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TOP TALKER: “Obama Kept Military Out of the Loop on Cash Payments to Iran” by Eli Lake: “Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry did not consult Secretary of Defense Ash Carter or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford. This news came out of a hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. In response to a question from Republican Senator Ted Cruz about the cash payment to Iran, Carter made it clear that he had been out of the loop. "We weren't involved in this," Carter said.” [Bloomberg] • Top US general: 'Troubling' that Iran military will get US cash [TheHill]
"House votes to ban cash payments to Iran" by Pete Kasperowicz: "The bill, from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., is explicitly aimed at "prohibiting future ransom payments to Iran," a move Royce said is needed to rein in the Obama administration and future governments."It is not in the interest of the United States to have the regime have cold, hard cash," Royce said during the floor debate on his bill." [WashExaminer] • Paul Ryan accuses the Obama administration of coddling Iran [FoxNews]
SCENE LAST NIGHT: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received the Hudson Institute's 2016 Herman Kahn Award at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Roger Hertog, president of the Hertog Foundation and chairman of The Tikvah Fund, interviewed the Prime Minister for the packed crowd.
Netanyahu on Israel's relationship with Russia and Putin: "I think Russia has variegated interests. The first interest is to make sure militant Islam does not penetrate and destabilize Russia. There are many many millions of Muslims in Russia, including in greater Moscow, I think it's up to two million. And the concern that Russia has, which many countries have is that these populations would be radicalized. That explains what Putin is doing in Syria... The first thing is, block militant Islam at its source, especially the Daesh phenomenon. For that they make strange alliances. I have said to President Putin, the last thing we want to see ... is Iranian weapons being transferred through Syrian territory to Hezbollah in Lebanon..."
"I said to Putin, about a year ago when he put his military forces in Syria. I said, 'Look, this is our cost, these are my red lines. We have a choice. We can coordinate...' I said, 'We can actually have our forces shoot down each other's planes… or we can avoid it.' So, periodically, we have to sort of tighten the bolts, because not everything that is said at the top necessarily reaches the bottom levels, field levels. They do on the Israeli side, but they don't necessarily always do so on the other side. So the second thing is we want to avoid a clash. What is Mr. Putin's interest? He definitely doesn't want that to happen. The third interest, I think, is he wants technology. He's interested in technology... I think it is very important that we have this relationship."
On the U.S.-Israel relationship: "I don't think there's an alternative to Israel’s tremendous alliance with the United States. We have flourishing relations with many countries around the world and those relationships are based on shared interests. With the United States, we certainly have shared interest. But it’s the one alliance we have, except for maybe one or two others, that is based on shared values. You can see the support of the American public for Israel. It's up to 71 percent right now. I think the Palestinians get about 18 percent - it's flat like an EKG of a dead person. We are going up, up and up. And I can tell you - and this may come as a shock - it's gone up with my experience during the last year... This is the source of this tremendous alliance - it's the identification of the American people that Israel is like the U.S. and the U.S is like Israel. This is a powerful alliance."
From Hudson CEO Ken Weinstein's remarks: "Usually, if it’s this time of night, on a late September evening, and I’m around a large number of Jews who’ve forked over good money for their seats, and Israel’s being discussed, there is usually a guy on the bimah, sporting a tallis and a kittel... And it ain’t me (laughter). Well, I’m pleased to note that there will be no Yom Kippur ashamnus this evening – the Jewish equivalent of what Hudson VP Bill Luti calls the mea maxima culpa."
SPOTTED -- (better list would be who wasn't there): Walter & Betsy Stern, Henry & Nancy Kisisnger, Amb Ron & Rhoda Dermer, Amb. Dan Shapiro, former Sen. Joe & Hadassah Lieberman, Gary Ginsberg, Elaine Chao, Steven & Tina Price, Steve & Leora Levy, Phil & Malki Rosen, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Amb. Danny Danon, Consul Gen. Dani Dayan, Lee Smith, Sarah Stern, Ira & Ingeborg Rennert, Jeffrey Berenson, Scooter Libby, Allan & Frances Tessler, George Klein, Eugene Kandel, Daniel Bonner, Chaya Glasner, Noah Pollak, Darin McKeever, William Daroff, Charlie & Lisa Spies, Scott & Jordan Arogeti, David Suissa, Yarden Golan, Michael & Shelly Kassen, Amb. Husain Haqqani, Ravenel Curry, Raanan Agus, Ken Abramowitz, Matthew Waxman, Eli Groner, Michael Miller, Malcolm Hoenlein, Morris & Nancy Offit, Sander Gerber, Jerry Levin, Cheryl Halpern, Michael Doran, Walter Russell Mead, Nick Muzin, Josh Block, Lewis Eisenberg, Joshua & Kari Levine, Michael Makovsky, Eric Kohlmann Kupper, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Rabbi Menachem Genack, Keith Sonderling, Ron Prosor, Brian Cohen, and Todd Ricketts (celebrating his bday today).
"Netanyahu calls UN 'moral farce,' says Israel will not accept any dictates" by Barak Ravid: "Netanyahu was harshly critical of the UN, for what he said was its "obsessive bias against Israel." He described the General Assembly as a "disgrace," the UN Human Rights Council as a "joke" and UNESCO, the UN's cultural organization as a "circus." "The UN begun as a moral force has become a moral farce," the prime minister said. Despite his criticism, Netanyahu said that things were changing at the UN and predicted that "a decade from now an Israeli prime minister will be applauding the UN. Israel has a bright future at the UN." More and more nations around the world see Israel as a partner, the prime minister said. "Everything will change and a lot sooner than you think," he said. "Lay down your arms," Netanyahu told his audience. "The war against Israel at the UN is over." [Haaretz]
HOW IT PLAYED: Separated by One UN Speech, Netanyahu and Abbas Remain Far Apart[Bloomberg] • World Crises Push Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Off U.N. Center Stage [NYTimes] • At UN Netanyahu invites Abbas to address Knesset [AP] • Chemi Shalev: Netanyahu Does His Usual Schtick Before UN Audience With No Expectations [Haaretz] • Herb Keinon: In stark contrast to Abbas, Netanyahu radiates optimism at UN [JPost]
KAFE KNESSET -- by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Yesterday, on the streets of Manhattan, a news crew for Israeli Channel 1, in town as part of Netanyahu's travelling press, accidentally ran into Jonathan and Esther Pollard strolling on 2nd avenue. Pollard tried to avoid the cameras but eventually answered some questions. "I can say shana tova to all of my Haverim in Israel. We love them very much and we hope to be home soon, Im yirtzeh Hashem", Pollard said, adding that "its going to take a miracle for me to come home."
YESTERDAY IN NYC: Turkish President Erdoğan held a meeting with Jewish leaders at Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan. Leaders attending the meeting included Malcolm Hoenlein, AIPAC’s Robert Cohen, ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt, and JINSA’s Michael Makovsky, among others. [TCCB]
“Israeli minister slams ‘naive and messianic’ Obama” by Raoul Wootliff: “Hanegbi, a close confidante of the prime minister, told Army Radio that the US president was “naive and messianic” in his dealings with Israel. “At the moment Obama is not acting like the most powerful man in the world,” he said, “instead he is behaving like someone working in Hillary Clinton’s campaign office.” Hanegbi was not alone to show cracks in the relationship Thursday, US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro saying that Obama was “disappointed” in the lack of progress towards a two-state solution under the Israeli leader.”[TimesofIsrael]
AJC: “Hanegbi's inappropriate comments don't reflect the reality of yesterday's meeting. He should apologize to POTUS.” [Twitter]
“Obama-Netanyahu meeting directed at Jewish voters” by Orly Azoulay: “These days, with such a tight race and with Trump gaining strength at Clinton's expense, every vote counts. While the Jews traditionally vote for the Democrats, Obama is aware of the fact that an increasing number of Jews and Israelis in the Miami suburbs are attracted by Trump... Obama's main mission is to build the bridge that will get Clinton into the White House. A bit of renewed flattery towards the Jewish vote has never done any harm: Obama provided them with an idyll.” [Ynet]
-- Aaron David Miller: "A fight with Israel could prove very embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton, and might force her to distance herself from the President or appear less pro-Israel than her opponent. Either course, two months before what could be a close election, might prove costly." [CNN]
“Trump plans post-debate fundraising blitz” by Alex Isenstadt: “Trump suffered a blow this week when Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson revealed that he would be directing $40 million to Republican groups devoted to protecting the party's congressional majorities and just $5 million toward electing the GOP presidential nominee. Tuesday's event will be hosted by vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and two of Trump's children, Eric and Ivanka. It is being co-chaired by Republican fundraisers Anthony Scaramucci, a prominent Wall Street investor, and Roy Bailey, a Dallas insurance executive.”[Politico]
“The billionaires strike back” by Teddy Schleifer: “Moskovitz, who sent ripples through the donor world when he pledged $20 million to a variety of liberal and Democratic Party groups, but didn't give to Clinton TV ad powerhouse Priorities USA. While he is "primarily focused on the top" of the ticket, he described Priorities as "distinguished by focusing on TV more than anything else." Bloomberg does not plan to give to Priorities USA either, according to Howard Wolfson, a Bloomberg political adviser.”
-- “The decision by Adelson to partner with the Ricketts operation is a blow to the Trump super PACs that have been trying to land him as a landmark donor… The Adelson's gift to the pro-Trump effort -- likely to be around $5 million -- is substantially smaller than some had hoped, and the decision to relinquish control over their dollars to a separate donor family direct the effort is surprising.” [CNN]
"Why Aren't Democrats Freaking Out Over Clinton's Poll Numbers?" by David Freedlander:"Actually, I am not losing any sleep over any of this," says Anne Hess, a Manhattan philanthropist who's raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hillary Clinton. "I have great faith in the American electorate." "I think there is a belief by many people that there is no way the country will elect someone so unfit to the presidency as Donald Trump," says Steve Israel, a Long Island congressman who for years was tasked with electing Democrats to the House." "I just don't believe in the accuracy of the polls," says Alan Patricof, a venture capitalist and longtime friend of the Clintons. "I don't know what it is. Maybe Hillary supporters aren't answering their phones or something." [RollingStone]
Tevi Troy on how the Jewish vote can influence the election: “I did an analysis that showed that, going back to the 1960 campaign, when the Republicans get more than 30 percent of the Jewish vote, they tend to win those elections… The question is not, ‘Do the Jews vote for the Democrats?’ The Jews do vote for the Democrats overall. But is it going to be 80 percent, which would mean a blowout election for the Democrats, or is it more like in the 60s, which means good news for the Republicans.”[MomentMagazine]
Alan Dershowitz discusses 2016 in interview with the Jewish Chronicle’s Michael Goldfarb:“Donald Trump, whom he has met, is not an anti-Semite but is as insensitive to anti-Semitism as Jeremy Corbyn. "He's a politician and he's willing to accept the support of considerable numbers of anti-Semites." Mr Dershowitz adds: "He's a destabilizing force in a world where Israel benefits from stability." But the one thing Mr Trump is consistent about is overturning the Iran nuclear deal. Does he not think that would a good thing? "He can't do that. It's not gonna happen. The deal involves other countries and they are not going to undo it.” [TheJC]
"Mark Cuban takes front-row seat for presidential debate" by Cristiano Lima: "The bombastic billionaire who's been an outspoken critic of the Republican nominee will be sitting front-row when the two opponents square off for their first televised debate at Hofstra University Monday, Cuban revealed in a tweet Thursday night. Billing it as the "Humbling at Hofstra," Cuban says he plans to watch closely as Clinton tries to "overwhelm" Trump." [Politico]
“Spiritual Healing with Marla Maples, Trump's Ex-Wife” by Olivia Nuzzi: “She goes to church on Sundays but keeps Shabbat, eats kosher, and studies Kabbalah.” [DailyBeast]
“David Duke, leading 'deplorable' and Senate candidate, sees Trump as kindred spirit” by Todd Gillman: “Duke insisted on playing a YouTube video to frame the interview: ‘CNN, Goldman Sachs & the Zio Matrix.’ For 15 minutes, Duke warns of the pervasive influence of Jewish bankers, campaign donors, judges and journalists. “Are you Jewish or gentile?” he asks when the video ends, 28 seconds into what would be a two-hour conversation. “I know some Jews — there are a lot of Jews who are fair.””[DallasNews]
**A message from the Israeli-American Council: The 3rd annual Israeli-American Council National Conference is this weekend! 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] **
SPOTLIGHT: "China's Wanda Group accused of funneling foreign money into Beverly Hills ballot measure" by David Pierson: "A labor union representing hotel workers filed a complaintThursday calling on state and federal election officials to investigate the potential illegal use of foreign money in a heated Beverly Hills ballot measure that has pitted the owner of the Beverly Hilton against a builder controlled by the richest man in China. The ballot measure would allow real estate investor Beny Alagem, owner of the landmark and union-friendly Beverly Hilton, to bypass the usual public review to build a 26-story high-rise that would be the tallest building in a city averse to big developments."[LATimes]
**Good Friday 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 email@example.com**
HOLLYWOOD: "Better-than-ever ‘Transparent’ transitions into a study of American Jewish-ness" by Hank Stuever: "In ways that are both blunt and subtle, attentive viewers of the show now understand “Transparent” as a broader, epic story about the American Jewish experience — particularly as it is lived by a family with an on-again, off-again dependence on faith." [WashPost]
"Mel Brooks Pranks President Obama, Pretends to Pull His Pants Down” by Joi-Marie Mckenzie: “Brooks, 90, was awarded the 2015 National Medal of Arts today "for a lifetime of making the world laugh," the White House said in a statement. After Obama placed the medal around the legendary comedian's neck, Brooks pretended to pull down the president's pants. Some reports speculate that the filmmaker was simply pretending to fall down under the weight of the medal. Still, the moment caused many in the audience to laugh and applaud. At the end of the ceremony, Obama quipped that "Mel Brooks kind of set the tone for this thing," adding that normally it's "been a much more staid affair."”[ABCNews]
"Hogan meets with Israeli leaders and business executives during trade mission" by Ovetta Wiggins: "Hogan (R) left for the seven-day trade mission on Monday. A group of business executives, university officials, Jewish leaders and members of the governor’s Cabinet, including Chief of Staff Craig Williams, joined him on the trip, which has included several meetings with Israeli business executives who have subsidiary operations in Maryland, an address to a group of high-tech entrepreneurs, and the signing of an academic agreement between the University of Maryland and Tel Aviv University. Hogan met with executives from Enzymotec and its subsidiary VAYA Pharma, which recently moved its U.S. headquarters to the University of Maryland BioPark. VAYA develops lipid-based medical foods. "[WashPost] • Israeli defense firm plans expansion of Howard County office [BaltimoreSun]
Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week: Last night I had the privilege of doing a wine tasting for a great group of representatives from numerous Hong Kong based family offices. They were so intent on investing in Israeli hi-tech it actually took me quite some time and effort to divert their attention for long enough to help them fall in love with Israeli wines.
The wine I served was the Benhaim 2010 Cabernet Franc. This wine is a blend of 85 percent Cabernet Franc, 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 percent Petite Syrah -- a bold and adventurous wine. The flavor profile of the wine changes significantly as you swirl it in your mouth and give it exposure to various parts of your tongue. There are very strong hints of mocha and coffee in the mid-palate. The finish beats you up a bit, but it has a very long and lingering cherry tone that stays with you. This wine can be enjoyed now or in 5 years. It is best with smoked meats and curried chicken. [Benhaim]
SPORTS BLINK: "Israel rallies past Great Britain with 4-run 7th" by Joe Trezza: "Its heartbreaking extra-innings elimination loss in the World Baseball Classic qualifier four years ago still fresh in its minds, Israel's mission is to qualify for the 2017 WBC and help further advance the growth of baseball in the country. Israel took its first step toward that goal Thursday, defeating Great Britain, 5-2, on the opening night of a qualifier at MCU Park in Brooklyn." [MLB]
BIRTHDAYS: Israeli ambassador to Mexico, Jonathan Peled... Business Manager for Los Angeles Cardiovascular Medical Group, Angela Maddahi... Co-owner of Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs,Todd Ricketts... Harvard student who represented the US in saber fencing at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Eli Dershwitz turns 21... US Ambassador to the EU following a Supreme Court clerkship and a White House career, now general counsel at the Institute of International Finance. Kristen Silverbergturns 46... Washington bureau reporter for The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt turns 33... Director of Communications for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Naomi Seligman...
Economics Editor of the UK's ITV News, academic, economist, best-selling author and a great-granddaughter of former British Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz, Noreena Hertz turns 49... Presidential campaign reporter for NBC News, formerly of CNN and The Hill, Alexandra Jaffe turns 27... Michael Weiss... Yale Law graduate and Chief of Staff at Robin Hood, a non-profit sponsor of antipoverty programs, Jessica Schumer turns 32... Member of the UK's House of Lords, expert on prison reform, Baroness Vivien Helen Stern turns 75... Israeli television anchor/host and one of the most popular Israeli singers of all time, Yardena Arazi turns 65... Pioneering woman television anchor/host of Today, The View, 20/20 and the ABC Evening News. Barbara Walters (family name Abrahams) turns 87... Yanky Rodman...
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