | The Rich pardon was extremely controversial at the time | Dems, Republicans See Opportunities in Tightening Race.

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Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks at an event in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 20, 2016.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks at an event in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 20, 2016.Credit: Erik Verduzco, AP
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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “FBI Releases Documents From 2001 Probe Into a Bill Clinton Pardon” by Devlin Barrett: “The heavily redacted case files released were part of a 2001 probe into Mr. Clinton’s pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich. FBI officials said the release wasn’t intentionally done during the last days of the election campaign Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Mr. Comey’s disclosure of the newly discovered emails, contained in a letter to lawmakers on Friday, was now prompting the public—rightly or wrongly—to second-guess almost any FBI action. “It opens you up to a lot of concerns that you are being unfair, that you are trying to affect the outcome, and causes people to ask whether you are disclosing things about one candidate and not another,” Mr. Schiff said." [WSJ

-- "The Rich pardon was extremely controversial at the time... 
At the time many speculated that the pardon was wrapped up in Middle East politics. In January 2001, Clinton's last ditch effort to produce an Israeli-Palestinian settlement had faltered, but Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were going to give it one more try in meetings in Taba, Egypt just after Clinton left office. The White House was trying to bolster the political fortunes of Ehud Barak, the Israeli Prime Minister who was facing an election. Israel had long lobbied for the pardon of Jonathan Pollard who was convicted for spying for Jewish state but Clinton was unwilling to free Pollard over the objections of the CIA and other government agencies. But by pardoning Rich, who was popular for his philanthropic work in Israel, the president, it was widely assumed, was able to at least offer some help to Barak. In March 2001, Barak lost to Ariel Sharon." [Newsweek

“Dems, Republicans See Opportunities in Tightening Race” by Jacob Kornbluh: “It’s hard to see, after all he’s been through and the charges leveled against him, a clear path to 270 electoral votes. That’s the key issue, ” Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf told Jewish Insider on Tuesday. “Hillary has solidified her base, women are entirely motivated, and Trump’s problems are not insignificant. He can’t have this kind of revelations, even if they are 20 years old, thrown against him and survive. And he has not run the best campaign.” On the other side of the aisle, most anti-Trump Republicans want to see him lose the presidential race, but not get crushed in order to save the Senate. “The FBI news appears to be dampening Democrat enthusiasm, which could be enough to push Republicans over the finish line in close Senate races,” said Republican attorney Charlie Spies. Trump, according to Spies, has refused to significantly finance his campaign and “doesn’t have the infrastructure to take advantage of good news.” [JewishInsider

“Few Republican Jewish Coalition leaders open wallets for Donald Trump” by Ben Sales: “The Republican Jewish Coalition has 55 members on its board of directors. So far, only nine have donated to Donald Trump’s campaign This year, the Trump donors on the board besides Adelson have given less than $500,000 — just one quarter of the 2012 total.” [JTA

Katie Rosman:
"OH at a shiva tonight: "Well at least it's one less vote for Trump." "Too soon," said the departed's son." [Twitter

David Brooks:
"There has been so much bad communication over the past year: people talking in warring monologues past each other, ignoring the facts and using lazy stereotypes like “elites” and “Trumpeans” to reduce complex individuals into simplistic categories... As an antidote for all this, I’ve been reading the work of Martin Buber, the early 20th century Jewish theologian who dedicated his career to understanding deep intimacy." [NYTimes]

"The one place on earth where Donald Trump’s campaign is perfectly coordinated: Israel" by Miriam Berger:
"Brot has read about how disorderly Trump’s campaign in America is and contrasts it with the Israeli one. “That’s something we’re very proud of,” he says. The campaign seems also to be better, and more loudly, organized than Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Israel. Part of the reason is that while Republicans in Israel and the local Trump campaign are in touch with their US counterparts, they are legally and financially separate entities... In contrast, Democrats in Israel is associated with the Democratic National Committee and party, and can’t raise money because of federal election regulations." [Quartz

"Courting South Florida Jewish voters" by Sergio Carmona: “Hagit Morris, an Israeli Clinton supporter of Pompano Beach who attended her rally at Broward College's North Campus in Coconut Creek, said: "She's more for peace than war, while Donald Trump doesn't care about what's going on in Israel." Allen Licht, a Trump supporter from Hollywood who attended the Shul event, said about the candidate he's supporting: "As soon as a candidate is a business-minded candidate, he will be good for a relationship with Israel, as his relationship with Israel is also business-minded."” [SunSentinel]  Trump lags with Jewish voters, Ohio State analysts say [Dispatch]

"War-Weary Billionaire Backs Trump for the Wrong Reasons" by Eli Lake:
"Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is supporting Donald Trump for many reasons. One of them is that he is weary of endless war. This is at least what he told a room full of journalists Monday at the National Press Club. As all of us have learned since 2014, there is no substitute for American power. If you don’t believe me, ask the current president who tried his best to test that hypothesis." [BloombergView]

"Israeli Ambassador To Receive Award From Group Peddling Huma Abedin Conspiracy Theories" by Jessica Schulberg: "Ambassador Ron Dermer will be a guest of honor at the Center for Security Policy’s annual Freedom Flame award dinner in December. It’s customary for diplomats to avoid being associated with partisan or extremist groups. But the Center for Security Policy, founded by Frank Gaffney, openly espouses far-right, anti-Islam views. On Tuesday, for example, Gaffney tweeted a conspiratorial YouTube video accusing Huma Abedin, a Clinton aide, of having connections to a Saudi financier of al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood..."

"A spokesman for the Israeli embassy rejected the law center’s suggestion. “Accepting this award does not mean that the ambassador subscribes to every point of view expressed by individual members of the center, as would be true of any other organization,” spokesman Itai Bar Dov said. Dermer will share the Freedom Flame award with Morton Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America." [HuffPost]  

Alan Dershowitz:
"Obama, don’t destroy the peace process by turning it over to the UN: Our next president will undoubtedly have to wade into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process again. The new administration—with the agreement of the Senate—should have full latitude to do what it deems most appropriate. It should not be stuck with parameters bequeathed to it by a president desperate to secure a short-term foreign policy “victory” that in the long term will make a resolution of the conflict more difficult to achieve. [JPost

More Podesta emails - Podesta on the invitation to Hillary to participate in the URJ’s Biennial General Assembly's presidential forum last year: “Just to be clear, we don't have to do this, just putting on the screen because it's a super friendly Jewish audience. I would only think about it if Dennis could use time there. But not a priority.” [10-16-2015

“Clinton campaign weighed forcing out Democratic chairwoman” by Andrew Tayloir: “As early as last December, the Clinton campaign was planning to neutralize Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and forcing her out after the party convention was one of the options under discussion Other options forwarded by top campaign aide Heather Stone would have kept Wasserman Schultz in place but in a weakened capacity as a figurehead or a co-chairwoman that would cede power to a "general election chair" named by Clinton. The memo urged "systemic shifts at the DNC leadership level" to help Clinton win a general election.” [AP

“Mara Wilson's tweetstorm nails why being Jewish in the Trump era is so terrifying” by Anna Swartz: “Wilson tweeted out an illustration of Hillary Clinton onto which someone had doodled a six-pointed star, or a Jewish star. "Saw this on the subway platform last night," Wilson wrote. "I know it's just hastily drawn graffiti on a drawing, but it bothered me” She continued, explaining, in more, tweets, that before this past year, she can only remember one instance in which she, says, she felt "scared to be a Jew," citing a frightening incident in which she was confronted with anti-Semitism on the subway. But this year, she explained, things feel different thanks to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.” [Mic

"White nationalists plot Election Day show of force" by Ben Schreckinger: "In an email, Anglin, the editor of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, said he had already led a “big voter registration drive” and that he was “sending an army of Alt-Right nationalists to watch the polls.” Mark Pitcavage, who monitors extremists for the Anti-Defamation League, said Anglin lacks a track record of organizing real-world action and that he was skeptical he could “get even close” to what he was promising... David Duke said his supporters plan to monitor polls with an eye toward “some of the more inner-city areas” that he said exhibited suspicious voting patterns in the state’s 1991 governor’s race." [Politico]

"CNN Guest in Fight with Lewandowski: ‘I’m Not Getting Paid by One of the Candidates, OK?’" by Josh Feldman: "Journalist Peter Beinart and former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski got into a big fight on CNN tonight after Lewandowski trotted out one poll that shows Trump doing well with minorities in one swing state. Beinart bewilderedly asked him why he would rely on one poll instead of an average of all the polls. They kept going back and forth over the one poll versus the aggregate before Beinart exclaimed, “Corey, listen, I’m not getting paid by one of the candidates, okay?!” Lewandowski actually shot back by insulting Beinart in saying he isn’t good enough to get paid by a candidate." [Mediaite

PROFILE: "In Muhammad Dahlan’s Ascent, a Proxy Battle for Legitimacy" by Peter Baker:
"It has been five years since Mr. Dahlan, 55, set foot in the territory Palestinians envision as their future state. But this onetime strongman turned millionaire in exile is the focus of intrigue across the region as Arab leaders seek to force changes over the objections of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. With each passing day, the Israeli-occupied West Bank feels increasingly at war with itself as Mr. Abbas, 81, with heart trouble and no designated successor, lashes out at anyone perceived to support Mr. Dahlan." [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET -- by Tal Shalev & Amir Tibon: The Western Wall dominates headlines today, following a progressive prayer service this morning of Reform, Conservative and Women of the Wall worshippers. Some 200 activists tried to enter the main compound, holding Torah scrolls, in defiance of the regulations at the holy site. Police tried to stay away, but the Kotel security guards and ultra-orthodox worshippers attacked the activists, knocking some to the ground. The event is the first in a series of planned protests against the delay in the implementation of the government resolution which created an unprecedented pluralistic prayer section at the Wall.

According to Haaretz, "Just before the procession arrived at the Western Wall security checkpoint, its members were met by Motti Dan, head of Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing organization that has lobbied against the government plan to create a new egalitarian space at the Western Wall. Dan pleaded with the protestors to “respect the custom of the place” and not enter with their Torah scrolls. His pleas fell on deaf ears." 

Hours later, the Prime Minister criticized the progressive worshippers: “The unfortunate events that happened today at the Western Wall plaza do not contribute to advancing the agreed-upon solution for prayer arrangements at the site,” the Prime Minister's office said in a statement, recalling that just yesterday, speaking to The Jewish Agency's Board of Governors, Netanyahu urged the Jewish diaspora to keep calm and quiet so a resolution on this sensitive issue could be reached. “The one-sided violation of the status-quo at the Western Wall harms the ongoing efforts to reach a solution." 

The incident – and Netanyahu's reaction - sent shock waves in the Knesset, mainly among the opposition. MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), who chairs the Parliament's Pluralism and Equality Caucus, told Kafe Knesset that Netanyahu "is pointing the finger against the denominations he himself is discriminating against instead of taking responsibility for his weakness with the Orthodox establishment."

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Greece Defies EU, U.S. on Sanctions for Iran’s Bank Saderat [WSJ]  Avi Katz to Expand His $650 Million Real Estate Fund to New York [Bloomberg Viber launches bot to poll its 800 million users on US elections [ToI]  Beverly Hills squeezes Chinese hotel builder for big bucks instead of offering a handout [LATimes]  Mogul vs. Mogul: Real estate’s battles royal -- The recent matchup between media mogul Barry Diller and NYC real estate patriarch Douglas Durst has put the spotlight on the industry’s ugly rivalries [RealDeal]

STARTUP NATION -- Light-up nation: "Israel's right-wing government is adamantly opposed to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. But it is also rather lax when it comes to medical marijuana. In August the agriculture minister announced that local cannabis growers will soon be allowed to export medical marijuana. Saul Kaye, the CEO of iCAN, a venture fund and technology incubator, says there are already 36 Israeli companies doing clinical research on cannabis." [Economist]  Why An Israeli Company Is Sucking Water From The Sky [HuffPost]

"Sony Music Japan apologises after girl band wear Holloween costumes that looked like SS uniforms" by May Bulman: "The group, called Keyakizaka46, wore military-style black coats similar to those worn by the paramilitary wing of Hitler’s Nazi party in a Halloween performance. The costumes consisted of long, black coats and caps featuring a bird insignia that ressembles the Pateiadler eagle emblem of the Nazis. They provoked a wave of criticism on social media and were described as “deeply offensive” by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights organisation. Sony Music Japan, the band's record label, has since issued a statement saying: “We express our heartfelt apology for causing offence [] because of our lack of understanding. We take the incident seriously and will make efforts to prevent a reoccurrence of a similar incident in the future.”" [Independent

HEARD LAST NIGHT: "Stewart, Seinfeld, Springsteen headline benefit" by David Bauder: "
Somewhat incredulously, Jon Stewart on Tuesday recalled getting into a Twitter war three years ago with the man who could be elected president of the United States next week. The former host of "The Daily Show" talked Donald Trump and betrayed some nervousness about the election during an appearance at a benefit for veterans. The 10th annual event run by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, held at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, featured a who's who of comics including Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan, and four songs by Bruce Springsteen." [AP]

MEDIA WATCH: "In primary color" - CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash and Jake Tapper on the cover of American Way magazine: 
"Blitzer, 68, got his start in traditional print journalism, first with the Reuters news agency in Tel Aviv and then as Washington correspondent for The Jerusalem Post... Blitzer is renowned for his stamina. During the conventions, he was on the air for as long as eight hours a day. “My joke with Wolf is that he doesn’t sleep at night,” says [Dana] Bash. “They just plug him into the wall.” Actually, he does have an outside life. Blitzer is married and the father of a grown daughter who recently made him a grandfather. He attributes his vigor to eating properly, an hour a day running on a treadmill and, yes, getting plenty of sleep. As it happens, the very first time Blitzer read from a teleprompter in his new role as anchor in 1998, the person on the other end scrolling the script for him was Bash." [AmericanWay

TRANSITION: “Stacy Ettinger, a top aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), has been hired by the law and lobby firm K&L Gates, becoming the latest ex-Schumer staffer to land a K Street job at a time when their former boss is poised to become the most powerful Democrat in the Senate. “The elections next week will bring a new administration and Congress,” said Bruce Heiman, co-chair of the K&L Gates’ lobbying practice. “Stacy knows the personalities and positions of many key members and staff, which brings significant value to our clients.”” [WashPost

DESSERT: "David Chang, Momofuku and Expa's Delivery-Only Restaurant, Ando, Announces $7M in Series A Funding: Ando, the delivery-only, online restaurant from David Chang, Momofuku and Expa has closed a $7 million Series A financing round led by Forerunner with participation from BoxGroup and Wildcat Venture Partners. Strategic Angels in this round include, William Lauder, Chairman of Estee Lauder; Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker; Andy Katz-Mayfield, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Harry's." [NewsWire]

BIRTHDAYS: Head of School at Los Angeles' Weizmann Day School, Lisa Feldman... Alan Abbey, Director of Internet and Media at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and who covered Mayor Bernie Sanders for the Burlington Free Press 35 years ago... Actor, director, and producer, best known for playing Ross Geller in the sitcom "Friends" (1994-2004), David Schwimmer turns 50... Denver-based radio host and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, David Sirota turns 41... Mordechai Ba-or... Marc Solomon... DNC's Director of Jewish Engagement, Aaron Weinberg... Washington Post Outlook editor, formerly at Newsweek, National Journal and The New Republic, Adam B. Kushner... Director of Federal Government Affairs at Microsoft, John Sampson... Marc Rosen...

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