Daily Kickoff: U.S. to endorse tougher tone with Israel over settlements | Report: Trump plans Israel visit post convention | Ezra Klein BDay

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “U.S. Getting Tougher With Israel Over Settlements” by Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper: “The United States will endorse a tougher tone with Israel in an upcoming international report that takes the Jewish state to task over settlements, demolitions and property seizures on land the Palestinians claim for a future state, diplomats told The Associated Press. The report’s release is sure to infuriate Israel, where officials are already bracing for expected criticism. And on the other side, although the mediators will endorse some long-standing Palestinian complaints, the Palestinians are likely to complain the report does not go far enough.” [AP]

“Israel Lobbies U.S. to Soften Tone of Quartet Report on Settlements” by Barak Ravid: “Although it is still unclear what the practical implications of the report’s criticism will be, Jerusalem ascribes great importance to it. That is because this is the first time in many years that the international community will be formulating an updated position on the freeze in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and will be doing so almost without taking the parties themselves into consideration… The senior official said that Israel wants to prevent any mention in the report of possible future action in the UN Security Council. There is concern in Jerusalem over the possibility that the report will be presented by the Quartet to the Security Council as a basis for discussion and adoption as an official resolution.” [Haaretz]

“Here’s what happened when some famous writers went to visit some hardcore Jewish settlers” by William Booth: “Hebron, West Bank — Arriving aboard a tour bus, accompanied by a former Israeli machine-gunner turned human rights activist, an international delegation of pretty famous writers came to the heart of this old city to see for themselves how 850 hardcore Jewish settlers, protected by 650 young Israeli soldiers, live among 200,000 angry Palestinians. The writers didn’t like what they saw. The settlers didn’t like the writers much either, especially their hosts.” [WashPost]

Iran Test-Fires Another Ballistic Missile: “Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim news agency Monday quoted Gen. Ali Abdollahi, deputy chief of army headquarters, as saying that the test-firing of the missile, with a range of 2,000 kilometers, or 1,250 miles, was carried out two weeks ago.” [WSJ]

“Why Middle Eastern Leaders Are Talking to Putin, Not Obama” by Dennis Ross: “Why is this happening, and why on my trips to the region am I hearing that Arabs and Israelis have pretty much given up on President Barack Obama? Because perceptions matter more than mere power: The Russians are seen as willing to use power to affect the balance of power in the region, and we are not.” [PoliticoMag]

Ben Rhodes writes on Medium — “How We Advocated for the Iran Deal: First, we never made any secret of our interest in pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran… Second, we did aggressively make the case for the Iran deal during the congressional review mandated by statute last summer, as it was imperative that the facts of the deal be understood for it to be implemented. Opponents of the deal had no difficulty in making their case — through commentary, a paid media campaign, and the distribution of materials making a variety of arguments against the deal… Third, there was no shortage of good reporting and analysis — positive, negative, and mixed — about the Iran deal.” [Medium

“Obama’s Foreign Policy Guru Is the ‘Blob’ He Hates” by Eli Lake: “Rhodes and his echo chamber would have you believe that striking a deal with Iran was a bold challenge to the foreign policy establishment. But again, he has this backward. Every president since Ronald Reagan has reached out to Iran in search of moderates. Even George W. Bush reluctantly authorized emissaries to explore negotiations with the Tehran regime, before and during the Iraq War… What they oppose is not the foreign policy establishment, but often the Americans who lobby Congress for policies that displease that establishment. First and foremost on this list is AIPAC.” [Bloomberg]

ARENA: “Eli Lake and Tommy Vietor Debate the Meaning of Ben Rhodes and Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy” [Sidewire]

Heard on ABC’s “This Week” — Trump on U.S. allies opposing his proposed Muslim ban: Stephanopoulos: “You’re in the Oval Office a year from now, President Trump is there. David Cameron, who’s criticized your proposal comes to you. Benjamin Netanyahu comes to you. He’s criticized the proposal. The leaders of Jordan and Egypt and Turkey come to and say we want to help you in the fight against ISIS, we can’t do it if that ban is in place. What do you do?” Trump: “I disagree with them. I think it’s going to be even better. I think if the ban is in place, they’re going to want to show that they’re going to — look, we’re not getting any help. If you look at the help, we’re not getting help.”

“Donald Trump plans to visit Israel after the Republican convention” by Shlomo Shamir: “A Jewish official, who is in the close circle of Trump’s advisers, said in a conversation that the expected trip is a central part of a large effort by Trump to improve his image as someone who understands U.S. foreign policy.” [Maariv]

“Trump Asks Son-in-Law, Jared Kushner, to Plan for Transition Team” by Ashley Parker: “Donald J. Trump has asked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to begin quietly working to put together a blueprint for a transition team should he win the White House in November. Mr. Kushner, the husband of Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, will work with Corey Lewandowski, the Trump campaign manager, and Paul Manafort, a senior adviser, to set up a prospective team and determine who its most important members should be. But Mr. Kushner is not expected to be involved if such a transition should occur, according to two people briefed on his new assignment.” [NYTimes]

“Jonny Daniels, the Israeli closest to Donald Trump, reveals how Judaism inspired – and silenced – the likely Republican nominee” by Gil Hoffman: “Daniels said Israelis can be reassured that Trump surrounds himself with “strong, tough people, and it just so happens that a lot of them happen to be Jewish.”… Daniels said Trump attends Shabbat dinner with the Kushners monthly, sitting silently as his grandchildren sing “Shalom Aleichem” and – as is customary – not uttering a word between hand-washing and the “Hamotzi” blessing over bread.” [JPost]

“Sheldon Adelson yet to show Trump the colour of his money” by Geoff Dyer and John Reed: “If anyone else had said the things that Trump has said, Adelson would have been apoplectic given how fervently he believes in the protection of Israel,” said Jon Ralston, one of Nevada’s leading political analysts and a long-time observer of Mr Adelson. “But he has decided that everything [sic] — no pun intended — trumps beating Hillary Clinton.” [FinancialTimes]

“Trump’s empty administration” by Darren Samuelsohn and Ben White: “Trump could still look to Wall Street for a Treasury secretary, perhaps from the private equity industry. A name often mentioned to replace Jack Lew is Blackstone Group Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman; a person close to Schwarzman described him as a “great choice” for Trump. Trump has also mentioned KKR co-founder and co-CEO Henry Kravis as a possible Treasury secretary. But Kravis, 72, has said he’s not interested.” [Politico]

“Financial Sector Gives Hillary Clinton a Boost” by Brody Mullins and Rebecca Ballhaus: “Even some donors who previously backed Mr. Trump have since changed their minds. Ralph Herzka, CEO and founder of the investment advisory firm Meridian Capital Partners, is among the couple hundred donors who have donated the maximum to Mr. Trump’s campaign, giving $2,700 late last June. He appears to have since soured on the real-estate billionaire, donating twice that amount to Mrs. Clinton in January—$2,700 for the primary, and another $2,700 for the general. Mr. Herzka declined to comment through a spokesman.” [WSJ]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Watch Scooter Braun Discuss Managing Justin Bieber And Working With Kanye West” [Fader] • “Israel to Extradite to U.S. Men Accused of Bank Hacks and Fraud” [Bloomberg] • “Midas touch gone, hedge fund industry’s influence may be waning” [Reuters] • “Madoff Sons’ Fight Over Cash Persists Years After Their Deaths” [Bloomberg• “Kushner, Pier Village restaurateurs locked in lease dispute” [NJ]

STARTUP NATION: “Delivering on economic prosperity in Israel: How monopolies are hampering the ‘start-up nation'” by Dany Bahar: “Deep reforms to further open the economy to foreign competition and fight crony capitalism are essential to deal with the monopolistic tendencies of the start-up nation and to put Israel back to an inclusive growth path. Yet the Israeli political system creates incentives for politicians to promote quick (and probably ineffective) fixes such as subsidies or tax cuts that might or might not ease the daily struggles of the middle class. But there is no way around it: in order to deal with the core of the problem, implementing structural—and possibly costly— reforms is the only solution.” [Brookings]

PROFILE: “Not your average Brooklyn hipster: Meet Meir Kalmanson” by Samara Abramson: “At first glance, you might think Meir Kalmanson is just another 25-year-old hipster filmmaker from Brooklyn. But if you take a closer look, you’ll find that he’s far from typical. Kalmanson was born into the Chabad Lubavitch movement.” [NewVoices]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “The Rabbis Are Here to Inspect the (Legal) Weed” by Rachel Abrams: “Vireo, a subsidiary of Vireo Health, is one of at least two companies aiming to sell kosher medical marijuana products like tinctures or cannabis oil. The Orthodox Union, one of the United States’ most prominent Jewish groups, gave its first medical marijuana certification to Vireo in January. Another company, Cresco Labs in Illinois, is in the final stages of getting certified from a local rabbinical organization.” [NYTimes]

DESSERT: “Kosher lettuce sprouts in the New Mexico desert” by Kevin Robinson-Avila: “Until now, the only country that produced commercially grown kosher Romaine lettuce was Israel, but not any more, thanks to a $20 million contract Preferred Produce south of Deming won in 2014. Preferred Produce founder and co-owner Matthew Stong began plans to rapidly ramp up operations to fulfill orders for $4 million in annual kosher lettuce sales to its East Coast distributor for the next five years. If the company meets those milestones, the deal will turn into a 40-year, standing contract for lettuce, plus some additional kosher products, including spinach, dill and strawberries, Stong said.” [AlbuquerqueJournal]

BIRTHDAYS: Vox founder Ezra Klein turns 32… Pianist, singer-songwriter, composer and one of the best selling recording artists of all time, Billy Joel turns 67… Nathaniel Rosen… Guitarist and record producer Steve Katz best known as a member of the rock-pop-jazz group “Blood, Sweat & Tears” turns 71… Director, producer and screenwriter James “Jim” Brooks (family name was Bernstein) turns 76… Mikhael Smits…

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