Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: October 17, 2018

Sanders shaping U.S. foreign policy | Khashoggi crisis and Trump's plans for Iran | Marilyn Monroe's Jewish prayer book goes up for auction

Senator Bernie Sanders smiles during a keynote session at the South By Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, on March 9, 2018
Bloomberg

Tell your friends to sign up for the Daily Kickoff here or for early access via Debut Inbox

FIRST LOOK — Bernie Sanders Is Quietly Remaking the Democrats’ Foreign Policy In His Own Image — by Derek Robertson: "Senator Sanders, who hasn’t ruled out launching another bid for the presidency in 2020, has begun to roll out a much more robust foreign policy platform... Sanders’ new focus on the global dimensions of crony capitalism, corruption, and human rights has earned him some unlikely fans—one of whom is none other than Jake Sullivan." 

"Robert Malley, the president of the International Crisis Group and a former Obama national security official... described how Sanders has grown into a role where he assuages the worst fears of the center-left while maintaining his progressive bona fides... “The gift the Trump’s presidency has inadvertently given to the progressive wing of the party is to… clarify that one could reject conventional foreign policy views which have led to the war in Iraq and 17 years of a failed war on terror without necessarily embracing an inward-looking, isolationist approach,” Malley said. “Trump’s very peculiar way of rejecting the policies of the past—by ignoring democracy and human rights; embracing autocrats; confusing business interests with national interests—has served as a foil for them.” 

"And of course, Sanders isn’t alone in the field of progressives hoping to expand their vision beyond America’s borders (and maybe those of their current political office). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) earned herself a high-profile spot on the Senate’s Armed Services Committee after the 2016 election, and her first foreign trip as a senator in 2014 was to Israel, a politically critical U.S. ally." [PoliticoMag

-- Worth noting: "Matt Duss, the former president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and left-leaning foreign policy wonk, now serves as Sanders’ official foreign policy advisor." 

HEARD THIS MORNING — Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) on CNN's New Day: "There are no democracies in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel. With the exception of Israel, I trust every Middle Eastern country about as much as I trust gas station sushi." [Video]

ROAD TO THE MIDTERMS — The battle for the Jewish vote in New Jersey’s 7th District — by Jacob Kornbluh: In a press release earlier this year, the campaign of incumbent Republican Congressman Leonard Lance accused Democratic candidate Tom Malinowski of being an “anti-Israel lobbyist” referencing Malinowski’s prior role as a lobbyist for Human Rights Watch. Last week, however, the Congressman himself appeared reluctant to repeat the charge when asked about the “anti-Israel lobbyist” label. 

“I’ll just point out where he and I disagree fundamentally on issues related to Israel,” Lance explained sitting in his campaign headquarters in Westfield, New Jersey. Proceeding to read off a printed page, Lance listed disagreements ranging from support for the Iran nuclear deal to United Nations resolutions critical of Israel and even supplying American bulldozers to the Israel Defense Forces. During Malinowski's time at Human Rights Watch, the group lobbied then-Senator Hillary Clinton to reconsider her support for Israel’s security barrier, describing it as illegal activity in the “occupied West Bank.”

Lance’s supporters have also sought to tie Malinowski to actions taken by President Obama at the United Nations Security Council. According to Ben Chouake, President of NORPAC, Malinowski’s tenure at the State Department in the Obama administration is a cause for concern. “I think the Obama State Department was a disaster,” Chouake told Jewish Insider. “I don't consider that a badge of honor, especially in an area that has an awful lot of people that are concerned about the UN resolution (UNSC 2334 that was critical of Israeli settlements).”

In an emailed statement to Jewish Insider, Malinowski insisted that he “did not support abstaining” on the December 2016 vote at the UN Security Council. He further accused Lance of trying “to create divisions that will help his re-election,” which he called “profoundly irresponsible.” Malinowski added, “Our partnership with Israel is built on bipartisan support. Those who politicize it by suggesting that one party believes in it more are endangering its foundations." [JewishInsider

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, who joined Malinowski on the campaign trail last week, tells us: "Tom Malinowski has a strong record, in and out of government, of support for Israel’s security, for its right of self-defense, and for its ability to do so, as guaranteed by the $38 billion MOU for military assistance signed in 2016 and now coming into force... Those who choose to make Israel a partisan political football do Israel no favors. Tom has the decency, the intellect, and the values that the Jewish community appreciates." 

HEARD LAST NIGHT ― Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed his Democratic opponent, Beto O'Rourke, for accepting campaign contributions from J Street during a TV debate: "Congressman O'Rourke is fond of saying he doesn't take PAC money, but the truth is different. For example, the J Street PAC, which is a rabidly anti-Israel PAC has raised over $160,000 for Congressman O'Rourke because of his many votes against the nation of Israel." [CSPAN]

Aaron Davis, J Street’s National Political Director, responded in a statement: “As the political home for the pro-Israel, pro-peace majority of American Jews, we take attacks from Ted Cruz as a badge of honor."

New York 11: Democratic House candidate Max Rose is claiming growing momentum in his longshot bid against Republican Congressman Dan Donovan. Donovan, the only Republican House member in New York City, is favored to win his reelection bid. The Rose campaign said in a news release yesterday that they have raised over $1.6 million in the last quarter with $1.4 million cash-on-hand heading into the final month of the campaign, compared to Donovan's reported $277,000 cash-on-hand. 

-- In a recent campaign ad, Donovan described his Democratic opponent as "not one of us" for raising millions from out-of-district donors. The ad features a cropped photo of Rose on a background of flowing green dollar bills. 

Colorado Gov: Polis’ personal spending on governor race reaches $22.3 million, outside spending tops $43.6 million statewide — by Sandra Fish: "Democrat Jared Polis poured another $2.5 million into his run for Colorado governor, bringing his total personal investment in the campaign to $22.3 million, according to campaign-finance reports." [ColoradoSun]

POLL OF JEWISH VOTERS — A newly released online poll conducted by pollster Mark Mellman for the Jewish Electoral Institute (JEI) shows that 74 percent of U.S. Jews plan on voting for Democratic candidates for Congress this fall. About the same amount, 75 percent, disapprove of President Donald Trump. Approval of Trump's Israel policy is at 51%, and 44% approve of the Jerusalem Embassy move. 

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Jewish voters believe the Democratic Party is “pro-Israel,” including 84% of those who identify themselves as Democrats, and 52% say that a candidate’s support for Israel is “very important.” 

2020: 74% say they will vote for the Democratic presidential nominee, while 26% will vote to reelect Trump for a second term. And only 6% say Trump’s Israel policy will cause them to consider voting for him despite disagreements on other important issues. Another 20% say they support Trump’s policy on Israel, but “disagree with him on too many other important issues.” 

Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) Executive Director Halie Soifer: “This poll proves what we have known for a long time: Americans Jews have a natural home in the Democratic Party due to its progressive, pro-Israel values." 

Data mining gets religion as campaigns target voters of faith: "Data has increasingly become the currency of political campaigns... “Before you knew it, you had this incredible profile of people,” said Steve Rabinowitz, co-founder and president of Bluelight Strategies... As elections focus more on mobilizing voters of known views... those profiles have become increasingly valuable... But traditional data hasn’t reflected beliefs. Religious information isn’t available for purchase from the census, from banks or from anyone else. “Nobody gathers religion,” Rabinowitz said."

"Facebook has been a game changer, said Rabinowitz... As an example, Facebook has made it easier to create a model for likely Jewish voters and drive ads toward them. “You could say, ‘I want to target every Rosenbaum and Rosenthal and Rosen, and so on and so forth,’” said Barney Keller, a partner at Jamestown Associates, which produced media for Donald Trump’s campaign. “You can just use that as a way to target potentially Jewish voters. That’s the way a lot of it is done.” Rabinowitz has tried in the past to build a Jewish voter file. “It’s exceptionally difficult,” he told RNS." [ReligionNews

IN BRAZIL — Right-winger would follow Trump's lead on foreign policy — by Anthony Boadle: "One of the clearest signals would be moving Brazil's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following Trump's cue, as neighboring Paraguay has done. Brazil has long supported a two-state solution for the conflict over Palestine and in 2010 recognized the Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with Israel. However, Jair Bolsonaro has said Palestine is not a country and vowed to move Brazil's embassy to Jerusalem and close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia." [Reuters]  In Australia, Jewish voters split over embassy switch to Jerusalem [TheGuardian]

US envoy looks to boost Israel-Palestinian business cooperation in West Bank — by Jacob Magid: "US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman met on Tuesday with a group of Israeli and Palestinian business leaders to discuss the joint economic ventures they are working to launch in the West Bank... The closed-door meeting took place in the city-settlement of Ariel and was organized by the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an NGO that promotes Israeli-Palestinian commercial partnerships beyond the Green Line. Critics said this was another instance of Friedman breaking with US policy and supporting Israeli settlements in the West Bank." [ToI

DRIVING THE CONVO — Khashoggi Disappearance May Disrupt Trump Administration’s Plans to Squeeze Iran — by David Sanger: "Officials said the dilemma comes at a terrible moment for the Trump administration, which will reimpose harsh sanctions against Tehran on Nov. 4, with the intent of cutting off all Iranian oil exports. But to make the strategy work, the administration is counting on its relationship with the Saudis to keep oil flowing, and to work together on a new policy to contain Iran in the Gulf...  The strategy would present a common front with the Saudis, and cast Iran as the source of almost all instability in the Middle East. That argument, officials have now acknowledged, is now in jeopardy." [NYTimes

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo writes... "We think a deal with the [Iranian] regime is possible. In the absence of one, Iran will face increasing costs for all its reckless and violent activity around the world. President Trump prefers not to conduct this campaign alone; he wants U.S. allies and partners on board." [ForeignAffairs]  

Former NSC official: “Anybody that says that we should blow up the peace plan or that we should basically blow up finally having some Middle Eastern unity over Iran, if they think we should do that over the death of one person, it’s a little ridiculous,” the former official said." [YahooNews

Jared Kushner ‘deeply involved’ in White House response to Khashoggi’s disappearance — by Hunter Walker: "One source familiar with Kushner’s work said he is playing an important role in deciding how the White House will react to Khashoggi’s disappearance and communicating with the Saudi government. “He’s deeply, deeply involved in what’s going on,” the source said of Kushner..." [YahooNews

"The elite’s embrace of M.B.S. had been one of the chief foreign-policy goals of the Trump White House, particularly Jared Kushner. Saudi Arabia was crucial to Kushner’s yet-to-be-released Middle East peace plan that involved building a Sunni-Israeli alliance to broker peace with the Palestinians and counter an expansionist Iran. “Jared had a vision from the very beginning,” a former West Wing official said." [VanityFair

VIEW ON THE HILL — Lindsey Graham says “toxic” Mohammed bin Salman “has to go” — by Zachary Basu: "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Fox & Friends Tuesday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) "can never be a leader on the world stage," and that regardless of what President Trump does, Graham is going to move to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia." [Axios

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) in a phone interview with Jewish Insider"I think we need to be smart, thoughtful and measured, but there needs to be a meaningful response to this incident. It needs to be diplomatic, it needs to potentially involve some economic power and we need to debate and discuss that and figure out what kind of response exactly we want. The administration will probably do some things on their own and then in Congress, we need to look at that response. Saudi Arabia is an ally in the fight against Iranian aggression. But that said, I think it's important that we stand up for freedom of the press and human rights. You can't just kill somebody you don't like, even when you are a friend." 

ON THE GROUND — Trump administration has new plan to drive Iran out of Syria — by Courtney Kube and Carol Lee: "The new [U.S.] strategy would not involve the U.S. military directly targeting and killing Iranian soldiers or Iran's proxies... [but] could strike the Iranian military if it felt threatened." [NBCNews]

Colin Clarke and Ariane Tabatabai write... "Preventing a broader conflagration between [Israel and Iran] in Syria will be an essential part of the new Iran containment strategy. As such, it may be the only way to force Iran to commit to downsizing its military footprint in Syria in any meaningful way, making diplomacy a critical tool in the pursuit of this new policy." [TheAtlantic

Kimberly Guilfoyle: Trump’s support blocks Iran from wiping Israel 'off the map' — by Paul Bedard: "Kimberly Guilfoyle, vice chair of the Trump-aligned super PAC America First Action, told the Republican Jewish Coalition that the president’s arm-in-arm relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has worked to keep peace in the region. “Make no mistake, this president doesn’t gamble with Israel’s security the way the last president did. This president has a great relationship with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, unlike the last occupant of the White House,” said Guilfoyle... She added to applause, “Never forget Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and many other bad actors in the region would wipe Israel off the map tomorrow if they could, but with a strong partnership between Bibi and Trump that will not happen.” [WashExaminer]

Sen. Graham jokes his own DNA test would reveal Iranian roots, which would be 'terrible' — by William Cummings: "Sen. Lindsey Graham joked about the results of the DNA test shared by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, saying his own DNA test would probably determine he is Iranian, which would be "terrible." As the South Carolina Republican's segment on "Fox & Friends" came to a close, host Steve Doocy suggested Graham come back to the show with the results of his own genetic analysis... "I'll probably be Iranian. That'd be, like, terrible," Graham quipped... "They have great people, just bad leaders," said Kilmeade... "Yeah, bad leaders," Graham agreed. "I'm not in the Ayatollah branch." [USAToday]

IDF attacks over 20 Gaza targets after rocket fire — by Itay Blumenthal and Elior Levy: "The IDF attacked over 20 targets, including a terror tunnel, in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning in retaliation for rocket fire that hit a home in Be'er Sheva... An IAF aircraft also attacked a terror cell... said to belong to an "errant" radical faction, which was formerly part of Fatah and now has close ties to Iran." [Ynet]

HAPPENING TODAY — IDF Chief of  Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot will address the annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) gala at the New York Hilton Midtown. Other speakers include Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and Consul General Dani Dayan. 

** 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Starwood CEO Barry Sternlicht Eyes Expansion Into Private Equity, Venture, Credit [Bloomberg]  Barry Diller Calls on Google to Be Regulated [Skift]  Jared Kushner Still Not Involved in Startup Cadre, Co-Founder Says [Bloomberg]  Aventura Mall developer Don Soffer sells South Florida mansion for $6M [Bizjournals]  Carl Icahn has taken a stake in Dollar Tree [NYPost]

MEDIA WATCH: Craig Newmark, Newspaper Villain, Is Working to Save Journalism — by David Streitfeld: "Craig Newmark, so often accused of destroying journalism, is now doing his best to revive it. In the late 1990s, Mr. Newmark, a former IBM programmer, built Craigslist. On Wednesday, New York Public Radio announced a $2.5 million gift from Mr. Newmark to expand its newsroom. That brings his total philanthropic efforts involving media in the last year to $50 million, much of it centered on New York." [NYTimes]

STARTUP NATION: Cognata raises $18.5M as race to deploy autonomous vehicles quickens — by Kirsten Korosec: "Cognata has raised $18.5 million in a funding round led by Scale Venture Partners, fresh capital that the Israeli autonomous simulation startup will use to meet demand for technology that will help companies speed up the deployment of self-driving vehicles." [TechCrunch; Reuters]  Israeli startup Vayavision has raised $8m in seed funding led by Viola Ventures, Mizmaa Ventures and OurCrowd [Globes]

US, Israel issue joint Hanukkah postage stamp: "In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations, Israel Post and the US Postal Service have issued a joint stamp for Hanukkah at the American Center in Jerusalem, Tuesday. The event was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman... The Hanukkah stamp is available for purchase at IPC branches in Israel and sells for NIS 8.30." [Arutz7; USPS

A Jewish prayer book owned by Marilyn Monroe is going up for auction — by Spencer Parlier and Christina Zdanowicz: "The book belonged to screen icon Marilyn Monroe, and it's going up for auction on November 12 by J. Greenstein & Co. auction house in Cedarhurst, New York. Monroe converted to Judaism in 1956 upon marrying playwright Arthur Miller. According to the Jewish Museum in New York, Monroe took her conversion seriously, citing her relationship with the Millers' family rabbi, Robert E. Goldburg, as they used to study Judaic texts together. "It's worn, there is no question about it. It has been clearly used," Jonathan Greenstein told CNN." [CNN]

SPOTTED YESTERDAY — at the installation of Edward Mermelstein as Board Chairman of ZAKA-US in NYC: Ambassador Danny Danon, Edward Mermelstein, ZAKA founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, Michael Miller, Malcolm Hoenlein, Ronn Torossian, Gennady Perepada, Boris Lantsman, Gaukhar Kapparova, Aiya Tulemaganbetova, Shai Franklin, David Ben-Hooren, Menachem Bar-Shalom, and David Rose. [Pic

BIRTHDAYS: Founder of Maniv Investments in 1997 and Maniv Mobility — Israel's first venture capital fund dedicated exclusively to the new mobility future — Michael Granoff turns 5-0... Hedge fund manager, he is the co-founder of AQR Capital Management, Cliff Asness turns 52... Rheumatologist and founder of the San Diego Arthritis Medical Clinic in 1975, Dr. Michael Keller turns 73... Rochester, NY resident, Peggy Futerman turns 61... Rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Mayer E. Twersky turns 58... Professor of economics at Harvard who served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2012-2014), Jeremy Chaim Stein turns 58... CEO and founder of Crosscut Strategies, a DC-based public affairs firm, he was a senior advisor at OMB (2009-2012) and holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford University,  Kenneth Baer turns 46... Author and staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, Ariel Levy turns 44... Born in Haifa, raised in Sunnyvale, California, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Quixey, a search startup for apps (2009-2017), Tomer Kagan turns 35... Director and Co-Founder of OpenMind, Caroline Mehl... Ramsey, New Jersey-based licensed professional counselor with a Ph.D. in biological sciences, Dr. Shemsi Prinzivalli...