Daily Kickoff: How Congress would negotiate Middle East peace | Israeli startup Workey launches ‘Tinder for recruitment’ | Einstein’s happiness note

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TOP TALKER: “State Department Scraps Sanctions Office” by Robbie Gramer and Dan De Luce: “Former officials and experts are torn on whether or not eliminating the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office will undercut the State Department’s ability to oversee sanctions. Sanctions have become a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy toward adversaries such as Iran and North Korea. Daniel Fried, a now-retired career diplomat who served as the coordinator for sanctions policy through February 2017, cautioned against misinterpreting the move. “You can’t read into that a lack of commitment to sanctions,” he told FP… “It’s not as if [the administration] is gutting sanctions altogether.”” [FP]

ON THE HILL — “Congress moves flurry of bills to counter Iran” by Bryant Harris: “House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, continues to push for adoption of his bill urging the State Department to designate the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has a companion bill in the Senate… McCaul told Al-Monitor that his bill is currently held up by staff on the House Judiciary Committee who believe that designating terrorist organizations should remain strictly within the purview of the administration. “Maybe we’ll work with leadership to put it to the floor anyway,” he said.” [Al-Monitor]

If Congress was in charge of negotiating Middle East peace — by Aaron Magid: In a September 28 interview with Walla News, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman promised that the Trump administration would unveil within months a peace proposal to Israelis and Palestinians. With few details emerging from the White House, Jewish Insider asked several Members of Congress what they think should be included in a U.S. plan.

Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee noted, “Nobody is going to go for dividing Jerusalem… I think it will be a nonstarter for Israel. It ought to be a nonstarter for any Judeo-Christian country.” The Florida lawmaker emphasized that he supports a two state solution but contends that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Regarding the Palestinian demand for a right of return to be included in any proposal, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican during the George W. Bush administration, added, “What kind of refugees? Are they literate, are they going to be criminals or radicalized? That’s a whole other can of worms.”

“If the Palestinians believe that they need a capital in Jerusalem, I don’t think that’s an unreasonable position to take at the negotiating table,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) explained. The Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee pointed to the Geneva Accords as a model, a 2003 initiative between Israelis and Palestinians that would have established a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders with land swaps on a 1:1 basis. “What the final peace agreement will likely look like is not the problem. The problem is engaging in a process that gets everybody to yes and then lets the hecklers on each side not attack the negotiators,” Ellison said. [JewishInsider]

“Trump taps Jewish community advocate as civil rights chief at Education Department” by Valerie Strauss: “Kenneth L. Marcus of Virginia is being nominated as assistant secretary for civil rights at the education agency, taking over the same responsibilities that he filled under Bush… Trump’s nomination of Marcus comes not long after the president was criticized for blaming “both sides” for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville… Marcus… is president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law in Washington. The center, according to its website, is an independent, nonpartisan institution for public interest advocacy, research and education whose mission “is to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and to promote justice for all.” … Marcus has been vocal in criticizing supporters of what is known as the Palestinian-led BDS.” [WashPost]

“Harvey Relief Program Nixes Requirement to Not Boycott Israel” by Daniel Arkin: “A storm-battered Texas city has nixed part of a Hurricane Harvey repair grant application that required residents to vow in writing that they would not boycott Israel. The Dickinson City Council voted on Tuesday to remove that provision of the Dickinson Harvey Relief Fund application.” [NBCNews]

“Top minister says settlement boycott equals Israel boycott” by Aron Heller: “Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan told The Associated Press that all boycotts against Israel are illegitimate… “A boycott is a boycott. If you want Jews not to live there because you think that is preventing peace and you think it belongs to someone else, then in a democratic country you have the tool,” he said… “My policy is to move from defense to offense … to expose the true face of the boycott activists. They have kidnapped the human rights vocabulary,” he said from his high-rise office outside Tel Aviv… “We have many achievements against the BDS but I think it is still a threat that could develop with time into a significant threat,” he said. “It is still alive and breathing.””[ABCNews]

“US on Jerusalem annexation bill: Israel, Palestinians must support peace” by Tovah Lazaroff: “The United States indicated that it could be opposed to the greater Jerusalem bill that the Israeli Legislative Committee is expected to vote on Sunday… “My understanding is that that piece of legislation is in the early stages of development,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said… “I know that it has to go through several steps before it would even become law,” Nauert said. But as a general comment, she said, “We continue to encourage both sides to take appropriate actions to ease tensions and build an environment that would support concluding a conflict-ending peace agreement.” [JPost]

2018 WATCH: “Big GOP donors launch group to elect Republican women” by Eliana Johnson: “Winning for Women arose from a series of joint fundraising committees set up over the past two cycles and supported by some of the Republican Party’s biggest donors, including… TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts and his son, Todd, and the hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer. The group hopes to swell its ranks to 400,000 by November 2018.”[Politico]

“Jewish Republican Group Looks to Grow’ by Ryan Torok: “The group — Jewish Republican Alliance — is in the process of applying for nonprofit status and is trying to distinguish itself from the more established Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC). Karasik said in a phone interview that he and many Alliance members are former RJC members, but he felt the RJC had become “less of a grass-roots organization and more centrally based.” In a phone interview from Washington, D.C., Alex Siegel, the RJC deputy director, said he is pleased to have an additional organization working to engage Republican Jews. “There are opportunities for both organizations to succeed in the Jewish community,” he said.” [JewishJournal]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Trump associate Cohen sold four NY buildings for cash to mysterious buyers” by Peter Stone Greg Gordon: “While serving as a top executive at the Trump Organization for a decade, Cohen himself was a sometime New York real estate wheeler dealer whose companies appear to have netted as much as $20 million in profit by flipping properties to mysterious buyers… This June, at a D.C. fundraiser for the Republican National Committee and his re-election campaign, Trump heaped praise on Cohen, who’s now a national deputy finance chair for the RNC, but hinted at the legal clouds hanging over Cohen. “Michael is a great lawyer, loyal, a wonderful person, talented, loves being on television,” said Trump, according to an audio recording first reported by the New York Times. “I miss you man.”” [McClatchy]

** Good Friday 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: David Rubenstein, co-CEO of Carlyle Group, discusses the company’s succession plan, keeping the company’s edge, diversification and investing in Saudi Arabia [Bloomberg• How Amy Gutmann and other Phila. leaders are wooing tech giant Amazon for HQ2 [TheDP] • Barry Sternlicht Says Boston Has Good Shot at Landing Amazon for HQ2 [Bloomberg] • How Politics Have Complicated Business For Kushner Companies [NPR] • Oscar Health’s Mario Schlosser and Joshua Kushner: The individual market will thrive in the long run [Axios]

STARTUP NATION: “Workey launches ‘Tinder for recruitment’” by Steve O’Hear: “I’m a millennial, we did something bad to the HR market,” says Ben Reuveni, co-founder and CEO of Israeli career development and recruitment startup Workey. Part confessional, part company pitch, he argues that, different to the generation before it, millennials change jobs every two years, while so-called Generation Z are even more fickle. To address this trend and potentially build a decent business on top of passive job hunting, Workey has built something akin to a ‘Tinder for recruitment’. The iOS app, initially launched in the U.S. and Israel, takes the form of a chatbot to ask you a series of questions related to your current job and the types of opportunities you are looking for.” [TechCrunch]

PROFILE: “Adam Pritzker Might Have the Solution to Fashion’s Retail Problem” by Dena Silver: “Adam Pritzker is one of those bold entrepreneurs who isn’t afraid to compare his business to others in the market. “I think the best way to talk about a brand is to talk about the people we admire,” he explained to the Observer… By focusing on just four areas—finance, capital, content and sales—Assembled Brands specializes in building the business side of promising companies. According to Pritzker, designers can benefit from his plan to “lower their costs, increase their distribution and build brands that have a precise and a bold aesthetic.” [Observer]

“Oscar hopeful ‘Foxtrot’ locked in Israel’s culture war” by Ilan Ben Zion: “Foxtrot was nominated for Best Film in Venice, where it won the runner-up Grand Jury Prize in September. It then swept the Ophir Awards, Israel’s most prestigious film honors, taking eight categories, including best film. The winner of the Ophir Best Film is submitted as the country’s Oscar submission… The film explores a number of issues in Israeli society, from the lingering effects of the Holocaust, to Israeli machismo and the role of Jewish tradition among secular Israelis… [Samuel] Maoz said the purpose of his art is “not to reflect reality, but to express it, to exaggerate it… to convey a message, to arouse a reaction, to open a discussion, to create dialogue.”” [ABCNews]

“Einstein scribbled his theory of happiness in place of a tip. It just sold for more than $1 million” by Rachel Siegel: “Gal Wiener, chief executive of the auction house, said the bidding on that note began at $2,000 and escalated for about 25 minutes, the Associated Press reported. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” read the other note, written on a blank sheet of paper. That note sold at auction for $240,000 and was initially estimated to sell for a high of $6,000… Roni Grosz, the archivist overseeing the Einstein archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told the AFP that the notes help uncover the innermost thoughts of a scholar whose public profile was synonymous with scientific genius. “What we’re doing here is painting the portrait of Einstein — the man, the scientist, his effect on the world — through his writings,” Grosz said. “This is a stone in the mosaic.”” [WashPost]

HEARD THIS WEEK — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks speaking at AEI’s 2017 Irving Kristol Award Annual Dinner: “Beloved friends, I want to thank you from the depths of my heart for your generosity tonight. I was almost about to say that I’m moved beyond words, but the truth is no rabbi ever was moved beyond words. (Laughter.) At the Burning Bush, Moses, the first rabbi of all time, said, “I am not a man of words,” and then proceeded to speak for the next 40 years. (Laughter.) So let me say briefly how grateful I am…” [Video]

DESSERT: “Aaron Franklin Goes Kosher For The Brisket King Of NYC” by Casey Cheek: “You stand in line and the smells fill your nose. The barbecue looks amazing. You find your table and sit down with a beautiful spread in front of you. And then, you watch your buddies eat. Because you, you have a strict religious dietary restriction. That’s the dilemma for a Jewish pit master from Brooklyn. So Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor for Texas Monthly, teamed up with famed Austin pit master Aaron Franklin to figure out how to give a religious Brooklynite the real deal.” [TexasStandard]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Producer and director of many popular films including Animal House, Meatballs, Stripes, Ghostbusters and Twins, Ivan Reitman turns 71… Rabbi at Miami Beach’s Temple Beth Sholom since 1985, Gary Glickstein turns 70… Author, actress and comedienne, Fran Lebowitz turns 67… EVP of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a director of English football club Manchester United, both teams owned by his family, Bryan Glazer turns 53… Television meteorologist, currently working for The Weather Channel, Stephanie Abrams turns 39… Legislative assistant for Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY-17), she was previously director of government affairs for JFNA, Elizabeth (Liz) Leibowitz turns 29… San Diego attorney, Gordon Gerson 

SATURDAY: Spiritual leader of the Village of New Square (Rockland County, NY), Rabbi Dovid Twersky turns 77… Member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party, she also serves as Minister of Aliyah and Integration, Sofa Landver turns 68… Philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gatesturns 62… Member of the Knesset for Likud since 2015, he serves as the Deputy Minister of Construction, he was mayor of Beit She’an (2002-2013), Jackie Levy turns 57… Manager of MLB’s Oakland Athletics since 2011, after a 10 year career as an MLB catcher, he has been named Manager of the Year in both 2007 (Diamondbacks) and 2012 (A’s), Bob Melvin turns 56… Actress best known for her recent TV roles as Judy Miller in CBS’s “Still Standing” and as Debbie Weaver in ABC’s “The Neighbors,” Jami Gertz… Creator and editor of the Drudge Report, previously an author and host of radio and TV shows, Matt Drudge turns 51… Member of the Knesset for Likud since 2015, Oren Hazanturns 36… Larry Berlin

SUNDAY: Haifa-born director and screenwriter of animated and live-action films including The Lord of the Rings, Ralph Bakshi turns 79… Dean of the Yale School of Management (1996-2005), he has served in the US Army, as a federal prosecutor, as a managing director on Wall Street and in the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations, Jeffrey E. Garten turns 71… Academy Award winning actor, who played Yoni Netanyahu in the 1976 film Victory at Entebbe, Richard Dreyfuss turns 70… CEO of the Center for the National Interest and publisher of its namesake foreign policy magazine, The National Interest, Dimitri Simes turns 70… Director of the social justice organizing program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Mordechai E. Lieblingturns 69… Pulitzer Prize winning author and long-time editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick turns 59… Sports agent who has negotiated over $2 billion of NFL player contracts, Drew Rosenhaus turns 51… Mathematician, cryptologist, computer programmer and professor of mathematics and computer science, Daniel J. Bernstein turns 46… Leora Eisenberg

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