Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff, December 07, 2016

Spotted at breakfast with Trump today | Gen. Allen on his ties to Israel | DC Hanukkah party controversy | 'Sufgani King' Donut Burger

JI Staff
Spencer tells Haaretz he understands why Trump distanced himself from the alt-right: "I think it is something he has to do as president of the United States."
Spencer tells Haaretz he understands why Trump distanced himself from the alt-right: "I think it is something he has to do as president of the United States."Credit: John Minchillo, AP
JI Staff

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BREAKING: "Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announces 2018 U.S. Senate run for Sherrod Brown's seat" by Andrew J. Tobias: "Mandel, a 39-year old Beachwood resident, announced his campaign to challenge Brown in 2018 in an online video posted to YouTube on Wednesday morning. In an interview, Mandel said he is running to help transfer power from politicians to the people of Ohio. "I think that's a message that resonates across the political spectrum, not just in Northeast Ohio but in every corner of the state," Mandel said. "And I think it's a message that coincides with the message of what President-Elect [Donald] Trump says will bring to Washington." In his announcement video, Mandel even used phrases -- "rigged system" and "drain the swamp" -- that Trump repeatedly used throughout his campaign." [Cleveland]

DRIVING THE MORNING -- Breakfast with Trump: The Trump Transition Finance Committee hosted a breakfast with President-Elect Trump this morning at Cipriani in NYC. Tickets were $5,000 per person. Hosts on the invite included Stanley Chera, Edward Czuker, Richard LeFrak, Howard Lorber, Jamie McCourt, Larry Mizel, Elliott Broidy, Wilbur Ross, Lee Samson, and Mel Sembler.

Maggie Haberman tweets: "Trump speech at Cipriani was primarily him recounting how he won. Poked some fun at the Never Trumpers in the crowd... Trump said Burnett proposed shaking up the inaugural, perhaps with a helicopter leaving from NYC, per attendee... Burnett also suggested a parade up Fifth Avenue, Trump told the crowd at Cipriani, per attendee." [Twitter]

Spotted: RNC finance chair Lew Eisenberg, investor-turned-philanthropist Michael Milken, Park Tower Group's George Klein, CEO of MCNA Dental Plans Jeffrey Feingold, Skadden's Ken Bialkin, Meridian Capital Group's Ralph Herzka, Weil Gotshal's Phil Rosen, 'Apprentice' producer Mark Burnett, Cammeby's International Eli Schron, Chair of Michigan's Republican Party Ron Weiser, North Carolina entrepreneur Jeff Gunther, Midtown Equities Joseph Cayre, Crown Acquisition's Isaac Chera and Richard Chera, and Trump's Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin.

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Iran-style diplomacy needed for 'Israel and Palestine,' Obama says” by Michael Wilner: "Just think about what we’ve done these last eight years without firing a shot," Obama said... "We’ve rolled back Iran’s nuclear program," he said. "That’s not just my assessment, that’s the assessment of Israeli intelligence, even though they were opposed to the deal Those are the result of diplomacy. Sustained diplomatic efforts, no matter how frustrating or difficult they sometimes appear, are going to be required to resolve the conflicts roiling the in Middle East, from Yemen, to Syria, to Israel and Palestine." It was a rare instance in which the president chose to use the term "Palestine" in the present tense.” [Jpost; Haaretz]

"Israel Rejects French President's Offer for Netanyahu-Abbas Meeting in Paris" by Barak Ravid: "The senior official added that Israel conveyed the message to France and emphasized that it rejects the proposed meeting – which would have taken place following a summit of foreign ministers in Paris – in accordance with its general objection to the French peace initiative... French newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro reported on Tuesday that Hollande would like to convene a meeting of foreign ministers in Paris on December 21 to deal with the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as part of the peace initiative France launched at the beginning of the year." [Haaretz; LeFigaro]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and General John Allen presented their perspectives on the US-Israel relationship and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at an Israel Policy Forum event honoring IPF Chair Emeritus Peter Joseph at The Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan.

“In recent weeks, President-elect Trump has said on a few occasions that an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is something he would like to pursue in office,” IPF Board of Executives Chair Susie Gelman said at the start of the event. “If he is serious, he will do more than utter those words. He will begin to take concrete action, working with Israel and the Palestinians to achieve that goal. And if he’s truly serious, if he really does seek to be constructive in pursuing a realistic peace with security, IPF is prepared to serve as a resource offering practical solutions, supported by an unprecedented coalition of Israeli security experts, and harnessing the energy of a majority of Israelis, Palestinians and Americans, who recognize that a two-state solution remains the only solution.”

Ambassador Shapiro: “At a time of transition, it is a particularly right moment for reflection. We need to think about what works, what does not work, and we need to approach the task with humility. Our diplomacy must adapt to changing circumstances and political realities. And to do so requires political will, but also a willingness to take stop-and-shift approaches when needed. What has not changed over time is America’s bedrock commitment to a two-state solution. At the moment, Secretary [John] Kerry said Sunday, this may continue to be an uphill struggle, but the goal remains a strong, secure, Jewish, democratic Israel at peace with its Palestinian neighbors. For the remaining weeks of President Obama’s administration, we will continue to work hard to promote Israel’s security, defend its legitimacy, oppose boycotts against Israel, and stronger support steps that will further chances of Arab-Israeli peace.”

Shapiro on the arrangement bill legalizing Jewish settlements: “We are deeply concerned about the advancement of proposed legislation that will allow for the legalization of Israeli settlement outposts in the West Bank Each of these trends is harming the prospects of a two-state solution and making a one-state reality, which serves no one’s interests, more likely.”

Gen. Allen on how he came to find himself involved in Israel: “It was an early June morning in 1967, I was 13 and I was dead asleep in my home in Virginia. As it was my father’s watch, who would always say goodbye in the morning, he gently gripped my shoulder and said, ‘Son, get up. Israel is fighting for its life. The Middle East is aflame.’ It was very early in the morning for television in those days, but the news shows were showing special coverage of what would be one of the greatest military victories in modern history, the 6-day war. My father and I would remain glued to the television. And when we saw those images of Israeli paratroopers worshipping at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, we knew that we were witnessing something extraordinary, and when I looked at my dad I was surprised to see him weeping for joy The Jewish people were safe and Israel would survive. You know, I would never be the same again My dad was raised in some tough neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and from his earliest memories, his best friends were Jewish kids, tough kids, who treated him like their own families. The Jewish people were precious to him, and he and my mother, of Irish immigrants, raised my sister, my brother and me to hold the same beliefs. He never relented in making sure we all understood that we bore some responsibility for the safety and protection of Israel.”

Allen on his 2013 security plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace:


Vice President Biden in a video message introducing Shapiro and Allen:


SPOTTED: NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, retired IDF Maj. Gen. Amnon Reshef, Daniel Kurtzer, Charles Bronfman, Alan and Andrea Solow, Michael Koplow, David Halperin, Martin Irom, Chanan Weissman, Matt Nosanchuk, Steve Rabinowitz, Risa Levine, Susan Heller Pinto, Jonathan Greenspan, Eli Beer, Yair Rosenberg, J.J. Goldberg, Benny Avni, Amy Spitalnick, Tali Krupkin, and David Ben-Hooren.

“Iran President: Trump Won't Be Able to Harm the Nuclear Deal” by Nasser Karimi: "The U.S. is our enemy," Rouhani said. "They want to put pressure on us as much as they can." Rouhani never mentioned Trump by name in his speech, though he prefaced his remarks with noting that "some man ... elected in the U.S. Whatever plans he has, it will be revealed later," Rouhani said. "He may desire to weaken the nuclear deal. He may desire to rip up the deal. Do you suppose we will allow this? Will our nation allow this?" [AP]

State Department Spokesman Mark Toner: “Of course, no one else can prevent any other party to this agreement from walking away. The counterargument to that is: Why would anyone walk away, because it’s effective The only snapback I’m aware of is, obviously, the snapback provision that allows us to put back in place, very quickly, nuclear-related sanctions. In terms of them being able to snap back, I mean, we’ve seen they’ve taken steps in accordance with the JCPOA.. They’ve taken concrete steps that would prohibit them from, quote/unquote, “snapping back.”

Joe Lieberman and Mark Wallace: “How Trump should renegotiate the Iran deal: Before such renegotiations begin, the Trump administration could strengthen its hand by closely consulting with our allies in Iran’s neighborhood — Israel and the Arab states. They were missing from the group that developed and consented to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action The new coalition could address the policy omissions in the JCPOA by securing an agreement with Iran to verifiably curb its regional aggression, state sponsorship of terrorism and domestic repression of human rights If Iran does not change course, the president-elect should make clear he is prepared to impose a new round of comprehensive secondary sanctions against Iran — and then to walk away, with cause, from the JCPOA. Then it will be time, as the president-elect has said, to tear up this agreement.” [WashPost]

TRANSITION TOWER -- “Trump invites tech leaders to roundtable next week” by Jessica Guynn and Jon Swartz: “The invitation for the Dec. 14 summit was sent by Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, and transition team adviser Peter Thiel.” [CNBC]

“Trump pledges to pull back in Middle East, lean in against ISIS” by Edward-Isaac Dovere:“We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” Trump said. “Instead, our focus must be on fighting terrorism and destroying ISIS We’ve spent, at last count, $6 trillion in the Middle East, and our roads have potholes all over, our highways are falling apart, our bridges are falling, our tunnels are no good, our airports are horrible like third world countries We’re going to start spending on ourselves, but we’ve got to be so strong militarily like we’ve never ever been before.” [Politico]

"Mattis Joins Trump on Stage to Accept SecDef Nomination" by Brendan McGarry: “Before the event, Dan Senor, senior adviser to the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan campaign in 2012, said he found Trump's selection of Mattis "reassuring." "I find this reassuring," he told CNN. "We should all be encouraging the Senate to grant this waiver because we want competent, serious people to serve in this administration."” [Military]

“Trump’s defense chief pick said Israel can be a pain, but few in pro-Israel camp seem to care. Why?” by Ron Kampeas: “In part, it’s due to Mattis’ well-known hostility toward Iran He reportedly was forced out of CentCom in 2013 — just as the Obama administration was pivoting to engage Iran over its nuclear program — because of his persistent skepticism of the country. “The most important issue for those of us who care about a strong Israel and a secure Israel, and the more relevant issue as secretary of defense, [is that] he is known as very strong on the Iran issue, he was seen as almost too strong for the Obama administration,” said JINSA President and CEO Michael Makovsky.” [JTA]

John Bolton, candidate for Secretary of State, talking to Arutz Sheva at the Bet El dinner in NYC: “I think there will be a dramatic change in US-Israel relations I think Trump has made it clear that he will support the rights of the Israeli people to their historic homeland Trump has already indicated that he wants to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, and I think that finding a way for Israelis to live in peace and security is going to be one of his highest priorities.” [YouTube]

“Trump inaugural chairman promises a celebration of ‘harmony, inclusion and democracy’” by Roxanne Roberts: ”Of course, Tom Barrack can’t pull the inauguration off alone, so Trump has also tapped a long list of very wealthy friends to help. The committee includes Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire owner of the Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas, and his wife, Miriam Billionaire casino magnates Steve Wynn and Phil Ruffin are also on the list... Any money raised above the amount needed to fund the inaugural events will be donated to charity, said inaugural committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn, and no donations will be accepted from state or federal registered lobbyists.” [WashPost]

TOP TALKER: "Jews object to Hanukkah party at Trump hotel: ‘Tone deaf at best, naked sycophancy at worst’" by Julie Zauzmer: "The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is co-hosting an early Hanukkah party next week at President-elect Donald Trump’s newly opened hotel blocks away from the White House. “This decision is tone deaf at best, naked sycophancy at worst,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Jacobs recommended “one of the approximately 3,000 other possible locations in downtown Washington.” [WashPost; HuffPost]

"Hoenlein defended the party to the The New York Times, saying that the venue choice was made by the Azerbaijani Embassy and that that the venue choice was one of the only places in the area that would accommodate a kosher reception. It was also close to the White House, making it easier for many on the guest list to attend President Barack Obama’s last Hanukah party, which is scheduled to take place later that same evening. Hoenlein said he saw no problem with the Conference of Presidents paying for space in the Trump hotel for the party. “They think whatever amount of money, it’s going to support him?” he asked. “What are you going to do, boycott the next president of the United States in everything?”" [AP]

Just Sayin'... List of hotels closer to the White House than Trump International: W Washington D.C., The Willard, JW Marriott, Sofitel, The Hay Adams, The St. Regis, and Hotel Harrington.

INBOX -- “American Sephardi Federation (ASF) Statement on Azerbijani-Conference Hanukkah Celebration Controversy: “...ASF, which proudly represents the voice of Greater Sephardic Jewish communities (including Azerbaijan's) in the Conference of Presidents, is honored to stand with Azerbaijan in the tradition of tolerance exemplified by Sephardi pioneers of trade, diplomacy, and scholarship throughout the ages.”

**Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We'd love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email

HAPPENING TODAY: "Mark Cuban to testify at Senate hearing on AT&T-Time Warner deal" by David Shepardson: "Billionaire investor Mark Cuban will be among the witnesses scheduled to testify at a U.S. Senate Judiciary panel hearing on Dec. 7 on AT&T Inc's proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks and Landmark Theatres movie chain, has been a vocal supporter of the deal, saying on Twitter and in published interviews that the combined company could be a counterweight to big digital companies like Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet, Amazon, and Snapchat." [FoxBusiness]

“Michael Moore Offers Post–election Pep Talk at Other Israel Film Fest in NY” by Marisa Fox-Bevilacqua: “Moore spoke of Israeli society’s moral imperative. “You have the power of being an Israeli filmmaker in a country filled with millions of people who know right from wrong, whether they behave that way or not,” Moore said. “I wish we had that at our core here,” he said, eliciting laughs. “In your spirit and soul is that belief somewhere that we have to share and take care of each other, and do these mitzvahs [Torah commandments or righteous deeds] and be this way,” he continued. If Moore’s use of the word “mitzvah” seemed deft, his attempt to draw a parallel between Lodz — a bustling industrialized Polish metropolis that once claimed the second largest Jewish population in Europe and was one of the last of the Polish ghettos to be liquidated during the Holocaust — and the Israeli town of Lod, where Aloni’s film is set, betrayed a certain naivete Moore cited Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” as one of his favorite films.” [Haaretz]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Suspect Arrested in Attack on 90-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor, Police Say” by Danielle Tcholakian: “Gina Zuckerman, 90, was attacked by a woman on Sept. 27 in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue as she walked from her home in Chelsea to the senior center where she volunteers daily Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Zuckerman said she felt "OK," but had some trepidation about having to go to court Wednesday to identify her attacker. "I am nervous," she said. "I've never been to court in such a situation."” [DNAInfo]

TRANSITION: The Atlantic Hires Journalist Julia Ioffe: “Ioffe, one of the stars of the 2016 presidential election, was hired on Tuesday by The Atlantic magazine to cover national security, foreign policy, and politics as the U.S. enters a new era of the unknown with the upcoming inauguration of Donald Trump as president. Ioffe covered the 2016 election for Politico Magazine, standing tall in the face of anti-Semitic abuse leveled against her from Trump fans after publishing what was perceived as a negative profile about Melania Trump for GQ magazine. “Julia Ioffe is an indefatigable reporter, a gifted analyst, and an elegant writer and I’m so happy she’s decided to join The Atlantic,” Jeffrey Goldberg, the publication’s new editor in chief, said in a statement.” [JI; TheAtlantic]

MAZAL TOV -- "Brian and Jamie Stelter expecting first child after fertility struggle" by Bryan Hood: "Jamie and Brian Stelter are expecting their first child following two miscarriages and fertility struggles, the couple revealed on Tuesday. “Y’know i’ve dreamed of this day for so long and to be honest i wasn’t sure it would ever be this day, it’d ever be our turn, that we’d ever be this lucky,” the NY1 traffic reporter wrote alongside an Instagram picture of her and her husband, who is CNN’s senior media correspondent." [NYPost]

DESSERT: “Burger King releases donut burger for Hanukkah” by Navit Zomer: “The burger will be called "SufganiKing," a play on the Hebrew word for donut, which is "sufganiyah." The SufganiKing will be sold for NIS 14.90... The "SufganiKing" will be a normal Whopper hamburger, but with donuts to be put in place of buns. Ketchup will replace the normal jelly donut filling which is typical of donuts sold throughout Israel during the Festival of Lights. Israeli Burger King employees have already tasted the new SufganiKing, and say it tastes delicious Israeli Burger King CEO Steve ben Shimol said "this matching of two popular Israeli food items was inevitable for us. We're proud to be able to end 2016 on a creative, festive note."” [Ynet; Eater]

BIRTHDAYS: British expressionist painter, known for portraits, life drawings and cityscapes of London, England, Leon Kossoff turns 90... Linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, political activist and Professor Emeritus at MIT, Noam Chomsky turns 88... Hedge fund manager, newspaper publisher and philanthropist, Michael Steinhardt turns 76... Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University, Nicholas Michael Katz turns 73... Novelist (15 books), essayist, and screenwriter, Susan Isaacs turns 73... President of mall operator Simon Property Group, Richard Sokolov turns 67... Chairman of Loews Hotels and co-owner of the NFL's New York Giants, Jonathan Tisch turns 63... Co-Founder of Laurel Strategies Dafna Tapiero turns 47... Director, producer, writer, actor and comedian, best known as the director of "Modern Family" and "Life in Pieces," Jason Winer turns 44... Leading actress in multiple television series including "Roswell," " Life Unexpected" and "UnREAL," Shiri Appleby turns 38... Partner in Cornerstone Venture Partners and founder of "Made in Jerusalem," Hanan Brand... Hannah Vilinsky... Toby Lerner... Shawn Lowe... Pamela Decker...

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