Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: May 11, 2016

Trump to visit Israel after all... so he says | Why only Israel can customize U.S. fighter jets | Meet Alan Amron: Ali's Jewish manager

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign stop in Indianapolis, April 27, 2016.
Darron Cummings/AP
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TOP QUOTE -- Jon Stewart on David Axelrod's The Axe Files: "And now, from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and CNN, the Axe files, with your host, David Axelrod. JON STEWART: Oh, can I say... DAVID AXELROD: Now you can say... JON STEWART: This is how Jews meet all the time. (Laughter) When people aren't paying attention, we sneak into churches and just chat. (Laughter)" [CNN]

Trump Confirms Planned Trip to Israel -- by Jacob Kornbluh:
"The Trump campaign on Monday denied a Friday report by Israel’s Ma’ariv daily that the presumptive nominee is planning to visit Israel, Russia and Germany after the convention. But in an interview with Israel Hayom, in honor of Israel’s 68th Independence Day, Trump confirmed the report. “I heard you are going to visit us soon, before the election,” the paper’s Boaz Bismuth asked. “Yes. I will be coming (to Israel) soon,” Trump responded." [JewishInsider] In Hebrew [IsraelHayom]

SPOTTED: Eric Trump walking at a fast clip by himself at 57th and 6th in NYC yesterday afternoon. 

HIRED GUN: "Donald Trump Hires C.O.O. for Growing Campaign Finance Operation" by Ashley Parker and Maggie Haberman: "Donald J. Trump has hired Eli H. Miller, deputy finance director for Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential bid, as the chief operating officer for his growing finance operation." [FirstDraft]

"Big Money Republicans Reluctant To Go All In On Trump" by Tarini Parti and Rosie Gray: “Frayda Levin, a major Republican donor who is involved with Koch-backed groups, said the decision many are debating on whether or not to get on board with Trump will depend on the type of donor they are. “You have to divide donors into those who are Republicans first and policy second and those who are policy first and Republicans second. Many who are policy first still aren’t comfortable with Trump.” Another top GOP donor to super PACs, billionaire Paul Singer, will focus on House and Senate races and does not plan on supporting either Trump or Clinton, according to a source.” [BuzzFeed]

"Trump Selects a White Nationalist Leader as a Delegate in California" by Josh Harkinson: "On Monday evening, California's secretary of state published a list of delegates chosen by the Trump campaign for the upcoming Republican presidential primary in the state. Trump's slate includes William Johnson, one of the country's most prominent white nationalists. Update: Responding to this story late Tuesday, the Trump campaign blamed Johnson's selection on a "database error," and Johnson told Mother Jones he would resign." [MotherJones; JI]

“Fact Check: Did Hillary Clinton Introduce A New Approach To Early Education?” by Anya Kamenetz: “A Clinton campaign video features Bill Clinton, in a speech, crediting his wife with bringing the program to the U.S. from Israel when she was first lady of Arkansas in 1985. "She comes in one day, jumping up and down happy," the former president says in the video. "She says, 'I found it. A preschool program in Israel that teaches people to be their children's first teachers even if they're illiterate. I think it could work here' ... Next thing you know it's in 26 states.” The short answer: Hillary Clinton did bring the program to Arkansas, but she wasn't responsible for importing it to the United States. And it is national, in 21 — not 26 — states and DC, but it's not very big — only 15,000 participants each year.” [NPR]

TOP TALKER: "Kerry Tries to Drum Up Some Business in Europe for Iran" by Felicia Schwartz: "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that European businesses should not use U.S. sanctions on Iran as an excuse for avoiding business with Tehran. Mr. Kerry’s comments were part of the Obama administration’s moves recently to help integrate Iran into the global economic system after decades of punitive sanctions." [WSJ; NYTimes]

Mark Dubowitz tells us: "In its remaining time, the Obama administration will do everything possible to enable European business with Iran and the Europeans and Iranians will put enormous pressure on the next administration to continue that trajectory,” FDD's Mark Dubowitz told Jewish Insider. According to Dubowitz, the only way European companies would be reluctant to rush doing business with Iran would be if the U.S. imposes meaningful economic sanctions on Iran for its support for terrorism, missile activities or human rights abuses. “It will take a bold administration — and Hillary Clinton may be tough-minded enough to do this — to resist the pressure and use the full range of American power to counter Iranian aggression,” he said. “If she signals a willingness to do that, European companies, especially the large banks and insurance companies, may stay out.” [JewishInsider]

“State Dept. blames 'glitch' for missing Iran video” by Pete Kasperowicz: “The State Department said Tuesday that a "glitch" led a video on its website to be altered in such a way that it removed comments from a spokeswoman who seemed to admit in 2013 that the government lied about when the Iran nuclear talks started. "There was a glitch in the State Department video," spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters.” [WashExaminer]

“Ron Dermer: Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is highlight of my DC tenure” by Herb Keinon: ”Dermer rejected the criticism that Netanyahu’s decision to go ahead with the speech against the Iran deal despite US President Barack Obama’s bitter opposition was a colossal mistake that set back Israel-US ties.“The fact that the prime minister spoke up in the face of so much unjust criticism is not just a highlight of my tenure in Washington but, in my view, one of the highlights of his premiership and one of the many reasons I am so proud to serve him,” he said.” [JPost]

SPECIAL PRIVILEGES: "Why Only Israel Can Customize America's F-35 (At Least for Now)" by Eric Adams:
"The stealth fighter jet, which Lockheed Martin is selling to US allies, comes with caveats that expressly prohibit unauthorized tinkering and a requirement that only US-run facilities service the plane. These rules, designed to protect deeply intertwined systems and maintain the security of sensitive technology, are non-negotiable. Unless you are Israel." [WiredMag]

Happening today: The annual Jewish American Heritage Month Congressional Celebration, hosted by the U.S. Jewish Heritage Committee and coordinated by The Friedlander Group, will take place at the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill at noon. 

In NYC: Ambassador Danny Danon will host a special showing of “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway in honor of Israel’s 68th Independence Day.  

Heard yesterday -- Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, gave his perspective on Syria, the war against ISIS, the strategic challenges ahead for the United States and its allies, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in a conversation with Michael Doran at the Hudson Institute on Tuesday. 

Highlights -- Rubio indirectly rebuked Trump's foreign policy approach that the U.S. should scale down its global presence in favor of focusing on domestic problems, stressing how important U.S. engagement is to the economy and national security. "It's a lot easier to say let's walk away. It's a lot easier to say for example, why do we give all this money to NATO and these other people do not? It's easier to say that than to explain what would happen if you didn't," Rubio said. "While it is true that there are certainly consequences and complexities presented by our engagement, I still think a world without our engagement is not a world we want to live in. If we are not engaged in the world, the price we'll pay will be much higher in the long run than the price we pay to be engaged.” [Video]

Rubio on Netanyahu’s call to recognize Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights: “In the short term, the Golan isn’t going anywhere. It is going to continue to be an important buffer for Israel, especially given what you now see on the ground. What I try to avoid doing is add additional irritant to an already difficult issue because it would almost be used by some of the forces in Syria to call for additional arms with regards to what’s happening and perhaps even trigger more activity near the Golan at a time when Israel faces multiple threats. But the reality of it is that even if Israel tomorrow would give up the Golan, who exactly would they turn it over to? My guess is that for the foreseeable future, Israel will continue to have an enduring presence in the Golan... I think that as part of the final matrix, it is likelier than not that the Golan Heights will remain in Israeli control for a long, long time.” [JewishInsider] Flashback: “Rubio Supports Israeli Annexation of Golan Heights” [JewishInsider]

STATE SCENE -- David Adelman emails from Des Moines, Iowa: "After a bipartisan push from the Iowa Legislature, the Governor signed House File 2331, an Act concerning investment of certain public funds in and public contracts with companies that boycott Israel. The progressive and conservative communities came together to advocate for the legislation after seeing that BDS is not a pro-peace movement. The Iowa State Legislature spoke resoundingly with the passage of legislation that rejects bigotry, rejects anti-Semitism, and prevents state agencies from working with companies that unjustly discriminate against one of America’s closest allies." 

--Spotted at the signing: Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Republican Majority Leader Rep. Chris Hagenow, Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Mike Gronstal, Sen. Matt McCoy, Sen. Charles Schneider, Israel Project's Jacob Milner, and 6 year old Michael Adelman. [Pic]

Jesse Gabriel emails from Sacramento, California: "Several dozen activists and Jewish communal professionals converged on Sacramento to lobby on homelessness and anti-BDS legislation as part of the annual JPAC lobby day. Senator Mark Leno presented the Earl Raab Award to Rabbi Doug Kahn and joked about being a rabbinical school dropout. Hot topics of conversations included Former Assembly Speaker John Pérez's encyclopedic knowledge of Jewish trivia and the heated State Senate race between NLP alum Henry Stern and Jewish World Watch co-founder Janice Kaminer-Reznick."

--Spotted: State Treasurer John Chiang, Former Obama Administration staffer Jake Levine, Dr. Anita Friedman, Abby Porth, Catherine Schneider, Paul Castro, Shana Hazan, Nancy Volpert, Jerilyn Gelt, Julie Zeisler, Rabbi Noah Farkas, Gia Daniller Katz, Howard Welinsky.
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Carl Icahn Is Betting Big on a Stock Market Crash" [Fortune] "Best-paid U.S. hedge fund managers take home $13 billion" [Reuters] "Mayoral Aide in Talks About Rivington Before Deed Restrictions Lifted, Property Sold" [WSJ] "Israeli Stocks Are Dragged Down by Teva Pharmaceutical" [TheStreet]

SPOTLIGHT: "Israeli Entrepreneurs Are Shaking Up The American Real Estate Market" by Omri Barzilay: "There’s little doubt that 2015 will be remembered as a remarkable year in real estate technology. With more than $1.7 billion deployed globally across more than 190 deals, real estate technology reached record funding and deal levels never seen before. Two of the leading companies in this surge was WeWork and Compass co-founded by Adam Neumann and Ori Allon respectively who are both from Israel." [Forbes]

STARTUP NATION: "Chinese tech giant Kuang-Chi harnesses Israeli tech to build smart cities in China" by Dennis Mitzner: "Kuang-Chi, a Shenzhen-based technology conglomerate, recently launched a $300 million Israel fund in Tel Aviv to tap the country’s smart-city know-how, according to the company’s founder Ruopeng Liu." [TechCrunch]

LongRead: "South Florida Man Alan Amron Says He Invented the Post-it and Lost Millions" by Jerry Iannelli:
"Alan Amron's living room on Evernia Street in West Palm Beach is barely wider than the dark sofa that dominates it... Not exactly the kind of home you'd expect for a guy who says he invented a product that sells an estimated $1 billion a year. So, yeah, things haven't turned out like Amron hoped. But the 68-year-old is unquestionably a genius. He holds patents on 40 inventions and has come up with scores of others: a battery-operated water gun, a digital photo frame, sprays that dissolve dog poop, a zombie-like doll that walks toward you as if it were Frankenstein, a bubblegum tape dispenser, numerous children's toys, an early version of the TV sleep timer, and a green laser cannon that shoots a first-down line onto football fields." 

"In 1976, Amron took a vacation from Long Island to Miami Beach. Strolling along Collins Avenue, he ducked into a greasy spoon to grab some breakfast. Improbably, Muhammad Ali, then the greatest boxer on the planet, sat in a booth in the middle of the restaurant, tearing his way through a stack of pancakes. Amron, ever the opportunist, walked up to Ali's table. "Excuse me, sir," he began, "but I'm trying to re-form the Beatles. Would you like to help?" "The Beatles?" the boxer replied. "I love the Beatles!" Ali then shoved one of his massive hands into his pocket and fished out his wallet. He handed Amron a business card. "This is the number to my manager," Ali said. "Call him and tell him I want to do this with you." 

"After his initial meeting with Ali at the Miami Beach diner, Amron flew out to the boxer's home in Chicago. Jabir Herbert Muhammad, Ali's manager and spiritual adviser, met the duo at the house... "We need someone like you," Muhammad the manager told Amron at lunch that day. "When people see me, they get sort of scared, sort of upset." Muhammad was also a prominent leader in the Nation of Islam. "We need a nice Jewish kid like you to represent Ali in movie deals, TV deals, that sort of thing. I'll tell you what to say, and you go out and do it." So Amron became Ali's manager." [BPBNewTimes]

REVIEW: “In new Anthony Weiner documentary, it’s hard not to see shades of Trump” by Marina Fang: “In a now-famous incident, a routine campaign stop at a kosher bakery just days before the primary turns ugly when Weiner gets combative with an antagonistic customer. Outside the bakery, the filmmakers interview an eyewitness to the fracas, who is dumbfounded at Weiner’s behavior. “Why didn’t he just walk away?” he says, shaking his head. “Why did he need that? It was going nicely!” Afterward, Weiner seems to regret how he escalated the situation. Yet his first reaction upon seeing the video, which has gone viral, is one of vanity: he complains about the “terrible shot” of his bald spot.” [HuffPost]

BIRTHDAYS: Philanthropist and CEO of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, Bill Ackman turns 5-0... Israeli optical and kinetic artist and sculptor Yaacov Agam (who was born Yaakov Gibstein) turns 88... Comedian Mort Sahl, the pioneer of social and political satire for comics, turns 89... Director of Governmental Affairs at the Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia, Michael Alexander... Howard Pollack... 
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