Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: September 14, 2016

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Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, left, looks on as U.S. President Barack Obam aspeaks in the Oval Office of the White House, on March 3, 2014.
Netanyahu with Obama in the Oval Office, in 2014. Before the accord with Iran was signed, Netanyahu rejected Obama's offer to increase U.S. aid to $4 billion a year.Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: "Netanyahu Backs Down in U.S.-Israel Military Aid Deal" by Dan De Luce: "Israel drove a hard bargain for months in negotiations with the United States over the terms of a new military aid deal, pushing for more funding and other concessions. But in the end, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed off. It’s not clear why Netanyahu’s stance changed over the past several months, as the Obama administration basically stayed pat, according to current and former U.S. officials. Israel apparently concluded that it would not be able to secure a better deal than the one on offer, and the Israeli military was anxious not to lose any more time re-negotiating the deal with a new U.S. administration after the presidential election in November." [ForeignPolicy; WashPost]

“A senior Israeli official said it was likely that Netanyahu and Obama will talk on the phone after the deal is signed on Wednesday. It was still unclear if the two will meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next week in New York.” [Haaretz]

AIPAC statement: “We commend President Obama and his administration for forging this landmark agreement. It demonstrates America's strong and unwavering commitment to Israel” 

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), whose bipartisan House resolution encouraging the swift conclusion of the MOU passed hours after the announcement, said in a statement: “This agreement will serve as the backbone of our security relationship for the next ten years. I look forward to the signing of the deal, bolstering our already-steadfast relationship by enhancing Israel’s defense capabilities and bilateral security coordination on mutual threats."

Aaron David Miller tells us: “Of the three MOUS - 1998, 2007 and 2016, this is by far the largest and most significant. But the path to negotiating it was torturous--driven by personal tensions between Netanyahu and Obama and broken crockery over the Iran deal. The Americans felt they gave too much; and the Israelis felt they got too little. Finally, despite all the hoopla, we're likely in for a bad patch should the U.S. decide to push ahead with a peace initiative. Paradoxically, having protected Israel's back on security, this may now be more likely.” 

The Washington Institute’s David Makovsky: “It is a critical signal that the U.S. is sending to the Mideast, namely, not to misread the friction between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to the policy differences between the two countries in recent years. Bottom line is the U.S. stands shoulder to shoulder when it comes to Israel's vital security. None of Israel's adversaries has a patron willing to commit 38 billion dollars in advance like the U.S. does for Israel. This is a point that will not be lost on anybody in the Mideast.” 

“Can Obama buy the love of his pro-Israel critics?” by Nahal Toosi and Bryan Bender: "I do think it’s important that even a president like President Obama, who many of us don’t see as a good friend of Israel, is willing to increase the aid — that is a milestone," said Michael Makovsky of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. "I just don’t think it’s enough. I think this should be seen as a floor for military aid to Israel, not a ceiling." An Obama administration official dismissed the criticisms in a statement to POLITICO. "Any claims that this support is somehow 'compensation' for tactical disagreements — including over the Iran deal — are an insult to the both the United States and Israel," the official said. "They call into question our ironclad commitment to Israel's security and suggest that Israel's leadership is willing to accept remuneration to paper over legitimate differences of opinion." 

-- Elliott Abrams, who served as a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, said that given the growing threats to Israel over the past decade any U.S. president would probably have given Israel a larger aid package. But "the terms that Obama is seeking are fairly tough," said Abrams. "To say to Israelis for 10 years you've got to stay away from Congress is pretty tough... We don’t know what the situation in the Middle East is going to be five years from now." [Politico]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt Op-Ed in Foreign policy:
“Sorry Bibi, the Palestinians Are Not ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Jewish Settlers: It is hardly surprising or offensive that Palestinians insist that no Israeli sovereignty, which the settlers insist on bringing, can exist in an independent Palestinian state. There is nothing intrinsically anti-Jewish nor anything remotely amounting to “ethnic cleansing” in this policy position.” [ForeignPolicy]

ON THE HILL: "Anti-Israel BDS Event Cancelled After Democratic Lawmaker Withdraws Sponsorship" by Jenna Lifhits: "The office of Texas congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee had reserved a room on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to host an event on Friday. The briefing was advertised to feature "actual pracitioners" of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, according to the invitation. The event was publicized Monday and drew controversy, with several Democrats, including Jackson Lee, denying any connection to it. Tuesday, however, Jackson Lee's office confirmed to TWS that the room had been booked by a former staffer, and that they had withdrawn their sponsorship." [WeeklyStandard]

“Poll: Clinton Leads Trump 61-19 Among Jewish Voters” by Jacob Kornbluh: “According to the telephone-only poll of 1,002 Jews, conducted by the research company SSRS for the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Clinton is supported by 61 percent of Jewish voters, while Trump is supported by only 19 percent. Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is supported by 6 percent of Jewish voters The poll also shows a majority of Jewish voters think Clinton would be better than Trump in strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship (57 percent vs. 22 percent) and dealing effectively with Iran (58 percent vs.19 percent).” [JewishInsider]

RJC spokesman Fred Brown emails us: “It’s pretty clear that Clinton is consistently underperforming Obama’s support from Jewish voters, which was the lowest level of support in decades for a Democrat.” 

NJDC’s Greg Rosenbaum tells us: “We are not surprised by the spread between Clinton and Trump., It’s in line with our own polling and other polling of voters that we have seen. I would expect that when we get to Nov. 8  that the undecideds are going to break heavily for Hillary. If you ask me for a prediction, I would say that I think it’s going to look more like 74-24 for Clinton vs. Trump. She ought to reach Obama’s 2008 numbers and she might even go higher. I still think that the debates are an opportunity to pin Trump down on Israel. He’s been all over the place on Israel.” 

New Pew Research numbers on party affiliation among Jewish voters: “Jewish registered voters continue to strongly prefer the Democratic Party over the GOP. Overall, 74% of Jewish voters identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, compared with 24% who identify as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party. The share of Jews who identify as Democrats or lean Democratic has grown slightly over the past few years, though the balance of leaned party affiliation among Jewish voters is about the same as it was in 2008.” [People-Press]

“Donald Trump Says Ivanka Pushed ‘Daddy’ on Family Policy” by Michael Bender: “Daddy, daddy, we have to do this,” the Republican presidential said at an Iowa rally, impersonating his 34-year-old daughter who is a high-ranking executive in the family real estate and branding business. “She’s the one,” Mr. Trump said. “She is the one that has been pushing so hard for it.” [WSJ; Politico

“Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg Diverge Sharply on 2016 Race” by Josh Dawsey and Mara Gay: “Mr. Bloomberg has done little since taking the stage at the Democratic convention, but representatives of the former mayor and of Mrs. Clinton have discussed a combination of policy events and fundraising, said Howard Wolfson, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg. Any such effort would focus on courting independents, Republicans and business leaders, he said.” [WSJ

“GOP Strategist: Trump Knows How to Talk to Voters Through Their 'Kishkes'” by Chemi Shalev: “Republican strategist Noam Neusner said in Israel this week that the common denominator of Trump voters is their disappointment and resentment and anger with everything - with the country, with the administration, with the establishment, with big corporations. If Trump can convince such voters that Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” remark was aimed at them personally, he might inflame undecided voters just enough to get them to give him their vote on November 8 and to push him to victory Clinton still seems like a favorite, but one sentence that Neusner said about Trump could come back to haunt her overly optimistic Democratic fans. “Trump has figured out something that hits people in their kishkes.” [Haaretz] "Trump Has 5-Point Lead in Bloomberg Poll of Battleground Ohio" [Bloomberg]

"Nervous Democrats Fret About Clinton's Stumbles as Race Tightens" by Sahil Kapur: "Trump has brought out anger, fear and hatred to a degree we have never known before. He's conquered the Republican primary candidates and now he's trying to fuel this anger to go after Hillary," said Mark Daniels, who flew from Springfield, Illinois to see Obama in Philadelphia. "Part of the reason I think Hillary got sick is trying to fight this off." [Bloomberg]

“Michael Oren: Hillary's not a little girl anymore; race takes its toll” by Nitsan Keidar: “Hillary isn’t young and this race takes its toll, this isn’t the first time a candidate has gotten sick during a campaign There is a good chance that it will have an impact. She might also gain empathy from this incident. The American public, like the Israeli public, want to be at ease with the ability of the leader to function – and not just on the quiet days.” [INN]

PROFILE: "The rise of GOP mega-donor Rebekah Mercer" by Matea Gold:
"After Donald Trump clinched the nomination, the Mercers rallied to his side. Their imprint is now evident on the real estate developer’s campaign, which is led by three close associates who ran Mercer-funded enterprises: former Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon, pollster Kellyanne Conway and Citizens United President David Bossie. Meanwhile, Rebekah Mercer has taken up the day-to-day management of her family’s super PAC. The 42-year-old former Wall Street trader is not your typical mega-donor." [WashPost]

Trump’s Court Jesters: "Meet the worst political team ever assembled—an inner circle of outcasts, opportunists, and extremists with nowhere else to go." [NewRepublic]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Iran's Plan to Lure Big Oil [Bloomberg] Joe Sitt's Thor wants to flip Wynwood site after buying it for $42M in 2015 [SFBJ]  Cordish Cos. to break ground on $200 million hotel at Maryland Live [BaltimoreSun] Barry Sternlicht on the elections: "I was hoping everyone would get indicted and we'd get to start over" [CNBC]

LongRead: "The Decline Of Premium American Fashion Brands. What Happened, Ralph And Tommy?" by Elizabeth Segran: "Eric Korman, Ralph Lauren's president of digital and e-commerce between 2010 and 2014, concurs. "There was an over-expansion and distribution into places like factory stores, which presented a tremendous economic opportunity," he says. "But it came at the expense of the brand. If you start training the consumer to believe that the brand is widely distributed in factory outlets, people who were once your core customer will start doing that, or lose interest in the brand altogether."" [FastCompany]

HOLLYWOOD: "Jeffrey Katzenberg and the Future of Hollywood" by Michal Lev-Ram: "The day after selling his company to Comcast for $3.8 billion, Jeffrey Katzenberg is doing what he’s always done—presiding over back-to-back breakfast meetings. In Hollywood circles... he is known for his multiple morning mealtime tte-à-ttes. Today’s appointments are being held in a back booth at a trendy pizzeria in Los Angeles’s up-and-coming Fairfax neighborhood. It’s one of those spots that are cool precisely because they don’t look that cool, with its nondescript, neon-green sign and wood-paneled, sauna-like walls. (For even more hipster appeal, it’s located next to an Orthodox Jewish synagogue.)... Katzenberg admits his greatest motivator is, well, winning. An avid gambler, he got kicked out of summer camp at age 15 for playing cards (that was for M&M’s; these days he plays poker for much higher stakes). But DreamWorks wasn’t always a straight flush. The original production company never lived up to the expectations generated by its high-wattage founders: Katzenberg, Spielberg, and music and film mogul David Geffen." [Fortune]

TOP TALKER: "Shimon Peres, Former Prime Minister of Israel, Suffers a Stroke" by Peter Baker: "Mr. Peres, 93, was sedated and put on a respirator on Tuesday when he was brought to the Israeli hospital, where he suffered the stroke after complaining of a headache. After an all-night vigil in the hospital, with expressions of sympathy pouring in from around the world, his doctor said Wednesday morning that Mr. Peres was in critical but stable condition and was not in immediate danger of death, although his chances of recovery remained uncertain. “It’s very emotional, as you can imagine,” the doctor, Rafi Walden, who is also Mr. Peres’s son-in-law, told reporters on a conference call." [NYTimes]

SCENE LAST NIGHT IN NYC -- The UJA of NY and JCRC hosted a welcome reception for new Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan at the offices of UJA in midtown Manhattan. “The bond between Israel and American Jewry is sacred,” Dayan told the crowd, drawing applause, and laughter at times. “If there’s one thing we cannot permit happening, it is anything that endangers that bond. I can promise you that anything that jeopardizes, or even hurts a little bit, the connection between Israel and the Jewish people, I will do whatever I can possibly do to prevent that... If there's one thing I'll never compromise on, it is achdut Yisrael - the unity of the Jewish people."

SPOTTED: Deputy Consul General Amir Sagie, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblymembers Nily Rozic and David Weprin, Jeffrey Schoenfeld, Michael Miller, Charles Temel, Robert Kapito, Eric Goldstein, David Pollock, Jeff Leb, Jonathan Greenspun, Ezra Friedlander, Pinny Hikind, Pinny Ringel, Yoel Lefkowitz, Jeff Wiesenfeld, and Hindy Poupko. 

TALK OF THE TOWN: "In East Jerusalem, a Trip Into the Unknown" by Debra Kamin: "Mahmoud Muna, a Palestinian bookseller in East Jerusalem, does not mince words when it comes to his views on Israeli control over his part of the city, and his opinions can be difficult for Israelis to hear. At least, he presumes they are. Mr. Muna rarely engages in conversation with the Israeli Jews who live across the Green Line... everyday travel for Mr. Muna is circumscribed by lines real and invisible. But on a cool summer evening this month, Mr. Muna helped a group of cultural tourists cross one of those lines. His store in the historic American Colony Hotel became a stop on “Seven Ways to Dissolve Boundaries,” city tours billed as “doco-theatrical journeys into alternative realities” that promise to take participants out of their comfort zone and into parts of Jerusalem they might never go." [NYTimes]

DESSERT: "On Rye changes the face — and taste — of the Jewish deli" by Rachel Nania: "One simple question had a profound impact on Ilyse Fishman Lerner’s career. “How do you make babka the kind of food that you could eat on a Tuesday?” the 31-year-old asked herself. It turns out, all babka needed to go mainstream was a little gelato. Lerner has been selling her babka ice cream sandwiches all summer at the On Rye pop up at Nationals Park. The good news: They’ll be available long after baseball season ends, since On Rye is opening a permanent shop in Chinatown later this year." [WTOP]

"'The Gefilte Manifesto': A Loved, And Loathed, Jewish Staple Gets Updated" by Joel Rose: "I never ate gefilte fish," says Liz Alpern. "It was disgusting to me. I literally think I never ate it, until I started making it." That's a remarkable statement coming from someone in the gefilte fish business. Alpern is half of the team behind the Gefilteria, which makes artisanal gefilte fish. Yes, that is a thing. Alpern gave me a demonstration at a catering kitchen in Brooklyn." [WBUR]

BIRTHDAYS: CEO of of MDC Holdings, Chairman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and AIPAC board member, Larry A. Mizel turns 74... Los Angeles based attorney Roxana Pourshalimi... Amy Kauffman... Actor, writer and director with a fifty year career in film and TV, first known for his role in the original Star Trek television series, Walter Koenig turns 80... New York Times reporter covering the 2016 presidential election Matt Flegenheimer... Senior Associate Editor at The Atlantic Russell Berman... Brittany Parker, WINEP alum now a grad fellow at the Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World at Tufts’ Fletcher School (h/t Playbook)... Public relations professional, formerly of ABC News Courtney Cohen Flantzer turns 38...

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