Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Fischer resigns from Fed | Bibi to skip public events with Jewish leaders during US visit? | Holocaust Museum’s controversial study

BREAKING: “Fed Vice Chairman Fischer Resigns” by Christopher Condon: “Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer has resigned effective on or around Oct. 13 after serving three years at the U.S. central bank. Fischer, 73, was appointed to the Fed by President Barack Obama in 2014 to a term as vice chair that would have expired in June 2018. He cited “personal reasons” in a Sept. 6 resignation letter to President Donald Trump, released Wednesday by the central bank.”

“Fischer is an elder statesman of American finance. He is a former vice chairman of Citigroup, the former first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and the former chief economist of the World Bank. He also served as governor of the Bank of Israel from 2005 to 2013. For more than 20 years, he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he influenced generations of economists, from former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.” [Bloomberg]

KAFE KNESSET — Flight, not fight — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: With the tense atmosphere between the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism and the current Israeli government, don’t expect PM Netanyahu to hold any big public events with the Jewish community on his stop in New York this month. It appears the Prime Minister decided he wanted to avoid the possibility of a confrontation over the Western Wall and conversion, and is only holding private meetings with Jewish community leaders. During prior visits, he has had large events with the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federation. Disagreements on religion and state are a likely reason. Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office told Kafe Knesset that the NYC itinerary has not been finalized yet. He will, however, hold large public events in Mexico City and Buenos Aires, the next stops on his trip. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Trump to Meet Netanyahu and Abbas on Sidelines of UN to Advance Peace Talks” by Barak Ravid: “A senior White House official said that talks with Netanyahu and Abbas about Trump’s peace initiative will take place before the General Assembly and will continue afterwards… Senior Palestinian officials said Trump’s advisors told Abbas that the U.S. president wants to meet with him during the General Assembly, and this was one of the things that convinced Abbas to accede to the American request to give the White House a chance to try to make progress. Though Kushner and Greenblatt didn’t give Abbas a clear timetable for unveiling the peace initiative, they said it might happen before the end of the year, the officials added.” [Haaretz

DRIVING THE CONVO — U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley delivered a speech, followed by Q&A, yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute where she presented the case for the Trump administration’s possible withdrawal of the Iran nuclear deal. October 15 is the next deadline for the President Trump to decide whether to certify Iranian compliance with the agreement. “What we know is that they have hidden things in the past and they have lied about it until they’ve gotten caught. Yes, the IAEA is doing a great job looking at declared sites. There are hundreds of undeclared sites that have suspicious activity that they haven’t looked at,” Haley said. “So are we just going to go and protect this deal and ignore the fact that reality is they could very well be cheating?”

Haley insisted, “I am not saying this should go to Congress. I’m not saying we should get out of the deal. I’m not saying anything in terms of what should or shouldn’t happen. What I am saying is we owe it to ourselves to look at every aspect of this deal. But at the same time, Haley explained what path the administration is looking at should Trump decertify the deal. “Corker/Cardin is U.S. law, and what is says is the president is obligated to make a decision on whether this is still in the U.S. national interest… I get that Congress doesn’t want this. This is not an easy situation for anyone… But our lives are not about being easy, our lives are about being right.” [YouTube] Read a transcript of Haley’s remarks here [AEI

“Haley Compares Iran to North Korea in Criticizing Nuclear Accord” by Nick Wadhams and Kambiz Foroohar: “Missile technology cannot be separated from the pursuit of a nuclear weapon,” Haley said… “If we continue to not look at the Iranian activity, we will be dealing with the next North Korea.” [Bloomberg

HOW IT PLAYED — “Like with DACA, Trump may leave Iran nuclear deal’s fate to Congress” by Josh Rogin: “Haley’s remarks represent the highest-level acknowledgment that the Trump administration might choose to declare the deal broken, while leaving the sanctions issue and the future of the agreement for Congress to deal with… Congressional leaders have not revealed their thinking publicly. New sanctions would need 60 votes in the Senate, and key Democrats who opposed the nuclear deal, such as Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), have not said whether they would vote for action that could destroy the Iran accord… As with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, punting the Iran issue to Congress seems like a way for the Trump administration to have its cake and eat it too, by declaring Iran non-compliant but not taking responsibility if the deal subsequently falls apart.” [WashPostNYTimes

FDD’s Mark Dubowitz emails us… “It’s premature to predict what President Trump will do but Ambassador Haley did a very effective job of laying the groundwork if he decides to decline to certify on that basis that the Iran nuclear deal is not in the vital national security interest of the United States. She also provided cover for Republicans to not reinstate the statutory sanctions that could effectively end the deal so that the Trump administration can move forward with a strategy to fix the deal’s fatal flaws.”

Aaron David Miller tweets: “I was no fan of Iran deal; but rarely have I heard a talk about Iran accord more misleading than one Nikki Haley gave today. And that means (a ) she needs better briefers; (b) she believes what she said; (c) she, not the real Sec. of State, will be point on JCPOA.” [Twitter]

House Members were split in their reaction to Haley’s proposal.While Republicans welcomed the idea of reimposing nuclear sanctions on Iran, Democrats — including the House Minority Whip — urged a more cautious approach. [JewishInsider]

Tom Rice (R-SC): “I would look forward to any opportunity to re-examine that deal. Yes, absolutely. Iran has done a pretty good job of escalating tensions ever since we signed the deal.”

Steny Hoyer (D-MD): “We just passed non-nuclear sanctions. I think it will be a mistake if, in fact, the Iranians have continued to honor the agreement. My view is from everybody that I’ve talked to including the IAEA and the Israelis in fact on the nuclear deal — they are doing missiles — they are following the provisions of the agreement. So, from that standpoint, the administration would be making a mistake to decertify unless they have evidence that the agreement was not being honored.”

Ted Yoho (R-FL): “Because I don’t think they should have been taken off in the first place. I thought it was a very bad deal… The Obama administration said we got a pause in their nuclear weapons. Look at what they are doing.”

Stephen Lynch (D-MA): “The last time the Trump administration came to us they said that Iran is fully in compliance [was] about a month ago. Has something happened between now and last month? [Haley’s statement is] Inconsistent with the earlier report.”

“Where’s Rex? U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley steps in as America’s de facto diplomat-in-chief” by Robbie Gramer and Dan De Luce: “Tillerson’s public reticence is also rekindling the simmering rumors of a “Rexit,” according to several current and former State Department officials. One U.S. government official told Foreign Policy that talk is circulating of Haley stepping in to replace Tillerson. “There are very strong rumors — started last week — that he is out and she will take over,” the official said.” [FP

“Saudi says Iranian talk of rapprochement is laughable” by Alistair Smout: “Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in London that Iran would have to change its policies for any rapprochement… “At this time, we do not see… that they’re serious about wanting to be a good neighbor,” al-Jubeir said.” [Reuters]

“Qatar Reaches Out to Jewish Community” by Kevin McCauley: “Qatar has hired Stonington Strategies to a $50K a month contract to strengthen its relationship with the US and build bridges to the Jewish community. Nick Muzin, a doctor, lawyer and Republican strategist who is active in Jewish affairs, heads Stonington. “Engagement with Qatar can only be in the best interests of the United States and the Jewish community, as we cannot allow Qatar to be ostracized by its neighbors and pushed into Iran’s sphere of influence,” said Muzin.” [OdwyerPR]

Netanyahu says relations with Arab world are best ever: “Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Foreign Ministry personnel Wednesday ahead of the Jewish new year, saying the extent of relations has yet to fully be made public. He said their scope was greater than “any other period in Israeli history.””[AP

ON THE HILL — Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) blasts Palestinian Authority for arresting activist  Issa Amro — by Aaron Magid: As one of the more outspoken Congressmen regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) spearheaded a June letter advocating on behalf of Palestinian activist Issa Amro who was charged by the Israeli military for obstructing soldiers. However, with the Palestinian Authority arresting Amro on Monday due to a Facebook post critiquing their crackdown on free speech, Congressman Pocan directed his ire towards the Palestinian Authority instead.

“The Palestinian Authority’s unjust detention of Mr. Amro for exercising his right to free speech is wrong and I urge the Palestinian Authority to immediately release him,” Pocan told Jewish Insider. “The P.A. is moving in an unfortunate direction, as demonstrated by this incident, by engaging in an anti-democratic campaign against free speech.” Pocan’s criticism of the P.A. is significant given his recent activism on behalf of the Palestinian cause.

In a statement to Jewish Insider, Edgar Vasquez, a State Department spokesman, responded to the P.A.’s arrest of Amro: “We have seen the reports. We believe it is important that governments protect the freedoms of expression, and create an atmosphere where all voices can be heard,” Vasquez said. [JewishInsider]

DRIVING THE DAY: “How Menendez trial could affect the Senate” by Jonathan Tamari: “The corruption trial of New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat, opens Wednesday in Newark. It will end in a high-stakes political scramble regardless of the courtroom outcome… Menendez could face a new challenge once the trial serves up daily headlines. Two Democratic insiders said party leaders might feel pressure to turn on the senator if they start facing awkward questions in the middle of their own fall campaigns… Even if Menendez is found not guilty, he might still enter 2018 damaged by trial revelations tailor-made for attack ads. Would that give Republicans a shot in a deep blue state? Or embolden an ambitious Democrat to challenge him?” [TheInquirer]

“Menendez corruption trial: What you need to know” by John Bresnahan: “There was another version of this defense argument that suggested Obama administration officials wanted to retaliate against Menendez because he opposed them on Cuba and the Iran nuclear deal. Republican donors, as well as supporters of Israel, were sympathetic to this argument, and Menendez raised millions of dollars for his legal defense fund.” [Politico]

“Senate resolution to force Trump’s hand on condemning Charlottesville hate groups” by Seung Min Kim: “Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, along with Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, plan to formally roll out a Senate resolution later Wednesday that forcefully condemns the violence in Charlottesville while “rejecting white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.” … Backers of the Charlottesville resolution have strategically chosen to introduce their measure as a joint resolution, which means it will be sent to Trump to sign into law… Gardner, who also serves as chairman of the National Senatorial Campaign Committee, is a notable GOP sponsor.” [PoliticoTheHill]

COMING SOON: Ex-Trump aide Gorka to headline Israeli counterterror confab: “Alongside ex-French prime minister Manuel Valls, [Sebastian] Gorka will headline the first day of the annual conference hosted by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at IDC in Herzliya.” [ToI] • An unannounced U.S. administration official is also expected to address a special 9-11 memorial ceremony at the conclusion of the conference’s first day[ICT

BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “Arnon Milchan becomes suspect in PM bribery probe” by Eli Senyor: “Israeli billionaire Arnon Milchan was questioned under caution in London this week on suspicion of giving bribes to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu… According to investigators involved, Milchan’s testimony, which was provided during a three-hour grilling, strengthened the case for indicting Netanyahu.” [YnetHaaretz

“With no elections but PM ‘out of order,’ Lapid stumps for Anglo support” by Marissa Newman: “In a Tel Aviv cafe on Sunday afternoon, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid insisted on speaking strictly in English, in anticipation of his Jerusalem town hall event Wednesday evening targeting English-speaking immigrants. Dressed in a black t-shirt, a jacket casually slung over his chair and exuding the swagger of a former TV journalist, his voice, at times, took on a nearly Schwarzeneggerian lilt. “I’m always in full-fledged campaigning mode,” the prime ministerial hopeful conceded with a laugh. “This is what we do.” …  Lapid also charged that the prime minister’s hundreds of phone calls with the Israel Hayom editor Amos Regev and owner Sheldon Adelson was “questionable”… “I said ‘whoa.’ That’s a huge number,” Lapid said of his initial reaction to the revelations. “Two years out of that, I was his minister of finance, and he didn’t talk to me that much.”” [ToI

** Good Wednesday 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: Flush With Cash, Private Equity Rainmakers Set Out on Their Own [Bloomberg] • Kasowitz Partner Pair, Aaron Marks and Joshua Greenblatt, Heads to Kirkland & Ellis [AmericanLawyer] • Satmar-owned N.Y. Real Estate Company, Noble Assets, Sells Bonds in Israel [Haaretz• Sheldon Adelson and His Newspaper to Be Honored by Tel Aviv’s Stock Exchange, Despite Lack of Local Ties [Haaretz] • What Happened To Better Place’s Electric Dreams? [JPost] • Banks will sell interest in Mayacamas Vineyards to Schottenstein family [NapaValleyRegister]

“Steve Cohen’s Comeback Begins” by Simone Foxman and Katherine Burton: “The billionaire’s returns are just beginning to rebound after 18 months of barely making money at his family office, Point72 Asset Management. He’s now up about 5 percent year to date… ShoreBridge, started by longtime SAC marketer Doug Blagdon, is telling investors that Cohen may raise from $2 billion to $10 billion — “if” he decides to launch the fund… And, the billionaire won’t take meetings to discuss his plans until after Jan. 1, one of the people said.” [Bloomberg]

“Aby Rosen pays $135M for former Jehovah’s Witnesses hotel: Kushner Companies exited the deal for 90 Sands prior to closing” by Rich Blockmann: “Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty paid $135 million to buy the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ former residential hotel at 90 Sands Street, property records filed Tuesday show. Kushner Companies exited the 90 Sands deal as it reportedly tries to build up cash reserves while it deals with its troubled 666 Fifth Avenue office tower. A spokesperson for the company said it made a “strategic decision” to focus on other properties in Dumbo such as 85 Jay Street and 30 Columbia Heights… In the meantime, the owners made plans to convert 90 Sands into a 600-room hotel with Ian Schrager. But when it came time to close on 90 Sands, RFR sealed the deal by itself.” [RealDeal]

MEDIA WATCH: “Bianna Golodryga Joins CBS And CNN In An Unusual Deal” by Yashar Ali: “In a first-of-its-kind arrangement, Golodryga, who previously served as a business anchor for Yahoo News and the anchor of ABC’s weekend edition of “Good Morning America,” will be working for CBS News and CNN simultaneously… What makes Golodryga’s deal unusual is that she could work for both networks each day, contributing reports to CBS shows and serving as an on-air contributor on CNN shows like “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” … In an exclusive interview with HuffPost, Golodryga considered her personal arc from rejection to acceptance of her Russian heritage: starting out as a child embarrassed about where she came from, then deciding to major in Russian studies in college, and now teaching Russian to her two children with former Obama and Clinton administration official Peter Orszag.” [HuffPost

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Congregants in synagogue struggle say decision ignored law” by Michelle Smith: “Lawyers for the congregation at Touro Synagogue asked the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston for a rehearing, saying the decision ignored Rhode Island law and made several constitutional errors… A three-judge panel last month found that Manhattan’s Congregation Shearith Israel, the nation’s oldest Jewish congregation, owns Touro Synagogue and a set of Colonial-era bells valued at $7.4 million… The Newport congregation argued Tuesday that the appeals panel ruling conflicts with past court decisions that govern church property disputes.” [AP]

TOP TALKER: “Holocaust Museum Pulls Study Absolving Obama Administration For Inaction In Face of Syrian Genocide” by Armin Rosen: “According to a publicity email sent by the Museum, the study was set to be launched at an event at the US Institute for Peace in Washington, D.C., on September 11 and was overseen by a former US intelligence and national security official under Obama, Cameron Hudson, now director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. The paper argued that “a variety of factors, which were more or less fixed, made it very difficult from the beginning for the US government to take effective action to prevent atrocities in Syria, even compared with other challenging policy contexts.” … “The first thing I have to say is: Shame on the Holocaust Museum,” said Leon Wieseltier, the literary critic and fellow at the Brookings Institution, who slammed the Museum for “releasing an allegedly scientific study that justifies bystanderism.”” [TabletMag]

–Flashback: Weiseltier called President Obama’s action on the Syrian civil war “shameful passivity” and “despicable policy.” Adding, “No analogy with what was done to the Jews in the middle of the 20th century is ever perfect, but their predicament on moral grounds, it seems to me to justify assistance, rescue, protection and certain kinds of intervention.” [JewishInsider]

“Secret Hitler, a Game That Simulates Fascism’s Rise, Becomes a Hit” by Jonah Engel Bromwich: “Secret Hitler’s creators are aware that some consumers will not find any humor in the game’s title, either because Nazis are not a laughing matter or because of fears about the growing visibility of white supremacists and other extremists since the election of President Trump. The gamemakers have not been shy about linking the game to the president. At the website, they advise those who “don’t think there’s anything funny or cool about fascism” to address complaints to the White House. They have also sent copies of the game to senators and released a Trump administration expansion pack, with cards for some members of the administration. It was quickly outpaced by news events, given that there are cards for Stephen K. Bannon and Sean Spicer, who left the White House over the summer.” [NYTimes]

BREITBART HEADLINE: “Jewish Groups Provide Thousands of Kosher Meals to Harvey Victims” [Breitbart]

TRANSITION: Iranian-born Sharon Nazarian was hired to serve as the ADL’s new Senior Vice President of International Affairs. In this role, Nazarian will head ADL’s work fighting anti-Semitism at its Los Angeles office and will also oversee ADL’s Israel office.

Jeffrey Tuchman, ground-breaking documentarian, dies at 62: “It was [political consultant Mandy] Grunwald who suggested that Tuchman work with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason on the film that would introduce Bill Clinton as the Democratic Party nominee at the Democratic Convention in 1992. That film, “The Man from Hope,” was widely credited with launching Clinton and establishing the narrative and themes that would transport him to the White House. In 1994, Tuchman wrote and directed “White House,” a film portrait of the Clinton presidency as seen through the eyes of White House photographer Bob McNeely… He worked on such memorable ads as “Invisible People” for Hillary Clinton’s Senatorial Campaign.” [JewishJournal]

SPORTS BLINK — Bob Kraft talks about his recent summer trip to Israel — by Sam Farmer: “My late, darling wife, Myra, always used to tell me that until I start building football in Israel, I would not win anything with Patriots,” he said. “That happened in late 1999, and we won our first Super Bowl in 2001. Now we have five championships, and I can’t ignore the connection between our continuing to support development in Israel and our great accomplishments.” [LATimes]

DESSERT: Tel Aviv chef to bring modern Israeli cooking to Butcher & Bee” by Hanna Raskin: “[Yair] Yosefi has not yet hammered out his a la carte or tasting menus but is thinking about oysters, tartare and chickpeas. “We want people to discover a bit of modern Israeli cuisine with lots of ingredients from the South,” he says… Butcher & Bee is hosting Yosefi from 5 p.m.-10 p.m.Sept. 21 and 22. The first night coincides with the second night of Rosh Hashanah, but Shemtov reiterates “this will not be a traditional holiday dinner.”” [PostAndCourier

BIRTHDAYS: Member of the US House of Representatives since 1983 (D-MI-9), Congressman Sander Levin turns 86… Short Hills, New Jersey resident who is the co-founder and CEO of Murray Hill Properties, a NYC-based real estate development and property management firm, Norman Sturner turns 77… Beverly Hills-based public relations consultant, Mara Kochba turns 75… Retired director of the Robotics Laboratory at the Technion, Jacob Rubinovitz turns 70… Democratic member of the New York State Assembly from a district within Brooklyn since 1981, she chairs the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, Helene Weinstein turns 65… Oncologist and bioethicist, the older brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hollywood talent agent Ari Emanuel, he is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Ezekiel Jonathan “Zeke” Emanuel turns 60… Co-founder in 2008 of Kol HaNeshamah: The Center for Jewish Life and Enrichment, co-author of a new siddur and visiting lecturer at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Dr. Adena Karen Berkowitz turns 58… New Jersey Governor since January 2010, Chris Christie turns 55…

Native of NYC’s Lower East Side and Brooklyn, Treasurer of Southfield, Michigan, Irv “Moishe” Lowenberg turns 49… Director in the NYC office of AIPAC, he is a co-founder and chairman emeritus of Fuel For Truth, an Israel advocacy organization, Joe Richards turns 45… Chief Communications Officer at Bloomberg LP since 2012, formerly assistant press secretary in the White House (1997-2001), Jason Schechter turns 43… Rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in Minneapolis, Avi S. Olitzky turns 36… Research analyst in the White House since February 2017, raised in Teaneck, graduate of Johns Hopkins, Ari Schaffer turns 26… Australian born entrepreneur, now living in NYC, he is the co-founder and CEO of the American technology and social media company Monkey Inc., Ben Pasternak turns 18… Senior analyst at Avascent, veteran of the Israel Defense Forces and an AIPAC alum, Daniel Flesch… Toronto-based publisher and philanthropist, Elisa Morton Palter… Madi Portugal

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