Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: July 19, 2016

Afternoon Edition | Indiana Jews on Mike Pence | Sheldon Adelson in Cleveland; Bill Kristol too albeit "having a terrible time"

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence wave to the crowd during a campaign stop in Westfield, Indiana, U.S., July 12, 2016.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence wave to the crowd during a campaign stop in Westfield, Indiana, U.S., July 12, 2016. Credit: John Sommers II, Reuters

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REAL NEWS: "Secret document lifts Iran nuke constraints" by George Jahn: “The document is the only secret text linked to last year's agreement between Iran and six foreign powers. It says that after a period between 11 to 13 years, Iran can replace its 5,060 inefficient centrifuges with up to 3,500 advanced machines. Since those are five times as efficient, the time Iran would need to make a weapon would drop from a year to six months.” [AP]

NOW ONTO THE GOP CONVENTION -- “RNC forced to close online convention chat after anti-Semites turn it into a Jew-bashing hatefest” by Brad Reed: “The Republicans disabled the live chat window on the page after it got overrun by anti-Semitic Trump supporters. As former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle gave a speech promoting inroads that Republicans have made with Jewish voters, as well as ripping the Democrats for allegedly being more hostile to Israel, Trump’s alt-right followers flooded the page with anti-Semitic vitriol.” [RawStory]

Hillary Clinton on Charlie Rose: “I think that when you don't denounce a white supremacy group, even the Ku Klux Klan, who is supporting you vocally, making phone calls for you and you don't repudiate that, I think that speaks volumes.”

 “Indiana Jews React to Pence as Trump's VP Pick” by Jacob Kornbluh: “I think there’s no question about that," Doug Rose, a long-time friend of Pence, told Jewish Insider on Friday when asked if the Indiana Governor helps Trump with Jewish voters. "He is so unabashedly pro-Israel in every respect, and he is not afraid to demonstrate it and be vocal about it. I think it bodes well for the U.S.-Israel relationship if they manage to get elected.” According to Gary Schahet, a friend of the Indiana Gov. for 16 years, Pence with his record and demeanor will be seen as a "calming influence" on the presumptive Republican presidential candidate. "Mike (Pence) is a friend of the Jewish community and a strong friend of Israel," Schahet told Jewish Insider in a phone interview. "When Indiana signed in the anti-BDS law, he said to me, ‘I think and I hope it’s the strongest anti-BDS legislation in the country. We want to be a leader.’ I think he will be seen as a calming influence -- you know, he may have disagreed with his colleagues in the House of Representatives but they all had respect for him. And I think that’s a positive.”[JewishInsider]

Hudson Institute CEO Ken Weinstein emails us: "I’ve known Mike Pence for 25 years. He is a great American, solid and grounded in the Midwest but with a global vision.  A genuine leader who knows foreign policy and national security issues well.  He is a great friend of Israel. Love of Israel is something he feels very, very deeply in his heart – and it is at the core of who he is."

HAPPENING TODAY -- Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer is attending a Republican Jewish Coalition event on the sidelines of the GOP Convention together with Newt Gingrich and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton for a discussion on foreign policy. Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam were spotted entering the event. Sheldon refused to answer questions from Politico's Ken Vogel about his pledged donations and Trump's Star of David tweet. [VideoPic]

INVOCATION -- Rabbi Ari Wolf, Chaplain of the Cleveland Police, delivered the invocation at the opening of the Republican National Convention. Rabbi Ari Wolf tells us: “It was fantastic. That it came out well and that I was able to give a good impression on behalf of the Jewish community, there is nothing more relieving than that. A rabbi is supposed to be totally neutral. We are God’s servants. People call us to give a prayer or to do a service; that’s what we are supposed to do, not make any political remarks and do not be involved politically - do one thing: come and give God’s message to the people.” [Video]

"I Asked the Rabbi Who Gave the RNC Invocation If He Supports Trump" by Ayana Morali:
"I wondered how Wolf would respond if I asked him the question I’ve been asking everyone: Do you support Donald Trump? His wife chimed in: “What do you think? Of course!” Rabbi Wolf quickly jumped in: "We're impartial. I gave the invocation. We don't support anyone. We're impartial."" [Slate]

Bethany Mandel: "Rabbi Haskel Lookstein Would Have Schooled Donald Trump at the Republican Convention — If You’d Let Him" [Forward]

Rabbi David Wolpe: 
"The Kushners’ Rabbi’s Decision to Withdraw From the RNC Is a Shame" [Time]

Yair Rosenberg: "The Jewish Community Owes Rabbi Haskel Lookstein an Apology: The general ignorance, assumption of worst motives, and vitriol that greeted Lookstein’s abortive decision to speak at the RNC sounded more like Trump than his opposition" [TabletMag]

“Cleveland’s GOP Jews close to the action, but far from united on Trump” by Chad Weisman: “I just don’t like his manners,” said Howard Frum, an Orthodox Jewish auto mechanic from the city’s University Heights suburb. “The way he belittles people, he brings down the office of president, lowers the office. And I don’t like that.” For Frum, distaste for Trump is counterbalanced by disdain for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “Trump I’m not that crazy about,” he said, “but I’m certainly not a fan of Hillary’s. Unless something happens at either convention, you’re going to have one of these two people as president. And I think that’s sad. I think this country can do better.” [ToI]

“Big-name donors skip Trump event” by Ken Vogel: “Sheldon Adelson, David Koch, T. Boone Pickens and Paul Singer were nowhere to be found at Monday afternoon reception on the sidelines of the GOP convention for a super PAC supporting Donald Trump called Great America PAC... The PAC’s officials wouldn’t comment on Adelson. But lead strategist Eric Beach in a statement said Trump “is bringing great numbers of new people into the GOP at all levels, and that includes the high dollar donor level.” [Politico] "Trump Backer Carl Icahn Is Not In Cleveland for the RNC" [Fortune]

Ken Bialkin tells the Forward's Nathan Guttman: “I have not made up my mind who to vote for, because I’d like to learn more,” RJC board member and donor Ken Bialkin said. A former chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the current leader of the America-Israel Friendship League, Bialkin has had a chance to meet with Trump’s advisers on Israel and does not share the “NeverTrump” sentiment some Jewish Republicans hold. But Bialkin is not yet prepared to pick sides, or to open his checkbook. Trump, he fears, “doesn’t have the base of knowledge that makes you say, ‘I have no problem.’” [Forward]

PROFILE: "Last Man Standing" by Michael Crowley: "Bill Kristol is the rare Republican still fighting to defend his party’s principles from a rogue nominee. But what if his political miscalculations actually helped create Donald Trump? But Kristol’s defiant insurgency has revealed him to be out of touch with the party he claims to be saving. How much good can he do, his friends wonder, by confronting a populist wave with a font of knowing tweets issued from various rarified enclaves up and down the Northeast corridor? When a fellow passenger in the café car of the all-business Amtrak express to New York asked him not long ago why he doesn’t run himself, Kristol joked that he would “only run in states covered by Acela.”

"Kristol is famously chummy with a slew of conservative benefactors, like the New York investment titans Paul Singer, Ira Rennert and Dan Loeb, the publisher-scion Steve Forbes and the Florida shopping-mall magnate Mel Sembler. One well-connected conservative chuckled at the memory of Kristol holding court for gaggles of starry-eyed donors in the hallways of the conservative American Enterprise Institute’s annual retreat in Sea Island, Georgia, this past March. But even the Obama White House has sought his ear: In 2009, Kristol had breakfast in the White House mess with Obama national security aides Denis McDonough and Ben Rhodes, who saw him as an ally in Obama’s plan to send more troops to Afghanistan." [PoliticoMag]

"Yes, Bill Kristol is at the Republican convention, having a terrible time" by Ben Terris:
 "It’s a party right out of his nightmares, and Bill Kristol can’t even find a way in. “It’s the last gasp of civilization, it’s the end of the Roman Empire,” he said, standing outside Quicken Loans Arena more than three hours before the Republican National Convention kicked off its celebration of Donald Trump. “Oh my, is this the line of people to get in?” A sweaty, impatient crowd of people snaked its way through a fenced-off swath of downtown Cleveland alive with cops, bright lights, protesters and a general circus atmosphere." [WashPost]

DEEP DIVE: "Donald Trump the Political Showman, Born on ‘The Apprentice’" by Michael Grynbaum and Ashley Parker: "During salary talks, one Jewish executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, remembered Mr. Trump asking, “Don’t you think I should get a Jewish agent, so he can negotiate better for me?” A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump had no comment when asked about the exchange. Mr. Trump made similar remarks in a speech last year, telling the Republican Jewish Coalition, “I’m a negotiator, like you folks” and has echoed the phrase in reference to Iran, saying Persians “are great negotiators.”" [NYTimes]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Josh Kushner's Thrive Capital Raises $700 Million for Fifth Fund [DealBook;TechCrunch]  Africa-Israel Shares, Bonds Soar on Leviev Debt Rescue Plan [Bloomberg]  Billionaire Eli Broad reveals the simple philosophy behind his amazing success [CNBC]  Detroit siblings behind Orley win prestigious fashion award [ClickOnDetroit]  Tate Capital, led by Jimmy Tate and Kenny Tate, acquired a controlling interest in an office building near the Dadeland Mall [BizJournals]

SPOTLIGHT: "NYC real estate moguls pump more than $2.2M into Trump Victory fund" by Will Parker: "Stephen Feinberg, head of the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, gave $339,400 and his wife Mary Feinberg, matched that contribution. Howard Lorber, CEO of Vector Group and chair of brokerage Douglas Elliman, chipped into Trump Victory, giving $100,000. Bennett Lebow, chairman of Vector Group, contributed $100,000. The LeFrak Organization’s Richard LeFrak gave $100,000. Ziel Feldman gave $2,700 to Clinton in March, but gave $25,000 to Trump Victory in June. Developer David Bistricer gave $5,000 and JDS Development Group’s Michael Stern gave $25,000."[RealDeal]

TALK OF THE TOWN: "Can Israeli-type security measures work at LAX and other U.S. airports?" by Hugo Martin: "In the wake of two grisly attacks on European airports, one name has been on the lips of U.S. lawmakers and airport executives: Ben Gurion International Airport. U.S. airport executives and lawmakers have increasingly debated whether the security measures used at Ben Gurion could prevent the kind of bloodshed that took place in the Brussels and Istanbul airports this year. Ben Gurion hosted a conference last month attended by airport officials from more than 40 countries to learn about the airport’s security tactics, and former Ben Gurion security officials have testified several times at U.S. congressional hearings over the last few years." [LATimes]

KAFE KNESSET -- by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: In Jerusalem last night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu starred in the best show in town, as he came to the Knesset podium to address questions from the opposition for almost two hours. Inspired by the British tradition of a parliamentary Question Time for cabinet members, the Knesset recently decided to start a local version. Once a month, a member of the cabinet appears before lawmakers and takes questions for an hour. However, since Netanyahu currently holds four ministries, he had to speak for an hour and 40 minutes - with 10 extra minutes for each portfolio he keeps to himself.

Netanyahu seemed to enjoy every minute of the event, and the members of the opposition didn’t really give him a hard time. Netanyahu laid out his messages about religion and state, economy, the peace process and more without any difficulties. When asked about police investigations focused on him, his family and senior staff, the Prime Minister said it is all "absolute nonsense." He advised his political rivals from all corners "not to start sewing your suits yet. Stop the tailors!"

One interesting headline he delivered was that he expects discussions with the U.S. over a new MoU to be completed within a few weeks. The spectacle reminded everyone of two important things: that in the current Knesset, Netanyahu is still undoubtedly King Bibi, and that the political actors he might really be worried about are currently waiting, planning and conspiring out of the parliament. 

DESSERT: "Kosher Prison Food Isn't Strictly for Kosher Prisoners" by Noah Feldman: "The appeals court was right to say that Florida must provide kosher meals under federal law. But should the case arise again, it should clarify that kosher meals can’t be limited to strictly kosher inmates under the law. Otherwise the protection of religious exercise would amount to religious discrimination."[BloombergView]

BIRTHDAYS: Chairman and CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz turns 63... Shai Stern... Warren Rapf... Pulitzer Prize winning NY Times reporter and author of "The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men," Eric Lichtblau turns 51... Politico reporter Isaac Arnsdorf... Violinist, composer, conductor, and co-founder of the Juilliard String Quartet, Robert Mann turns 96... Israeli actress, model and film producer, Yael Abecassis turns 49... 

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