Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Bibi claims Putin agreed to restrain Iran in Syria | Bob Iger’s “baller move” at Sun Valley | Bryan Goldberg buys Gawker

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SUN VALLEY SCENE: “A very social Mark Zuckerberg got his networking on in a big way on Thursday at the Allen & Company conference in Sun Valley. The Facebook founder was spotted chatting to New York Senator Chuck Schumer and his wife as well as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in between sessions at the Idaho campus…” [DailyMail] • Zuckerberg was also pictured with Haim Saban [Pic]

HIGHLIGHTS FROM DAY 3: “Apropos of Disney vs. Comcast, several attendees made mention of what one described as a “baller move” by Disney chief Bob Iger to take his breakfast at a prominent front table with Fox’s Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert’s wife, Jerry Hall. “That was a statement,” said one Iger admirer.”

— Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Speed-Dates With Apple, Google Chiefs in Sun Valley [Bloomberg]

 “Jeff Bezos was the headliner of Day 3 of the annual gathering of media and tech bigwigs in the Sun Valley Lodge mountain resort. The schedule also included a session with King Abdullah II of Jordan and his wife, Queen Rania, and Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. King Abdullah II made a pitch to the influential crowd about the importance of Western countries welcoming refugees from war-torn regions. He noted that his tiny country takes in a huge number of humanitarian refugees every year, relative to the country’s size and GDP.” [Variety]

THE DAILY KUSHNER — Jared Kushner lacks security clearance level to review some of the nation’s most sensitive intelligence in White House role — by Carol Leonnig, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker: “When White House security officials granted [Kushner] a permanent clearance in late May, he was granted only “top secret” status — a level that does allow him to see some of the country’s most closely guarded intelligence…  Kushner has not been approved to review “sensitive compartmented information,” better known as SCI… That has blocked Kushner at times from seeing some parts of the President’s Daily Brief.”

“The limits on Kushner’s intelligence access could complicate his ability to manage a portfolio that includes meeting with foreign leaders on Trump’s behalf and crafting a Middle East peace plan. “I think it would severely hamper his ability to do his job,” said Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer and security clearance expert.” [WashPost]

HAPPENING TODAY: Kushner will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The delegation will also meet with Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray to “discuss the transition of power, trade, migration and border issues,” according to the White House.

HELSINKI SUMMIT — Putin Steps Up Effort to Broker Syria Deal Ahead of Trump Summit — by Henry Meyer: “Russia has agreed in principle to U.S. and Israeli demands that the Iranian-backed forces in southern Syria be kept away from Israel’s border, replaced with troops that are loyal to the government in Damascus, according to Kremlin advisers. The deal, unlikely to be made public after Monday’s summit in Helsinki, is part of a Russian strategy to ease tensions with the U.S. “On the eve of the summit between Putin and Trump it seems like Russia’s mediation efforts are bearing fruit,” said Elena Suponina, a Middle East expert in Moscow.” [Bloomberg]

Josh Rogin writes… “Trump and Putin may be about to make a terrible deal on Syria: Trump and Putin may be about to make a terrible deal on Syria: “Helsinki is not a peace conference ending a war. It is a way station on the path to the war’s next phase. Assad’s brutal slaughter will only increase as the United States withdraws. Unless Trump negotiates tough with Putin now, he could see the Islamic State return and Iran expand — on his watch and with no one else to blame.” [WashPost]

Washington Fears Trump Will Be No Match for Putin in Helsinki — by Susan Glasser: “Most of those I spoke with, Republican and Democrat alike, were resigned to Trump being outplayed by Putin, a view perhaps best summed up by a former State Department official who spent decades preparing meetings between U.S. and Russian leaders. “I’m afraid,” he told me, that “our guy here is like an amateur boxer going up against Muhammad Ali.” [NewYorker]

David Ignatius writes… Better relations with Russia are a worthy goal. But at what price? With Trump’s acquiescence, Russia’s successful military intervention to rescue Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made the Kremlin the new indispensable power in the region — simultaneously maintaining close relations with Israel, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. One little-noted sign of Russia’s new influence is its partnership with Saudi Arabia in shaping global oil production and prices, through what analysts call “OPEC Plus.” [WashPost]

HEADLINE: “Netanyahu Says Putin Agreed to Restrain Iran in Syria” [NYT]

VIEW IN JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was subject of pointed criticism by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for the second day in a row for signaling that Israel would accept a U.S.-Russian deal that keeps Bashar al-Assad in power as the decades-long ceasefire is kept on the Golan border. “We haven’t had a problem with the Assad regime, for 40 years not a single bullet was fired on the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu told reportersafter meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. “I have set a clear policy that we do not intervene and we have not intervened. This has not changed.”

— Netanyahu also insisted that he has fully coordinated with the Trump administration on Syria. “We act with full transparency with the United States.”

Reacting to Netanyahu, Graham tweeted“Just to be clear: Without Iran/Hezbollah, Syria’s Assad would not be in power and would not have the ability to slaughter almost a half-million Syrians. Without Assad’s blessing, the flags of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would not be on Israel’s front door.”

WHY IT MATTERS: “A willingness to accept Mr. Assad’s resumption of control over all of Syria is no small concession, said Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence… “Nobody can these days destabilize the Assad regime,” he said. “The only one who can do it is Israel. And the Russians know that very well. So to get a commitment from Israel not to destabilize Syria is something that Russia will value very much.”” [NYT]

PROFILE — An Israeli Aid Worker’s Clandestine Effort to Help Syrian Refugees — by Bernard Avishai: “Gal Lusky, a founder and leader of the relief organization Israeli Flying Aid… has been working covertly—and audaciously—to support displaced civilians in southwest and northern Syria since the beginning of the insurgency against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad… Israeli military commanders in the north, with whom Lusky now admits she has collaborated, have provided—or enabled aid workers to provide—emergency aid to displaced civilians living under F.S.A. control since at least 2015… If it were up to her, Lusky said, she would simply open the border and take in some of the quarter-of-a-million Syrian refugees.”

“She supposes that many Israeli families would adopt these children. “All last week, the Israeli and American press was focussed on the rescue of those twelve young boys in the flooded caves of Thailand. Fine. Thank God they were saved,” she told me. “But this is a much bigger disaster, right in our backyard, and we act like these Syrian babies are a burden. A child is not a burden. A child is a blessing.” [NewYorker]

ON THE HILL — The House of Representatives passed yesterday by voice vote a bipartisan amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act that would direct the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to report on Iran’s support for proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon, including Hezbollah, and an assessment of the threat posed to Israel and other U.S. regional allies. The amendment was introduced by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Norma Torres (D-CA).

REPORT — Netanyahu’s economic adviser backs Trump’s trade war with China — by Barak Ravid: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s senior economic adviser, Avi Simhon, last Tuesday supported President Trump’s trade war with Beijing during a classified hearing on China. During the hearing, in the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the Israeli parliament, he attacked the economists who criticized Trump’s tactics, calling them “Hillary Clinton supporters.”

“All those economists who won the Nobel Prize and voted for Hillary Clinton warned that the steps Trump is taking will be counterproductive… Those are not changes you can do through dialogue and it will not happen without a confrontation — and all those economists who supported Hillary Clinton just don’t get that.” [Axios]

Jewish or democratic? Israel debates its founding principles — by Ruth Eglash: On Thursday, the Israeli government edged closer to approving the so-called “nation-state bill” aimed at boosting Israel’s Jewish character… On Monday, President Reuven Rivlin expressed his concern about that clause in a letter to Netanyahu. The law has no balance and “could harm the Jewish people and Jews around the world and in Israel,” he said… Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union of Reform Judaism… also said he believed the law would “empower our enemies, giving them more fodder and weakening the case we make for Israel every day across America.” … Despite the backlash, Netanyahu has expressed a desire to see the bill passed before the Knesset breaks for the summer next week.” [WashPost]

Complaints about Jewish nation-state bill reach Congress — by Gil Hoffman: “Congressmen have complained to Israel’s ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer about the Jewish nation-state bill and asked him to relay their concerns to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… Jewish Federations of North America president Jerry Silverman intends to arrive Sunday to personally lobby Netanyahu and other officials against the bill. The head of the committee legislating the bill, MK Amir Ohana (Likud), rejected a request by the Jewish Agency to allow Silverman to speak to the committee against the legislation.” [JPost]

SCENE IN JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met yesterday with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Netanyahu thanked NASA Administrator Bridenstine for choosing Israel as a destination on his first visit abroad since assuming office.[Pic]

SCOTUS WATCH — Schumer hamstrung in SCOTUS fight — by Burgess Everett and Elana Schor: “Democrats close to Schumer say that he truly wants to defeat the nomination. But they say he is taking a more deliberate tack by simply hearing out potential Kavanaugh supporters in private conversations rather than cracking the whip. “The worst thing you can do is to try to strong arm a resilient, experienced, independent senator from a red state,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), a member of the whip team.”

“The conundrum for Schumer is a regular topic of discussion among Republicans. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) even ribbed Schumer at the Senate gym on Wednesday as the minority leader sweated it out on an exercise bike, telling Schumer he’s in a bind but that he’s “kind of like Houdini” and will figure a way out. Schumer laughed a bit but “didn’t think it was all that funny,” Cornyn recalled.” [Politico

2018 WATCH — What Progressives Should Learn From the Left-Wing Anti-Semite Challenging California’s State Assembly Speaker — by Yair Rosenberg: “Maria Estrada is running as a progressive challenger to California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon in the state’s 63rd district… There’s just one small problem: Estrada is also an anti-Semite, and not a particularly subtle one. On social media, she has declared that, “I, for one, enjoy listening to Farrakhan’s sermons.” … This past May, Estrada also attacked Eric Bauman, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, telling him to “try keeping your party, your religion and your people in check.” (Bauman is an openly gay Orthodox Jew.)” [Tablet]

North Carolina GOP candidate compares Democrats to Nazis: “The News & Observer of Raleigh reports former Durham County sheriff’s deputy Rickey Padgett is challenging incumbent Democrat Mike Woodard. On Twitter, Padgett’s posted in January an image depicting U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer in Nazi uniforms with the words “Chuck’s SS anti Trump unit.” State Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard called Padgett anti-Semitic and urged the GOP to distance itself from Padgett.” [AP]

** 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: Bustle Owner Bryan Goldberg Wins Bankruptcy Auction for Gawker [WSJ] • Bob Weinstein to Leave Board of the Weinstein Company [NYT] • Saban-controlled Partner Communications most likely candidate to buy Leumi Card [Haaretz] • Seth Klarman Set to Win No Matter Who Prevails in Sky Fight [Bloomberg] • Why an out-of-print investment book gets bootlegged and sells for $3,000 [Quartz] • Steven Cohen’s Venture Capital Firm Gets Into Crypto With New Partner [Fortune] • Canyon Partners Closes a $450 Million Real Estate Debt Fund [Bloomberg] • Abercrombie teaming up with hotel/restaurant operator, Sam Nazarian’s SBE [Bizjournals] • No visa, no worries: Roman Abramovich buys £30m London pad [TheTimes]

STARTUP NATION — Israeli Startup Monday Had To Change Its Name After Mockery. Now Its Team Software Is Worth $550M — by Alex Konrad: “Israeli startup Monday knows that despite the 35,000 teams that pay for its work software, the average person still hears “Monday” and just thinks of the first day of the workweek. With a new $50 million funding round that values it at half a billion dollars, Monday thinks it can change that. Announced on WednesdayMonday’s $50 million Series C funding round brings the six-year-old startup once known as dapulse to more than $84 million in total funding.” [Forbes]

Big corporates’ quest to be hip is helping WeWork: “With his flowing locks and hip clothes Adam Neumann, co-founder and chief executive of WeWork, looks less like a property baron than the frontman of a rock group. He speaks expansively on the subjects of character, destiny and God. His four-year-old daughter wanders through his office during an interview with The Economist. Yet Mr Neumann, a veteran of the Israeli navy, also has a reputation for being an intense and demanding businessman. Both sides to his character come together in WeWork. Mr Neumann thinks of his property startup as a profit-making version of Israel’s famed communal farms—a sort of “capitalist kibbutz.”” [Economist]

MEDIA WATCH — Business Insider columnist quits after editors delete her Scarlett Johansson story — by Tom Kludt: “Daniella Greenbaum, the Business Insider columnist whose piece defending Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming role as a transgender man was removed from the website, said Thursday that she is resigning from her post. In a letter addressed to Business Insider global editor-in-chief Nicholas Carlson, Greenbaum said that the decision to take down her column represented “the tarring of a commonsensical view as somehow bigoted or not thought out; the capitulation on the part of those who are supposed to be the adults to the mob.” … The column was originally published on July 6, and was removed sometime thereafter.” [CNNMoney]

Daniella Greenbaum writes… “The social media mob is a danger to society: As an opinion columnist for Business Insider until my resignation Thursday, I had grown accustomed to strong reactions from readers when I wrote about Hamas (I’m not a fan) or the problems with accusations of cultural appropriation. But I didn’t see this one coming… We are slowly normalizing the policing of speech and opinion. Sometimes overtly, and sometimes through the intimidation that stops people from saying or writing or publishing what they believe because they know that the social media mob is lying in wait.”[WashPost]

Roy Moore hints that he, too, was duped by Sacha Baron Cohen, blaming ‘shadowy media groups’ — by Eli Rosenberg: “Former Alabama judge Roy Moore hinted Wednesday that he, too, was duped by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen… Moore issued a statement Thursday saying he accepted an expenses-paid trip to Washington in February to receive an award for his support of Israel. “I did not know Sacha Cohen or that a Showtime TV series was being planned to embarrass, humiliate, and mock not only Israel, but also religious conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Joe Walsh, and Dick Cheney,” he wrote. Moore said he did not receive any other financial compensation for his travel other than expenses.” [WashPost] • Sacha Baron Cohen hits back at Sarah Palin as Roy Moore admits being duped [TheGuardian

TALK OF THE TOWN — “The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has long been a destination for fans of illuminated manuscripts, with a trove including Christian prayer books from the Middle Ages. Now it also owns a rare Jewish illuminated manuscript from 1296, known as the Rothschild Pentateuch. “This is the most spectacular medieval Hebrew manuscript that’s come to market in over a century — it’s unusual at this late stage in the development of collections to find something like this not already owned by a major museum,” said the Getty Museum’s director, Timothy Potts, who finalized the acquisition last month.” [NYTimes]

DESSERT — This Soon-To-Open Deli Wants To Put Your Recipe On The Menu — by Lori McCue: “There are a few things that go into the perfect deli menu, according to Andrew Dana, who, along with the rest of the team from Timber Pizza, is preparing to open the self-described “Jew-ish” deli Call Your Mother in Park View…” [Dcist]

A Grande Problem for Starbucks-Loving Jews? — by Caroline Lagnado: “Out of fear of cross-contamination with non-kosher equipment, Star-K is no longer certifying the kashrut of several beverages at Starbucks… The Orthodox Union kosher certification agency continues to list over 300 Starbucks products as kosher on its site.” [JWFood&Wine]

WINE OF THE WEEK — Zwebner Estate Blend — by Yitz Applbaum: “This past weekend was a great adventure. I did not spend it in Jerusalem as I normally do when in Israel, but rather in old Jaffa at a spectacular new hotel. Jaffa is magical and beautifully blends its 3,000 years of history with its present modernity. And then there is the wine. This was as confusing and enjoyable a bottle I have tasted in a very long time.”

“The Zwebner Estate Red blend is a blend of Caringnan, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each grape played a major role in my tasting experience. Imagine a thick bar of dark chocolate with nuts melting in your mouth flowing down the sides of your tongue. Think of overripened black raspberries tossed with plums on the finish. The forward caused slight pucker with distinct pepper notes on the front of your mouth. Our Jaffa hotel served an abundance of spare ribs, young veal and goose for dinner. I would suggest all three with this wine.”

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYPresident of the San Fernando Valley Council of NA’AMAT USA, Zita Gluskin turns 92… Scottsdale, Arizona resident, Howie K. Kipnes turns 79… One of the highest box-office grossing actors ever, his maternal grandmother was Anna Lifschutz, a Jewish immigrant from Minsk, Harrison Ford turns 76… Co-host of “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN since 2001, former sportswriter and columnist for The Washington Post, Anthony Irwin “Tony” Kornheiser turns 70… Director of governmental and regulatory affairs for Calpine Corporation’s East Region, Stuart Widom turns 61… Manager of institutional affairs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Jennifer Rebecca Goodman Lilintahl turns 38… Founder of Omanut Consulting, Sarah Persitz… Co-founder and president at Time Flash, Jared Kash turns 25… Founding Partner and CEO of Trinnacle Capital Management, Eric Kohlmann Kupper… Louis Panzer

SATURDAYArchitect Moshe Safdie turns 80… MLB pitcher (1971-1981) for the Giants, White Sox, Cubs and Orioles, now a sportscaster and author, he won the Cy Young Award and was an All Star in 1980, Steve Stone turns 71… Susan Farrell turns 71… Film producer, best known for the Lethal Weapon series and the first two Die Hard movies, Joel Silver turns 66… Film producer and a theatrical producer, in 2012 he became the first producer to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award, Scott Rudin turns 60… Scott Shagrin turns 57… Media columnist for the Chicago Tribune, he has been a working journalist since he was 17 years old, Phil Rosenthal turns 55… PR, political communications and media strategist, principal at Oakland-based Full Court Press Communications, Daniel Eli Cohen turns 49… Rapper and record producer from Brooklyn, he is the producer, founder and CEO of Uncle Howie Records, William “Bill” Braunstein, better known as “Ill Bill,” turns 46… Politico’s Eliana Johnson… Program analyst at Crown Family Philanthropies in Chicago, Rachel Giattino… Omaze’s Director of Brand Development, Daniel Jeydel… Chabad GW’s Menachem Shemtov

SUNDAY: Nobel laureate in Physics, Leon M. Lederman turns 96… President and chairman of the board of the Annenberg Foundation, Wallis Annenberg turns 79… Member of the British House of Lords, BaronRobert Maurice Lipson Winston turns 78… Creator of the first cable TV shopping channel in the 1980s later purchased by QVC, now CEO of FLW (sponsor of bass fishing tournaments), Irwin L. Jacobs turns 77… Four time winner of the World Series of Poker, Mickey Appleman turns 73… One of the four Talmudic scholars who serve as Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ, Rabbi Dovid Schustal turns 71… Congresswoman since 1989, former Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen turns 66… EVP at the Aspen Institute responsible for its policy and public programs, Elliot Gerson turns 66… Partner in the California-based appellate law firm of Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland, Feris M. Greenberger turns 62… Regional Director in Florida for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, Miriam Baron Jankovits turns 62… Professor at the UCLA School of Law, expert in human rights, international criminal law and international trade, Richard Harold Steinberg turns 58… Member of Congress since 2011 (D-Rhode Island-1), David Nicola Cicilline turns 57… Member of the Alaska House of Representatives since 2012, Andrew Lewis “Andy” Josephson turns 54… CEO of NYC-based International Rescue Committee, David Miliband turns 53… Jewish Journal’s Eli Fink… Senior Israel Education Director at Hillel International, Jonathan Steven (“Jon”) Falk turns 30…