Daily Kickoff: Bannon removed from National Security Council | Kushner’s 28-year-old protégé | Forbes Summit visits Rawabi | Dean Kamen BDay
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FORBES UNDER 30 SUMMIT EMEA — transitioned from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem yesterday: Last night, the Summit converged on Machane Yehuda Market, also known as ‘The Shuk’, for a food and bar crawl led by former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire. One organizer shared some numbers with us: 800 participants spending around 250 NIS each in food and drink coupons at the Shuk last night resulting in around 200,000 NIS injected into the local market’s economy. Tonight, attendees will gather at the Tower of David in the Old City of Jerusalem for a music festival.
Over dinner last night at Crave in the Shuk, Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree Chloe Burch — who co-founded the handbag and shoe collection Neely & Chloe — told us: “I’m so happy that we got the opportunity to come here on a trip like this through Forbes because I don’t think I would have ever picked this place out randomly for a trip of my own or with my family. I’m not Jewish and I don’t necessarily have pre-existing ties to Israel but visiting such a historical place was amazing. A lot of people don’t realize they can come here — regardless of their religion — and really connect with the place.”
Also spotted at Crave: Member of Knesset Elazar Stern who just sponsored a bill in the Knesset this week that seeks to deduct funds to the Palestinian Authority according to the amount it gives to terrorists and their families.
Earlier today, around 50 participants from Forbes visited the town of Rawabi in the West Bank, the first planned city built for and by Palestinians. Bashar Masri, the developer of Rawabi and Chairman of Masri International, told the group that “we are building great infrastructure, a friendly place.” Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman of the Portland Trust and Bridges Ventures, joined the visit and spoke of Masri’s grand vision. “The lesson for all of us is that businesses grow to the vision of their founder. Businesses rarely go beyond the vision of their founders. If you want to have an impact, you need to think big and you need scale. If you imagine Rawabi fully built you can benchmark it anywhere in the world. Profit with impact business has to deliver measurable social returns. You can see what can be replicated throughout Palestine. What’s most inspiring about Rawabi is the role model you have become.”
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump’s surprisingly functional Israel policy” by Annie Karni:“You wouldn’t have a fundamentally different approach under a President Hillary Clinton, who would also be looking for a reset,” said Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security… “The one thing any American president needs, to have influence, is a perception from the Israeli public that this guy is on their side,” said Dennis Ross… On the right, there is less fear of Trump’s edict on settlements because of a sense of impermanence to Trump’s open-mindedness toward the Palestinians and a two-state solution. “The Israelis think this is a short-lived gambit,” said a foreign policy operative in Washington… “The attitude of the Israelis is, we need to get along for four years; he’s fundamentally inclined to like us; and his approach will become better informed by experience in a few months.” [Politico]
“Mixing Zionism And Politics Unavoidable, Dan Shapiro Says” by Gary Rosenblatt: “Now living in Israel, the Hebrew-speaking Shapiro said he plans to write about his experience as ambassador for five years, during which “a mythology arose” that portrayed the U.S.-Israel relationship in dark terms. “True, there were disagreements,” he acknowledged, but said it was a period when the relationship between the two countries was strengthened, particularly in terms of “security, missile defense technology, shared intelligence and economics.” He also noted that in spite of President Trump’s campaign pledges to shake up Washington’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, things are not that different today. “I have a lot of serious differences with this administration, but on Israel I have less difference than on anything else,” said Shapiro.” [JewishWeek]
BREAKING: “Bannon Removed From National Security Council Role in Shakeup” by Jennifer Jacobs: “President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and downgrading the role of his Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, according to a person familiar with the decision and a regulatory filing. Under the move, the national intelligence director, Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, are again “regular attendees” of the NSC’s principals committee.” [Bloomberg]
TOP TALKER: “Ivanka Trump distances herself from controversial policies in interview” by Ben Jacobs: “I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence,” the president’s daughter said in an interview with CBS’s Gayle King… She added: “I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard… Where I disagree with my father, he knows it and I express myself with total candor. Where I agree, I fully lean in and support the agenda.” .. Asked about whether she and her husband, Jared Kushner, were “complicit” in the Trump White House. Ivanka Trump replied: “If being complicit is wanting … to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit … I hope time will prove that I have done a good job, and, much more importantly, that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.” [Guardian; CBSNews]
PROFILE: “Jared Kushner’s 28-year-old protégé is his right-hand man in the White House” by Eliza Relman:“Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, told Business Insider that [Avi] Berkowitz’s role is primarily administrative and involves assisting Kushner with daily logistics — from getting coffee to coordinating meetings. But Berkowitz has been a part of some of the most high-profile moments of Kushner’s time on the transition team and in the White House. According to a Monday report in the Times, Kushner sent Berkowitz to meet with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016. Kislyak talked with Berkowitz about arranging a meeting with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a state-owned bank that was under sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.” [BusinessInsider] • Jared Kushner Hiring Hollywood PR Exec for White House Role [HollywoodReporter]
HAPPENING TODAY: King Abdullah II of Jordan will meet with President Trump at the White House followed by a joint press conference in the Rose Garden at 1:10 pm EST. The two leaders will exchange views on a range of shared interests in the Middle East, including how the United States and Jordan can best “advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer said last week. Abdullah reportedly played a key role in establishing a line of communication between the new White House and the Palestinian Authority.
“At White House, Jordan king to present Arabs’ view on peace” by Karin Laub: “The White House meeting will affirm the king’s traditional role as Mideast mediator and raise his profile as an arbiter of Arab consensus… Netanyahu envoy Michael Oren, who recently met with Greenblatt, said on Monday that Israel wants Arab states to take concrete steps to “show that they are not just talking about peace, but actually mean it.” This would include “aspects of normalization,” Oren said, but did not elaborate. He described a process of mutual goodwill gestures that could gradually lead to a peace agreement.” [AP]
ZOA’s Mort Klein tells us he met with Trump’s aide Sebastian Gorka at the White House last Thursday to present his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “It is clear that Gorka is a strong supporter of Israel and of the Jewish people,” Klein said amid allegations of Gorka’s ties to far-right and anti-Semitic groups in Hungary. “He cares deeply about the situation in Israel. That was crystal clear. This is a friend. And to have Jewish people criticize friends, this is a very bad idea.”
“Schiff: Trump told me I’m doing a ‘good job’ on Russia investigation” by Sarah Boxer: “While in the building, [Rep. Adam] Schiff said he and President Trump met in the Oval Office and spoke briefly about Schiff’s work on the committee. “He said I did a good job,” Schiff tells Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. “It was a perfectly cordial meeting.” Schiff says that Trump also personally assisted in fixing an issue that arose pertaining to the document viewing… Schiff says he heard “a lot of grumbling from the president’s staff behind me,” but the problem was resolved, and the staffer was able to see the documents.”
Schiff on Jared Kushner’s many portfolios: “He may be a perfectly fine gentleman, he may have very good advice for the president. … But he doesn’t have experience in any of these areas. And he’s acting as a super-secretary of state. I don’t know what that means in terms of Rex Tillerson’s job. But I can only imagine the firestorm that would have been provoked had Hillary Clinton made Chelsea her, essentially, second-in-command on all of these issues. So I think it does raise a real concern. You have a president, himself deeply inexperienced on all of these matters, relying so heavily on a son-in-law who is equally inexperienced in all these matters.” [Yahoo]
“President Trump’s Son-In-Law Secretly Met With Muslim Leaders Weeks Before The Travel Ban” by Hannah Allam: “The Muslims in the room included a prominent imam, a civil rights attorney, the director of a nonprofit that studies violent extremism, and two venture capitalists — one of whom is a partner at Thrive Capital, the firm run by Kushner’s brother Joshua… Kushner set a friendly tone, soliciting ideas for how to improve Trump’s relations with Muslims, urging them to think big and boldly. He assured them that American Muslims weren’t going to be in the crosshairs: The threat was overseas, he said, with “the cancer” of radical Islam. Then Kushner surprised the delegates by asking them to recommend candidates for jobs in the administration, including the White House liaison to Muslim communities.” [BuzzFeed]
“Alex Jones and Roger Stone Are Starting to Think Jared Kushner Is Illuminati” by Eric Levitz: “There’s no question now, that sources tell me that the president’s son-in-law enjoys a very lively text exchange with Joe Scarborough,” [Roger] Stone said solemnly, standing in front of his pool, “Many of the anti–Steve Bannon stories that you see, the themes that you see on Morning Joe are being dictated by Kushner.” [NYMag]
“Jared Kushner, Man of Steel” by Frank Bruni: “I’m told by insiders that when Trump’s long-shot campaign led to victory, he and Kushner became convinced not only that they’d tapped into something that everybody was missing about America, but that they’d tapped into something that everybody was missing about the two of them. Kushner was reborn with new powers, and to the heavens he ascended.” [NYTimes]
SATIRE — “Jared Kushner Says He Read Up on Middle East During Minutes Waiting for Ski Lift” by Andy Borowitz: “Jared Kushner said on Tuesday that he became “incredibly well-informed” on the Middle East by reading up on the region while waiting for the ski lift on a recent trip to Aspen. “There would be times when you’d have to wait five or even ten minutes for the ski lift, and that’s when I’d take out my phone and read up on the Middle East,” he said. “I really got into it.” [NewYorker]
ON THE HILL — Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, told Jewish Insider yesterday that he is encouraged by President Trump’s recent policy on Israel. “I have been heartened to see a change in tone in the Trump Administration on the question of settlements. And I am glad that there has been a response from the Israeli government,” he told JI’s Aaron Magid. “I think it’s important that our policy towards settlements be consistent. Ultimately, we need to get both sides to the table and that wasn’t going to happen if settlement continued at the pace of late last year.” [JewishInsider]
Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY) and Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) called on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to continue funding for U.S.-Israel defense cooperation programs in the President’s budget for fiscal year 2018. “Working in a bipartisan manner, Congressman Roskam and I previously helped secure increased aid for these defense cooperation programs, and I am pleased to partner with him again in seeking funding,” Meng said in a statement yesterday. “Full funding should be swiftly approved.” Read the full letter here [PDF]
Mounting Senate Concern on Tillerson’s Human Rights Commitment — by JI’s Aaron Magid: “Would I prefer that he be more engaged at this point? Yes. Do I wish human rights were more of a priority? Yes,” Rubio told Jewish Insider… “I am not making excuses for him, but if the State Department is still conducting its way in foreign policy in a couple of months the way it’s been doing up till now, then I think it’s going to be a real problem,” he said… When asked about Tillerson’s approach to human rights, a Democratic Senator on the Foreign Relations Committee who requested anonymity told Jewish Insider, “I am very concerned about the lack of engagement on human rights and democracy.” [JewishInsider]
—“Aides said human rights remained a concern for Mr. Trump. But, they added, he believes he will be more effective raising the issue in private.” [NYTimes]
“The Silence of Rex Tillerson” by Eliot A. Cohen: “At the moment there is no Trump foreign policy doctrine, no coherent explanation of the world as seen by the Trump team, and the broad outlines of their policy for dealing with it… There is foreign policy conducted as though the United States government were a Middle Eastern court, where the ruler’s family counts for more than the sovereign’s foreign minister… Perhaps this will end. Perhaps Secretary Tillerson will find a voice. Perhaps he will somehow lay out a vision of foreign policy that reconciles America’s interests and its values, that reassures allies and promises a steady hand in the years to come… For the moment, however, his silence is as dismaying and depressing as the chirping of Trump’s tweets.” [TheAtlantic]
“Israel Deserves a Seat on the Security Council” by Danny Danon: “The past few months have raised serious questions about the credibility of the United Nations as a whole and the Security Council in particular as it continues its unending obsession with Israel while paying way too little attention to the other ills of the world. By electing Israel to serve on the Security Council, the members of the United Nations will make a strong statement finally accepting the Jewish state as a full and equal member.” [Politico]
KAFE KNESSET — Here comes trouble — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: A day after former Likud Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced his comeback to the political system, the troubles begin. A Channel 10 poll published last night revealed that if the Likud was headed by Sa’ar, it would win more seats than if it was led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the survey, if an election was held today, the Likud would receive 27 mandates and lose to Yesh Atid , which is projected to get 29 Knesset seats. However, if Sa’ar were to head the Likud, it would receive 29 seats, a tie with Yesh Atid’s 29. Netanyahu is still the clear winner in the question of leadership compatibility, with 23% saying that he is the most suitable to serve as prime minister, followed by Yair Lapid and Sa’ar, with 18% and 11%, respectively. The poll also examined internal Likud preferences, with 68% stating that Netanyahu should head the Likud, and only 13% said Sa’ar was the man….”
“According to the poll, Sa’ar is the runner-up for the day after Netanyahu, but it is going to be a tough race. Transportation and intelligence minister Israel Katz stated today that he believes he will be the next Likud leader. Replying to a question regarding Sa’ar’s comeback, Katz said he “is not currently dealing with political issues. Netanyahu is the prime minister, but when he finishes his term, I intend to run for the Likud leadership and the Prime Minister’s office on behalf of the Likud, and I am convinced that I will be elected,” he said.
Oops, she did it again: Britney Spears is playing her first-ever concert in Israel on July 3. If you’re wondering why this is relevant to Kafe Knesset, well, let’s just say that that fact is “not that innocent,” because July 3 was also the planned date of the Labor leadership primary. The party that tends to have a “Toxic” relationship with its leaders decided to reschedule the vote because of Britney’s show. Not that many of Labor’s elderly members are actually expected to attend the concert, but Tel Aviv goes into “Crazy” gridlock when there is a concert, and since Tel Aviv is where many left-wing voters – including party leader Isaac Herzog – reside, they’ll have a problem getting to the polls… So now, Herzog will ask Labor members, “From the Bottom of [His] Broken Heart,” to make him “stronger than yesterday” and elect him as leader “Baby One More Time” on July 5. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: YouTube, Google graded poorly on hate, terrorism by Wiesenthal Center [JewishJournal] • Bitmain’s Israeli R&D Center Launches Bitcoin Mining Pool ConnectBTC [CoinJournal] • 83North announces ‘oversubscribed’ $250 million fourth fund for European and Israeli startups [VentureBeat]
ACROSS THE POND: “Labour ‘failing Jewish community’ with Livingstone ruling, says Tom Watson” by Rowena Mason and Matthew Weaver: “Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has accused his party of failing the Jewish community and bringing “shame on us all”, after a disciplinary panel decided not to expel Ken Livingstone for suggesting Hitler supported Zionism… The disciplinary body ruled that Livingstone should be suspended for another year for bringing the party into disrepute. The decision also caused senior Jewish politicians to question their future in the party, with Lord Levy, the chief fundraiser under Tony Blair, threatening to leave. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Levy said: “Do I stay in the party? It is something that I’m going to reflect on very seriously. I am very upset with the party’s attitude. I do not believe there has been a zero-tolerance policy towards antisemitism.”” [Guardian]
“Trump says he has the ‘best words.’ Merriam-Webster disagrees” by Dana Milbank: “Merriam-Webster reminded the White House that Holocaust refers especially to Jews after it issued a Holocaust remembrance statement that omitted any mention of Jews.” [WashPost]
“After Seeing Himself in Old Newsreel Footage, Manhattan Man Discovers How He Survived Holocaust” by Michael Scotto: “[Michael] Bornstein’s memory was jolted in the 1980s when he saw newsreel footage of children showing their Auschwitz tattoos as they were liberated by Soviet soldiers. He realized he was one of those children captured on film… Through Auschwitz documents kept in Israel, he learned that, ironically, he lived because he had been sick. The Nazis left him behind when they evacuated the camp as Soviet troops closed in… Bornstein, with the help of his daughter Debbie, turned his personal story into a book, Survivors Club. He writes that of the Hundreds of thousands of children taken to Auschwitz. He was one of only 52 under the age of eight who lived.” [NY1]
MEDIA WATCH: “Here Come The Breitbart Books” by Steven Perlberg: “Rosie Gray, The Atlantic’s White House correspondent and a former BuzzFeed News reporter, has inked a deal with publishing giant HarperCollins for a book about the far-right news outlet, which hit its stride during the campaign as a key hyper-conservative voice boosting Donald Trump… Gray received an advance of about $350,000 for the book, according to three of the people. Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Joshua Green has signed on with Penguin to write a book about the rise of conservative populism during the election… According to a person familiar with the matter, the book will prominently explore the influence of Steve Bannon.” [BuzzFeed]
TRANSITION — Beatrice Kahn elected National Council of Jewish Women’s Board president, Kahn, who’s from New York, moves to the board’s leading role after serving as vice president for the past three years.
BIRTHDAYS: Vice-provost of the California Institute of Technology (1988-2007) where he also served as a professor of physics and applied physics, David Goodstein turns 78… Research scientist, science administrator, CEO of the Ontario Genomics Institute and lecturer on Jewish medical ethics, Mark J. Poznansky turns 71… Engineer, inventor, businessman, best known for his invention of the Segway, holder of hundreds of other patents, Dean Kamen turns 66… CEO of Hess Corporation, a global energy company, John Barnett Hess turns 63… British novelist and screenwriter specializing in mystery and suspense, Anthony Horowitz turns 62… Enterprise editor for CNN Politics, handling domestic politics, Dan Berman turns 38… Academic Programs Associate at the American Enterprise Institute, Wilson Shirley turns 24… Los Angeles-based director of public relations for the Western US at the Israel Ministry of Tourism, Camila Seta turns 24… Managing Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition, Adam Maslia… Congressional Reporter at GovTrack Insider and Box Office Analyst at BoxOffice Media, Jesse Rifkin… Senior Legislative Assistant for Representative Dina Titus (D-Nevada-1), Benjamin J. Rosenbaum… Harvey Levin… Gene Kadish…
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