Daily Kickoff: Kissinger on Kushner | Yael Lempert leaving WH for State Dept | James Packer quits Brett Ratner’s RatPac venture | ‘Shultz hour’

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FIRST LOOK: Henry Kissinger writes Jared Kushner’s profile for TIME 100 List… “Transitioning the presidency between parties is one of the most complex undertakings in American politics… and the greater that gap, the heavier the responsibility of those advisers who are asked to fill it. This space has been traversed for nearly four months by Jared Kushner, whom I first met about 18 months ago, when he introduced himself after a foreign policy lecture I had given. We have sporadically ­exchanged views since. As part of the Trump family, Jared is familiar with the intangibles of the President. As a graduate of Harvard and NYU, he has a broad education; as a businessman, a knowledge of administration. All this should help him make a success of his daunting role flying close to the sun.” [TIME] Full list [TIME]

“The Kissinger-Kushner Connection” by Joseph Bosco:“Through his mentoring relationship with Kushner, Kissinger is once again playing the role he sought and played initially as President Nixon’s National Security Adviser—the back-door, secret channel between heads of state, while bypassing the federal department whose name encompasses government-to-government relations.” [RealClearDefense]

TOP TALKER: “Three Months Into Trump Presidency, Obama’s Israel Adviser Leaves White House” by Amir Tibon and Barak Ravid: “[Yael] Lempert is expected to leave the NSC in a few weeks, possibly right after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives for his first meeting with Trump on May 3. As a career diplomat, Lempert is expected to return to the State Department.” [Haaretz

Abbas in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese publication: “I am ready to meet the Prime Minister of Israel any time in Washington under the patronage of President Trump.” [Asahi]

HEARD YESTERDAY — WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer at the daily briefing said Trump and Abbas will use the May 3 meeting “to reaffirm the commitment of both the United States and Palestinian leadership to pursuing and ultimately concluding a conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel.”

INBOX — WH aide Sebastian Gorka to speak at The Jerusalem Post’s annual conference in NYC on May 7. The theme of this year’s conference is: “Israel – U.S. Relations in the Trump Era.”

DRIVING THE DAY: “Haley Wants Iran, Not Israel, at Core of UN’s Middle East Agenda” by Kambiz Foroohar: “[Nikki] Haley, who holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations’ top decision-making body for April, wants to use a monthly meeting on “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” to tackle Tehran’s role in Yemen and Syria and its support for Hezbollah… Thursday’s report will be presented by Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process. While Mladenov… is expected to focus again on Israel and the Palestinians, Haley can prod the discussion toward other issues. “ [Bloomberg]

White House puts Iran on notice, again… In a rare appearance at the State Department yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson questioned the viability of the Iranian nuclear deal, accusing Iran of “alarming provocations” only a day after he declared they were complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. “The JCPOA fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran; it only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state,” said Tillerson. “This deal represents the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea… It is another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions; we buy them off for a short period of time and then someone has to deal with it later.”

Tillerson did not offer any indication that the U.S. is ready to walk away from the deal, but emphasized that an interagency review ordered by the President would evaluate whether sanctions relief related to the nuclear deal was “vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

KEY LINE: “The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran.” [YouTube

Press Secretary Sean Spicer at yesterday’s daily briefing regarding Trump’s campaign pledge to renegotiate the nuclear deal: “Part of the review — the interagency process — is to determine where Iran is in compliance with the deal and to make recommendations to the President on the path forward.” [YouTube]

A JI reader ‘in the know’ tells us… “The Trump Administration doesn’t intend to amend the deal anytime soon.”

HEARD YESTERDAY — Martin Indyk at panel with Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan on Trump’s Israel and Mideast policy at the JCC Manhattan: “Israel doesn’t want the U.S. to tear up the Iran deal, and the reason for that is because the Iran deal for all its faults – and it has faults – took away Iran’s nuclear capacity for the time being… And that gives Israel – in particular – the U.S. and all of Iran’s adversaries in the Arab world breathing space. Now, is it good to try for a better deal? Yeah. So let Trump the great dealmaker negotiate with Iran now on a better deal in terms of the sunset clause. But talking about reviewing it is, I think, a little bit dangerous because we have an interest in maintaining the deal and ensuring that the Iranians stick to the deal.”

Dayan: “Now Israel and the U.S. see eye-to-eye in their views of the situation… The U.S. is starting a process of formulating a new policy… [Israel] will be more than happy to collaborate with the United States in the reformulation of its policy… I would like very much the flaws in the agreement to be amended.” [Livestream]

BACKSTORY: “Iran Gets Tillerson’s Approval But It’s Still on Notice” by Eli Lake: “U.S. officials familiar with the interagency process tell me the White House and State Department fought throughout the day on Tuesday over the language of Tillerson’s statement… Tillerson won that battle. His two-paragraph letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged a Trump administration review of Iran policy… When the president came into office, Iran was in the crosshairs. Trump’s first national security adviser, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, addressed the White House press corps in early February to put Iran “on notice.” … A senior National Security Council official told me Tuesday evening that Iran was still on notice and that the jury was still out on Iran.” [BloombergView]

“Divisions Within the Administration On Iran Deal” by Michael Warren: “On Thursday, the deputies of the National Security Council will hold their first meeting to discuss the Trump administration’s review of Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal… Without a deputy secretary of state and under secretary of state for international security (both politically appointed positions) to shape and enforce the administration’s viewpoint within a hostile State Department, the Iran deal is one area where the permanent administrative state is likely to win out.” [TWS Is Trump learning to live with Iran nuclear deal? [Al-Monitor

MATTIS MIDEAST TRIP — “U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis slams Iran, says will overcome influence” by Idrees Ali: “Everywhere you look if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Mattis told reporters in Riyadh after meeting senior Saudi officials. “We will have to overcome Iran’s efforts to destabilise yet another country and create another militia in their image of Lebanese Hezbollah but the bottom line is we are on the right path for it.” [Reuters

IVANKA’S VISIT TO GERMANY — on April 25th: “In commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Ivanka will visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. Ivanka will also stop by the United States Embassy in Berlin to meet Embassy staff and their families.”

HAPPENING TODAY – The State Department to commemorate this year’s Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel) at 12:15 pm EST. The event, co-sponsored by the Embassies of Israel, Lithuania and Japan, will honor the legacy of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania who saved the lives of roughly 6,000 Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. [Livestream]

TRUMP TEAM: “Cubs’ Todd Ricketts withdraws name for Trump’s Cabinet” by Lynn Sweet: “Unable to untangle his complex financial holdings to the satisfaction of the Office of Government Ethics, Cubs board member Todd Ricketts, tapped by President Donald Trump to be the Deputy Commerce Secretary, on Wednesday withdrew his nomination.” [ChicagoSunTimes

** 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: Paul Singer isn’t satisfied with paint company’s spinoff idea [NYPost• Makeup guru Bobbi Brown’s new chapter: Get customers back in department stores [CNBC] • Quogue Capital’s Rothbaum Said to Bid for MLB’s Miami Marlins [Bloomberg] • Microsoft reportedly to acquire Israeli cloud monitoring startup Cloudyn for around $60 million [VentureBeat] • WeWork Wants To Build Out Your Office And Run It For You [FastCompany] • Aby Rosen’s new Four Seasons restaurant will be ready by Thanksgiving [NYPost]

HOLLYWOOD: “Packer quits Hollywood RatPac venture” by Peter Mitchell: “James Packer has exited Hollywood. The Australian billionaire sold his stake in RatPac Entertainment, the Los Angeles-based film, television and documentary business he created in 2013 with producer-director Brett Ratner… Mr Packer offloaded his stake to another billionaire mogul, American businessman Len Blavatnik, who heads conglomerate Access Industries… RatPac became a major player in Hollywood, co-financing more than 50 films that picked up 51 Oscar nominations and earned more than $US10 billion in worldwide box office receipts… RatPac aligned itself with another mogul, Steve Mnuchin‘s Dune Entertainment, and they signed a four-year, $US450 million deal with Warner Bros to fund as many as 75 of the studio’s films.” [The Australian]

“Robert Kraft lauds President Trump during Tom Brady-less White House visit” by Cindy Boren and Marissa Payne: “Overcoming long odds … is the foundation of everything that is great about this country,” Kraft said at the ceremony from the South Lawn of the White House. “This year’s championship was achieved after falling behind 25 points … that deficit had only been overcome seven times,” he continued. “In that same [manner], a very good friend of mine for over 25 years … launched a campaign for the president … facing odds almost as long as we faced. He persevered to become the 45th president of the United States.” [WashPost]

PROFILE: “Centrist ‘Backlash’ Propels Former TV Anchor Lapid in Israeli Polls” by Yaroslav Trofimov:“The man predicted to win Israeli elections if they were held today picks a seemingly contradictory way of describing himself: “an extreme moderate.” Once dismissed as a passing fad, Yair Lapid, a 53-year-old former TV anchor, has emerged as the most serious political rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And he has done so by trying to dispense with the traditional left-right divide of Israeli politics, adopting instead the vague but resonating language of ”sanity” and “responsibility.” [WSJ]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Shabbat is back on the political agenda, following a High Court of Justice ruling yesterday which authorized a Tel Aviv municipality bylaw to open 165 businesses on Shabbat. The issue has been debated for almost three years, with various Interior Ministers stalling their approval of the local law since it relates to the sensitive issue of the religious status quo. The ruling was celebrated and welcomed warmly by Tel Aviv Mayor, Ron Huldai who said: “Tel Aviv was free and will remain free.” However, in Jerusalem, the ruling received the opposite response. The haredi parties reacted with anger and are demanding that the ruling be reversed. UTJ leader, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, said the decision is “a continuation of a gross legal intervention in the values of religion and Jewish law.” “We will not give up or bargain away Shabbat,” a source in Shas told Kafe Knesset… On Sunday, in the weekly meeting of the heads of the coalition parties, tensions are expected to be high. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

TRENDING — “You’re Too Busy. You Need a ‘Shultz Hour.’” by David Leonhardt: “When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only if one of two people called: “My wife or the president,” Shultz recalled. Shultz, who’s now 96, told me that his hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job…. Around the house, hide your phone — in a backpack, a drawer or another room — for set periods of time, as Sherry Turkle of M.I.T. recommends. Or carve out a few hours each week when no one in your house can check a phone. The filmmaker Tiffany Shlain and her family do so for an entire day — a “technology shabbat.”” [NYTimes]

On a recent episode of the ReCode Media podcast, Axios co-founder Mike Allen told Peter Kafka he’s considering starting to practice a ‘phone Shabbat’ on the weekends. [ReCode]

Rahm Emanuel on Reince Priebus and being White House Chief of Staff: “When I had the role, I used to joke on Fridays, “Lucky us, just two more workdays until Monday.” It’s an all-consuming, thankless job—but walking through those gates at the beginning and end of each day, no matter how early or late, brings a tingle to your spine. The day that goes away is the day it’s time to go.” [TimeMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Swiss physicist and Nobel Prize laureate, Karl Alexander Müller, turns 90… Motivational speaker and co-founder of Harris and Schutz, previously president and CEO of Porsche (1981-1986), Peter Schutz turns 87… Chairman of the media networks division of Activision Blizzard, he previously held high-ranking roles at NFL Network, ESPN and ABC, Steve Bornstein turns 65… Immigrants’ rights activist and professor at Salem State University, Aviva Chomsky, eldest daughter of Noam Chomsky, turns 60… Television and radio host, syndicated columnist and political commentator, he is the host of The Steve Malzberg Show, a news and opinion show on Newsmax TV, Steve Malzberg turns 58… President and executive director of the DC-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, Marc Rotenberg turns 57… Entrepreneur, philanthropist, semi-professional race car driver and restaurateur, previously president and chairman of the Trust Company of New Jersey, Alan Wilzig turns 52… Television personality and game show host, J.D. Roth (born as James David Weinroth), turns 49… Israeli jazz bassist, composer, singer and arranger, Avishai Cohen turns 47… British film director Sarah Gavron turns 47… R&B, soul, pop singer and teen actress, at 13 years old she was the runner-up on the second season of “The X Factor,” Carly Rose Sonenclar turns 18… Senior Program Officer at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Yaniv Rivlin… Associate at Tishman Realty Corporation, Alex Berman… Atlanta-based Southeast Regional Director of AIPAC, Elliott G. Mendes… Political polling analyst at the DC-based Feldman Group, David Mariutto… News reporter for the Washington Examiner, Kyle Feldscher… Daniela Kate Plattner (h/ts Playbook)… Diane Kahan… Kelly McCormish… Joseph Gettinger

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