Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: November 7, 2016

Trump's controversial closing ad spotlights Blankfein, Yellen & Soros | JI Interview with Gary Bauer | Inside the Denton Thiel battle

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign event in Geneva, Ohio, U.S., October 27 2016.
Carlo Allegri, Reuters
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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Inside Donald Trump’s Last Stand: An Anxious Nominee Seeks Assurance” by Maggie Haberman, Ashley Parker, Jeremy Peters and Michael Barbaro: “Aboard his gold-plated jumbo jet, the Republican nominee does not like to rest or be alone with his thoughts, insisting that aides stay up and keep talking to him. He prefers the soothing, whispery voice of his son-in-law His polished older daughter, Ivanka, sat for a commercial intended to appeal to suburban women who have recoiled from her father’s incendiary language. But she discouraged the campaign from promoting the ad in news releases, fearing that her high-profile association with the campaign would damage the businesses that bear her name.” [NYTimes Video: Ivanka Trump Prays at Ohel of Chabad Rabbi on Saturday night [JewishInsider]

Amb. Norm Eisen tweets: "Wonder what the Rebbe would say, as refugee himself, to the fact Ivanka's dad is enabling hate for migrants and greatest wave of anti-Semitism in 75 years?" [Twitter]

“Georgina Bloomberg, Ivanka Trump still friends amid election tension” by Richard Johnson: “We all agreed we won’t let our fathers’ views affect our friendship,” Georgina told Jill Brooke for HudsonMOD magazine’s latest cover story. “I believe we will be able to keep our word. The fight is between our fathers, not us. I have nothing but love and respect for her and her family, and wish them all the best no matter how the election turns out.” [NYPost

“What Vladimir Putin Wants From America's Elections” by Peter Pomerantsev and Arkady Ostrovsky: “His aim is to discredit the U.S. election process. I don’t think he really thinks he can get Trump into power. I don’t think he particularly cares, frankly. In some ways, Hillary Clinton might be just as good, if not better [from Putin’s perspective], because Putin constantly needs a confrontation with somebody. If Hillary wins by a narrow margin and has a limited room for maneuver, Putin may be just as happy. So at the moment, he is confronting the whole American election system.” [TheAtlantic]

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Bret Stephens at the Jewish Review of Books conference in NYC: When asked if Trump appointing the right cabinet could alleviate concerns among many of his foreign policy critics, Stephens retorted that "the President is the only job that matters and Cabinet Secretaries are called 'secretaries' to emphasize their insignificance." 

“Netanyahu Strikes Neutral Tone Ahead of Election Day” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Whoever is elected, the new president, I am convinced that US-Israel relations, which are solid and strong, will not only remain as such, but will further strengthen,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “We also expect that the U.S. will remain faithful to the principle that it has set over many years, that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute can be resolved only by direct negotiations without preconditions, and of course, not in decisions by the UN or other international institutions.” Channel 10 reported on Sunday that Netanyahu has instructed members of his cabinet not to make any public comments on the presidential race. In a written directive to his ministers, Netanyahu said that since it's a “sensitive” issue, he will “set the tone.” [JewishInsider]  Israelis prefer Clinton over Trump, poll suggests [ToI

“Clinton? Trump? Palestinians Hope Obama Makes Final Push for Peace” by Amira Hass: “Of the two main candidates for U.S. president, the Palestinians prefer a third, says Husam Zomlot, strategy adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “Our best candidate right now is neither Trump nor Clinton, but Obama,” he said. “In his remaining time in office he has a golden opportunity to determine the next administration’s position towards the Palestinian issue,” Zomlot said.” [Haaretz

TOP TALKER: “Trump Rolls Out Anti-Semitic Closing Ad” by Josh Marshall: “It's also packed with anti-Semitic dog whistles, anti-Semitic tropes and anti-Semitic vocabulary. I'm not even sure whether it makes sense to call them dog whistles. The four readily identifiable American bad guys in the ad are Hillary Clinton, George Soros (Jewish financier), Janet Yellen (Jewish Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blankfein (Jewish Goldman Sachs CEO).” [TPM

“Franken: Trump ad is ‘something of a German shepherd whistle’” by Madeline Conway: “This was something of a German shepherd whistle, a dog whistle, to sort of the, a certain group in the United States” and said it speaks to “a certain part” of Trump’s base in the alt-right. I’m Jewish, so maybe I’m sensitive to it, but it clearly had sort of [an] ‘Elders of Zion’ kind of feel to it,” Franken said. “International banking plot or conspiracy, rather, and then a number of Jews I think that it’s an appeal to some of the worst elements in our country as his closing argument.” [Politico; JewishInsider

Alex Soros posts on Instagram: 
"Donald Trump once again descends to anti-Semitism. Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, remember the words of Rabbi Prinz!" [Instagram

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt: “Whether intentional or not, the images and rhetoric in this ad touch on subjects that anti-Semites have used for ages. This needs to stop. In the final days before the election, tensions are extremely high. It’s a time when all candidates need to be especially responsible and bid for votes by offering sincere ideas and policy proposals, not by conjuring painful stereotypes and baseless conspiracy theories.”

-- Trump’s Jason Greenblatt responds to ADL’s Greenblatt: "The ADL should focus on real anti-Semitism and hatred, and not try to find any where none exist. I am offended and concerned that an institution such as the ADL would involve itself in partisan politics instead of focusing on its important mission The suggestion that the ad is anything else is completely false and uncalled for.” [Forward]  David Friedman: “Only the Trump campaign has had the courage to call out Mr. Soros and his allies for their disgraceful behavior.” [JTA

JI INTERVIEW with Gary Bauer, president of American Values, a non-profit conservative-values oriented organization, and board member of Christians United for Israel and Emergency Committee for Israel. EXCERPTS: “It obviously looks extremely close,” Bauer told us in a phone interview about the presidential election. “If it is close, that in itself is a miracle because Donald Trump has been subjected to the most negative political campaign, I think, in American history, and has been massively outspent, and yet seems to have forced Hillary Clinton to campaign in states like Pennsylvania, and Michigan, and Wisconsin, which should be safely in her column. I think if he wins, it will be because more working class people flock to the polls, and enough Christian conservatives were willing to also vote for him, even though they were put off by some of the disclosures."

On his personal experience running for president in 2000: “I was never under the illusion that I was going to be taking the oath of office. I was trying in my own way to run a sort of populist campaign to get the Republican party to pay attention to a number of issues. It was a fantastic experience. My father was a janitor, and nobody in my family had ever finished high school. I had managed to work for Ronald Reagan for 8 years, be his chief domestic policy advisor. To then get into a presidential race and be in a half dozen nationally televised presidential debates was an incredible experience. I took my lumps. I was subjected to all the things that unfortunately are a bigger and bigger part of American politics. But I felt good about the experience at the end of it.”

On the difference between Trump and Clinton on Israel: “Hillary Clinton has done her best in her public pronouncements and in the Democrat party platform to reassure American, Jewish American voters. But I believe the evidence is pretty clear that a Trump administration would be, and I'm not speaking for Christians United for Israel, but in my personal view that a Trump administration would be much more sympathetic to Israel, much, much, much tougher on Iran, than a Clinton administration would, for a variety of reasons. But which is not, I'm afraid getting enough attention, is that she is in a political party that appears to be in the process, at the grassroots level, of abandoning its traditional support for Israel. I think that even if she wanted to be more pro-Israel than Barack Obama, and I'm not even sure she wants to, but even if she did, I'm not sure she'll have much leeway to be able to do that.”

On Jewish voters: "I think the difference between a Trump administration on Israel and what we've just lived through will be so overwhelmingly different that it will cause American Jews to rethink their normal party loyalties in the future. Yes, I'm absolutely convinced of that. I've talked with him a number of times on this issue. I know the kind of people that almost any Republican president will end up relying on when it comes to foreign policy. I think he'll be less likely to get us involved in wars. He'll be more likely to win those wars if we get involved. But I have no doubt that he understands the fortunes of Israel and the United States are tied together, and we're stronger when we have Israel's back, and when Israel has our back If people love Israel, I don't see how they can vote for anybody other than Donald Trump.”

On the possibility President Obama will re-engage on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before leaving office: “I am deeply, deeply concerned that the president will stick it to Israel one more time on his way out of office. I think he would have been even more hostile to Israel than he has periodically been if it wasn't for pressure from some major donors in the Democrat party, as well as from the American people, who remain overwhelmingly pro-Israel. I think it's a huge danger. I think it will be something that both Democrats, something that Republicans in Congress will definitely fight against, but it's something that Democrats will be required to stand up on, too.”

On why Republican Jews, former Bush administration officials are not supporting Trump: “Certainly for many Jews, they feel that one should do good in life, and that you should avoid mistreating people and so forth. The media has, I think, pictured Donald Trump as somebody that has said and done things that are hurtful. So some of it, I don't know, some of it might be that. I think there was a tremendous reservoir among Republican Jews, there was a tremendous reservoir of affection for the Bush family. Of course, Donald Trump did not show much mercy to Jeb. Then I think a lot of folks had a fall-back position on Marco Rubio. Again, neither of those men were able to prevail. Some of it may be that" 

"The foreign policy elite, many of whom are my friends, of course, as I am, are supporters of NATO. They're such supporters of NATO that they're perfectly happy to continue to foot the bill inequitably. That's resulted in Western Europe building welfare states while the American taxpayer pays most of the defense bill. There's a big grassroots feeling, just average Americans, that, ‘Look, of course we want to defend Europe. But why should Europe get government completely free healthcare while I'm paying higher and higher taxes,’ these Americans say, ‘to station troops and weapons to protect Europeans from even a weakened Russia?’ It's time for our allies to show that they're willing to invest more in their own defense. Now that's irritated people. But I think he's absolutely right when he makes that argument.” -- Read the full interview [JewishInsider

"Why Some Intellectuals Are Breaking for Trump" by Tevi Troy: 
"A close examination of the Scholars and Writers petition suggests that Trump has highlighted a cleavage little understood outside the most academic conservative circles—a feud between East Coast and the West Coast Straussians, one with origins decades ago, in a split between followers of the University of Chicago political philosopher Leo Strauss." [PoliticoMag]

More podesta emails -- “Chelsea’s husband allegedly used foundation ties to boost hedge fund” by Ken Vogel: “In a Jan. 2012 email to Podesta, Mills and current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, [ex-Clinton aide Doug] Band wrote that Mezvinsky invited “several potential investors” for his hedge fund “and a few current business ones” to a foundation poker night fundraiser he had been planning. And, in a Nov. 2011 memo released Sunday, Band wrote that major Clinton Foundation donor Marc Lasry was “assisting Marc Mezvinsky in raising money for his new fund.” And finance industry sources told POLITICO that several major donors to the Clinton Foundation and Bill and Hillary Clintons’ campaigns did in fact invest in Eaglevale. They included billionaire media mogul Haim Saban, who has donated as much as $25 million to the Clinton Foundation and whose wife sits on its board. A spokesman for Saban’s company wrote in an email to POLITICO that “our company policy does not allow me to confirm and/or comment on any of Mr. Saban’s personal investments.”” [Politico]  Clinton donor allegedly killed National Enquirer stories [Politico

Band after Chelsea Clinton said she would confer with father about rescheduling the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting not to conflict with Yom Kippur: “This is the 3rd time this week where she has gone to daddy to change a decision or interject herself in the process she says is so important to maintain. Her father decided to keep cgi as it always was and bob is jewish/didnt like that decision and went to cvc and thus it will be changed. Wjc will say I never said it shouldn't be changed.. Sad because it will hurt cgi.” [11-28-2011

Bill Clinton on the Iran nuclear deal: “In an email from October of last year, an attached transcript of former President Bill Clinton’s speech -- from a campaign fundraiser in Maryland -- contained some language critical of the Iran nuclear deal. “You don’t know yet whether this Iranian thing is going to be good or bad,” the former president said. “It depends on whether we enforce it. And you’ve got to have somebody in there tough enough, with enough connections in these other countries, to enforce the trigger that will reimpose the sanctions if they violate the rules.”” [CBSNews

"Bloomberg's 2016 tally: $65 million and counting" by Isaac Dovere: 
"With little fanfare, the former New York mayor has emerged as one of the election's top donors.The former New York City mayor comes into Election Day having donated more than $65 million - overwhelmingly to issue campaigns for local gun control and soda tax measures, but also to 18 individual candidates." [Politico

“Trump Packs More Punch Than Clinton for Many Brooklyn Orthodox Jews” by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt: “While Satmar Hasidim (both sides of their violent rift) and Skver Hasidim too will be voting en masse for Clinton, thanks to her long-time relationship with the community since her Senate days – the ultra-Orthodox community seems to lean towards Trump, though no major Orthodox figure has endorsed him officially.” [Haaretz

"Democrats deploy stream of surrogates to campaign for Hillary Clinton in Jewish community" by Anthony Man: “The Republican Jewish Coalition, a national group with a Florida presence, hasn’t been as active in Florida as it was in 2008 and 2012.  The RJC isn’t mounting the same kind of massive, public efforts this year. The RJC press office didn’t reply to a request for comment about its activities. But none of the news releases it has issued in more than three months since the Republican National Convention has mentioned Trump, though some have criticized Clinton “They don’t really have any good Jewish outreach on the Republican side this year,” [Kenneth D.] Wald said. Besides Trump’s daughter, “they just don’t have anybody who they can send. And that’s their fundamental problem. If the best you can do is Ivanka Trump, it suggests how bad a situation you’re facing.”” [SunSentinel Jewish Voters, Prized in Swing State Florida, Tell What Drives Them [NYTimes]

Ari Fleischer: Here’s how I figured out whom to vote for: “I’m one of the few people from the Bush administration who stepped forward to support Trump Then Trump lost control of himself and his message On Tuesday, if someone puts a gun to my head and tells me to make a choice, I’ll say “shoot.” If my ballot contained a box for whom I was voting against, my choice would be easy. Never Clinton. But voting means deciding whom to vote for. I will vote for Republicans up and down the ballot. But when it comes to the presidency, I’m going to leave my ballot blank.” [WashPost

"Bar mitzvah weaves in presidential election theme" by Betty Nelander: “Andrew Weisz completed his bar mitzvah last month to a presidential theme. He was featured as the candidate at a celebration that included impersonators of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In fact, he chose the theme because it was about a month before the election. “I don’t have a specific interest in politics, I just thought it would be cool,” he said. “It was one of the most unusual bar mitzvah celebrations,” said Rabbi Leonid Feldman.” [PBDailyNews

“Mr. Trump’s wild ride: Insiders dish on the early days of the campaign that shook America” by Hunter Walker: “[Sam] Nunberg said Cohen planned to draw on his experience as a native of the Five Towns, a Jewish enclave on Long Island. “Michael Cohen said, ‘I could do this. I plan the best bar mitzvahs,’ which was the exact mindset we needed,” Nunberg explained in a conversation with Yahoo News Nunberg even claims credit for Trump’s signature policy proposal — the wall on America’s southern border with Mexico. “I created the wall with Roger [Stone],” Nunberg recounted. “The reason we did the wall — Roger and I discussed it in 2014 — was it was hard to get Donald to talk about policy.”” [YahooNews

GOING VIRAL: CNN commentator and Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes describing how "Jay Z's video starts with a crowd throwing mazel tov cocktails at the police." Deadspin asks "what is a 'mazel tov cocktail'"? [Video]
**Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We'd love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email

SPOTLIGHT: "Big Hit on Drug Stocks Caps $26 Billion Decline for John Paulson" by Gregory Zuckerman: "John Paulson’s subprime trade led to historic fortune. His drug-company investments? Big losses and plunging assets. Mr. Paulson’s hedge-fund firm, Paulson & Co., is suffering painful losses this year, extending a period of uneven performance that has left the firm managing about $12 billion, down from $38 billion in 2011. Behind the recent difficulties: A big, faulty bet on pharmaceutical companies, as well as excessive caution about the broader market, according to people close to the matter." [WSJ]

MEDIA WATCH: "Battle looms over new Israeli broadcaster" by John Reed:
"With less than two months left to its launch, Israel’s new national public broadcaster Kan is recruiting staff, producing pilot programming and building its presence online. On three floors of a Tel Aviv office building, Kan’s 230 employees — a cross-section of Israeli society including young ultra-Orthodox Jews, Tel Aviv hipsters and minority Arabs — are building a TV, radio and digital operation to replace Israel’s little-watched Channel One and eight state radio stations. But even at this late stage, it is unclear if the fledgling broadcaster will ever go live." [FinancialTimes]

LongRead: "Nick Denton, Peter Thiel, and the Plot to Murder Gawker" by David Margolick: "As if the sudden death of Gawker Media, felled by a Hulk Hogan invasion-of-privacy suit, wasn’t shocking enough when it happened earlier this year, word quickly got out that the whole thing had been bankrolled by one of Silicon Valley’s most successful investors. But Nick Denton, Gawker’s founding rogue, and Peter Thiel, his arch-nemesis, had a more complicated relationship than anyone imagined... Denton versus Thiel may be the gay version of United States v. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg: a soap opera in which members of a newly empowered but instinctively insecure minority—then Jews in postwar America, now gays—devoured each other in full public view."

"Denton grew up in North London. Young Nick identified intellectually with his father, a professor of economics, but was closer to his mother, a psychotherapist born in Budapest who’d survived both the Nazis and the communists. A childhood spent amid disputatious Hungarian Jews like her would one day help make polyglot New York feel more like home to him than anywhere else he’d ever been. A picture from his adolescence shows a nerdy boy reading a book by Isaac Asimov in his backyard... Hogan’s lawyers tossed out New York references like confetti, the better to make Denton—“this guy . . . up there in New York sitting behind a computer, playing God with other people’s lives,” as one of them, Kenneth Turkel, of Tampa, described him—appear even more alien to jurors in Pinellas County, Florida, than a gay half-Hungarian Jew already was." [VanityFair]

BIRTHDAYS: Neuropsychiatrist, a 1944 graduate of Yeshiva of Flatbush and 2009 Nobel Prize laureate in Medicine, Eric Kandel turns 87... United States Senator from Minnesota (1978-1991) and now on the boards of AIPAC and JINSA, Rudy Boschwitz turns 86... Stage, screen and television actor, Barry Newman turns 78... MIT professor in electrical engineering and computer science, Barbara Liskov turns 77... University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard, expert on Shakespeare and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Stephen Greenblatt turns 73... Professor of music at the Norwegian Academy of Music and founding member of jazz ensemble Moscow Art Trio, Mikhail Alperin turns 60... Mary Streit... Tomer Aharonovitch... Deputy Press Secretary at The White House, Jennifer Friedman... Campaign reporter at Politico, formerly news assistant at the New York Times, Elena Schneider turns 26... RN at Johns Hopkins Hospital following multiple media stints, Avi Zenilman turns 32...

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