Daily Kickoff: Kushner shares his story in Forbes | 18-year-old Israeli raises $3.5M – led by Andreessen Horowitz | Meet Housparty, Ben Rubin’s latest

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Can Jared Kushner Be Loyal to His Father-in-Law and His Faith?” by Emily Jane Fox: “For a lot of the community, they think it’s a comfort,” the Kushner associate told me, to have Trump’s son-in-law in the inner circle. “They would say, though, that if they were to want anyone from our community in this role, Jared would not have been the first person they would have put on the list. . . . He would not be the guy where you’d be like, ‘Oh, thank God he’s there.’ He wouldn’t be a first- or second- or third-round draft pick.” Still, this person conceded the importance of having someone of their faith and background close to the president. “But, great,” this person continued, “we have someone there. It’s a comfort. He’s totally solid and fine.”

— “Susie Gelman, the board chair of the Israel Policy Forum, a nonpartisan group that has advocated for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… said that having a Jewish family member doesn’t predispose anyone toward supporting Israel or the Jewish community. “We have to judge the president-elect by his words and his deeds, not his family,” she said. “That he has Jewish members in his own family in no way exonerates him from speaking out vociferously on the kind of anti-Semitism we’ve seen throughout the campaign.”” [VanityFair]

FIRST LOOK: “Exclusive Interview: How Jared Kushner Won Trump The White House” by Steven Bertoni: “Kushner’s role expanded as the Trump ticket gained traction–so did his enthusiasm. Kushner went all-in with Trump last November after seeing his father-in-law pack a raucous arena in Springfield, Illinois, on a Monday night. “People really saw hope in his message,” he says. “They wanted the things that wouldn’t have been obvious to a lot of people I would meet in the New York media world, the Upper East Side or at Robin Hood [Foundation] dinners.” And so this Harvard-educated child of privilege put on a bright-red Make American Great Again hat and rolled up his sleeves.”

“The decision that won Trump the presidency started on the return trip from that Springfield rally last November aboard his private 757, dubbed Trump Force One. Chatting over McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, Trump and Kushner talked about how the campaign was underutilizing social media. The candidate, in turn, asked his son-in-law to take over his Facebook initiatives.”

— Kushner on his relationship with Gov. Christie: “Six months ago Governor Christie and I decided this election was much bigger than any differences we may have had in the past, and we worked very well together,” Kushner says with a shrug. “The media has speculated on a lot of different things, and since I don’t talk to the press, they go as they go, but I was not behind pushing out him or his people.”  Whereas Trump’s office is wall-to-wall Donald, a memorabilia-stuffed shrine to ego, the headquarters for the Kushner Companies is sparse and sober. A leather-bound copy of Jewish teachings, the Pirkei Avot, sits on a wooden pedestal in the reception room, and identical silver mezuzahs adorn the side of each office door.”

— “Kushner insists today that there will be no hate element in the Trump Administration, starting at the top. “You can’t not be a racist for 69 years, then all of a sudden become a racist, right?” he says. “You can’t not be an anti-Semite for 69 years and all of a sudden become an anti-Semite because you’re running.” His reaction to fringe elements, like the KKK and the white nationalist alt-right, who have embraced Trump? “Trump has disavowed their support 25 times… I don’t know if he could ever denounce them enough for some people.” Kushner’s support extends to Steve Bannon… “Do you hold me accountable for every single thing that the Observer’ s ever written, like they came from me?” Kushner says. “All I know about Steve is my experience working with him. He’s an incredible Zionist and loves Israel.”” [ForbesMag]

“Uncertainty Ahead for Health Insurer Started by Kushner’s Brother” by Rolfe Winkler and Anna Wilde Mathews: “For health insurance startup Oscar Insurance Corp., the election of Donald Trump could be a tough pill to swallow, complicated by ownership ties to the incoming administration that will put it under a bright spotlight. Josh Kushner, brother of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, is a co-founder… Oscar’s main business is now a question mark. Changes proposed by Republicans, including repealing the ACA, could dramatically shrink the individual insurance market, analysts said.” [WSJ

PROFILE — “Trump’s Original Four: The Staffers Behind His Historic Victory” by Jennifer Jacobs and Kevin Cirilli: “Asked to describe Michael Glassner, a 53-year-old Oklahoma native who grew up in Kansas, his coworkers used the same word: disciplined. He doesn’t raise his voice. He doesn’t drink alcohol. His escape is to go home to small-town New Jersey to see his wife and daughters, ages 12 and 14. He runs three to five miles on weekdays and 10 on Saturdays. His meals consist of a plate of asparagus or potatoes or some other pile of vegetables. “I’m a hamburger guy,” said Gigicos, whose office is next to Glassner’s on the 15th floor of Trump Tower. “He’s a vegetarian. We meet in the middle.”

“Glassner and Gigicos orchestrated Trump’s rallies, converting empty arenas into the made-for-TV spectacles that were the electricity of the campaign—and the one consistent strategy since the very beginning. Trump was at center stage, then Scavino amplified his message on social media. It was a new model for campaigns, said Glassner, who recalled the tediousness of organizing small events in all 99 of Iowa’s counties when he worked for Dole’s presidential campaigns in 1988 and 1996.” [Bloomberg]

TOP TALKER: “’Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President Elect” by Daniel Lombroso and Yoni Appelbaum: “After dinner, when most journalists had already departed, Spencer rose and delivered a speech to his followers dripping with anti-Semitism, and leaving no doubt as to what he actually seeks. He referred to the mainstream media as “Lügenpresse,” a term he said he was borrowing from “the original German”; the Nazis used the word to attack their critics in the press… The audience offered cheers, applause, and enthusiastic Nazi salutes.” [TheAtlantic]

— Even Trump, Spencer warned the white supremacist audience, has taken positions that are in his view too friendly to minorities and Jewish people… He said Trump “will be perhaps the most pro-Zionist president ever put in office,” citing his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, “which we should admit wasn’t actually that bad.”” [CNN

“D.C. restaurant apologizes after hosting alt-right dinner with ‘Sieg Heil salute’” by Justin Wm. Moyer:On Monday, Maggiano’s apologized, saying that it was “the inadvertent site” of the protest and that it closed the restaurant for the safety of its staff and guests. “This was a last minute booking made Friday afternoon, and the reservation was made under a different name, therefore we were not aware that NPI was dining with us or what the group represents,” Steve Provost, the president of the 51-restaurant chain, said in a statement posted to Facebook. The statement said Maggiano’s would donate $10,000, the profit from its Friday restaurant sales, to the D.C. office of the Anti-Defamation League, “which for decades has been working to bring people together in peace and understanding.”” [WashPost; Facebook

Trump’s spokesman Bryan Lanza: “President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected because he will be a leader for every American. To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds.”

Former ADL National Director Abe Foxman tells us: “President-elect Trump needs to specifically condemn and distance himself from the racism and anti-Semitism spewed there. If he takes the time and effort to personally criticize SNL or the “Hamilton” episode then certainly this event deserves his personal attention and voice.” [JewishInsider]

“The US Holocaust Museum Is Calling On Americans To Condemn Hate Speech” by David Mack: “The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words,” the statement read. “The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech.” [BuzzFeed; Politico]

“CNN Sees Twitter Backlash Over “If Jews Are People” Headline Crawl” by Jackie Strause:”The issue Twitter users had, however, was with the chyron at the bottom of the screen throughout the segment, which read: “Alt-right founder questions if Jews are people.” Politico’s Hadas Gold tweeted, “*pinches self* i’m real! i’m a person!” and The Hill’s Jordan Fabian shared a screen grab with the words, “Come on.” Another user posted: “Just b/c some idiot says it doesn’t mean you put it on the chyron.” Jake Tapper later commented on the chyron, calling it “unacceptable” and “abhorrent.”” [THR; Mediaite]

“Trump asks for media ‘reset,’ but lashes out at execs” by Hadas Gold: “Trump turned to NBC News President Deborah Turness at one point, the source said, and told her the network won’t run a nice picture of him, instead choosing “this picture of me,” as he made a face with a double chin… Other attendees at the meeting from Trump’s team included chief strategist Stephen Bannon, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, spokesman Jason Miller… He described the situation in Syria, according to the source, as “Holocaust-like” and was effusive in his praise of President Barack Obama, the source added.” [Politico; CNNMoney] • Donald Trump’s media summit was a ‘f—ing firing squad’ [NYPost]

“Trump Cancels Meeting With The Times” by Sydney Ember: “A planned meeting between president-elect Donald J. Trump and The New York Times appears to have fallen through, with Mr. Trump declaring on Twitter on Tuesday morning that he had canceled the gathering because the ground rules had been changed.  Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the paper was not aware the meeting was canceled until reading Mr. Trump’s tweets.” [NYTimes

TRANSITION TOWER: “Jeff Sessions’s ridiculous anti-drug crusade” by Tana Ganeva :“Nadelmann points to other worrisome signs. Both Sheldon Adelson and Mel Sembler, big GOP fundraisers who have thrown around their millions to thwart medical marijuana, are on Trump’s inauguration team.” [WashPost

INBOX — ZOA opposes possible appointment of Mattis as Secretary of Defense: “Mattis’s statements at a 2013 Aspen Institute conference were hostile to Israel, and revealed a lack of appreciation for and understanding of the extraordinary value to American security resulting from a strong American-Israeli alliance and a secure Israel… Mattis’s position thus also runs afoul of the 2016 Republican platform’s commitment to prioritize Israel’s security.”

“JPost Poll: Israelis don’t believe Trump will move embassy to Jerusalem” by Lahav Harkov: “About half of Israelis think Trump will not move the embassy, with 11% certain he will not and 38% thinking it is unlikely. Only 6% of respondents think Trump will definitely move the embassy to Jerusalem, and 32% think it is likely. The poll also found that more Israelis (44%) think Trump is a true friend of Israel than not (18%).” [JPost

“Bennett to Trump Aides: Don’t Rush to Adopt Two-state Solution as Official U.S. Policy Hardline” by Barak Ravid: “Education Minister Naftali Bennett met three members of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s team on Sunday and asked that the new administration not rush to embrace a two-state solution, but rather examine alternatives to the official American policy that prevailed during the Bush and Obama administrations. These meetings were probably what prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue a directive to his cabinet members on Monday not to hold direct talks with Trump’s team.” [Haaretz]

Gershom Gorenberg: “Israel should be very worried about President Trump: A U.S. administration that resonates with authoritarianism has much more powerful and strategically useful partners available — as Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin’s Russia shows. Israel can easily become an inconvenience.” [WashPost]

“Let’s Stop Shaming Trump Voters” by David Suissa: “We’re always talking about the danger of stereotyping people, whether they’re Muslim refugees from Syria or undocumented immigrants from Mexico. But when it comes to Trump voters, well, we seem to have no problem stereotyping away. It’s almost as if any Jew who voted for Trump must be anti-Jewish or devoid of Jewish values.”[JewishJournal

“Why Jews have a special obligation to resist Trump” by Jill Jacobs and Daniel Sokatch:“Half a century ago, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “Let us yield no inch to bigotry, let us make no compromise with callousness.” As leaders of Jewish organizations committed to human rights, we believe that if ever there were a moment to commit to making no compromises with callousness, that moment must be now.” [WashPost]

“New Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council Gears Up To Work With Trump Administration” by Antonia Blumberg: “A newly formed council of prominent American Muslims and Jews announced its formation this week in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s win. Spearheaded by advocacy organizations the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council wasn’t a response to the election outcome, said Robert Silverman, AJC director of Muslim-Jewish relations. In fact, he said, its been in a process of formation all year.” [HuffPost]

“Iran’s Guards using Trump victory to claw back power” by Parisa Hafezi: “Trump and the Islamic State militants were gifts from God to the IRGC,” said a senior official within the Iranian government, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity like other figures contacted within Iran. “If Trump adopts a hostile policy towards Iran or scraps the deal, hard-liners and particularly the IRGC will benefit from it.” [Reuters]

KING BIBI — Susan Glasser‏ tweets: “Milestone today: Netanyahu beats Ben-Gurion record as longest consecutive serving Israeli PM, 7 years and 236 days.” [Twitter; JPost]

**Good Tuesday 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
SPOTLIGHT:”Former Cablevision owners have gone from friends to foes” by Claire Atkinson: “Well, how’s this for awkward. Patrick Drahi‘s Altice Group, the $34 billion Netherlands-based telecom behemoth that bought Cablevision in June from the Dolan family, is headed for its first programming fee fight — and sitting across the negotiating table will be none other than Dolan family-controlled AMC Networks.” [NYPost]

“Paulson’s Big Long: A Bet on Trump Yields Power and Profit” by Joe Light: “With Trump’s victory, Paulson — a political donor and economic adviser to the president-elect — is already seeing a payoff. His funds have a stake in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, once virtually worthless, whose common-class shares have roughly doubled since Election Day… Paulson this year gave more than $330,000 combined to Trump’s presidential effort, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.” [Bloomberg

STARTUP NATION: “You rarely livestream, but 1M people livechill on Houseparty” by Josh Constine: “Built from the ashes of Meerkat, Houseparty is leading the charge for a new kind of synchronous social networking. It’s the closest thing to being with friends in person. Houseparty’s founder Ben Rubin told me he sees the app as the Internet’s living room. But that’s too solitary of a metaphor. The big differentiator from other group video apps like Google Hangouts is that you don’t have to request people to join you, like inviting them to your home. You just get online, and you’re instantly “in the house” partying with any other friends with the app open.” [TechCrunch]

“This 18-year-old (Israeli) just raised $3.5 million to help developers easily add capabilities to their apps” by Connie Loizos: “RapidAPI, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that enables developers to find, test, and manage many of the APIs they want to integrate into their apps, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding. The company is interesting for numerous reasons — not least of them its founder, Iddo Gino, an 18-year-old who was a high school senior in Haifa, Israel last year when he was “discovered,” so to speak. It happened at a local hackathon, where Gino caught the attention of Dov Moran.  The renowned Israeli angel investor provided Gino with some early mentorship, as well as $250,000 in seed money that Gino — who studied briefly at the public research institute Technion – used to move to the U.S. in January.” [TechCrunch; VentureBeat]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Ivanka Trump Volunteers With Children at Jewish Pre-Thanksgiving Homeless Event” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: In posts on Instagram and Twitter, the first daughter thanked the UJA-Federation of New York and Project ORE for allowing her to volunteer at a pre-Thanksgiving meal for the homeless with her two children… When asked whether Ivanka Trump had been specifically invited to the Project ORE event, a spokesman for Educational Alliance said that the organization could not comment on individual volunteers. In a statement, UJA-Federation said it could not comment on whether the organization knew in advance that Trump would participate. ” [Forward] Ivanka Trump splits personal, brand Twitter accounts [FC]

“Jewish Father, Daughter Leave Hershey Kisses at San Francisco Mosques” by Lisa Fernandez: “While the incidents of hate and harassment are being reported on a daily basis across the country as concern grows over the rise of white nationalism, there are small acts of kindness occurring, too. One such act occurred this Saturday when Zoe Sokatch, 11, of San Francisco, and her dad, Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, delivered Hershey kisses to the San Francisco Muslim Community Center on Mission Street.” [NBC]

SPORTS BLINK: Robert Kraft On Election, Giving Back For Thanksgiving: “It’s just a moment when we all step back and realize we’re living in the greatest country in the world, we have a lot to be thankful for, we just had a big election, and it’s an organized democracy where everyone can protest, do what they want but we’re free to do that and not second guess so I feel very fortunate to be in this country,” Kraft said. Kraft made the comments at the 23rd annual Thanksgiving basket event sponsored by the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries and Stop & Shop supermarkets.” [CBSBoston

BIRTHDAYS: Novelist and screenwriter, Roger L. Simon turns 73… Former President (1996-2010) of the 2.2 million member Service Employees International Union, now a senior fellow at Columbia University’s Richman Center, Andy Stern turns 66… Television personality with past shows on MSNBC, CNN and Bloomberg TV, formerly an advertising executive, Donny Deutsch turns 59… Senior editor and writer for The Daily Beast and columnist and editorial writer for the New York Daily News, Harry Siegelturns 39… Actress, model, singer and brand ambassador for Israel’s Sodastream home-carbonation company, Scarlett Johansson turns 32… Actor, who has appeared in films directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, the Coen brothers and Warren Beatty, Alden Ehrenreich turns 27… SVP of Development for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Tim R. Cohen… Chief of Staff of Israel’s Embassy in Washington, Yarden Golan… Marty Robinson… Manager of public relations, communications and media relations for theSkimm, Jessica Sara Turtletaub

 

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