Daily Kickoff: Sun Valley Summit | Reality catches up to Trump admin on Mideast peace | Bibi retracts Soros statement | Profile: Yair Shimansky

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton” by Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman: “The meeting was also attended by his campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner… In his statement, Donald Trump Jr. said he asked Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner to attend, but did not tell them what the meeting was about… [Natalia] Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer invited to the Trump Tower meeting… recalled that after about 10 minutes, either Mr. Kushner or Mr. Manafort left the room… The Trump Tower meeting was disclosed to government officials in recent weeks, when Mr. Kushner, who is also a senior White House aide, filed a revised version of a confidential form required to obtain a security clearance.” [NYTimesWashPost]

Norm Eisen tells us… “It’s another strand in the web of contacts with Russians by Kushner and others associated with the Trump campaign. If nothing else, the Trump team’s willingness to take the meeting conveyed the signal that the campaign was ready to receive help from Russia. And it clearly got that help, big time, in the form of hacking, propaganda, bots and other cybercrimes and misconduct. There’s also a pattern of lying about or omitting these many contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, in this case represented by of Don Junior’s changing stories. The special counsel will let us know what it all amounts to.”

“Who Is Rob Goldstone, Donald Trump Jr.’s Russian Connection?” by Dave Goldiner: “Rob Goldstone, the man who set up the explosive meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a politically connected Russian lawyer, is a British Jewish music publicist who has worked with the Trumps on the Miss Universe pageant.” [Forward]

SPOTLIGHT: “Aby Rosen’s brazen battles” by Konrad Putzier: “Last August, Rosen installed a more than 20-foot-tall billboard at RFR’s 337 Lafayette Street development site in Noho that read “Vote Your Conscience!” — a nod to Sen. Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump. The fact that he was business partners with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on the $375 million Watchtower acquisition and subsequent office conversion in Brooklyn Heights only added to the intrigue…”

“Rosen said he spoke about the poster with Kushner — whom he claims to keep in touch with even after the 36-year-old real estate scion decamped to the White House — and that the two argued about Trump’s platform in the run-up to the election. “We always talk about ‘This is right, this is wrong, you’re in the wrong camp, I wouldn’t have done that,’” he said. “He knows where I stand, I know where he stands,” Rosen added. “Deep down I think he has more of a Democratic mindset, but you know maybe [the Republican party] is a good party to be with right now … What you make out of that, that’s going to be the judgement.” [RealDealMag]

–Noteworthy tidbit about Rosen’s new restaurant in the Seagram Building: “The Four Seasons restaurant will be replaced by two new eateries — one of them merely called the Grill, which Trump White House advisor Reed Cordish is backing.”

TOP OP: “Why Does Donald Trump Keep Dissing Jews?” by Frank Bruni: “Trump has established a pattern of offending — or at the very least ignoring — Jews. The most recent example was just last week, when he declined to pay his respects at a Holocaust memorial in Warsaw that other American presidents routinely visited… Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner, and the couple’s key roles in the White House mean that Trump has observant Jews at the very core of his presidency — and of his life. But that didn’t stop him from making remarks to Jewish Republican donors in December 2015 that seemed to play into an anti-Semitic stereotype. “I’m a negotiator — like you folks,” he said, later adding: “Is there anybody that doesn’t renegotiate deals in this room?”

“A prominent Jewish Republican put it well. “I think Trump is such a pathological narcissist that the act of telling people who love you that you reject them — he can’t get around that,” he told me, interpreting Trump’s reasoning this way: “What can be wrong with them? They’re for me!” Trump is disinclined to denounce any constituency or tactics that elevate him to the throne, where he’s sure that he belongs… He doesn’t understand the message of zipping through Yad Vashem when predecessors lingered, because he’s less concerned with the weight of his office than with the whims and convenience of Donald Trump. It’s all about him, always — and if he’s sure in his own heart that he’s good with Jews, then he shouldn’t have to prove it.” [NYtimes

“Can Conservatives Find Their Way?” by Tevi Troy: “At a surface level, some issues do appear to unite current conservatives: disdain for anticonservative and anti-Republican bias in the mainstream media; support for conservative judges like Neil Gorsuch, who joined the Supreme Court in April; and support for Israel. But these issues themselves are insufficient, as well as more limiting. As Lanhee Chen, a research fellow at Hoover, told me, “those three things alone don’t make a governing agenda.”… Jonah Goldberg put it to me, “Trump is like a magnet next to a compass,” making it harder for conservatives to find true north as they argue over whether it is the duty of conservatives to support him or the duty of conservatives to oppose him…” [NYTimes]

“Trump’s nationalists triumphant after Europe trip” by Michael Crowley: “The influence of nationalist White House advisers, like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller — along with Trump’s own raw instincts — were on clear display. And all represent setbacks for the likes of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, who are trying to steer Trump’s policies in a more conventional direction. “Overall the trip embraced nationalism much more than internationalism,” said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.” [Politico]

“Attack, Attack, Attack: Why does Trump double-down every time it seems like he should retreat? Because Steve Bannon is back in his boss’s good graces” by Joshua Green: “[Steve] Bannon’s feud with Kushner has quieted down. And so far, while at least ten White House officials and former aides, including Kushner, have retained lawyers in the special counsel’s probe, distancing themselves from Trump, Bannon is not among them. Instead, he’s back in the bunker alongside a boss who is often angry, always under fire, and, on the matter of Russia, increasingly isolated from all but a handful of advisers and family members…. “[Marc] Kasowitz is a junkyard dog, exactly the guy Trump needs in his corner right now,” says Barry Bennett, a former campaign adviser.” [NYMag 

“The Road to Donald Leads through Ivanka” by David Böcking And Vanessa Steinmetz: “The so-called Ivanka Fund… also provides a boost to the G-20 hostess Angela Merkel. Amid the extremely difficult negotiations with the U.S. president on other issues addressed by the summit, the joint project announced on Saturday served to lighten the mood. It was a bright spot for which Merkel was more than willing to accept a joint appearance with Trump and his daughter… For Merkel, though, Ivanka presents an opportunity to gain the ear of a president who continues to act erratically.” [Spiegel] • Trump: Ivanka’s Life Would Be Much Easier If I Wasn’t Her Father [TIME

A White House official emails: “Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt flew to Israel on Sunday night to meet with Ambassador David Friedman. While the primary purpose of his trip is to meet with the Ambassador now that he is on the ground and fully installed in his position, Greenblatt will also likely be taking meetings relevant to both the Israelis and the Palestinians… This trip is an interim visit as talks continue about potential next steps. President Trump has made it clear that working towards achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority for him.”

ICYMI: Friedman hosted his first 4th of July celebration at the Ambassador’s residence in Herzliya last week – the second time he hosted a party in Israel since his bar mitzvah. [JewishInsider] 

“Israeli Labor Party to Pick Netanyahu Opponent in Primary Runoff” by Jonathan Ferziger: “Israeli Labor Party members went to the polls Monday for a runoff election between two candidates hoping to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… Amir Peretz, a former defense minister and labor federation head, is going head to head against Avi Gabbay, ex-chief executive officer of Israel’s biggest telecommunications company, Bezeq The Israeli Telecommunication Corp., for the chance to head Labor’s slate in the next national election, scheduled for November 2019. Commentators have given Peretz the edge.” [Bloomberg]

Trump administration hits roadblocks for Israeli-Palestinian talks — by Aaron Magid: Elliott Abrams told Jewish Insider, “There is a gap now between the optimism of the transition period and the very early days of the administration and the lack of actual progress. For example, it’s July and there has been no meeting yet between [PM Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Mahmoud] Abbas.” Grant Rumley, a researcher at the Foundations for the Defense of Democracies, explained that the Trump team “seem to be getting bogged down in the negotiations about the negotiations, which is kind of a staple of the peace process these days. Ultimately [the Palestinians] still want to know that this administration envisions a two state solution the way Obama, Bush and Clinton did before them. I am not sure Abbas knows how far he can go with this without these assurances. For any big push to happen, the Palestinians will want to know it ends where previous administrations stated the goal is.”

At the same time, Hussein Ibish, senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf Institute, credits the President for his active involvement on this issue. “The designation of Jared Kushner, the President’s trusted son-in-law, as the point person is an indication that this is (led by) the White House and not the State Department. That means the President put some amount of his personal and political prestige on the line,” he said.

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro: “I give [Kushner and Greenblatt] high marks for demonstrating the President’s personal interest and commitment both to Israel’s security and helping the Palestinians achieve their aspirations. Some of the language is a little bit different but I think the overall policy is much more similar. The commitments demonstrated to Israel’s security is also quite similar and important. The desire to engage Arab states more is also similar. The insistence on a sustained Palestinian commitment is also very consistent. I actually think there is much more continuity than change.” [JewishInsider]

“Trump Is In Danger of Pulling a Reverse Obama” by Ilan Goldenberg: “The administration’s overemphasis on the question of Palestinian prisoner payments may be creating a new precondition for negotiations – this time on the Israeli side. Whereas President Obama’s early push on settlements inadvertently created preconditions on the Palestinian side that persisted throughout his presidency, President Trump may be about to accidentally do the reverse.” [MatzavBlog]

ON THE HILL — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) will be holding a hearing on Wednesday to discuss the Taylor Force Act. Former senior George W. Bush administration official Elliot Abrams will testify in a sign of Chairman Bob Corker’s (R-TN) seriousness of passing such a bill.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will also hold a hearing on Wednesday for President Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI Director Christopher Wray. Given the controversial firing of former FBI Director James Comey, Wray’s hearing will likely be heated with both Democrats and Republicans using the platform to launch attacks on the opposing party’s handling of the Russia investigation. Additionally, after the Senate passed by an overwhelming margin (97-2) sanctions legislation targeting Iran last month, the bill still has not passed the House amid ongoing partisan disputes mainly regarding sanctions against Russia, which is tied to the same legislation. Those interested in applying tougher pressure against Tehran will likely lobby House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican leadership to advance the bill.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis tells the Mercer Island High School Islander: “The Iranian people are definitely not the problem, it’s the regime that sends agents around to murder ambassadors in Pakistan or in Washington DC. It’s the regime that provides missiles to Lebanese Hezbollah or the Houthi in Yemen… It’s going to be very hard to deal with them. What you have to do eventually is what then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did, which was to move sanctions, economic sanctions, against them and force them to the negotiating table because they want to stay in power.” [MIHS]

“At Private Dinners, Pence Quietly Courts Big Donors and Corporate Executives” by Ken Vogel: “The dinners are “a smart way for Vice President Pence and his team to recognize major supporters of his and the president’s agenda, and build resources that are going to be necessary for the upcoming battles,” said Charles Spies, a leading Republican election lawyer.”[NYTimes

2020 WATCH: “Andrew Cuomo Could Beat Trump … If He Can Win Over the Left First” by David Freedlander: “He’s beginning to travel out of state, including serving as policy chair for the Democratic Governors Association. He responded to a series of anti-Semitic incidents around New York by jetting off to Israel… “I’ll just be brazen and say it. If he decides to run for president, he’d be a really good president,” said Ken Sunshine, a public relations consultant for A-list celebrities and a longtime adviser to both Cuomos.” [PoliticoMag

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Sun Valley Summit: Potential Deal Discussions Could Turn Political” by Paul Bond: “A couple hundred media moguls are expected in Sun Valley, Idaho, starting Tuesday for the annual, multiday Allen & Co. summit, and speculation is that — in between conversations related to a stormy political climate — executives from Verizon, CBS Corp. and other major companies may be sizing up some of the smaller entities for possible acquisitions. A recent New York Post report said that Verizon may be considering making an offer for Disney, but while the former’s CEO Lowell McAdam is expected to attend the gathering, the latter’s CEO Bob Iger is not.” [HollywoodReporterNYPost]

** 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: Buyout firm Apollo to buy golf course operator ClubCorp for $1.1 billion [Reuters] • Paul Singer is thinking about swooping in on Warren Buffett’s latest deal [BusinessInsider] • Israel seeks managers for state-backed technology funds [Reuters] • Inside Gary Barnett’s $4B tower [TRD] • Priscilla Chan is running one of the most ambitious philanthropies in the world [Recode] • Sheldon Adelson Paid a Secret Visit to an Army Base While in Israel [Haaretz] • Israel Is Buying Drones That Fly With Machine Guns [Jalopnik]

“On Netanyahu’s Orders: Israel’s Foreign Ministry Retracts Criticism of anti-Semitism in Hungary and Strongly Attacks Soros” by Barak Ravid: “At the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry on Sunday retracted a statement issued the previous day by the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, which had called on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán… to halt a poster campaign against Jewish-American financier George Soros on the grounds that it was fueling anti-Semitism… [The statement said,] “In no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.” … The posters appearing all over Hungary over the past few days feature a picture of Soros laughing and are captioned, “Let’s not let Soros have the last laugh.” Some of the posters were glued to the floor of train cars in Budapest and other cities, so that anyone boarding the train would have to step on them.” [HaaretzABCNews

“The Story of Jay-Z: Decoding the historical context behind the emcee’s economic nationalism on his new album 4:44” by Adam Serwer: “Perhaps the most concise and perplexing statement of [Shawn] Carter’s new unambiguous love for capitalism comes in a couplet on the second track, “The Story of O.J.”… On one jarring line, Carter states, “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit. You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.” Carter’s admonition is meant to encourage black people to imitate what he perceives to be a Jewish strength of ethnic solidarity and financial prowess… But the line is nonetheless startling because it invokes the anti-Semitic canard that Jews maintain financial control of everything you see… Carter is also drawing on an old tradition of using American Jews as a model of a downtrodden people who found success in America.” [TheAtlantic] • Guy Oseary: “In my opinion, Jay is giving the Jewish community a compliment.”[Instagram]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Israeli list of unrecognized US rabbis points to rift” by Ilan Ben Zion: “The list, obtained by The Associated Press, includes a number of prominent Orthodox rabbis in North America… The rabbinate, which oversees religious rituals for Israeli Jews, such as weddings, births and burials, would not say why it had rejected the overseas rabbis’ credentials or provide the criteria for securing their recognition… Another member of the list, Rabbi Adam Scheier, who leads an Orthodox congregation in Montreal and has ties with [PM Justin] Trudeau, called it “an affront to the hard work and devotion of so many of my colleagues – of all denominations.” … Rabbi Daniel Kraus of Kehilath Jeshurun, a major Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan, also is on the list. Kraus serves with Haskel Lookstein, the rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump. Lookstein’s name was not on the list, and while his conversions have been questioned by the rabbinate in the past, they are now accepted.” [AP

“Sen. Al Franken is back to telling jokes” by Avishay Artsy: “In an interview with the Jewish Journal… Franken reflected on his journey and what comes next… In your interview with Marc Maron on the podcast WTF, you said you are “very Jewish but not devout.” In what ways do you think of yourself as very Jewish? [Al Franken:] “I’m not devout in the sense that I observe all the holidays. You know, I observe the High Holy days. I’m a Reform Jew, what can I say. But I culturally am extremely Jewish. I think part of it has to do with, there’s a lot of Jewish comedians… I identify very much as a Jew. I had that very much pounded into my head. I was born in 1951 so not long after the Holocaust and that Jewish identity means a lot to me. I married out of the faith, I married a Catholic girl, but our kids are half Irish Catholic and half European Ashkenazi Jew. But they really see themselves as Jews… My son married a woman who’s also half Jewish, and they identify themselves as a Jewish family. So it’s a bit of a cultural identity. I mean, my son lives on the Upper West Side, for god’s sake. They’re within spitting distance of Zabar’s.” [JewishJournal

HOLLYWOOD: “Amy Pascal’s Hollywood Ending, Complete With Comeback Twist” by Brooks Barnes: “Ms. Pascal… seems to have emerged stronger and happier, having reinvented herself as a producer through her company, Pascal Pictures. She will deliver three films to three different studios this year, with more than a dozen more movies on the assembly line… Ms. Pascal, who is married to Bernard Weinraub, a former New York Times reporter, and has a 17-year-old son, Anthony, said she was thrilled to have more time to spend with her family… “I’m at peace,” she said… Encouraged by blockbuster results for movies like “Wonder Woman,” Hollywood is racing to champion female directors and characters. Ms. Pascal was often at her best as a studio executive… “I’m not trying to correct or counterbalance,” Ms. Pascal said… “I’m interested in women because I am a woman, and that’s what I understand.”” [NYTimes]

MEDIA WATCH: Sinclair triples down on Boris Epshteyn — by Hadas Gold: “Sinclair Broadcasting chief political analyst and former Trump White House official Boris Epshteyn… will now appear on Sinclair stations across the country nine times per week for his “Bottom Line with Boris” segments, the company confirms.” [Politico]

“How Politico’s Next Generation Took Over Washington” by Sarah Ellison: “It’s been a year since Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman, and Daniel Lippman took over Politico’s Playbook newsletter, the always insightful, relentlessly insidery bible for Washington’s swamp-creature class. Since then, the three have crisscrossed the country, launched a podcast, an afternoon newsletter, and thrown themselves into the event business. They also just sold a book about the backroom deals and dramas on Capitol Hill, scheduled for release after the 2018 midterm elections, provisionally titled “A Hill to Die On.”” [VanityFair]

PROFILE: “The Jeweler Shaking Up the 600-Year-Old Diamond Industry” by Nick Dall: “One of the only jewelers whose team takes stones through every step in the process — from bruting and polishing diamonds to turning them into jewelry — Yair Shimansky is an unmitigated success story with 10 stores in South Africa and one opening in New York later this year. Shimansky grew up in Israel, spending months at a time with his sea captain father and part of high school in London, where he developed a lasting distaste for wearing a suit and tie. After completing military service, he spent two years in Japan and moved to South Africa for what was supposed to be a short visit. But instead of returning to Israel, he started selling jewelry at flea markets around Durban — at first importing silver pieces and later crafting his own designs.” [Ozy]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Orthodox Jewish mom uses emoji in fight for women’s rights” by Erin Durkin: “Adina Miles, an Orthodox Jewish mom and popular social media personality from Flatbush… took out an ad in the Flatbush Jewish Journal to thank City Councilman Chaim Deutsch for joining her for a local graffiti cleanup. The ad featured a photo of herself smiling next to the Brooklyn pol and a crew of volunteers. But the paper refused to run a photo of her unblurred face, saying it violated modesty rules. They also refused to print the word “girl” in her moniker — so she slapped an emoji laughing so hard tears pour out of its eyes over her face, hoping to draw attention to the absurdity of the rule.” [NYDailyNews

DESSERT: “Sara Kramer, a New York Native, Finds Herself at Home in Los Angeles” by Oliver Strand: “Sitting at the counter of Kismet, the airy restaurant she opened this year with Sarah Hymanson on a not-quite-fashionable stretch of Hollywood Boulevard on the edge of Los Feliz, she talks about Southern California ingredients with the same casual boosterism that makes real estate agents bring up the climate. “Local citrus, local dates,” said Ms. Kramer, 31, a native of New York. “This is really the ideal place for us to be making this kind of food.” By “this kind of food,” Ms. Kramer meant her elegant approach to Israeli cooking… “I love this flaky malawach,” she said of a crispy, buttery, supple pastrylike bread you pull apart with your fingers. She said she grew up eating malawach made by her mother, who is Peruvian and Israeli.” [NYTimes

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT — in Jerusalem: Last Wednesday night at Beit Hansen, Oklahoma-based philanthropist Lynn Schusterman was awarded the Builder of Jerusalem prize by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. In her remarks at the ceremony, Schusterman noted “I accept this award on behalf of those who believe in Jerusalem as a model of diversity, tolerance, belonging and coexistence. And who believe that Israel is the homeland for all the Jewish people.” Also in attendance: Stacy Schusterman, Sandy Cardin, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, Saul Singer, Wendy Singer of Start-Up Nation Central, Isabel Maxwell, Charlene Seidle of the Leichtag Foundation, and approximately 300 guests attending the annual ROI Summit.

BIRTHDAYS: Russian born mathematician, later a professor at UC Berkeley, Grigory Isaakovich Barenblatt turns 90… Broadway composer, whose scores include Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles, Jerry Hermanturns 86… Stan Udaskin turns 71… NYC born author, now living in Jerusalem, Naomi Ragen turns 68… Member of Holland & Knight’s public policy and regulation group, previously a member of the US House of Representatives for Florida’s 22nd congressional district (2007-2011), Ronald “Ron” Klein turns 60… Member of the New York State legislature: Assembly (1995-2004) and Senate (since 2005), representing parts of Bronx and Westchester Counties, Jeffrey D. Klein turns 57… One of the chief film critics for The New York Times, Anthony Oliver (A.O.) Scott turns 51… NYC-based PR consultant, formerly on Bill Clinton’s post WH staff, M Public Affairs and Glover Park Group, Elie Jacobs turns 39… H. Alan Scott turns 35… Founder, creative director and designer for a fashion line bearing her name, she is the daughter of CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, Kimberly Ovitzturns 34… VP of political and advocacy for BuzzFeed, Rena Shapiro… Managing editor of the Cleveland Jewish News, Bob Jacob… President of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey (mid-2014 to mid-2017), now chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Network Advisory Committee, Leslie Dannin Rosenthal… Michael F. Lewis… Kayla Sokoloff

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