Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: December 6, 2016

Meet Israel's Startup Hype Master | The Atlantic asks 'Are Jews White?' | Remembering Jack Rudin, Irving Fradkin, and Leonard Sand

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Husband of Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, arrives outside offices of Republican president-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S. November 14, 2016.
Husband of Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, arrives outside offices of Republican president-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S. November 14, 2016. Credit: Reuters
JI Staff

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FIRST LOOK: "Israel’s Startup Hype Master Faces His Toughest Test Yet" by Gabrielle Coppola: "Israel’s most prolific startup hype man is a scruffy 35-year-old named Moshe Hogeg. Among his various endeavors, he convinced Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to invest in an Instagram look-alike. He raised more than $1 million from tech industry bigwigs for a messaging app that lets users send the word “yo” to each other. (That’s pretty much all it does.) And this year, he helped recruit Tom Hardy, who starred alongside DiCaprio in The Revenant, to hawk a $14,000 smartphone. But Hogeg’s newest product may be his toughest sell. He’s helping develop computerized glasses that aim to deliver relevant information as people go about their daily lives. He hopes his startup will succeed where Google and others have failed." [Bloomberg]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: "Are Jews White?" by Emma Green: "These are rough sketches of two camps, concentrated at the margins of U.S. political culture. On the extreme right, Jews are seen as impure—a faux-white race that has tainted America. And on the extreme left, Jews are seen as part of a white-majority establishment that seeks to dominate people of color. Taken together, these attacks raise an interesting question: Are Jews white?" 

"As pro- and anti-Trump movements jockey to realize their agendas, the question of Jews and whiteness illustrates the high stakes—and dangers—of racialized politics. Jews, who do not fit neatly into American racial categories, challenge both sides’ visions for the country. Over time, Jews have become more integrated into American society—a process scholars sometimes refer to as “becoming white.” It wasn’t the skin color of Ashkenazi Jews of European descent that changed, though; it was their status. Trump’s election has convinced some Jews that they remain in the same position as they have throughout history: perpetually set apart from other groups through their Jewishness, and thus left vulnerable." [TheAtlantic]

TOP TALKER: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner plan move to DC” by David Wright: “The couple's planned move with their three children reflects the expectation that Kushner will serve as an adviser to President-elect Donald Trump in some capacity.” [CNN

“The Strange, Complex Education of Jared Kushner” by Emily Jane Fox: “Kushner, the scion of a billionaire, has a history of jumping into situations with little experience, making risky calls, and coming out fine on the other end His foray into politics is yet another example. Indeed, his father-in-law Donald Trump may have run the most chaotic, hate-filled, disorganized campaign in modern American history, but Kushner is likely emboldened by his role in it According to a number of people who spoke under the condition of anonymity, out of a desire to keep ties with him or professional obligation, Kushner is a kind, charming, mild-mannered guy who has long been overmatched. But he has been buttressed from failure by his rich, well-known family.”

--- “The Jewish community has had a bit more of a nuanced take on Kushner, who grew up going to day school and observing Shabbat Some have expressed relief that a Jewish adviser to the president, whose campaign was often accused of racist dog whistles and whose whose campaign executive was accused of stoking anti-Semitism, will also have Trump’s ear... The former Observer reporter who was skeptical of putting Kushner in charge laughed at this idea (putting him in charge of Middle East peace). “Jared? As an Israel peace maker? He’s not a peace maker. He’s a bomb thrower, if anything.“” [VanityFair

“Kushner Foundation Donated to West Bank Settlement Projects” by Judy Maltz: “Among organizations and institutions in the West Bank that receive funding from the Kushner family, the leading beneficiary is American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva. Located in one of the more hard-line, ideological settlements, Beit El Yeshiva received $20,000 from the Kushner family in 2013. The president of American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva, whose offices are located in Forest Hills, New York, is David Friedman, Trump’s senior adviser on Israel affairs.” [Haaretz

-- “Daniel Kurtzer, the U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005, noted that the Kushner family foundation donations were made over time, before anyone in either family had any idea Trump would be elected president. “The Republican platform would signal change, if one took platforms seriously,” he said, adding, “But I think it’s way too early to tell.”” [WashPost

DEEP DIVE: “Is Steve Bannon good for the Jews” by Andrew Marantz: “On a recent Sunday evening, Dershowitz took a cab to the Z.O.A. gala, at the Grand Hyatt, in midtown “I’m walking a fine line here,” he said, sitting on a couch in the lobby “I don’t know that Bannon is personally anti-Semitic,” he said, explaining his earlier statements. “He hires Jews. He seems to work well with them. That doesn’t mean that I like Bannon, or Breitbart.” Dershowitz returned to his seat at the table of honor, in the center of the ballroom, behind a velvet rope. The seat next to his was reserved for Senator Charles Schumer, who never showed up. Neither, in the end, did Bannon. “He didn’t need to come,” a man sitting at the press table said. “He just announced that he was coming and got his name kosherized in the press.”” [NewYorker

IRAN DEAL: "Trump Team Wants You to See the Iran Nuke Documents Obama’s Kept From View” by Tim Mak: “Senior officials who will be part of the Trump administration are already discussing what so-far-unseen information about the Iran agreement they will be able to make public after January, according to an individual who has participated in those conversations. “My guess is that they will be very forthcoming,” a grinning Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the foreign relations committee who has been named a potential candidate for Trump’s secretary of state, told The Daily Beast. “They’ll be more than desirous in ensuring that’s the case.”” [DailyBeast

TRANSITION  TOWER -- “Trump to meet with Kissinger Tuesday” by Jessia Hellmann: “Former secretary of State Henry Kissinger will meet with Donald Trump Tuesday, according to pool reports.” [TheHill

-- “Kissinger says impressed by China's 'calm reaction' to Trump's Taiwan call” by  Michelle Nichols: "“At this moment I've been very impressed at the calm reaction of the Chinese leadership, which suggests a determination to see whether a calm dialogue can be developed," Kissinger said at an event sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.” [Reuters

“Secretary of State John Bolton Would Be the Anti-John Kerry” by Eli Lake: “Currently Bolton is, to use the Trumpian phrase, a finalist. Republican sources tell me that Rudy Giuliani has had trouble in the vetting process because of his past business ties. Mitt Romney can't quite bring himself to give the kind of public apology the next president's most ardent supporters would demand. Senator Bob Corker is seen as too much of a squish. Ditto for former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. And a David Petraeus nomination would make a mockery of the Trump campaign's primary attack on Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server. All of this brings us to Bolton... After Trump's electoral victory this month, Bolton called for regime change in Iran and said he hoped Trump would abrogate the nuclear deal with that regime.” [Bloomberg

David Horowitz: "Wrong from the start: Why John Kerry failed to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace. The indefatigable, well-intentioned secretary couldn’t have cut a deal, but he could have made progress." [ToI]

Tzipi Livni tells the Washington Post: "As an Israeli, I believe that instead of thinking about what President-elect Trump might do, Israel needs to decide its own policy. At the moment, it’s not clear inside Israel or outside what Israel wants. Is it two states for two peoples, as Netanyahu is saying? Or is it what Minister Naftali Bennett [of the right wing Jewish Home party] is saying, that we should forget about the two-state solution? Israel needs to make a decision. It’s a tough decision, but without it, it is difficult to explain to the outside world what Israel is doing." [WashPost]

Israelis warming up to Trump: “A new poll conducted by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that an overwhelming 83% of Israelis envision President-elect Donald Trump as a ‘Pro-Israel president’. The poll also revealed that 42% of those surveyed think there is ‘no chance’ that Trump will scrap the Iran Nuclear Agreement, only 3% think the President-elect will undoubtedly execute on his promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem; and 48% are concerned about the increase in anti-Semitic incidents which were reported in the US since the Trump victory on November 8.” [Scribd]

INBOX-- “OU Advocacy Launches Petition Urging Trump to Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem: The petition being launched today addressed to Mr. Trump states:  “Early in your presidency will be a fitting, if overdue, time for you, President-Elect Trump, to relocate the American Embassy in Israel to the capital of the Jewish state.” OU Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament noted that June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. “We strongly urge President-Elect Trump to commemorate this important moment in Jewish history by honoring his commitment to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.””

MK Michael Oren at Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem: Trump administration spells ‘end of two-state solution’ “We don’t know entirely, we see possibilitiespossibly moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem the will to stand up to the Iranians. The advent of the Trump administration spells the end of the two-state solution.” [JNS]  As Trump heads to Oval Office, Israel-US panel says 'the only thing certain is uncertainty' [JPost

Aaron David Miller and  Richard Sokolsky: “Donald Trump's Middle East Promises: Can He Keep Them? Despite the rather high correlation political scientists have found between a president’s promises and delivery, Trump may find it difficult to translate his campaign talking points on the Middle East into concrete policies There may be more need for continuity with Barack Obama’s Middle East policies than he imagined or bargained for.” [RealClearWorld

“Trump calls Emanuel, seeks counsel on presidential transitions” by Fran Spielman: “The mayor acknowledged that Monday, disclosing that Trump called him some time over the last two weeks to get Emanuel’s sage advice about the transition of power from one president to another. “We talked about a host of things, a host of issues. I’m also not a shrinking violet. I think we can say that,” Emanuel told reporters “I’m familiar with being able to speak honestly and frankly with presidentsI was up-front and direct.”” [ChicagoSunTimes]

“Obama invites Peres' son, granddaughter to Hanukkah candle-lighting” by Itamar Eichner: “Obama and First Lady Michelle invited Mika Almog and Chemi Peres, the granddaughter and the son of the late Israeli president Shimon Peres, to light Hanukkah candles with them at the White House Almog and Peres won't arrive in Washington empty-handed. They'll bring with them a family heirloom—a menorah passed on from generation to generation since the Holocaust.” [Ynet

Spotted: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting an AIPAC delegation of African American leaders in the halls of the Knesset [Pic]

"Who put a golden statue of Netanyahu in Tel Aviv?" by Ruth Eglash: "Like something out of a mystical biblical tale, Israelis awoke Tuesday morning to find that a giant golden statue of their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is standing luminous and solitary in a central Tel Aviv square. The 14-foot gilded effigy, reminiscent of self-serving statues once erected by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, caught officials and residents off guard. By lunchtime it had been toppled over." [WashPost]

"Israeli Arabs are enlisting in Israel's army" by Rinat Harash: "A battalion of soldiers crawls across the desert sand with assault rifles cocked. It's a routine exercise, but these are no ordinary troops - they are Arabs who have chosen to fight for the Jewish state." [BusinessInsider]

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MEDIA WATCH: "Former Bloomberg Editor Joshua Topolsky Launches ‘The Outline’" by Mike Shields: "Joshua Topolsky’s 2017 goals are nothing if not lofty. With the launch Monday of a new publication, The Outline, the former Bloomberg and Verge editor only wants to establish a next-generation version of The New Yorker while also fixing many of the ills facing digital publishing and advertising." [WSJ]

SPOTLIGHT: "With $38m gift from Bernie Marcus, Hillel International Launches Talent Grants" by EJP: "Hillel International announced the launch of Hillel Talent Grants, a new initiative which will infuse campus Hillels with the resources needed to recruit, train and retain talented professionals... The $38 million program, funded through a multi-year gift from The Marcus Foundation, will award grants to local Hillels." [eJewishPhil]

REMEMBERING: "Jack Rudin, Patriarch of Family of New York Developers, Dies at 92" by Sam Roberts: "Jack Rudin, the patriarch of a family that has been developing New York real estate for five generations and the benefactor of the city’s first five-borough marathon, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 92." [NYTimes; Bloomberg]

"Irving Fradkin, who sent millions to school with Dollars for Scholars, dies at 95" by Emily Langer: "Irving Fradkin, an optometrist who in 1958 began collecting $1 donations to help send local high-schoolers to college and whose efforts grew into a charity that has distributed $3.5 billion to more than 2.2 million students in the United States, died Nov. 19 at his home in Fall River, Mass. He was 95. A son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Dr. Fradkin traced his activism to his gratitude for the opportunities that he and his family had received in the United States." [WashPost]

"Leonard B. Sand, Judge in Landmark Yonkers Segregation Case, Dies at 88" by Joseph Fried: "Leonard B. Sand, a federal judge in New York who presided over a 27-year landmark case in which he found that city officials in Yonkers had intentionally segregated public housing and schools along racial lines, died on Saturday at his home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. He was 88." [NYTimes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “NYPD Reports ‘Huge Spike’ in Hate Crimes Since Donald Trump’s Election” by Will Bredderman: “Of the 43 attacks, 24 were directed at Jews—three times as many as occurred last November... [Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce] compared the rash of attacks on Jews to a similar outbreak during Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip in 2014, and argued that news events influence acts on the streets. “The same thing happens. The national discourse has effects on hate crimes—hate speech I should say, hate speech,” he said.” [Observer; Politico

-- Harry Siegel: “A striking dissonance: NYC hate crime coverage almost all focused on Muslims, while lion's share of hate crimes have been directed at Jews.” [Twitter

"Both Feeling Threatened, American Muslims and Jews Join Hands" by Laurie Goodstein: "Jolted into action by a wave of hate crimes that followed the election victory of Donald J. Trump, American Muslims and Jews are banding together in a surprising new alliance. Vaseem Firdaus, a Muslim who has lived in the United States for 42 years, spent Friday night at a Shabbat dinner for members of a women’s group called the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, in a home here filled with Jewish art and ritual objects." [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Israeli-born billionaire, art collector and producer of over 130 full-length films, Arnon Milchan turns 72... Republican member of the House of Representatives for 30 years (1973-2003) representing three different New York districts, Benjamin A. Gilman turns 94... Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for 20 years (1994-2014) and active in a range of Jewish organizations, Lawrence Bergman turns 76... Reknowned artist whose sculpture, photography, neon and video works appear in museums world-wide, Bruce Nauman turns 75... Cell and molecular biologist who is the director of research and professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, David L. Spector turns 64... Founder of Craigslist, the San Francisco-based website used around the world, Craig Newmark turns 64... Emmy Award-winning producer, writer, director, actor, and comedian, Judd Apatow turns 49... Professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a New America fellow, son and grandson of rabbis, Julian Zelizer turns 47... Researcher with a focus on the Mediterranean and Middle East at Rome's Istituto Affari Internazionali, Andrea Dess... Moshe Hochenberg... Judy Clark... Joe Blumenthal...

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