Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff: May 20, 2019
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Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff: May 20, 2019

Bernie Sanders says as president he might move US embassy back to Tel Aviv; An Orthodox Jewish teenager is running the most unorthodox presidential campaign

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., takes part in a Fox News town-hall style event, Monday April 15, 2019 in Bethlehem, Pa. (AP/Matt Rourke)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., takes part in a Fox News town-hall style event, Monday April 15, 2019 in Bethlehem, Pa. (AP/Matt Rourke)

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ULTIMATE DEAL ROLLOUT — The White House announced the first phase of the Mideast peace plan on Sunday, an economic blueprint which will be the subject of a summit in Manama, Bahrain on June 25 and 26.

Finance ministers and business leaders from the region will be invited to participate in the “economic workshop,” said administration officials, in an attempt to present the details and get feedback on the proposal before engaging on the political issues. “It’s tough to digest both the economic and political proposals at once, since they’re both very detailed proposals,” an administration official told CNN.

The White House said that the political part of the plan, which deals with the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, will be presented to the two sides “at a later time.”

“The Palestinian people, along with all people in the Middle East, deserve a future with dignity and the opportunity to better their lives,” Jared Kushner said in a statement. 

Kushner added in a statement to CNN, “People are letting their grandfathers’ conflict destroy their children’s futures. This will present an exciting, realistic and viable pathway forward that does not currently exist.” [JewishInsider]

Who will attend? The U.S. delegation will be headed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Kushner. According to Haaretz, Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is expected to head the Israeli delegation to the summit. A spokesman for  Kahlon said, “We have not yet received an invitation.”

The Palestinian Authority is not expected to participate in the workshop. But a senior U.S. official said the White House invited a group of Palestinian businessmen and is expecting some of them to attend.

Bashar Masri, Palestinian billionaire and founder of the West Bank city Rawabi, tells Jewish Insider he was invited to the Bahrain summit but won’t attend. “I am not attending as I believe such a workshop without the full coordination and leadership of our political system is not going to lead to anything but damage to the Palestinian cause,” Masri said. “We certainly have lots of internal issues to deal with but are capable of leading and improving our economy. Our main problem is with external obstacles and interference.”

REACTION — Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, tells Jewish Insider, “Releasing an economic vision for government ‘investors’ without specifying the political structures that support it is like selling apartments in a skyscraper for which there are as yet no architectural plans.”

Washington Institute’s Dennis Ross emails us: “It looks to be their effort before presenting the plan to show that the economic side of it is serious, has real commitments, and can change life dramatically for the better. I would like to see some economic steps taken to stabilize the situation in Gaza and the West Bank before the larger plan is unveiled — getting something done practically on the ground before the plan is presented would not only create a better context for the plan but also show the administration is already delivering in more concrete terms. At this point, the administration faces a pretty steep climb to get the plan taken seriously — stabilization steps in advance of the plan could help in that regard.”

Dore Gold, former Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emails us: “Without knowing yet all the specifics, the Arab side has to know that the plan will first and foremost produce an entirely new economic situation in the Middle East. For example, the West Bank can emerge as a conduit for connecting the eastern Mediterranean to Jordan and then to Iraq and Saudi Arabia.”

“The old peace process is not enough. The Arab states need to see that they have a real stake in the new vision being proposed. Rather than fear the Trump plan, Arab states could become its greatest advocates. That is the only way to obtain a breakthrough which has defied most diplomats in the past.”

Wilson Center’s Aaron David Miller tells JI, “I think Kushner surrendered, not increased his leverage by breaking this into two pieces, because if he purports to do a comprehensive solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, then you need to address the economic and political components as part of a package. That’s the only way this could work. And if you break it up and sequence it the way you’ve done, you really get the sense that this is designed to put the Palestinians again in a box at a time when they are desperate economically.”

“To me, this is a clever move, but it is not a wise move. I think they want to increase their leverage by making it unmistakably clear what this plan offers to Palestinians. But whether or not all of this leverage is going to be enough to substitute, compensate, induce the Palestinians to somehow be more flexible on the issues they care about, I doubt it. And it is not beyond the realm of the possible that the political aspects of this are delayed for quite a while.”

Khaled Elgindy, a nonresident fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings: “Previous administrations also tried to separate economic from political issues, presumably because the latter were just too difficult. But this approach has never worked. However, the problem with the Trump plan is far deeper, in that it takes all of the main issues that Palestinians care about — Jerusalem, refugees, and genuine sovereignty — off the table. In other words, the economic component of the Trump plan mostly likely far outweighs whatever political elements it may have. All of this makes the entire Trump plan a nonstarter, certainly from the Palestinian standpoint but also from the perspective of a credible two state solution.”

VIEW FROM THE REGION — Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday that Palestinian officials were not consulted about the administration’s economic conference in Bahrain. “We do not submit to blackmail and we don’t trade our political rights for money,” he added.

An Israeli official told Politico“I think the Palestinian leadership will say no to everything, because they’ve said no to generous offers that have been made to them in the past. The question is what will be the greater response of the Arab countries and the Palestinian street.”

REPORT — Jordan’s King Abdullah II seems worried that the plan would require Jordan to absorb millions of Palestinians who are already living in the kingdom, the Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday. Abdullah is also worried that the plan would end the Hashemites’ historic custodianship over the holy sites in Jerusalem in favor of other Arab and Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in a rare interview to a Kuwaiti newspaper, said that he is not optimistic about Trump’s peace plan and that any attempt to force unjust solutions could lead to violence and not peace.

Peter Baker and Mark Landler write in the New York Times“Mr. Netanyahu could use the conference as an incentive to get Moshe Kahlon, the finance minister who apparently wants to keep his job, to sign on, which could then lead to others joining the alliance.”

HEARD YESTERDAY — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) refused to give “a definite answer” on whether he would move back the U.S. Embassy to Tel Aviv if elected during an interview on NBC’s Meet The Press with Chuck Todd.

Todd: On the issue of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, would you move it back out of Jerusalem, if you thought it was a way to get a peace deal?

Sanders: “Yeah. I think it’s something that we should — I can’t give you a definitive answer, but yeah. The answer is, look, whether it is Iran and Saudi Arabia, whether it is Israel and the Palestinians, the United States needs to bring people together, needs an even handed policy.”

Todd: Would you move the embassy, now, out of Jerusalem? Or would you keep it there for the present?

Sanders: “We’ll take that one step at a time. It’s something — you know, bottom line is, we need to be a — we are the most-powerful country on earth. Let’s bring people together and try to bring peace.” [Video]

On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper highlighted the partnership he developed between the state of Colorado and Israel “that addresses terrorism, water conservation, cyber security” as part of his pitch for being commander-in-chief.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) on This Week“I fought Iranians on the ground in Iraq in 2004. It was bloody. We won. And if necessary, I will fight Iran again. But right now, war is not necessary.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), appearing on the same program, said: “[Trump] says he doesn’t want it, but the actions of him and his administration, people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, tell us a very different story. They are setting the stage for a war with Iran that would prove to be far more costly, far more devastating and dangerous than anything that we saw in the Iraq war.”

Trump tweeted on Sunday, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”

Trump added in an interview with Fox News host Steve Hilton: “I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons — you just can’t let that happen.”

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday, “I would say to the Iranians: Do not underestimate the resolve on the U.S. side. They don’t want a war with Iran. But if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman invited Gulf leaders and Arab states to two emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region. Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said Riyadh “does not want a war, is not looking for it and will do everything to prevent it.”

Meanwhile, Brian Hook, the State Department’s special envoy for Iran, told a small group of reporters that the administration will insist on “zero enrichment for Iran” in talks over a new nuclear deal. Such an agreement, according to Hook, would assure that it would take Iran a year or more to “break out” and make the fuel to build a bomb if they start violating the terms of the deal. “We are restoring deterrence while working toward a new and better deal,” Mr. Hook said. “We lost deterrence under the Iran deal.”

ON THE GROUND — Syrian state media accused Israel of launching strikes against targets outside Damascus on Friday and Saturday. According to pro-opposition reports, the strikes targeted the First Division HQ of the Syrian Army Forces near al-Kiswah, south of Damascus. The site is near Iranian and Hezbollah storage sites and air defense batteries. Other local reports said the strikes targeted Iranian arms depots.

Since President Trump introduced sweeping new restrictions on trade with Iran last year, Iran’s ability to finance Hezbollah has been curtailed, according to the Washington Post. Fighters are being furloughed or assigned to the reserves, where they receive lower salaries or no pay at all, a Hezbollah employee with one of the group’s administrative units, revealed.

ON THE HILL — by JI’s Laura Kelly: Legislation upholding a state’s right to refuse to do business with companies that boycott Israel will move through the House Foreign Affairs Committee “in the near term,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on the floor Friday, responding to pressure from Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) to provide a timeline on bringing up the Senate-passed bipartisan legislation S.1.

“I share the gentleman’s view, as he knows, with reference to the BDS movement, which is contrary to the interests of our ally, Israel, and contrary to our own interests,” Hoyer told Scalise. “Having said that, I’ve indicated to the gentleman last week, I’ve been discussing this with Mr. Engel and he, as you know, shares the view that I’ve expressed and you’ve expressed and he’s – the committee will be addressing that. I expect in the near term. When they do, we will decide what actions to take at that point in time.”

The Republican Whip expressed bipartisan agreement in opposing BDS, and restated that the Senate’s anti-BDS legislation was “highly bipartisan,” with 77 votes in favor of it. “It would be a lot better if it was truly bipartisan from both leadership sides, saying we’re willing to stand up against this [BDS] movement, not just in words, but in deeds,” Scalise said. 

Democrats are unlikely to sign on to the Republican-led discharge petition, with some viewing the move as a political maneuver outside the normal procedures of the House.

“I believe in regular order and that bills should go through committees and have markups and come to the floor,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), chairman of the House Committee on Rules, said when asked about the petition. “I’m not a big fan of the discharge petition process.”

Likewise, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tells Jewish Insider he views the petition as a “political stunt.”

The issue of violating the First Amendment is another argument Democrats have used, undermining Republican arguments that Democrats don’t stand with Israel and against antisemitism. “Democrats have already indicated they intend to bring [a bill opposing BDS] to the floor anyway,” Rep. Connolly said, referencing Rep. Brad Schneider’s (D-IL) resolution condemning and opposing BDS. “One that respects the First Amendment.”

Hoyer also expressed concern of the Republican anti-BDS bill as having “issues with respect to its constitutionality.” Yet Republicans maintain that changes to the bill account for this – specifically use of the word “entity” to describe an organization or company that State governments can refuse to do business with if it boycotts Israel. “Clearly the Senate looked at that as well,” Scalise said on the floor. “…the discharge petition has a rule that would actually conform it to the Senate to address those issues.” [Video]

A bill to increase security assistance for synagogues was introduced in the Senate on Friday with bipartisan support, providing up to $75 million a year for nonprofit institutions to fortify themselves against violent threats and terrorist attacks.

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI), who introduced the bill, both referenced recent deadly attacks on Jewish institutions as evidence of the need to increase funding. “Ensuring that synagogues, religious and cultural institutions, and nonprofit organizations have the resources and training they need to secure their facilities is one way Congress can help address this unnecessary violence that has tragically become more and more common,” Sen. Portman said in a statement. Sen. Peters added, “We must do more to address these insidious threats, and stand up to the hatred and bigotry that drives them.”

STATE-SIDE — Three arsons at two Jewish centers in one week rattles Boston suburbs — by Joey Garrison: “Three arson attacks in one week in suburbs outside of Boston – each extinguished before producing extensive damage – have put the Jewish community and others in the area on edge… Although no one was injured in these acts of arson, the events come on the heels of recent attacks on Jewish synagogues that were fueled by antisemitism.” [USATodayBuzzFeed]

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted: “These actions are meant to inspire fear in places of worship and joy. But we won’t let that happen. By coming together to stand against antisemitism and other forms of bigotry, our communities will only grow stronger.”

Chicago police seek suspect in arson attempt at synagogue: “Chicago police are stepping up patrols at synagogues as well as Jewish schools and businesses after an attempted arson at a synagogue and vandalism near others.”[AP]

HEARD THE OTHER DAY — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said that attacks that Muslims face are “the same as the ones that Jews face every single day,” during an Iftar dinner in Austin, Texas on Saturday. “Antisemitism and Islamophobia are two sides of the same bigoted coin. Attacks on faiths are linked, and we must confront them together.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler attended the event despite calls to skip it because of Omar’s attendance. Outside the event, several protestors stood quietly in body armor, openly carrying rifles, while counter-protestors danced to drums holding a banner reading ‘Jews stand with Ilhan,’ according to the Houston Chronicle.

2020 WATCH  — Joe Biden delivered a call for national unity at a campaign rally in Philadelphia… Biden’s candidacy is challenging assumptions about what Democratic voters want in the era of President Trump… Bernie Sanders said on Meet the Press: ‘Beating Trump is not good enough’… Sanders discussed his long-held opposition to war and his support for socialist leaders in an interview with the New York Times…  ‘A guiding light and inspiration’ — Why 2020 Democratic candidates are flocking to Jimmy Carter…

How Pete Buttigieg’s Harvard pals helped spur his rise in politics… As some 2020 rivals forgo corporate cash, Bill de Blasio imposes few limits… Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) unveiled his national service proposal on Sunday… Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is struggling. Will abortion rights be her rallying cry?… President Trump plans to formally launch his re-election campaign next month, likely with a burst of swing-state rallies.

Steve Wynn gave $248,500 to the Republican National Committee and $150,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in April, Politicoreported on Friday. Wynn, the former chairman of Wynn Resorts, resigned his post as RNC finance chairman in January of 2018 following accusationsthat he engaged in an extensive pattern of sexual misconduct. On Thursday, Wynn was spotted by television cameras arriving at a high-dollar Trump fundraiser hosted by Howard Lutnick.

PROFILE — The Teen Who Thwarted Bill de Blasio’s Presidential Announcement — by Tyler Foggatt: “Since 2011, when he was nine, Gabe Fleisher has written a newsletter called Wake Up to Politics, which has around fifty thousand subscribers… Fleisher has covered Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions, Bernie Sanders, and both Clintons during their visits to St. Louis. In March, he interviewed Nancy Pelosi. ‘A lot of the time at these events, I’m one of the few reporters who’s there, and so I’ve been able to set the scene, and offer really rich reporting,’ he said. In 2016, when Jill Stein held a campaign event in St. Louis, Fleisher was one of two journalists who showed up. He published a long, exclusive interview with her. He was fourteen.” [NewYorker]

RISING STAR — An Orthodox Teenager Is Running The Most Unorthodox Presidential Campaign — by Aiden Pink: “[The] serious candidate is 89-year-old former senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, and his 18-year-old campaign manager is high school senior David Oks – though whether both are really ‘serious’ about their run depends on how you look at things. Powered largely by viral tweets (often mocking the other candidates) written by Oks and his friend and chief of staff, college freshman Henry Williams (who is not Jewish), Gravel is now close to qualifying for next month’s Democratic debates by hitting the party’s benchmarks – 65,000 individual donors by June 12, or hitting at least 1% in three major polls.” [Forward]

** Good Monday 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Roman Abramovich’s $100 Million Film Fund Launches [Variety] • Sam Zell looking to go public with four equity firms overseas [RealDeal• Online Gig Marketplace Fiverr Heading for a New York IPO [Calcalist• Sapir Corp. takes $32M loan from Tamir Sapir’s estate[RealDeal• Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, is set to launch a new innovation center in Tel Aviv in June [Calcalist• Tel Aviv startup Siemplify raises $30 million to streamline security tool management[VentureBeat]

STARTUP NATION — Israel’s startup IPO drought is finally coming to an end — by Orr Hirschauge: “It’s not just mammoth US tech companies going public this year. A group of blockbuster Israeli start-ups is also getting in on the action… Information security company Tufin Software led the way last month, raising $108m, with a post-money valuation of $408m, on the New York Stock Exchange. Others, like Fiverr, are expected to follow, with higher valuations. Kiernan from Latham & Watkins says that in 2019 he expects to see three more IPOs by Israeli companies looking to raise $100-$200m with valuations of $500m to $1bn. He also sees ‘a very nice pipeline for next year.'”[Sifted]

SPOTLIGHT — Deutsche Bank Staff Saw Suspicious Activity in Trump and Kushner Accounts — by David Enrich: “Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Donald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog. The transactions… set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity… But executives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies, rejected their employees’ advice.” [NYTimes]

DRIVING THE WEEK — Tens of thousands of real estate brokers are heading to Las Vegas for the ICSC conference, which has 29,000 attendees signed up. [RealDeal]

Top ‘Live-Streamers’ Get $50,000 an Hour to Play New Videogames Online — by Sarah Needleman: “Take-Two plans to pay stream­ers to play ‘Bor­der­lands 3’ when the comedic shooter game launches Sept. 13. ‘Hav­ing celebrity stream­ers play games is an im­por­tant part of the busi­ness,’ Strauss Zel­nick, Take-Two’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said in an in­ter­view. ‘It is rel­a­tively new, but it has to be or­ganic. The stream­ers have to be­lieve in it.'” [WSJ]

EUROVISION — Eurovision scolds Madonna for Palestinian flag display: “Eurovision Song Contest organizers say they were taken aback by the display of a Palestinian flag during Madonna’s guest appearance, which defied contest rules. While Madonna performed her new single, two of her dancers flashed Israeli and Palestinian flags pinned on their backs… EBU also said it is considering “consequences” for Iceland’s performers, who whipped out a Palestinian flag during the vote tally.” [APRollingStone]

ACROSS THE SEA — Germany designates BDS Israel boycott movement as antisemitic — by Joseph Nasr and Riham Alkousaa: “The German parliament voted on Friday to condemn as antisemitic a movement that calls for economic pressure on Israel… ‘The argumentation patterns and methods used by the BDS movement are antisemitic,’ read the motion submitted by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, their Social Democrat coalition partners as well as the Greens and Free Democrats… Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the Bundestag decision in a statement on Twitter. ‘I hope that this decision will bring about concrete steps and I call upon other countries to adopt similar legislation,’ he said.” [ReutersWSJ]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Department of Education slacking on Jewish, Muslim dietary options at schools, Councilmen say — by Rich Calder: “A free-lunch pilot program for Jewish and Muslim city school kids with religious dietary restrictions has been plagued by delays, two politicians charge… Brooklyn Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who secured the $1 million pot of legislative funds for the program, said he inquired about the delays and that DOE attributed some of it to trying to first figure out ‘how best to avoid bullying’ of Muslim and Jewish students over their food choices. But he and Mark Treyger said DOE has repeatedly blown off their questions about how the money has been spent.” [NYPost]

NUKE DINNER — Inside the Secret Dinners Where Congress Figures Out How to Stop a Nuclear Apocalypse — by Sam Brodey: “Washington is home to countless private soirees and high powered dinner clubs, but there’s only one gathering devoted to nukes. They take place once every couple of months at a restaurant or townhome on Capitol Hill and are organized by former Democratic congressman John Tierney, who heads a group that advocates nuclear nonproliferation. Attendance is usually strong — at least a couple of dozen lawmakers show up — and they’re joined by experts like former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.” [DailyBeast]

DC SIGHTINGS — Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer with his wife Rhoda on a Shabbat afternoon stroll along Wisconsin Ave.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 2 Amy’s Pizza on Saturday… sat upstairs and went in a side entrance. [Pic]

REMEMBERING — Herman Wouk, Pulitzer Prize-winning master of sweeping historical fiction, dies at 103 — by Becky Krystal: “Herman Wouk, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Navy drama ‘The Caine Mutiny,’ whose sweeping novels about World War II, the Holocaust and the creation of Israel made him one of the most popular writers of his generation and helped revitalize the genre of historical fiction, died May 17 at his home in Palm Springs, California… Herman Wouk was born May 27, 1915, in the Bronx, which he once called ‘that romantic, and much overcriticized borough’ of New York. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia, and his father worked his way into the presidency of a laundry-chain business… He found comfort in books that his mother bought from a traveling salesman when he was 12… The arrival from Russia of his maternal grandfather, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, would have a decisive influence on Mr. Wouk’s beliefs and many of his later works of fiction and nonfiction.” [WashPost]

BIRTHDAYS: Professor at Tulane U, he retired as president of the Aspen Institute in 2017, former CEO of CNN and former Managing Editor of Time, Walter Isaacson turns 67… Born in upstate NY as Michael Scott Bornstein, former Israeli ambassador to the US (2009-2013), he was then a Deputy Minister and a member of Knesset for the centrist Kulanu party (2015-2019), Michael Oren turns 64… CEO at Kings’ Care A Safe Place, operator of multiple drug and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment centers, Ilene Leiterturns 76… Canadian businesswoman and elected official, she served in the Ontario Assembly (1985-1997) and in the Canadian House of Commons (1997-2004), Elinor Caplan turns 75… Democratic member of the New York State Assembly since 2007, representing the 97th Assembly District in Rockland County, Ellen Jaffee turns 75…

Former member of the US House of Representatives from Connecticut’s 2nd district (1981-2001), he was born in a DP camp in Germany after WW2, Sam Gejdenson turns 71… Chagrin Falls, Ohio attorney, Robert Charles Rosenfeld turns 70… Producer and writer who has worked on Saturday Night Live, PBS’ Great Performances, and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Alan Zweibel turns 69… Former director of international affairs, policy and planning at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (2016-2018), following 12 years at the ADL, Michael Alan Salberg turns 67… Chief legal affairs anchor for ABC News (and son of First Amendment scholar Floyd Abrams), he is the founder of Mediaite, Dan Abrams turns 53…

NYC location scout and unit production manager for feature films and television commercials, David Brotsky turns 53… EVP of Resolute Consulting, he is a former executive director of Business Forward (2014-2017) and deputy national finance director for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, Ami Copeland turns 47… Emmy Award-winning singer and songwriter, Rachel Platten turns 38… Director of regulatory affairs at the Electronic Transactions Association, Philip Justin (PJ) Hoffman turns 38 (h/t Playbook)… Program manager for cultural and civic vitality at the Michigan-based William Davidson Foundation, Vadim Avshalumov turns 34… Founder and CEO of Berkeley, California-based Caribou Biosciences, a genome engineering company, Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D. turns 34…

Legislative director for Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23) since April 2019, after 9 years on the staff of Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA 30), Lauren D. Wolman turns 33… Assistant director in the Washington Regional Office of AJC Global, Susan Sloan turns 33… VP of content production at Austin-based digital agency Harris Media, Josh Canter turns 27… American University student, he was previously an aide on the Mikie Sherrill for Congress campaign (NJ-11) and national chair of the High School Democrats of America, Aylon Berger turns 19… Political activist for school safety, he is a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and will be attending Harvard in the fall of 2020, Kyle Kashuv turns 18… Abraham Eckstein… Eric Gallagher.

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