Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff - June 6, 2017

Sherman and Doran clash on Iran | How Scooter Braun pulled off the Manchester concert so quickly | How the '67 War Transformed Religion

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Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S.
Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Credit: Shahar Azran

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HEARD YESTERDAY -- Sherman and Doran Clash on Iran at AJC Debate -- by Aaron Magid: Speaking before a packed audience at the Washington Hilton, the crowd repeatedly interrupted Wendy Sherman and Mike Doran with boos, mock laughter, and applause during the intense debate. “President Obama believed if you got the nuclear deal out of the way temporarily, he would come up with an accommodation with Iran over the region: Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. And Iran would moderate. It’s failed right before our eyes and the consequences have been catastrophic,” charged Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Sherman defended the agreement. “Iran does engage in malign activities in the region, but imagine how much worse it would be if Iran had a nuclear weapon?”

Modest critiques: Despite strongly supporting their respective political parties, both debaters offered critiques of Trump and Obama, albeit modest ones. “At the end of the Obama administration, I probably wouldn’t have done the UN Security Council resolution, but I was no longer in the administration,” Sherman noted. For his part, when addressing Trump’s attacks of European allies for not spending sufficient amount on military spending, Doran, a former Bush administration official, said, “Would I prefer if President Trump raise this issue in a slightly more diplomatic way? Absolutely.” Full debate recap here [JewishInsider]

"Israeli Ambassador to US: Trump will address problems of Iran deal in time" by Noa Amouyal: 
"Speaking at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum... [Ron] Dermer specifically singled out the administration’s acknowledgment of the “fatal” flaw of the [Iranian nuclear] deal’s sunset clause... “If those restrictions didn’t have an expiration date then we could have a debate,” he said. “The view of the new administration is that this deal is not in the interest of the US. I think you can expect a very real pushback [against Iran]. They have to be smart about it and get their ducks lined in a row. So I’m not surprised they didn’t rip up the deal. I think you’ll see this play out over the next couple of years.” [JPost

PODCAST PLAYBACK -- Sen. Tom Cotton tells David Axelrod on the Axe Files: 
“I think our European allies are on guard to hear whatever possible slight they can because a lot of them, I think, just don’t like Donald Trump. That’s understandable. Leaders often don’t like each other. I am sure you can tell us some stories about Barack Obama not getting along well with foreign leaders.” 

Axelrod replied: “It is true that presidents don’t get along with leaders. It’s not always true that presidents don’t get along with whole continents. This (Trump-Europe) seems a little more pervasive.” [CNNPodcast]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: The Elijah Cummings Youth Program (ECYP) in Israel held a fundraising event in Fells Point, Baltimore. The evening honored former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton who addressed the crowd. ECYP was started as a partnership between the Baltimore Jewish community and Congressman Elijah Cummings in 1998. Since then, this two-year-long fellowship program has served over 200 high school students from the Congressman's Baltimore City district. The highlight of the fellowship is a month-long trip to Israel in the summer. A trip that for many of the teens is their first time on a plane, let alone with a passport. While in Israel, the students spend much of the month together with Israeli teens at Yemin Orde near Haifa. making new Israeli friends who they then tour the country with. Past participants, upon completing the program, have had a 100% high school graduation rate and a 98% four year college graduation rate. 

From Hillary’s remarks: “This program is what the world should be doing. We’re only a few hours from another terrorist attack in London and, not long before that, in Manchester. And I know you join with me in extending our sympathy to the victims and their families It also reminds us of the importance of the leadership opportunities that this program provides. Because this is a time for us to reach out to the world. It’s a time for steady determined leadership like we’re seeing from local authorities in London, including the Mayor of London (applause). And it is a time to remember how important our alliances are. Getting to know one another, learning about the experiences, the lives, the cultures, the religions, the food. Putting yourself in another shoes, walking in them. It’s even more important that we work together with our allies and our friends. This is not a time to lash out or use tragedy and fear for political gain. Normally this would go without saying but we are not living in normal times.”

“It’s no coincidence that he [Congressman Cummings] shares a name with an Old Testament prophet. Elijah the first was also interested in helping people solve problems and unafraid to speak out and that’s what Congressman Elijah Cummings does everyday. This program is truly a labor of love. I spoke with Elijah the other day, he told me he interviews every young person who applies. He’s personally invested in their success. It’s easy to see why this program has had such an impact. It’s one thing to learn about the world, it’s another thing to experience it. By the time these students come back to Baltimore they have celebrated Shabbat, studied Hebrew, hiked up Masada, and made lifelong friends. The lessons of this journey, as Senator Mikulski called it, lasts long after the fellows return home. You develop a lifelong appreciation for our closest partner in a troubled region... Being here tonight is very encouraging to me. This is the kind of commitment that really represents America at its best.”

SPOTTED: Former Sen. Barbara Mikulski, ECYP’s Founding Chairman Howard Friedman, Judge Karen Chaya Friedman, Ann Lewis, Barbara Goldman-Goldberg, CNN anchor and ECYP alum Victor Blackwell, Nick Merrill, WYPR's Sheilah Kast, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, Terry Lierman, Daniel Klein, Anna Lauren Krieger Klein, Mia Klein, Sam Neuberger, Howard Libit, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Isaac Yitzy Schleifer, Sandy Rosenberg, and Kevin Loeb.

HOW IT PLAYED: Speaking in Baltimore, Hillary Clinton praises London mayor for leadership following attack [BaltimoreSun]  Clinton hits Trump for using 'tragedy and terror for political gain' [CNN]  Plus, Hillary's Scooby van reappears [PicPic]

SPOTLIGHT ON SCOOTER: "How Ariana Grande’s Manchester Benefit Came Together So Quickly" by Joe Coscarelli: 
"In the days after a terrorist bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killed 22 people and injured more than 100 last month, Ms. Grande struggled with how to respond. “Everyone was traumatized,” Scooter Braun, her manager, said. “The tour was canceled.” But after just a few days with her family in Florida, the singer, 23, sent a flurry of text messages to Mr. Braun about “how she needed to do something,” he recalled in an interview on Monday. “‘Are you ready to perform?’” Mr. Braun said he asked her. “And she said, ‘I want to go back out on that stage.’” 

“Everyone put their head down and said, ‘We’re doing it for these families,’” said Mr. Braun, who booked the entire bill — Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher of Oasis also performed — in less than 24 hours. “There’s been so much negativity and such a lack of leadership when we’re looking to have hope,” he said. “I think last night the city of Manchester became that symbol of hope.” [NYTimes]

ON THE HILL -- The Senate unanimously approved a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.
 Introduced by Senate Majority Leaders, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), the bipartisan resolution recognizes the 3 millennia Jewish presence in Jerusalem, reaffirms the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act and reatrates the longstanding U.S position that the permanent status of Jerusalem remains a matter to be decided between the parties through final status negotiations towards a two-state solution. [CSPAN]

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Former UN Ambassador John Bolton in a speech at Ateret Cohanim’s Jerusalem Chai dinner in Queens, NY: 
"Even as we had a wonderful scene - the first sitting American President visiting the Western Wall - we also remember the controversy that took place before that happened when a lot of people had hoped that the President would be accompanied by Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu. But the ever-vigilant State Department rose and said, ‘That can't happen because the final status of Jerusalem is yet to be determined.' Really? Where have they been? The final status of Jerusalem has been determined. So the visit of the President together with the PM didn’t happen this year, but I think you have to look at it as merely being postponed. As I think has been postponed the moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That’s coming too. You can count on it.” [JewishInsider

“A problem for Jared Kushner: The conservative media could scapegoat him” by Callum Borchers: “[Radio host Rush] Limbaugh has stood up for Kushner since The Washington Post reported that he is a person of interest in a federal law enforcement probe. So has Sean Hannity. But it is reasonable to wonder how strong their loyalty is. They only support him because they support Trump. For Alex Jones, support for Trump is not enough. The Infowars founder views Kushner as a “globalist” — a dirty word in Jones's world — and has been open about his belief that Kushner is a bad influence on Trump Kushner is not a natural object of admiration for conservative media types, especially those who want Trump to push a nationalist agenda. They would probably be willing to throw him under the bus.” [WashPost]

"Was Kushner Seeking a Russian Bailout for Manhattan Building? Congress Will Ask" by Ken Dilanian, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Corky Siemaszko: 
"One of the questions Kushner is expected to be asked is whether he tried to set up a secret back channel way of communicating with the Russians so he could find somebody in Moscow to take the 41-story tower at 666 Fifth Ave. off his family's hands... So far no date has been set for Kushner to appear before the Senate and House Intelligence committees." [NBCNews]

"Trump Grows Discontented With Attorney General Jeff Sessions" by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman: 
"More than four months into his presidency, Mr. Trump has grown sour on [Jeff] Sessions, now his attorney general... The discontent was on display on Monday in a series of stark early-morning postings on Twitter in which the president faulted his own Justice Department for its defense of his travel ban... Alan M. Dershowitz... who has frequently defended Mr. Trump on cable news, said the president was clearly voicing frustration with Mr. Sessions. But he said it was not clear to him that it was a personal issue as opposed to an institutional one with the office. “What he’s saying is, ‘I’m the president, I’m the tough guy, I wanted a very tough travel ban and the damn lawyers are weakening it’ — and clients complain about lawyers all the time,” Mr. Dershowitz said... The lawyer in this case happens to be Jeff Sessions.” [NYTimes

NEW CHIEF, SAME GAME: "UN chief denounces '50 years of Israeli occupation' on Six Day War anniversary" by Danielle Ziri: 
"UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the five-decades-long Israeli occupation has imposed a "heavy humanitarian and development burden on the Palestinian people" and "fueled recurring cycles of violence and retribution." In response, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, “The attacks on Israel by our neighbors did not begin in 1967 and any attempt at a moral equivalency between killing innocent people and the building of homes is absurd.  Instead of spreading Palestinian misinformation, it would be best if the UN stuck with the facts."" [JPost

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the AJC Global Forum:
 "At the UN, we can never let our guard down. Since the days of Zionism is racism, the UN has been an incubator for Israel bashing, a forum where Israel is almost always the villain and never the victim. We should all be wary of it. I hope one day it will happen: Israel will come to be treated fairly in the UN. We can’t be silent when the UN singles out Israel for condemnation. The U.S. should have vetoed resolution 2334 in December and it should never use the UN as a forum to put pressure on Israel of any kind." Separately, Schumer told over the story about how a Queens woman was watching him on C-SPAN and mistook his bald spot for a yarmulke [Video]

“Still Stuck Between May and June of 1967” by Yossi Klein Halevi: “On May 16, 1967, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt evicted United Nations peacekeeping forces along the Israeli border and remilitarized the Sinai Peninsula By June 7, Mr. Rabin was celebrating victory at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem Over the past 50 years a pattern has emerged. When Israelis feel under siege, the traumas of the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War are reawakened and the mood turns hard-line. Yet when they sense a more sympathetic international climate, they take more risks for peace Now, as the Trump administration tries to renew the moribund peace process, Israelis are deeply ambivalent. A majority of Israelis — 58 percent, according to a recent poll — support renewing peace talks with the Palestinians. But only 17 percent believe that Israel has a peace partner. In other words, a majority want to be June Israelis, but feel forced by circumstance to be May Israelis.” [NYTimes]

TOP TALKER: "Hacks, Money and Qatari Crisis: How Gulf States Entangled D.C. Think Tanks in Their Fight for Influence" by Amir Tibon: "One thing that rival neighbor states Qatar and the UAE share is a desire to increase their influence in Washington and a willingness to spend lavishly to achieve that goal... Qatar... has donated millions of dollars to the Brookings Institution. The UAE has also donated to Brookings over the years. The think tank at the center of the latest news story, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, does not receive any funding from foreign governments." [Haaretz]

"The $1bn hostage deal that enraged Qatar’s Gulf rivals" by Erika Solomon: "Qatar paid up to $1bn to release members of the Gulf state’s royal family who were kidnapped in Iraq while on a hunting trip, according to people involved in the hostage deal — one of the triggers behind Gulf states’ dramatic decision to cut ties with Doha. Commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region told the Financial Times that Doha spent the money in a transaction that secured the release of 26 members of a Qatari falconry party in southern Iraq and about 50 militants captured by jihadis in Syria." [FT]

"Will Qatar’s Diplomatic Exile Spark the Next Great War?" by Simon Henderson: "Washington can play an important role in defusing this potentially explosive situation. U.S. officials may believe that Qatar was being less than evenhanded in its balancing act between the United States and Iran — but a drawn-out conflict between Riyadh and Doha, or a struggle that pushes Qatar into Tehran’s arms, would benefit no one. In this respect, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is arguably well-placed. ExxonMobil, where he was CEO before joining the U.S. government, is the biggest foreign player in Qatar’s energy sector, so he presumably knows the main decision-makers well." [FP]

TRUMP WEIGHS IN -- "During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!" [Twitter]

** Good Tuesday 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: WeWork’s Adam Neumann is graduating from college — 15 years after he enrolled [TechCrunch]  "Not even Shavuot can stop Gary Barnett from making headlines" [TheRealDeal]  Kushner Companies Seeking $250 Million to Pay Off Chinese Backers [NYTimes]  Kushner Companies having trouble refinancing Jersey City apartment tower [TRD]  Trump's travel ban gives the impression 'people are not welcome,' Loews Hotels CEO Jonathan Tisch says [CNBC]  How Blackstone’s CEO Steve Schwarzman Made It Through Wall Street’s Most Turbulent Decade [BloombergMarkets

STARTUP NATION: "An Israeli AI Company Is Giving Machines The Gift Of Sight: "What makes Cortica different is that unlike most machine learning algorithms that are essentially blackboxes, systems where even the programmers don’t know what the system is doing, Cortica’s program is transparent and verifiable... It also relies on a branch of AI research called unsupervised learning... Cortica was founded by Professor Josh Zeevi and two of his doctoral graduates, Igal Raichelgauz and Karina Odinaev from Technion." [Futurism]

TALK OF OUR NATION: "How the Six-Day War Transformed Religion" by Sigal Samuel: "The war’s outcome impacted the way Islam is expressed in the West Bank and Gaza, and it created new openings for political Islamism in the Arab world. It strengthened a messianic strain in Israeli Judaism, and it changed the focal point of American Judaism. It forced an internal reckoning among evangelical Christians, and even among Mormons, in the United States... Dov Waxmanprofessor at Northeastern University... "For the American Jewish community itself, the mass adoption of pro-Israelism as a surrogate form of religion has been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it has enabled many American Jews who might otherwise have assimilated into oblivion to maintain a Jewish identity and remain part of the Jewish community, and it has provided them with a common cause... On the other hand, it has led to the relative neglect of American Judaism, as support for Israel has consumed much of the Jewish community’s attention and resources."" [TheAtlantic

"Unsettled: On the 50th anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War, pondering the myth-making stories that define Judaism" by Yehuda Kurtzer: "As a Zionist, I am enchanted by second-chance history, by the possibility of the fulfillment of a story that the Jewish people never got right the first time around. But as a Jew, I find the idea that our canonical stories are there to be fixed rather than to challenge us with their intactness to be alienating and strange... And even though I wouldn’t trade the Zionism that comes with winning the war for the nostalgia of the older and better Jewish story, I worry that this new story that has replaced the old mythology of journey is deeply lacking. Rabbinic tradition dictates that the Temple Mount should constitute the center of one’s religious consciousness and thus become a literal and metaphorical compass: We pray in its direction from wherever far off places we are, in the belief that this orientation centers us. We prayed toward there throughout a long history in which we couldn’t be there." [Tablet

The Weekly Standard spotlights one anecdote from Sen. Al Franken's new book: "The book contains at least one feint at humility. Senate "hearings quickly emerged as one of my favorite parts of the job," [Sen. Al] Franken writes. "The only problem was that there was a fine line between showing up a jerk and being one myself." Franken goes on to tell the story of badgering a witness, "a guy named Tevi Troy from the Hudson Institute, a right-wing think tank in Washington, who was there to complain about the Affordable Care Act." It seems Troy's crime was citing a statistic that had appeared in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages. Was there a problem with the statistic? Well, no. Franken just doesn't like the opinions found at the Journal: "You know," I sneered, "it's funny. The Wall Street Journal op-ed page sometimes—I don't know if you know this—uses statistics in misleading ways." There was laughter in the room as the witness squirmed, but my health care staffer, Hannah Katch, quickly pushed a note in front of me: "You're being an a—hole." After the hearing, Franken praises his health care staffer and tells the rest of his staff that they shouldn't be afraid to tell him he's being a jerk." [TWS]

"Slingshot has released Slingshot ‘17 – a collection of some of the most forward-thinking organizations found in Jewish life today." See the list[eJPhil]

DESSERT -- Kosher kitchen in New Orleans -- by Helen Freund: "Daniel Esses is in the process of opening a Kosher restaurant inside Tulane University's Hillel House at 912 Broadway St. It will be called Rimon, which is the Hebrew word for pomegranate. An all-kosher menu will feature healthy fare, including a curried chickpea burger, a turkey club made with beef bacon and a faux "Caesar" salad. Esses says Rimon will be open to students and the general public sometime in August." [BestOfNewOrleans]

BIRTHDAYS: Former Majority Leader in the House of Representatives and now Vice Chair of investment bank Moelis & Company, Eric Cantor turns 54... Billionaire, art collector and philanthropist, the only person to create two Fortune 500 companies in two industries, Eli Broad turns 84... US District Court Judge since 1994, on senior status since 2005, serving in the Eastern District of New York, Frederic Block turns 83... Rabbi at Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa since 1967 (now emeritus), writer, broadcaster, activist and former co-president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Rabbi Reuven Bulka turns 73... Real estate entrepreneur, member of the Pritzker family and executive chairman of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Thomas Pritzker turns 67... Diplomat who has served as Israel's ambassador to South Sudan (2012-2014) and Egypt (2014-2016), Haim Koren turns 64... Two-time Tony Award winner for acting, also a playwright and voice actor, Harvey Fierstein turns 63... Comedienne, political critic, musician and author, Sandra Bernhard turns 62... Radio news personality, currently is employed by iHeartRadio WOR-AM in NYC, Lisa Glasberg (better known as "Lisa G") turns 61...

Israeli conductor and musician, Nir Brand turns 56... Managing Director and the Chief Interactive Strategist for The Glover Park Group, Jonathan Kopp turns 51... Best-selling author, journalist and television personality, she has focused on addiction and recovery as well as relationships, Anna Benjamin David turns 47... Founder and chairman of the Washington Free Beacon, Michael L. Goldfarb turns 37... ABC News reporter, Katherine B. Faulders turns 26... Senior Director at Black Rock Group, formerly press secretary for the Carly Fiorina campaign, Anna Epstein turns 26... Writer and digital editor in AIPAC's DC headquarters, Allie Freedman (h/t Playbook)... Steve Patner...

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