Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: August 22, 2016

Dershowitz playing the Donald for Hillary? | Spotlight on Jared K | Deutsche Bank's $10B Scandal | The Hasidic Jews behind Beach Gal

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Attorney and law professor Alan Dershowitz
Attorney and law professor Alan Dershowitz.Credit: Reuters

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2016 WATCH: "Is Alan Dershowitz helping Hillary prep for debate with Trump?" -- by WNYC’s Richard Hake: “The Clinton campaign has been looking for a surrogate to play Trump so she can practice and they are bringing in the well known criminal and constitutional law attorney Alan Dershowitz.” [WNYC

In an email to Jewish InsiderDershowitz didn’t outright deny the report, but said he is not aware of his role playing Trump. “Not that I’ve heard,” he wrote. [JewishInsider]

Dershowitz to Politico: 
“I’ve never been asked by the Clinton campaign. I have no idea what they’re internally thinking... Of course I would do it if asked —I think I could do a pretty good Donald Trump impression. I’m happy to do anything to help her become President. I may campaign in Florida, where I live now.” [Politico]

“Democratic mega-donors plow money into Clinton, Senate bids” by Julie Bykowicz: “In July alone, New York hedge fund billionaire George Soros gave $1.5 million to Planned Parenthood's super PAC and $35,000 to Priorities USA, both working to elect Clinton, as well as $500,000 to the Senate Majority PAC. Other million-dollar donors to Priorities USA include the creator of diet product Slim-Fast, Daniel Abraham, and Donald Sussman, a financier who is divorcing Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree. Soros's latest contributions bring his 2015-2016 super PAC total to more than $14 million — a fivefold increase from his super PAC investments during the previous presidential election." [APPolitico]

"GOP Kingmaker Sheldon Adelson Continues to Snub Donald Trump" by Leigh Ann Caldwell: 
"Adelson was furious with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for not endorsing Trump in his convention speech — he told Cruz so immediately after Cruz walked off stage — but Trump's post-convention campaign has instilled little confidence in the high-dollar donor. Time is tight if Adelson is to try to rescue Trump. Labor Day — the unofficial start of the general election season — approaches." [NBCNews]

Over The Weekend -- “Paul Manafort Quits Donald Trump’s Campaign After a Tumultuous Run” by Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin: “According to people briefed on the matter,Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, expressed increasing concern after a Times article published on Sunday about allegations of cash payments made to Mr. Manafort’s firm for his work on behalf of his main client, Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president, who is an ally of Mr. Putin.” [NYTimes]

“Trump, new team have little time to execute new strategy” by Steve Peoples: "The Trump campaign is at a ludicrously high disadvantage," said Dan Senor, a former adviser to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. "The Democrats have something that the Republicans don't: They have a nominee that's built a real campaign organization." [AP]

SPOTLIGHT ON JARED: "This is what it’s like to work for Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner" by Eric Johnson: Elizabeth Spiers discussed her year-and-a-half-long stint as editor of the New York Observer. "He loves Donald Trump. They have a good relationship, I think partly because they’re families of similar histories. They’re both dynastic commercial real estate people. The fathers on both sides have their share of notoriety, for different reasons. I think that’s also probably part of the reason Jared and [his wife] Ivanka [Trump] bonded." [ReCode]

"Ivanka And Jared's Power Play" by Lizzie Widdicombe: "For a college student, Kushner was uncommonly pious and devoted to his family. He called his parents every day. On Fridays, he ate in a kosher dining hall, either Hillel or the Chabad house, which is affiliated with the Lubavitcher Hasidim. At the Fly, new members are subjected to initiation hazing: seniors will demand that they clean a dorm room, or drink warm gin. Kushner encouraged them to come to Shabbat dinner at Chabad. Hirschy Zarchi, the rabbi at Chabad, said, “Can you imagine? New initiates. He said, ‘You have to come and have dinner and be exposed to Jewish ideas.’ ”" [NewYorker]

"Jared Kushner's Second Act" by Vicky Ward: "Jared's marriage to Ivanka was not a foregone conclusion. The couple have been married for seven years and have three children together, but during the early days of their relationship Seryl Kushner had expressed concern that Ivanka wasn't Jewish. The couple broke up, and they reunited only after Ivanka agreed to convert to Judaism. Even then, according to Bob Sommer, Charles Kushner remained skeptical. He made Ivanka's conversion as testing as it could be. Ivanka passed the tests, and by 2009 Charles was ready to formally accept her into the Kushner family." [EsquireMag]

"Trump Family Connection Raises Questions For Tech Investor Josh Kushner" by Nitasha Tiku: "For months Josh Kushner’s relationship to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was an open question in startup circles. But this week the notoriously press-averse venture capitalist finally gave them an answer: Kushner won’t be voting for Donald Trump." [BuzzFeed]

NEXT GEN: "George P. Bush visits Israel" by Eli Watkins: "Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush returned Saturday from an unannounced visit to Israel. Bush's Israel trip could bolster his foreign policy credentials as he seeks to build a stronger backing in the Republican Party that so decisively rejected his father. The 40-year-old lawyer and father of two was elected Texas land commissioner in 2014 and has been mentioned as a candidate for higher office in the coming years." [CNN]

"Israel's New Man in New York," by Carol Giacomo -- Q: “Are you including J Street in that outreach because you have been quoted in the press as being critical of them, suggesting they are anti-Israel?” Dani Dayan: “No, I never said they are anti-Israel. There was a minor incident that I took responsibility for the phrasing. You know, English is not my native language. I had a TV interview and my opponent said that the welcome to Donald Trump at the AIPAC convention contradicts Jewish values. And I said, look, I am much more concerned about some candidates that are endorsed by J Street, which are — not J Street, the candidates — anti-Israeli, and I intended to say, you know, symmetrically, that contradicts Jewish values, and at the end I said it’s un-Jewish. And that was a mistake to say un-Jewish. I never said J Street is un-Jewish; I just said a certain position by J Street contradicts Jewish values. I have personal very good relations with J Street leadership. I don’t believe in ostracizing.” Q: “Who is better for Israel, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?” DD: “Any American president is good for Israel.” [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET -- Loud Night Along the Gaza Border -- by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Yesterday afternoon, a relatively long period of quiet along the Israeli border with Gaza came to an end, when a rocket from the Palestinian enclave was launched towards Israel, landing near a house in the town of Sderot. No one was hurt and the IDF responded by bombing Hamas targets in Gaza, which was no surprise - this is the usual routine in such cases. What was surprising, however, was the second phase of the Israeli response, which came late at night, when the IDF started attacking targets in Gaza once again, this time firing from tanks and planes for more than an hour, hitting dozens of targets within the Strip. There were no reports of casualties from Gaza as of this morning.

This leads us to the conclusion that the new Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who as a member of the opposition just months ago, promised to conquer Gaza and kill the entire Hamas leadership after any provocation, is trying to preserve his reputation among the right-wing in Israel, but at the same time without taking too much risk. After all, Israel has just signed a reconciliation deal with Turkey, and Israeli communities along the Gaza border have just finished repairing the damages of the war from two summers ago. A new war right now could put both at risk. 

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Private equity firm bosses to get $370M windfall in Caesars mess [NYPost] China Deal Sparks Biggest Jump in 19 Months for Israel’s Phoenix [Bloomberg]  Haim Saban's Univision is buying Gawker Media for $135 million [ReCode]  Power lawyer Philip Rosen shares negotiation secrets [RealDeal]  The Uber Lobbyist Who Wants to Take Down Bill de Blasio[NYMag]

LongRead: "Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal: How a scheme to help Russians secretly funnel money offshore unravelled" by Ed Caesar: "During the Nazi era, Deutsche Bank sullied its reputation by financing Hitler’s regime and purchasing stolen Jewish gold... Almost every weekday between the fall of 2011 and early 2015, a Russian broker named Igor Volkov called the equities desk of Deutsche Bank’s Moscow headquarters. Volkov would speak to a sales trader—often, a young woman named Dina Maksutova—and ask her to place two trades simultaneously. Deutsche Bank was helping the client to buy and sell to himself... Volkov previously had worked at Antanta Kapital, a brokerage owned by Arcadi Gaydamak, a Russian-Israeli billionaire." [NewYorker]

TALK OF OUR NATION: "Meet the Hasidic Jews Behind This Cute Bikini Brand" by Chavie Lieber: "Barry Glick is not your average bikini designer. For starters, he has zero experience designing swimwear — or designing any wear for that matter. He’s not particularly involved in fashion either. Oh, he also is a Hasidic Jew living in Brooklyn. None of this seemed to deter the 30-year-old father of five from starting a bikini company, Beach Gal, a year and a half ago." [Racked]

"Learning and earning: Hasidic Brooklyn’s real estate machers" by Mark Maurer: "The real estate investors who hail from Brooklyn’s insular Hasidic communities are some of the industry’s most active and powerful players. Over the past decade, they’ve spent more than $2.5 billion on acquisitions in five prime Brooklyn neighborhoods, according to an analysis of property records by The Real Deal. But unlike their Grill Room-dining, art-collecting Manhattan counterparts, they prefer to stay in the shadows, their connections to properties masked through a network of frontmen and a labyrinth of LLCs. Most have no websites, and some have never been photographed." [TheRealDeal]

STARTUP NATION: "Making earphones customized for hearing ability, Even tunes up $2 million" by Jonathan Shieber: "MeQ Inc., the company behind Even earphones, the tunable earbuds that adjust to users’ unique hearing abilities, has raised $2 million as it looks to expand its business. Founded by classically trained composer and sound designer Danny Aronson, and his CTO partner Ofer Raz, MeQ has plenty of competition in the headphone market." [TechCrunch]  "How to create a ‘start-up nation’: Yiddish chutzpah versus Thai krengjai" [TheNation]

PROFILE: "The Secret Voice Of America's Power Players" by Nick Fouriezos: "What I have learned about Clare Doody is that her words have been spoken by senators, governors, activist icons and CEOs. Her employers tell me she’s ghostwritten pieces in the New York Times, Time and Foreign Policy, and that they wouldn’t be surprised if she became a chief presidential speechwriter one day. Truly putting yourself in another’s shoes takes empathy, a virtue she learned partly while attending Greek Orthodox and Jewish day schools as a child, where she developed a taste for baklava and novels about the Holocaust. “This is always where the conversation ends,” the Houston native jokes, but that morbid interest inspired thoughts about the fragility of government structures." [Ozy]

TALK OF THE TOWN: "Woman’s funeral had no attendees, so 30 strangers showed up" by AP: "Strangers served as Francine Stein’s pallbearers and also helped bury her during the serviceWednesday at a cemetery in Orangetown. Stein died at the age of 83. Rabbi Elchanan Weinbach officiated the service and says there was no eulogy because he didn’t know anything about the woman. He learned at the cemetery that Stein was a musician and had taught at the Julliard School. One attendee said she came to the service as a simple act of “human decency.”" [NYPostLoHud]

CAMPUS BEAT: "How a casino tycoon is trying to combat an exploding pro-Palestinian movement on campuses" by Teresa Watanabe: "The Maccabee Task Force — named after a small Jewish rebel group who prevailed over the Greeks two millennia ago — mainly aims to beef up positive education about Israel with such methods as hosting “peace tents” for dialogue during anti-Israel campus events and Israel cultural fairs — complete with free falafel and iced coffee." [LATimes]

WEEKEND WEDDING: Brian Gralnick, director of social responsibility for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia who ran for Pennsylvania State Senate in 2014, on Saturday married Perri Rosner, a physician assistant at Jefferson University Hospital. The maid of honor was Jess Levin, comms director at Making Change at Walmart. At the wedding at The Old Mill in Rose Valley, Pa., Levin, toasting the newlyweds, said “Brian, you may have lost the election but you won her heart.” [Pich/t Playbook

BIRTHDAYS: Philanthropist and billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Elliott Singer turns 72... Emmy Award winning television news journalist, formerly the weekend anchor of CBS Evening News, Morton Dean (born Morton Dubitsky) turns 81... Former chief of Staff to the Vice President Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby turns 66... Deborah Hochberg, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Paul E. Singer Foundation... Chairwoman of Israel's Strauss Group, a large dairy and food company, Ofra Strauss turns 56... Michael Fragin... Joyce Fox... Robin Elcott... Nebi Qena, AP senior producer in Jerusalem... Rachel Saifer Goldman... 

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