Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: February 5, 2018

Birthright Israel emulated for Africa | Bipartisan condemnation for Illinois GOP congressional candidate | Walmart coming to Israel?

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Toyota unites different religions in its 2018 Super Bowl spot.
Toyota unites different religions in its 2018 Super Bowl spot.Credit: AP

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2018 WATCH -- “Holocaust denier poised to claim GOP nomination in Illinois race for Congress” by Lynn Sweet and Frank Main: “Arthur Jones — an outspoken Holocaust denier, activist anti-Semite and white supremacist — is poised to become the Republican nominee for an Illinois congressional seat representing parts of Chicago and nearby suburbs Jones’ website for his latest congressional run includes a section titled “The ‘Holocaust Racket’” where he calls the genocide carried out by the German Nazi regime and collaborators in other nations “the biggest blackest lie in history.” In November, Jones will face either Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill... or Lipinski’s Democratic primary challenger, Marie Newman from LaGrange. Jones will almost certainly be defeated in November. That’s because the 3rd Congressional District is one of the most heavily Democratic in the state.”

"Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, said in a statement to the Sun-Times, “The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones. We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District.”" [ChicagoSunTimes

-- "The prospective candidate... is not a steadfast supporter of the Republican president. Ten months ago, in remarks filmed at a neo-Nazi retreat in Kentucky, he ranted about how Donald Trump had “surrounded himself with hordes of Jews including a Jew in his own family, that punk named Jared Kushner."" [TheGuardian]

RJC National Chairman and former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman tells us... "I would hope there is a write-in candidate so he doesn’t get the nomination. If he does, his candidacy will be rejected by the Republican Party at every level-local, state and federal. His depraved values are not Republican values."

Abe Foxman, Director of Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and former ADL National Director, emails us... "There's nothing new about Arthur Jones’s racism, Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. He has publicly advocated them for more than 40 years. And there's nothing new about his efforts to infect our political institutions as he has been running for public office for the last 40 years. What is new is that this time he is closer to political legitimacy then ever before. What is new is that the Illinois political-Republican-institution did not do enough to make sure that he is not the only candidate in the primary. Now they need to publicly expose his racism and anti-Semitism and make sure that his racism does not stain the Illinois Republican Party." 

TOP TALKER -- “Secret Alliance: Israel Carries Out Airstrikes in Egypt, With Cairo’s O.K.” by David D. Kirkpatrick: “American officials say Israel’s air campaign has played a decisive role in enabling the Egyptian armed forces to gain an upper hand against the militants. But the Israeli role is having some unexpected consequences for the region, including on Middle East peace negotiations, in part by convincing senior Israeli officials that Egypt is now dependent on them even to control its own territory"

"Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland said Israel was not acting “out of goodness to a neighbor.” “Israel does not want the bad stuff that is happening in the Egyptian Sinai to get into Israel,” he said Some American supporters of Israel complain that, given Egypt’s reliance on the Israeli military, Egyptian officials, diplomats and state-controlled news media should stop publicly denouncing the Jewish state “You speak with Sisi and he talks about security cooperation with Israel, and you speak with Israelis and they talk about security cooperation with Egypt, but then this duplicitous game continues,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel... “It is confusing to me.”

“Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has also pointedly reminded American diplomats of the Israeli military role in Sinai. In February 2016, for example, Secretary of State John Kerry convened a secret summit in Aqaba, Jordan, with Mr. Sisi, King Abdullah of Jordan and Mr. Netanyahu Mr. Kerry proposed a regional agreement in which Egypt and Jordan would guarantee Israel’s security as part of a deal for a Palestinian state. Mr. Netanyahu scoffed at the idea. Israeli’s military was already propping up Egypt’s military, he said... If Egypt was unable to control the ground within its own borders, Mr. Netanyahu argued, it was hardly in a position to guarantee security for Israel.” [NYTimes

TALK OF THE NATION -- Israel begins distributing deportation notices to Africans: “In letters delivered Sunday, Israel says the migrants have 60 days to accept the offer to leave the country for an unnamed African destination in exchange for $3,500 and a plane ticket. Those who don’t by Apr. 1 will be incarcerated indefinitely The deportation plan has sparked outrage in Israel, where groups of pilots, doctors, writers, rabbis and Holocaust survivors have appealed to have it halted.” [AP

“Netanyahu Says George Soros Funding Campaign Against Israeli Plan to Deport Asylum Seekers” by Chaim Levinson: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud ministers on Sunday that Jewish billionaire George Soros is funding a campaign of protest against Israel's plan to deport thousands of African asylum seekers Netanyahu said "George Soros is also funding the protests. Obama deported two million infiltrators and they didn't say anything."” [Haaretz]  Soros Rejects Netanyahu's 'False Claim' That He Is Funding Campaign Against Israel's Plan to Deport Asylum Seekers [Haaretz

FIRST LOOK -- "The Creation of Birthright AFRICA: Taglit-Birthright offers trips to Israel for young American Jews. Now there is a program for people of the African diaspora" by Amos Barshad: "When Ashley Johnson, an artist from Chicago, heard about Taglit-Birthright—the program offering trips to Israel for young Americans of Jewish descent—she wondered why a similar program didn’t exist for people of the African diaspora. She Googled “birthright” and “Africa,” and was pleased to learn that one did—at least in theory. In 2005, Walla Elsheikh, a former Goldman Sachs associate whose father had been a Sudanese diplomat, heard a friend rave about a Taglit trip. She registered a Web site with the name Birthright Africa. She let the idea marinate, and nothing much happened, until she got a Facebook message from Johnson. The two began a correspondence and eventually decided to launch the program together..." [NewYorker

VIEW FROM RAMALLAH -- “Erekat slams US for pushing Palestinian ‘coup,’ tells Nikki Haley to ‘shut up’” by Khaled Abu Toameh: "Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat... insisted that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, together with Haley’s remarks, amounted to an attempt to stage a “coup” against the “Palestinian political system.” “Nikki Haley needs to shut up and realize that the Palestinian leadership is not the problem,” the top PLO official added Nevertheless, Erekat insisted that the Palestinians were not looking for a fight with the US. “We don’t seek a confrontation or a fight with the US administration. On the contrary — they are the ones taking several steps”” [ToI

FOGGY BOTTOM -- “Amid chaos in Washington, Tillerson strikes tone different from Trump” by Kylie Atwood: “In some cases, the focus on events in D.C. enables [Rex] Tillerson to push forward with diplomatic efforts without getting a great deal of attention In January Mr. Trump tweeted: "We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel." That tweet set off alarms As those questions were being asked, Michael Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury" came out This distraction gave Tillerson time to come up with a plan. A few days later, because the president had been so distracted, they went to the White House with a plan to withhold a large chunk of U.S. funding to UNRWA, the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency. The all-consuming focus on the book had given Tillerson time to deliberate and press forward on a thoughtful foreign policy approach.” [CBSNews

Jason Greenblatt tweets: “Iran spends almost a billion dollars a year sponsoring terrorism in Lebanon, Israel and West Bank/Gaza. This blood money only increases violence and does nothing to help the Palestinian people. The corrupt regime in Tehran squanders the resources of the Iranian people on military adventures throughout the region instead of investing at home and promoting peace abroad.” [Twitter

IRAN DEAL -- Iran says Trump’s hostility to nuclear deal scares investors: “Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told reporters on Sunday that the uncertainty over the future of the agreement, which Trump has repeatedly threatened to scrap, is scaring off potential investors.” [AP

COMING SOON: “Trump's Mar-a-Lago Estate to Host Event Celebrating Israel's 70th Anniversary” by Amir Tibon: "A Florida resort owned by President Trump, Mar-a-Lago, will host an event marking 70 years to the foundation of Israel Speakers at the event will include U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The event, which will take place in late March, is organized by the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews.” [Haaretz

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: e-Builder, founded by Ron and Jon Antevy, sold for a cool half-billion [MiamiHerald]  Is Walmart Coming to Israel? Netanyahu Says the Door Is Open [Bloomberg]  Clinic's co-branded product with Josh Kushner's Oscar Health has exceeded hopes [CrainsCleveland

SPOTLIGHT: “Haim Saban's Company Pledges $1,000 Bonuses to Staff Due to Tax Cuts” by Paul Bond: “According to a letter to staffers at Saban Capital Group... Haim and his wife, Cheryl, were inspired by Disney's decision to award bonuses to its employees... because of tax reform championed by President Donald Trump that reduces the rate paid by corporations to a maximum of 21 percent The Sabans stipulate that the bonuses will amount to $1,000 after taxes “We have been inspired by what Bob Iger has done for Disney employees. As the Hebrew saying goes “I shall learn from all my teachers” so we decided to follow suit.”” [HollywoodReporter

"Sundheim Taps Ex-White House Economic Adviser for New Hedge Fund" by Katya Kazakina: "Daniel Sundheim, whose new hedge fund will invest in stock and private equity deals, hired a former deputy White House economic adviser to help run it. Jeremy Katz, who was a lieutenant to National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, joins Sundheim’s firm as president and chief operating officer." [Bloomberg

"Americans abroad hit by Trump’s new repatriation tax rules" by Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson: “The problem is, the way the law is worded treats every American citizen and green card holder in the world [operating through a foreign corporation] the same as Google,” said Monte Silver, a US tax attorney living in Israel. “There’s going to be some sort of uproar” as more expats and their advisers learn about their exposure, he predicted, but “the problem is expats have no political clout."" [FinancialTimes

TRANSITION -- "Outgoing Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen to Join Brookings’s Hutchins Center” by Nick Timiraos: Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who [completed] her four-year term as leader of the central bank Saturday, will join the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow in residence in economic studies.” [WSJ

-- “Yellen Admits Disappointment Over Her Exit in Rare Interview” by Christopher Condon and Rich Miller: “I would have liked to serve an additional term and I did make that clear, so I will say I was disappointed not to be reappointed,” she said Friday on PBS NewsHour in a rare television interview.” [Bloomberg

PROFILE: “Bill Kristol Wanders the Wilderness of Trump World” by Benjamin Wallace-Wells: “When Trump offered only equivocations after the white-supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, last August, Kristol had assumed that the same Republican leaders who had spent months telling him in private that they could not stand Trump would finally break with the President. When they did not, Kristol and his wife, Susan Scheinberg, a classics scholar, were so infuriated that they sent a two-hundred-dollar donation to the campaign of the Democrat Ralph Northam, who was running for governor of Virginia against the Republican Ed Gillespie...  “What happened with Charlottesville?” he wondered, at lunch. “Wasn’t that supposed to be a big moment when all the businessmen were like, ‘You know, I can’t be on the board.’ And three months later, ‘Hey, great work on the tax bill!’ What happened there?” Kristol paused. “So, yeah, I’m a little freaked out.”” [NewYorker

HOLLYWOOD: "What's Liev Schreiber doing in Israel?" by Amy Spiro: "Schreiber, best known for his films The Sum of All Fears, The Omen, Defiance, Spotlight, and the TV series Ray Donovan, posted an image of the Tel Aviv beach on Instagram last week. "Looking forward to warmer weather, good humus [sic], and lots of fizzy bobolah!" he wrote... According to Israel Hayom's Eran Swissa, Schreiber, 50, has arrived in Israel in order to deliver a masterclass on acting at Tel Aviv University on Monday." [JPost

SUPER BOWL LII -- "99-Year-Old Eagles Fan With Rags-To-Riches History Celebrates Super Bowl Win" by Mischa Pearlman: "Ninety-nine-year-old Phil Basser, a Philadelphia native now better known as 'Philadelphia Phil,' turns 100 in March and saw his team win their first ever Super Bowl last night. He became known to Philadelphia fans after his 18-year-old grandson tweeted about him in response to the news that 99-year-old Vikings fan Millie was looking forward to the match-up between her team and the Eagles two Sundays ago... According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he was born to a poor Jewish family in 1918." [LadBible]

PIC OF THE DAY -- Tale of two #MOT owners: Jeffrey Lurie and Robert Kraft react to the Philadelphia Eagles victory over the New England Patriots during last night's Super Bowl. [Pic

TOP COMMERCIAL -- Toyota Unites Religions: "One of the several commercials aired by Toyota during the 2018 Super Bowl showed that people who come from different religions can get along and be friends! The ad starts with a rabbi leaving a temple and picking up his friend, a priest, in his Toyota vehicle. They then pick up an imam and a Buddhist monk on their way to a football game. At the game, they all cheer on the same team with the help of a group of nuns, showing that we are all on the same team." [JustJared; Video]

SCENE YESTERDAY -- NORPAC Long Island, led by Trudy and Stanley Stern, hosted a fundraiser for Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) at the home of Alex and Ilyse Sternberg, and co-hosted by Iris and Shalom Maidenbaum. The event kicked off with a champagne toast marking the decision made late last week by the Department of Justice to drop all remaining charges against Senator Menendez, after his first trial on corruption charges resulted in a mistrial. "We made Shehecheyanu for a new post DOJ episode career," Dr. Ben Chouake, president of NORPAC, told Jewish Insider. "Our group has been supporting Senator Menendez all along and this vindicates our efforts for his campaign and Legal Defense Fund." We're told Menendez "reaffirmed the importance of bipartisan support for Israel and expressed concerns over the international BDS movement." [Pic; Pic]

REMEMBERING -- Fox News anchor Eric Shawn paid tribute to Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, a prominent cardiologist from New York, who died at age 91. Rosenfeld hosted the Sunday Housecall program on Fox News for many years. “Dr. Rosenfeld was called America’s doctors because for years millions across the country relied on his medical advice, his insight, his experience,” Shawn noted on Sunday. [Video

BIRTHDAYS: Chair of the Board of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, recently national campaign chair for Jewish Federations of North America, Linda A. Hurwitz... Director, screenwriter and producer of movies and television, Michael Mann turns 75... Actor, best known as the voice of Jafar in Disney's Aladdin franchise, Jonathan Freeman turns 68... Movie, television and stage actress, Jennifer Jason Leigh (family name was Morozoff) turns 56... General in the IDF, he served as the Commander of the Israeli Navy (2011-2016), Ram Rothberg turns 54... Founding rabbi of The New Shul in Manhattan's Greenwich Village (1999-2010), author or editor of ten books, now the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa Valley, Niles Elliot Goldstein turns 52... Director of the community development project at NYC's Urban Justice Center and a Democratic candidate for the NYS Assembly, Harvey David Epstein turns 51... Associate Director of the Jerusalem-based Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation, columnist for The Times of Israel, Pesach Wolicki turns 48...

President and COO of American Signature, the parent company of Value City Furniture, Jonathan Schottenstein turns 36... VP of Public Affairs at Teach For All in DC, after living in China for seven years (2006-2013), Sarabeth Berman turns 34... Olympic sprinter, born in Los Angeles and now an Israeli citizen, specializing in the 400 meter dash, declared by the Israeli Olympic Committee as 2014's Sportsman of the Year, Donald Sanford turns 31... Features manager for amNY covering NYC's eating and drinking scene, Nicole Levy turns 28 (h/t Playbook)... Israeli golfer on the LPGA Tour, resident of Caesarea, competed for Israel in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Laetitia Beck turns 26... Former senior advisor to Ambassador Ron Dermer (2013-2015) and spokesman for Israel's Ministry of Defense (2011-2013), now a political and communications consultant, Joshua Hantman... Ellen Braun...

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