Daily Kickoff: How exactly does Jason Greenblatt plan to remove Hamas from running Gaza? | Meet LeumiTech’s Yifat Oron | Howard Schultz on Gettysburg

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DEEP DIVE: “Kushners’ China Deal Flop Was Part of Much Bigger Hunt for Cash” by David Kocieniewski and Caleb Melby: “Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, wakes up each morning to a growing problem that will not go away. His family’s real estate business, Kushner Cos., owes hundreds of millions of dollars on a 41-story office building on Fifth Avenue. It has failed to secure foreign investors, despite an extensive search, and its resources are more limited than generally understood. As a result, the company faces significant challenges. The mortgage on their tower is due in 18 months. This has led to concerns that Kushner could use—or has perhaps already used—his official position to prop up the family business despite having divested to close relatives his ownership in many projects to conform with government ethics requirements.”

“Among the six buildings the partnership purchased for $375 million in 2013 is a 30-story hotel at 90 Sands Street scheduled to be turned over to the Kushner group later this year. Kushner Cos. is now exiting the partnership and selling its stake to RFR, [Laurent] Morali said… The Kushners are also extracting cash from properties in which they do own significant stakes. Six floors of the former New York Times building, which they purchased for $295 million in 2015, now have $370 million of debt against them, loan documents show. Of that amount, at least $59 million was used to return cash to the Kushners. Across the Hudson River at Trump Bay Street, a luxury residential building in Jersey City, the family plans to take out $50 million… Efforts over the summer to obtain a $250 million mortgage for the property struggled in the face of controversy around their use of an investment-for-visa program. Now the company has found a lender, Morali says.” [Bloomberg

“Trump Dumped U.S. Ambassador to Amman at Request of King” by Dan De Luce and Ruby Mellen: “Several former and current diplomats told FP that the Jordanian king had a tense relationship with [Alice] Wells, mainly because he strongly objected to the Obama administration’s pursuit of a nuclear agreement with Tehran… A former senior U.S. official who worked on Middle East peace negotiations said the ambassador, who began her stint in Amman in July 2014, became the nearest and most visible target for the king’s broader dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s policies and its diplomatic gambit with Tehran.” [FP]

DRIVING THE CONVO: Greenblatt’s Gaza proposal leaves more questions than answers — by Aaron Magid: Towards the end of Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt’s trip to the Middle East this week, he visited the Israeli-Gaza border with IDF Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. “It is clear that the Palestinian Authority must resume its role in managing the Gaza Strip,” Greenblatt declared. Yet, Middle East experts urged more clarity from the Trump administration in implementing such a policy proposal. “The question remains how to make this happen,” Washington Institute’s David Makovskyexplained. “For Abbas to win back Gazans, he cannot speak in generalizations but he needs a plan. The US cannot want the PA back more than the PA itself.”

“Absent any strategy or structure, it’s a pipe dream today,” said FDD’s Grant Rumley. “Re-inserting the PA into Gaza will require a framework, regional buy-in, and a leadership in Ramallah that is willing to take risks — I see none of those on the horizon today. Unfortunately, absent any parameters or way forward, the Trump administration is likely to reach the same dead-end as the Bush and Obama administrations.” Khaled Elgindy, a Brookings fellow focusing on Palestinian politics, cautioned, “The fact that this statement is coming from the Trump administration may not be helping things. People in Hamas may be looking at it: ‘Wait a minute, Is this an attempt to try and impose something on Hamas?'” [JewishInsider]

“Friedman to ‘Post’: US, Israel of ‘same mind’ on stopping Iran in Syria” by Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon: “I think that the Americans fully support the Israeli objectives,” he said, unwilling to discuss, however, how this objective of keeping Iran out of a post-civil war Syria can be reached. “But at least from a macro perspective, the Americans and Israelis are of the same mind.” Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process, Friedman said that the Trump administration was “trying very hard not to repeat the mistakes of the past… We’re just trying to create something that would be a win-win for Israel and the Palestinians. If it is not good for both, it’s not going to get done… We’re trying to find the right place where both sides can say, ‘We’re better off jumping into this pool than staying where we are.’”

Friedman… said that Trump’s decision to name him ambassador to Israel was a signal that “America is going to be a better friend to Israel than it had been over the past eight years.” … Friedman characterized as “phenomenal” the relationship between Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… “It’s fun to be with them,” he said. “It’s not a formal meeting. They’re not on edge. They’re not sitting back in their chairs in a formal way. They’re kind of talking like a couple of friends, and it’s fun to be in the room with them, because the conversations are really pleasant. They’re funny. They’re cordial.” [JPost

“U.N. Peacekeepers in Lebanon Get Stronger Inspection Powers for Hezbollah Arms” by Rick Gladstone: “The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday voted to renew the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon for another year after addressing American and Israeli complaints… The compromise language of the Unifil mandate renewal appeared to give all sides a way of saying they got what they wanted. “The status quo for Unifil was not acceptable, and we did not accept it,” Ms. Haley said in remarks after the vote… Israel’s ambassador, Danny Danon, called the renewed mandate “a significant diplomatic achievement that could change the situation in southern Lebanon and expose the terror infrastructure that Hezbollah set up on the border with Israel.” [NYTimes

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Trump Thanks Mnuchin and Ross for Tax Work — But Not Gary Cohn” by Jennifer Jacobs: “President Donald Trump singled out several top officials who accompanied him for a speech on overhauling the tax code on Wednesday, but didn’t mention his chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, who has led the administration’s efforts. Cohn was among a small cadre of aides who traveled with Trump to Missouri, including senior adviser Ivanka Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon. Trump gave each of those four aides a shout-out… “Anybody I forgot?” Trump said.” [Bloomberg

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard AF1: “It’s pretty standard practice for us not to specifically call out staff… I mean, you know, a lot of times when he talks about foreign policy and different things like that, he doesn’t necessarily call out National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster even though he plays a very integral role in that process.”

“Trump picks ‘Jew counter’ at center of Nixon-era anti-Semitic campaign to lead powerful think tank” by Aaron Rupar: “President Trump announced his intention to appoint longtime Republican operative Fred Malek as chair of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars… Trump’s selection of Malek — coming as it does on the heels of the president defending neo-Nazis who were involved in a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — is significant… Malek, now 80, served as a special assistant to President Richard Nixon. In that role, in 1971, he put together a list of “important Jewish officials” who were working in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Four of those officials were later demoted.” [ThinkProgress]

Gary Legum in the Independent Journal Review: “To be fair, this happened 45 years ago. Malek has since worked hard on Jewish and pro-Israel philanthropy in an effort to cleanse himself of his sins. He has expressed regret for going along with Nixon’s orders over and over again. Still, for an administration that has been accused of lack of sensitivity to Jews at best and outright anti-Semitism at worst, one would think Trump’s people might have thought twice about this appointment.” [IJReview]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “Trump Lawyer ‘Vehemently’ Denies Russian Collusion” by Maggie Haberman and Matt Apuzzo: “President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, has given Congress a point-by-point rebuttal of a dossier alleging that he has deep ties to Russian officials – an effort to clear his name… In an eight-page letter to the House Intelligence Committee, a lawyer for Mr. Cohen offered a full-throated rejection of any suggestion that Mr. Cohen was involved in an effort to work with Russia to disrupt the election.” [NYTimes]

IRAN DEAL — Rouhani: Trump lacks means to pressure Iran: “In response to a question about his assessment of US President Donald Trump, Rouhani… said Aug. 29, “This is a hard question. Americans themselves and their politicians cannot answer that. Even Mr. Trump’s fellow Republicans cannot answer that.” Noting “shaky” US government policy, Rouhani added, “This can be in our interest in that the US is experiencing the hardest time in building a consensus against Iran.” … In reaction to a recent trip to Vienna by Nikki Haley… Rouhani stated, “We made promises… and we have no other commitment… I don’t think that the IAEA does anything under US pressure, but if, hypothetically, this happens, we will not accept anything by force.”” [Al-Monitor] • U.S. pressure or not, U.N. nuclear watchdog sees no need to check Iran military sites [Reuters]

“Iran sticks to key limits of nuclear deal: U.N. watchdog” by Shadia Nasralla: “Iran has stayed within key limits on its nuclear activities imposed by its 2015 deal with six world powers, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog showed on Thursday. The report was the third since the January inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump… Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium as of Aug. 21 was 88.4 kg (194.89 pounds), well below a 202.8-kg limit, and the level of enrichment did not exceed a 3.67 percent cap.” [Reuters]

STATE-SIDE: Walker to Lead Wisconsin Trade Mission to Israel: “Gov. Scott Walker plans to lead a Wisconsin trade mission to Israel this fall. Walker announced Wednesday that he will lead the trade mission from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 and asked interested state companies to join him on the trip. Walker previously visited Israel in 2015 for the first time on a political trip as part of his run for president. This will mark his first trip there on a state trade mission as governor.” [USNews]

2020 WATCH: “Dems’ 2020 dilemma: Familiar 70-somethings vs. neophyte no-names” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: ““If you’re not as well known, you have to work harder to make that connection, but the special thing about our races in our country — I’ve seen it in Iowa, I’ve seen it in New Hampshire — [is the success of] people who a year or two before nobody knew who they were,” [Los Angeles Mayor Eric] Garcetti, 46, said, driving to the airport after a day of introducing himself to people who’d mostly never heard of him. “Of course, there’s an advantage to being well-known. But there’s no real disadvantage to not being as well known.” … Garcetti insisted he’s not at the stage of conceptualizing a White House run.” [Politico

Howard Schultz writes in the Financial Times this morning… “Six weeks ago, I walked the battlefield of Gettysburg with the historian Nancy Koehn. There in southern Pennsylvania, during three sweltering July days in 1863, more than 40,000 Americans died or were wounded. Without visiting Gettysburg, it may be hard to grasp the divisions and bloody sacrifices that played out in its hills… Today, our country is not in a civil war. But we are in another period of grave division. Not enough of our elected officials are using their voice with due force and eloquence to elevate the ideal of equality.” [FT]

** 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 Taubman, the legendary rainmaker and founder of PJT Partners, talks about the challenges of building an investment bank [Bloomberg] • Box shares down 4% despite what Aaron Levie calls “one of our strongest quarters” [TechCrunch• Sheryl Sandberg says HP CEO Meg Whitman taught her a hiring lesson she never forgot [BusinessInsider] • Accomplice, Shari Redstone fund Boston video game startup [BizJournals] • Senator Tammy Duckworth is calling on the FBI to investigate billionaire investor and former Trump adviser Carl Icahn [BI]

PROFILE: “The Woman Who Redefined How Banks Work With Startups” by Leigh Cuen: “Israel is home to around 8.4 million people and some 4,600 startups… Yifat Oron, the CEO of Israeli Bank Leumi’s subsidiary LeumiTech, estimates there could actually be more than 6,000 startups in Israel. No matter how you look at it, the vast majority of these entrepreneurs turn to Oron for unique banking services. She has redefined how banks work with startups. Oron told International Business Times her company works with about 4,500 Israeli startups, 25 percent of which also use LeumiTech’s services abroad. This bilingual mother of two dominates the market, having practically invented the new field of customized fintech services for small businesses.” [IBTimes]

KAFE KNESSET — Bibi attacks Meni Naftali — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: PM Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana toast was, as promised, quite a show. Two thousand Likud activists gathered at the Avenue Conference Center near the Ben Gurion airport to embrace their leader with love and affection. Hundreds more were left outside the hall due to security concerns. Netanyahu opened his speech on a positive note, with a statesman’s-like Happy New Year greeting. The PM then moved on to brag about all of his achievements, which of course, as he pointed out to the cheering crowd, one never hears about in the media. “They prefer to present Israel as isolated and weak. They just do not want Israeli citizens to see success,” Netanyahu said, accusing the media of cooperating with his other favorite enemy — the anti-corruption demonstrators who have been protesting outside the Attorney General’s house in Petach Tikva on a weekly basis.

Bibi then launched a direct attack on two of the protest’s leaders, social activist Eldad Yaniv and Meni Naftali. Naftali is the former caretaker at the PMs residence. Bibi blasted the media for turning Yaniv and Naftali into “rule of law knights” instead of investigating their own misdoings… Neyanyahu spoke to his core supporters with the common well known underdog tone. Bibi is increasingly adopting a Trump style attitude, but some spectators, even loyal Likudniks, felt he went a bit too low. “He is the Prime Minister. Why is he dedicating his Rosh Hashana speech to a dispute with a caretaker?” a prominent Likud activist told Kafe Knesset. “He is totally right about the media, but wouldn’t it be more appropriate to focus on all the good things we are doing?” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“$1B Palestinian lawsuit against US supporters of Israel dismissed” by Erez Linn: “Individuals named in the suit include businessman and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, Israeli businessmen Haim Saban and Lev Leviev, and leading figures in U.S. business… The judge wrote in a summation on Tuesday that the plaintiffs’ claims contradicted the fact that the lawsuit was, at its core, “a demand that this court rule on an issue that lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Barry Felder, who along with Michael Tuteur and Rachel Kramer, all from Foley & Lardner LLP, represented Adelson in the case, told Israel Hayom on Wednesday that the court’s decision to reject the lawsuit comprised a significant victory, with important future ramifications.”[IsraelHayom]

COMING SOON: “Itzhak Perlman documentary to open Hamptons Film Festival” by Gordon Cox:““Itzhak,” Alison Chernick’s documentary about famous violinist Itzhak Perlman, will get its world premiere at the 2017 Hamptons International Film Festival, which will open with the movie when the fest kicks off in October.” [Variety

Bun B, Scooter Braun planning Hurricane Harvey benefit: “Houston rapper Bun B and music manager Scooter Braun are planning a benefit concert to help those affected by Tropical Storm Harvey. A representative for Bun B told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the rapper is working with Braun, who manages Justin Bieber and produced Ariana Grande’s massive benefit show in June in Manchester, England. The rep said Braun “is actively working on gathering talent and organizing logistics for the event.” The rep added that the benefit is tentatively scheduled to air on four national networks on Sept. 12.” [NYPost]

MEDIA WATCH: Rob Eshman, longtime editor-in-chief and publisher of the Jewish Journal, has announced he will be leaving his position on September 26. Eshman will be working on a food book—Eshman writes the blog “Foodaism”—and another movie project. Current President David Suissa will be stepping into Eshman’s role. [JewishJournalLABJ

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Islands raises $1.85 million to become Slack for college students” by Berenice Magistretti: “Islands wants to take over colleges in the U.S. by connecting like-minded students through events and activities, and today the startup announced the close of its $1.85 million seed round. A string of notable investors participated, including Greylock Partners, entrepreneur Scott Belsky, and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Ventures… When asked how these channels differ from Slack, Islands founder and CEO Greg Isenberg told VentureBeat, “If you ask any college student, they don’t know what Slack is. It really isn’t designed for communities, it’s more of a workflow tool.” [VentureBeat]

DESSERT: “In a Nod to Its Roots, Zaro’s Is Opening 2 Bakeries in the Bronx” by Winnie Hu: “In the hands of hungry commuters, the croissants, breads and cheesecakes from Zaro’s Family Bakery… are made from scratch day and night inside a 40,000-square-foot brick factory in the Port Morris neighborhood that anchors a family-run business founded in the Bronx in 1927 by Joseph Zaro, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, and carried on by his sons, grandsons and great-grandsons… Now in a nod to its roots, Zaro’s is expanding with two new bakeries in the Bronx. The first will open in October in the Parkchester neighborhood, just two doors from where its last bakery in the borough closed in 2015 after losing its lease. A second bakery will follow early next year at the Port Morris factory.” [NYTimes

BIRTHDAYS: Television and film actor, performer, director and producer, Larry Hankin turns 77… Howard Crim turns 75… World reknowned violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman turns 72… Screenwriter for television and film, Lowell Ganz turns 69… Nobel laureate and professor of Physics at California Institute of Technology, Hugh David Politzer turns 68… Professor of Journalism at American U and author of six books on marriage and relationships, Iris Krasnow turns 63… Owner of thoroughbred race horses including the 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Ahmed Zayatturns 55… Deputy Communications Director at United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Jess Levin turns 33… Account Director at Racepoint Global, Nick Horowitz turns 32… Contributing Network Editor at The Forward, Laura Adkins… New York Times reporter in the Washington bureau covering Congress, Thomas Kaplan

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