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DEEP DIVE: "Israel Boycott Is Failing When Measured by Main Economic Gauge" by Sangwon Yoon: "Foreign investments in Israeli assets hit a record high last year of $285.12 billion, a near-tripling from 2005 when the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was started by a group of Palestinians. Money managers, economists and government officials say Israeli assets are an attractive alternative to weak performers elsewhere."
"Barghouti argued that the BDS movement’s strength is precisely in its “indirect, palpable psychological impact on the mainstream Israeli psyche about the country becoming more ‘isolated’ from the world.” Sheldon Adelson, a Jewish-American billionaire who has helped raise millions to fight BDS, says he is not worried about possible economic damage for Israel. “This is a PR battle and its biggest threat is demonization of Israel,” Adelson said in an interview."
"Shlomo Maoz, chief economist at S.M. Tel Aviv Investments, said what worries him most is that the cultural boycott could set the scene for an economic one. “BDS now is not a big threat, it’s a threat,” he said. “But when students go to college in America, the U.K., and see anti-Israel BDS protests, and then go to be fund managers in five, seven years -- then it could be a problem.” [Bloomberg]
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: "French Summit on Middle East Peace: Five Reasons Not to Expect Much" by Aaron David Miller: "After 20-plus years of planning mostly failed Middle East peace conferences for Republican and Democratic administrations, I know a fatally flawed one when I see it. Here are five reasons why the French peace initiative that opens Friday in Paris–a ministerial meeting of nearly 30 nations; notionally designed to be followed by a fall conference including the Israelis and Palestinians—can’t deliver a serious and sustained negotiating process, let alone a breakthrough." [WSJ]
REPORT: "Israel lobbying Trump, Clinton to blunt potential UN action" by Michael Wilner:"One scenario being tossed around in Jerusalem is that Obama will allow the French to continue with their current peace initiative, but then commandeer control of it after November and pass his own UN resolution in its place. By reaching out to associates of the two presumptive main party candidates for president, Israel is hoping whoever wins in November will be able to restrain Obama from taking such diplomatic action." [JPost]
Aaron David Miller tells us: “Israelis have reason to be nervous. And if the MOU gets done the administration will have laid the predicate of protecting Israel's back on the security side so that it can press ahead on peace process. I'm betting there will be no UNSC resolution but an Obama parameters speech, and if the new Israeli government increases settlements etc., some very tough rhetoric.”
DRIVING THE DAY: "Clinton launching national security case against Trump in California speech" by Anne Gearan: "Clinton’s campaign hopes that there are many more national-security-minded Republicans and independents who would vote for her, even grudgingly, rather than see Trump win the White House. “I would support a random name in the phone book” over Trump, said Philip Zelikow, a University of Virginia history professor who was a State Department official in the George W. Bush administration." [WashPost; Yahoo]
Haim Saban talks Trump with Danielle Berrin: “He’s not a successful businessman; he is not a billionaire; this is a guy, who, I promise you, doesn’t pay taxes and he is an oppressor of the weak,” Saban said. He illustrated his critique with a personal anecdote: “He claims that he ‘never settles’ — well, all I can tell you as chairman of Univision is that he sued us and he settled.” At this point, one of Saban’s PR reps, who was also on the phone, sensed that Saban was getting a little excited and requested that the details of the settlement not be disclosed in my article. “To be honest with you, I want my opinion of Trump out there,” Saban insisted. “I think that he is a danger to America.”
Saban is equally concerned that Trump would be a danger to Israel: “One day he says he’s going to be neutral on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian problem, and the next day — I guess after he gets some Republicans to give him a lot of money — he says, ‘Yes, Israel should build in the settlements.’ The danger here is that he doesn’t understand the conflict between those two statements; he just doesn’t get it. He is an improviser on every single issue." [JewishJournal]
TOP TALKER: “Trump Is Considering a Pre-Convention Visit to Israel” by Gabriel Sherman:“According to four sources briefed on the discussions, Trump is considering traveling to Israel sometime before the GOP convention in July to bolster his support among Middle East hawks. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and associates of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson are organizing the potential tour, sources say. According to two sources, the Trump campaign has indicated to Adelson that Adelson's preferred choice for vice-president, Newt Gingrich, will be given a senior role in a Trump administration even if he doesn't get the VP nod.” [NYMag]
WALL GAZING: Trump's Trip may include tour of Israel's border fence with Egypt:“According to a Wednesday report by Debka File, a possible trip to Israel “a few days” before the convention, is being worked on by Trump’s Israel advisor Jason Greenblatt and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. The trip would also include a tour at the southern fence along Israel’s border with Egypt, according to Debka.” [JewishInsider]
Trump in Sacramento: "Do walls work? They work. Just ask Israel." [Twitter]
Trump talks Ari Emanuel with The Hollywood Reporter: "Among his frequent media and now political confidants is WME co-CEO Ari Emanuel — whose brother, Rahm, the mayor of Chicago, was once Obama's chief of staff — whom Trump says has offered to take charge of the Trump celebratory convention film. Emanuel and Trump, while at seeming odds politically, might in fact be even better united in a kind of hyper salesmanship. "He's a very good friend of mine," says Trump. "He calls me a lot. I call him a lot and we talk. He's very political. Even though he's not political, he's political. He gets it. You're shocked to hear that, right? [About the movie.] But yeah, I might do something with Ari. Does he represent you?"
--Kushner's take: "His son-in-law, New York Observer owner Jared Kushner, married to his daughter Ivanka and also a real estate scion — but clearly a more modest and tempered fellow, a wisp next to his beefsteak father-in-law — offered that they may have reached 100 percent name recognition. In other words, Trump could be the most famous man in the world right now. "I may be," says Trump, almost philosophically." [HollywoodReporter]
“Trump's Jewish Advisor: Mr. Trump's Too Busy to Keep Denouncing Anti-Semitic Views of Supporters” by Jacob Kornbluh: “I do not think Mr. Trump can be responsible for people who are anti-Semitic who support him,” Greenblatt said in a Wednesday morning interview with Nachum Segal on “JM in the AM” radio program. “He has come out clearly against anti-Semitism It really bothers me that people think that he constantly has to repeat statements he has said before. I just think that they have to understand that he has a campaign to run, he has an election to win, and he can’t keep going around saying ‘I denounce anti-Semitism.’ He said it clearly and emphatically on multiple times.”[JewishInsider] Audio [NachumSegal]
"(((Echoes))), Exposed: The Secret Symbol Neo-Nazis Use to Target Jews Online" by Cooper Fleishman and Anthony Smith: "Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and white nationalists have begun using three sets of parentheses encasing a Jewish surname — for instance, (((Fleishman))) — to identify and target Jews for harassment on blogs and major social media sites like Twitter. As one white supremacist tweeted, "It's closed captioning for the Jew-blind." The origins of the symbol ((())) can be traced to a hardcore, right-wing podcast called The Daily Shoah in 2014." [Mic]
Noam Neusner: "Don’t Apologize for Being Jewish — to the Left or the Right" [Forward]
"Anti-Defamation League mobilizes on anti-Semitism, racism against journalists" by Erik Wemple: "In announcing its task force, the ADL made no mention of Trump. Greenblatt explains that the ADL is a 501(c)(3) group that neither supports nor rejects politicians. Furthermore, he said, anti-Semitic attacks have arisen both from the right and the left. In the case of the latter, he cites folks who try to “delegitimize the policies of the Israeli govt and oftentimes the speech used can be rather troubling.”[WashPost; TPM]
Yesterday we linked to a story on the ADL with a quote from NPR..."The ADL's Greenblatt supports LGBTQ rights and Black Lives Matter, but the perceived intersection of those movements with the Palestinian cause is making his advocacy work more difficult." [NPR]
ADL's Todd Gutnick emailed us to clarify: "Jonathan explicitly never said that he supported the formal Black Lives Matter Movement, nor does ADL. However, we do believe that many of the issues that have been raised by their supporters are legitimate topics of discussion and real civil rights concerns, such as mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. We firmly disagree with the positions of many self-identified members of the BLM leadership on Israel, particularly their support for delegitimization and BDS."
Brookings' Sarah Yerkes, a former foreign affairs officer in the State’s Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs, discussing the Democratic Party's platform debate on Israel: “Sort of strangely, what the party is trying to do is to negotiate -- discuss issues that have already been written in U.S. policy for many decades I don’t think that at the end of the day, that the platform is going to change. Given Sec. Clinton’s longstanding support of Israel - she’s been pretty clearly pro-Israel - I don’t think she’s going to allow the platform to change. And I think the presence of these two individuals (West and Zogby) are not enough to make any sort of significant changes to the platform.” [WNYC]
President Obama Renews Waiver Delaying Jerusalem Embassy Relocation -- by Jacob Kornbluh: "Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 7(a) of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-45) (the "Act"), I hereby determine that it is necessary, in order to protect the national security interests of the United States, to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitations set forth in sections 3(b) and 7(b) of the Act," Obama wrote in a memorandum directed to Secretary of State John Kerry.” [JewishInsider]
"State Dep't admits official censored 2013 briefing video" by Bradley Klapper: "A State Department official deliberately cut several minutes of videotape from a news briefing dealing with sensitive questions about U.S.-Iranian nuclear negotiations before posting the footage to its website and YouTube, the agency said Wednesday. In the Dec. 2, 2013, briefing, a reporter asked about the department's denial earlier that year of secret talks between Washington and Tehran. Then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded at the briefing: "There are times where diplomacy needs privacy." [AP]
HEARD at White House Press Briefing -- Q: "Senators Kaine and Murphy, both Democrats who support the Iran ideal, have introduced legislation that would extend sanctions against Iran past 2016, the idea being that there would still be a snapback in place if there was a violation of the Iran deal. I’m wondering if you can first say whether that kind of legislation is permissible under the Joint Plan of Action, and secondly, if the White House is supportive of their efforts?" Earnest: "I have to admit that I have not been briefed on the details of that legislation, so let me see if I can consult with one of my colleagues back at the White House who knows more about what they’ve proposed and see if we can get you a specific response.”
ON THE HILL: "Kaine, Murphy push extension of Iran sanctions" [TheHill]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Chetrit suing Barnett for $400M over Ring portfolio deal" [RealDeal] "Brooklyn Office-Building Boom Expands on Red Hook’s Waterfront" [Bloomberg] "Kushner's Piazza Gets New Name, Adds Co-Working to the Mix" [PhillyMag] "Real estate mogul ditches 57-year marriage out of nowhere for president of the French Friends of the Israel Museum" [NYPost] "Jay Zeidman's Houston-based Resolute Venture Partners health tech VC ready to make deals" [BizJournals] "Venture Capitalist Josh Kopelman Replaces Gerry Lenfest as PMN Chairman" [PhillyMag] "Orthodox Jewish businesses boosting regional economy" [APP] "Israel start-up czar says lack of workers is threat to high-tech scene" [ToI]
SPOTLIGHT: "Bloomberg just hired 22-year-old Apple scoop machine Mark Gurman" by Noah Kulwin: "Over the last few years, Mark Gurman has made a name for himself as the go-to guy for Apple product scoops. And now he's taking his talents to Bloomberg. Gurman has broken stories on the iPad, Siri and almost every other device in the Apple catalogue. Tech Insider reported earlier today that Gurman was leaving his perch at 9to5Mac. Gurman graduated from the University of Michigan last month, and he will be based in San Francisco." [Recode]
NEXT GEN: "The Suttons are struttin’ into residential" by Adam Pincus: "The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, although sometimes not exactly under it. Jeff Sutton, arguably the most successful owner of a closely held retail portfolio in New York City, has steered clear of residential assets for years. But his 24-year-old son Joseph, instead of keeping his eyes on street-level storefronts, is taking a look upstairs at the apartments. Joseph Sutton acquired three residential properties this year, and has his eyes set on more, according to property records and industry sources." [TheRealDeal]
PROFILE: "At 26, Raphael Toledano has gone from being a high school dropout waiting tables to one of the East Village’s biggest landlords" by Mark Maurer: "Before commencing the interview, Toledano, a Sephardic Jew who prays three times a day, wondered aloud out the ethics of journalists. “Do you believe in God? Yes or no?” he asked this reporter. Once at ease, the 26-year-old investor proceeded to launch into a mile-a-minute monologue about his achievements that often included frat-tastic boasts about his wealth... Despite his religious upbringing, Toledano had a rebellious streak. Early into high school, he dropped out of a yeshiva, a fact he now takes pride in. “Never made it through ninth grade, baby,” he said." [RDMagazine]
SCENE LAST NIGHT: The Kraft Center, aka Columbia/Barnard Hillel, honored businessman Ronald Perelman with its annual Seixas Award Wednesday night, which was presented by Robert Kraft. The Patriots owner told the crowd how much Perelman's friendship has meant to him recently, including occasional stops at Perelman HQ's private synagogue. Kraft referred to Brian Cohen, the Hillel's director, as the "Tom Brady of Hillel's." [Pic]
Spotted: Ron Perelman, Columbia President Lee Bollinger, Tina and Steven Price, Stephanie Katz-Rothman, Bob and Amy Bressman, Michael Lustig, Judy Schwartz and Michael Brizel, Daniel Bonner, Seffi Kogen, David Offit, David Fine and Ruthie Fruchter, UJA President Alisa Doctoroff, Aryeh Goldstein, Yadin Koschitzky, TZP's Sam Katz, OU's Allen Fagin, Hillel's Eric Fingerhut, Former Barnard Dean (and current Heschel School College Counselor) Dorothy Denburg, Dorothy Tananbaum, Michael and Talia Abramson, Phil and Judy Wilner, Sam Konig, Rabbi Ari Weiss, Hugh and Martha Pollack, Drew and Careena Parker.
TALK OF OUR NATION: "American Jews warn Israeli leader of possible 'rupture'" by Josef Federman: "A delegation of American Jewish representatives on Wednesday expressed "significant disappointment" over Israel's failure to carry out a historic agreement to allow non-Orthodox prayers at Jerusalem's Western Wall, warning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that relations with world Jewry could be harmed if the issue is not soon resolved." [AP]
KAFE KNESSET -- by Tal Shalev & Amir Tibon: "Members of the Knesset's foreign affairs and defense committee are fuming at Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, one of Netanyahu's closest confidants. According to a report on Israeli Channel 2, just before leaving his post, Hanegbi authored a report -- in the name of the committee -- that goes easy on the government's responsibility with dealing with the Hamas tunnel threat and clearing Netanyahu of misdeeds in handling the 2014 Gaza war. "This cover up is a spit in the face of the committee, an insult to soldiers that endangered their lives or sacrificed them protecting the southern communities," said opposition MK Ofer Shelach."
"The ghosts of the wrongdoings of the 2014 Operation Protective Edge have been sowing havoc for a few weeks now, as a draft of a harsh state comptroller report slamming the Prime Minister and Defense Minister's conduct, was leaked to the media. Both Netanyahu and Ya'alon slammed the report as not serious and politically biased, and Hanegbi's report could help dissolve the negative impressions by comparison."
"Meanwhile, spotted at Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef's daughter's wedding last night in Jerusalem: President Ruvi Rivlin, Chief Justice Miriam Naor, Shas leader Aryeh Deri, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Cabinet Ministers Ayelet Shaked, Uri Ariel, Yuval Steinitz and Zeev Elkin. Prime Minister Netanyahu will join the festivites this evening, as he is expected to attend a seven blessings ceremony at the Jerusalem Kings hotel."
TRANSITIONS: Mark Moskowitz to join the Jewish Agency as VP for Israel & Global Philanthropy: "Mark brings to The Jewish Agency decades of relevant and impactful non-profit experience in the Jewish community. Most recently he comes to us from the Anti-Defamation League’s Southeast region as its Regional Director. Prior experience includes President for Friends of ELNET, Director of Development for Israel on Campus Coalition, National Field Director for U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and Southeast Regional Director for AIPAC." H/T Scott Arogeti who interned for Mark at AIPAC prior to meeting and marrying his daughter.
TOP TWEET -- Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer with Roger Staubach: "Two HOFers tossing the football in an office in Dallas -- although one faced slightly stiffer competition." [Twitter]
BIRTHDAYS: British philanthropist and winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, Sir Sigmund Sternberg turns 95... National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman turns 64... Jared Fleitman... Ben Sheridan, National Political Associate at J Street (h/t Playbook)... Publisher of the Dayton Jewish Observer Marshall Weiss (yesterday)...
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