Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: September 19, 2016

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U.S. President Barack Obama meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, New York, U.S., September 21, 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, New York, U.S., September 21, 2011. Credit: Kevin Lamarque, Reuters
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DRIVING THE WEEK: “Obama, Keen to Revive Israeli-Palestinian Talks, Will Meet With Netanyahu” by Peter Baker: “The two leaders, who have been at odds for years over the Iran nuclear agreement and other issues, will sit down on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly sessionon Wednesday for what could be their final get-together before Mr. Obama’s term ends in January Mr. Obama made clear on Sunday that now that he has demonstrated a commitment to Israel’s security, he plans to press Mr. Netanyahu to move toward reconciliation with the Palestinians. “The meeting also will be an opportunity to discuss the need for genuine advancement of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the face of deeply troubling trends on the ground,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said in a statement.” [NYTimes

Hear this: “In the last 10 months, the two leaders have not met or spoken by phone.” [Haaretz

"Obama Heads to United Nations With Mixed Foreign Policy Record" by Carol Lee: 
"From nuclear nonproliferation and Israeli-Palestinian peace to scaling back America’s war footing in the Middle East and engaging adversaries such as Iran and North Korea, the results of Mr. Obama’s efforts since 2009 are mixed, foreign-policy experts said... Tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians have worsened, and relations between the U.S. and Israel have been significantly strained during Mr. Obama’s time in office—largely over his pursuit of the Iran nuclear deal. During his first speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Mr. Obama outlined an ambitious effort to restart peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but a senior administration official said he doesn’t plan to make a push on the issue this week." [WSJ]

KAFE KNESSET -- Interview with MK Nachman Shai -- by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: The biggest event on the calendar this week will be Prime Minister Netanyahu's meeting with President Obama - probably the last time these two leaders meet (at least while both of them are in office). One half of Kafe Knesset will be with the Prime Minister's press pool at the UN General Assembly, and will report from there on the meeting.

Meanwhile in Jerusalem, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) tells us that he expects the Netanyahu-Obama meeting to be a mostly positive one: "Both sides have a clear interest to make it work this time. They've got nothing left to fight about. Obama wants to close the Israel chapter on a positive note, and Netanyahu has no reason to pick a fight with a lame-duck President. I don't think Obama is going to do anything dramatic on the Palestinian front. His most important task right now is to defeat Trump, and no, I don't think he's preparing any kind of ambush for the two-months period after the elections." 

Shai adds that the controversy surrounding the recently signed MOU, and the rare attack on Netanyahu by GOP Senator Lidnsey Graham, is a result of "Netanyahu's insistence to open a pandora's box by speaking before Congress last year. Everyone told him - don't involve Congress in a partisan way. Now his speech is backfiring on him. The Democrats are now going to use the MoU in the elections, which obviously is bad for the Republicans. This is just another reason why it would have been much smarter to close this deal much earlier, and not now."

Heard at "Zionism 3.0: In Search of the Shared Dream" conference in Palo Alto -- Daniel Kurtzer: “Kishkes matter in a Shabbat cholent. I am not sure they matter much in determining whether our president is trying to help Israel advance its security and well-being.”

Dennis Ross on Israeli criticism of MOU: “Thirty-eight billion dollars over 10 years during a time of budgetary concerns, during a time where there might be sequestration again, is a pretty significant manifestation of America’s commitment, not just to Israel but it is a reminder that even if you have a president and a prime minister who -to put this diplomatically- don’t get along; even when you have that kind of a difficulty, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen that between presidents and prime ministers, nonetheless, you still see the basic underpinnings of the relationship. And the MOU, from that standpoint, I think is very important.”

Yossi Klein Halevi on Jewish support of the Iran deal: “I wasn’t disappointed in the administration, I was disappointed in the American Jewish community. I felt deeply let down. Ninety percent of Israelis, according to polls, opposed that deal. For many of us, this was an existential threat. And I always felt that at an existential moment, for all of the differences between us, I could depend on the American Jewry. I really don’t know where to take that because I am now living in a completely different reality. I am living in a Middle-East that has a shadow of a resurgent conventional power emerging in Iran with the threat down the line, as soon as this deal expires, for an almost certain nuclear Iran. And the American Jewish community as a whole, I feel let down by them.”

JI EXCLUSIVE: “Graham Blasts Netanyahu for Snubbing Congress in New MOU” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Here is what I would tell Bibi: ‘When members of Congress come to Israel, you do a great job talking about the State of Israel’s needs and threats. Well, don’t tell us about all those needs and when we try to help you, you pull the rug from under us,'” Graham said in a conference call with American Jewish community leaders. “I think that is bad for Israel I am going to push back. We will see what Bibi does. But I will tell you right now, from my point of view, the prime minister has made a mistake here, and, basically, setting up a situation where his friends in Congress – on both sides of the aisle – can’t help Israel apart from what this president says.” [JewishInsider

Chemi Shalev: “One can only speculate on which side of this argument Sheldon Adelson comes down, given that he has been a benefactor to both.” [Haaretz

NYTimes Editorial: "Mr. Graham, in a conference call on Friday arranged by Jinsa, a pro-Israel group, argued that Israel needed even more aid to help protect itself from Iran and its proxy groups, Hamas and Hezbollah. But Israel has by far the most advanced military in the region and has developed cooperative ties with many Sunni Arab states... “I’m going to put on the table more aid to Israel,” he said, and he is betting that many other lawmakers will follow along. But in truth, the aid package is already too big."[NYTimes]

Former Ambassador Michael Oren says criticism of deal could paint Israel as ungrateful:“My nose is picking up an acrid odor coming from the discourse in recent days,” he told the Hebrew-language NRG website. “There are those who when they hear the discourse here are likely to recall well-known depictions and libels against the Jews. Put yourself in the place of the Americans and ask yourself how the debate here sounds in the USA. We received a very good and very respectable package. We should say, ‘Thank you very much,’ and keep our mouths shut. Instead, it sounds like the Israelis got nearly $40 billion but there are still all kinds of people who are claiming, ‘We could have got more out of the Americans and got more money.’ This public debate is damaging to us. We look like people who don’t recognize a favor.” [TimesofIsrael] David Horovitz: “Ungrateful Israel owes the US a simple thank you” [TOI

“Netanyahu thanks US, responds to criticism of deal” by Omri Efraim: "I'm hearing so much background noise and disinformation regarding the agreement," the Prime Minister said. "I would like to clarify – we couldn't have gotten more – not even another dollar. We also weren't offered any special technologies. These are distortions and fabrications by people who have an interest (in providing disinformation).They are also displaying their ungratefulness, and that to me is the saddest thing – ungratefulness towards a biggest and our best friend; the US.” [YnetHaaretz

"Trump Advisor: Security Aid to Israel Will Not Be Limited By MOU" by Jacob Kornbluh: “Under a Trump administration, the level of strategic and tactical cooperation between the two countries will be of an unprecedented high level,” Attorney David Friedman, who advises the Republican presidential nominee on U.S.-Israel affairs, said. “The U.S. will not be limited in its support for Israel by the terms of the MOU.” Friedman said that he hasn’t spoken to Trump about the new aid deal since the signing ceremony, “But I believe that Mr. Trump would see the MOU as a first step, with much more that still needs to be done.” [JewishInsider]

DEVELOPING NEWS: The New York Police Department are looking for Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28 year old male from Elizabeth, N.J., for his suspected role in the bombings that have occurred over the last three days in New York and New Jersey. Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested that there is a possible “foreign connection” behind the Manhattan blast. [CNN]

Trump on Fox & Friends: “Our local police, they know who a lot of these people are. They are afraid to do anything about it because they don’t want to be accused of profiling. You know, in Israel they profile. They have done an unbelievable job -- as good as you can do, but Israel has done an unbelievable job, and they profile. They see somebody that’s suspicious, they will profile.”  

2016 WATCH: “Hillary Clinton’s Backers Thought She Couldn’t Lose. Now, ‘I Can’t Go There’” by Matt Flegenheimer: “The possibility of that is too horrifying to broach,” Larry David, the “Seinfeld” co-creator and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star, wrote in an email. “It’s like contemplating your own death.” Surely Mr. David had done that, too? “I can’t go there,” he said. Gloria Steinem, the feminist leader and a Clinton supporter, said in an email that she had sensed a growing worry in recent weeks, fearing that Mr. Trump’s candidacy was becoming “legitimized by ‘media evenhandedness’” that had made his assorted scandals seem more banal. “There are things any campaign could do better, but in this case, I fear it’s like blaming the victim instead of the bully — dissociating in the hope that we won’t be bullied, too,” she wrote. “It’s like saying, ‘If only she hadn’t been walking in that neighborhood.’”[NYTimes

“Trump: Pence Was ‘Very Rough’ on David Duke” by Jacob Kornbluh:
 “He was very rough on David Duke, but he didn’t want to fall into her word,” Trump said in an interview on the “Media Buzz with Howard Kurtz” program. “He didn’t want to use her word because no matter what he said, he would have been criticized.” Trump said he was “very, very impressed” with Pence for refusing the take the bait. “He was very, very tough on David Duke, I can tell you that.” [JewishInsider

“Kaine Breaks With Clinton on Her Calling Some Trump Supporters 'Irredeemable'” by Jessica Hopper: "You know, that's not a word I would use. I wouldn't use it," Kaine said "Look, she is very worried, as am I, about the deplorable motivations of people who like David Duke who are doing robocalls saying people should vote for Donald Trump. We've expressed it differently, but you have to call out these dark emotions because if you let them pass, you actually can let them grow," Kaine said.”[ABCNews

Andrew Weinstein emails us: "I'm getting awfully tired of the Trump campaign's repeated excuses and explanations for the anti-Semitic behavior of its surrogates and supporters. The 'Pepe the Frog' tweet and Trump Jr.'s gas chamber reference are only the most recent examples of a campaign built on and sustained by hate speech. There is a culture of anger and intolerance that permeates the campaign and attracts those who seek to divide us like moths to a flame. Some things are more important than politics. That's a lesson this campaign never seems to learn." 

"Foreign-policy experts grow more hostile to Trump as N. Korea tests missiles" by Jose A. Delreal: “He is not only an ignoramus, but he’s a dangerous ignoramus who doesn’t know the first thing about foreign policy and doesn’t care and has some very dangerous instincts,” [Eliot] Cohen, who served in the George W. Bush administration, told The Washington Post in a recent interview. “Part of what is so dangerous about him is not just his ignorance and contempt for our alliances, but his failure to understand how important these have been to our security since 1945. And he has already done a lot of damage. Our allies are deeply shaken by this election.” [WashPost]

“Donald Trump hunts for votes in Israeli settlements” by Raf Sanchez: “One American-Israeli political consultant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was openly scornful of the campaign.  “This seems to me like a really great public relations ploy and a good way for a few consultants to make a few bucks,” he said But Elie Pieprz, an American-Israeli who led iVote Israel in 2012, offered another theory of why Trump supporters were making such an effort.  “I think campaigning in Israel is an astute way for Trump to reach out to the pro-Israel community in the US,” he said." [Telegraph

“Anti-Semites target N.Y. AG over Trump charity probe” by Glenn Blain: “Schneiderman, a Democrat, has been the target of a flurry of anti-Semitic social media attacks since it was revealed that his office is investigating the Donald J. Trump Foundation." [NYDailyNews] Schneiderman tweets:“Deeply disappointing that  Donald Trump has opened the door to this type of anti-Semitic rhetoric.”[Twitter

"Donald Trump and the Jews" by Michael Wilner: 
"Near the end of his debt-ridden ownership of the Plaza Hotel, Donald Trump summoned Abe Foxman to breakfast at its iconic Palm Court. The real estate tycoon had a bone to pick with the Anti-Defamation League... Foxman’s colleague, Art Teitelbaum, had recently criticized Trump for his tactics in Palm Beach – a city long marred by discrimination – battling the city council over turning his estate at Mar-a-Lago into a private social club. Trump was accusing the Florida township of antisemitism, claiming that it was opposed to his efforts because his club was going to welcome members of all races and creeds, including Jews and African-Americans... “Abe, it’s antisemitism. All my members will be Jewish.” “Donald – that’s antisemitism,” Foxman said. “You don’t know who your members will be. To say that only Jews will be members meant that only Jews have money – it was stereotypic,” Foxman recalled in a recent interview. “For him, it may have been an assessment of business opportunities. He’s a shrewd businessman.” [JPost]

"Jill Soloway Called Donald Trump An 'Inheritor To Hitler' At The Emmys" byAriane Lange: 
“Jews were otherized in Nazi Germany to gain political power for Hitler, and right now Donald Trump is doing the same thing,” said Soloway, who is Jewish, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s a complete dangerous monster and any moment that I have to call Trump out for being a inheritor to Hitler, I will.” [BuzzFeed]

“Israeli journalist asks Americans if Netanyahu could be their president” by Ruth Eglash:
“I can’t see him as president here. He is great for Israel, he should stay there,” one man said. Another said: “You just want to get rid of him and get him over here so you are rid of him, right?” [WashPost

Ari Fleischer on the upcoming debates: 
"It is not, and should not be, up to the moderators to set the record straight. It’s up to the candidates to rebut, and if they’re not prepared or they don’t do it, that’s their fault." [WSJ]

**A message from the Israeli-American Council: The 3rd annual Israeli-American Council National Conference is this week! Join thousands of activists, policymakers, diplomats, journalists, Jewish communal leaders, and business innovators from the U.S. and Israel to dive deep into the most pressing issues facing the Jewish people today. All will convene in Washington, DC from 9/24-9/26.[IsraeliAmerican] **

“Iran deal remains issue in Maryland races” by John Fritze:
“Some Jewish leaders in Maryland and elsewhere — including some who opposed the deal — are concerned that the political debate on the issue has become too hot.  "It's understandable that it was a very, very intense and emotional battle," said Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, which "reluctantly opposed" the agreement. "But I'm very concerned about people in the Jewish community who are using whether or not a legislator supported the Iran deal as a litmus test for whether they are pro-Israel."” [BaltimoreSun

“U.S. made 2 wire payments to Iran before sending $1.7 billion in cash” by Louis Nelson:
“Treasury Department spokesman acknowledged on Saturday that on at least two occasions, the U.S. did make payments to the Iranian government via wire transfer. In July 2015, the same month in which the U.S., Iran and other countries announced a landmark nuclear agreement, the U.S. government paid the Islamic republic approximately $848,000. That payment settled a claim over architectural drawings and fossils that are now housed in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and Iran’s Ministry of Environment, respectively. Then, in April 2016, the U.S. wired Iran approximately $9 million to remove 32 metric tons of its heavy water, which is used to produce plutonium and can aid in the making of nuclear weapons.” [Politico] Iran presses for banking agreement to facilitate sanctions pact [Reuters]

“Congress probes misuse of State Dept funds in 2015 Israeli election” by Erez Linn: “The senators sent a request for information to Secretary of State John Kerry, saying that the State Department had "failed to properly conduct an analysis of risks in the pre-award phase [of the grant]... Our aid dollars should be going toward solving real problems, not contributing to the destabilization of allied governments."” [IsraelHayom]

**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: Casino billionaire fighting medical marijuana proposal: “Las Vegas billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is opening up his checkbook again to help defeat a medical marijuana proposal. Campaign finance records filed Friday show Adelson recently donated $1 million to the political committee that is trying to defeat Amendment 2. Two years ago, Adelson donated $5.5 million to help defeat a similar amendment.” [CBSMiami]

Leslie Kautz and Jack Weiss, founder of BlueLine Grid and former LA City Councilman, hosted a conversation with Ambassador Dennis Ross on Thursday evening. The event was in support of the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA. Ambassador Ross spoke about the prospects for change in the Arab world and the regional challenges that will face the new President. Attendees included... Sharon Nazarian, Austin Beutner (former LA Times publisher), Al Carnesale (former UCLA Chancellor), David Kohan (creator of “Will and Grace”), Jake and Cindy Winebaum, and David Suissa.

"On the streets of New York with Jackie Mason" by Lisa Klug: How does being Jewish impact your work? “I have a great identification with Judaism as a religion and as a culture, and all the values that created such a great history, and the Jewish contribution to the betterment of all humanity. Everything about my attitude and my thoughts were impacted greatly by being raised in this culture.”What do you love about your heritage? “The food. I also love tumult of a Jewish crowd in a coffee shop.”How would you lead if you were president of the United States? “There is no way I would ever want to be president for a second. It’s much easier to make fun of them on the stage and get paid for it. With all the years of me lampooning the presidents in my act, I know I could never ever want that job.”[TimesofIsrael

CAMPUS BEAT: "In the safe spaces on campus, no Jews allowed" by Anthony Berteaux:
"When Arielle Mokhtarzadeh arrived at University of California, Berkeley, to attend the annual Students of Color Conference, she had no way of knowing that she would be leaving as a victim of anti-Semitism. For Mokhtarzadeh, an Iranian Jew at UCLA, her freshman year was punctuated by incidents of anti-Semitism that were both personal and met with national controversy." [WashPost]

BIRTHDAYS: Actor, writer and Dean Emeritus of the Drama School at Pace University, James Lipton turns 90... Professor at Yeshiva University's Cardozo School of Law and director of the Innocence Project, Barry Scheck turns 67... Bow tie-clad field reporter for "Major League Baseball on Fox" since 2005, sportswriter and reporter Ken Rosenthal turns 54... Field reporter for the Washington Nationals on MASN, Dan Kolko... Reporter for the Voice of America, following a long career as the Washington correspondent for the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, Bruce Alpert... Now a Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, after a 28 year Pentagon career as a Middle East expert, Harold Rhode turns 67... Ronald Alan Kass turns 64... Marisel Estevez... Mark Chapleau...

BIRTHDAYS FROM THE WEEKEND: Defense policy advisor to Presidents Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 and member of a number of DC based think tanks, Richard Perle turns 75... Award winning illusionist, who has sold over 33 million tickets to his shows worldwide, David Copperfield (born David Seth Kotkin) turns 60... Israel's only Olympic Gold medalist (to date),  Bronze in Atlanta 1996; Gold in Athens 2004, windsurfer Gal Fridman turns 41... Founder and CEO of OurCrowd, an equity-crowdfunding platform focused on investing in Israeli startups, Jonathan Medved turns 61... GQ Magazine's political correspondent, and contributing editor for New York Magazine, Jason Zengerle... Associate Director at The Advisory Board Company, previously at both Hillel and AIPAC, Suzy Goldenkranz... 

Newberry award winning author of many young adult books, some with Jewish themes, Gail Carson Levine turns 69... Professional tennis player who achieved a world ranking of No. 5 in 1980, Harold Solomon turns 64... Comedian, writer and actress, frequent guest of Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, Rita Rudner turns 63... Professor of Economics at Princeton, formerly Assistant Treasury Secretary and then chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger turns 56... Former regional communications director and spokesperson for President Obama, now at Blue Engine Message & Media, Adam Abrams... Harvard Professor of Psychology, specializing in visual cognition and psycholinguistics, Steven Pinker turns 62... Briane Greene... Zak Sawyer... Avi Mayer... Kathy Wolf... Aaron Kaplowitz, a New Jersey native (a fact he’s proud of), turns 32 (h/t Jed Shein, David Ribner and Aaron Keyak)... 

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