Daily Kickoff: Jerusalem Consulate to no longer report directly to Washington | Story behind ‘Netflix for books’ | Tribute to Israel’s old train


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CHANGE AT 18 AGRON — After Jerusalem embassy move, US changes status of consulate: “The United States says it is placing its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians under the authority of its embassy to Israel. The State Department said Thursday that merging the Jerusalem Consulate with the newly opened Jerusalem Embassy will achieve “significant efficiencies.”

Why it matters: “For years, the consulate has served as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians, reporting straight to the State Department in Washington. Placing it under the authority of the embassy could be seen as suggesting American recognition of Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank.” [AP]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement: “We will continue to conduct a full range of reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank and Gaza as well as with Palestinians in Jerusalem through a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the U.S. Embassy Jerusalem.”

MIDTERMS — Iowa 04: Rep. Steve King Endorses Neo-Nazi Sympathizer Faith Goldy — by Pilar Melendez: “Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who is currently running for re-election, tweeted an endorsement late Tuesday evening for Faith Goldy, a white supremacist, right-wing YouTube star running for the mayor of Toronto… King’s endorsement of Goldy is just the latest in a long series of public declarations from the congressman indicating a shift from simply being an “immigration hardliner” to being openly sympathetic to far-right, racist ideologies.” [DailyBeast]

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks told Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg“The RJC has been deeply troubled by a number of Rep. King’s statements and associations recently. As a result we have not endorsed him, contributed to him or hosted events with him.”

Hollywood Figures Raise for California House Democrats at Wasserman Event: “Six Democratic candidates hoping to flip House seats in California raised more than a half-million dollars at a fundraiser on Tuesday at the home of Laura and Casey Wasserman, drawing donors such as Haim Saban, Brian Grazer, Dana Walden, and Chris Silbermann. A source said that more than $600,000 was raised at the event, which featured candidates Josh Harder, T.J. Cox, Andrew Janz, Katie Hill, Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter, Harley Rouda, and Mike Levin. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) headlined the event, which drew about 200 people.” [Variety]

New Jersey 07: In a televised debate aired on C-SPAN last night, Republican Congressman Leonard Lance challenged his Democratic opponent, Tom Malinowski, over his support of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal: “I think the people of the Congressional District and the people of New Jersey have the right to recognize that I was a strong opponent of the Iranian nuclear agreement and you were a strong proponent of it. I do not think it was in the national security interest of the U.S. and I do not think it was in the national security interest of our closest allies… Can you guarantee that none of that funding [released] went for terrorism against the U.S. or against our closest allies?

Malinowski: “For years, under both Republican and Democratic administrations it was our highest objective, with respect to Iran, to end that country’s nuclear program… and we reached an agreement that the head of the Israeli defense forces said set back Iran’s nuclear program by over 10 years. And it was not a perfect deal. There were flaws in the deal. It did not do enough to counter Iran’s support for terrorism. It did not do enough to counter Iran’s other malign activities. Now here’s what happened in the last year: the Trump Administration managed to get agreement from the Europeans, from our allies in NATO, to get tougher on Iran on those issues. We turned our backs on that agreement, and instead of the Europeans working with us to counter Iran, Iran is working with the Europeans to counter us. We are alone. We are in no position to protect Israel, and you have no plan to resolve that problem.” [CSPAN]

Lance: “I am much more, strongly pro-Israel than Mr. Malinowski.” [Video]

STATE VISIT — New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy will visit Israel this weekend on his first overseas trip as governor, which included a 5-day trade mission to Germany. During his 4-day visit, Murphy will meet with business leaders, innovators, announce joint economic development projects, meet with college leaders and students, and visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall. The New Jersey governor is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a source familiar with the planning of the trip.

2020 WATCH — Michael Bloomberg Can Buy Popularity, but Can He Buy the Presidency? — by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “There’s the real possibility that a Bloomberg 2020 primary run would go down much like Meg Whitman’s 2010 campaign for California governor… Bloomberg’s team knows it. They know that if he runs, they’ll have to get him into the mind-set of his first mayoral campaign, which he knew he would likely lose, rather than his 2016 presidential exploration, when he refused to take a chance unless his team could tell him he’d win. Not a lot of people are expecting that [Kevin] Sheekey or anyone else will get Bloomberg to pull the trigger, once he finishes having fun toying with the idea and really looks at the data. “You don’t get to be where he is,” said one person who’s talked with him about running, “by being an idiot.” [TheAtlantic]

Nikki Haley dishes on her time in Trump administration in private talk with conservatives — by Oli Coleman and Ian Mohr: “Days before her resignation as US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley gave a private talk to the Council for National Policy… and she reportedly revealed behind-the-scenes details of her time in the Trump administration… Max Blumenthal, managed to infiltrate the session and reported that Haley told the gathering that she was initially offered the job of secretary of state but that, “I thought the job should go to someone who didn’t have the same learning curve.”

“When she was offered the UN role, Haley reportedly recalled, “I told [Trump], ‘Honestly, I don’t even know what the UN does,’ ” to which the crowd “erupted with sympathetic laughter and applause,” Blumenthal writes. She also told the highly secretive group that she met with Henry Kissinger every two months.”[PageSixDailyMail

LUNCH INTERVIEW — John Kerry talks the Iran Deal in an interview with Edward Luce: “Trump’s supporters allege that Kerry gave too much away to the Iranians because he was so keen to win a Nobel Peace Prize, I say… “They just don’t know what they’re talking about,” Kerry says, his voice rising. “They say that because it sounds good. The reality is that we got the toughest, most transparent arms-control agreement on the planet. We have the ability for life to inspect any facility in Iran when we want.” One or two people are looking over at our table. “I’m sorry,” Kerry says. “I feel passionate about this because it’s not true.” [FinancialTimes

ON THE GROUND — Netanyahu Rival Says Israel Too Soft as Gaza on Verge of War — by Jonathan Ferziger and Michael Arnold: “We haven’t shown enough of a steel fist there,” [Naftali] Bennett, a longtime political rival within Netanyahu’s governing coalition, said Tuesday… “We’ve been mighty soft on the fence, and that softness invites an increase in attacks.” Egyptian and United Nations diplomats were in Gaza on Wednesday to try to broker an agreement that would prevent the current round of violence from boiling over… Israel’s Security Cabinet met about Gaza late into the night Wednesday.” [Bloomberg]

‘Game change’ coming in Israeli response to Gaza terror, Gallant says — by Yvette Deane: “Housing Minister and former IDF Southern Commander Yoav Gallant hinted on Thursday that Israel will carry out a stronger response against Hamas in the Gaza strip. “I do not refer to the content of the cabinet discussions, but I can say one thing very explicitly — the game is about to change. We will no longer accept the fire terror,” Gallant said.”[JPost]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) raised more than $32 million at their annual gala held at the New York Hilton Midtown. IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot was scheduled to speak at the event, but had to return to Israel due to recent security developments. [Pic]

INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — Khashoggi disappearance prompts Kushner retreat from Saudi frontlines —by Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak and Jeremy Diamond: “Jared Kushner has remained intentionally in the background this week as West Wing officials feared a more public role would prompt backlash…  The sources said Kushner is wary of overstepping, mindful of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s purview as the nation’s top diplomat… Kushner remained in Washington, attending West Wing meetings as scheduled and exuding a calm demeanor amid mounting questions about whether he put too much trust in Prince Mohammed.” [CNN

“Kushner… has emphasized internally the importance of Saudi Arabia to prospects for Middle East peace, officials said.”

“At a recent fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel in Washington for the Protect the House committee, Trump… complained about how much the United States spends to support Saudi Arabia… “Ah, those schmucks,” [an] attendee recalled Trump saying, noting that he elicited laughter from the audience. [WashPost]

INSIDE THE ADMIN — by Shane Harris: “One of the president’s closest advisers, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said many senior members of the administration concluded more than a week ago that the Saudis had killed Khashoggi. “The only question is, was it directed from the crown prince or the king — or was it a group that was trying to please him?” Giuliani said in an interview… Even if the president doesn’t come round to that view, the White House’s relationship may be indelibly altered by Khashoggi’s death. “I know the bloom is off the rose with the crown prince,” Giuliani said.” [WashPost]

VIEW FROM JERUSALEM — Israel torn between Saudi Arabia, Turkey on Khashoggi affair — by Ben Caspit: “Behind the scenes, Israel continues to side with Saudi Arabia. As such, it has no choice but “overlook” the Khashoggi incident. “The fight against Iran stunts everything else,” one senior Israeli minister told Al-Monitor… “Israel’s national security and the Iranian threat top our agenda, whereas Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs are less important and less interesting [to Israel] right now…  [Trump] understands handling the Iran issue is more important now, and democracy will have to wait.” [Al-Monitor]

Rod Rosenstein Defends Mueller Probe as ‘Appropriate and Independent’ — by Sadie Gurman: “In an expansive interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Mr. Rosenstein offered a forceful defense of the [Mueller] inquiry, saying the public would have faith in its findings. “People are entitled to be frustrated, I can accept that,” he said, in a nod to attacks on the probe from some conservatives and Republicans. “But at the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources.” [WSJ]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… Michael Cohen meets with prosecutors investigating Trump’s family business, charity — by Erica Orden: “Michael Cohen and his attorney met Wednesday with a group of state and federal law enforcement officials investigating various aspects of President Donald Trump’s family business and charitable organization.” [CNN]

** 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: Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties and Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities score $305M refinancing for 530 Broadway [TheRealDeal] • Anne Wojcicki, the CEO of Silicon Valley DNA testing startup 23andMe shares the health product she hopes to sell next [BusinessInsider] • Retired NSA Director Mike Rogers will join Israeli cybersecurity foundry Team8 as senior advisor [Calcalist]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT — This startup is the ‘Netflix for books,’ with unlimited access to a huge library for a monthly fee. Now, it’s getting the New York Times, too ― by Nick Bastone: “Scribd’s mission is “to change the way the world reads,” but its CEO Trip Adler says that mission came about by chance. “We kind of got into books a little bit accidentally,” Adler told us. Initially, Adler and his co-founder Jared Friedman set out to help Adler’s father publish an academic paper online — a process that took upwards of 18 months before the first iteration of Scribd was built. At the time, there were blogs for publishing a few paragraphs of text, Adler explains, but blogs didn’t work for publishing a 10-page academic thesis or scientific paper. And so, Scribd was born as a place to put longer documents on the web.”[BusinessInsider]

HOLLYWOOD — Megan Ellison’s Harsh New Reality: Fewer Films, “More Responsible” Finances — by Kim Masters: “Though some insiders say they remain upbeat about Annapurna’s prospects, the company’s operations now are being reviewed by an executive (with experience in business, but not in Hollywood) dispatched by Ellison’s father, Oracle founder Larry Ellison. Megan, 32, “wasn’t running a financially responsible organization,” says a person with knowledge of the situation. “Larry respects money and wants it to be run in a more responsible way.” The company is not going to greenlight any movies for more than a year, this person adds. An Annapurna insider disputes that but says Megan has recognized the need to make changes in the film operation and wanted her father’s input.”[HollywoodReporter

TOP TALKER — Twitter Won’t Suspend Louis Farrakhan For His Tweet Comparing Jews To Insects — by Joseph Bernstein: “[Louis] Farrakhan... yesterday tweeted a video clip of a speech in which he denied that he was anti-Semitic, with the caption, “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.” The tweet appears to violate Twitter’s proposed new policies around “dehumanizing” tweets… However, a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the rules have not yet taken effect, so Farrakhan’s language is not in violation of any extant policy.” [BuzzFeed]

Chelsea Clinton tweeted: “Comparing Jews to termites is anti-Semitic, wrong and dangerous. The responsive laughter makes my skin crawl. For everyone who rightly condemned President Trump’s rhetoric when he spoke about immigrants “infesting our country,” this rhetoric should be equally unacceptable to you.”

TALK OF THE TOWN — Medical student reflects on patient reactions to her hijab: “Yssra Soliman, who has worn a hijab since the eighth grade, was afraid patients would refuse her care because of her dress and religion. But just when she thought her fears would be realized, she was surprised. “A patient’s mom stopped me and she was Hasidic Jewish and said, I’m so proud of you as a Jewish girl working so hard to become a doctor,” she told News 12. “I had to tell her I’m not Jewish, I’m Muslim and my parents emigrated from Egypt. She just laughed and said… I’m still really proud of you.” [News12]

A Train Ride Back to the Old Israel — by Matti Friedman: “The old Israel is represented in this case by the main casualty of the new train: the historic Jerusalem-Tel Aviv line, which has been running on and off since 1892 and isn’t likely to run much longer… The old train has a modest cult following, of which I’m a proud member, and I’d hate to see it pass from the world without proper tribute… “I ride the old train because it lets me see landscapes that haven’t changed in thousands of years,” Deborah Harris, a Jerusalem literary agent and another of the train’s aficionados, told me. “It feels like traveling through space and time.” … The train’s birth, six years before Herzl boarded, was the doing of a Jewish businessman from the old Sephardic community of Jerusalem, Joseph Effendi Navon, with the help of Swiss and French investors and the blessing of the sultan in Istanbul. The company laid just one track to save money, according to a history of the line by Anthony Travis of Hebrew University.” [NYTimes

Correction — In Yesterday’s Daily Kickoff we mistakenly identified the newly appointed President of ZAKA Search and Rescue USA, Edward A. Mermelstein, as “Edward Perlmutter.” Our apologies to Mr. Mermelstein.

DESSERT — North Jersey Newlyweds Put Modern Twist On Old-School Deli — by Cecilia Levine: “Sal and Jacqueline Yehudiel of Fort Lee, who tied the knot in August, will be opening Humble Toast on Queen Anne Road Oct. 22. “We want to be a great restaurant that happens to be kosher,” Sal Yehudiel said…Yehudiel, born in Israel and raised in Fair Lawn, is a trained chef who has years of experience. He worked his way up to becoming an executive chef at Downtown Disneyland in Anaheim, California.” [Cresskill]

Looking Beyond Tel Aviv for Israel’s New Restaurant Scene — by Debra Kamin: “It’s been a decade or so since the Tel Aviv gastronomic scene came to global attention, catapulting local sons like Meir Adoni and Eyal Shani to success in Paris and New York. But amid the din and rising prices that comes with so much hype, Tel Aviv restaurateurs are now moving north in search of quieter pastures… A string of new chef-run restaurants is transforming this once-sleepy patch into Israel’s newest culinary destination.” [NYTimes

BIRTHDAYS: Co-founder and former chairman of Qualcomm, Irwin M. Jacobs turns 85… Grammy Award winning songwriter of over 150 hits including “Somewhere Out There” from the movie “An American Tail,” in partnership with her husband Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil turns 78… Former US ambassador to Morocco, the first Jewish ambassador to an Arab country (1994-1998), he was the CEO of the One Voice Movement Foundation and Peaceworks LLC, Marc Ginsberg turns 68… Principal analyst at Kiernan Group Holdings, he is a homeland security and counterterrorism expert, Joshua B. Sinai, Ph.D. turns 67… Bakersfield, California-based attorney focused on adoption and reproductive law, Marc D. Widelock turns 67… Film producer and founder and head of Dimension Films, former co-chairman of Miramax Films and the Weinstein Company, Robert “Bob” Weinstein turns 64…

Political strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and writer, he is the president of a consulting firm, the Economic Future Group, Jonathan Tasiniturns 62… Senior lecturer at MIT, he was Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (2009-2014) and held high level positions at the US Treasury during the Clinton administration (1997-2001), Gary Gensler turns 61… ESPN television host, sports reporter, and anchor, Rachel Nichols turns 45… Managing director of development and academic programs at American Enterprise Institute, Suzanne Gershowitz… Correspondent at GQ and The Atlantic, Julia Ioffe turns 36… Politico’s White House reporter, Annie Karniturns 35… VP of eCommerce at Israel365, Ayal Kellman turns 33… Executive chairman at Berman Capital Advisors, LLC, a former president at the Birthright Israel Foundation, David Fisher


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