Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Sun Valley Scene | Dov Zakheim on Trump, Putin & Bibi | Sheldon’s Korea dream | Casino war in downtown Miami — Braman vs. Galbut

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THE BOOK SHORT — Baupost Says Copy of Seth Klarman’s Book on Amazon Was Not Authorized — by Charles Stein and Erik Schatzker:“Baupost Group said the version of Seth Klarman’s 1991 investment book, “Margin of Safety,” that appeared on Amazon was published without his approval and that his legal team is taking action. The Kindle version of the book appeared online earlier this month and was being sold for $9.99. Hard copies of the book, which has long been out of print, have fetched as much as $2,500 among collectors.” [BloombergCNBC]

SUN VALLEY SCENE — Spotted at the Sun Valley Lodge’s circular driveway Tuesday: Investors Haim Saban and Peter Chernin, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, producer Brian Grazer, HBO’s Richard Plepler, Sony’s Kenichiro Yoshida, Kazuo Hirai and Tony Vinciquerra, Snap chairman Michael Lynton, Grupo Televisa’s Emilio Azcarraga Jean, WndrCo.’s Jeffrey Katzenberg, General Motors’ Mary Barra, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Discovery’s David Zaslav, Activision’s Bobby Kotich, Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi, YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki, 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki, Liberty Media’s Greg Maffei, former WPP chief Martin Sorrell, Oath’s Tim Armstrong, Revolution’s Steve Case, former Disney exec Tom Staggs, ex-superagent Michael Ovitz, and former senator Bill Bradley. [Variety] • Arrival photos [DailyMail]

MORNING BREW’S TAKE — “Mark Zuckerberg excitedly packed his sunscreen, sleeping bag, and yarmulke and made his way to Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho—the home of a networking conference hosted by investment bank Allen & Co. Or as some like to call it: “Summer camp for billionaires.” [MorningBrew]

BONUS — The Top 5 CEO Conferences Catering to the World’s Power Players: It’s that time of year when thought leaders pack their bags for exclusive powwows held in picturesque locales. Part symposium, part summer camp, these events attract the biggest of the bigwigs [WSJMag]

TOP TALKER — Mike Flynn’s Lawyers Say He Is No Longer Joining Consulting Firm — by Julie Bykowicz: “Hours after a new lobbying firm aimed at domestic and global clients announced it was partnering with former national security adviser Mike Flynn, attorneys for the embattled Mr. Flynn said the deal was off and the notice had been released as a result of a “misunderstanding” among the participants in Stonington Global LLC. “General Flynn has not joined Stonington and did not personally issue any public statement,” Mr. Flynn’s attorneys Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony said in a statement Tuesday. “He was aware that a statement was being drafted, but he did not intend that it be issued at this time.”

“Nick Muzin and Joey Allaham told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesdaythat they had started their firm with Mr. Flynn… “We cannot comment on General Flynn’s considerations about the timing of the announcement, but we have faith in his patriotism and long history of service to our country,” Messrs. Muzin and Allaham said after Mr. Flynn’s lawyers issued their statement. “We look forward to working together.” … Mr. Flynn was to serve as its director of global strategy. The firm hasn’t announced any clients.” [WSJ

DRIVING THE DAY — At Start of NATO Summit, Trump Renews Push for Allies to Increase Defense Spending — by Rebecca Ballhaus: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday reiterated his call for allies to increase their defense spending at the outset of this week’s NATO summit, while sharply criticizing Germany for supporting a major gas deal with Russia… A NATO official said that expectations were very low for the summit, given Mr. Trump’s unabashed criticism of Germany. “The mood ahead of the G-7 was also quite bad and still it ended worse than expected,” the official said.” [WSJReuters]

Julia Ioffe‏ tweets“After a contentious breakfast with Donald Trump, NATO Sec. Gen. Jens Stoltenberg says the breakfast was good, “some nice fruit salad, paid for by the United States.” #NATOEngages.”

WHY IT MATTERS — Dov Zakheim, former Under Secretary of Defense in President George W. Bush’s administration, tells us… “Clearly we know that some companies in Europe have already backed away from the Iranians, but the question becomes if NATO really blows up at this meeting, the Europeans are going to go their own way. I was recently in Europe speaking to senior defense officials. They have an alternative now for defense cooperation called PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation). It’s not particularly serious at this point, but if they begin to see that NATO’s not going anywhere, then they’re going to cooperate within that framework, and of course, you have on top of that the tariff increases. Those two things could very well drive the Europeans to say, ‘Okay, fine, we’re going to deal with Iran because the United States isn’t cooperating with us anyway.'”

Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro tweets: “If [Trump] sabotages the NATO summit the way he did the G-7, don’t be surprised if he actually makes a move toward exiting NATO. Think he won’t? On what basis? Because his staff restrains him? Because of his strategic understanding? Please. If we get there, the implications are innumerable & terrifying: Russia pawing at Baltics & other E & C European states; breakdown of joint defense structures; withdrawal of US troops from Euro bases; less restrained German foreign policy; weaker US power projection to Eurasia… We honestly cannot begin to imagine living in a new era without these international organizing structures.”

TALK OF THE REGION — There Are Fears of New Conflicts at One of Israel’s Quietest Borders — by David Wainer, Jonathan Ferziger, and Donna Abu-Nasr: “As the thud of shells echoes across what has dependably been Israel’s quietest frontier for decades, fears of new conflicts have risen… [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has agreed in principle to U.S. and Israeli demands to replace pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria with troops loyal to Assad, two Kremlin advisers said. But Russia’s ability to enforce the emerging agreement with Trump is questionable… The Russian leader may agree to keep letting Israel bomb Iranian convoys transporting advanced weapons to Hezbollah while allowing Iran to maintain a route for arms supplies to Hezbollah.”

“Iran, some analysts said, is playing a long game. It’s sitting out the campaign in southern Syria, deeming it less risky to let Assad’s troops win back territory near the Israeli-held section of the Golan, said Omar Lamrani, senior military analyst at Startfor… “This is the Iranians themselves accepting that for the sake of the success of the offensive, it’s better they sit it out,” Lamrani said. Then, at a time of their choosing, they can try to penetrate the border area, said Ehud Yaari, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.”[Bloomberg]

— Israeli sirens sound over Golan frontier with Syria, Jordan: “Israeli air defense sirens sounded on Wednesday on the Golan Heights frontier with Syria and the nearby Jordanian border, the Israeli military said… Israel’s Channel 10 TV said Israel launched a Patriot interceptor missile, but it did not disclose the target.” [Reuters]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview with The National“We have spoken with many parties in Syria, including the Russians, and made very clear, as have the Israelis, that the Iranian presence in Syria is not appropriate and won’t be tolerated. So we’re working diligently to develop a political solution that not only achieves America’s goal of defeating ISIS that’s still there, still a challenge for us in Syria, but leads Iran to the place where they conclude it’s not worth the candle for them to be in Syria… And we’re going to undertake, along with our partners, a comprehensive program to diminish that activity.”

HAPPENING TODAY — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss Syria, Iran and Israel’s security needs. “I very much appreciate the excellent direct connection, without intermediaries, between myself and the Russian President,” Netanyahu said upon his departure at Ben Gurion Airport. “It is very important for the national security of the State of Israel.”

Dov Zakheim previews: “From Israel’s perspective, both Trump and Putin are pretty good guys. In the United States, Putin is not seen as a good guy and at least half the country doesn’t see Trump as a good guy. But Netanyahu’s objective is simply to get the Iranians out of Syria. And frankly, there are only two ways to get the Iranians out. One is via the United States, which is not likely. The other is via Russia, which is not necessarily likely but more likely than the United States. So Netanyahu’s doing what he needs to do.”

Zakheim on the report that Israel privately pushed Trump to strike a ‘grand bargain’ with Putin: “If anyone has leverage in Syria, it is Putin. But clearly, it would serve Netanyahu’s interests if the United States were in some way involved in that, and so a grand bargain may be a more embellished term than perhaps is the reality, but some kind of deal whereby the United States and Putin cooperate to get the Iranians out is clearly the Israeli objective. So some kind of arrangement where Putin agrees to some degree of American presence and Trump agrees to Putin essentially having the lead on Syria, which in reality he does anyway, would be in Israel’s interests.”

‘Israel’s Closure of Gaza Crossing Is Like Shooting a Dying Man’ — by Jack Khoury, Yaniv Kubovich and Noa Landau: “The Palestinian business community in the Gaza Strip is calling the Israeli decision to close the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza to all but humanitarian aid the final nail in the coffin of Gaza’s industry and trade… “If Hamas decides to bring about a conflict how can I or others prevent it? That’s absurd, no one can influence Hamas because it is a strategic policy decision,” said Dr. Maher al-Tabaa of the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Gaza… “It is Gaza’s civilian population and businesspeople who will suffer, and this is collective punishment,” said Tabaa… “The situation in Gaza is like that of a dying man who they now decide to just shoot straight in the head,” he added.”[Haaretz

REPORT — Israel did not notify US of Kerem Shalom closure — by Michael Wilner: “The US government was not given advance notice of the closure,” [a] US official [said]. “This is an internal Israeli decision.” [JPost

ON THE HILL — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 yesterday, which authorizes the 10-year MOU (memorandum of understanding) signed between Israel and the Obama Administration in 2016 and agreed-upon increases in Israel’s security assistance, pending a floor vote. The committee also rejected an amendment pushed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to eliminate all aid to Israel over a 10-year period.

— “This bipartisan legislation authorizes agreed-upon increases in Israel’s security assistance and encourages expanding weapons stockpiles and new U.S.-Israel cooperation in anti-drone technologies, cybersecurity and space,” AIPAC said in a statement.

REPORT — Trump works to thank Guatemala for moving embassy by weakening anti-corruption panel — by Franco Ordonez: “After Guatemala joined the United States in moving its embassy to Jerusalem, the Trump administration has been working to weaken an international commission on corruption that is targeting the Guatemalan president, according to three people familiar with the discussions. The Trump administration is still debating what specific changes it wants to pursue… “The only reason why the U.S. is all about it is because they’re so happy with Guatemala that they moved the embassy to Jerusalem,” said one U.S. source with direct knowledge of the conversations.” [McClatchyDC]

FOGGY BOTTOM TRANSITION — President Trump has nominated U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale, to be Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. Hale served as special envoy to Middle East peace under President Obama from 2009 to 2013.

— US Consul General to Jerusalem Donald Blome is expected to be tapped to head the Libya external office, operating out of Tunis, Tunisia, US officials told Al-Monitor. Blome had recently been rumored to be under consideration to become the deputy assistant secretary of state for the Levant (Syria, Lebanon and Jordan). [Al-Monitor]  

THE DAILY KUSHNER — Kushner, Mnuchin join delegation to meet López Obrador in Mexico — by Jude Webber: “Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador will meet a larger-than-expected delegation from the US government on Friday… Marcelo Ebrard, designated foreign secretary, said Jared Kushner, a close adviser to President Donald Trump, as well as treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and Kirstjen Nielsen from homeland security would join the already-scheduled talks with Mike Pompeo, secretary of state.” [FinancialTimes]

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Exercise in the Dark to Avoid Being Seen: Report — by Jessica Kwong: “President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law like to go to spin classes early in the morning at a studio near their Washington, D.C. home, which turns the lights off when the session starts. “The better to pedal unobserved,” The Washington Post reported… After a recent class, Kushner left the spinning studio quickly with a baseball cap shielding his face, straight for an SUV that chauffeured him out of sight.” [NewsweekWashPost]

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT — Heavy hitters gather downtown to raise money for Israel’s covert and controversial Duvdevan Unit — by Brian Niemietz: “Fresh off appearing in court with his controversial client Harvey Weinstein, hard-hitting defense attorney Benjamin Brafman went on offense by attending a fundraiser for Israel’s Duvdevan Unit on Monday… We’re told that the event raised more than $250,000 for the covert unit… According to one source at the event there were undercover agents on hand and photos of them were strictly prohibited. Attendees also saw videos of the Duvdevan Unit in action… Monday’s Duvdevan Foundation fundraiser was held at the kosher steakhouse Reserve Cut in lower Manhattan. Joining Brafman and 100 VIP guests, including our spy, were Jordache founder Ralph Nakash, nightlife operator David Einhorn, public relations specialist Ronn Torossian, reality TV star Siggy Flicker and Israeli consul general Dani Dayan.”

“After the event had ended, First Daughter Tiffany Trump visited the restaurant and had dinner with a group that included event attendees, according to a source at the restaurant.” [DailyNewsVideo

DRIVING THE CONVO — Senate Democrats Come Out Swinging in Long-Shot Fight to Block Kavanaugh — by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Mark Landler and Thomas Kaplan: “Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, joined all of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday to deliver a direct appeal to Americans to rise up in opposition to Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination… Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, issued a specific plea to the survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.: “If you care about common-sense gun violence protection, Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.””[NYTimes]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Republican strategist Dan Senor on CBS This Morning: “The reality is, [Kavanaugh] is not some firebrand right-winger. You can’t put him in that box. Eleven of his opinions have been adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court… The Democrats are much more organized this time than they were during Gorsuch, and the pressure on the Democrats from the base is far higher now. If you listen to the base of the Democratic Party, they’re saying, ‘Do everything you can, Senator Schumer, to stop this.'” [Video]

David Brooks writes… “It Took a Village to Raise Kavanaugh: Kavanaugh is the product of a community. He is the product of a conservative legal infrastructure that develops ideas, recruits talent, links rising stars, nurtures genius, molds and launches judicial nominees. It almost doesn’t matter which Republican is president… It almost doesn’t even matter if Kavanaugh is confirmed or shot down; there are dozens more who can fill the vacancy, just as smart and just as conservative.” [NYTimes]

Kathleen Parker writes… “Catholics rock the courthouse: That some justices are also informed by a faith that encourages service and a reverence for life doesn’t bother me, just as long as the Constitution lives loudly within them.”[WashPost]

** 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: Questions are being raised about Facebook’s decision to give a Russian internet company, Yuri Milner’s Mail.Ru, temporary special access to its user data [BusinessInsiderWired] • Miami heavyweights, including auto magnate Norman Braman and developer Jorge Perez, declared war on Magic City Casino plans to become a tenant in Russell Glabut’s Edgewater complex [MiamiHerald• Paragon Real Estate of SF acquired by Ori Allon’s Compass to form city’s largest brokerage [SFChronicle] • Walt Disney Company sells its two Upper West Side campuses to developer Larry Silverstein for $1.1 billion [NYTimes] • Elon Musk’s SpaceX to Launch Israeli Spaceship to the Moon [Bloomberg] • Next Insurance, an Israeli insurtech targeting small businesses, scores $83M Series B led by Redpoint [TechCrunch]

How a Tiny Bank From the Ozarks Got Big and Outpaced Wall Street’s Real Estate Machine — by Peter Robison: “Ozarks didn’t have a New York office until 2013; this year, industry watcher the Real Deal named it the city’s third-biggest construction lender. It’s committed more than $6 billion there, including loans for the Kushners’ purchase of a parking lot in the Dumbo area of Brooklyn, a $700 million Long Island City office tower anchored by Bloomingdale’s and WeWork Cos., and a 73-story residential tower that will be the tallest ever in Brooklyn. Gleason’s bank is the largest construction lender in Los Angeles, the largest in Miami, and one of the largest in Chicago, Denver, and Seattle.” [Bloomberg]

Sheldon Adelson wants to open a casino in North Korea — by Steve Mollman: “Late last month, Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul and friend of Trump’s, also made reference to North Korea’s economic potential… Speaking at a charity event in Jerusalem, Adelson said he hoped Trump would get the North and South to end the Korean War, of which he was a veteran, so that he could go there again—this time not to fight, but to open up one of his casinos.”[Quartz]

— “I’m a veteran of the Korean War. Actually, I hope Trump gets North and South Korea to finish the war. I feel as though I might be called back up. I fight enough. I don’t want to go back to Korea to fight. I want to go back to Korea to open up my business.” [Video]

‘I risked everything to dance in Iran’ — by BBC World Service women’s affairs reporter Feranak Amidi: “Raids and arrests never stopped us from going to the next party – it just made us more creative in how to avoid the authorities. We paid off police officers, made sure cars were not parked outside the venue and kept the guest list strictly limited to friends. We used mattresses to conceal the windows to keep the music from sounding outside… Today, young Iranians are still taking challenging social norms and breaking taboos in many ways. The social media campaign in support of arrested Instagram dancer Maedeh Hojabri is just one of them.” [BBC]

MEDIA WATCH: “Business Insider Pulls Conservative Column About Scarlett Johansson Playing Trans Man” by Maxwell Tani: “Business Insider removed a post about portrayals of trans individuals in Hollywood after staff complained internally about the column, saying the article did not meet the publication’s standards. On Friday, conservative columnist Daniella Greenbaum published a piece titled: “Scarlett Johansson is being unfairly criticized for doing her job after being cast as a transgender man.” “The job of an actor is to represent someone else,” Greenbaum wrote. “Johansson’s identity off the screen is irrelevant to the identities she plays on the screen. That’s what she’s paid for. And if she does her job, she’ll make everyone forget about the controversy in the first place.” Several Business Insider staff told The Daily Beast that some employees were offended by the column.” [DailyBeast]

SPORTS BLINK — NBA star slammed over Israel trip — by Amy Spiro: “A week after returning from a trip to Israel, NBA star Draymond Green has been slammed online for his visit by critics of the Jewish state. Many critics were particularly upset over a video posted to the Israel Police Instagram page, featuring Green shooting a gun inside a Border Police training center. “You got played,” wrote Shaun King, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist and political commentator, on Twitter.” [JPost]

Alona Barkat, a female pioneer in Israeli football: “The Israeli desert city of Beersheba may seem to have little in common with the gleaming capitals of Europe, but for the third year running its football club is to play in the UEFA Champions League. The success of Hapoel Beersheba, known as “The Camels,” owes much to its pioneering female owner, Alona Barkat. Barkat, who rarely misses her team’s games, will once again be one of the few females with a side in the competition… Barkat became the first woman to own a professional football club in Israel when she bought the Camels in 2007 with the support of her husband Eli Barkat, a high-tech businessman.” [BeSoccer]

DESSERT — Boogie Down Bites: Loeser’s Kosher Deli & Caterer: “Loeser’s Kosher Deli & Caterer on W. 231st Street opened in 1960 by owner Fredy Loeser. Loeser still works at the store and he’s been serving the community delicious Kosher food ever since. Known for its overstuffed sandwiches and other traditional delicacies, Loeser’s has even come up with its own originals. The ‘Knish Wish’ is a combination of a potato knish, and a pastrami sandwich… Everything is made in house, Loeser says and he intends to keep doing it that way just has he has for the past five decades. “Old fashion is only the best,” Loeser says.” [BronxNews12]

BIRTHDAYS: IRS Commissioner during the JFK and LBJ administrations (1961-1964), founding member of the tax law firm of Caplin & Drysdale, Mortimer Caplin turns 102… Professor of Humanities at Yale and noted literary critic, Harold Bloom turns 88… Professor of Social Sciences emeritus at Harvard, he has written many books on Japan, China and Asia generally, Ezra Feivel Vogel turns 88… Co-founder and chairman of Odyssey Investment Partners, Stephen Berger turns 79… Member of the UK’s House of Lords since 1997, formerly PM Tony Blair’s special envoy to the Middle East, Baron Michael Abraham Levy turns 74… Partner in the Santa Monica-based law firm of Maron & Sandler, EVP of the Milken Family Foundation and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, Richard V. Sandler turns 70… Founder in 1992 of Schnur Associates, a marketing, PR and lobbying firm, she spent 12 years as Executive Director of the Greater New York Coalition for Soviet Jewry, Zeesy Schnur turns 69… Founder and current president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which is headquartered in Chicago and Jerusalem, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein turns 67…

Singer known by his stage name “RebbeSoul,” Bruce Burger turns 61… Former CEO and president of Bloomberg L.P. (2008-2014), now CEO of Sidewalk Labs, Daniel L. Doctoroff turns 60… Los Angeles-based Group EVP of Public Relations for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel, Laurie Goldberg turns 59… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party since 2015, now serving as Deputy Environmental Protection Minister, Yaron Mazuz turns 56… Born in Marrakesh, Morocco, he is presently commander of the IDF’s Southern Command, Major General Shlomo “Sami” Turgemanturns 54… Managing Member at Samuel Capital Management, Barry Mannis… Member of the Editorial Board at the New York Daily News, Alyssa A. Katz turns 50… Graduate of Stanford U Law School, then White House aide in the Bush 43 administration, now based in Los Angeles at land use law firm of Park and Velayos, Lindsey Caren Kozberg turns 48…

Consultant focused upon social impact strategies, previously COO of the DNC and director of community relations at the NBA, Joshua D. Wachs turns 47… CEO of the digital lending start-up Affirm and former chief technology officer of PayPal, Max Levchin turns 43… Founder and CEO of Wisconsin-based Good Karma Brands, Craig Karmazin turns 43… Director of community relations in the office of Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Celine Mizrahi turns 40… Screenwriter known for The Green Hornet (2011), 50/50 (2011) and Bad Sports (2013), Theodore Bressman turns 34… Legislative Director for Representative Tim Ryan and former Fellow at the American Jewish Committee, Anne Sokolov turns 33… as does her twin sister, a brand marketing manager at Google, Kate Sokolov

Offensive guard in the NFL for eight seasons for the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants, Geoffrey Isaiah “Geoff” Schwartz (his Hebrew name is Gedalia Yitzhak) turns 32… Principal at Cleveland-based Willoughby Union Point Associates and EVP at Omni Group Development Company, Bryan Stone… Prior litigation associate at the DC office of Paul, Weiss, he was previously special advisor to the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Matthew J. Rosenbaum… Chabad rabbi at Washington University in St. Louis, Rabbi Hershey Novack… Jeffrey Maas… Harvey Mamon