• Interview with House candidate Harley Rouda

    Monday, October 8, 2018

    Democratic challenger Harley Rouda discussed his campaign against incumbent Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher for California’s 48th Congressional District in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh. Rohrabacher won his reelection bid in 2016 by 16…

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  • Julia Salazar ‘hopeful’ she will ove...

    Monday, September 17, 2018

    Julia Salazar, the presumptive State Senator of New York’s 18th District, feels vindicated after winning the Democratic primary last Thursday, despite a series of controversies.  “I feel vindicated, yeah,” Salazar…

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  • Woodward book details Trump’s Saudi summit

    Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    NOW AVAILABLE ― Excerpts of Bob Woodward’s new book titled Fear: Trump in the White House:  When Derek Harvey, Trump’s top Middle East adviser on the National Security Council, warned the White House about the threat from Hezbollah…

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  • Cynthia Nixon condemns Cuomo over mailer

    Sunday, September 9, 2018

    On BDS, Nixon says she’s not a supporter but supports the rights of those who are NEW YORK — New York gubernatorial candidate, Cynthia Nixon lashed out at…

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  • David Friedman and Alan Dershowitz joined Trump...

    Thursday, September 6, 2018

    Israelis and U.S. Jews should be ‘optimistic’ about the Trump administration succeeding in brokering a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, President Donald Trump said during a…

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  • Saban and Singer host dinner with Trump peace te...

    Wednesday, September 5, 2018

    Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, Haim Saban and Paul Singer convened a private dinner on Tuesday evening in New York City featuring U.S. Ambassador to the…

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  • Wendy Sherman reflects on diplomatic career in n...

    Tuesday, September 4, 2018

    Wendy Sherman, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and chief U.S. negotiator for the Iran nuclear deal, discusses her decades-long career in the State Department and her role in…

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  • Norm Eisen on new book ‘The Last Palace’

    Tuesday, September 4, 2018

    INTERVIEW — Norm Eisen, former White House ethics czar and ambassador to the Czech Republic, discussed his new book titled The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five…

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  • John Kerry’s new book details his relation...

    Friday, August 31, 2018

    An exclusive sneak peek at former Secretary of State John Kerry’s upcoming book titled Every Day Is Extra.    In the book set to be released on September 4, a copy of which was…

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  • Amb. David Friedman on Trump’s peace plan

    Wednesday, August 29, 2018

    ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on a conference call with the American Jewish Congress: “There’s no schedule [for the rollout of Trump’s peace plan]. I…

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Oct
15

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Daily Kickoff: Midterm candidates vying for Jewish voters | Congress to consider bipartisan bill to invest in Palestinian economy | The Two Princes

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ROAD TO THE MIDTERMS — GOP overwhelmed by Democratic cash ― by Alex Isenstadt: “The disparity is almost certain to grow, as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes good on plans to spend nearly $80 million to help Democrats flip the House… Desperate for help, Republicans are turning to their go-to benefactor: Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. The 85-year-old ally of President Donald Trump has made another contribution in the range of $20 million to the House GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC… Party leaders are hopeful he’ll fork over even more.” [Politico]

Top Hollywood Execs Give Overwhelmingly to Democrats for Midterms — by Jeremy Barr: “The biggest Hollywood donations went almost all to Democrats. The Senate Majority PAC was the primary recipient, with HBO host Bill Maher ($1 million)… Endeavor executives Ari Emanuel ($100,000) and Patrick Whitesell ($100,000) making major donations… Directors have been among Hollywood’s most prolific donors, including Steven Spielberg ($549,000) and J.J. Abrams ($347,500)… Veteran executive Jeffrey Katzenberg has given $1,116,300 so far.”[HollywoodReporter]

Texas Senate — Ted Cruz hammers at Beto O’Rourke, fundraising during Houston rally — by Jasper Scherer: “With early voting 10 days away, Cruz warned the crowd of O’Rourke’s fundraising, calling it “dangerous.” “That is the most money ever raised in a single quarter in any Senate race in the history of the country,” Cruz said, as mentions of “George Soros” and “Mexican money” fluttered through the crowd.”[HoustonChronicle]

— “Cruz said that in their second televised debate, set for Tuesday night in San Antonio, he intends to keep highlighting differences with O’Rourke, especially on foreign policy issues such as support for Israel.” [DallasNews] • Max Blankfield breaks down Cruz and Beto on Israel [ToI]

Nevada Senate — President Trump will hold a campaign rally in Elko, Nevada, to boost Sen. Dean Heller’s campaign in a closely-watched race against race Democratic candidate Jacky Rosen. The latest poll shows Heller leading Rosen by 2 points.

Virginia Senate — Kaine and Stewart vie for Jewish support at forum — by Antonio Olivo: “Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and his Republican challenger, Corey A. Stewart, vied for support from Jewish voters on Sunday at a candidate forum that covered ­anti-Semitism, U.S.-Israel relations… The forum at the Congregation Olam Tikvah synagogue in Fairfax County came a week after a vandal spray-painted swastikas on the walls of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia.”

Kaine: “There’s a false narrative about Charlottesville that it was about [Confederate] statues, but when you really hear what people were chanting, there’s nothing about statues that makes you want to chant something out of a Nazi youth rally,” Kaine said in a dig at Stewart for attracting support from white nationalists by championing the preservation of Confederate monuments in Virginia.”

Stewart: Stewart… argued that anti-Semitism exists on both sides of the political aisle. Stewart said the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement… has been championed by progressives in the United States who harbor anti-Semitic beliefs. “It’s not just anti-Israeli, it’s an anti-Semitic movement,” he said.” [WashPost

Virginia 05: The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) launched a $300K television and digital ad campaign this week against Democratic House candidate Leslie Cockburn in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes the Charlottesville area. The ad, entitled “dinner,” highlights Cockburn’s recollection of having dinner with Saddam Hussein sons and midnight tea with Muammar Gaddafi while she was a journalist for Vanity Fair in her 1998 memoir, and her 1991 book, Dangerous Liaison, under scrutiny for its criticism of Israel. The Virginia Republican Party also released a new attack ad claiming that Cockburn “hates” Israel.

J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami in a letter to the NYT editor: “While focusing on a handful of Democratic candidates who have faced heavy right-wing criticism for their positions on Israel, [the NYTimes] article misses the larger evolution in American politics on the issue. Instead of relying on the outdated idea that support for Israelis and Palestinians must be mutually exclusive, a growing majority of Democratic candidates increasingly recognize that it is possible and necessary to promote policies, like the two-state solution…” [NYT]

Rep. Ted Deutch writes… “A new Democratic House majority will continue our historic support for Israel: Many Democratic Members of Congress, myself included, are helping to educate our potential colleagues, especially those without previous foreign policy experience, about the deep bond between the United States and Israel – from shared security concerns to the vibrant democracies in both countries that welcome voices from across the political spectrum.” [ToI]

Pennsylvania 01 — Brian Fitzpatrick, Scott Wallace face off in first district debate — by James Boyle: “Republican incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick and Democratic challenger Scott Wallace shared a stage for the first time at Shir Ami synagogue… Some common ground was found between the candidates on a handful of issues brought up by moderator Josh Runyan, editor of the Jewish Exponent. They agreed that a two-state solution is the best answer for the Israel-Palestine conflict…” [TheIntelligencer]

Iowa 04 — Iowa newspaper endorses Democrat because GOP congressman spends all his time on ‘neo-Nazis’ and ‘fascists’: “Iowa’s largest and most influential newspaper, The Des Moines Register, slammed Republican Representative Steve King in a scathing editorial… The editorial read, in part: “This one’s a no-brainer for any Iowan who has cringed at eight-term incumbent King’s increasing obsession with being a cultural provocateur… He won’t debate his opponent and rarely holds public town halls. Instead, he spends his time meeting with fascist leaders in Europe and retweeting neo-Nazis.” [Newsweek]

Super PAC led by Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn slams King in a new TV ad: “He’s a hero, declares the neo-Nazi Stormfront website,” says the narrator. “God bless Steve King, says former KKK grand wizard David Duke.” [WashPost]

FL GOV — DeSantis surrogate suggests Gillum would veto security funds for Jewish day schools — by David Smiley: “The battle for Jewish voters in the race for Florida governor escalated another notch Sunday when the Jewish outreach chairman for GOP nominee Ron DeSantis… Randy Fine, the only Republican Jewish lawmaker in the Florida Legislature… suggested that Democrat Andrew Gillum might ignore a relatively new law banning the state government from doing business with companies that support a boycott of the nation of Israel. And then Fine mentioned that, over the past two years, the state of Florida has allocated $2.65 million to fund security at Jewish day schools.”

“DeSantis, meanwhile, said his wife bottled water from the Sea of Galilee during her last trip to Israel and saved it for their daughter’s baptism… DeSantis mentioned that he’s been working to increase school security with Andrew Pollack, the Jewish father of a slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student… And he said that traveling to Israel for the dedication of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem after lobbying the president to make the move was perhaps the greatest accomplishment of his professional career. “As soon as I take the oath of office, that very day, we’ll have the most pro-Israel governor in the country,” DeSantis said.” [MiamiHeraldSunSentinel]

MD GOV — Incumbent Governor Larry Hogan addressed Agudath Israel of Maryland last night [Pic] • Gov. Hogan and His Democratic Rival, Ben Jealous, Discuss Md.-Israel Ties [JMore]

Dallas Jewish groups say John Wiley Price political ad comparing Trump to Hitler ‘cheapens our political process’ — by Julieta Chiquillo: “Several Jewish groups on Friday scolded Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price for sending a political mailer equating President Donald Trump with Adolf Hitler. The Dallas-area organizations said that bringing up the Nazi leader for anything other than education or in reference to the Holocaust was “highly inappropriate and offensive.”[DallasNews]

HAPPENING TODAY — Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle will address the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual California Bash held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. Christians United for Israel’s Pastor John Hagee is also on the list of featured speakers.

2020 WATCH — Bloomberg’s New Hampshire event fuels White House bid talk — by Paul Steinhauser: “[Mike] Bloomberg was the main attraction at the get-out-the-vote rally for six candidates running for New Hampshire’s state House of Representatives… Bloomberg’s trip came just days after he re-registered as a Democrat… Asked by The Associated Press if he has any timetable for deciding on a presidential bid, he said “right now I’m focused on November 6, plain and simple.” But he added that after the midterm elections, “we’ll see what happens down the road.” [YahooNews]

Bloomberg fans rumors about presidential run — by Emily Ngo: “I never considered him to be a Democrat or Republican or independent. I considered him to be Mike Bloomberg,” Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said… [Hank] Sheinkopf said Bloomberg’s anti-gun and pro-environment stances appeal to younger voters, and his announcement via social media helps in “obliterating the age question.” Sheinkopf also said Bloomberg’s ability to move between party lines may draw support from voters turned off by hyper-partisanship.” [Newsday]

DRIVING THE CONVO — The alleged murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi caused a rift between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, the Saudi kingdom blasted President Trump for promising “severe punishment” if the royal court was responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance. However, Trump emphasized that “we would be punishing ourselves” if the U.S. would curtail its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said yesterday that Congress will act swiftly and unanimously if it turns out Saudi Arabia was behind the incident.

Ben Rhodes writes… “A Fatal Abandonment of American Leadership: Beyond Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Jerusalem, the [U.S.] withdrawal [from the Iran deal] was universally opposed around the world… However, MBS—it seemed—had succeeded in shaping events; instead of incremental pushback from an American president, he was in the driver’s seat, with an American president riding shotgun, and powerful American interests along for the ride… In his approach to MBS, Trump acts as if the Saudis are the stronger partner in the relationship, not like the superpower that we are.”[TheAtlantic]

Reality Breaks Up a Saudi Prince Charming’s Media Narrative — by Jim Rutenberg: “Eager journalists captured him at Starbucks with Michael R. Bloomberg, strolling the Google grounds with Sergey Brin and dining with Rupert Murdoch. Built into the narrative was a mostly cheerful acceptance of the story Crown Prince Mohammed was selling about himself — that here, at last, was the modern Middle Eastern leader the West had been waiting for… And suddenly the “M.B.S.” moniker took on a grim new meaning among the plugged-in set of Washington: Mister Bone Saw.” [NYTimes]

Two princes: Kushner now faces a reckoning for Trump’s bet on the heir to the Saudi throne — by Philip Rucker, Carol Leonnig and Anne Gearan: “Kushner was not briefed about the [Saudi] plot before Khashoggi’s disappearance… It would not be automatic for a senior White House adviser to be briefed on every new piece of intelligence in a region, unless officials decided it needed to be elevated to his or her attention… Kushner declined to comment on his relationship with Mohammed. His defenders say he has been realistic about Mohammed’s power and unafraid to chide the prince privately when he disagrees with his tactics but still believes there are long-term benefits in maintaining a close relationship.”

“One senior U.S. intelligence official said that Kushner has come under the influence of Mohammed’s simplistic view of power dynamics in the Middle East. “MBS has an elevator pitch,” this official said, that Kushner has bought into: Iran is the main enemy and the single obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East… Kushner privately argued for months last year that Mohammed would be key to crafting a Middle East peace plan, arguing that, with the prince’s blessing, much of the Arab world would follow.”

“The Jared-MBS relationship revolves around the Middle East peace process, and the hope that Jared had for the Israeli-Palestinian issue,” said Gerald Feierstein, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen and former senior State Department official who is now policy director at the Middle East Institute… But, Feierstein said, “MBS for his own reasons has played along and given the administration reason to believe that the Saudis will do more than I believe they ever will.” [WashPost]

Trump tweets this morning: “Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian citizen.” He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!”

HEARD YESTERDAY — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the detention of U.S. student and alleged BDS activist Lara Alqasem during remarks at the Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem: “Every country and every democracy and many democracies have special arrangements where they decide who to let in and who not to let it. If you come in and you are virulently against America and you try to come to the United States, there’s a good chance you won’t be let in if people know that in advance.”

Israeli PM Favors Naming Envoy to Christian World: “[Netanyahu] says he favors appointing an envoy to the Christian world, a sign of Israel’s efforts to foster close ties with its Christian allies… “A great alliance with the evangelicals is something we do not apologize for,” Netanyahu said. “We have no better friends in the world.” [AP]

ON THE HILL — U.S. Lawmakers Pushing Bipartisan Bill to Invest in Palestinian Economy — by Amir Tibon: “The legislation calls for the establishment of a “Palestinian Partnership Fund” that will “promote joint economic development and finance joint ventures between Palestinian entrepreneurs and companies in the United States, Israel, and countries in the Middle East.” … The legislation was originally sponsored by four senators: Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Democrats Tim Kaine of Virginia and Chris Coons of Delaware. A similar bill is being promoted in the House by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Nita Lowey (D-NY).” [HaaretzWalla]

At West Bank Factories, Keeping the Peace Is a Mutual Interest — by Isabel Kershner: “The West Bank industrial zones offer industrialists cheaper rent than in central Israel, among other incentives. And for the roughly 3,300 Palestinians who work in Barkan, the appeal is clear. They are treated equally in the workplace, earning the same salaries and benefits as their Israeli counterparts under Israeli law… Most Palestinians working at Barkan make more in overtime, and some become floor or shift managers. The Palestinian Authority disapproves of Palestinians working in the settlements but has not tried to stop them…” [NYTimes]

White House considers 2 female ambassadors to replace Haley at U.N. — by Eliana Johnson, Daniel Lippman and Gabby Orr: “The White House is adding two high-profile women, both confirmed ambassadors, to the list of candidates to succeed Nikki Haley at the United Nations, according to two senior administration officials: Jamie McCourt and Kelly Knight Craft… McCourt, the American ambassador to France and Monaco, is a former corporate attorney and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers.” [Politico]

** 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: As Annapurna Stumbles, Billionaire Larry Ellison Exerts Control [Variety] • Jared Kushner Paid No Federal Income Tax for Years, Documents Suggest [NYTimes] • Inside the jaw-dropping plans for Roman Abramovich’s mega-mansion, Manhattan’s biggest single-family home[NYPost] • Showtime Chief David Nevins in Talks for Expanded CBS Role[Variety] • Sears files for bankruptcy; Eddie Lampert steps down as CEO[CNBC] • Jackie Soffer and Jeffrey Soffer may be on opposing sides in campaigns for and against a Miami Beach hotel referendum vote on Nov. 6 [TheRealDeal] • Marc Benioff’s backing, donation for Prop. C came following late-night Twitter interaction with bookstore owner [MissionLocal]

STARTUP NATION — Skyline Robotics Raises $3M To Automate Dangerous Window Cleaning For Skyscrapers — by Danielle Shapira: “A pair of  Israeli entrepreneurs Avi Abadi and Yaron Schwarcz have raised $3M to automate the risky job of cleaning windows on skyscrapers… Skyline Robotics’ solution is Ozmo, a robot for real estate maintenance at heights.” [Forbes]

SPOTLIGHT — With its subscription service, the company has created an unusual hybrid of fast fashion and luxury. Will it stop you from buying new clothes? — by Alexandra Schwartz: “[Jennifer] Hyman founded Rent the Runway in 2008 with Jenny Fleiss, while both were in their second year at Harvard Business School… By the end of this year, Rent the Runway will offer fifteen thousand styles by more than five hundred designers, with a total inventory of eight hundred thousand units, stored in what Hyman calls “the closet in the cloud.” [NewYorker]

MEDIA WATCH — Peter Rice, Fox’s Un-Hollywood TV Boss, Is Getting More Say Over What You Watch — by John Koblin and Brooks Barnes: “Disney’s announcement of Mr. Rice’s new job specified that he will report directly to Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive. For the first time in his career, Mr. Rice’s boss will be someone other than a Murdoch. The appointment also means his name is very likely to be bandied about in one of Hollywood’s favorite parlor games: Who will run the Magic Kingdom when Mr. Iger’s contract comes to an end in three years?”[NYTimes]

Netflix Nabs Israeli Drama ‘When Heroes Fly’ — by Rhonda Richford: “Netflix has picked up global rights to When Heroes Fly, the Hebrew-language drama from Keshet International… The drama follows four veterans of an Israeli military commando unit from the 2006 Lebanon war who reunited to rescue the girlfriend of one of the commandos following her abduction by a cartel in the Colombian jungle.” [HollywoodReporter]

PROFILE — Ian Schrager on Studio 54: The Documentary — by Carl Swanson: “After all, Schrager was the one who made chic lifestyle hotels out of onetime dowdy fleabags… and built starchitected condos (Herzog & de Meuron designed both 40 Bond, where he lives, with its graffiti-inspired fence out front, and 160 Leroy, where apartments are selling for $4,000 a square foot) and now those Edition hotels with Marriott. Not to mention his Public hotel, also designed by Herzog, which looms over the Whole Foods building on Chrystie Street just south of Houston, a flawless temple to up-to-the-minute global bling. He was so determined to make sure the concrete floor was just right in the lobby, that he had it jackhammered up twice and redone.”[Vulture]

Israel crowns 93-year-old as ‘Miss Holocaust Survivor’: “A 93-year-old great-grandmother was crowned “Miss Holocaust Survivor” on Sunday in an annual Israeli beauty pageant designed to put a smile on women who endured the horrors of the Nazi genocide… “I’m very happy. It’s something special,” said the new Miss Holocaust Survivor, Polish-born Tova Ringer, who lost her parents, four sisters and a grandmother in Auschwitz death camp.” [Reuters]

Rabbanit Hadas “Dasi” Fruchter of Congregation Beth Sholom in Potomac, Maryland featured on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today: “People walk up to me, even today, and let me know that they are uncomfortable with what they are doing… I did see people walk out as I got up to give the sermon,” Fruchter tells Kelly. “Despite continuing waves of protests, Dasi joined the clergy and slowly won over members of her congregation,” Kelly notes. [Video]

DEEP DIVE — Ivanka Trump’s Gurus Say Their Techniques Can End War and Make You Fly ― by Justin Rohrlich: “[Bob] Roth is perhaps the best-known public facing TM (Transcendental Meditation) representative in the world; he’s the one who introduced it to [Jerry] Seinfeld… and Ivanka and Jared… Roth lives in New York but travels constantly. When he’s in town, Roth works out of the David Lynch Foundation’s midtown offices near the United Nations… Roth is surprisingly accessible, extremely accommodating, and checks in often to ask how things are going… He makes mention of the fact that he’s Jewish more than once over the course of multiple conversations… Roth believes it would be nothing short of foolhardy if society didn’t give the Maharishi Effect a chance. “What are we going to do in the Middle East? It’s getting worse and worse and worse,” he said… “Nothing is working. So this is being offered as something completely out-of-the-box, just like meditation for the individual was 50 years ago.” [DailyBeast]

SIGHTING ― Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Avi Berkowitz and kids from Jared and Ivanka’s son Joseph’s class were spotted at the Chuck E. Cheese’s in Takoma Park, Maryland yesterday to celebrate Joseph’s birthday. [Pic] h/t Playbook

TALK OF THE TOWN — Brutal bias attack in middle of Brooklyn street caught on video — by Reuven Fenton, Ben Feuerherd and Aaron Feis: “Harrowing surveillance footage shows the assailant towering over the victim in the middle of an intersection, grabbing him from behind, and repeatedly punching him in the side of the head… The victim, who is Jewish, suffered a split lip and a cut to the tongue before the assault was broken up.” [NYPostFox61]

He Wanted to Be an Informant. The F.B.I. Arrested Him Instead — by Benjamin Weiser: “Nearly a year after the McDonald’s meeting, [Ali] Kourani changed his mind and offered to assist the F.B.I. confidentially in return for what he believed to be a promise of immunity from prosecution and help with a family matter. He told agents in a series of five interviews that for years he had been a “sleeper” operative for Hezbollah… Rather than being rewarded, however, Mr. Kourani, 34, was arrested and now is awaiting trial in Manhattan on federal terrorism charges.” [NYTimes

DESSERT — A Restaurant Guide’s Ethnocentric Take on Israeli Cuisine — by Ronit Vered: “The 2018 Gault & Millau restaurant guide to Israel has chalked up a dubious achievement. It has laid bare the convoluted language that has become standard for the Israeli food world. Hebrew has never sounded worse than in this volume’s description of 143 restaurants, replete with syntax and proofreading errors and laden with superfluous adjectives that ridiculously personify raw ingredients and foods.” [Haaretz]

REMEMBERING — Real-Estate Mogul Made the Deal of a Lifetime for 16th Century Map of the World: “Though he once described himself as “just a little mortgage peddler from Hoboken,” Jay Kislak’s interests ranged well beyond real-estate finance. He held his 95th birthday party on an aircraft carrier. He once nearly bought the fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex at an auction. He later succeeded in negotiating with a German prince to buy a 1516 map of the world. Mr. Kislak then donated the map along with other documents and artifacts to the Library of Congress… “He was always curious,” said his son Jonathan, “and there was always one more thing.” Mr. Kislak died Oct. 3 at his home in Miami. He was 96.” [WSJ]

David Wolkowsky Rehabbed Key West, Fla., and Helped Keep It Weird — by James Hagerty: “David William Wolkowsky was born Aug. 25, 1919, in Key West, where his grandfather, Abraham Wolkowsky, an immigrant from Russia, had established a clothing store. When David was four, the family moved to Miami, and his father operated a men’s clothing store there… During World War II, he served as an officer in the merchant marine and survived the sinking of one ship hit by a torpedo en route to Murmansk, Russia. After the war, he briefly worked at the Lord & Taylor department store in New York and then moved to Philadelphia. There he discovered a knack for buying decrepit homes for negligible sums and renovating them for sale to wealthy buyers.”[WSJ

BIRTHDAYS: Real estate developer and owner of MLB’s Washington Nationals, Ted Lerner turns 93… Media mogul, major donor to the Democratic Party and producer of Power Rangers, Haim Saban turns 74… Founder of global investment firm, Kenneth Griffin turns 5-0… Retired from the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1996, he is a mediator and arbitrator, Judge Jack Newman turns 79… Vice Chairman of the US Federal Reserve (2014-2017), after an 8 year term at the helm of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer turns 75… Miami mental health counselor, Mindy Hersh, Ph.D. turns 63… Former press secretary for Mike Bloomberg at City Hall, now a political communications strategist, Stu Loeser turns 45… Born in Tunisia and raised in Paris, owner of Los Angeles’s Harissa Restaurant, Alain Cohen turns 63… Founder and CEO of Refinement Services, Neil Kugelman turns 58… Director of Asian Initiatives at Jersey City-based Mana Contemporary, a contemporary arts organization with satellite facilities in Chicago and Miami, Heiko Stoiber

Oct
12

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Daily Kickoff: How Jami Gertz became an NBA team owner | FL Gov: DeSantis and Gillum working overtime to secure Jewish vote | BDay: Amb. Lew Eisenberg

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SIREN — Foiled Paris bomb plot raises fears that Iran is planning attacks in Europe — by Shane Harris, Souad Mekhennet and Joby Warrick: “Iranian leaders, under pressure from domestic protesters, Israeli intelligence operatives, and the Trump administration, which is reimposing economic sanctions lifted under President Barack Obama, are making contingency plans to strike at the country’s adversaries in the event of open conflict… Iran has assigned different units and organizations to conduct surveillance of opposition figures, as well as Jewish and Israeli organizations, in the United States and Europe, the officials said. The Iranians are preparing what one Israeli official called “target files” of specific people or groups that Iran could attack.” [WashPost]

ON THE HILL — Rand Paul joins Senate effort to block funds for a war with Iran — by Alex Ward: “Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) quietly signed on to a Democrat-led bill prohibiting the use of federal money for a war against Iran without Congress’s express approval… The Prevention of Unconstitutional War With Iran Act of 2018 is sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), and Paul becomes the ninth senator — and the first Republican — to put his name on the bill.” [Vox]

The Senate approved last night the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (H.R. 3342). The bipartisan legislation — authored by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN)— mandates sanctions against members of Hamas and Hezbollah responsible for the use of human shields as well as agencies of foreign states that support these groups in this heinous practice.

ON THE GROUND — Netanyahu tours US Navy guided-missile destroyer in Ashdod — by Itamar Eichner: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that the visit of US Navy guided-missile destroyer to the Port of Ashdod for the first time in 19 years, symbolizes the Trump administration’s “full support” for Israel’s policy against the Iranian entrenchment in Syria.” [Ynet]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer at JINSA’s national leadership conference in DC: “There are lots of things that were said about the Iran deal that were not true, a lot of things. And it wasn’t an honest debate at the time. People said that this deal blocks Iran’s path to the bomb. It doesn’t. Now, if they would’ve said that we believe, with the highest certainty, that it will temporarily block its path, that would be a somewhat accurate statement. But they didn’t. They said it blocks Iran’s path to a bomb. The truth is that it paves Iran to a nuclear arsenal.”

“This is why the decision of President Trump to withdraw from the deal is so important. Now, Trump didn’t solve the problem yet with the sunset clause because the deal is still there, and we still have a regime that is committed to doing everything it can to endanger Israel, endanger our neighbors, and endanger the world. But what this decision did is that it weakened that regime.”

“Look, I would’ve loved to have been in a position, as Israel’s Ambassador, the first three years that I was here where I could walk through the White House and thank the Obama Administration for confronting Iran every single day. It would’ve made my job much easier. But it didn’t happen. And the opposition to that has nothing to do with what President Obama thinks on all these issues that concern Americans. It has to do with the difference of opinion that we had on a matter of national survival for Israel.”

“[Netanyahu’s] speech to Congress (in 2015), in my mind, should not have been a matter of controversy at all. And as I said before, I think if former President Obama was hooked up to a lie detector podium, and he said he believes the nuclear deal with Iran made America and Israel safer, I think he would be seen as speaking the truth. I don’t question his motives. I just disagree with the policy. I think it was going to have the exact opposite effect. And I think likewise, when you look at Israel, don’t question our motives. The Prime Minister of Israel sees this deal as a threat to the survival of his country.”

Dermer expressed hope that the Democratic presidential candidates would not express support in ending Trump’s Iran policy and returning to the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal: “What I’m hopeful for is that even though people clearly took sides on this debate, and they’re still in the political arena —I’m hoping that the facts on the ground and what has happened, both the failed experiment over about a year and a half of two years from the President who started to change that policy and the success of actually restoring these sanctions will convince people that no matter what they thought then, here’s the reality we have today, and we should not go back into that deal.” [Pic]

Israel’s DC envoy refuses to meet J Street, snubs other left-wing Jewish groups — by Eric Cortellessa: “Since taking his post as Israel’s ambassador to the United States in 2013, Ron Dermer has refused to meet with J Street… Beyond J Street, which has sent multiple written requests for a meeting… and for him to address its galas and conferences, the ambassador has not met with other leading left-wing Jewish groups, including the New Israel Fund or Americans for Peace Now… Those groups, however, have not sought a meeting in the frequent and persistent way J Street has.” [ToI]

Turks tell U.S. officials they have audio and video recordings that support conclusion Khashoggi was killed — by Shane Harris, Souad Mekhennet, John Hudson and Anne Gearan: “The Turkish government has told U.S. officials that it has audio and video recordings that prove Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul this month.”

“Mohammed [Bin Salaman] has… become a key strategic partner in particular to Jared Kushner… Kushner has tried to promote Mohammed to skeptical national security officials, who have long viewed him as an impetuous and ruthless leader who has an overly simplistic view of the complex challenges the United States faces in the Middle East. During a bill signing Thursday in the Oval Office, President Trump called Khashoggi’s suspected killing “a terrible thing,” but stopped short of assigning blame.” [WashPost]

Elliott Abrams, during a panel at the JINSA conference: “Maybe if we would have been tougher with the Saudis on some of the other actions they took and the mistakes they have made, when this opportunity arose, maybe someone in Riyadh would have said, ‘This is a bad idea. It’s not worth it.'”

Dina Powell tells Trump she doesn’t want UN job — by Jonathan Lemire and Jill Colvin: “Dina Powell told the White House on Thursday that she’s not interested in serving as the next U.N. ambassador… Powell spoke to the president on Thursday and asked that her name be removed from consideration… Powell indicated to Trump that she was honored to be discussed but felt it wasn’t the right time for her family to take the post, the person said. Powell… also told the president that she would be happy to continue to informally advise the White House.” [AP]

Nancy Brinker under consideration for UN ambassador — by Jim Acosta and Kate Sullivan: “The White House reached out to Nancy Brinker, the founder of the Susan G. Komen foundation, on Wednesday to ask if she would be open to consideration for US ambassador to the United Nations… Brinker went through Senate confirmation before serving as US ambassador to Hungary and as the chief of protocol at the State Department during President George W. Bush’s administration. “ [CNN

MIDTERMS — Adelson drops tens of millions more to save the GOP Congress — by Alex Isenstadt and Jake Sherman: “Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is pumping tens of millions of dollars more into Republican Party coffers in an 11th-hour push… The contributions were made to a pair of GOP super PACs tied to congressional Republicans, Senate Leadership Fund and Congressional Leadership Fund. The figures would almost certainly make Adelson… the biggest GOP donor of the 2018 election cycle.” [Politico] • “The newest donations… have totaled at least $25 million — and possibly more.” [NYTimes]

Republicans Abandon Vulnerable Lawmakers, Striving to Keep House — by Alexander Burns: “In a memo circulated to Republican donors this week, Corry Bliss, who helms the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC funded heavily by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson… said Republicans were facing a “green wave” of Democratic money, as Democratic challengers raise enormous sums online and donors like Michael R. Bloomberg… pour millions into anti-Republican ads.” [NYTimes

“The road to the Democratic majority in the House runs through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California,” said Israel “Izzy” Klein, a Democratic lobbyist with the Klein/Johnson Group, and a former communications director for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York.” [RollCall]

NORPAC, which bills itself the nation’s largest pro-Israel political action committee, is hosting two fundraisers for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who is facing a tougher-than-expected re-election bid, this month. Today, Michael Wildes is hosting a breakfast for Menendez at the offices of Wildes and Weinberg in Manhattan. Another fundraiser will be hosted by AIPAC President Mort Fridman on October 21 in Teaneck, New Jersey.

NORPAC President Ben Chouake tells us… “I think Menendez is in decent shape. He’s vulnerable because of two reasons. One, he’s running against a self-funder, who can write a check for a million dollars a week to his own campaign. We are making a lot of phone calls. We’ve raised a lot of money for the Senator and moreover, he has a long legacy of service to this state and it’s a Democratic-leaning state. Quite frankly, the fact that we endorse him, obviously, helps him because even among people who lean right this is the vote they would likely cast for the Democratic incumbent.”

Democrats try to flip Washington district for the first time —by Sally Ho: “As part of a surge of women seeking office for the first time, Dr. Kim Schrier’s candidacy will test how far a “blue wave” can go in the only congressional district that substantially blends Washington’s wide-ranging political spectrum, from the ultraliberal far eastern Seattle suburbs to solidly conservative rural areas.” [AP]

House candidate Elissa Slotkin tells Lisa Lerer why she decided to challenge Rep. Mike Bishop in Michigan’s 8th District: “Slotkin and her brother had pushed their mother into reinstating her health insurance, which she had dropped after losing her job. But she let the new policy lapse… A few weeks later, she walked into an emergency room and learned she had stage-four ovarian cancer… Nearly a decade later, Ms. Slotkin watched her congressman, Mike Bishop, a Republican, smiling and standing alongside the president at an event to celebrate the House passing its version of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “Something in me just broke,” she said.” [NYT]

FL GOV — Ron DeSantis, Andrew Gillum working overtime to court Jewish voters — by Anthony Man: “The focus on Jewish voters has been heightened for weeks — akin to the levels usually seen in presidential campaigns — and shows no signs of letting up before Election Day. The candidates are making emotional pitches, including Democrat Gillum asserting that he might not have been born if not for a Jewish couple’s kindness to his grandparents and introducing them to Florida. Republican DeSantis has positioned himself as a truer friend to Israel and asserted anti-Semites are close to Gillum.” [SunSentinel]

ON THE TRAIL — I Listened to All Six Trump Rallies in October. You Should, Too — by Susan Glasser: “In Trump’s telling at these rallies, he is the hero of every story. All ideas, big or small, flow through him now that he is President. He personally ordered the Ambassador in Israel to renovate a building for the new American Embassy there using “beautiful Jerusalem stone.” (Never mind that all buildings in the city are required to be faced with it.)” [NewYorker]

Michael Cohen is now a registered Democrat — by Jonathan Swan: “Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former attorney who until June served as the Republican Party’s deputy finance chair, today changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat…” [Axios]

Emily Jane Fox‏: “Worth noting that Cohen cannot vote, since he pleaded guilty to federal crimes.”

** 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: A Billionaire’s Sears Fiasco Is Finally Nearing Its End [Bloomberg] • Ex-Donald Trump adviser Gary Cohn joins blockchain start-up [FinancialTimes] • Kushner family selling Chicago office tower[ChicagoTribune] • With Howard Lorber’s blessing, Eklund-Gomes team is expanding [TheRealDeal] • Leon Black’s Apollo Management could help McClatchy with Tribune bid [NYPost]

PROFILE — Jami Gertz Got Game: How an Actress Became an NBA Team Owner — by Seth Abramovitch: “Today, the 52-year-old actress is starring in a new role: She’s the public face of the Hawks, the team her 59-year-old billionaire husband, Tony Ressler, purchased in 2015 for $720 million… “I get it,” Gertz says during a break in schmoozing, acknowledging the weirdness of her journey from screen ingenue to billionaire’s wife and basketball team owner. “It’s not your everyday Hollywood actress tale.”

“Everyone thinks I married a rich guy,” she tells me the following day over lunch. “But I made more money — way more money — than Tony when I met him. I paid for our first house. I paid for our first vacation. I married him because I fell in love with him.” … Gertz, who was raised in a Jewish working-class family in Glenview, Illinois (her dad sold siding), was taken with the 27-year-old Ressler, a tall, handsome Jewish boy from Long Island who wouldn’t shut up about the L.A. Lakers. “He was a nice guy with a job,” says Gertz. “Which is what any Jewish girl from Glenview would want. It would have been nice if it was a doctor or a lawyer, but a banker was OK, too.”

“It wasn’t long, however, before Ressler was earning enough to start paying for the vacations. In 1990, he co-founded private-equity firm Apollo Global, then, seven years later, launched his hugely successful Ares Management. “We’re a $125-ish billion asset manager,” he says when asked to clarify what Ares does. “I guess the right quote would be, ‘We’re the most amazing investment firm in the history of the universe.'”

Running a basketball team has turned out to be something of a full-time job, but Gertz and Ressler have thrown themselves into it. The couple relocated to Atlanta, where they’re building a house, in order to fully focus on the Hawks. As for their friends back in L.A., not all are thrilled with the move. “We’d prefer Jami and her husband Tony to spend all of their time in L.A.,” says Disney CEO Bob Iger, adding, “but we are excited about their stewardship of the Hawks.” [HollywoodReporter]

Rube Goldberg exhibit opens Friday: Meet the sly cartoonist behind the contraptions — by Stephan Salisbury: “The Art of Rube Goldberg,” the first comprehensive exhibition of the great cartoonist’s work since a retrospective at the Smithsonian Institution in 1970, the year of his death, is now poised to open at the National Museum of American Jewish History… More than 30 of his famous invention drawings will be featured, but the exhibition covers the entire sweep of Goldberg’s career, from the earliest days and his first cartooning hits, like “Foolish Questions,” to his post-Second World War political cartoons…” [Philly]

Celebrity Jewish-Arab wedding stirs mixed feelings in Israel: “A surprise celebrity wedding bridging Israel’s Jewish-Muslim divide drew mixed public reaction on Thursday in a country where such inter-marriage is extremely rare. Wednesday’s nuptials of Tsahi Halevi, an Arabic-fluent Jewish actor, and Lucy Aharish, a Muslim anchor on a top Hebrew news show, followed a four-year romance that, friends said, they had kept secret to avoid falling foul of cultural sensitivities. “We Are Signing a Peace Accord,” the couple joked on their wedding invitation.” [Reuters]

CAMPUS BEAT — Study Abroad Programs Enter the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict — by Gabby Deutch: “Serious conversations about real challenges in Israel (and there are many—just talk to any Israeli, or read the editorial pages of Israeli newspapers) aren’t happening on American college campuses, because pro-Israel students have to spend all their time and energy making the basic argument that Israel has a right to exist. What’s most depressing about study abroad becoming the latest battleground in the conflict is that living in Israel offers American students their best chance to develop a sophisticated understanding of the country and its policies.” [TheAtlantic]

— On college campuses, a question of what constitutes anti-Semitism [CSMonitor]

Israel fines New Zealand women $18,000 for urging Lorde concert boycott — by Eleanor Ainge Roy: “Judge Mirit Fohrer ruled that Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab of New Zealand must pay damages to Israeli teenagers Shoshana Steinbach, Ayelet Wertzel and Ahuva Frogel totalling more than NZ $18,000 for writing a letter urging [Lorde] to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv… It is believed to be the first effective use of a 2011 Israeli law allowing civil lawsuits of anyone who encourages a boycott of Israel.” [TheGuardian]

ACELA CORRIDOR — When Stu Loeser caught up with his former boss, Senator Chuck Schumer, on an Amtrak train from DC. [Pic

Conservative writer and strategist Noah Pollak sat next to Sen. Bernie Sanders on a flight from DC to Vermont last night.

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Co-founder of private equity firm Granite Capital International and GOP fundraiser, in August 2017 he was confirmed as the United States Ambassador to Italy, Lewis Eisenberg turns 76… President of Los Angeles-based Community Advocates, Inc., he is the former Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, David A. Lehrerturns 70… CEO of Wakefield, Massachusetts based CAST, a nonprofit whose mission is to transform education for students with disabilities, Linda Gerstleturns 66… SVP of Investments and private wealth advisor at UBS Financial Services, he also serves as President of NY-JCRC, Charles S. Temel turns 65… Dermatologist in Los Angeles, Lamar A. Nelson, MD turns 64… Editor of the WSJ Weekend Review, Gary Rosen… Executive Director of Start-Up Nation Central, Wendy Singer… Goldman Sachs Managing Director Raanan Agus… Actress, Alexandra Smothers turns 45… White House correspondent for The Atlantic, Rosie Gray… Program officer at Alliance for Middle East Peace, Fatima Fettar turns 27… Argentine fashion model and artist, Naomi Preizler turn 27…

SATURDAY: Music composer and alto saxophonist, Lee Konitz turns 91… Sonia Bordo turns 81… Former deputy assistant secretary at the USDA, now an attorney working on organic food law, Richard D. Siegel turns 79… Musician, singer, songwriter, best known for his lead role in the Simon & Garfunkel duo, Paul Simon turns 77… Former White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush (2001-2003), now a sports media consultant, Ari Fleischer turns 58… Film director, producer and screenwriter, Amy J. Berg turns 48… Award winning actor, comedian, and screenwriter, Sacha Baron Cohen turns 47… Author, novelist and blogger who rose to prominence as an editor at Gawker, Emily Gould turns 37… Harvard Law grad, now an associate at Seattle’s Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, he served for two years at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (2012-2014), Josh Friedmann turns 30… Rick Lamke

SUNDAY: Emeritus professor of history at the University of London, Shula Eta Winokur Marks turns 80… Fashion designer, philanthropist and business executive, Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifshitz) turns 79… Former Major League Baseball player (1965-1972) for the Reds, Mets, Cubs and Athletics, Art Shamsky turns 77… Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve (1994-1996), co-founder and a vice chairman of the Promontory Interfinancial Network, Princeton professor, Alan Blinder turns 73… Author, political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Norman Ornstein turns 70… Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi turns 57… CEO of Lakewood’s Beth Medrash Govoha, the largest yeshiva in the US, Rabbi Aaron Kotler turns 55…

Born in Teheran, raised in Beverly Hills, earned a Ph.D. at USC, she was appointed in 2017 as SVP of international affairs for the ADL, Sharon Nazarian turns 51… Founding partner and managing director of Glover Park Group, a communications, consulting and advocacy firm, he was previously senior advisor and traveling chief of staff for Vice President Gore, Michael Feldman turns 50… Actress and singer, best known for playing the role of Gertrude “Gert” Yorkes in the Hulu original series Marvel’s Runaways, Ariela Barer turns 20… Son of Jared and Ivanka, Joseph Frederick Kushnerturns 5… President and co-founder of the R Street Institute, a DC based free-market think tank, Eli Lehrer... International trade attorney who held senior posts in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Ira Shapiro… Marsha Grossman…

Oct
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Daily Kickoff: Khashoggi’s disappearance puts Kushner’s bet on MBS at risk | Dermer & Otaiba break bread at JINSA | Katzenberg’s new venture: Quibi

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NYC SCENE — Spotted at Cipriani on 42nd Street last night for the Gift of Life Marrow Registry Gala: Sheldon & Miriam Adelson, Haim Saban, Shari Redstone, Kimberlee & Jason Ostheimer, Charles Bronfman, Barry Shrage, Nily Falic, Wendy Siegel, Stephen Siegel, William Begal, Tom Stern, Samuel Ian Rosen, Andy Borans, Shmuley Boteach, and Ernie Anastos. According to a tipster, Miriam Adelson celebrated her birthday at the event and pledged $4M towards Gift of Life.

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the JINSA annual awards dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC: “Iran has seen instability in Syria as a golden opportunity to tip the regional balance of power in its favor… Israel, like all nations, has the right to defend its sovereignty. That means we will continue to stand up for its right to target Iranian-backed militias within Syria for as long as the threat remains… Israel is everything we want the entire Middle East to look like going forward.”

“We are making a truly historic push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” Pompeo said in his remarks, adding that Trump’s peace plan will be released “before too terribly long, and we are hopeful that both sides will have constructive conversations to lead to that.”

Pompeo on the Taylor Force Act: “I actually signed a memo today with respect to the Taylor Force Act denying $165 million that would have been appropriated to the Palestinian Authority. That number is a rough estimate of the amount of money that was paid out for the various violations the Taylor Force Act was designed to enforce.”

Pompeo also revealed to the crowd that he spoke on the phone with Israel’s Prime Minister earlier in the day “on a couple of issues of the moment, and we were talking about things a little more broadly.” In a video posted on Twitter, Netanyahu can be seen abruptly leaving an evening campaign event he was slated to attend.

Israel’s U.S. Envoy Shares Dinner Table With UAE Counterpart in Rare Sign of Warming Ties — by Amir Tibon: “Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and UAE Ambassador Yousef al Otaiba sat together at the annual dinner of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs in Washington. It is rare for officials from Arab states that don’t have formal ties with Israel to be seen in public with Israeli officials. The two were seen talking to each other during the event.” [Haaretz]

Also spotted at the dinner: Senators Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham, Assistant Secretary of State Marie Royce, Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel, Reps. Ed Royce and David Kustoff, Victoria Coates, Azerbaijan Ambassador Elin Suleymanov, Fred Zeidman, Deputy Ambassador to the UN Jon Lerner, Yaakov Amidror, Sander Gerber, Michael Makovsky, David Makovsky, David Steinmann, Ambassador Nathan Sales, Brig. Gen. John Allen, Danny Ayalon, Frank Gaffney, Noah Pollak, Josh Rogin, Ali Rogin, Eli Lake, Malcolm Hoenlein, Harry Bethke, Earl Matthews, Thomas Griffin, Norm Coleman, Matt Brooks, Lisa Spies, Charlie Spies, Yaacov Ayish, former Congressman Martin Frost, Alex Siegel, Alana Goodman, William Daroff, Catherine Herridge, Ken Abramowitz, Adele Malpass, Robert Zarate, David Milstein, Devon Cross, Harris Vederman.

IRAN DEAL 2.0? President Trump in an Oval Office interview with Olivia Nuzzi for New York Magazine: “Iran wants to make a deal. They all wanna make a deal.”

Washington Institute’s Michael Singh writes… “How Trump Can Get a Better Deal on Iran: Trump may never get his made-for-TV moment with an Iranian leader. But if he can rally his allies rather than alienate them, and if his offer to Tehran of a diplomatic off ramp is genuine, he can ensure that Iran pays a price for challenging U.S. interests—and perhaps even coax it back to the negotiating table.” [ForeignPolicy

ON THE HILL — Cruz Senate bill on ‘Human Shields’ draws bipartisan support — by Ben Evansky: “A Senate bill seeking to put an end to the barbaric use of human shields by terrorist groups and their enablers should pass soon, according to one of its sponsors. The bipartisan legislation is sponsored by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and has nearly 50 co-sponsors with 14 Democrats among them, including lead Democratic sponsor Joe Donnelly of Indiana.” [FoxNews]

TOP TALKER — Khashoggi’s Disappearance Puts Kushner’s Bet on Saudi Crown Prince at Risk — by Mark Landler, Edward Wong and Eric Schmitt: “More than anyone in the Trump administration, Mr. Kushner has cultivated Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman — whose family may have played a role in the disappearance of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi… Mr. Kushner championed Prince Mohammed… and once even hoped that the future king would put a Saudi stamp of approval on his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.”

“If it becomes clear that the prince ordered the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi or was connected to it in some way, it will provoke an outcry on Capitol Hill… and put Mr. Kushner… in an extremely awkward position…  Behind the scenes, a person familiar with the matter said, [Kushner] conveyed a letter from the publisher of The Post, Fred Ryan, to Prince Mohammed, expressing concern for Mr. Khashoggi and asking for his help. Mr. Kushner has also taken other unspecified steps.” [NYTimes]

— “The White House said Wednesday that [MBS] had spoken about Khashoggi the previous day with White House national security adviser John Bolton and… Jared Kushner… A former administration official told Politico that MBS had demanded the call earlier in the week.” [Politico

“Trump has grown frustrated, two officials said, after initially reacting slowly to Khashoggi’s disappearance.” [WashPost]

WHY IT MATTERS: “The White House effort to forge a Mideast peace between Israelis and Palestinians, led in part by Kushner, also depends on Saudi Arabia. In what the White House has called an “outside in” strategy, the administration is looking primarily to the Saudis and their Gulf allies to take the lead in convincing the Palestinians to cooperate, to incentivize the Israelis through the promise of diplomatic recognition…  Above all, the administration has been looking to Saudi Arabia for support in its main priority of containing and confronting Iran.” [CNN]

Aaron David Miller emails us… “Even before this, the prospects of serious Saudi pressure on the Palestinians was remote. What happened with Khashoggi is going to throw Saudi decision making into a dysfunctional mode. And while hammering Abbas and reaching out to Israel may be one way of pleasing the U.S., it isn’t going to get MBS out of the mess he’s made.”

CONFERENCE CIRCUIT — “Saudi Arabia’s muscle will be on display next week, when American technology and financial titans gather at the investor conference in Riyadh that the crown prince will attend. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will represent the Trump administration at the meeting… Among the prominent figures scheduled to take part are Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase; Stephen A. Schwarzman… Thomas J. Barrack Jr… and Dina H. Powell… who worked closely with Mr. Kushner on Saudi Arabia… The Treasury Department said Mr. Mnuchin was still planning to attend.” [NYT]

Eli Lake writes… “What Trump Can Do About Saudi Arabia: President Donald Trump should suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He should also denounce the Saudis in public and threaten them with the more severe options in private… Trump can do all this while also making it clear that the U.S. remains committed to helping its allies counter Iran in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.” [BloombergView

REPORT —  Netanyahu tells Greece, Cyprus that Trump will keep heat on Turkey — by Barak Ravid: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus during meetings in Jerusalem last month that he doesn’t see President Trump reducing the pressure on Turkey over the arrest of American pastor Andrew Brunson… because Brunson’s case is important to many evangelical voters. In the meetings, Netanyahu spoke very critically about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” [Axios]

COMING SOON ― NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to speak in Israel: “The event will take place on November 6 in Tel Aviv at the offices of media consultancy firm “OH! Orenstein Hoshen.” Snowden will speak via a secured video system, and will answer questions, from the Israeli audience and he is expected to talk about, among other things, issues relating specifically to Israel. Snowden’s comments will be responded to by former Mossad deputy director Ram Ben Barak.” [Globes]

Rare Israeli-Palestinian compromise raises hopes for U.N. cultural agency — by John Irish: “Israeli and Arab diplomats agreed to resolutions on Jerusalem and Palestinian education at the U.N. cultural agency on Wednesday, a rare show of consensus as UNESCO seeks to convince Israel to change its mind about quitting…” [Reuters

ON DECK — Trump likes Dina Powell for U.N. job, but she could face some resistance within the White House — by Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker: “President Trump spoke with Dina Powell on Wednesday about replacing Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and has told some advisers that the former White House aide is his preferred choice for the job… Trump did not make a formal offer to Powell during the call Wednesday morning… The president also spoke with Powell once before Haley’s resignation was announced Tuesday.”

“One person who knows [John] Bolton well said that he is unlikely to actively oppose Powell, knowing that she is close with Kushner and Ivanka Trump and would not want to cross them on this.” [WashPost]

Goldman Sachs chairman Lloyd Blankfein has told people that he views the post as a unique opportunity and would understand if [Powell] took the job. [Politico]

RUMOR — Joe Lieberman on short list for UN ambassador — by Kaitlyn Krasselt: “Lieberman… is on the short list to replace U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, according to a report from CBS. No other evidence emerged Wednesday to support the speculation, and one source close to Lieberman said Lieberman has not been asked about accepting the job. If it were offered, however, the source said Lieberman would probably accept the ambassadorship.” [CTPost]

Dov Zakheim writes… “Nikki in 2020: Don’t rule it out: Haley could discreetly build a staff once she has left office at the end of the year, and then hold off announcing her intentions until mid-2019… Haley certainly can be expected to run if Trump does not; even if he does, she could mount a powerful insurgent campaign against him.” [TheHill

MIDTERMS — Fireworks as Blackburn, Bredesen tangle in final debate — by Andy Sherin: “Republican Congress member Marsha Blackburn [attacked] [Phil] Bredesen for attending a Tuesday fundraiser in New York City hosted by billionaire Michael Bloomberg… and she suggested they “talked about gun control and may have talked a bit” about Bloomberg’s plans to run for president in 2020… Blackburn blasted [Phil] Bredesen for not supporting President Donald Trump’s call for building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico… Blackburn, asked about potential costs of $70 billion for a physical wall, said “Walls work. Just ask Israel.” [TimeFreePress]

Palestinians Are Trying To Turn Trump’s Love Of Israel Into Real Influence In Washington — by Miriam Berger: “Over the years, various attempts at creating a Palestinian-style AIPAC have proven ineffective, largely due to divisions and infighting among the still-stateless Palestinians and, compared to Israel, Palestine’s second-tier status and financial weight in Washington. The lack of leadership at the top and the Trump administration’s clear preference for the Israelis have led to a surge in attempts to drive change at a lower-level, away from K Street and Capitol Hill — and the hope that creating new constituencies and allies now will pay off in the long run.”

“Hanna Hanania… told BuzzFeed News that now, on the one hand, is a disadvantageous time to start a new group because “dealing with the administration is very hard;” on the other hand, it is easier because “more Democrats are coming out supporting the Palestinian cause.” Hanania’s vision, established in April, is modest: a community-funded lobby pushing more Palestinian-American causes and candidates. This year, Democratic Rashida Tlaib of Michigan won a tough primary that paved the way for her to be the first Muslim and Palestinian American woman to serve in Congress.” [BuzzFeed

TALK OF THE NATION — Politics as the New Religion for Progressive Democrats — by Emma Green: “There’s a sociological story you can tell about this community,” said Eitan Hersh, a political scientist at Tufts who is writing a book on what he calls “political hobbyism.” “This online world of political identity … is basically acting as a replacement for people who maybe a generation or two before would identify as Catholic or as Jewish or as Irish or Italian.” Think of it as the Pod Save America voter: largely elite, politically plugged-in, constantly discussing the Republicans’ latest political shenanigans at dinner parties—and more focused on national problems than local affairs.” [TheAtlantic]

** Good Thursday 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Management Demands Full $14.5M Payment in Troy Carter Suit [Billboard] • After A Journalist’s Alleged Murder, Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff Among Other Top Tech Execs Are Distancing Themselves From Saudi Arabia’s City Of The Future [BuzzFeed] • Is Howard Schultz an Asset or a Liability for Starbucks?[NYTimes] • Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield talks about how he works [WSJ]

Katzenberg’s NewTV reveals official new name: Quibi — by Wendy Lee: “Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new venture into streaming short bursts of video has a new name: Quibi. It’s short for quick bites of video… Katzenberg and longtime tech executive Meg Whitman have raised $1 billion for Quibi, which will roll out video in chapters of under 10 minutes… “No one has done in video today what we think is essential on the globe in these quick bites,” Katzenberg said.”[LATimes]

Paul McCartney plays private show for Robert Kraft and guests: “Paul McCartney played a private show Tuesday night for Patriots owner Robert Kraft. A source told us the party was for just 300 guests at Gillette Stadium. McCartney played songs including “Hey Jude” and “Band on the Run.” [PageSix

“Attendees at Kraft’s annual shindig included “Friends” creator Kevin Bright… Big Night Entertainment guru Ed Kane, Boston Celtics lead owner Wyc Grousbeck, Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson, Highland Capital Partners’ Bob Davis, Attorney General Maura Healey, Putnam CEO Bob Reynolds, and Michael Rubin, co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers.”[BostonGlobe]

SPORTS BLINK — 10 American ballplayers to make aliyah — by Sam Brief: “This fall, 10 Jewish-American ballplayers will acquire Israeli passports, making them dual American-Israeli citizens eligible to represent Team Israel in European tournaments… “Finding a needle in the haystack is just finding Jewish American ballplayers who can play for you,” says Peter Kurz, president of the Israeli Association of Baseball. “Finding ones with Israeli passports is like finding the head of a needle in a haystack.” [JewishBaseballNews]

Chelsea Football Club To Send Racist Fans On Educational Trips To Auschwitz — by Rachel Mcgrath: “Chelsea Football Club is planning to send racist supporters on educational trips to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, instead of handing them banning orders. The idea has been revealed by the club’s chairman, Bruce Buck, and its Jewish owner, Roman Abramovich, is at the forefront of the initiative. Buck told the Sun: “If you just ban people, you will never change their behavior.” [HuffPost]

GONE VIRAL — Llama on the loose snarls traffic in Brooklyn — by Ruth Brown and Cedar Attanasio: “Video posted on Twitter shows the animal holding up traffic as it crosses a street at 14th Avenue and 54th Street, while an onlooker shouts, “Runaway llama!” … He was brought to Borough Park from his home, a farm in Woodbury Conn., as part of the Satmar UTA yeshiva’s kindergarten and first-grade education program. “Usually around this time of year they’re studying the Torah and they want to give a visual of Noah’s Ark,” said Alfalfa’s other owner, Jaclyn Smith, 30.” [NYPostNBCNewYork]

SPOTTED at NYC kosher steakhouse Mike’s Bistro last night: Chairman of the American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp.

BIRTHWEEK: Former White House Jewish Liaison in Obama Administration, now a special advisor on global anti-corruption and good governance issues at the State Department, Chanan Weissman.

BIRTHDAYS: Professor emeritus of history at UCLA, winner of both a Pulitzer Prize (2008) and the Israel Prize (1983), he won a MacArthur Genius fellowship in 1999, Saul Friedländer turns 86… Tony award and Emmy award winning film, stage and TV actor, Ron Leibman turns 81… Israeli novelist and documentary filmmaker, Amos Gitai turns 68… Member of the executive committee of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland (where she was a past president), she also serves on the National Council of AIPAC, Helane Goldstein turns 65… Israeli diplomat whose postings as ambassador include both the UK and the UN, Ron Prosor turns 60…

Executive Vice President at The Jewish Federations of North America, Mark Gurvis turns 59… President and CEO of NYC based real estate firm Tishman Speyer, Rob Speyer turns 49… CFO of Rockville, Maryland-based VIVA Creative, he has guided, operated or invested in more than 100 startups in the US, Israel and China, Asher Epstein turns 44… Political journalist, opinion commentator and satirist, he is the host of The Jamie Weinstein Show podcast at National Review Online, Jamie Weinstein turns 35… Actress Michelle Trachtenberg turns 33… Executive Director of StandWithUs Israel, Michael Dickson… Peter Turman

Rand Paul aide reads Trump letter at Jewish wedding

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

President Donald Trump sent a personal letter congratulating a Jewish bride and groom on Tuesday. Shlomo Segal and Devorah Ganz were married last night at Ateres Chynka hall…

Kafe Knesset for December 18

Monday, December 18, 2017

Hate to say I told you so: Right-wing Twitter broke out in calls of “I told you so” this morning following the Politico story on Obama, Hezbollah and…

House committee advances Jordan MOU amidst rare Congressional critique of Amman

Friday, December 15, 2017

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed legislation that would re-authorize a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen U.S. defense ties with Jordan….

Lawmakers on Abbas’ cancellation of Pence meeting

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

WASHINGTON – After President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas informed the White House on Sunday that it would be canceling…

Kafe Knesset for December 6

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Jerusalem is holding its breath: Excitement is building ahead of the Presidential address on Jerusalem this evening, but the Israeli PM is waiting to see what exactly will…

Kafe Knesset for December 4

Monday, December 4, 2017

Embassy watch: While the PMO is still keeping its distance from the explosive Jerusalem Embassy move or recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, some of Bibi’s senior ministers…