Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff: May 1, 2019

Israel is planning to formally name a new Jerusalem train stop after President Trump; Objections to the measles vaccine? Get the shots, faith leaders say

US President Donald Trump signing a proclamation that the US government will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, December 6, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via JTA)
US President Donald Trump signing a proclamation that the US government will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, December 6, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via JTA)

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SCENE ON THE HILL — Reps. Pressley, Tlaib and Angela Davis rally in support of Ilhan Omar — by JI‘s Laura Kelly: A rally in support of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who has recently faced an increase in death threats following her controversial remarks surrounding 9/11 and spat with President Trump, took place outside the Capitol on Tuesday, organized by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) spoke at the rally, striking at the Democratic party for feeding into Republicans’ attacks on the congresswoman.

“I can’t protect my sister in our own caucus,” Rep. Pressley told the crowd. “That’s not okay. And that’s why we’re here. And they are surprised that we are here, and we’ll continue to be here – because we are not going quietly into the night.”

“I cannot stand that they continue to police her [Rep. Omar],” Rep. Tlaib said. “They continue to police our words, they continue to police our positions. But I say ‘hands off!’ Hands off of the women of color that serve in the United States Congress… I’m telling you right now Ilhan, no more. No more apologies, no more policing, no more backing down.”

Rep. Omar addressed the crowd and drew attention to how increasing threats from white supremacists, in light of the Poway Synagogue attacks, unites the Muslim and Jewish communities. “At this moment, the occupant of the White House, as my sister [Rep.] Ayanna [Pressley] likes to call him, and his allies, are doing everything they can to distance themselves and misinform the public from the monsters that they created that is terrorizing the Jewish community and the Muslim community. Because when we are talking about antisemitism, we must also talk about Islamophobia – it’s two sides of the same coin of bigotry,” Omar said. “I can’t ever speak of Islamophobia and fight for Muslims if I’m not willing to fight against antisemitism.” [JewishInsider]

SPOTTED: Linda Sarsour attended the rally but didn’t make any remarks. [Pic]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) celebrated Arab-American Heritage at an event in Washington D.C. Tuesday night, with about 300 people and leading Democratic party members including Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC); Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI); Judy Chu (D-CA); Deb Haaland (D-NM); Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and also D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ambassador Salah Sarhan, Chief Representative to the League of Arab States. [Pic]

Hecklers briefly interrupted a speech by Mayor Bowser, calling for an end to joint training programs between Metro P.D. and the Israeli police, shouting “Don’t go to Israel!” 

Asked if any anti-BDS resolution would come to the floor soon, Whip Clyburn told JI“We’re trying to stay clear of the BDS right now — not that I know of.”

Professor Deborah Lipstadt blasted Jewish groups for tarring Rep. Omar for the actions of the shooter in the Chabad of Poway attack as an ‘outrageous’ politicization of antisemitism. “It’s weaponizing antisemitism,” Lipstadt, author of the recent book Antisemitism: Here and Now, told JTA. “It’s politicizing the fight. When people do that I don’t take them seriously. They don’t care about this fight. They care about winning political points.”

TOP TALKER — In an editorial, the New York Times editorial board criticizes the newspaper’s international op-ed page for publishing the “appalling political cartoon” in the opinion pages of the Times’s international edition last week. “In the 1930s and the 1940s, The Times was largely silent as anti-Semitism rose up and bathed the world in blood. That failure still haunts this newspaper,” the editorial reads. “Now, rightly, The Times has declared itself ‘deeply sorry’ for the cartoon and called it ‘unacceptable.’ Apologies are important, but the deeper obligation of The Times is to focus on leading through unblinking journalism and the clear editorial expression of its values.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt reacted on Twitter: “Bravo NYTimes ed board for apologizing for the recent cartoon. When the paper of record definitively states what the data confirms — that antisemitism is rising and comes from many corners and in many forms (incl. anti-Zionism), it’s leadership.”

Meanwhile, Antonio Moreira Antunes, the cartoonist who drew the antisemitic cartooninsisted in an email to the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that his work was not meant to be antisemitic. “Trump’s erratic, destructive and often blind politics encouraged the expansionist radicalism of Netanyahu,” he wrote. “To illustrate this situation… and, to help identify him, little known in Portugal, I added the Star of David.”

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE — Israel and Jews worldwide will observe Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, starting at sundown. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will deliver remarks at the state ceremony held in Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem at 1 PM EST.

For the first time ever, the U.S. is sending an official delegation to the annual March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps on Thursday. The delegation will be headed by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr. 

A Holocaust Story for the social media generation — Israeli entrepreneurs have dramatized the plight of a Jewish teenager murdered by the Nazis by imagining her documenting her final months over social media. “What if a girl in the Holocaust had Instagram?” asks a trailer for the “Eva Stories” project that launched today. Dozens of Instagram video posts on the account will show a cast in period costume and locations acting out passages from the diary of Eva Heyman, a 13-year-old Hungarian deported to her death in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. The vignettes, between three seconds and three minutes, were the brainchild of hi-tech and media entrepreneur Mati Kochavi and his daughter Maya.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon is also leading a delegation of Ambassadors to the United Nations from all regions of the world at the March of the Living. The group will then head to Israel for a weeklong trip, and will attend next week’s Israel’s 71st Independence Day celebrations. This is the 3rd such mission organized by Israel’s UN mission and the American Zionist Movement (AZM).

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER — As the White House marks the National Day of Prayer, President Trump’s campaign manager suggested that the president was sent by God to save the country. “There has never been and probably never will be a movement like this again,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s re-election campaign manager, wrote on Twitter. “Only God could deliver such a savior to our nation and only God could allow me to help. God bless America!” Parscale’s comments echo similar statements made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump in a proclamation marking the beginning of Jewish American Heritage Month: “Today, we recognize the resilience of the Jewish community in the face of great adversity and celebrate the countless ways Jewish Americans have strengthened our Nation. We echo the words of President Washington and Rabbi Akiva and stand in solidarity with our American Jewish neighbors as we reaffirm our commitment to combat all forms of hate and antisemitism.”

Aaron Keyak, former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) explains in an op-ed for JTA why the Trump White House needs a Jewish Liaison in the wake of the Chabad of Poway attack: “That Orthodox Jewish Americans have taken a larger role in our national political conversation, both on domestic and international issues, is appropriate and welcomed. However, a president of the United States believing that they can leave out large segments of the Jewish community in their conversations with the Jewish community leaves the president’s advice and experience incomplete and, at the very least, hurts the entirety of U.S. Jewry.”

— Flashback to June 23, 2017: Congress Urges Trump to Appoint a Jewish Liaison [JewishInsider]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) reportedly offered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas $10 billion if he accepts the Trump peace plan, according to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.

Meanwhile, as the United States and Israel are applying financial pressure on the Palestinian Authority the World Bank projects that the Palestinians’ financing gap could exceed $1 billion in 2019, putting further strain on an economy grappling with a 52 percent unemployment rate. Khalid al-Asili, the PA’s economy minister, told Reuters last week that it has been struggling to manage on just 36 percent of budgeted revenues.

Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt ridiculed Dr. Dalal Erakat, an advisor of Strategic Communications at the Palestinian Prime Minister’s Office, in a tweet on Tuesday: “Dr. Dalal Erakat: I read your op-ed. Why do we insist on releasing the plan despite the PA’s rejection of it? Because Palestinians deserve to see the plan’s contents before it’s rejected and deserve a thorough and thoughtful reply after its release not before the PA knows what’s in it.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who just returned from a five-day trip to the Middle East with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), told the Connecticut Mirror that he came away with the “sense” that Israel’s Arab neighbors have “low expectations” for the administration’s peace plan. “There’s anxiety in the region that the two-state solution is slipping away… But with low expectations comes opportunity,” he added. According to Murphy, “it felt to be a very odd time” in Israel since there is also uncertainty there about what the peace plan will entail.

Murphy also suggested that the peace plan could “destabilize” Jordan.

Zev Chafets writes… “Palestinians Won’t Like Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’: Some Palestinian leaders hope to do nothing, outwait Trump and perhaps get a less pro-Israel president in 2020. But this administration has at least two years, and perhaps six, to establish irreversible facts. And that, according to one of its most senior officials, is exactly what it intends to do.” [Bloomberg]

TRUMP STOP — Israel is planning to formally name a new Jerusalem train stop after President Trump on Israel’s 71st Independence Day, Acting Foreign Minister and Transportation Minister Israel Katz announced on Tuesday. “Here, in the Old City of Jerusalem, we will build the Western Wall and Temple Mount train station,” Katz posted on Twitter. “It will be named after Donald Trump, who made history and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

ON THE HILL – By JI’s Laura Kelly: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) wants to put Congress on record as supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. 

“This bill is critical because I believe it is painfully obvious that both the U.S. and Israeli administrations are taking a step back from a two-state solution,” Rep. Lowenthal wrote in an email to Jewish Insider. “This retreat from a two-state solution in the U.S. runs counter to the policies of presidents of both parties over the past several decades.”

Co-sponsors of the resolution include Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Gerry Connelly (D-VA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), John Garamendi (D-CA), Ann Kuster (D-NH) and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

USAID Administrator Mark Green said Tuesday he was not consulted by administration officials before President Trump announced last year’s cut of American aid to the Palestinian Authority.

“I was not asked,” Mr. Green said in response to questions from Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), on whether the aid agency recommended cutting U.S. assistance. The administrator spoke during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, discussing the 2020 budget proposal for USAID.

Democratic Senators further pressed Mr. Green on the fallout from U.S. cuts to programming in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and rejection of all aid by the Palestinian Authority following the implementation of the Anti Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) in February. 

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) told Jewish Insider after the hearing that he is seeking “clarification” on the consequences of ATCA. “My understanding is that Congress did not intend for aid that went directly to non-profits working in the West Bank to be affected, and I’d like to seek that clarification.”

Actor Ben Stiller will appear in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, speaking in his capacity as UNHCR Goodwill ambassador on the humanitarian impact of eight years of war in Syria at 10:15 AM EST. [Livestream]

2020 WATCH — Bernie Sanders slams Joe Biden’s record as the former vice president blows past him to become the 2020 frontrunner… Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) met with a delegation of J Street leaders on Capitol Hill on Tuesday… Almost two months in, Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign is running behind… Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) made his 2020 pitch at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

Chicago Democratic fundraiser Andrew Schapiro, who hosted Mayor Pete Buttigieg at his home this month with his wife, Tamar Newberger, told the NYTimes that “people were banging on the doors” to get in. “The last time that happened for me was in 2007 and early 2008 with Obama.”

** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip? 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Leveraged loan opportunities remain, says Oak Hill CEO Glenn August [Bloomberg] • Starwood’s Barry Sternlicht discusses how consumer tastes are shifting [Video] • Starwood Capital Facing Bondholder Lawsuit in Israel [WSJ• Viacom CEO Bob Bakish snubbed at Allen & Company’s annual conference [FoxBusiness• Apollo executive secretly competed with his own firm on bid [FinancialTimes• SpotIM raises $25M to help publishers engage with readers [TechCrunchGlobes] • Israel approves Mastercard stake in bank services firm SHVA [Reuters• FedEx Express buys Israel’s Flying Cargo international division [Reuters]

Tel Aviv’s Hottest Area Demands a ‘Nationalism Premium’ — by Yaacov Benmeleh: “Prices have almost tripled in some parts of Jaffa, Tel Aviv’s historic port. since 2010, enriching — on paper, at least — many of the area’s 16,500 Arabs. But cashing out means surrendering to a wave of new residents, mainly Jewish, and hastening the end of 1,400 years of Arab presence in the area. What’s resulted is a market in which buyers must pay what could be called a ‘nationalism premium,’ the extra cash needed to persuade sellers to disregard ancestral loyalties.” [Bloomberg

HEARD AT MILKEN — Former Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) praised Trump’s position on NATO during a panel titled ‘Navigating the New Paradigm in International Investment and Trade’: “We have European countries that decided ‘Hey we’re not going to play that game that the U.S. is playing and necessarily fund two percent of our budget into defense.’ Well, you know what? I think time and decades went on and more countries, even in the trade arena, instead of just maybe saying, ‘Hey we’re going to put tariffs up,’ there’s plenty of non-trade tariff barriers that we have to deal with and our companies have to deal with. So I look at the Trump administration that is trying to get rid of those, and maybe we were playing by the rules and the others weren’t.”

Hedge fund manager Mitch Julis at a panel titled ‘Common Sense from Uncommon Investors’: “My question to you is: Even with all the advances since Mike [Milken] first entered the business, do you think — by indicating applause — that Mike can be replaced by a robot, yes or no?” Crowd’s response: “No.” Julis: “Maybe in ten years you are going to program a robot to do the conference?” [Video]

Dr. Dore Gold, former director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, discussed Africa-Israel relations. [Video]

HAPPENING TODAY AT MILKEN — Richard Sandler will interview Stuart “Stu” Eizenstat, who was among former President Jimmy Carter’s closest aides.

MILKEN PARTY SCENE — Gillian Tan, Katia Porzecanski, and Christopher Palmeri report for Bloomberg: “Some lucky attendees attended parties hosted by onetime super-agent Mike Ovitz, internet billionaire Sean Parker, hedge fund manager Steven Cohen and private equity investor Jonathan Sokoloff… Hyatt heir Tony Pritzker hosted a party at his Los Angeles home, while billionaire Ron Burkle hosted one at the Soho House in West Hollywood… David Solomon, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s chief executive officer, had a more private dinner for local heavyweights, including L.A. Olympics organizer Casey Wasserman. Evan Spiegel, CEO and co-founder of social-media giant Snap Inc., [hosted] a Tuesday-night party for Nicolas Berggruen at Berggruen’s West Hollywood high-rise.”

“Arguably the hottest event was a Sunday dinner party with guests that included Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner. It was held at Fleur de Lys, the $88 million estate of Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner, who let the institute use the property, according to a person with knowledge of the event. Fleur de Lys was sold in 2014 to a limited-liability company represented by a law firm based in a building that houses the Milken Institute, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time. Neither Milner nor any family member nor any entity affiliated with him or his relatives owns the property, and he wasn’t present at the event, said Alice McGillion, a spokeswoman for the billionaire.” [Bloomberg]

MEDIA WATCH — Altice USA Buys Streaming-Video Network Cheddar for $200 Million — by Benjamin Mullin and Lillian Rizzo: “Jon Steinberg, the founder and chief executive of Cheddar — a financial news streaming service aimed at millennials — will become president of Altice News, a unit that will include Cheddar as well as Altice’s News 12 channel and i24News, a current-affairs news network. Mr. Steinberg said he would be reinvesting some of the deal proceeds into Altice USA stock as a sign of commitment to integrating his company into its new owner.” [WSJ]

COVER STORY — Inside the Growing Debate on Media CEOs’ Jaw-Dropping Salaries — by Cynthia Littleton: “Since becoming president and CEO of Discovery Inc. 12 years ago, David Zaslav has consistently ranked near the top among highest-paid CEOs in media and entertainment… His compensation package for 2018 was valued at $129,449,005, a jaw-dropping sum that has drawn outrage at a time when rising income inequality is gaining traction as a political issue.” [Variety]

ISRAEL AT 71 — Only signed copy of US recognition of ‘State of Israel’ can be yours for $300G — by Caleb Parke: “President Harry S. Truman issued the historic statement recognizing ‘the new State of Israel’ dated May 14, 1948. But he didn’t sign the official document until many years later. Truman had a signed photocopy made after Zecharia Sitchin, chairman of the American-Israel Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair held from 1964-65, discussed with the president the ‘regretful fact’ the official document of recognition wasn’t signed. The Democratic president signed it then and there and left it in the care of Sitchin, displayed at the Pavilion… That rare document is now up for sale — not auction — from the Raab Collection for $300,000.” [FoxNews]

EUROVISION 2019 — Gene Simmons, Sharon Osbourne, Stephen Fry oppose Eurovision boycott — by Amy Spiro: “A host of Hollywood celebrities have signed a letter speaking out against an attempted boycott of the 2019 Eurovision in Tel Aviv. The letter, released Tuesday by the non-profit Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), is signed by more than 100 artists and entertainment figures, including KISS singer Gene Simmons, actor and comedian Stephen Fry, media personality Sharon Osbourne and British TV host Rachel Riley. The signatories also include a wide range of media executives, including Scooter Braun, manager of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande; Rick Rosen of William Morris Entertainment; Haim Saban; and Gary Barber, former chairman of MGM.” [JPost]

SPOTTED — Gene Simmons was seen walking the halls of Milken on Tuesday.

ACROSS THE POND — Jeremy Corbyn endorsed book about Jews controlling banks and the press — by Henry Zeffman: “Jeremy Corbyn wrote the foreword to a book which argued that banks and the press were controlled by Jews. In 2011 he agreed to endorse a new edition of JA Hobson’s 1902 book Imperialism: A Study, four years before he was catapulted from backbench obscurity to the Labour leadership. In his foreword Mr. Corbyn said the work was a ‘great tome,’ praising Hobson’s ‘brilliant, and very controversial at the time’ analysis of the ‘pressures’ behind western, and in particular British, imperialism at the turn of the 20th century.” [TheTimes]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Objections to the Measles Vaccine? Get the Shots, Faith Leaders Say — by Donald McNeil: “‘Since it is proven that vaccines are effective to prevent the spread of disease, it is an obligation upon every father to vaccinate his children,’ Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, vice president of the Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem, recently wrote in an open letter to the dean of a major Orthodox yeshiva in the United States.” [NYTimes• Orthodox Jews worry about widening discrimination over measles scare [NYDailyNews]

TRANSITIONS — Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, former IDF chief of staff, has joined the Washington Institute for Near East Policy as a visiting military fellow.

Hannah Morris ‏joined J Street as assistant director of the group’s government affairs.

Chavie Lieber, a journalist at Vox Media, is joining the Business of Fashion as their tech correspondent.

BIRTHDAYS: National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (1987-2015), now National Director Emeritus, Abraham Foxman turns 79… Progressive political activist, teacher of Proust and other topics, national affairs correspondent for Pacifica Radio (1987-1998), Larry Bensky turns 82… Assistant professor of Bible and Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University and editor of Tradition, an Orthodox theological journal, Rabbi Shalom Carmyturns 70… Deborah Chin turns 70… Boston area actor, David Alan Rossturns 70… Of counsel at DC-based Sandler Reiff, where he specializes in redistricting and voting rights, he is also the executive director of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, Jeffrey M. Wice turns 67…

Member of the House of Representatives for Colorado’s 7th congressional district since 2007, Edwin George “Ed” Perlmutter turns 66… Political reporter and columnist for The Richmond Times-Dispatch, he has covered Virginia elections and the state Capitol for more than 30 years, Jeff E. Schapiro turns 64… Israeli entrepreneur and software engineer, founder and CEO of Conduit (now known as Como), Israel’s first billion-dollar internet company, Ronen Shilo turns 61… Real estate entrepreneur, born in Israel, he has lived in Southern California since 1986, a co-founder of the Israeli American Leadership Council (IAC) and supporter of FIDF, Eli Tene turns 56…

President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, Rina F. Chessinturns 55… Professor of computer science and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, David R. Karger turns 52… Israeli judoka, she was the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal when she won Silver at Barcelona (1992), she is a manager in Israeli operations for Viacom (and its Nickelodeon subsidiary), Yael Arad turns 52… Member of the Washington State Senate where he currently serves as the Senate Majority Leader, he is a co-owner of minor league baseball’s Spokane Indians, Andrew Swire “Andy” Billigturns 51… Former policy advisor and legislative assistant to Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL-6), Omri Rahmil turns 27… DC-based political reporter Ben C. Jacobs… Hillel Ofek

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