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Jewish Insider | Daily Kickoff
September 3rd, 2020
👋 Good Thursday morning!

Ed note: The next Daily Kickoff will be on Tuesday. Happy Labor Day weekend everybody!

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner is concluding his Mideast tour with a visit to London to discuss the White House’s peace efforts with U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. 

The White House announced sanctions yesterday on the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court over the ICC’s investigations into the U.S. and Israel. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that his Republican National Convention speech from Jerusalem last week was “lawful” and “important.” 

The Biden presidential campaign is hosting a Zoom call on Jewish outreach in Pennsylvania later today, as a new poll shows President Donald Trump trailing Joe Biden by only 4 points in the Keystone State. Featured speakers include Doug Emhoff, the husband of vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA) and former Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA).  

Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) is urging Biden to visit Michigan before absentee ballots are mailed out in the swing state, which Trump won in 2016 by a fractional margin.

The Jewish Democratic Council of America is launching two digital ads targeting Jewish voters in the states of Michigan and Georgia, accusing Republican Senate candidates John James and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) of using antisemitic tropes in attacks against their rivals. 

Jake Auchincloss is leading the vote count in the tight Democratic primary race in Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district by 1,430 votes over Jesse Mermell as ballots continue to be counted.

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family business

The next Senator Coleman from Minnesota 

Julia Coleman hasn’t been involved in campus advocacy for a number of years. But she still carries many of the lessons she learned during her time as a field representative for the Leadership Institute, a conservative youth group. “One of our demonstrations was we would take a SodaStream and we would set up a little booth,” Coleman told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel, referring to the popular soda machine, which is headquartered in Israel and a frequent BDS target. “While we're showing them this amazing apparatus, we would talk about the innovations coming out of Israel and the importance of having a free, democratic state in the Middle East.”

Political parallels: Such discussions were also good practice for Coleman in her personal and political future as a young Republican. She is the daughter-in-law of Norm Coleman, a former Minnesota senator and the current chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Now that she is vying to represent Minnesota’s 47th district in the State Senate, Coleman — who currently serves as a city council member in Chanhassen, a suburb of Minneapolis — is acutely aware that some of the same issues she faced on campuses will also be present in higher office.

Conservative voice: Coleman, 28, says she entered the race to replace Scott Jensen, a Republican retiring at the end of his term, because she believes the state has been co-opted by progressives like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), the freshman congresswoman who is highly critical of Israel and has been accused of antisemitism. “She definitely has yanked that entire party further left and has really created quite a radical base here in Minnesota,” Coleman declared weeks after Omar’s resounding primary victory over a more moderate challenger. Coleman defeated Victoria Mayor Tom Funk in the 47th district Republican primary in August.

Keeping it local: It may seem that a down-ballot candidate such as Coleman wouldn’t have much of an opportunity to effect change at the state level. But her father-in-law avers that it is just as important to have pro-Israel candidates locally as it is to have them in Congress. “To have somebody who, in their core, understands the importance of these issues, I think, really makes a difference because the battles are being fought on the local level,” Norm Coleman said. Dan Rosen, a Minneapolis lawyer involved in pro-Israel causes, agreed. “Even here in Minnesota, the Jewish community has to be on its guard,” he told JI. “Anti-Israel advocates are active at our capitol, where pro-Israel legislators have passed anti-BDS legislation and thwarted efforts to force divestment from Israel.”

Looking ahead: Coleman, who is all but assured a seat in the solidly conservative district, swats away questions about her ambitions beyond state office. “I always say the same thing when I was on council,” she said. “I have to prove I can do a good job here before I'll even think that far ahead.” In the meantime, she is looking forward to taking on more substantive issues if elected to the State Senate. “You really don't talk about hot button issues on council,” Coleman told JI. “You talk about zoning, you talk about the local levy, the fire department. In the state Senate, issues like BDS will come before me. Issues like abortion and the Second Amendment will come before me. Issues that are going to affect every single Minnesotan will be discussed and debated.”

Read the full profile on Coleman here.

helping hand

New JFNA campaign aims to support struggling Jewish communities

 Eric Fingerhut/screenshot
Backed by a number of the Jewish community’s largest funders, the Jewish Federations of North America is launching a new initiative to raise $54 million to support local communities in providing assistance to those impacted by the novel coronavirus and its economic fallout

Details: The Human Services Relief Matching Fund, which includes a 50% match from major philanthropists — the Maimonides Fund, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; Crown Family Philanthropies; the Jack, Joseph & Morton Mandel Foundation, the Singer Family Foundation, Leslie and Abigail Wexner and the Wilf Family Foundation — will direct fundraised dollars to local communities to allocate as needed to address issues including food insecurity, employment assistance, services for the aging and mental health programs.

Downward spiral: Funding for general human services began to slow in the spring as government-funded stimulus programs wound down. “Public policy played a big role early in the crisis,” Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of JFNA, told Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss, noting the stimulus and unemployment checks that were distributed early in the pandemic, but ceased after several months. “The depth of the economic crisis became clear,” he said. “The number of people in our community unemployed became clear. The increased demand on our human services agencies became clear.”

New normal: “When [the pandemic] started, it was a catastrophe. And then everyone basically said, ‘Well, if I can just get through the next few months, life will be back to normal.’ And then you get through a few months and your life’s not getting back to normal,” Mark Charendoff, president of the Maimonides Fund, told JI. “And for a lot of people, the new normal is you're unemployed or you're underemployed or one half of a couple is unemployed, and that's not going to change anytime soon. And there's a need for food, there's a need for job training, there's a need for all kinds of things that a lot of us in the Jewish community have convinced ourselves are historical problems and not current reality.”

Minimizing damage: Fingerhut is hopeful that Congress will pass another relief bill to aid struggling communities. “I am frankly shocked that they haven't been able to bridge the differences that exist between the parties on this issue. I think they need to resolve them quickly,” he said. “The human need out there is severe, there's no way private philanthropy can fill the whole gap. And I believe they will, sooner or later, be compelled to take these steps. But the longer you wait, the more damage it does to families and to our economy and our community.”

Read more here.

Elsewhere: The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington revealed yesterday that it was the victim of a hacking attack that stole $7.5 million from its endowment fund. The FBI is investigating the incident. 

Sneak Peek

Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls former colleague a ‘foulmouthed Jew’ in upcoming memoir

Gage Skidmore
In Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s new book, Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House, the former White House press secretary describes her relationship with her former colleague Josh Raffel, whose White House communications responsibilities included the Israeli-Palestinian file.

Opposite sides: “Josh and I hadn't known each other before starting in the White House. He was a liberal, aggressive, foulmouthed Jew from New York City who had spent most of his career working in Hollywood. I was pretty much his total opposite,” Sanders writes in the book, obtained by Jewish Insider, in a chapter detailing what happened behind the scenes of President Donald Trump’s first visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017. Raffel, who also served as a spokesperson for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, was senior vice president at Hiltzik Strategies and head of public relations at Blumhouse Productions before joining the Trump administration in 2017. He left the White House in the spring of 2018.

Changed views: Sanders writes that “despite our differences, I had grown to love Josh. He is one of the funniest people I know, intensely loyal, and probably the most talented communications strategist I've ever worked with. Nobody in the White House could work a story better than Josh, and he was always one of the first colleagues I turned to for help on the toughest assignments.” Raffel told JI that Sanders “is a close friend.” 

Read more here.
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Community Comms

Podcast Playback: Commentary Magazine Editor John Podhoretz joined Mark Gerson's podcast to discuss Genesis 34 [Link]

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🗣️ Middle Man: The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani and Spencer Ackerman report that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to intervene to calm things down after a debate over police brutality and racial injustice on the company’s internal messaging platform spun out of control. Following the incident, Zuckerberg announced that the company was developing internal forums with “clear rules and strong moderation” to discuss controversial topics. [DailyBeast

👨‍💼 On the Trail: In ABC News, Matthew Mosk and Katherine Faulders spotlight the campaign efforts of Doug Emhoff, the husband of Democratic VP candidate Kamala Harris, who is tapping into his network of “high-powered lawyers” to raise campaign funds. [ABCNews]

👩‍🍳 Hungry for More: In Tablet, Flora Tsapovsky profiles Ruti Bruodo, the Israeli restaurateur and TV personality who has recently become “of the loudest advocates for governmental aid” to the country’s struggling restaurant industry. [Tablet]

🛍️ Final Sale: Sarah Seltzer, an editor at Lilith Magazine, has penned a eulogy to Lord & Taylor in The New York Times, recalling trips throughout her childhood with her mother and grandmother. “It was perfect for us: less trendy than Bloomingdale’s, less snooty than Saks, and smaller than Macy’s.” [NYTimes]
Around the Web
💵 Abrupt Halt: Oracle founder Larry Ellison has shut down his philanthropic foundation, vowing to refocus his charitable efforts on combating the coronavirus. 

📲 All In: Business executive Harry Sloan and film producer Jeff Sagansky are merging Flying Eagle Acquisition with mobile-gaming company Skillz, which is valued at $3.5 billion.

🙅‍♂️ No Thanks: Airbnb rejected Bill Ackman’s offer to merge with his special purpose acquisition company Pershing Square Tontine Holdings. 

🌠 Rising Stars: Fortune magazine’s 2020 list of 40 under 40 includes Israelis Nir Bar Dea of Bridgewater and Yoni Assia of eToro.

👨‍💻 Bonding: Young Israelis and Emiratis are now meeting online to build ties after direct flights and phone lines were made possible by the historic UAE-Israel accord. 

📦 Door to Door: DHL flew the first direct delivery flight between Tel Aviv and Dubai yesterday.

🍽️ Bon Appetit: The Orthodox Union has officially granted Dubai-based caterer Elli's Kosher Kitchen a kosher certificate to open a permanent local branch.

👩🏻‍✈️ Goodbye Party: Hedva Opatovsky, El Al’s longest-serving flight attendant, retired yesterday after leading the cabin crew on the airline’s first direct flight to Abu Dhabi.

🤝 On Script: Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani told Jared Kushner in Doha yesterday that the two-state solution remains the only path towards Middle East peace.

😟 Uptick: Israel registered a record high of more than 3,000 new daily cases, as coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu warned that “a full lockdown may be inevitable.”

😷 Perilous Psak: Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a leading ultra-Orthodox arbiter, has come under fire for urging Israeli yeshiva students not to get tested for COVID-19 to avoid shutting down yeshivas.  

⚖️ On Trial: An Israeli court has indicted 11 suspects for their participation in a suspected gang rape in Eilat last month, in a case that shocked the nation. 

🤳 Fake News: Longtime BBC journalist Nimesh Thaker is under fire for creating an anonymous Twitter account to publish anti-Israel posts and attack a Jewish fellow BBC anchor. 

🇺🇦 Driven by Hate: An Israeli man, who has a residence permit in Ukraine, was beaten by local residents at a shop in Uman.

😡 Hate Lives: Vandals drew a swastika and spray painted “white power” on the office of a Jewish attorney in the Bronx. 

📚 Giving Back: Kurt Wick, an 82-year-old Jewish man who found refuge in Shanghai during the Holocaust, has donated 8,000 books on Jewish history to the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum.  

Honoring Life: Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem is launching a Shabbat-observant soccer youth club in Miami to honor the legacy of Sholem Benchimol, a 17-year-old soccer player and fan who died earlier this year.

📺 Binge Watch: Apple TV+ released the trailer for the new Israeli show “Tehran,” slated to premiere on the streaming platform later this month.

👨‍💼 Transition: Jake Adler has been appointed as Jewish liaison for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Adler previously served as a senior advisor to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, political director at the Orthodox Union’s Teach NYS, and an aide to former City Councilman David Greenfield.
Disney Music/Twitter
Israeli singer and Eurovision star Netta Barzilai performs "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from the 1964 movie "Mary Poppins" in a new clip promoted by Disney Music. 
Edward Kaprov
Mayor of Haifa, Einat Kalisch-Rotem turns 50... 

Former chairman and CEO of Warner Cable Communications, Gustave M. Hauser turns 91... Past chair of the Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Robert Sugarman turns 81... Betty Lederman turns 76... Media personality and psychologist also known as Dr. Estella, Estella Sneider, Psy.D. turns 70... Software engineer at IBM in Cary, N.C., he persevered after many years to locate and inter the remains of the crew of a crashed WW2 American B-24 in the Indian Himalayans, succeeding in 2008, Gary Zaetz turns 66... Actor best known for his roles on "The Sopranos" and "Blue Bloods," Steve Schirripa turns 63... Managing partner of Tax Equity Advisors and senior advisor at Guggenheim Partners, Jonathan Silver 63... Producer and reporter at NBC and MSNBC, Adam Reiss turns 55... Editor-in-chief and CEO of Time Magazine, Edward Felsenthal turns 54...

Historian and progressive journalist, Eric S. "Rick" Perlstein turns 51... Executive director of the Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics at Chicago's Jewish United Fund, Jason Rothstein turns 49... Visual editor at The Wall Street Journal, Todd Lindeman turns 49... CEO of PR and communications firm Sunshine Sachs, Shawn Sachs turns 47... Founder of the Silverstein Group, Rustin Silverstein turns 44... Rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue, Avraham Bronstein turns 40... Chief advancement officer of Honeymoon Israel, Avital Ingber turns 39... Political strategist who is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Left Hook Communications, Joel Martin Kliksberg turns 36... Chief media correspondent for CNN, Brian Stelter turns 35... Fashion model and actress, Kaia Gerber turns 19...
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