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DRIVING THE DAY -- The Great Debate: Which Party Is Better For The Jews? At 10:15am, the AJC's Global Forum hosts a debate between Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) and Republican strategist Dan Senor, author of Start-Up Nation. "GOP leaders tout their support for Israel, but can they break the Democratic Party's grip on American Jewish support?" [AJC]
Sen. Corker at AJC: Republicans Are Not More Supportive of Israel than Democrats -- by Jacob Kornbluh: “I would love to say to the audience that, you know, Republicans are much more supportive of Israel than Democrats are, but that’s not true,” Corker said during a discussion on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Thankfully, that is not true.” According to the Senate Foreign Relations Chairman, while there’s an unprecedented “tenseness” that currently exists in the relationship between the Obama administration and the Israeli government, once a new president is elected, “what you are going to see is a return to the norm, regardless who comes out of this cycle.” [JewishInsider]
Corker on the MOU: “My sense is that over the next very short period of time, an announcement is going to be made that an agreement has been put in place... The calculus for Israel is to wait until the next president comes along, if they feel like that what’s happening during these negotiations is not - from their standpoint - as good as it might be. The downside of that is, the military leaders and others that depend upon this -- as you know it takes a while to plan - and they’d be waiting until the next year where you’re getting close to the time of implementation. So, my sense is an agreement is going to be reached. I have had multiple conversations about that over the course of the last two or three weeks, and I think that’s going to come to a satisfactory conclusion very soon. It will be supported overwhelmingly by Congress.”[CSPAN]
Panel of Israeli reporters on 2016 -- JPost's Herb Keinon: "If Clinton is the president, you’re going to see some policy changes but not a sizable policy change. But you will see a big change in tone. I think Clinton gets something that Obama didn’t get: she understands what makes Israelis tick, and that you get more from Israel with honey than with vinegar.” Haaretz's Amir Oren: “Israel has nothing to fear from Hillary Clinton’s presidency.” Yediot's Ronen Bergman: “I think Israelis understand that Hillary is going to be very friendly, and they still see Donald Trump as some sort of a riddle.”
Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Lambastes Trump’s Anti-Mexican Rhetoric: “Ruiz Massieu further touted the close relationship between the Mexican people and the Jewish community and their shared values, saying that if history has taught us anything, “when discrimination is allowed against one group, it’s just a matter of time before it is targeted against others. Let me say loud and clear: Fighting anti-Semitism, like standing up to anti-Mexican sentiments, is not a Jewish issue nor a Mexican issue. It’s a common battle for human rights. It is a matter of universal dignity that goes beyond race, religion, ideology or politics. And this stance is simply non-negotiable,” she added.” [JewishInsider]
Susan Rice at AJC: "Next week is the festival of Shavuot. As Jews do every year, congregations around the world will read from the Book of Ruth, as Ruth pledges herself to her mother-in-law and to Israel: “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God.” That profound expression of family and faith—that joining together of fates—is the spirit animating the relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Israel. It’s an ironclad bond. It’s a solemn promise that endures l’dor va’dor, from generation to generation. That doesn’t mean we always agree on every issue. Like all of us, I’m sure the biblical Ruth sometimes didn’t see eye-to-eye with her in-laws. But, as President Obama told the people of Israel when he visited Jerusalem, “So long as there is a United States of America you are not alone.” [Transcript; CSPAN] "Susan Rice Says ‘Foolish’ To Rule Out Backing UN Resolution on Israel" in interview with Jane Eisner [Forward]
"Dermer to American Jewry: Advocate for religious pluralism in Israel" by Herb Keinon:"Dermer called on U.S. Jewry Monday to continue raising their voices on religious pluralism issues to serve as a catalyst for change on the matter inside Israel. Dermer said that he believes “ultimately the changes you seek will actually be there,” but that it is “a very long process. That may not be an answer everyone loves to hear. But I suggest that you keep saying what you have to say, keep expressing your opinion.” Dermer said that these issues are difficult to move forward in Israel because “contrary to what people believe, the prime minister is not a king."" [JPost]
KAFE KNESSET -- by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: The talk of the town today is a new crisis in the Israeli coalition, this time having to do with the media landscape and racial tensions. Yesterday, Israel's Channel 10 anounced that it was appointing a new Chairman -- Rami Sadan, a businessman considered close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the post of Minister of Communications. Last night, in his first meeting with the company's board, Sadan reportedly made insulting comments about the Sephardic, ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, calling its leader, Interior Minister Arie Deri "a thief," and saying "I hate Shas." (The quotes first appeared in Haaretz).
In response, the party has threatened to stop voting with the coalition, until Netanyahu interferes and fires Sadan. However, it's not at all clear if Netanyahu, even though he holds the Communications Ministry, is able to or wants to do that. Sadan may have to quit, but meanwhile he is denying the quotes attributed to him, and says that he apologizes if anyone was hurt by the reports in other media outlets.
Kafe Knesset Double Espresso -- Bibi’s Week: Between Peace and the Police: "Bennett, who eagerly awaits the day Netanyahu puts him out of the government to make room for Herzog, will then immediately accuse Netanyahu of being a sheep in wolf’s clothing – a politician who talks like a right-winger before the elections, but chooses a coalition with the left a year later. Who knows: maybe someone from his party will even give a speech on the Knesset podium, not unlike Hendel 12 years ago.. “Netanyahu,” that member of Knesset will declare, “has decided to make nice with the leftists – and we all know why he’s doing it” In Israeli politics, after all, history always repeats itself, but unlike the famous quote, it’s not always possible to separate between the tragedy and the farce." [JewishInsider]
"Israel's Army Gets Pulled Deeper Into the Political Mire" by Daniel Gordis: "If Netanyahu, usually a masterful political tactician, did overplay his hand, Ya’alon’s exit from politics may be temporary. In that case, the departure the prime minister precipitated may prove to have been his own."[BloombergView]
“Following Cuomo's Lead, Jewish Leaders Ask Federal Government To Oppose Israel Boycott” by Marcia Kramer: "Jewish leaders want Congress to pass a law that says the government will not do business with companies who support BDS. “It’s the 21st century’s expression of anti-Semitism – that you hate the corporate Jew; the collective Jew; the state of Israel – even if you can’t say, ‘I hate Jews,’” said Malcolm Hoenlein. “This is an important way to put a stop to it.” [CBS]
TOP TALKER: "During a Monday conference call with supporters, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee overruled a directive sent out by his own campaign" by Kevin Cirilli, Michael Bender & Jennifer Jacobs: "Told the memo was sent by Erica Freeman, a staffer who circulates information to surrogates, Trump said he didn't know her. He openly questioned how the campaign could defend itself if supporters weren't allowed to talk. "Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?" Trump said. "That's one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren't so smart." [Bloomberg]
Sheldon's Choice: “Gingrich in pole position to join Trump presidential ticket, say conservatives” by Peter Stone: “Gingrich’s prospects of joining the Republican presidential ticket as Donald Trump’s running mate are expected to get a boost from mega donor Sheldon Adelson, say three conservatives with links to Gingrich or the casino billionaire. “Given Adelson’s respect for Newt and that Gingrich encouraged Adelson to back Trump, it would make sense that Adelson has been pushing Gingrich for vice-president,” said one senior Republican operative who talks to Gingrich fairly often."
“Clearly Adelson knows Gingrich’s long-standing commitment to Israel, and having him on the ticket would give him great comfort,” said Rick Tyler, a former Gingrich press aide who stays in touch with him. Tyler, an analyst with MSNBC, said: “It would not surprise me if Adelson was promoting Newt for vice-president.” Michael Epstein, a Maryland donor close to Adelson, who said last month he would vote for Trump but “hold my nose and pray”, feels better about Gingrich. “He’s extremely knowledgeable on foreign policy issues and understands the legislative process very well,” he said.” [TheGuardian]
Perhaps Not: "Donald Trump: Newt Gingrich's criticism of judge comment 'inappropriate'" [CNN]
“No Trump plan yet to prevent a nuclear Iran, senior aide says” by Michael Willner: “Trump "would definitely enforce it [the Iran deal] very strongly," said Jason Greenblatt, the GOP candidate's top adviser on Israel and Jewish world issues, of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. "[Texas Senator Ted] Cruz famously kept saying during the debates that he would rip it up on day one," Greenblatt said of the deal. "It's a lot more complicated than that." While he would "police the hell" out of the agreement as president, Trump also does not believe the JCPOA will prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. What Trump would do to prevent Iran from acquiring this capability is not yet clear, Greenblatt said.”[JPost]
Marc Thiessen: “Trump has willingly ceded the historic GOP foreign policy advantage to win over the #NeverHillary left. We’ll see whether his gamble pays off.” [WashPost]
"The Neo-Nazi (((Echoes))) Symbol Is Officially Hate Speech" by Cooper Fleishman and Anthony Smith: "Following Mic's investigation into ((())), the "echo" symbol used by white supremacists to identify and target Jews for harassment, the Anti-Defamation League has added it to "Hate on Display," its online database of hate symbols. "The echo symbol is the online equivalent of tagging a building with anti-Semitic graffiti or taunting someone verbally," said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt." [Mic; TheGuardian]
Evan Siegfried: "Twitter forbids threats. But it isn’t stopping every anti-Semitic Trump fan"[WashPost]
"Hoteliers at NYU conference take veiled shots at Trump" by Danny King: "Loews Hotels & Resorts chairman Jonathan Tisch, in his conference keynote speech, decried what he called “fear-filled rhetoric” in politics, while Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson criticized “demonizing foreigners” and “overstating risks.” Blackstone’s global head of real estate, Jonathan Gray, spoke in favor of “comprehensive immigration reform,” implying his support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants." [TravelWeekly]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Inside the Blood Feud Between Billionaire Bruce Wasserstein’s Children"[VanityFair] "Israel Shipping Magnate Idan Ofer and Google's Eric Schmidt Among Billionaires Backing Hedge Fund" [TheMarker] "Struggling Ralph Lauren Tries to Fashion a Comeback" [WSJ] "Redstone family firm moves to block Paramount Pictures sale" [LATimes] "Busy Billionaires' Row area could get another pricey project courtesy of Joe Sitt" [Crains] "Ivanka Trump Announces New Book about Women and Work" [TheHive]
PROFILE: "The Founding Father of Bling: How Jacob Arabo became hip-hop’s diamond king" by Rachelle Bergstein: "In 1979, a young man named Yakov Arabov immigrated to New York City with his family. They were Bukharan Jews from Uzbekistan, then a part of the Soviet Union, and they arrived in the States with very little money. Arabov, just fourteen years old, enrolled in high school but felt compelled to help his parents with their financial troubles..."
"Yakov Arabov anglicized his name to Jacob Arabo, left school, and found a job at a jewelry factory where he earned $125 a week (approximately $338 today). It was a good salary for a sixteen-year-old boy, but Jacob wasn’t there for just lunch money; he had grand ambitions of earning enough to take care of his entire family. Within a few years, by the time he was twenty, he quit and opened his own retail stall on Sixth Avenue and Forty-Seventh Street, in the heart of New York’s diamond district." [CuePoint]
HAPPENING TODAY: At 1PM, Helen Mirren and Ronald Lauder will be on the Hill to testify on the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act – a bill introduced by Senators Cornyn, Cruz, Schumer and Blumenthal. [Judiciary]
TRANSITION: "Susie Gelman -- former President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington for three terms and the inaugural chair of the Birthright Israel Foundation, among her many positions during forty years as a leader in the nonprofit community -- was elected chair of Israel Policy Forum."
NO SCENE: "At Haaretz's request, Supreme Court orders Foreign Ministry to name attendees at U.S. ambassador's seder” by Barak Ravid: “The Supreme Court on Monday accepted a petition filed by Haaretz and ordered the Foreign Ministry to provide the newspaper with the list of attendees at a Passover seder held by Ron Dermer, Israel’s Washington ambassador, within 30 days. The case involves a second seder meal held at Dermer’s residence on April 15, 2014. The most prominent guest at the event, attended by 34 people, was U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. He had posted his intention to attend the meal earlier, on the State Department’s website. A few days later, Haaretz asked the embassy on three occasions to obtain the list of invitees, but was turned down each time.” [Haaretz]
TALK OF THE TOWN: "Saved by their mobile phones: Dozens of Jewish teenagers from London are rescued after using their handsets as distress beacons" by Martin Robinson: "A group of 34 Jewish schoolchildren got trapped on a beach as the tide rushed in during a disastrous hike last night but managed to guide in lifeboats and a rescue helicopter by waving their lit-up phones. The teenagers, believed to be from Stamford Hill in north London, were stuck on a stretch of coastal path below the White Cliffs of Dover, known for deadly rock falls. Extraordinary footage taken from a helicopter shows the lost students frantically waving their mobile at RNLI rescue teams while clambering around below treacherous cliffs as the tide rushed in." [DailyMail]
DESSERT: "From Treif to Treat: How Oreos, Coke and Jell-O Became Kosher" by David Kraemer: "'Kosher USA' is a detailed account of the scientific and business-related aspects of the history of kashrut, including the battles to allow observant Jews to enjoy forbidden favorites." [Haaretz;Amazon]
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