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Daily Kickoff: After Trump releases statement, Sisi delays UN action | Report: Kerry told PA that US wouldn’t veto | Tom Perez calls Jewish leaders

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BREAKING — “Egypt seeks delay of UN security council vote on Israeli settlements -diplomat: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has instructed Egypt’s U.N. mission to postpone a Security Council vote on a draft resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, a western diplomat told Reuters on Thursday.” [Reuters]

Question on everyone’s mind: What effect, if any, did Trump’s statement have on Sisi’s decision? Did Trump call Sisi and tell him to back down?

Barak Ravid: “Western Diplomats: Netanyahu pressured the Egyptians & made them postpone the vote until another Arab league meeting convenes” [Twitter]

AP’s Bradley Klapper: “Kerry statement will apparently be put off, dovetailing with suggestions UNSC vote has been postponed” [Twitter]

(WHAT WAS) DRIVING THE DAY — “U.N. council to vote Thursday on end to Israeli settlements” by Michelle Nichols: “Egypt circulated the draft on Wednesday evening and the 15-member council is due to vote at 3 p.m. on Thursday, diplomats said. They said it was unclear how the United States, which has protected Israel from U.N. action, would vote. The White House declined to comment… In a post on Twitter, Netanyahu said the United States “should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday.” The tweet gave no indication whether Israel had been informed of how Washington planned to vote.” [Reuters

“Proposed UN resolution demands end to Israeli settlements” by Edith Lederer: “Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said the resolution “will do nothing to promote a diplomatic process, and will only reward the Palestinian policy of incitement and terror. We expect our greatest ally not to allow this one-sided and anti-Israel resolution to be adopted by the council,” he said.” [AP; France24]

Israeli Consul General to New York, Dani Dayan: “Barely days after Ban Ki-moon conceded UN is biased against Israel, UNSC about to prove Thursday the bias persists.” [Twitter

— Just yesterday, Ambassador Danon wrote the following in a NYT Op-Ed: “Israel Is Ready for a Reset at the U.N.: Once it is treated as an equal, Israel wants nothing more than to build on the successful areas of cooperation it has established at the United Nations… More than this, Israel stands ready to contribute to the core areas of United Nations operations: peace and security… We look forward to a day when even more lives can be saved if Israel’s capabilities are incorporated regularly into United Nations missions.” [NYTimes]

“Israel: Obama’s Failure to Veto UN Resolution on Settlements Would Breach U.S. Commitment” by Barak Ravid: “Kerry is set to give a dramatic speech shortly before the vote… A decision not to veto the UN resolution would embody U.S. President Barack Obama’s final attempt to “do something” against the settlements, the official said, noting that it would constitute the abandonment of traditional U.S. policy a moment before a new administration takes over.” [Haaretz]

President-elect Trump statement: “The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed. As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev: Netanyahu was supposed to sleep well last night, as the Knesset passed the double year budget and his premiership was basically granted two years of stability. But as the news about the Palestinian UNSC resolution arrived in from Turtle Bay, his chambers entered emergency mode. The Prime Minister called off his schedule for today, to try and deal with the burning question of whether the US would stand by its traditional policy of imposing a veto. After tweeting from Netanyahu’s account in the middle of night, senior officials in the PMO released a statement calling on President Obama to stand by its longstanding policy calling for direct negotiations and accusing the administration of disavowing commitments and understandings if the resolution is not vetoed. “It will be abandoning traditional policy, a minute before the administration changes”, the officials said.

A senior source told Kafe Knesset today that Jerusalem has learned that Secretary of State Kerry told a Palestinian delegation visiting DC earlier this month that the US will not veto the resolution. According to the source, the delegation – headed by Saeb Erekat and including the head of Palestinian intelligence Majid Faraj – also tried to reach out to the President-elect’s team, but did not succeed to meet them. Erekat himself denied the report speaking to the Palestinian news agency Maan, but according to the source, Israel is now pressuring Obama not follow Kerry’s alleged commitment.

The Palestinian move sparked intense reactions all across the political spectrum: Jewish home leader Naftali Bennett filmed a special video message in English against the backdrop of Jerusalem’s old city calling the resolution “A Guinness world record in hypocrisy. Just half an hour from here, in Aleppo there is a genocide going on, yet the UN Security Council is going to convene to tell us not to build houses in Jerusalem or pave a road or open a kindergarten,” Bennett said, preaching that “Whoever supports the UNSC resolution against Israel is in effect is raising his hand for the bad guys, the terrorists, the forces of evil.” Yesh Atid head, Yair Lapid called on the incoming UN secretary general and the outgoing one Ban Ki-moon too publicly reject “this outrageous proposal”, reminding that Ban admitted last week that the UN has a biased approach towards Israel. So far, Zionist Union leaders, Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, considered the heads of the Israeli peace camp, have yet to comment.

DNC WATCH — “Tom Perez Reaches Out To Jewish Leaders” by Jacob Kornbluh:“This is really what I call one of those ‘where were you’ moments,” Perez told some 50 U.S. Jewish leaders [on the conference call]. “What I have learned throughout my life, as a lifelong Democrat, is that the Jewish community has always had an invaluable place in our party, ever since Harry Truman, and that must never change.” The Secretary also shared his experience meeting the late Shimon Peres during his recent visit to Israel, saying he considered the former Israeli president as one of his heroes – “Uncle Shimon, to me.”

“Norman Eisen, former White House ethics czar, told Jewish Insider that he left the call impressed by Perez’s “mastery of the full spectrum of concerns that he would need to tackle as DNC Chair.” Eisen, a longtime friend of Perez, said he supports his candidacy due to his “strong support for social justice, for Israel, and for peace and stability in the Middle-East and around the world,” and his experience in managing large, complex organizations “which is essential for the DNC in this challenging time… And as a retired ethics czar, I love that he is not taking contributions from lobbyists,” Eisen added.” [JewishInsider

Ann Lewis tells us: “I’m a former political director of the DNC, so have some idea of what the job requires. I thought Tom’s discussion of his values, his experience, and skill set was right on – from local organizing at the county level, to working for Senator Kennedy and working with coalitions; and then leading a large national organization that includes some very different components… I thought I knew Tom’s background – especially on issues I care deeply about, like voting rights, fighting hate crimes, equal pay, and family leave. But until this afternoon, I didn’t know about his travels to Israel. He talked about support for the US-Israel relationship as a core Democratic value.”

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “EU warns Trump not to destroy Iran nuclear deal” by Geoff Dyer:“European officials have told the Trump team and Republicans in Congress that there would be little appetite within the EU for a new campaign of international pressure on Iran if the US took steps that precipitated the end of the agreement… “If there is some sort of major provocation from the Iranians, then we might be able to get behind new sanctions,” said one senior European official. “But if new American sanctions cause the deal to collapse, then most people in Europe will say it is the Americans’ fault.”” [FT] • U.N. nuclear chief set for re-election as rival steps aside: diplomats [Reuters

“Obama administration, allies try to buy time for Iran nuclear deal” by Laura Rozen: “In its final weeks, the outgoing Obama administration is trying to leave the Iran deal in healthy condition. It is working to resolve any technical ambiguities, mostly resulting from differing interpretations of the text of the landmark deal, a senior US official said… The new Trump administration may feel pressure to “fix” the deal or signal that it will be strictly “enforcing” the deal “for the first time.” But he considers the “tear up scenario highly unlikely,” the US official said, with the caveat, “unless the Iranians do something so provocative, it creates a firestorm and pushes the administration into a massive snapback.”” [Al-Monitor

DRIVING THE WEEK — “Moving US embassy to Jerusalem could provoke violent ‘chaos’, experts warn” by Peter Beaumont: “We were told by US officials that Kushner and Friedman are the ones who are advising Trump on the Israel-Palestinian issue,” said one Palestinian official… “If the move does occur, however, other Palestinian officials have warned they will fight the move in the UN, including the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour… “If they do that, nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the UN to defend ourselves, and we have a lot of weapons in the UN.” [Guardian] • Palestinians ‘don’t care’ if US Embassy moves to Jerusalem [JPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY – WJC’s Ron Lauder on MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “I was shocked during the time of the election when people were talking about [Trump] being anti-Semitic… There is not an anti-Semitic bone in his body. He is a man who believes strongly in Jewish values and he’s a man who believes strongly in Israel, and that did not come out in the campaign.. He’s a man who I must tell you the people in Israel will appreciate and I think you will find that he will push very, very strongly those values… At the same time, Donald Trump is somebody who has a world view. I must tell you in the Middle East he’s respected.” [MSNBC

“The perils of partisanship: J Street’s uphill battle against David Friedman” by Michael Wilner: “Ben-Ami has secured the support of several Jewish Democrats in Congress who have issued statements against Friedman’s nomination… Republicans in Congress have seen no reason to oppose his appointment. Indeed, J Street’s opposition has only fueled support for Friedman on the Right. “The measure of power in Washington is not convincing someone to vote for something they would have already supported,” said one veteran Jewish Democratic activist. “That’s pushing against an open door.”” [JPost

“The left is melting down over Trump’s pro-Israel ambassador” by Seth Mandel: “He shouldn’t have said it. But a person close to Friedman tells me he recognizes this, and that it was said in the heat of a vicious campaign in which people he knew were accused of anti-Semitism. He wouldn’t, I’m told, use such language again.” [NYPost

“David Friedman Is A Symptom, Not A Cause” by Michael Koplow: “The truth, however, is that Friedman’s ambassadorial appointment is not particularly consequential… The ambassador’s job is to relay policy, not to make it. While Friedman may have had prime access to Trump during the campaign, his own priorities and preferences are now going to be filtered through Reince Priebus, Mike Flynn, Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and others. Furthermore, Tillerson and Mattis in particular likely do not share Friedman’s policy inclinations of blowing up the two-state agenda or encouraging Israel to annex the West Bank.” [IPForum]

TRANSITION TOWER — “Looking for Clues to Donald Trump’s Ambassador Picks” by Maggie Haberman: “The nomination of Mr. Friedman… has roiled large sections of the foreign policy establishment — just the kind of disruption Mr. Trump liked to emphasize in his campaign…. Mr. Trump’s aides are sifting through a broad list of recommendations from people involved in the transition process, including the president-elect’s daughter Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. As a result, the suggestions have included people who did not immediately support the Trump ticket, such as Ronald J. Gidwitz, who backed Jeb Bush in the primaries… And there are a raft of donors and longtime Republicans angling for appointments who could expect particularly close scrutiny by Democrats during confirmation hearings. “I think confirmation is always problematic,” said Mel Sembler… Lewis M. Eisenberg, the Republican National Committee finance chairman who raised money with Mr. Trump’s choice for Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is seen as a possible choice for Italy.” [NYTimes

“Trump Names Carl Icahn as Adviser on Regulatory Overhaul” by David Benoit: “Mr. Icahn…  is playing a central role in selecting the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, people familiar with the matter said. Interested candidates have reached out to him, and he is interviewing others at the request of Mr. Trump, the people said. The 80-year-old has played a similar role in identifying Mr. Trump’s choices for other important posts… He weighed in enthusiastically as Mr. Trump considered whether to nominate Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross to run the Treasury and Commerce departments, respectively. Both men were picked for the jobs… The position isn’t an official government job; Mr. Icahn won’t get paid and won’t have to give up his current business dealings… “I’m involved with Donald where he wants me to be—I believe he respects my views and I think he listens to me,” Mr. Icahn said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.” [WSJ

Bill Kristol: “Trump transition update: Hill conservatives increasingly alarmed about likely influence of NEC head Gary Cohn, a Goldman Sachs Democrat.” [Twitter

“Donald Trump is holding a government casting call. He’s seeking ‘the look’” by Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty: “Several of Trump’s associates said they thought that John R. Bolton’s brush-like mustache was one of the factors that handicapped the bombastic former United Nations ambassador in the sweepstakes for secretary of state. “Donald was not going to like that mustache,” said one associate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly. “I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes.”” [WashPost

Yair Rosenberg: “Be right back, drawing a fake mustache onto Stephen Bannon while he sleeps.” [Twitter]

“Why Did the New York Times Publish Fake News About Trump, Zionism, and Alan Dershowitz?” by Yair Rosenberg: “As you might suspect, the quote attributed here to Dershowitz at the ZOA did not actually appear in his speech at the ZOA. (It is a truncated line from an earlier TV interview wrenched from the context of Dershowitz’s broader arguments to completely misrepresent his position.) This mistake matters not just for what it says about the intellectual integrity of the author and the editorial standards of this section of the New York Times—nothing good—but because it reveals the sleight-of-hand necessary to make the article’s entire argument work.” [TabletMag]

** 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: IDC Herzliya welcomed Sam Zell yesterday during their annual Zell Alumni Event in Tel Aviv [Facebook• Wenner Media head interested in selling Us Weekly [NYPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN — “In lawsuit settlement, Emanuel admits using personal email for public business” by Bill Ruthhart, Hal Dardick and Jeff Coen: “In settling the BGA lawsuit, Emanuel agreed to turn over about 2,700 pages of emails that his personal attorney determined were government-related in nature. An initial review of the thousands of emails to and from Emanuel showed the mayor communicating on a range of topics, from reaching out to business leaders and fielding complaints about crime to defending his policies and pitching what he deemed success stories of his administration to national media outlets.” [ChicagoTribune] • Emails reveal how Emanuel works the media — and vice versa [RobertFeder]

MEDIA WATCH: “Sources: Jared Kushner Quietly Tries to Sell New York Observer” by Alexandra Steigrad: “A potential suitor for the media property had been rumored to be National Enquirer-parent company American Media Inc… The Observer Media chairman and chief executive Joseph Meyer (who, notably, is also Kushner’s brother-in-law) did not deny the speculation, saying only: “As one of the fastest-growing businesses in all of digital media, we are constantly being approached by potential investors and partners.” Insiders surmised that Kushner wants to unload the Observer… so that he can focus on his budding political career.” [WWD

PROFILE: “Meet Henry Orenstein, the man who changed how the world plays” by Abigail Jones: “Half the town was Jewish, yet as a young boy he remembers looking out the window each morning and seeing signs like, “Jews to Palestine” and “Beat the Jews!” … In his freshman year of high school, he was the only straight-A student in his class, but at the end-of-year ceremony, the director announced that not a single freshman had earned the top academic prize. Henry was gutted. The school, he realized, would not give this award to a Jew… Henry remembers begging his father to move the family to America… Orenstein had always been a tinkerer and sculptor—and he’d never been content to work for someone else—so when he came up with an idea in the mid-1950s to fill empty grocery store shelves with beautifully packaged dolls, his uncle loaned him startup capital… “Ideas don’t come in little pieces. It’s in; it’s out. It’s there, or it’s not. It’s like a sparkle,” he says.” [Newsweek

BIRTHDAYS: Former President of the World Bank, US Ambassador to Indonesia, US Deputy Secretary of Defense and Dean of JHU’s Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Paul Wolfowitz turns 73… NYC-based political consultant since 1969, ordained as a Rabbi by Chabad in 2011, his early career included stints as a policeman, taxi driver and bounty hunter, Hank Sheinkopf turns 67… Executive Director of Big Tent Judaism (formerly known as the Jewish Outreach Institute), previously VP of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, Kerry Olitzky turns 62… Senior managing director in the DC office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Lisa Benjamin turns 57… Junior US Senator from Texas since 2013, Ted Cruz turns 46… Reporter, columnist and fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative, whose work has appeared in the NYTimes, WSJ, LATimes, Haaretz and many others, James Kirchick turns 33…

Head of philanthropy and impact investment for EJF Philanthropies, previously founder of Metrics Group, an analytics company, Simone Friedman… NPR correspondent covering the State Department and Washington’s diplomatic corps, formerly NPR’s Moscow bureau chief, Michele Kelemen… Interim CEO of ACYPL, which promotes travel of future US leaders to foreign countries and reciprocal visits to the US by future foreign leaders, Libby Rosenbaum… David Novak… Mary Rose Francini

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