Jul
13

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Daily Kickoff: Javanka land in Sun Valley amid anti-Trump tone | Greenblatt’s water deal | Zuckerberg’s road trip rules | Sam Altman’s United Slate

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SUN VALLEY 2017: “Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump to Attend Sun Valley Media and Tech Conference” by Brent Lang: “The pair will pay for their own travel to Sun Valley, Idaho, where the event is held. They will also pay for their accommodations… The annual conference is put on by Allen & Co., an investment bank with ties to Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and other industries. Warren Buffett, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, Snap chairman Michael Lynton, Viacom vice chairman Shari Redstone, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, and Discovery CEO David Zaslav are among the bold-faced names who have flocked to the resort.” [Variety] • Pics of attendees [DailyMail]

DRIVING THE CONVO: “The big talk this week is the presence of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump on the guest list. With kids in tow, the pair left DC amid the email scandal and arrived in Sun Valley on Wednesday afternoon. This has annoyed at least a few folks back at the White House, who chafe at the way Jared and Ivanka leave town in times of crisis. Last April, the pair were spotted in ski gear in Whistler (a JI scoop!) while the president and his aides were embroiled in leaks and infighting. Their trip this week has also raised eyebrows in Sun Valley, where some of the discussions on the first day had a distinctly anti-Trump tone…” [CNN]

HEARD EARLIER — “Media mogul Barry Diller on Trump: ‘I think it’s just a joke. Hopefully it will be over relatively soon.'” by Anita Balakrishnan: “He hasn’t done anything, really. I think it’s just a joke. Hopefully it will be over relatively soon,” Diller said. “It inexplicably began and it will inexplicably end.” The comment came in a wide-ranging interview with CNBC at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference in Idaho. Diller has been friendly with Trump family members Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner over the years, he said, but he added that he probably wouldn’t bring up issues from the current administration with them.” [CNBC]

“Another session that had people talking was this morning’s session where well-known hedge fund managers Stanley Druckenmiller and Baupost Group’s Seth Klarman told the executives that many people confuse the performance of the stock market with the health of our economy, but that is not necessarily a great indicator. “They gave out a lot of data and investment information about our economy and how to determine growth,” said one attendee. “It was great because they really spoke their minds.” The panel was moderated by The New York Times/CNBC journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin.” [Deadline

Sun Valley session today: King Abdullah II from Jordan will speak one-on-one with talk show host Charlie Rose.

Paging Amb. Dermer… “Amid the barbecues and cycling outings, investors on the guest list, including Warren Buffett, will have the opportunity to mingle with CEOs from America’s biggest companies and dignitaries such as Yousef Al Otaiba, United Arab Emirates ambassador to the U.S.” [Bloomberg]

TOP TALKER: “US anti-boycott laws could come into play in Qatar crisis” by Josh Lederman: “Under obscure tax and export provisions designed decades ago to protect Israel, U.S. companies can be punished if they accept a foreign country’s demand to comply with a boycott not supported by the United States… While President Donald Trump has voiced support for the Saudi-led bloc, the United States isn’t backing the Qatar boycott… That could put American companies in a difficult position, even if so far there haven’t been any public indications of Saudi Arabia or its allies issuing a Qatar-or-us ultimatum. Some groups, sympathetic to the concerns about Qatar, have been pressuring U.S. businesses to cut ties.”

“The Counter Extremism Project, which includes former Sen. Joe Lieberman and is run by former U.N. Ambassador Mark Wallace, sent letters to American Airlines and others warning them to stop dealing with Qatar earlier this month… Given Trump’s position on the crisis, it’s unclear if his administration would punish U.S. companies for cutting ties with Qatar.” [AP] • Qatar and its opposing quartet: What’s next in the standoff? [CNN]

“Iran’s Stature Grows as Rivals Quarrel” by Yaroslav Trofimov: “With regional heavyweight Turkey taking Qatar’s side, the collapse of the Sunni alliance isn’t the only good news for Tehran. The growing alienation between the Trump administration and European nations, particularly Germany and France, is also making any new concerted international effort to pressure Iran increasingly unlikely.” [WSJ]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Trump envoy mediates water deal between Israel, Palestinians” by AFP: “Jason Greenblatt hailed an “important step forward” in a wider regional water deal, as Israel announced it would provide more than 32 million cubic metres of water to the Palestinians annually. “Water is a precious commodity in the Middle East. The United States welcomes the agreement reached by the Palestinian Authority and the government of Israel which will allow for the sale of up to 33 million cubic metres of water from Israel to the PA,” Greenblatt said at a signing ceremony in Jerusalem.” [DailyMail

 “At a joint press conference in Jerusalem, Greenblatt adamantly refused to take any questions regarding his bid to relaunch peace negotiations.” [ToI]

KAFE KNESSET — Peace talks in the fall — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Kafe Knesset has learned that the POTUS special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, who is on his sixth visit to the region this week, said in some of his meetings that the plan and goal is to renew the process in the fall. Greenblatt has reiterated time and again that Palestinian economic prosperity is high on the US agenda and is crucial for building trust between the sides. He refused to take any questions about the process this morning during a special press conference convened today to announce a new Israeli-Palestinian water agreement, but he did stress that the water agreement is “an example of what can be achieved when the sides work together” and reminded that “President Trump has clarified that promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace is one of his highest priorities.”

At Wednesday’s press conference, when Kafe Knesset asked both sides what lessons could be learned from the successful dialogue on water to promote the political process between Netanyahu and Abbas, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi did give “my dear friend Jason” one piece of advice: “The discrete nature of the negotiations and contacts is one of the secrets of our success. It ensures that it is more serious and that we are not dragged into other issues.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset, including how Bibi’s friends are dropping like flies amid the corruption scandals, here[JewishInsider]

In a statement responding to the House Armed Services Committee’s amended National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2018 budget, the White House suggested that an additional $558 million for Israeli missile defense funding was a “misuse” of funds: “Misuse of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Funds: The Administration is concerned by the use of OCO funds for items not related to contingency operations, including an additional $558 million for Israel missile defense funding. The bill also proposes using OCO to fund additional end strength, ships, and homeland defense. Funding these enduring requirements in OCO would complicate the funding stability for associated outyear costs and runs contrary to the purpose of OCO.” [WhiteHouse] • Congress plans to debate the NDAA today [CSPAN]

TAYLOR FORCE ACT — Senators Demand Action on Palestinian Terror Payments — by Aaron Magid: During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing yesterday, Elliott Abrams testified in favor of the Taylor Force Act while former Ambassador Dan Shapiro urged the bill to be amended. One proposal floated by Shapiro was to add a national security waiver — similar with the six-month waiver on moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — that would allow President Donald Trump to waive the requirement of cutting off aid if viewed as appropriate. In response to a suggestion by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) about possibly shifting assistance to non-governmental organizations or peace projects, Abrams expressed skepticism. “If the penalty for spending money on terrorists is well it goes from box one to box two, that’s not much of a penalty. I think Palestinians need to be told: this has got to stop.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): “People sense weakness. Cut it all. Cut every last penny of it. Restart it when they (PA) change their behavior.” Paul also suggested that it’s up to Israeli lawmakers to take the first step. “If the Knesset can’t even withhold the tax money… what kind of message are we sending?” he asked. “If the Knesset is listening to us, for goodness sake you have got to do at least that first step.”

Ranking Democrat Ben Cardin (D-MD) expressed disappointment that no representative of the Trump administration was present at the hearing to offer the executive branch’s view on this legislation. [JewishInsider]

Noah Pollak, advocating in favor of the Taylor Force Act, emails us… “The hearing showed that a bipartisan consensus exists for addressing the problem of Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists. Having spoken to members and staff we are increasingly confident a strong bill will be approved out of committee with bipartisan support. ”

ANOTHER TRUMP WALL? “Trump lawyers want wall between Kushner, president” by Jonathan Swan: “President Trump’s outside legal team wants to wall off Jared Kushner from discussing the Russia investigation with his father-in-law… Members of Trump’s legal team — which is led by longtime Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz, and includes conservative legal firebrand Jay Sekulow — are trying to cloak their startling demand with the two-word message to Kushner: Nothing personal… Members of Trump’s legal team are frustrated that Kushner has been discussing the investigation with the president, according to the sources.” [Axios

“With Glare on Trump Children, Political Gets Personal for President” by Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman: “[Jared] Kushner, colleagues say, has kept up a regular work schedule, meeting on Wednesdaywith Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, to discuss the administration’s impending moves on trade. He is also in touch with Jason D. Greenblatt, Mr. Trump’s Middle East envoy, who is in Israel for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders… Colleagues of Mr. Kushner said he had remained focused and upbeat despite the drumbeat of negative headlines — a trait they ascribe to his experience dealing with the legal troubles of his father, Charles Kushner, who was convicted of tax evasion and witness tampering.”[NYTimes]

ICYMI: “‘Jared Kosher’: Fox News Ticker Misidentifies Jared Kushner” [DailyBeast]

COLLISION: “Trump helicopter accident kept under wraps” by Emily Smith: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were initially rumored to have been aboard at the time, but Trump insiders denied they were involved.” [NYPost

“Democrats clamor for Jared Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked” by David Smith, Sabrina Siddiqui, Ben Jacobs and Amanda Holpuch: “Norm Eisen, the former ethics tsar in Barack Obama’s administration, told the Guardian on Wednesday: “Given the nature of the meeting… I think, certainly, the security clearance should be re-evaluated. One must balance the principle of innocent until proven guilty with the less prudential standards that go into giving a security clearance…” On Capitol Hill, Democratic senators were happy to talk about Kushner. Connecticut’s Chris Murphy…  said: “I don’t know why Jared Kushner still has a job… He watched his father-in-law go on TV and say, ‘No one in my campaign talked to the Russian government.’ He knew that was false.” … New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich… was terse when asked about his role as one of the president’s top advisers. “Then he should act like a senior adviser,” Heinrich said.”[Guardian]

NORM VS. ALAN — Norm Eisen tweets with about recent Alan Dershowitz Op-Ed about the need to investigate if meeting with Russian lawyer was illegal: “There is much in this Alan Dershowitz piece that I agree with. Note that he’s (slowly!) coming around to possibility crimes were committed.” [Twitter]

Dershowitz: “I’m happy Norm Eisen is slowly coming to my view: we shouldn’t rush to yell “lock her/him up” unless clear breach found of existing statute.” [Twitter

“Photo surfaces of evangelical pastors laying hands on Trump in the Oval Office” by Sarah Pulliam Bailey: “Photos of the gathering were posted by Johnnie Moore, who handles media relations for several pastors and ministries… Moore said that many of these leaders are in regular communication with the White House, including with [Jared] Kushner… He said many of the leaders there are hoping the White House will appoint someone to become an ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, a position that was held by Rabbi David Saperstein until Trump took office.” [WashPost

2020 WATCH: “Sanders won’t take 2020 presidential bid ‘off the table’” by Ben Kamisar: “I am not taking it off the table, I just have not made any decisions. And I think it’s much too early,” [Bernie Sanders] said in an interview set to air Thursday morning with SiriusXM Progress’ “Make it Plain with Mark Thompson.” “Our job right now is… to take on all of [President] Trump’s reactionary proposals … There’s a whole lotta fights that we have to fight. It is just too early to be talking about an election 3 1/2 years from now.” [TheHill

SPOTLIGHT: “Mark Zuckerberg Hits the Road to Meet Regular Folks—With a Few Conditions” by Reid J. Epstein and Deepa Seetharaman: “Mr. Ball said Mr. Zuckerberg’s representatives instructed them not to relay verbatim quotes from their discussions with him if asked by reporters… Despite his world-wide fame, Mr. Zuckerberg isn’t always recognized by his surprise hosts. In June, he attended an Iftar dinner in Minneapolis. Mr. Zuckerberg arrived after the prayers and the other people in the room, who were mostly refugees from Somalia, didn’t know who he was, said attendee Mohammed Jama… The Zuckerberg entourage, which can be up to eight people, includes a professional photographer. His aides said there is no prohibition against others snapping pictures… As Mr. Zuckerberg was leaving, he made one request, Mr. Moore (a Democratic union steelworker who was a volunteer for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign) said. “He said, ‘If there are any news reporters that call you, just make sure you tell them I’m not running for president.’” [WSJ

“With the United Slate, Sam Altman presents a political vision for California… and the U.S.” by Jonathan Shieber: “As the country grapples with income inequality, a lack of affordable housing, and a potential labor crisis brought on by technological advancements like artificial intelligence and automation, Y Combinator president Sam Altman is launching a new initiative to try and create political solutions in his home state and potentially the nation. The new initiative, which Altman launched today, is a combination of a political platform and a call for candidates that the 32-year-old tech millionaire can support in their bids for governor, lieutenant governor, and Congress.” [TechCrunch]

** Good Thursday 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: David Einhorn’s Hedge Fund Sheds More Than $400 Million in Investor Outflows [WSJ] • Hedge fund titan Paul Singer scores big win after NRG Energy surges 25% in single day [CNBC] • AstraZeneca’s CEO Soriot to join Israeli drugs company Teva: report [Reuters] • Kushner’s Co. rushin’ to sell two buildings in Brooklyn Heights [NYPost] • Robert Kraft, Fred Wilpon among six owners to buy into new esports venture Overwatch League [ESPN] • Mystery of Bob Iger’s Sun Valley absence solved [NYPost] • WeWork has a new COO, Jen Berrent [TechCrunch] • New Lloyd, Same Goldman: The CEO survived the financial crisis and then cancer. Now he’s pushing a bold commitment to trading that’s out of favor in the industry. [Businessweek]

“Hungary to take down controversial Soros posters” by Lili Bayer: “Hungary’s government will take down controversial posters featuring U.S. financier George Soros, Hungarian online news portal Index reported Wednesday… In its justification for ending the campaign, the government said it had originally planned for the campaign to end on July 15.” [Politico

WATCH — Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon tells Christiane Amanpour Netanyahu should condemn Hungary: “We have to distinguish. On the Hungarian case, the ambassador was very right (in criticizing the government). What is going on in Israel with the money of George Soros actually delegitimizing the state of Israel as a Jewish state is a different story… You know, when it comes to anti-Semitism, we should be on a very clear side to defend Jewish people, including George Soros.” [CNN]

“Israel Seeking Saudi Flight Agreement to Bring Pilgrims to Mecca” by Jonathan Ferziger and Yaacov Benmeleh: “Israel is trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to allow it to send special Hajj pilgrimage flights to Mecca… “Reality has changed,” Kara said in an interview this week at his office in Jerusalem. “This is a good time to make the request, and I’m working hard on it.” … Kara said he’s spoken to government officials in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries about the Hajj plan and they’re “ready to do it, but it’s very sensitive and it’s still a matter of negotiation.” [Bloomberg]

Bipartisan Letter Demands Answers on Bob Levinson — by Aaron Magid: Nearly two dozen lawmakers led by Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) published a letter to President Donald Trump imploring the White House to increase diplomatic efforts to secure the release of U.S. citizen Bob Levinson detained in Iran for ten years. “We request that you reengage with Tehran and make it clear that continued delay in returning Bob… is another obstacle Iran must overcome if it wants to improve relations with the United States,” they wrote. Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council, declined to respond to Jewish Insider’s request for comment on the White House’s efforts to secure Levinson’s release or his current medical condition in Iran. [JewishInsider]

“Alan Gross, after spending 5 years in a Cuban prison, is starting over in Israel” by Ron Kampeas: “Gross, 68, wanted to tell me his news: He and his wife, Judy, had made aliyah… “It came through on May 3, which is Golda Meir’s birthday, and a day after my birthday, which is also Herzl’s birthday,” he said. “It was long overdue. I’d been going there for more than 40 years, and I’d worked in Israel and around the region.” … As a contractor who worked in development, Gross was especially busy in Israel and the Palestinian areas working on joint Israeli-Palestinian development after the launch of the Oslo peace talks in 1993. “I was in Israel probably 60 times before I made aliyah,” he said. Alan and Judy Gross live in Tel Aviv… Gross could not pinpoint a time he started thinking about making aliyah. “I can’t say Cuba had anything to do with it,” he said. “I don’t think my Jewish background had anything to do with my treatment.”” [JTA]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Accusations and Rancor as Elite School’s Leader Departs” by Kate Taylor: “The dispute comes down to a meeting between them on Oct. 20… During the meeting [Jessica] Bagby mentioned that two parents had contacted her with concerns about the Conversations About Race program. She then asked [George] Burns, “You know what the problem here is?” When he asked what it was, he wrote, she said… apparently referring to the parents who had complained, “It’s the Zionists — the Jews.” Mr. Burns wrote that he was stunned and told her that there were plenty of Jewish families who supported the program and families of different backgrounds who opposed it. Mr. Burns said she then made an additional comment about “this group of Jewish parents” who were complaining about the program.” [NYTimes]

“Sheldon Silver’s 2015 Corruption Conviction Is Overturned” by Benjamin Weiser: “In vacating Mr. Silver’s conviction, the appellate court cited a United States Supreme Court ruling last year involving Bob McDonnell, a former Republican governor of Virginia, that narrowed the definition of the kind of official conduct that can serve as the basis of a corruption prosecution. Prosecutors may retry Mr. Silver, a 73-year-old Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan who served for more than two decades as Assembly speaker.” [NYT]

“H.L. Mencken’s Cultured Pearl to return for candidate’s campaign launch” by Sarah Meehan: “The smell of red onions sauteing over a gas stove wafted through Nate Loewentheil’s house on Patterson Park as he and his father, Stephan Loewentheil, prepared a second batch of “Marvelous Marty’s Mexican Chili” on Monday morning… Loewentheil, 31, is running for a spot representing Maryland’s 46th District in the state House of Delegates during next year’s midterm elections. He most recently served as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and a senior policy adviser at the National Economic Council, where he led the White House task force on Baltimore. He holds both a bachelor’s degree and law degree from Yale University.” [BaltimoreSun]

BIRTHDAYS: Teacher for 27 years in the Los Angeles United School District (1964-1991), president of the San Fernando Valley Council of NA’AMAT USA, Zita Gluskin turns 91… Scottsdale, Arizona resident, Howie K. Kipnes turns 78… One of the highest box-office grossing actors ever, his maternal grandmother was Anna Lifschutz, a Jewish immigrant from Minsk, he is best known as the title character in the Indiana Jones film series, Harrison Ford turns 75… Radio and television talk show host, co-host of “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN since 2001 with Michael Wilbon, former sportswriter and columnist for The Washington Post, Anthony Irwin “Tony” Kornheiser turns 69… Director of governmental and regulatory affairs for Calpine Corporation’s East Region (Calpine is an operator of 83 electric power plants), Stuart Widom turns 60… Manager of institutional affairs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Jennifer Rebecca Goodman Lilintahl turns 37… Co-founder and COO of Bubby, a tech enabled yenta-like matchmaking app, previously an official at AIPAC and AJC Global, Sarah Persitz turns 32… Co-founder and president at Time Flash, a digital time capsule service, Jared Kash turns 24… Founding Partner and CEO of Trinnacle Capital Management, Eric Kohlmann Kupper… Louis Panzer

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Jul
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Daily Kickoff: Trump upset with Kasowitz who’s annoyed with Kushner | Tom Friedman on Israel-Diaspora relations | The Durst app editing NYC’s skyline

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TOP TALKER: “Rancor at White House as Russia Story Refuses to Let the Page Turn” by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman: “Three people close to the legal team said [Trump] had also trained his ire on Marc E. Kasowitz, his longtime lawyer… Mr. Trump, who often vents about advisers in times of trouble, has grown disillusioned by Mr. Kasowitz’s strategy, the people said. The strain, though, exists on both sides. Mr. Kasowitz and his colleagues have complained that Mr. Kushner has been whispering in the president’s ear about the Russia investigations and stories while keeping the lawyers out of the loop… The president’s lawyers view Mr. Kushner as an obstacle and freelancer more concerned about protecting himself than his father-in-law, the person said. While no ultimatum has been delivered, the lawyers have told colleagues that they cannot keep operating that way, raising the prospect that Mr. Kasowitz may resign.” [NYTimes] • Trump’s Russia Lawyer Isn’t Seeking Security Clearance, And May Have Trouble Getting One [ProPublica]

“The view in Kushner’s orbit is that the brutal new revelations are more P.R. problems than legal problems. And if he makes progress with his Middle East peace efforts, perceptions would be very different.” [Axios]

“Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation” by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon: “Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016… Kushner’s “role as a possible cut-out or conduit for Moscow’s influence operations in the elections,” including his niche overseeing the digital operations, will be closely looked at, said the source knowledgeable about the Justice Department inquiry.” [McClatchyDC]

“New details emerge on Moscow real estate deal that led to the Trump-Kremlin alliance” by Michael Isikoff: “[Rob] Goldstone also said that Ivanka Trump flew to Moscow in 2014 and met with Emin Agalarov, the oligarch’s son, a pop singer and a vice president of the Crocus Group, to identify sites for the project. Confirming Goldstone’s account, Mother Jones late Tuesday published a photo of Ivanka Trump and Emin Agalarov in Moscow in Feb. 2014. Trump “put Donald Jr. in charge and then Ivanka went to Moscow to look around for what the location would be,” Goldstone said. But the plans for a Trump Tower fell apart because “the economy tanked in Russia’’ after the imposition of Western sanctions, he said.” [YahooNews] • Inside the Semi-Secret Life of Rob Goldstone, the Playboy Who Could Bring Down Trump [DailyBeast]

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Sean Hannity during his opening monologue on Fox News, which had more viewers than typical due to Donald Trump Jr’s guest appearance: “Democrats and the MSM are hysterical over the story.. But they have completely ignored an example of actual election interference, and I would argue probably because it involves a Democrat… If you are really interested in election interference, why didn’t you care that a congressional investigation found in 2014 an Israeli political group used a $300,000 Obama State Department grant to create a political apparatus to try and defeat our ally, our friend, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?” [Video]

“A Trump World Whodunnit As Allies Wonder: Who Is Going After Don Jr.?” by Adrian Carrasquillo and Tarini Parti: “Others have eyed Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner as a possible culprit. Kushner, who has been under scrutiny for reportedly trying to create a backchannel for communications between Russia and the Trump campaign… has sought to distance himself from the meeting since it became public… But even as those close to Trump try to figure out who leaked the information, they continue to defend Trump Jr… “Is it problematic? Sure, from a PR point of view,” [Sam] Nunberg said. “But it isn’t the Kremlin. Is it evidence that they colluded? No.”” [BuzzFeed]

Lee Zeldin: “I voted for POTUS last Nov. & want him & USA to succeed, but that meeting, given that email chain just released, is a big no-no.” [Twitter]

“Trump Jr. just defined ‘disgraceful’” by John Podhoretz: “At the moment, the only person who might be in some legal jeopardy as a result of the meeting is Kushner, who did not mention the meeting on the form he filled out to secure a security clearance (called an SF-86)… But we know Trump Sr. has knitted his children into every aspect of his professional life. In other words: The President whose daughter took his seat at the G-20 conference and who wants his son-in-law to negotiate a Middle East peace is the same man whose son took a meeting with someone he had been led to believe was a Putin cut-out to procure information that would destroy Hillary Clinton.” [NYPost

PALACE INTRIGUE: “‘Category 5 hurricane’: White House under siege by Trump Jr.’s Russia revelations” by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker: “The makeup of Trump’s inner circle is the subject of internal debate, as ever. Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser; Jared Kushner, her husband and another senior adviser; and first lady Melania Trump have been privately pressing the president to shake up his team — most specifically by replacing Reince Priebus as the White House chief of staff… Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman, said in a statement on behalf of Kushner and Ivanka Trump: “Jared and Ivanka are focused on working with Reince and the team to advance the President’s agenda and not on pushing for staff changes.””[WashPost

SPOTLIGHT: “Sheldon Adelson: Playing To Win” by Wesley G. Pippert and Nadine Epstein: “Adelson is now Israel’s most powerful media mogul, but can he transfer that magic to the United States? Several years ago, Adelson joked before an audience at an Israeli-American Council conference in New York that buying The New York Times would be the most efficient way to influence U.S. dialogue about Israel. He noted how difficult that would be given the paper’s two classes of ownership and that the buyer would have to “pay significantly more than it’s worth.” These remarks may have been tongue-in-cheek, but in late 2015, Adelson did, in fact, make a move to become a player in U.S. media… In a secret deal, he bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal, paying significantly more than it was worth.”

“Rumors are now circulating of a possible rift between Adelson and Netanyahu. Some say that the Adelsons are disappointed by what was recorded on the leaked tapes… Others say that the Adelsons, who have always been to the right of Netanyahu, suspect that the Prime Minister asked Trump to postpone the embassy move. Word has it that Israel’s far right also believes Netanyahu is holding up building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and has not adopted a tough enough stance on the two-state solution.” [MomentMag]

HAPPENING NOW: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing on Senator Lindsey Graham’s Taylor Force Act, legislation that would cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority if they continue their policy of paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their family members – Watch live here [Livestream]

“It’s Time for the U.S. to Stop Paying for Palestinian Terrorism” by Sander Gerber and Noah Pollak: “The bill’s opponents tend to be drawn from a narrow elite of peace-process careerists in the United States and Israel for whom defending the status quo has become a matter not just of professional self-interest, but of personal vanity… As a matter of realpolitik, the United States should not provide aid that undermines our interest in peace and stability in the Middle East and that sends mixed signals to the world about our tolerance for terror.” [TabletMag]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “‘Israel committed to curbing WB construction’” by Elior Levy: “Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt told a Palestinian delegation in Jerusalem Tuesday that Israel had committed to slowing down the pace of construction in the West Bank during peace negotiations, according to a report published in the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat. After the report was published on Wednesday morning however, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement flatly denying the claim: “There is no such commitment,” the statement read.” … Senior Palestinian officials said that they had been informed by the American envoy that Trump will ask both sides to enter into negotiations without preconditions on final status issues.” [Ynet

State Department confirms Israel takes Trump’s concerns about settlements into account — by Aaron Magid: The Israeli government has “implemented a policy” that takes President Donald Trump’s concerns about settlement construction “into account” despite the recent announcement that it advanced plans on 800 homes in Jewish areas of East Jerusalem, a State Department spokesman said  yesterday. Edgar Vasquez, a spokesman for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, added in response to a question about whether the East Jerusalem construction plan was considered restrained, “I’m not going to get into characterizing every announcement.”

State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert: “I think that is something that is still under review – as you know Mr. Greenblatt and Mr. Kushner have made many trips there – so I’m going to just defer to them on that issue.” [JewishInsider

“Under Trump, settlements are no longer the obsessive center of attention” by Raphael Ahren: “This new wind from Washington is clearly being felt by the Palestinians. Tactically determined for the time being to stay on the president’s good side, they have dropped the demand for a settlement freeze as precondition for talks without much arm-twisting… The Europeans have not adopted Trump’s more tolerant stance on settlements, still adhering to their traditional opposition to any Israeli building outside the Green Line. However, their formulaic responses to Israeli announcements of settlement expansions appear to have softened.” [ToI]

“Expansion plan highlights crowded West Bank city’s plight” by Aron Heller and Mohammed Daraghmeh: “After an uproar by Israeli settler leaders, the government appears poised to cancel the move — a decision that could upset nascent U.S. efforts to restart peace talks… As the West Bank’s most densely populated Palestinian city, Qalqiliya has been eagerly awaiting implementation of the Israeli plan that would allow it to double its size by expanding into land that has until now been off-limits…. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the pro-settler Jewish Home Party, said he expects the plan to be rejected when it comes up again for a vote.” [AP

HEARD YESTERDAY — Nauert commented on Friedman joining the meeting with Palestinian negotiators — Question: In the past, the meetings with the Palestinians did not include the American ambassador to Israel. It’s been like a protocol. Has there been, in your view, a downgrading of your view of the Palestinian Authority, or is this just something – because it has not been done since, like the ’90s? Nauert: “So I would say it’s, in fact, the opposite, not a downgrading but perhaps even an upgrading.”[JewishInsider]

IRAN DEAL: “Europe Wary as U.S. Scrutinizes Iran Nuclear Deal” by Laurence Norman: “European officials have remained publicly upbeat about the U.S. remaining a party to the deal, but diplomats privately voice serious concerns about where the U.S. review is headed. They say Washington is providing little feedback, has given no firm end-date for the review and hasn’t made clear who is shaping the process. European officials still believe the Trump administration won’t abandon the nuclear deal, but many fear Washington will keep it under a rolling review…. U.S. officials said Washington has informed allies about the basic parameters of the review…” [WSJ

ON THE HILL — “McConnell Nixes Part of Senate Vacation to Deal With Backlog” by Andrew Taylor: “”Yeah I was going to Israel with a bunch of new members but I guess I’m not now,” remarked Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.” [AP

“Lawmakers press Trump to appoint liaison to Jewish community” by Summer Park: “It is more important now than ever before that we redouble our efforts for this critical cause,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) told The Hill. “I strongly support the appointment of a liaison to the Jewish community, which is why this letter was sent to the president.” … “Our government must remain acutely aware of the diverse needs facing the Jewish community,” Rep.Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), another signatory, told The Hill… Nadler said the Trump administration had already experienced “far too many hiccups vis-à-vis the Jewish Community.” [TheHill

** 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: Sources: Gary Cohn is Trump’s top candidate to replace Yellen at Fed [Politico] • One Game Warren Buffett Doesn’t Play: Chicken. Elliott Management says it is planning to counter Berkshire’s $9 billion bid for Energy Future [WSJ] • Billionaires Head to Sun Valley to Discover the Next Megdeal [Bloomberg] • Kushner Mall Deal Was Rushed Through, New Jersey Residents Tell Judge [Bloomberg

STARTUP NATION: “The Lemonade insurance social experiment results in $53K donation in year one” by John Mannes: “Lemonade aims to donate unclaimed premiums to charity once a year in a “Giveback” to discourage fraud… Lemonade founder Daniel Schreiber has a term for the evils many of us succumb to when filing claims with our home insurers — letting the devil loose… Schreiber is the first to say that the idea for a Giveback wasn’t about being generous — it’s business. During an interview, he recalled two Lemonade customers who have called to voluntarily return money given to them for stolen goods that were ultimately recovered.” [TechCrunch

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Israel to American Jews: You Just Don’t Matter” by Thomas Friedman: “To the casual observer, Israel has never looked more secure and prosperous. Its Arab neighbors are in disarray. Iran’s nuclear program has been mothballed for a while. The Trump team could not be friendlier and the Palestinians could not be weaker. All’s quiet on the Tel Aviv front. Look again. In fact, the foundations of Israel’s long-term national security are cracking… Netanyahu is setting himself up to be a pivotal figure in Jewish history — the leader who burned the bridges to a two-state solution and to the Jewish diaspora at the same time… Runaway Jewish nationalism threatens to meld Israel with the Palestinians in the West Bank, while runaway Orthodox politics threatens to disconnect Israel from its most committed supporters.” [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET — Bibi’s favorite bill slows down — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The nation-state bill is on the agenda again, with a special committee led by Likud MK Amir Ohana set up to work on it. On Monday, Netanyahu said that the committee will help fast-track the bill, which he has vocally supported. However, Ohana said today that he spoke to the Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon, and that it won’t be possible to pass it in a first reading before the Knesset summer session ends in two weeks. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, a Netanyahu ally and major proponent of the bill, said Yinon is just trying to block the bill from passing. Opposition MKs said Netanyahu only wants to accelerate the legislative process to distract from his other problems – the submarine probe, or concerns about Gabbay’s meteoric rise in the polls. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “Israel’s former defense minister thinks Netanyahu will be indicted” by Andrew Carey and Mick Krever: “Too many issues are under investigation,” Moshe Ya’alon told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview set to air Tuesday night. “I believe that at the end we will witness indictment.” … In response to Ya’alon’s comments to CNN, an official in the Prime Minister’s Office said: “Mr. Ya’alon’s allegations are baseless. Unfortunately, he has turned political differences into a smear campaign against the Prime Minister… The Prime Minister is guided by one overriding consideration: ensuring the security of Israel.” [CNN

“George Soros upset by ‘antisemitic’ campaign against him in Hungary” by AFP: “I am distressed by the current Hungarian regime’s use of antisemitic imagery as part of its deliberate disinformation campaign,” the 86-year-old said in a rare statement… Soros, who has dual Hungarian-American citizenship, said he was “heartened that together with countless fellow citizens the leadership of the Hungarian Jewish community” have spoken out. Earlier on Tuesday his spokesperson Michael Vachon called the campaign “reminiscent of Europe’s darkest hours” with “clearly antisemitic overtones.” [Guardian]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Friends in High Places: Secret App Makes Manhattan Skyscrapers Change Color” by Rachel Louise Ensign and Liz Hoffman: “The app is the brain­child of Mark Domino, a digi­tal-me­dia artist who built “mul­ti­sen­sory mu­si­cal in­stru­ments” while a stu­dent at Brown Uni­ver­sity. He is the son-in-law of Dou­glas Durst, the real-es­tate ty­coon whose fam­ily com­pany, the Durst Or­ga­ni­za­tion, owns the two mid­town of­fice tow­ers. Mr. Domino works as di­rec­tor of digi­tal me­dia at Durst.” [WSJ

COMING SOON: “Steven Spielberg subject of intimate HBO documentary” by Nick Romano: “On Tuesday, HBO announced Spielberg, directed and produced by Emmy-winning documentarian Susan Lacy, which will chronicle the titular director’s ascent from a “bittersweet childhood” to his historic moviemaking career. Lacy filmed 30 hours of interviews with Spielberg, who discussed topics like his long obsession with film, his early works as a TV “wunderkind,” his string of blockbusters and more dramatic works, and his personal and professional relationships. The doc also pulls from interviews with Spielberg’s family, friends, and colleagues, as well as clips and behind-the-scenes footage from his filmography… Spielberg will premiere on HBO on Saturday, Oct. 7.” [EW

BIRTHDAYS: Former US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council (1969-1972), senior partner for more than twenty years at the NYC law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, Rita E. Hauser turns 83… Former congressman (R-Oklahoma-5) (1977-1993), he was a founding trustee of the Heritage Foundation and national chairman of the American Conservative Union, Marvin Henry “Mickey” Edwards turns 80… Former executive director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, Dan Botnick turns 79… Canadian journalist, public speaker, feminist and social activist, she is the author of three bestselling books, Michele Landsberg turns 78… Member of the Florida House of Representatives (2005-2013), Franklin Sands turns 77… Bestselling author, screenwriter, and playwright, sister of the late Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron turns 73… Professor of religion at the University of Vermont, he was an advisor to Bernie Sanders on his 2016 presidential campaign, as an undergrad at Yale his roommate was Joe Lieberman, Richard Sugarman turns 73… Co-founder of Imagine Entertainment, his films and TV series have been nominated for 43 Academy Awards and 131 Emmys, Brian Grazer turns 66… Executive Director of Newton, Massachusetts-based Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, focused on children with special educational needs, Arlene Remz turns 62…

Billionaire, born in Ukraine, living in London, co-owner of the Midland Group with holdings in steel, shipping, real estate, agriculture and sports, Eduard Shifrin turns 57… Israeli journalist, television presenter and politician, mother of eight children, she served as a member of Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party (2009-2013), Anastassia Michaeli turns 42… Chief news anchor of the Israeli commercial Channel 2 prime time news program, she has interviewed both Presidents Bush (43) and Obama, Yonit Levi turns 40… Senior White House reporter for Politico, Edward-Isaac Dovere turns 37… Partner in the Des Moines-based public relations firm AdelmanDean Group, Liz Rodgers Adelman turns 36… Rena Meira Rotter turns 28… SVP at DC-based government relations and public policy firm of CRD / Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis, Jennifer Leib… Ben Birnbaum

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Daily Kickoff: Meet Avi Gabbay | Ya’alon predicts Bibi will be indicted | Amb. Friedman meets Palestinian negotiators | WeWork’s new $20B valuation

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KAFE KNESSET — Meet Israel’s Macron: Avi Gabbay — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Last night, hundreds of Labor party activists gathered in Tel Aviv to witness the results of the party’s leadership runoff. Activists broke out in tears of excitement as Avi Gabbay’s victory was announced, chanting the Hebrew word “Mahapach” – which has no exact English equivalent but means something between a turnaround and a revolution.

Gabbay came from a humble background, growing up in Jerusalem with seven siblings, and moved up the corporate ranks to become CEO of Israel’s biggest telecom company, Bezek. He helped Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon found the Kulanu party, and was appointed Environmental Protection Minister without being an MK. When Netanyahu appointed Liberman as Defense Minister, Gabbay resigned from the government in disgust.

From Labor’s point of view, Gabbay’s ascent is revolutionary: Gabbay, a capitalist businessman and corporate manager, is miles away from the Labor party’s traditions and roots in socialism. Gabbay joined the Labor party only six months ago, but he succeeded in defeating the highly experienced and skilled apparatus of his rival, Amir Peretz. He promised to lead the party to “a dawn of a new day.” But there is still a long path until Gabbay rebuilds the Labor party to the level that it could be considered a real alternative to Netanyahu and the Likud. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

HOW IT PLAYED: “Israeli Labor Party Tries a New Leader: Gabbay, Self-Made Millionaire” by Isabel Kershner: “Avi Gabbay, a relative novice in Israeli politics… became the chairman of the center-left Labor Party… The Labor Party has not won a general election in 18 years… But the extraordinary rise of Mr. Gabbay, 50, is expected to breathe new life into the historic but diminished Labor movement… Isaac Herzog, the departing Labor chairman who won the party 24 seats in the last election to the Likud’s 30, was knocked out last week in a first round of voting. Some in the party have described the shake-up as “electrifying.”” [NYTimes] • Avi Gabbay hailed as ‘Israel’s Macron’ after Labour leadership win [Guardian]

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour tweets: “Netanyahu’s former defense minister, Bogie Ya’alon, predicts Bibi will be indicted. “Too many issues are under investigation,” he tells me.” [Twitter• Ya’alon’s interview with air at 9PM Israel time on CNN International

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL EMAILS… “Today in Jerusalem Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, accompanied by U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome, introduced Ambassador David Friedman to members of the Palestinians’ senior negotiating team. They had an open, cordial, and frank discussion on many topics related to peace negotiations. The Administration believes that in order to give everyone the best chance to reach an ultimate deal, it is critical to have negotiators that are close with the President and that is why the team includes Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman.” [JewishInsider]

“In Rare Move, U.S. Ambassador to Israel joins Trump Envoy in Meeting With Palestinians” by Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury: “Haaretz has learned that during Trump’s meeting in Bethlehem with Abbas a month and a half ago, Trump asked his advisers why Friedman was not part of the meeting… After that meeting, Trump instructed the policy be changed so that Friedman will attend the meeting with the Palestinians if need be.” [Haaretz]

Former Ambassador Martin Indyk tells us… “I believe Trump is serious about getting the ‘ultimate deal,’ but this incident probably says more about his lack of familiarity with the existing diplomatic protocols. Nevertheless, If Greenblatt wants Friedman on his team, he should have him. It’s good for the Palestinians to hear Friedman’s perspective which is informed by his knowledge of the Israeli side. But then by the same token Greenblatt should have the Consul General Doug Blome on his team and in meetings with Israeli negotiators. That way the Israelis could gain the benefit of his knowledge of the Palestinian side.”

GREENBLATT’S ISRAEL TWEETS: “This 17 Tamuz, I stand @ the Kotel before annual commemoration of destruction of Jerusalem & 1st/2nd Temples. I pray for peace here for all. Tonight I’m also praying for the Goldin, Shaul, Mengistu, al-Sayed & Abu Ghanima families.” [Twitter]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “Donald Trump Jr. Has Hired A Lawyer Who Has Handled Organized Crime And Cybercrime Cases” by Zoe Tillman: “Donald Trump Jr., under scrutiny amid revelations that he met last year with a Russian lawyer, has hired a New York criminal defense attorney with a practice that’s included high-profile organized crime and cybercrime cases. Alan Futerfas runs a small law firm in New York that focuses on white collar investigations and prosecutions… His clients have included… an Israeli man who was one of several defendants charged in a massive hack of consumer data from JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions.” [BuzzFeed

TOP TALKER: “Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign” by Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker, Adam Goldman and Maggie Haberman: “The email to the younger Mr. Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting… Mr. Goldstone’s message… indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information… Alan Futerfas, the lawyer for the younger Mr. Trump, said his client had done nothing wrong but pledged to work with investigators if contacted. “In my view, this is much ado about nothing. During this busy period, Robert Goldstone contacted Don Jr. in an email and suggested that people had information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front-runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia,” he said to The Times in an email on Monday… Representatives for Mr. Kushner referred requests for comments back to an earlier statement, which said he voluntarily disclosed the meeting to the federal government.” [NYTimes] • Rob Goldstone: who is the man who set up Trump Jr’s meeting with a Russian lawyer? [Guardian]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Jared Kushner Tried and Failed to Get a Half-Billion-Dollar Bailout From Qatar” by Ben Walsh, Ryan Grim and Clayton Swisher: “Throughout 2015 and 2016, Jared Kushner and his father, Charles, negotiated directly with a major investor in Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, known as HBJ for short, in an effort to refinance the property on [666] Fifth Avenue… HBJ ultimately agreed to invest at least $500 million through Al Mirqab, on the condition that Kushner Companies could raise the rest of a multibillion refinancing elsewhere. The negotiations continued long after the election, carried out as recently as this spring by Charles Kushner.” [TheInterceptBloomberg]

Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) tells JI’s Aaron Magid…“These guys are pretty new to the business so we don’t have to look for nefarious motives but I think it is critical that we better understand their finances. That’s been one of the problems all along.”

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV): “I think the committee will see all of this so it will all be revealed and we’ll see. I am very concerned about that. It’s extremely troubling.”

“Qatar crisis: Can Rex Tillerson fix this mess?” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “Even if Qatar agrees to tone down al-Jazeera programing and stop funding and hosting unfriendly Islamists, Doha won’t abandon its independent foreign policy nor cut ties with Iran, with whom it shares a huge natural gas field. Tillerson may end up in a truly thankless spot. If he fails in his first highly personalized diplomatic role, the media will hammer him as will his boss if he pushes the Saudis too hard. If he succeeds, the US might end up with a temporary fix that could easily come undone.” [CNN]

“Trump Aides Recruited Businessmen to Devise Options for Afghanistan” by Mark Landler, Eric Schmitt and Michael Gordon: Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon… and Jared Kushner… Mr. Feinberg, whose name had previously been floated to conduct a review of the nation’s intelligence agencies, met with the president on Afghanistan, according to an official… Mr. Kushner has not staked out as strong a position, one official said. But he, too, is sharply critical of the Bush and Obama strategies, and has said he views his role as making sure the president has credible options.” [NYTimes]  

“Comey friend: No memos given to me were marked classified” by Jake Tapper: “The Columbia University Law School professor and confidant of former FBI Director James Comey refuted a charge by President Donald Trump and his advocates in the media Monday: that Comey shared classified information with journalists. “No memo was given to me that was marked ‘classified,'” Daniel Richman told CNN… “The substance of the memo passed on to the Times was not marked classified and to my knowledge remains unclassified.”” [CNN]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Prof. Alan Dershowitz on Fox Business Network: “I think President Trump is making the same mistake that his critics make. A, he is rushing to judgment whether something is illegal, and, second, he is trying to criminalize political differences. He doesn’t like Comey. Nobody likes Comey, the Democrats don’t like him, the Republicans don’t like him. But I’m not so sure that what he did was illegal. We have to know the facts.” [FoxBusiness]

ON THE HILL — Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday during a hearing on the Taylor Force Act. Also testifying at the hearing is Elliott Abrams. Shapiro recently co-authored a Foreign Policy article where he argued against a complete cut off of US economic aid to the Palestinian Authority. “The legislation also contains no exception for humanitarian assistance. In the case of another conflict with Hamas in Gaza, the United States would be prevented potentially from providing basic foods, medicine, blankets, and shelter for the thousands of Palestinians — many of them children — who would be homeless,” Shapiro wrote with former Obama administration official Ilan Goldenberg.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who introduced the legislation, touted Wednesday’s hearing as a significant advancement for the bill’s passage. “I want to thank Chairman Corker for bringing the Taylor Force Act up for consideration. I urge my colleagues to swiftly approve this bill so we can get it passed and signed into law,” Graham said in a statement yesterday.

TRANSITION: President Donald Trump announced yesterday the nomination of Lewis Eisenberg as U.S. Ambassador to Italy. Eisenberg headed the Republican National Committee’s joint fundraising operations with the Trump campaign. He will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

IRAN SANCTIONS BILL: “Trump Admin. Lobbied Lawmakers to Weaken Russia Sanctions” by Andrew Desiderio:“A top Treasury Department official met with House leadership staffers and committee aides last Thursday to discuss changing a key component of the [Iran-Russia sanctions] Senate bill… The official, John E. Smith, the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees the implementation of foreign sanctions, met last Thursday with staff from the offices of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, as well as the Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees.” [DailyBeast]

HEARD YESTERDAY – WH Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short at the daily press briefing: “The administration’s perspective is that we support the sanctions in the bill on Russia and Iran. Keep in mind, it’s initially an Iran bill for which there is a Russia sanctions amendment. The administration is fully supportive of those sanctions. What our concern is, that the legislation we believe sets an unusual precedent of delegating foreign policy to 535 members of Congress by not including certain national security waivers that have always been consistently part of sanctions bills in the past… And by stripping that away from the executive branch, we think the way it’s currently drafted is something that neither a Democrat nor a Republican administration could support.”

“Jason Kander lost a big Senate race. In today’s Democratic Party, he’s still a rising star” by Ben Terris: “Jason Kander doesn’t feel like a loser… “The party is yearning to figure out its next-generation leaders,” said Brian Fallon, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign spokesman… And Kander has raised his profile so much since the election that many have been wondering whether he might be better off than had he won. “I don’t know about that,” said Abe Rakov, Kander’s former campaign manager and longtime political guru. “But from his personal perspective, he is happier than I’ve ever seen him. He’s fighting the battles he wants to every day and doesn’t have to do some of the things he’d have to had he won.”” [WashPost

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: WeWork Hits $20 Billion Valuation In New Funding Round [Forbes] • Paul Singer to challenge Warren Buffett on acquisition for Oncor’s bankrupt parent, Energy Future Holdings [NYPost] • Norman Pearlstine Is Retiring From Time Inc. [AdWeek] • 26-Year-Old’s Stock-Picking Game Acquired By Jon Steinberg’s News Network Cheddar [WSJ] • Indiana Lands Israeli Plastics Supplier’s First U.S. Production Facility [BusinessFacilities• Manischewitz Co. to cut 169 jobs, close plant in Newark [NJBiz] • Israel is getting serious about opening up the high-tech market to domestic investors [CNBC• Toyota leads $14 million funding round for Israel’s Intuition Robotics [ReutersCNBC]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Entrepreneurs Are Betting on a Billion-Dollar Future for Hemp” by Kate Krader: “[Dan] Dolgin was a veteran of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center, both in D.C., before he got burned out on government jobs. He’d been working on cybersecurity projects in New York when he met [Mark] Justh. “I grew up as a Jewish kid on Long Island,” Dolgin says. “I like the idea of making an impact in a depressed New York community, and of looking at agriculture in a new way. We began to consider hemp. Because of my regulatory background, I knew how government works—and doesn’t work.””[Bloomberg

TALK OF OUR NATION: “In Search of the Origin of the Jews” by Benjamin Balint: “While many remain wary of a “racialized understanding of Jewishness associated with Nazism,” [Steven] Weitzman writes, in recent years DNA research has largely confirmed much of what Jews have believed: “that they have an ancestry distinct from that of the non-Jews among whom they live, and that some of those ancestors came from the Near East.” At the same time, Mr. Weitzman acknowledges the obvious limits of such an approach: “Geneticists will always need to rely on nongenetic evidence—written texts, oral traditions, interviews with subjects about who they are and where they come from—to turn data into a coherent account of the past.”” [WSJ

“An avalanche of hate: How a Montana mom became the target of a neo-Nazi troll story” by Mallory Simon and Sara Sidner: “For three months, packed luggage sat on the floor of [Tanya] Gersh’s home. She debated fleeing, to escape what felt like an army of online hate coming after her… The Daily Stormer published more about Gersh and her “Jew agenda,” once with a doctored photo showing her and her tween son on the gates of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz… A tweet to her 12-year-old son had an image of an oven with the message: “PSsst kid there is a free X-box inside this oven.” Gersh thinks she will always be haunted by those images, and by the family talks she was forced to have… “I never imagined that I would have to teach my children that they might be hated because they are Jewish,” she says.” [CNN]

“The Foolhardy Crisis With U.S. Jews That Threatens Israel’s National Security” by David Makovsky and Dov Zakheim: “Aid to Israel is not automatic; it has required wide American public and bipartisan support to sustain it over time. American Jews have been instrumental in securing Congressional support for over $100 billion in past U.S. assistance… apart from the new ten year commitment of $38 billion… One cannot assume that such support is a given in the years ahead. Challenges unanticipated today could put considerable strain on the U.S.-Israel relationship. To add to that strain religious issues of access and conversion is nothing less than foolhardy, especially given the ongoing attenuation of American Jewish ties to Israel amid a generational decline in affiliation to Jewish institutional life.” [Haaretz] • Israel’s envoy in NY says Jewish state neglecting Reform, Conservative [ToI

–Counter-view: “Who Are We to Tell Religious Jews What to Do at the Western Wall?” by Irit Linur [Haaretz]

“A Muslim and a Jew urge the Supreme Court to strike down the Muslim ban” by Zev Yaroslavsky and Salam Al-Marayati: “Muslims and Jews together are derived from the stock of Abraham. Drawing on our shared roots, we look on with trepidation at the risks facing our country. The Supreme Court’s decision on the legality of the travel ban will not just be a holding on an administrative matter, but a stress test of the integrity and resilience of America’s democratic institutions.” [LATimes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Man on verge of death saves himself by jumping into safe” by Amanda Woods, Dennis A. Clark and Natalie O’Neill: “The man had just finished installing the heavy vault at the Rabbinical College Yeshiva of Machzikai Hadas in Borough Park… when it suddenly tipped over. The unidentified worker narrowly avoided being flattened like a matzo when he scooted into a gap left by the 2,500-pound safe’s hatch and wound up sitting unharmed inside, police sources and witnesses said.” [NYPost

MEDIA WATCH: “Reporter who broke Chicago Dyke March story removed from reporting duties” by Ben Sales: “Gretchen Rachel Hammond, an award-winning reporter for the Windy City Times, a Chicago LGBT newspaper, has been moved full-time to the paper’s sales desk as of Monday. Hammond was the first to report that three women were kicked out of the Chicago Dyke March, an LGBT parade on June 24, for carrying rainbow flags emblazoned with Jewish stars… Hammond confirmed that she is no longer reporting for the paper, but declined to say whether she was moved because of her coverage of the Dyke March… The paper’s publisher, Tracy Baim, confirmed that Hammond had been moved, but would not elaborate.” [JTA]

COMING SOON: “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Announces Season 9 Return Date” by Sopan Deb: “On Monday, HBO announced some pretty, pretty good news for fans of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — an Oct. 1 premiere date for Season 9. It will be the first episode of the series, in which the misanthropic comedian Larry David plays a lightly fictionalized version of himself, since the Season 8 finale in Sept. 2011… Jeff Garlin, who plays Mr. David’s agent; JB Smoove, who plays Leon, the freeloading and promiscuous friend Mr. David never asked for; and Susie Essman, Mr. Garlin’s wife on the show, are all expected to return.” [NYTimes

DESSERT: “Restaurant Puts the Spotlight on Middle Eastern Dumplings” by Front Burner: “In Melanie Shurka’s hands, the dumplings are mostly based on a Kurdish style served in Israel — round and looking something like a matzo ball with dough made from bulgur wheat, rice or chickpeas and filled with lamb, beef or vegetables. At Ms. Shurka’s West Village restaurant, decorated with Middle Eastern artifacts, the kubeh are served in richly satisfying vibrant broths.” [NYTimes

“Food company busted for selling phony ‘kosher’ cheese to kids” by David Li: “A Canadian food company was ordered to pay more than $19,000 for selling cheese falsely labeled kosher to Jewish youth campers, authorities said Monday. “We’re very pleased and gratified that the Canadian justice system was diligent in prosecuting this crime,” Richard Rabkin, managing director of kosher certifying agency the Kashruth Council of Canada (COR), told The Post on Monday. “It was a milestone, a first and we hope the last.” [NYPostCBC]

BIRTHDAYS: Ukrainian-born, moved to Chicago when he was 15 years old, computer scientist and internet entrepreneur, CEO of the digital lending start-up Affirm and former chief technology officer of PayPal, Max Levchin turns 42… IRS Commissioner during the JFK and LBJ administrations (1961-1964), founding member of prestigious tax law firm of Caplin & Drysdale, Mortimer Caplin turns 101… Harvard’s long time history professor whose focus was Russia and the Soviet Union, Richard Pipes (and father of Daniel Pipes) turns 94… Professor of Humanities at Yale and noted literary critic, Harold Bloomturns 87… Professor of Social Sciences emeritus at Harvard, he has written many books on Japan, China and Asia generally, Ezra Feivel Vogel turns 87… Co-founder and chairman of Odyssey Investment Partners, previously EVP of GE Capital Corporation (1990-1993), Stephen Berger turns 78… Member of the UK’s House of Lords since 1997 and the leading fundraiser for the British Labour Party from 1994 to 2007, formerly PM Tony Blair’s special envoy to the Middle East, Baron Michael Abraham Levy turns 73… 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 69… 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 Schnurturns 68… Founder and current president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which is headquartered in Chicago and Jerusalem, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein turns 66… Managing Member at Samuel Capital Management, Barry Mannis

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, known by his stage name “RebbeSoul,” Bruce Burger turns 60… Former CEO and president of Bloomberg L.P. (2008-2014), now CEO of Sidewalk Labs, he is married to Alisa Robbins Doctoroff, Daniel L. Doctoroff turns 59… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party since 2015, now serving as Deputy Environmental Protection Minister, Yaron Mazuz turns 55… Born in Marrakesh, Morocco, he is presently commander of the IDF’s Southern Command, Major General Shlomo “Sami” Turgeman turns 53… Member of the Editorial Board at the New York Daily News and author of a book on the outsized influence of the US Chamber of Commerce, Alyssa A. Katz turns 49… 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 47… Consultant focused upon social impact strategies, previously COO of the DNC, chief strategy officer at Share Our Strength, and director of community relations at the NBA, Joshua D. Wachs turns 46… Founder and CEO of Wisconsin-based Good Karma Brands, he is the son of Mel Karmazin (former CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio and Viacom), Craig Karmazin turns 42…

Screenwriter, known for The Green Hornet (2011), 50/50 (2011) and Bad Sports (2013), Theodore Bressman turns 33… Legislative Director for Representative Tim Ryan and former Fellow at the American Jewish Committee, Anne Sokolov turns 32… as does her twin sister Kate Sokolov (daughters of shopping mall executive Rick 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 31… Los Angeles-based Group EVP of Public Relations for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel, Laurie Goldberg… Director of community relations in the office of Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Celine Mizrahi… Principal at Cleveland-based Willoughby Union Point Associates and EVP at Omni Group Development Company, Bryan Stone… Matthew J. Rosenbaum… Chabad rabbi at Washington University in St. Louis and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Rabbi Hershey Novack… Jeffrey Maas… Harvey Mamon

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