Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Live from Forbes Summit in Israel | Amb David Friedman could temper Trump | Jonathan Haidt on campus rage | Banksy spotted in Herzliya

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ON LOCATION — We’re live from the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem this week. Congrats to Seth Cohen and Randall Lane, along with the Schusterman and Singer Foundations, on bringing the Forbes Summit back to Israel for another year. Speakers today included Sir Ronald Cohen, Tinder’s Sean Rad, model Ashley Graham, and Hapoel Jerusalem’s Amar’e Stoudemire. [Forbes]

Drone view of Tel Aviv — JI reader Josh Lauder provided a quick aerial view of the Forbes Summit today by the beach [YouTube] • See Josh’s other work here [Vimeo]

We caught up with Chemi Peres earlier today who explained the importance of having the Forbes Summit in Israel: “I think this is an inspiring nation. I think the story of Israel is inspiring because it’s really a country that started as a nation of science and technology from its very beginning, from its inception, and I think Israel serves in a way as a model for many other countries and societies that want to build their future based on entrepreneurship and innovation. In my view, innovation represents the future, and it represents also the optimism and the ability to realize great dreams. So I think that by coming here – plus the fact that this is a vibrant city that is very dynamic and alive, and very suitable for the young generation – this is a country that has been founded and built by young people. So this is the best place to connect and draw the inspiration for young people as they are building their future.”

In September, Chemi is publishing the final book from his father Shimon Peres — No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel … so we asked Chemi what his own big dream is: “My dream is that the visions I have been reading about from the days of the Bible through many great people, including my father (Shimon Peres), would be realized and that is that we live in a world that is free of anger, that is free of discrimination, that is offering equal rights and equal opportunities… And I believe that with technology and innovation you can actually do that… I always like to quote what I heard from President [Bill] Clinton. He said that too many people are doing too much work in order to make sure that bad things do not happen, but very few people are doing very good things in order to make sure good things happen. And I think that as we are transitioning into a new era, I think more and more people will focus on making sure good things happen. That is a vision, that is a dream that I would like to be realized – and peace, of course, is in the heart of it.”

SPOTTED — Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and Noah Pollak enjoying lunch this past Friday at Char Bar in DC.

FIRST LOOK — SPECIAL ELECTION WATCH: “The Trump-Hate Weather Vane” by Olivia Nuzzi: “And so Republicans are watching, including rather powerful ones. “[Jon] Ossoff running smart campaign,” Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, told me in a text. A White House official close to him said he’s preoccupied with what’s happening some 600 miles south of Pennsylvania Avenue. “It’s something that I’m tracking specifically for Bannon,” the official said, “and keeping an eye on, following all the polls, following the kind of narrative out there…” On paper, Ossoff seems great to Democrats: He’s an overachieving millennial who looks like a cross between Gumby and Justin Trudeau and who speaks slowly and deliberately in a way that can remind you of Barack Obama, something he’s been told before… At Pour Bistro in Atlanta, Ossoff was introduced by a supporter as “the Ayatollah of the Sixth District,” and he appeared to hold back a grimace. “Hopefully that won’t become a famous moment,” he told the crowd, which laughed in response — perhaps not quite as worried about that as Ossoff is.” [NYMag]  

“Did a Democratic congressional hopeful inflate his national security credentials?” by Glenn Kessler: “Ossoff is just 30, but he had pitched himself as having had five years of experience as a “former national security aide” and holding a “top-secret clearance.” He has cut ads that show him standing in what appears to be a national security situation room or entering a vault assessed only by a code… Ossoff is pushing the envelope by referring to his “top-secret security clearance” in almost the same breath.” [WashPost

“Meet the Obama Holdovers Who Survived Trump’s Sweep” by Mark Landler: “For [Yael] Lempert… the appeal to Mr. Trump’s advisers was her experience in the complex, trap-filled world of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Her colleagues say she is well connected on both sides and is viewed as an honest broker… Lempert, who is Jewish and also served in the Bush administration, played a major role in negotiating a $38 billion military aid package for Israel on behalf of the Obama administration. Still, after reports surfaced that Mr. Netanyahu’s aides were suspicious of her involvement in the talks, the prime minister’s office felt obliged to issue a statement saying it had no objection to her… She declined to comment, as did colleagues from the Obama administration. Some said they worried that praise from them would hurt her with her new bosses.” [NYTimes]

Galei Tzahal report:“During one meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office, they pulled out maps of Israel and spoke about specific towns in order to explain to [Jason Greenblatt where they would put a new town for Amona’s expellees… Yael Lempert said, “The town of Kida isn’t mentioned here – you’ve forgotten it.” Those who were in the room with her were stunned by her familiarity with the topic.” [INN

THE FRIEDMAN EFFECT: “Controversial U.S. ambassador to Israel could temper Trump” by Katie Glueck: “[David] Friedman is comfortable being direct with the president in a way that might be challenging for newer members of the Trump orbit… “In the few places in life the president has been vulnerable, David has been by his side,” said one source who has known Friedman for years… “Mr. Trump very much relies upon people he trusts. He trusts David. David’s very close with Mr. Kushner, with Mrs. Kushner,” [Phil] Rosen said, referring to Ivanka Trump. “That will also reflect itself in how people deal with him. It’s going to be very much a positive for his job because of his closeness. It will reflect itself in how seriously they take him.” … “It’s very likely that an ambassador with a close relationship to President Trump would retain that voice,” said [former Ambassador Daniel] Shapiro, who has such a relationship with Obama. “It’s not the same as sitting in the White House and being part of the conversation day in, day out.” [McClatchyDC]

NIKKI HALEY WATCH: “Trump’s U.N. ambassador emerges as fierce but unnuanced voice on foreign policy” by Anne Gearan: “Her fierce public denunciation of what she calls the ritualized “bashing of Israel” at the United Nations has made her a darling of many U.S. supporters of Israel, especially on the political right. She got a rock-star welcome when she addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s meeting in Washington last week. “I think they’re a little lukewarm,” former George W. Bush adviser Dan Senor quipped as he introduced Haley to thunderous applause at AIPAC… Haley is expected to focus on U.N. treatment of Israel… when the United States holds the rotating leadership of the Security Council this month. On Israel, Haley has drawn criticism from longtime Mideast experts for what many see as an unnuanced view of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” [WashPost] • Haley eclipses Tillerson on Trump’s foreign policy ladder [Politico]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Ambassador Haley on ABC’s “This Week” program: “We’ve changed the Israel bias that’s happening at the United Nations by making sure that we call out anyone that focuses on that as opposed to focusing on the conflict. We made sure that a ridiculous report that came out comparing Israel to apartheid state, we had that report pulled down, the director resigned.”

HAPPENING TODAY: President Trump will host Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for lunch and bilateral talks at the White House. According to a report by Israel’s national radio, citing the Dubai-based al-Khaleej Times, Sisi and King Abdullah of Jordan – who will be meeting with Trump on Wednesday – will present Trump with a framework for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, based on the two state solution.

PRESIDENT-IN-LAW: “Jared Kushner Visits Iraq on Invitation From Joint Chiefs Chairman” by Maggie Haberman:“A senior administration official confirmed the visit, saying that Mr. Kushner, 36, who serves as a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, was invited by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff… Mr. Kushner is also taking the lead in preparing the West Wing for Mr. Trump’s meeting this week with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, at Mar-a-Lago.” [NYTimes]

“Inside the Kushner channel to China” by Josh Rogin: “The Kushner channel was established shortly after the election with the help of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger… In mid-November, Kissinger met Kushner, national security adviser designate Michael Flynn and the president-elect at Trump Tower. Trump asked Kissinger to travel to Beijing and deliver a verbal message to Xi saying that everything was on the table in terms of bilateral cooperation. Kissinger met Xi in Beijing on Dec. 2… Inside the administration, there’s concern Kushner is too eager to warm relations with China. He is seen as allied in that effort with other top officials, including economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.” [WashPost• China Learns How to Get Trump’s Ear: Through Jared Kushner [NYTimes

“Kushner’s privileged status stokes resentment in White House” by Josh Dawsey, Ken Vogel and Alex Isenstadt: “One pro-Israel operative who works with the administration said “there were high hopes” that Kushner… “was a guy who really understood our community” when Trump tapped him as a point person on the Middle East. But, the operative said, those hopes mostly have been supplanted by “deep concern that Jared is not the person we thought he was — that this guy who is supposed to be good at everything is totally out of his depth.” Influential Jewish Republicans including the mega-donor casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson lobbied Kushner to convince Trump to appoint prominent neoconservative foreign policy hand Elliott Abrams as the No. 2 official in Foggy Bottom and to remove Michael Ratney…”

“On Abrams, Kushner “got outmaneuvered by Bannon and couldn’t turn it around,” said a leading neoconservative who has spoken to both Kushner and Adelson in recent weeks. The leader added that, despite the attendance of Vice President Mike Pence at this week’s conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, Kushner’s absence was noted by attendees, who questioned the administration’s Israel policy and Kushner’s role in it.” [Politico

“Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Still Benefiting From Business Empire, Filings Show” by Jesse Drucker, Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner… will remain the beneficiaries of a sprawling real estate and investment business still worth as much as $740 million, despite their new government responsibilities, according to ethics filings released by the White House Friday night. Ms. Trump will also maintain a stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The hotel… has drawn protests from ethics experts who worry that foreign governments or special interests could stay there in order to curry favor with the administration… [Gary] Cohn is far wealthier, with assets valued between $253 million and $611 million, and income last year as high as $77 million. Another White House official, Reed Cordish, who heads up technology initiatives, accumulated assets as a Maryland developer valued as high as $424 million.” [NYTimes

— “[Jason] Greenblatt, a former Trump Organization lawyer advising the president on Middle East policy, listed assets of more than $1.4 million. Many of the holdings were stock mutual funds. He made $1.02 million last year at the Trump Organization.” [AP]

“After Trump Request, Netanyahu Formulating Goodwill Gestures Toward Palestinians” by Barak Ravid: “There are no limitations on construction in Jerusalem, but we will need to act wisely,” [Netanyahu] told ministers… In addition, Netanyahu informed the security cabinet a decision had been made to limit the activities of the highest-level planning committee of the IDF’s Civil Administration, which approves building plans for the settlements… At Sunday’s Likud ministerial meeting Monday morning, [Yoav] Horowitz, who manages communications with the White House on the issue of the settlements, said that originally the Americans had requested a complete freeze in construction. “It started from zero,” Horowitz told the ministers. “The result we reached was much better.” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in response: “I won’t go into it here, but you don’t know how right he is.”” [Haaretz]

“White House says no ‘formal negotiations’ with Israel on settlements” by Eric Cortellessa: “I would dissuade you from the notion that there is some set of formal negotiations regarding settlements,” the [WH] official said. “We continuously discuss a range of issues, including how to improve the overall climate.” [ToI]  

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: In case we thought that the IBC crisis is behind us, we should think again. The devil is always in the details: As the Justice Ministry and the Finance Ministry are diving into the little details of the agreement reached between PM Netanyahu and Finance Minister Kahlon last week, many potential stumbling blocks are emerging – such as budget constraints and timetable limits… Two petitions were submitted this morning to the Supreme Court demanding a freeze of any implementation of the agreement. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

** 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: Israel’s medical marijuana pioneers look to cash in on $20bn market [TheGuardian]  Israel’s Elbit Systems U.S. unit wins $50 million Navy contract [Reuters• After sale to Intel, Mobileye’s founder raises sights on IPO for OrCam [Reuters] • Peretti Siblings Share a Sense of Humor, Not Just Genes [NYTimes]

SPOTLIGHT: “Ebay Entrepreneur Sells Millions In Mens Suits Online And Off” by Marcia Layton Turner: “From used clothing at thrift stores, he moved to new clothes sold at discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. “If TJ Maxx and Marshall’s can sell it and make a profit, then so can I,” [Marty] Babayov thought. And he did. Then Babayov expanded his new merchandise acquisition even farther, into department store liquidations. He would buy up last season’s merchandise at a deep discount and sell it on eBay for a profit. During college, he would arrange to buy up store returns and his mother would ship them to him so he could list and sell them from wherever he was.” [Forbes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Messy web of ties, some to Trump, in Turkish mogul’s case” by Josh Lederman: “Last month Trump fired Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney who launched the case against [Reza] Zarrab, as part of a purge of Obama-era prosecutors… Bharara’s possible replacement: [Michael] Mukasey’s son, Marc Mukasey, who is frequently mentioned as a contender. That could put the younger Mukasey in charge of prosecuting the man his father has been trying to set free.” [AP]

CAMPUS BEAT: “Jonathan Haidt on the Cultural Roots of Campus Rage ” by Bari Weiss: “Down the hall from Mr. Haidt’s office, I noticed a poster advertising a “bias response hotline” students can call “to report an experience of bias, discrimination or harassment.” I joke that NYU seems to have its own version of the morality police in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia. “It’s like East Germany,” Mr. Haidt replies—with students, at least some of them, playing the part of the Stasi… Combine that with the universities’ shift to a “customer is always right” mind-set. Add in social media. Suddenly it’s “very, very easy to bring mobs together,” Mr. Haidt says, and make “people very afraid to stand out or stand up for what they think is right.” Students and professors know, he adds, that “if you step out of line at all, you will be called a racist, sexist or homophobe. In fact it’s gotten so bad out there that there’s a new term—‘ophobophobia,’ which is the fear of being called x-ophobic.”

“In 2015 Haidt founded Heterodox Academy, which describes itself as “a politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars” concerned about “the loss or lack of ‘viewpoint diversity’ ” on campuses. As Mr. Haidt puts it to me: “When a system loses all its diversity, weird things begin to happen.” [WSJ

“The most powerful Briton in America on what it’s really like in Donald Trump’s White House” by Ruth Sherlock: “”First I am an Islamophobe, then I’m an anti-Semite, then I am a fascist. Next I am going to be a Martian, you know, subversive.” [Sebastian] Gorka is referring to the allegation that he is a member of the Vitézi Rend, a Hungarian organisation that the US government designated as “under Nazi control” during the  Second World War… I suggest that, given the organisation’s controversial history, Gorka may want to disavow the group. He bristles slightly. He’s genuinely offended by the insinuation that he could be anti-Semitic. “It’s disgusting. It’s all bogus,” he tells me. “But this is a hatchet job… And I am proud of my father’s legacy. They,” he says, referring to the forces he believes to be conspiring against Trump, are “trying to build parallels” between him and Hungary’s nationalist leader Admiral Miklós Horthy, who established Vitézi Rend.” [Telegraph

SUPER SPOTTED — “Woman claims she has caught the elusive artist Banksy on camera for the first time at an exhibition of his art in Israel” by Alice Evans: “The world’s most famous street artist recently opened an interactive exhibition at a hotel in Bethlehem. But a witness claimed she filmed him days before at an art show at a shopping mall curated by his former manager in nearby Israel. The Israeli exhibition, The Art of Banksy, is due to open in the Arena mall in Herzliya Marina, not far from Tel Aviv.” [DailyMail]

WEEKEND WEDDING — Hadas Gold, Christopher Hooton: “Ms. Gold, 29, who will continue to use her name professionally, works in Washington as a media reporter for the political news website Politico… She is a daughter of Daphna Gold and Yoram Gold of Scottsdale… Her mother is a Hebrew teacher at Pardes Jewish Day School, also in Scottsdale. Mr. Hooton, 31, is the chief economist for the Internet Association in Washington. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Miami and received a master’s degree with distinction in local economic development from the London School of Economics… The couple met through mutual friends in January 2012, at a party in Washington.” [NYTimes

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT IN NYC — The American Sephardi Federations honored André Azoulay, Councillor to King Mohammed VI of Morocco, at the 20th Sephardic Jewish Film Festival’s Opening Night Pomegranate Award Ceremony in Manhattan.

SPOTTED: Mostafa Terrab, Chairman & Chief Executive of OCP in Morocco; Tony Marks, President of the NY Public Library; Conference of Presidents’ Steven Greenberg, former US Ambassador to Morocco Marc Ginsburg; Sir Charles Dahan, VP of the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry; Center for Jewish History’s Joel Levy, Kivvunim’s Peter Geffen, ASF’s Jason Guberman-Pfeffer, and Yoel Lefkowitz.

Ted Cutler, premier arts patron in Boston, dies at 86: “Mr. Cutler was a musician who became a patron of the arts, an entrepreneur whose success deepened his community activism. His philanthropy addressed hunger and health care, education issues and Jewish causes — and even the cost of holiday lights for trees along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. “People said, ‘Why did a Jewish couple put the lights on Commonwealth Avenue?’ The answer was because we care about the city,” he said in 2010, after his wife died.” [BostonGlobe]

BIRTHDAYS: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who held a series of escalating posts at The New York Times from 1952 until 2000, including as executive editor (1986-1994), Max Frankel turns 87… Democratic political strategist, campaign manager, field director and consultant, founder in 2014 of GenderAvenger, a campaign to promote gender equality in public forums, Gina Glantz turns 74… Sociologist and research professor of Jewish social policy at HUC-JIR and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at Stanford University, Steven M. Cohen turns 67… Member of the Los Angeles City Council since 2009, previously a three-term member of the California State Assembly (2000-2006), Paul Koretz turns 62… Director of the Strategic Studies Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, contributing editor of The Atlantic, Eliot A. Cohen turns 61… Singer, songwriter and music producer, originally recording music for children on the Disney Channel, more recently producing and peforming Jewish-themed songs, Craig Reid Taubman turns 59… Jazz pianist, arranger and composer, best known for his film and television scores, James Gelfand turns 58…

Rabbi, author, speaker and dean at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Bradley Shavit Artson turns 58… CEO of Phase 2 Media, former Chairman of the Fox Television Entertainment Group, Sandy Grushow turns 57… Member of the Knesset for Likud, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection, Ze’ev Elkin turns 46… Award-winning Israeli classical pianist who currently lives in NYC, Ran Dank turns 35… Televison and film actress (active 1996-2010), now pursuing a career in fashion design, Amanda Bynes turns 31… Actress, comedian, singer, writer, producer and songwriter, Rachel Bloom turns 30… Professional tennis player currently on the WTA Tour, she defeated Serena Williams at the Auckland Classic in 1-2017, Madison Brengle turns 27… Tech entrepreneur and fellow of the inaugural cohort of Core 18, Eva Sasson turns 25… Midwest regional director of AIPAC, Daniel Goldwin… Harry Cohen… Nathan Guttman

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