SCENE YESTERDAY -- Talk of the campaign trail: Matzah -- by Jacob Kornbluh on location: "Ted Cruz on Thursday tried his luck at baking matzah as he seeks to earn the support of the Jewish community. “It’s hole-y matzo," Cruz joked as he observed that the matzah rolled by a girl aside him had many holes. Cruz was then offered to put the matzah in the oven, as he asked about the difference between this oven and a pizza oven... “Next year in Jerusalem,” Cruz said at one point, a phrase that is recited at the conclusion of a Seder. When told that because Passover had not yet come, the appropriate phrase would be “this year in Jerusalem” at this stage, Cruz remarked, “Well, next year in Jerusalem, hopefully I’ll need a bigger plane to get there.” [JewishInsider; Haaretz]
"Why Cruz went to that matzoh bakery" by Katie Glueck: "If Cruz can turn out Orthodox supporters in Brooklyn and other heavily Jewish districts, he may be able to improve his delegate tally in a state that was always going to be an uphill battle. “I think there’s some cleverness there,” said Rep. Peter King, who represents Long Island and is otherwise a vehement Cruz critic... Cruz is competing for a relatively small pool: According to leaders in the community, the bulk of Orthodox Jews in New York are registered as Democrats so that they can vote in local and state primaries, even if they are more likely than other Jews are to vote Republican in general elections at the presidential level." [Politico]
Nathan Diament tweets chart of districts with Orthodox Jewish voters: "Why Ted Cruz is stumping Brooklyn matzah bakery today (R delegates to be won)" [Twitter]
Cruz tells JI's Jacob Kornbluh: “We are fortunate to enjoy tremendous support in the Jewish community here in New York and across the country. I think that’s the result of having built a long record – fighting to strengthen our relationship with the nation of Israel and fighting to defend religious liberty.” Asked if he expects to see his steadfast support of Israel pay off with votes in the April 19 primary, Cruz said, “I certainly hope so. It the right thing to do so, regardless, but I would be grateful if it also earned the support of many people in New York and elsewhere.”
HOW IT PLAYED: "Ted Cruz Makes the Rounds, and Matzo, in Brooklyn" [NYTimes] "Ted Cruz Courting the Brooklyn Republican Orthodox Jewish Vote" [Gawker] NBC's Frank Thorp: "Campaign swag has no bounds in 2016, as seen here at Ted Cruz's stop at a Matzah Bakery" [Instagram] "Ted Cruz criticizes Donald Trump, praises Netanyahu in Brooklyn" [Newsday]
NY PRIMARY PREVIEW: "Ted Cruz cosponsors bill with New York Democrat to recover Nazi-confiscated art" by Reena Flores: "The Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act was introduced Thursday by a bipartisan group of senators, including Cruz, Schumer, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut. The HEAR Act would ensure that U.S. law "encourages the resolution of claims on Nazi-confiscated art on the merits, in a fair and just manner," according to a press release." [CBSNews; Statement]
ECHO-CHAMBER: "Fox News, CNN correspondents accuse Cruz of anti-Semitism" by Jessie Hellman: "Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera accused Ted Cruz of anti-Semitism, saying his "New York values" comments were a slight against Jewish people... "He said New York values are about money and they're about the media. That's an anti-Semitic trope from a hundred years. It's been around for a very long time," CNN's Jeffrey Toobin told Wolf Blitzer. "Money and media is Jews. I mean this is just an old-fashioned, anti-Semitic stereotype, derogatory term and everybody understands it," Toobin said when Blitzer argued that Cruz was referring to liberals." [TheHill]
TOP TALKER: Sanders clarifies comments on Israel after phone conversation with ADL's Jonathan Greenblatt: “As many people know, Sen. Sanders, as a young man, spent months in Israel and, in fact, has family living there now. There is no candidate for president who will be a stronger supporter of Israel’s right to exist in freedom, peace and security,” Sanders’ spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement. According to the Sanders campaign, the Vermont senator immediately corrected that his recollection was about the total number of casualties, not the death toll. “The idea that Sen. Sanders stated definitely that 10,000 Palestinians were killed is just not accurate and a distortion of that discussion,” Briggs said. “Bringing peace between Israel and the Palestinians will not be easy. It would help if candidates’ positions on this issue are not distorted.”
Greenblatt: “The senator assured me that he did not mean his remarks to be a definitive statement and that he would make every effort to set the record straight. We appreciate his responsiveness on this issue, especially at a time when there are many false and incendiary reports blaming Israel for applying disproportionate force in its struggle for self-defense.” [JewishInsider]
Hillary's policy advisor Jake Sullivan on David Greenfield's radio show last night: "If she’s elected president, she will immediately start by reaffirming America’s strong and enduring national interest in Israel’s security and the importance of the alliance. And then she’s going to take concrete steps - one would be to invite the Israeli Prime Minister to visit in her first month in office. Another would be to send a senior delegation from the Pentagon and the joint chief’s to Israel for consultations so we can get on the same page on the array of common security threats that we face. And then, you know, I think, she said at AIPAC is very focused on ensuring that we never allow Israel’s enemies to think that they can drive a wedge between us; that when we have differences, as any friends would have, we will work to resolve them quickly and respectfully."
Greenfield: What is Hillary’s view on settlements? Does she view them as illegal, or does she view them as a key stumbling block in the negotiations?
Sullivan: “What she said about settlements is that she believes that everybody has to do their part to avoid damaging actions, and that includes with respect to settlements. Sec. Clinton comes out on the bipartisan tradition on this issue going back several presidents with respect to her view on the settlement issue. She also believes that it is very important that as we move forward, we try to do everything we can to support those voices who want to see a two-state solution, and that we support the efforts that Sec. Kerry is trying right now to try and de-escalate the situation on the ground and avoid more violence. From her perspective, the key thing is securing Israel’s future as a democratic-Jewish state, and a two-state solution that results in a peaceful and secure outcome. What she would do as president is everything she could to support direct negotiations and not seeing a solution imposed from the outside. She was very clear at AIPAC that she would vigorously oppose any outside parties to impose a solution, including by the UN Security Council.”
EXPECT TO HEAR MORE ON THIS... "Palestinians Circulating Draft UN Resolution Condemning Israeli Settlements" by Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury: "The Palestinian Authority distributed a draft resolution this week condemning construction in the settlements to a number of members of the UN Security Council, according to Western diplomats and senior Palestinian officials. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would like to bring the resolution to a vote during his visit to UN Headquarters in New York in about two weeks." [Haaretz]
HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND -- RJC Las Vegas: "Ted Cruz will have hundreds of influential Republican donors and Jewish leaders all to himself this weekend in Las Vegas as he addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition. It's a "missed opportunity" for Trump to build on a well-received recent speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said Abbie Friedman, an RJC board member who introduced Trump when he spoke to the Republican group in December... Aside from the Thursday dinner at his house, Sheldon Adelson wasn't expected to be at any of the RJC conference events." [AP]
FL SEN: "Lopez-Cantera's story wows an important crowd in Boca Raton" by Steve Bousquet: "The setting was at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County in Boca Raton for Gov. Rick Scott's ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 86, which prohibits the state from doing business with companies that favor a boycott of Israel. "Now, you may not have known this from my name, Lopez-Cantera, but I'm Jewish," the lieutenant governor said as the crowd of about 200 broke into applause. "My father came from Cuba but he married a nice Jewish girl in Miami, and I followed suit and married a nice Jewish girl in Miami as well ... We keep a Jewish household and are raising our daughters Jewish." [TampaBayTimes]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Fosun to Buy Israeli Skin-Care Company Ahava" [WSJ] "Framework of Settlement Is Said to Be Reached in Sumner Redstone Competency Case" [NYTimes] "7-Eleven CEO Resigns as Dan Loeb’s Hedge Fund Prevails in Japan Boardroom Fight" [WSJ; FinancialTimes] "Stephen Schwarzman to Shut Mutual Fund After Fidelity Pulls Out" [Bloomberg] "Sen. Franken wants to know what Oculus is doing with its Rift user data" [TechCrunch] "Barry Diller's IAC hires top dealmaker Schiffman as CFO" [YahooNews]
SPOTLIGHT: Mizzen+Main that counts Mark Cuban, David Schottenstein as fans raises $3 million for menswear that feels athletic, looks tailored -- by Lora Kolodny: "Apparel makers Mizzen and Main LLC have closed $3 million in a modest Series B round of venture funding to ramp up inventory and sales of their signature menswear, according to founder and Chief Executive Kevin LaVelle. Specifically, Mizzen+Main’s Series B backers included: Thomas Morstead, a Super Bowl winning athlete with the New Orleans Saints; Ben Nash, the co-founder and CEO of PCS Wireless; George Couri and Bruce Kalmick of Triple 8 Management; VTF Capital; Brian Tochman of MRCA Investment and other private investors." [TechCrunch; DallasMorningNews]
STARTUP NATION: "Twist Bioscience, a San Francisco-based startup focused on synthetic DNA, has acquired Genome Compiler Corp., an Israeli developer of software for genetic engineers, molecular and synthetic biologists. No financial terms were disclosed. Twist has raised in VC funding from Illumina, Fidelity, Foresite Capital Management, Tao Invest, ARCH Venture Partners Paladin Capital Group and Yuri Milner. Genome Compiler had been backed by groups like LionBird and Foundry Group." [TermSheet; Twist]
HOLLYWOOD: "How a Tiny Israeli TV Company Became an International Media Player" by Noah Smith: "Last year, the company—a subsidiary of Israel-based Keshet Media Group—had six shows on TV in the U.S.—including Dig, Homeland, and Tyrant—and has sold programs in more than 50 territories. Today, it has shows playing on every continent except Antarctica." [FortuneMag]
VIRAL: Holocaust survivor Henry Flescher hosts Reddit AMA: "While at the Blechhammer Concentration Camp in Poland, he wasn’t Henry Flescher. His name was 177153. That was the number tattooed on Flescher’s forearm by the Nazis during the Holocaust. And that number remains on his arm, as “a testament to the past,” Flescher wrote. “It shows I survived. And I’m here, and loving life!” Flescher, 92, explained why he has kept his tattoo for so many years and answered questions about his outlook on life during a Reddit AMA this week." [WashPost; ABC; Reddit]
TRANSITION: "Ruth Messinger entrusts American Jewish World Service to her deputy" by Lauren Markoe: "Robert Bank, the executive vice president of AJWS, will succeed Messenger, 75, in July. RNS asked Messinger and Bank to talk about their Jewishness, the mission of the AJWS and the American presidential election." [RNS]
TALK OF OUR NATION: "The Civil Illiberties Union Targets a Yeshiva" by Avi Schick in the WSJ's Houses of Worship column: "In 2013 the state of New Jersey decided to give grants to colleges and universities to promote business and job opportunities. BMG was awarded $10.6 million to help build a new library and improve other of its facilities. But the ACLU filed a lawsuit against New Jersey, objecting that the grant violates the state constitution. It is also offended that BMG is an all-male school, even though that is perfectly legal. After years of procedural wrangling, the lawsuit will be heard in a New Jersey appellate court on Monday—75 years, almost to the day, since Rabbi Kotler debarked in San Francisco and set about to transform Jewish life in America." [WSJ]
CAMPUS BEAT: "Stanford Student Senator: Saying ‘Jews Control the Media, Economy, Government’ is ‘Not Anti-Semitism’" by Yair Rosenberg: "On Tuesday evening, the Stanford University Student Senate debated a resolution that would commit the school’s student government to combat anti-Semitism. Ironically, what transpired in that debate underscored just how sorely needed the resolution was in the first place." [TabletMag]
Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week: "San Diego has many draws: it has, among other things, a great assortment of bio-tech companies and great coffee haunts. It is not known as a hub for unique kosher wines. Imagine my surprise when I learned about a great wine purveyor who has brought some amazing Kosher Bordeaux wines to the U.S. Last week I brought the purveyor, Andrew, to my home where he put on a great wine tasting for a very enthusiastic group of wine lovers."
"The wine which caught our attention most was the Domaine Roses Camille, Pomerol, 2011. This wine is from the Pomerol region of Bordeaux and is 100 percent Merlot. It drew me in immediately as I am a huge fan of wines aged in new French Oak. This wine, aged for 30 months in new French oak barrels did not disappoint. I was looking for hefty earth flavors given the wine’s terroir: I got it. What I did not expect was the rounded fruity finish. It was almost like a hybrid Bordeaux-Burgundy wine. In between the earthiness and round fruit was a smokiness from the new oak-- I sensed a bit of Cuban tobacco as well. It was a captivating experience. The wine needs to breathe. A while. 4-6 hours. Eat it with smoked meats and lamb. Drink it now, drink it in 20 years, or anytime in between." [DomaineRosesCamille]
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker turns 51... Dan 'the man' Smith, who recently moved to Tel Aviv to join Homrun, turns 24... Israeli actress Moran Atias turns 35... Russian-born Israeli business magnate Arcadi Gaydamak turns 64... Comedian Shecky Greene (born Fred Sheldon Greenfield) turns 90... Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh turns 79... Israeli actor Ofer Shechter turns 35... John Weaver, Kasich senior strategist (h/t Playbook)... Fashion designer Marc Jacobs turns 53... Actress Rachel Specter turns 36... Lester Garfinkel... Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz turns 58... David A. Adler, author of 200 books including the Cam Jansen series and books for youth on the Holocaust turns 69... Pianist Yefim Bronfman turns 58... Yishai Schwartz...
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