Daily Kickoff: Nikki ‘Hurricane’ Haley lands in Israel | Congress on Qatar’s Hamas ties | ‘Israel’s astonishing ’67 concession’ | Lester Crown BDay

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TOP QUOTE — David Brooks writing in the NYTimes: “A ridiculously disproportionate percentage of the Giving Pledge philanthropists are Jewish.” [NYTimes]

–Rabbi David Wolpe adds: “Judaism teaches giving. No better system has ever been devised to produce generosity.” [Facebook]

HAPPENING TODAY ON THE HILL: At 2PM EDT, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein are co-hosting a bi-country simultaneous event to honor the 50th anniversary to the reunification of Jerusalem with live video between the U.S. Capitol and the Knesset. The event — organized by Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer — will also feature remarks from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [LiveStream]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), led by Rabbi Levi Shemtov, held their annual Lamplighter Awards dinner at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in DC. Honorees included House Speaker Paul Ryan, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and former DC Mayor Anthony Williams. One notable bipartisan highlight of the evening featured Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer introducing Speaker Ryan. Hoyer thanked Ryan for his service and leadership to the country and noted that both he and the Speaker are ‘institutionalists’ who respect the traditions and decorum of the Congress. Ryan returned the compliment explaining that “among both Republicans and Democrats, Steny Hoyer’s word is gold.”

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer also delivered remarks focusing on the change in US policy towards Iran and at the UN. “Those UN votes against us are a product of the past. Any remaining votes are like the Japanese soldier in WWII stranded on an island in the Philippines who wasn’t told the war was over… Although you don’t read about it everyday in the mainstream press, Israel is less isolated than it has ever been. The critical thing we needed was a tailwind from the US and now we have that in the form of Hurricane Haley, along with Hurricane Trump.”

SPOTTED: UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN), Rhoda Dermer, Howard Friedman, Dov Zakheim, Nancy Jacobson, Lisa Spies, Charlie Spies, Nick Muzin, Tevi Troy, Kami Troy, William Daroff, Steve Rabinowitz, Aaron Keyak, Ezra Friedlander, Daniel Mariaschin, Dan Glickman, Michael Landau, Jonny Fluger, Jeanie Milbauer, Bill Knapp, Robbie Greenblum, Michael Herson, Jeff Mendelsohn, Manette Mayberg, Tom Kahn, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador Elin Suleymanov, Bulgarian Ambassador Tihomir Stoytchev, Eddie Sugar, Jeremy Furchtgott, Harris Vederman, Ariana Kaufman, Jennie Shulkin, Asher Perez.

ALSO LAST NIGHT, “Vice President Mike Pence headlined a fundraising effort Tuesday to build a war chest to protect Republican House members as both parties gird for the midterm election next year. The event attended by Pence and House leaders honored Las Vegas residents Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson, GOP mega-donors to the National Republican Congressional Committee. The Tuesday NRCC fundraising dinner at the Willard InterContinental Washington hotel requested a contribution of $35,000 per couple.” [ReviewJournal]

PRESIDENT-IN-LAW: “Trump Jokes Jared Kushner Is ‘More Famous Than Me’” by Vivian Salama: “The last person President Donald Trump joked was becoming more famous than him was James Comey. Months later, he abruptly fired the FBI director… So when Trump threw out the same joke Tuesday about his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the Twitter universe questioned whether it was an omen. Trump hosted the Senate and House Republican leadership at the White House… While thanking participants for their efforts to advance Trump’s political agenda, he stopped at Kushner, who this week, is featured on the cover of Time. “Jared has actually become more famous than me,” Trump said, prompting laughter from the group and a grin from Kushner. “I’m a little bit upset about that.”” [AP]

From WH pool report: “Rep. Steve Scalise turned to Kushner and said ‘that’s a badge of honor’ as Kushner smiled and kept his hands clasped in front of him.”

“Jared Kushner’s family is a legend in this Belarus town” by Cnaan Liphshiz: 
“Of course I am very proud that there is someone from Novogrudok in the White House,” said Boris Semyonov, a 57-year-old businessman, when asked about the subject last week… “I am waiting for him to visit us.” … “The Kushners were a well-off family that, before the war, owned several shops in the center, was known to many people here,” said Marina Yarashuk, director of the Museum of History and Regional Studies in Novogrudok… “Around here, the Kushners are a big deal, with or without Trump.” [JTA

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis” by Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz: “US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies… The Qatari government has said a May 23 news report on its Qatar News Agency attributed false remarks to the nation’s ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel and questioned whether President Donald Trump would last in office. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told CNN the FBI has confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news… On Tuesday, Trump tweeted criticism of Qatar that mirrors that of the Saudis and others in the region who have long objected to Qatar’s foreign policy… Hours after Trump’s tweets, the US State Department said Qatar had made progress on stemming the funding of terrorists but that there was more work to be done.” [CNN]

“Trump Joins the Campaign Against Qatar” by Blake Hounshell: “During the president’s recent meeting in Saudi Arabia with Sheikh Tamim [bin Hamad Al Thani], Trump was publicly effusive in his praise of Qatar. “We’ve been friends for a long time,” he said during a pool spray, “and our relationship is extremely good.” But privately, I’m told, he complained about Qatar’s support for Hamas. It’s not clear how Sheikh Tamim responded, but one person familiar with the conversation said it was not nearly as friendly as Trump’s other encounters with Gulf leaders. Another person briefed on the meeting said the Qataris were puzzled by the exchange, and asked if there were anything specific they could do to be more helpful.” [Politico]

REACTIONS ON THE HILL — by Aaron Magid: Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) told Jewish Insider, “Anybody that supports Hamas is supporting a terrorist organization and we need to take decisive steps to address that. It’s part of the discussion to let them know that this is unacceptable and that we want them to be a peaceful ally in the region and work with their neighbors and us.”

Striking a similar tone, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) called Qatar’s backing of the Palestinian terror group “outrageous.” The Tennessee lawmaker added, “We need to reevaluate our relationship with any nation that is engaging in state sponsoring of terrorism.”

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD): “Qatar is trying to play all sides of the game here and they may have been caught finally. But, we got to be careful because the US has some important assets there that assist us in the fight against terror.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) contended that the President’s public attack of Doha was unhelpful to America’s national interests. “To not recognize the fact that we have 10,000 American troops based in Doha and he didn’t actually factor that before he shuoted out his opinion from his Twitter account is fairly disturbing. We should do it through diplomatic channels and official channels instead of using Twitter.”

In contrast, Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) emphasized that President Trump, like all US citizens has a right to his opinion and found no problem with his Twitter criticism. Calling Qatar’s support of Hamas “super problematic,” the Texas lawmaker noted, “George Bush said it after 9/11: no matter whether you house terrorists or a hotbed for terrorists, we are coming after you.” Full report here [JewishInsider]

“Why the Saudi-Qatar rift could actually be about … Israel” by Jake Novak: “In the days leading up to the announcement of the Saudi-Qatari diplomatic freeze, reports began surfacing in the Israeli and Arab press that Riyadh was pushing Qatar to end its relationship with Hamas. And the Saudis are well aware that if Qatar cuts off Hamas, Hamas probably wouldn’t survive. Qatar’s refusal to do so immediately may have been the last straw for the Saudis who have been emboldened to at least appear to step up their anti-terror efforts after President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh last month.” [CNBC]

Ben Rhodes‏ surfaces to tweet: “Given how Trump is going, including full embrace of Saudi worldview, very real and dangerous risk of escalation with Iran.” [Twitter]

“In Geneva Speeches, Nikki Haley Casts U.S. as Rights Champion” by Nick Cumming-Bruce and Somini Sengupta: “The American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, took a swipe on Tuesday at Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, criticized the United Nations for what she called its anti-Israel bias and insisted that the Trump administration would champion human rights… “America does not seek to leave the Human Rights Council,” Ms. Haley said [in a speech at the Graduate Institute of Geneva]. “We seek to re-establish the council’s legitimacy.” Pressed by the audience, she would not commit to staying or leaving.” [NYTimes; WashPost]

KAFE KNESSET — Queen Haley lands in Israel — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Early this morning, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley landed in Israel. Haley was greeted by her Israeli counterpart, Ambassador Danny Danon, who will be accompanying her during most of the visit. Haley’s first meeting was with the Israeli PM Netanyahu, who expressed his deep gratitude for her “standing by Israel and the truth.” The warm embrace of Ambassador Haley was apparent in every meeting she has had in Israel so far. “People appreciate the truth,” Bibi told Haley. “We have an ancient Hebrew saying that when people tell the truth, you can sense it and people feel it. They not only understand it, they feel it. And we feel it.”

Haley told Netanyahu she is thrilled by the reactions. “If there’s anything I have zero tolerance for, it is bullying, and the UN behaved so brutally toward Israel simply because it can. We are starting to see a change. I think they know that they cannot go on responding as they have until now, they feel that the tone has changed.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who also attended the meeting, gave Haley a necklace with a gold pendant of a Menorah symbol which was found in excavations in the City of David. President Rivlin, in Haley’s next meeting, echoed the same warm sentiments. “With your support, we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone in the United Nations, Israel is no longer the punching bag of the United Nations,” he told her. Haley then said that she feels “a bit embarrassed because all I do is tell the truth. The UN has been abusing Israel for a long time and we will not let it happen anymore.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in her first on-camera press briefing: “Middle East peace is something that’s very important to this administration. The President and the Secretary have both said they recognize that it will not be easy, that both sides will be forced to compromise. The President has made this one of his top priorities, and we are willing to work with both of those entities to try to get them to come together and make some – and to finally bring about Middle East peace.” [CSPAN]

“Obama’s Detailed Plans for Mideast Peace Revealed – and How Everything Fell Apart” by Amir Tibon: “This is perhaps the most dramatic part of the document, stating that “the new secure and recognized international borders between Israel and Palestine will be negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutually-agreed swaps whose size and location will be negotiated, so that Palestine will have viable territory corresponding in size to the territory controlled by Egypt and Jordan before June 4, 1967, with territorial contiguity in the West Bank…” Many U.S. and Israeli officials told Haaretz that Netanyahu was aware that this paragraph, which effectively means Israeli acceptance of the 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations, would appear in Kerry’s framework. According to these sources, Netanyahu was willing to enter final-status negotiations based on these words. But he had one reservation, which is indeed mentioned in the U.S. document: He wanted to avoid direct usage of the words “territorial contiguity.” [Haaretz]

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Trump, furious and frustrated, gears up to ‘punch back’ at Comey testimony” by Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker: “Alone in the White House in recent days, President Trump — frustrated and defiant — has been spoiling for a fight, according to his confidants and associates… Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor and criminal law expert whose television commentary on the Russia probe has caught the Trump team’s attention, said he understands why the president would be motivated to speak out to counter [James] Comey’s testimony. “Every lawyer would tell the president not to tweet, not to react,” Dershowitz said. “But he’s not listening. This is typical. I tell my clients all the time not to talk and they simply disregard it. It’d very hard to tell a very wealthy, very powerful man not to tweet. He thinks, ‘I tweeted my way to the presidency,’ and he’s determined to tweet.”” [WashPost]  

Famed Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz: There are people in the White House ‘trying everything to try and get him to stop tweeting’ [BusinessInsider]

PROFILE: “Marc Kasowitz, ‘Toughest of the Tough Guys,’ Stands Beside Trump” by Andrew Ross Sorkin: “Starting in 2006, [Marc E.] Kasowitz’s firm spent years going after the hedge fund managers Steven A. Cohen, Dan Loeb and James S. Chanos on behalf of Fairfax Financial Holdings, claiming they had engaged in a “bear raid” to drive down the company’s stock. The case, after 11 years of back and forth, which judges described as “grappling with a lion’s fearsome hide,” was dismissed… In a separate drama, Mr. Kasowitz has played on both sides of Wall Street’s biggest fighter: Carl C. Icahn. In the 1990s, Mr. Kasowitz worked for Bennett S. LeBow, who owned Liggett Group, one of the big-five tobacco companies. Mr. LeBow and Mr. Icahn, working with Mr. Kasowitz, tried, unsuccessfully, to take over RJR Nabisco… Years later, Mr. Kasowitz’s firm was on the other side of Mr. Icahn in a dispute over casinos. The client? Mr. Trump, along with his daughter Ivanka.” [NYTimes

SPECIAL ELECTION WATCH — “Handel, Ossoff clash in Georgia special election debate” by Elena Schneider:“[Republican Karen] Handel also attacked [Jon] Ossoff for his support of the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, calling Iran “one of the biggest threats.” When pressed on striking a nuclearized Iran, Ossoff said that with military force, “there are complexities involved that a hypothetical cannot fully encompass,” but if Iran poses an imminent threat, “then we should use force to prevent them from striking our allies.”” [Politico

** Good Wednesday 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: The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools [NYTimes] • Steve Ballmer Says Tech Firms Should Be as Accountable as NBA Teams [Backchannel]Silverstein’s Tal Kerret on the future of Downtown’s retail and office markets [TRD] • ASRR Capital teams up with Israeli partners to buy Surfside site for $8.8M [TRD] • Developer Klein Enterprises pitches 400-seat restaurant, amphitheater for Broadway Market complex [BizJournals]

SPOTLIGHT: “Cadre collects $65 million in Series C funding” by Connie Loizos: “Cadre, a three-year-old, New York-based real estate startup, has raised $65 million in Series C funding led by Andreessen Horowitz… Ryan Williams, a Goldman Sachs and Blackstone alum, cofounded Cadre along with Joshua Kushner and Jared Kushner… The deal marks the latest in small but growing string of real-estate-related bets for Andreessen Horowitz, whose general partner (and former OpenTable CEO) Jeff Jordan led the deal.” [TC]

’67 ARTICLES: “The Astonishing Israeli Concession of 1967” by Yossi Klein Halevi: “The astonishing, untold story of the battle for Jerusalem was how ill-prepared Israel was for the most mythic battle of its history: The paratroopers’ conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City, including the two sites holiest to Judaism, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Even more astonishing was the Israeli decision, at the moment of victory, to concede sovereignty over the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. The Jewish people had just returned to its holiest site, from which it had been denied access for centuries, only to effectively yield sovereignty at its moment of triumph. Shortly after the war, Dayan met with officials of the Muslim Wakf, who governed the holy site, and formally returned the Mount to their control.” [TheAtlantic]

“The Arab World Has Never Recovered From the Loss of 1967” by Hisham Melhem: “It may be difficult for the Arabs of today to seriously reflect on the meaning of the defeat they suffered 50 years ago, given their current calamitous predicament. A half-century ago in the free sanctuary of Beirut, Arabs engaged in introspection and self-criticism, seeking to answer the central questions of their political life: What went wrong, and how did we reach this nadir? That unique moment of guarded hope and promise lasted but a few years. Fifty years later, there is no equivalent to Beirut in which to ask the hard questions about why and how the moment of enthusiasm that followed the 2011 Arab uprisings lasted for only a few months before the peaceful protest movements gave way to violence and civil wars. And in the last half-century, the Palestinian movement — along with its numerous Arab allies — has failed to become a transformational force.” [FP]

“The Six-Day War Was a Step Backward for Zionism” by Michael Koplow: “The Zionism that envisions complete Jewish sovereignty between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea does not account for the complication of approximately 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians living in a state of limbo while their own legitimate national aspirations go unfulfilled. It does not account for Israel’s isolation within its own region and its increasingly difficult relationships with democratic European allies. It does not account for the security, economic, and ethical strains that controlling the West Bank places upon the Israeli state and society.” [TheAtlantic] • Seth Mandel: The literary left’s anti-celebration of Jerusalem’s liberation [NYPost

Calls For #BoycottSears Return Over ‘Free Palestine’ Shirts: “Sears is now selling “Free Palestine” t-shirts – and some shoppers are calling for a boycott over the move. The department store’s website features more than a dozen search results for the word “Palestine”, including shirts that read “Free Gaza”, “End Israeli Occupation” and other similar phrases… Perhaps the most controversial item on the site is a shirt that reads “Free Palestine” over an image of the outline of the entire state of Israel. Jewish advocacy group B’nai B’rith issued a statement saying: “We are appalled at Sears jumping into a geo-political issue by selling glib t-shirts that proclaim ‘Free Palestine’ – seriously?” After reports began circulating on social media, the hashtag “#BoycottSears” reemerged Tuesday morning.” [CBSLA]

DESSERT: “A Guide to Israel’s Stunning Beaches” by Eva Fedderly: “Israel is perhaps best known—and deservedly so—for its holy sites, but its standing as a stellar beach destination often goes unsung. With coastline bordering the Mediterranean, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, and the Sea of Galilee, and everything from world-class scuba diving to ancient ruins to explore, the beaches of the Land of Milk and Honey have something for every type of sand lover. Here are the must-visit spots for a day (or a few) in the sun.” [VogueMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Chicago and Aspen-based billionaire, reported to own large stakes in General Dynamics, Maytag, Hilton Hotels, Aspen Skiing Co, the New York Yankees and the Chicago Bulls, among many other companies, Lester Crown turns 92… Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence turns 58… Developer of the cardiac defibrillator and other cardiovascular innovations, he also won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in nuclear disarmament, Bernard Lown MD turns 96… Former 5-term Democratic Congressman from California (1983-1993) Mel Levine turns 74… Attorney Advisor in the Office of Inspector General at the US State Department, earned a Ph.D. in political science in 1981 from Yale, Hillel N. Weinberg turns 65… Director of voice, creativity and culture at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Isaac Luria (born Isaac Goldstein) turns 34… Managing editor of The New Yorker, Emily S. Greenhouse turns 31… Actress and model, Emily Ratajkowski turns 26… Andrea Gonzales

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