Aug
28

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Daily Kickoff: Nikki Haley to State Dept, Dina Powell to UN? | David Remnick on “Fauda” | Inside the Solidaire network | Javanka repelled by DC elite

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THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Exiles on Pennsylvania Avenue: How Jared and Ivanka Were Repelled by Washington’s Elite” by Sarah Ellison: “When I asked a longtime associate how Jared and Ivanka felt about their time in Washington, the first word uttered was “sacrificial.” It’s clear that, after an initial period of awe at the sheer power of their positions, Jared and Ivanka have been stung by the vitriol directed at them… “I haven’t had anything to do with them since they moved,” said one New York friend… When they lived in New York, Kushner used to remind Ivanka that “we’re in the zoo, but let’s try hard not to be part of the animals.” He often would add, “You want to be watching.” The friend noted that Kushner has traded up into a higher-powered circle: “He is rolling with the prince of Saudi Arabia and not the real-estate guys anymore.”

“Politics is new to Jared and Ivanka, but it isn’t just politics that they are navigating. They are in a new town that “punctures their self-esteem on a daily basis,” a New York friend of theirs told me. They know they can never have their New York life back as it existed before Donald Trump started his campaign, nor do they want to give up the power of their current positions in Washington. The future unfolding before them looks nothing like the future they may have imagined five years ago. Ivanka may be disingenuous when she says she “didn’t ask for this,” but she is right to say that she didn’t ask for this—that is, for the actual situation in which they find themselves: powerful, in a sense, and yet ineffectual; emotionally essential to Donald Trump, but lacking the skills to assist; impossible to fire and reluctant to leave; compromised ethically and perhaps legally; and facing reputational or familial harm no matter what they decide to do.” [VanityFair

SPOTLIGHT: “The Trouble With Ivanka’s Business Partner” by Ben Schreckinger: “[Ivanka] Trump’s relationship with [Moshe] Lax and the mountain of legal and financial troubles—reported here for the first time based on dozens of interviews and public records—raise serious questions about the first daughter’s judgment, even as she continues to serve as a powerful White House adviser… In March, Trump’s company announced it was discontinuing the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry line to focus on a mass-market collection, leaving the current status of her business relationship with Lax unclear. Until his LinkedIn profile was taken down this week, it listed him as the current chairman of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.” [PoliticoMag; PageSix

JI INTERVIEW: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) discussed President Trump’s response to the Charlottesville protests and his expectations of Trump fulfilling his campaign promises in an interview with JI’s Jacob Kornbluh. “There is no moral equivalency between people who associate themselves with the KKK and Nazism and those who are opposed to individuals who associate themselves with the KKK and Nazism,” Zeldin said with regards to Trump’s ‘both sides’ remark. “I condemn completely, in the strongest possible terms, anyone who in any way, shape, or form at all associates themselves with the evil bigotry, intolerance, and evil connected to the KKK and Nazism, and the President is in a unique role to play as President of the United States to be able to lead our nation in healing a divide that in many respects he inherited.”

Responding to Bret Stephens’ recent NYTimes’s op-ed, in which he questioned why Trump’s Jewish supporters are still sticking with him after failing to follow through on key promises, Zeldin emphasized: “There’s a lot of very positive victories that have taken place already that Trump’s political opposition refuses to acknowledge because they have pledged to resist, oppose, and obstruct this president on anything and everything saying you can’t work with the president ’cause if you work with him, you’re legitimizing his presidency. I don’t believe that the Iran deal should be recertified. I also believe that the President is going to move forward with his commitment to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the administration is stating that it’s not a matter of if but when, and hopefully, that is done sooner rather than later.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

JERUSALEM EMBASSY UPDATE: “Trump team, Netanyahu renew talks on US embassy move to Jerusalem” by Raoul Wootliff: “During that meeting (between Kushner and Netanyahu), the embassy move “was brought up by both sides as part of a productive broad conversation about a number of issues,” a US source familiar with the discussions said Sunday… “Needless to say, the administration’s policy is ‘when not if,’” the source added… A source in the Prime Minister’s Office… confirmed that the issue was discussed but, like their US counterparts, declined to comment on the details of the conversations.” [ToI]

ICYMI: Netanyahu told visiting Republican members of Congress earlier this month that the embassy relocation ‘could easily be done.’ [JewishInsider]

DEAL, ULTIMATELY: “In effort to revive peace talks, US asks PA to halt diplomatic offensive against Israel” by Daniel Siryoti and Erez Lin: “According to the Palestinian official, the Trump administration intends to formulate a diplomatic plan of action that will include a set timetable for the parties to discuss most of the conflict’s core issues. As stated, the administration has conditioned its efforts on the Palestinians’ “silence” on the diplomatic front against Israel. Abbas agreed in principle to Kushner’s request, but asked for Trump’s personal guarantee and commitment to the plan and the two-state vision. Kushner and Abbas decided that Trump and the PA president would meet at the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this coming September, and that during that meeting the U.S. president will promise to present the American road map for peace currently in the works… The Palestinian source told Israel Hayom that a meeting between all three leaders in New York was a possibility.” [IsraelHayom

“White House Official: Kushner Never Said Settlement Freeze Will Topple Netanyahu” by Amir Tibon: “A senior White House official strongly denied on Saturday a report in Arab newspaper al-Hayat which said that Jared Kushner… told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel will not be asked to freeze settlement building because that could lead to a breakdown of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. “This is nonsense. This comment was never made.”” [Haaretz]

“Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Push Is Going Nowhere. That’s Why Israelis Love It” by Benny Avni: “Past American administrations jumped into the peace process pool before checking if there’s any water in it; we jumped after them and cracked our heads,” Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul general in New York, told The Daily Beast. He commended Kushner’s go-slow approach, saying, “Perhaps he’ll realize there’s no water in this pool, and so there’s no reason to jump in.” [DailyBeast]

REPORT — Netanyahu said set to meet Trump in the US in September: “The two are scheduled to meet on September 17 in New Jersey, likely at Trump’s National Bedminster Golf Club.” [ToI]

KAFE KNESSET — UN Chief on 3-Day Visit to Israel — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Israel yesterday for his first visit to the region. His first meeting was last night at the King David Hotel with Jason Greenblatt who stayed in Jerusalem over the weekend after Jared Kushner’s visit last week. A senior Israeli official told Kafe Knesset that while Secretary Guterres “respects the US lead in the peace process and has no intention of replacing it, he wants to be involved in the process and help with whatever assistance he can.” The Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts are at the top of Guterres’s agenda for the trip, but Jerusalem has other plans and other burning issues to discuss. “The most pressing problem, the most important thing is Hezbollah and Syria,” PM Netanyahu told Guterres at the opening remarks of their meeting in the PMO. The PM raised Israeli discontent with the UNIFIL’s poor performance in south Lebanon (a cause which was recently embraced by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, as well) and continuing the campaign against Iran’s growing presence in Syria. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here[JewishInsider]

“Hezbollah: Iran’s Middle East Agent, Emissary and Hammer” by Ben Hubbard: “While Hezbollah has extended its regional reach, it has made its greatest foreign investments — and paid the highest costs — in Syria… Its leaders have portrayed the war as a conspiracy by Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia to use extremists to destroy Syria and weaken the pro-Iranian axis in the region. This, in their view, makes their intervention an extension of the “resistance” against Israel. But that argument falls flat for many in the region, who see a military force built to fight Israel turning its guns on fellow Muslims… Hezbollah went to Syria aware that if Mr. Assad fell, it would lose its only Arab state sponsor and the weapons pipeline from Iran. So Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, consulted with officials in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and they made a commitment to back Mr. Assad.” [NYTimes]

FOGGY BOTTOM, ROCK BOTTOM: “Rex Tillerson says Trump ‘speaks for himself’ on values” by Anne Gearan: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has become the latest and highest-ranking administration official to distance himself from President Trump, saying in a Sunday interview that the president “speaks for himself” in his response to racial hatred and violence.”[WashPost]

“Trump frustration with Tillerson rising fast” by Jonathan Swan: “President Trump has been growing increasingly frustrated with his Secretary of State… Tillerson’s jaw-dropping comments on TV today will likely only worsen their relationship…  We’ve been hearing for weeks, from sources who’ve spoken to the president, that Trump is getting more and more fed up with Tillerson, who has still yet to staff his agency.” [Axios]

One possible scenario for replacing Tillerson: “U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley moves to Foggy Bottom. Then Deputy Secretary National Security Adviser Dina Powell could be promoted to Haley’s job in New York, where Powell’s family lives.” [Axios]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Trump confronts unprecedented public rebuke by Gary Cohn after Charlottesville” by Damian Paletta and Philip Rucker: “Privately, a White House official said, Trump was furious about Cohn’s public airing… On Wednesday evening, Cohn complained loudly about Trump while dining with friends at a Long Island restaurant called the Frisky Oyster. Cohn explained to his companions — in a loud voice overheard by others — that he had to be careful not to give Trump too much lead time about some new ideas because the president could disclose the information prematurely and upend the planning process… “Until [Friday] morning, Gary Cohn was the overall front-runner, in my determination,” to be the nominee for Fed chair, said Alan Blinder, a former Fed vice chairman. “I don’t think so anymore.”” [WashPost

“Sebastian Gorka Is Forced Out as White House Adviser, Officials Say” by Maggie Haberman and Matt Stevens: “The White House, seeking to blunt Mr. Gorka’s claim that he had resigned, put out an unattributed statement saying that he no longer works in the administration, but that he did not resign.” [NYTimes]

“Gorka comes to defense of McMaster over stance on Israel” by Michael Wilner: “I’m not here to feed stories of palace intrigue – I hate that, and I’m still loyal to the president and his agenda,” Gorka said. But “I have never heard Gen. McMaster say things that are anti-Israeli. I’ve never heard that.” [JPost

IRAN DEAL: “If Report Says Iran Is Abiding by Nuclear Deal, Will Trump Heed It?” by Gardiner Harris: “A spokesman for AIPAC… refused to answer questions about whether the organization now wanted it scrapped. Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies… said he did not want the deal summarily scrapped… “I’ve shared these ideas with senior people in the administration, and I think there’s an openness to look at a third way,” he said… Simply pulling out of the deal, Mr. Dubowitz said, “would allow Iran to play the aggrieved victim and alienate the Europeans.” The importance of decertification, he said, is that it would help “to build a rap sheet” against small Iranian violations… But Aaron David Miller… called Mr. Dubowitz’s strategy a “Trojan horse that unwinds the deal.” “ [NYTimes• White House ‘pressuring’ intelligence officials to find Iran in violation of nuclear deal [Guardian]

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: Gillibrand talks anti-BDS bill at a town hall in Kingston: “I will protect your free speech rights to the end of the Earth, you will never have to buy something you don’t want to,” Gillibrand remarked, in response to a question about the Israeli boycott bill, intended to impose sanctions to corporations who support international coalitions against Israel… “There has been grave concern about that bill, until they fix it, I will not be on that bill,” she said. Gillibrand also said that she does not believe corporations should have free speech, because they are not people.” [MidHudsonNews]

Rep. Zeldin tells us… “I would encourage any of the Democrats who have withdrawn support to seriously reconsider getting back into the ‘yes’ column because it is a huge concern for our students on college campuses who are being exposed to anti-Semitism and hate through the rising tide of the BDS movement. It’s really important to combat the rising tide of anti-Semitism and BDS around our country for this legislation to pass.”

2020 WATCH: “As Trump struggles, some Republicans talking 2020 challenge” by Steve Peoples and Thomas Beaumont: “[Mark] Cuban… sees an opportunity for someone to take down the Republican president, who is increasingly viewed as divisive and incompetent even within his own party. “His base won’t turn on him, but if there is someone they can connect to and feel confident in, they might turn away from him,” Cuban told The Associated Press. “The door is wide open. It’s just a question of who can pull it off.”” [AP

LongRead: “Cash, Speed, and Trust: A Bay Area–based network of wealthy progressives is testing a new model for funding the resistance: Give fast and get out of the way” by Lauren Smiley: “For the Solidaire network and its founder—a 34-year-old oil heiress and newcomer to San Francisco named Leah Hunt-Hendrix—the Krasner primary proved that relatively small amounts of money can have a big impact if given to an on-the-ground organization with deep local ties. Solidaire has 150 members across the country, many of them young inheritors of wealth like Hunt-Hendrix.. A major part of Solidaire’s mission is to rapidly—meaning within days or even hours—fund frontline organizers of the left. In a time when a vast majority of American philanthropy goes to elite universities, hospitals, and foundations (that is, entities that are already pretty rich), Solidaire instead funnels money to organizations that either have little access to capital or are deemed too risky and too radical by most philanthropists.”

Overlap with George Soros: “Solidaire has up to 20 overlapping members with the Democracy Alliance, Soros’s secretive national network of super-donors committed to giving at least $200,000 a year to liberal causes. But Solidaire skews younger, has a lower giving threshold at $50,000 a year.”

Leah’s upbringing: “Hunt-Hendrix makes for an unlikely radical. She is the granddaughter of H.L. Hunt, the billionaire wildcatter of the East Texas oil fields, and among the country’s wealthiest individuals when he died in 1974, a few years before Leah was born. Leah [Hunt-Hendrix] and her five siblings grew up in two cultures: listening to Anita Hill and Gloria Steinem speak at salons convened in their family’s Fifth Avenue home, then spending summers in Dallas at their grandparents’ white-colonnaded estate, Mount Vernon… Heading back to Manhattan for high school… she started to look askance at the Upper East Side charity galas, observing that the elite didn’t seem so much empowered by their money as enslaved to appearing ever richer. “Charity” was aimed at being a palliative to the poor, who remained poor.”

“Turned off, Hunt-Hendrix set off to study politics at Duke and then went on to a PhD program at Princeton, where Cornel West was one of her advisers. Studying in the Middle East during grad school, Hunt-Hendrix was invigorated by the weekly Palestinian protests of the West Bank wall from 2006 to 2009. “That’s when she changed,” Hunt recalls. “That’s when Leah saw what could happen when people rose up.” (At the same time, Hunt was herself growing more radicalized: She was arrested for the first time in her life, on the lawn of the Bush White House, in a 2008 Iraq war protest.).” [SanFranciscoMag]

** Good Monday 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 **

FIRST LOOK: “How Do You Make a TV Show Set in the West Bank?” by David Remnick: “When [Lior] Raz and [Avi] Issacharoff were interviewed by Dan Senor, a former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, at an AIPAC convention in Washington, D.C., they were cheered like rock stars on a triumphant tour… Raz is taking one meeting after another in Hollywood, and Yes has received a stack of offers from abroad to remake “Fauda” in different languages and settings: in Afghanistan, on the front lines of the Mexican drug trade, in operations against an American white-pride group. Raz is counting on moving his family to Hollywood soon. The “Fauda” cast, too, is relishing its emergence from obscurity. Hisham Suleiman, who plays the lead terrorist in “Fauda,” has become a celebrity at home and beyond…. When I was in Tel Aviv, he visited the city market and the evening news showed footage of him being applauded, complimented, kissed. “It’s crazy,” he told me. “This happens wherever I go!”

“Issacharoff met Raz when they were both young and hanging out in the same bars in Jerusalem. In an early episode of “Fauda,” one of the soldiers in the unit has a love affair with a bartender, who is later killed in a suicide-bombing attack. The episode is dedicated to Iris Azulai, who was Raz’s girlfriend when he was in the Army. “She was my first love,” Raz said. “She was one of the most beautiful women in Jerusalem, an amazing person. I’d been so insecure. I couldn’t believe she’d date me. All my self-confidence in life came from her.” One October morning in 1990, in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, a young Palestinian, Amir Abu Sarhan, a resident of a village near Bethlehem, attacked Azulai, yelling “Allahu akbar! ” as he stabbed her to death with a fifteen-inch knife. She was eighteen. An off-duty police officer heard the screaming, drew his gun, and shot the Palestinian to wound him. He hit him in both legs. But, when the officer came over to arrest him, Sarhan had the strength to pull another knife and stab him to death.” [NewYorker

“Israelis log out of high-tech jobs for a life offline” by Delphine Matthieussent: “[Dotan] Goshen, a graduate of Israel’s prestigious Technion technological institute, made a dramatic change of course after his boss called him at home one evening and berated him for not devoting himself sufficiently to his work — even though he was putting in at least 50 hours a week. The following day, the 37-year-old father of three handed in his resignation and set out to realise his dream of producing organic fruit and vegetables. He is one of a growing number of Israelis who entered the flourishing high-tech industry at a young age before abandoning high-flying jobs and good salaries for a lifestyle more suited to their ideals.” [AFP

“Conan O’ Brien is in Tel Aviv, and Israelis are loving it” by Ruth Eglash: “Throughout the weekend, Israelis filled social media with messages to the comedian and photos of chance encounters with him… Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to meet O’Brien in Jerusalem on Monday, joined in with the national obsession posting a greeting on his Twitter account… On Saturday, Conan posted a video on Facebook summing up his impressions. Standing at an overlook in Jaffa with Tel Aviv in the background, he describes tasting “shakshuka,” the popular egg-and-tomato breakfast dish, and drinking a Goldstar beer… O’Brien got people here laughing before he had even landed, posting a video from inside the bathroom on an El Al flight, saying he was brushing up on his Hebrew.” [WashPostFacebook

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Community hard hit by Hurricane Harvey flooding ” by Michael Duke: “Linda Burger, CEO of Jewish Family Service of Houston, lives on the other side of Brays Bayou. The Burgers also re-flooded this weekend. By 7 a.m. on Sunday, the first floor of their home had taken in water. “We are safe, but we have more water than last time,” Burger told the JHV. With roads impassable, offices closed and rain still falling on Sunday morning, Burger said that JFS is working remotely to return phone calls to those in need… Meanwhile, the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC is prepared to serve as an emergency supplies donation and distribution site as soon as the storm lifts. Burger said JFS will have case workers on site at the J to help expedite the recovery process.” [JHVOnline]

PROFILE: “Rachel Zabar, Scion of Saul, Eschews Lox for Vintage Couture” by Scene Stealers: “[Rachel Zabar] grew up a couple of blocks away from Zabar’s, which sits at the corner of 80th Street and Broadway. Her father, Saul, and uncle Stanley took over the store from their immigrant parents, who founded it in 1934. Ms. Zabar said her father insisted that his children work in the family business from a young age. “There was no arguing,” Ms. Zabar said. Saul Zabar, 89, remembers it slightly differently. “We let her make her own choices,” he said by phone. “The store was never part of her. We knew that from a very early age.” He added, “She was artistic. Even as a child, she had a natural talent for color and style.”” [NYTimes

DESSERT: “Why One Nashville Restaurant Made The Rare Choice To Go Kosher” by Emily Siner: “For people in Nashville who keep Kosher, following Jewish dietary laws, there’s almost nowhere to dine out. One of the only Kosher-certified establishments was Woodlands, an Indian restaurant on West End — and that closed earlier this year. But now another business has decided to go through the extensive process: Avo, a vegan restaurant housed in an old shipping container off of Charlotte Avenue. Avo’s owner was skeptical at first. But after the restaurant received its certification in mid-August, any headache to get there has already paid off.” [NashvillePublicRadio]

BIRTHDAYS: Billionaire technology executive, social activist and author, she is the COO of Facebook since 2008 having been VP of global sales at Google (2001-2008), Sheryl Sandberg turns 48… Independent international trade and development professional, Bernard Kupferschmid turns 86… Professor Emeritus of quantum physics at Tel Aviv University, Yakir Aharonov turns 85… Assistant Vice President and special counsel to the President of Queens College of the City University of New York, Jane Denkensohn turns 69… Israeli soldier held captive for over 5 years (2006-2011) by Hamas, Gilad Shalit turns 31…

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Aug
25

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Daily Kickoff: Gary Cohn in the FT, “I won’t allow neo-Nazis to cause this Jew to leave his job” | Perelman to host Garcetti | WeWork valued at $21B

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FIRST LOOK: Gary Cohn on how he felt after Trump’s ‘both sides’ comments — in interview with The Financial Times: “I have come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain in my current position. As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post as director of the National Economic Council because I feel a duty to fulfil my commitment to work on behalf of the American people. But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks. Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. I believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities. As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.” [FT]

— “A source close to Trump predicts he will explode when he reads the Cohn interview… The way Trump will see it, Cohn is siding with the fake news.”[Axios]

BEHIND THE SCENES: “Gary Cohn, Trump’s Adviser, Said to Have Drafted Resignation Letter After Charlottesville” by Eileen Sullivan and Maggie Haberman: “In the days after the Charlottesville violence, Mr. Cohn’s family — including his wife — told him he needed to think seriously about departing… Mr. Cohn came close to resigning… He met with Mr. Trump privately at the president’s golf club in New Jersey last Friday… The markets were spooked last week amid fears that Mr. Cohn would resign, and United States stocks dropped until the White House denied the rumor. Mr. Cohn… was deeply troubled by the market reaction, people close to him said.” [NYTimes]

–Former Obama WH Comms Director Dan Pfeiffer tweets: “Gary Cohn and his PR team probably think this article is good for him, it’s the exact opposite” [Twitter]

“John McCain’s fan club: The veteran senator has mentored many senators — from both parties — to carry on his foreign policy worldview” by Austin Wright: “McCain likes to engage his fellow senators in in-flight debates. “A lot of people get on a long airplane ride and they’ll put the earphones in and listen to John Grisham or something,” [Sen. Angus] King said. McCain, on the other hand, “was constantly engaged, talking about issues. What are we going to do in the Middle East? What are we going to do with the Palestinians and the Israelis? What should be our role in Syria?”” [Politico]

“Kushner Tours Mideast as Palestinian Patience Wears Thin” by Jonathan Ferziger: “Abbas indicated that the process hasn’t been going smoothly. He described the situation as “difficult and complicated,” indicating growing frustration, after an evening meeting with Kushner at his presidential office in Ramallah. He added that “there is nothing impossible with good efforts.” … On Thursday, demonstrators in Ramallah burned an Israeli flag and chanted anti-Trump slogans. One protester held a placard showing Kushner on a leash held by his wife, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who was depicted as wearing a dress made from the Israeli flag. “Kushner is our dog,” the sign said. “This new administration has been very disappointing, and Palestinians do not see any hope,” said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian Authority cabinet member…  “It looks like this delegation was sent to give the impression that the process is still alive.”

“After Kushner returns to Washington, Trump’s special representative for negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, will remain for follow-up meetings with Israelis and Palestinians, Channel 2 news said. Among his agenda are items aimed at strengthening the Palestinian economy, including meeting with Israeli officials who propose extending the country’s rail network to Jordan.” [Bloomberg]

— A senior diplomatic source confirmed to Israel Hayom that… Jason Greenblatt… will also discuss the growing concerns by the moderate regional states over Iran’s future designs for Syria.” [IsraelHayom]

KAFE KNESSET — How It Played — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The Kushner-Greenblatt-Powell short visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah hardly made headlines this morning. The niceties of the Kushner-Netanyahu meeting, and the smiles in the Ramallah photo-op, despite clear tensions between the Palestinians and the White House, did not draw much public attention. Only the Adelson freebie, Israel Hayom, featured the event on its front page. Its main rival, Yediot Aharonot, settled for a small mention on page 2 and liberal-leaning Ha’aretz placed its report on page 5. The paucity of coverage reflects a general sense of indifference in Jerusalem to the lingering attempts to renew the Israeli-Palestinian peace process for the umpteenth time.

President Trump himself seemed much more excited, as he reached out to his son-in-law and the Israeli premier with a special Instagram message. “Let’s advance peace prosperity and security in the area. There is no doubt that our relationship is stronger than ever! See you soon,” Trump wrote. The Prime Minister’s Office, however, forgot to mention the President at first. A short readout initially described “effective and substantive discussions on the ways to promote peace and security in the region,” adding that the PM is expecting to continue talks in the coming weeks. A few minutes after the first readout was released, the PMO sent out another, corrected statement, adding a sentence of special gratitude to the President. “The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation to President Trump and his administration for their solid support for Israel.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Could this be a game-changer for Middle East peace?” by David Ignatius: “When it comes to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, 50 years of peacemaking history sadly warn us that a new initiative probably won’t work. And Trump’s domestic problems weaken his ability to deliver on Kushner’s advance work. But it must be said: The opportunities for trade, investment and security cooperation between Israel and the Arabs have never been greater.”[WashPost

“A peace process? Come back another time” by Shmuel Rosner: “To take risks, to make sacrifices, Israel needs to feel secure; it needs to feel that it has backing. If the U.S. is no longer a reliable guardian of Middle East stability and peace, Israel’s inclination to take any risks for a peace it doesn’t feel is a priority will be greatly diminished.” [JewishJournal]

Netanyahu told visiting Members of Congress that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could ‘easily be done’ — by Aaron Magid: Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), who was part of the Republican delegation, told Jewish Insider that Netanyahu “believes is that it could easily be done. In his (Netanyahu) words: ‘We already have a consulate in Jerusalem. It’s a matter of just changing the sign to make it the Embassy.’” Netanyahu raised the issue in response to a question by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE). According to Smucker’s recollection of the meeting, Netanyahu “believes that there wouldn’t be a lot of pushback in the event that we do that.” [JewishInsider]

“U.S Vows to Fund a U.N. Agency For Palestinian Refugees Israeli Leader Wants Shuttered” Clum Lynch and Emily Tamkin: “Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has privately assured the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, that the United States… will maintain its current levels of funding to the organization. “America has long been committed to funding UNRWA’s important mission, and that will continue,” said one official at the U.S. mission to the United Nations… An official at the U.S. mission to the United Nations said that… it opposes the adoption of a U.N. resolution that would legally require it to make contributions. Such a requirement, the official suggested, would undercut U.S. leverage that ensures the money is properly spent.” [FP]

“Trump calls Egypt’s Sisi, says keen to overcome obstacles” by Ahmed Aboulenein: ““President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received a phone call tonight from U.S. President Donald Trump who affirmed the strength of the friendship between Egypt and the United States and expressed his keenness on continuing to develop the relationship and overcome any obstacles that might affect it,” Sisi’s office said in a statement late on Thursday.” [Reuters

“Trump’s latest retweet pulls man into controversy over past statement about Jewish drivers” by Colleen Shalby: “During an early morning Twitter storm, President Trump retweeted a meme of himself “eclipsing” President Obama. Then things took a strange turn for Jerry Travone, the man who tweeted the image. He had featured a website where he has an online shop selling pro-wrestling T-shirts in his Twitter bio. But anyone who clicked on the link Thursday morning would have been taken to the Jewish United Fund of Chicago… The Twitter account @OneHourTees… said it had redirected Travone’s page to the Jewish United fund, telling Travone that it took action “since you hate Jews.” On Sunday, Travone tweeted a statement critical of Jewish people… Travone told NBC News that he wasn’t anti-Semitic. “It was just an emotional expression I was referring to Lakewood, New Jersey and the horrible drivers of that town and that happens to be mostly Jewish people that live there.”  [LATimes]

“Why some Jews still support Trump” by Eitan Arom and Ryan Torok: “Cheston Mizel, president of Mizel Financial Holdings and a congregant of Pico Shul, an Orthodox synagogue in Pico-Robertson, said the attention to Charlottesville and to other presidential controversies has distracted from Trump’s successes, including appointing the pro-Israel Nikki Haley to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and nominating Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. “While there are obviously things that are problematic about this presidency, Nikki Haley and Neil Gorsuch are two clear bright spots,” he said.” [JewishJournal

“The obscene effort to shame ‘Trump’s Jews’” by Seth Mandel: “The hot new criticism of my fellow Jews is that we don’t complain enough. Really. A host of pundits, concerned about President Trump’s baffling unwillingness to single out neo-Nazis for criticism, are turning to the American Jewish community and pleading: Would it kill you to maybe kvetch a bit?” [NYPost]

“Others fled Trump’s Mar-a-Lago; this group wanted in” by Charles Elmore: “The Boca Raton communications executive is the organizer for “The Truth About Israel,” which aims to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics that left 11 Israeli athletes dead, celebrate Israel and honor the work of Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. “I’m reading about these groups pulling out of Mar-a-Lago and I’m thinking, ‘This is ridiculous,’” [Steven] Alembik said. “Somebody needs to take a stand here and do something… With him as president, I don’t have to worry. He’s got Israel’s back.” His organization initially booked the Boca Raton Resort & Club but changed to Mar-a-Lago for the Feb. 25 event. That Feb. 25 date was open because of the cancellation of a fundraising gala by American Friends of Magen David Adom, Israel’s ambulance, blood services and disaster-relief organization.” [PalmBeachPost

ON THE HILL: “Could Menendez Trial Tip Senate To Trump — Or Cost AIPAC A Pro-Israel Vote?” by Nathan Guttman: “During the 2015 debate over the Iranian nuclear deal, Menendez was one of just four Democrats who sided with the Israeli government, against President Obama, in opposing the deal. He is considered a close ally of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a safe vote on pro-Israel issues. He is currently a co-sponsor of the AIPAC-backed anti-BDS bill, which has already lost several Democratic supporters following claims that the legislation would infringe on free speech of those wishing to boycott Israel.” [Forward]

2020 WATCH: According to Shane Goldmacher of the New York Times, Ron Perelman will be hosting a cocktail reception for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti at his Hamptons home The Creeks on Sunday.

“Franken seen as reluctant 2020 candidate” by Amie Parnes and Devin Henry: “Political associates of Al Franken say they think the Minnesota senator could be talked into running for the White House if he believes he’s the Democrat best positioned to defeat President Trump. But they say Franken would need to be convinced and argue that the former “Saturday Night Live” star would be reluctant to enter a battle with a slew of other Democrats in what’s increasingly expected to be a wide-open race for party’s nomination.” [TheHill]

** Good Friday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: The investing secrets of hedge fund legend Seth Klarman: Used copies of Klarman’s book “Margin of Safety” still sell for nearly $850 online [CNBC] • Should tech companies be able to shut down neo-Nazis?[Recode] • Apple removes popular apps in Iran due to US sanctions [TheVerge• Israeli startup AppsVillage wants to do for apps what Wix did for websites: make them easier and cheaper to create [ToI]

SPOTTED YESTERDAY: House Speaker Paul Ryan toured the Everett Boeing plant with an El Al 787 serving as a backdrop: “After meeting the team of 777 workers, Ryan toured the interior of an El Al 787 in final assembly.”[MyEverettNewsPic

SPOTLIGHT: “A SoftBank fund has made its largest U.S. investment: $4.4 billion in WeWork” by Theodore Schleifer: “SoftBank said Thursday that it would invest $4.4 billion in WeWork in part from its so-called Vision Fund, the fund’s largest U.S. investment to date. The deal routes $3 billion to WeWork through both a purchase of new shares and of existing ones currently held by other investors. Private investors now value WeWork at around $21 billion, a figure that was first disclosed earlier this summer when some initial details of the $4.4 billion investment emerged. Only two privately held companies, Uber and Airbnb, are worth more.” [RecodeWSJ]

“How the Booming Israeli Weed Industry Is Changing American Pot” by Yardena Schwartz: “Some Israeli companies have partnered with American companies to establish a presence in the U.S., where they sell products that were developed in Israel. For example, Tikun Olam, Israel’s first medical cannabis distributor, opened an American subsidiary in 2016. It now sells its proprietary medical-grade plant strains at 10 dispensaries in Delaware and Nevada and will soon be available at dispensaries in Oregon and California… Some American researchers have even moved to Israel all together.” [RollingStone]

COVER STORY: “Gal Gadot on Becoming Wonder Woman, the Biggest Action Hero of the Year” by By Alex Morris: “Nor was it immaterial that Wonder Woman – who, Gadot says, “stands for love and hope and acceptance and fighting evil” – debuted in 1941, the year America entered World War II. While Gadot’s father is a sixth-generation Israeli, her mother’s mother escaped Europe just before the war. Her mother’s father, who was 13 when the Nazis came to his native Czechoslovakia, was not so lucky. His father died in the army. The rest of his family was sent to Auschwitz, where his mother and brother died in the gas chambers. After the war, he made his way to Israel alone. “His entire family was murdered – it’s unthinkable,” says Gadot. “He affected me a lot… It was very easy for me to relate to everything that Wonder Woman stands for.”” [RollingStone]

Prada-Owned Label Pulls Yellow Star Clothing Amid Criticism: “The clothing from Milan-based Miu Miu’s pre-fall collection features a five-pointed star with the name John embroidered on it. The Star of David has six points… Miu Miu spokeswoman Preia Narendra apologized for causing any offense and says in a statement that “it was not Miu Miu’s intent in any way to make any political or religious statement.” She says the items are being removed from the collection.” [AP

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Jewish activists target removal of Peter Stuyvesant monuments” by Yoav Gonen and Ruth Brown: “A Jewish activist group is now demanding Mayor de Blasio scrub all traces of the anti-Semitic Dutch governor from city property — even Stuyvesant High School — as part of his campaign to rid the city of “symbols or hate.” “Peter Stuyvesant was an extreme racist who targeted Jews and other minorities including Catholics and energetically tried to prohibit them from settling in then New Amsterdam,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the head of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center.” [NYPost

“Izak Parviz Nazarian, businessman and philanthropist, dies at 88″ by Ryan Torok: “Izak Parviz Nazarian, the Iranian-Jewish co-founder of investment firm Omninet and former board member of the technology company Qualcomm, died on Aug. 23 in Los Angeles…  Born in a Tehran ghetto in 1929, he was 5 years old when his father died… At 17, he traveled to Italy and fought with the Haganah in Genoa. Later, he moved to Israel and served with the Israeli armored forces in the War of Independence, an experience he would say decades later was among the most important of his life. An injury during the war landed him in the hospital, and, unable to fight, he became the chauffeur for then-Foreign Minister Golda Meir.” [JewisJournal]

LIFE LESSONS: “Good News for Young Strivers: Networking Is Overrated” by Adam Grant: “Stop fretting about networking. Take a page out of the George Lucas and Sara Blakely playbooks: Make an intriguing film, build a useful product. And don’t feel pressure to go to networking events. No one really mixes at mixers. Although we plan to meet new people, we usually end up hanging out with old friends. The best networking happens when people gather for a purpose other than networking, to learn from one another or help one another. In life, it certainly helps to know the right people. But how hard they go to bat for you, how far they stick their necks out for you, depends on what you have to offer. Building a powerful network doesn’t require you to be an expert at networking. It just requires you to be an expert at something. If you make great connections, they might advance your career. If you do great work, those connections will be easier to make.” [NYTimes]

SPORTS BLINK: “Before Eliana Pieprz moved from America to Israel, she watched Redskins games with her father on Sunday afternoons, like most fans. But once her family settled across the Atlantic Ocean, she had to adjust her schedule. School is on Sundays where she lives and there’s a seven hour time difference to account for. So, instead of homework after class, Sunday nights have now become devoted to football. Which means when the team plays a Monday night game, she tries to keep herself awake while preparing to go to school at halftime. “I support two teams: Washington and whoever beats Dallas,” Pieprz said.” [RedskinsBlog]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYTelevision host, best known as host of Let’s Make a Deal, Monty Hall (born Monte Halparin) turns 96… Phoenix-based independent writing and editing professional, Leni Reiss… Award winning British novelist who has been described as the “Jewish Jane Austen,” Howard Jacobson turns 75… Founder and senior strategy officer at Mosaic H+H Advisors, Harley Mayersohn turns 68… Born in Haifa, the bass guitarist and co-lead singer of Kiss, Gene Simmons (his birth name is Chaim Witz) turns 68… Immediate Past Board Chair of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Lorin Fife turns 64… Suzanne Schneider turns 41… Former member of the White House National Economic Council during the Obama administration, now a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates, Nathaniel Loewentheil turns 32… Director of state government affairs for the DC-based Organization for International Investment, Evan Hoffmanturns 30… Reporter at The Weekly Standard Jenna Lifhits… Adam Friedman turns 22… Carina Grossman… Robert Cohen… Founder/Board Chair of Everybody Dance Now! Jackie Rotman… Program Director at the American Zionist Movement Alicia Post… Manny Haeusler

SATURDAYPartner at the DC law firm of Williams & Connolly, his clients include Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Laura Bush and many others, Robert Barnett turns 71… Rabbi (now emeritus) of Congregation Beth Jacob of Atlanta since 1952 and author of many best-selling books, Rabbi Emanuel Feldman turns 90… Iraqi born novelist, now living in Canada, author of more than 30 novels on Jewish themes, Naïm Kattan turns 89… CEO of Siegelvision, a brand identity consultancy, he is also the founder and chairman emeritus of global brand strategy firm Siegel+Gale, Alan Siegel turns 79… Mayor of Tel Aviv since 1998, following 26 years in the Israeli Air Force (1963-1989) starting as a fighter pilot and finishing as a brigadier general, Ron Huldai turns 73… Former Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives (2000-2006 and again 2010-2016) who focused on traffic safety after losing a daughter in a 1996 car crash, Irving Slosberg turns 70… Jay Caplan turns 69… Billionaire and board chair of Gap, Inc., a retail chain founded by his parents, Robert J. Fisher turns 63… Journalist and co-author of the Freakonomics series, Stephen J. Dubnerturns 54… President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ilyse Hogue turns 48… Canadian technology and media entrepreneur Lorne Abony turns 48… Deputy General Counsel at ICANN, Samantha Eisner turns 42… John Train… Carrie Shapiro

SUNDAYDirector of the White House National Economic Council and one of the most influential voices in the Trump administration, he was previously the president and COO of Goldman Sachs (2006-2017), Gary Cohn turns 57… Washington Editor-at-Large of The Atlantic, Steve Clemons… Ambassador of Israel to Poland, she previously was Consul General in San Francisco (1989-1992), ambassador to Ukraine (1999-2003) and ambassador to Russia (2007-2010), Anna Azari turns 58… Israeli diplomat, he was the political officer at the Israeli Embassy in DC (1997-2001) and Consul General of Israel in Boston (2006-2013), he then served as an advisor to President Shimon Peres, Nadav Tamir turns 56… Yuval Sapir… Michael Weiss… Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Finance, Shai Babad

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Daily Kickoff: Bibi tells Congress they should remove sunset clause from Iran deal | Rabbis ditch traditional White House call | Saudi-Ashkenazy ties

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DRIVING THE CONVO: Rabbi Lookstein says he’d join a Trump High Holidays call — by Jacob Kornbluh: Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan who oversaw Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism, told Jewish Insider that he would join a pre-High Holidays conference call between President Trump and Synagogue Rabbis despite his recent criticism of Trump’s response to Charlottesville. Rabbinical groups representing the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements announced yesterday that they will not continue the tradition of participating in a High Holidays conference call with Trump, accusing the President of giving “succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia.”

Asked if he’d join a call for rabbis with the President, Lookstein said: “Yes! Absolutely! He is the president of my country.”

Jeff Berkowitz, Founder and CEO of Delve LLC and previously a White House Jewish liaison questioned the motive of the rabbis’ statement. “The statement, and having a paid political consultant (West End Strategy) promoting it, is a strange and unfortunate politicization of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar that does nothing to further the Jewish community’s interests,” Berkowitz said. [JewishInsider

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center, told the NYTimes that events in Charlottesville had sent a deep shudder through the rabbinical community. He said Jews were appalled by the experience of rabbis in Charlottesville, who feared that they would become the targets of neo-Nazi violence, and by Mr. Trump’s equivocal response. “Charlottesville created a new reality,” Rabbi Pesner said. “It’s not that big a rabbinical community. We’re all showing up for each other and there’s a lot of anger out there.” [NYTimes]

“Trump’s inaugural rabbi: The president could learn a thing about white nationalists and neo-Nazis from the eclipse” by Allan Smith: “Rabbi Marvin Hier… said the eclipse… provides the perfect metaphor for the white nationalists and neo-Nazis… “The moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, yet the moon had the capacity to do a complete eclipse on the sun,” he said… Something “small by comparison can blot out and blacken the sun … it can be completely darkened by the moon,” he continued. “That’s what these fanatics can do to the planet Earth if we don’t wake up.” Hier noted that the US “caught on late” to the Nazi movement in Europe in the 1930s. “Let’s not catch on late now,” he said.” [BusinessInsider

Haim Saban on Trump: “I disagree with the president with what appears to be a moral equivalence being drawn between the Nazis, who are shouting, ‘Kill the Jews,’ and the protesters who came to counter that statement. [Still] I do not believe that President Trump is a Nazi or anti-Semite.” Black Lives Matter, meanwhile, “is clearly an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel group.” [THR

“Charlottesville’s Racists Are Rattling Israeli Politics” by Zev Chafets: “If Trump gets the impression that Netanyahu is cooperating with Republican rivals, a tweet or two could seriously weaken his “I am the indispensable prime minister” defense, not to mention his political future.”[BloombergView

“Benjamin Netanyahu: neo-Nazi slogans in the streets of America are ‘no small thing'” by Herb Keinon: “Prefacing his remarks by saying that he did not want to get into the internal US debate about the rally and President Donald Trump’s response to it, Netanyahu said, “I can say unequivocally: It’s no small thing that people march with Nazi, neo-Nazi slogans.” … Netanyahu blamed the media for not adequately covering his condemnation of the marchers. “I said, and of course our media did not exactly cover it, that these people should crawl back under the rock they came from. I usually choose my words carefully, but that was a very harsh statement. This, of course, was not covered and led to all sorts of irrelevant interpretations.”

“The statement about the need for the neo-Nazis to “crawl back under the rock” … was not said by him publicly, but rather in a conversation with Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer. Dermer quoted the prime minister in a Facebook post put up on his Facebook page on August 14… Dermer said he spoke to Netanyahu about the events and that the premier “asked him to convey Israel’s outrage over the attack and over the expressions of antisemitism and racism.” [JPost]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Kushner Cos. Switches to Crisis Manager for Media Relations” by Caleb Melby and David Kocieniewski: “Eric Wachter, a vice president at public relations firm Finsbury, said he will now be handling press inquiries. He replaces Risa Heller Communications, hired before Kushner became a senior adviser in the White House to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. Wachter specializes in communications relating to crisis and issues management, litigation, government investigations, and public policy and regulatory matters. The change occurred this week.” [BloombergPolitico] • Wachter previously served as the associate director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Washington regional office.

“Russian ex-diplomat Kislyak downplays Trump campaign contacts” by Matthew Chance, Emma Burrows and Zachary Cohen: “Asked Wednesday if he and members of the Trump campaign — specifically Jared Kushner — discussed setting up secret channels to the Kremlin, Kislyak responded: “I’ve said many times that we do not discuss the substance of our discussions with our American interlocuters. Out of respect to our partners.” Kislyak also pushed back on claims that Trump disclosed secretive information about Syria during the now infamous Oval Office meeting… “I’m not sure that I heard anything that would be secretive, but it was a good meeting and we were discussing things that are important to your country and to mine,” he said.” [CNN

DRIVING THE DAY — Jared Kushner arrived in Israel today. “I’m very pleased to see you again, Jared, with your delegation. We have a lot of things to talk about: how to advance peace, stability and security in our region – prosperity too,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said before his meeting with the U.S. negotiating team in Jerusalem. “So I am happy to see you and the effort you’re leading on behalf of the President with Jason [Greenblatt] and other members of your team. I think this is a sign of the great alliance between us and the great goals that guide us.” [Pic]

Kushner to Bibi: “We are very appreciative of your team and the efforts they have made. The President is very committed to achieving a solution here that will be able to bring prosperity and peace to all people in this area, and we really appreciate the commitment of the PM and his team to engaging very thoughtful and respectfully in the way the President has asked them to do so. The relationship between Israel and America is stronger than ever and we thank PM Netanyahu for his leadership and his partnership.” [Video]

“With Trump at War Over Charlottesville, Jared Kushner Tries to Bring Middle East Peace” by Emily Jane Fox: “Kushner is now in a position in which he has to travel abroad and preach moral authority even as his boss continues to erode the administration’s high ground at home. But as one Jewish leader explained to me this week, at least none of this comes as a surprise to those he is meeting with in the Middle East. “Last week wasn’t some revelation about who the president is. It was just a little more naked,” this person said. “And they’re so frustrated with the administration for their own reasons that it won’t even come up.” “These guys are real politicians,” the Washington veteran noted to me. “And they know that Jared is the last person to hold Trump accountable for his sins on this issue. He’s without that kind of a moral center.”” [VanityFair

“Jared Kushner won’t find his job in Israel easy” by Aaron David Miller: “The Kushner trip might actually be considered something of a success if the United States managed to identify an approach that Abbas and Netanyahu didn’t blow out of the water immediately… Still, another trip or two without producing a visible sign of progress…  will erode what remains of Kushner’s credibility on this issue. And the parties will grow accustomed to his visits and weary of his talking points… And the President’s political travails at home.. have raised serious questions about Trump’s capacity and focus to deliver on the peace process.” [CNN]  

“Kushner already had his work cut out in the Middle East. But it just got harder” by Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash: “Dan Shapiro… said he had been “hopeful” earlier this year on Trump’s chances to make some progress because both sides were eager to maintain good relations with Washington… “As the political circumstances of the leaders in the region have changed and deteriorated from the point of view of their flexibility, and as president Trump’s own standing has taken a beating because of his domestic controversies, I believe his leverage has declined significantly.”” [WashPost]

“Can Trump’s Ex-Lawyer Jason Greenblatt Achieve Middle East Peace?” by Petra Cahill: “While he lacks any diplomatic experience, when he arrives in the region, people know he’s close to Donald Trump,” said [Professor Yossi] Mekelberg. “Someone who has a direct line with the president — you have to take him seriously.” And Mekelberg sees the lack of expectations around the Trump administration’s foray into the morass of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a good thing. “The level of expectation of the international community is so low, that in a strange way, it’s actually good. Because you can’t let them down anymore.” [NBCNews]

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert: “We are not going to state what the outcome has to be. It has to be workable to both sides. And I think, really, that’s the best view as to not really bias one side over the other, to make sure that they can work through it. It’s been many, many decades… that the parties have not been able to come to any kind of good agreement and sustainable solution to this.”

JI INTERVIEW — Netanyahu tells Congress: Remove sunset clause from Iran deal — by Aaron Magid: During a meeting with Republican Congressmen this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the lawmakers to “get rid of the sunset clause” from the nuclear agreement, Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) said. “That was something new. I have always heard get rid of the treaty. Here is a comeback saying maybe we can change the sunset clause and pursue something in the middle,” Bacon explained.

The members of Congress also met with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. According to Bacon, Hamdallah “agreed that Palestine should not be a militarized or in other words be demilitarized. I think that was a pretty significant concession that the Palestine side needs to be demilitarized.” [JewishInsider]

“Haley Conveys Concern Over Iran Nuclear Deal to IAEA” by Jonathan Tirone: “UN Ambassador Nikki Haley met International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano on Wednesday over the July 2015 agreement… Haley “discussed U.S. concerns about ensuring Iran strictly adheres to its obligations, noting that IAEA reports can only be as good as the access Iran grants to any facility the IAEA suspects of having a nuclear role,” according to a State Department email.” [Bloomberg]

“Qatar to Send Ambassador Back to Iran” by Nicolas Parasie: “Qatar announced Thursday it is sending its ambassador back to Iran, defying a key demand from a Saudi-led bloc of Arab nations that it reduce its ties with Tehran… Qatar recalled its ambassador to Iran in early 2016, after Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Saudi Shiite cleric triggered attacks on two Saudi diplomatic compounds in Iran. In announcing that Qatar was returning its envoy to Iran, the country’s Foreign Ministry said the move represented its desire to “strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields.”” [WSJ

“UN force in Lebanon pushes back after US, Israeli criticism” by Sarah El Deeb: “France’s deputy U.N. ambassador Anne Guegen, whose country is in charge of drafting the council resolution renewing the mandate, told reporters that “it is of paramount importance for the stability of Lebanon and the region, and in the best interest of all, that UNIFIL keeps its mandate and is in a position to fulfill it, with the full backing and confidence of the Security Council.” … Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon told the AP that U.N. forces should have an increased presence in their area of operations, with more patrols and without any restrictions on its movements. He also said the mission should be gathering “real-time updates” about violations.” [AP]

** 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: Janet Yellen’s Future at the Fed Unresolved Heading Into Jackson Hole [WSJ] • Israel’s El Al Counts on New Boeing 787s to Lure Back Customers [Reuters] • Barry Diller’s Match Group tried to acquire Bumble for $450 million [TechCrunch] • Chelsea Clinton told guests at billionaire scion Alex Soros’ Hamptons home that her mom is “fine” after her election loss [DailyNews] • Roman Abramovich spotted on his £312 million yacht near his Antibes home [DailyMail]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “A Little Startup Taking Customers From IBM Watson Just Raised Millions To Go For More” by Alex Konrad:“Nate Storch loves to meet with companies working with IBM Watson for text analytics. That means there’s a good chance they’ll soon be customers of his little startup, Amenity Analytics. Amenity Analytics plays in the natural language processing space, meaning it helps customers feed in huge amounts of documents and extracts meaningful, readable insights from phrases and patterns flagged in those texts. Now the startup has raised $7.6 million in a Series A funding round from an Israeli VC firm, State Of Mind Ventures, to take more.” [Forbes]

SAUDI-ASHKENAZY TIES: “The Plaza Is for Sale, but a Part-Owner Has Other Ideas” by Charles Bagli: “Subrata Roy, the embattled chairman of the India-based Sahara Group and the principal owner of the Plaza, who has repeatedly put the hotel up for sale without ever making a deal, is looking for a buyer once again. But Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, a New York investment and development company, which together own a 25 percent stake in the hotel, have their own plans for the Plaza. And they don’t include Mr. Roy. The prince, who has been an owner of the hotel since 1995, formed a partnership with Ashkenazy earlier this year to buy out Mr. Roy and restore the Plaza to its five-star grandeur.” [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The biggest political event yesterday in Israel was a wedding. The daughter of coalition chairman and Bibi loyalist, David Bitan, got married. The Prime Minister and Sarah themselves made an appearance. Netanyahu took the microphone to wish the new couple well, and praised “my friend David.” Bitan has organized pro-Netanyahu rallies and went to the media to fight for Bibi and defend him from corruption allegations when no one else in the Likud would. In his remarks, Netanyahu thanked Bitan repeatedly for his “courage.” “I had a feeling that he would be an excellent coalition chairman, but he surprised me. He is even more outstanding than I thought!” the premier said. The way to Bibi’s heart is through defending him in the fake news media, apparently. Other attendees, by the way, included cabinet ministers, opposition chairman Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) and MKs from the opposition and coalition. Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef performed the wedding. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Rabbi claims he was vilified for welcoming non-white members” by Lia Eustachewich: “Rabbi Rigoberto Emmanuel Viñas, a Sephardic Jew who trained as an Orthodox rabbi, claims the board at Lincoln Park Jewish Center in Yonkers has a “long history” of discriminatory practices against “non-Whites.” … Viñas, who joined the synagogue in 2003, claims one board member, Helen Schwartz, commented, “Wouldn’t it be terrible if the darkies took over the synagogue?” without realizing the rabbi’s Cuban background. In 2011, Schwartz also allegedly complained to a director that Viñas wasn’t actually Jewish because of his “Sephardic/Hispanic background.”” [NYPost

“Bipartisan group urges Rex Tillerson to deport Nazi war criminal living in Queens” by Reuven Blau: “Jakiw Palij, 92, worked as a guard at the Nazi German Trawniki SS training camp in occupied Poland. “Mr. Palij supported the Nazi regime during the Holocaust,” the letter to Tillerson reads… “We are deeply concerned that the deportation of Mr. Palij is stalled,” the letter states. “Without very high-level involvement by your office and others in the administration, it appears likely that countries will not be willing to accept him.”” [NYDailyNews• Property manager accused of adorning Queens condo with swastikas, Hitler posters [TRD

TRANSITION: “Top think tank hires ex-WSJ reporter Jay Solomon for North Korea project” by Michael Wilner: “Jay Solomon will serve for three months as a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, focusing on Pyongyang’s sale of missile systems from Yemen and Egypt to Syria and Iran. “I’m glad that we’re able to do this with Jay– he’s such a dogged reporter,” said Robert Satloff, executive director of the Institute… Solomon said he looks back fondly at his two decades at the Journal and regrets the episode. “I’m just sad about the whole thing. Dealing with Iran is so murky– it’s hard to fully understand what your sources are doing,” Solomon said. “I am not an arms dealer, I didn’t go to business with anyone.”” [JPost]

“Jack Rosenthal, Times Journalist and Civic Leader, Is Dead at 82” by Sam Roberts: “Jacob Rosenthal (he changed his name to Jack “to be more American,” he said) was born on June 30, 1935, in Tel Aviv to Manfred Rosenthal, a judge who became a bookkeeper after fleeing Nazi Germany, and the former Rachel Kaplan, a Lithuania native whom he had met while she was vacationing in the Middle East. Jack was 3 when the family moved to the United States to join relatives in Portland, Ore… Mr. Rosenthal joined The Times in Washington as its first national urban affairs correspondent (and among the last reporters to take notes on yellow legal pads with a fountain pen).”[NYTimes]

LongRead: “This Big Beef Exposes The Ugly Underbelly of Vegan Vlogging” by Roni Jacobson: “This wasn’t what [Anna] Scanlon, who is 33, had signed up for when she began vlogging in 2014. A scholar who researches the Holocaust, she’d started a beauty and lifestyle channel on YouTube for fun. After she was diagnosed with lupus and a chronic illness called interstitial cystitis in 2015, she started talking more and more about veganism as a way to cope with newfound dietary restrictions.  At first, Scanlon ignored the hate. She blocked Marlowe on YouNow and didn’t watch his videos about her. She also refused to read the sexist and antisemitic hate pouring forth about her in the comments section next to the stream, where commenters called her a “hideous jew” and said that they wished her family had “burned in the ovens.” But Marlowe’s followers nonetheless swarmed the comments section of her own profile.” [Wired

THE NEW FOMO — by Nick Stockton: “This other type of FOMO, the all-news, all-the-time kind, is new enough that nobody has really studied it much, yet of the half-dozen experts in sociology, anthropology, economics, and neurology I spoke to, all quickly recognized what I was describing, and some even admitted to feeling it themselves. “We scroll through our Twitter feeds, not seeking anything specific, just monitoring them so we don’t miss out on anything important,” says Shyam Sundar, a communications researcher at Pennsylvania State University. This impulse could stem from the chemical hits our brains receive with each news hit, but it could also derive from a primitive behavioral instinct—surveillance gratification-seeking, or the urge that drove our cave-dwelling ancestors to poke their heads out and check for predators.” [WiredMag]

DESSERT: “American Dream Announces Food Court Plans, World’s First Kosher Dining Hall” by Cecilia Levine: “The American Dream in East Rutherford… will feature fine restaurants and global cuisine “that will please the most discriminating palates,” the website says. “Combining the best of New York, celebrity chefs and global cuisine, the restaurants at American Dream™ will attract local, regional and international guests.”” [DailyVoice

BIRTHDAYS: Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker turns 65… CNN political analyst and former moderator of Meet the Press, David Gregory turns 47… Professor at UCSD and the 1990 Nobel Prize laureate in Economics, Harry Markowitz turns 90… Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University, he also teaches at Cardozo Law School, he is also the rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jehuda (The Yorkville Synagogue) in NYC, Rabbi J. David Bleich turns 81… Director of geriatric care management at the law offices of Roy W. Litherland, Lois G. Tager turns 76… Co-founder and president of Infinity Broadcasting (now known as CBS Radio), he eventually became the president and CEO of CBS, then he was the CEO of Sirius Radio (2004-2012), Mel Karmazin turns 74… Celebrity furniture designer known for his eponymous furniture brand, Dakota Jackson, Inc., he was born in Rego Park, Queens, NY as David Malon, Dakota Jackson turns 68… Senior principal at TSD Communications, formerly worked for Senator Ted Kennedy and the Obama White House, Ricki Seidman turns 62… Co-chair of the Real Estate practice and the Infrastructure practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, he is active in the RJC and serves on many Jewish communal boards, J. Philip Rosen turns 61… Essayist and long-time staff writer for The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik turns 61… Actor, producer and director Steve Guttenbergturns 59…

President of Pace University since August 2017, he was president of Oberlin College for ten years (2007-2017), Marvin Krislov turns 57… Woodland Hills, California resident, she is a professional organizer, Donna Barwald turns 55… 1986 winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Children of a Lesser God, she is the only deaf performer to have won the award, Marlee Matlin turns 52… British Internet entrepreneur, journalist and blogger, he founded and ran the blog collective Gawker Media until it was bankrupted by Hulk Hogan, Nick Denton turns 51… Member of the Colorado House of Representatives (2000-2008), the last four years of which he served as Speaker, Andrew Romanoff turns 51… Regional Director of the Chicago office of the Anti-Defamation League, Lonnie Nasatir turns 48… President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of MLB’s Texas Rangers, Jon Daniels turns 40… CEO of the JCommerce Group, an e-commerce enterprise that services the Jewish community, David M. Perelman turns 28… Chief of staff at NYC-based HOF Capital, she was previously an events specialist for the Northeast Region of AIPAC, Samantha Rose (“Sammy”) Feinstein turns 27… Assistant White House press secretary, previously a staffer at the Republican National Committee, Natalie Strom (h/t Playbook)…

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Levinson family handout via Reuters

Congressional Hearing Highlights the Plight of Americans Jailed in Iran

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a special bipartisan hearing on Tuesday titled “Held for ransom: The families…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for July 26

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Yisrael Hayom says “Bye, Bibi.” Readers of Yisrael Hayom were shocked this morning to see the following headline: “Removing the metal detectors shows Netanyahu’s helplessness. Israel’s response to…

Screenshot via YouTube/IsraeliPM

Kafe Knesset for July 25

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Jordan crisis solved: After several nights with very little time to sleep, Netanyahu opened his morning with a positive photo-op, welcoming to his office the Israeli Ambassador to…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for July 21

Friday, July 21, 2017

Metal detector dilemmas: A tense weekend is starting at the end of a fabulous week for the PM. Netanyahu concluded a five-day visit to France and Hungary, a…

Courtesy of The Washington Institute

Kafe Knesset for July 20

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Budapest Dispatch – An “asterisk” on the marred submarine deal: Netanyahu gave some clarity on the corruption scandal surrounding Israel’s purchase of German submarines. Speaking to Israeli journalists…

Netanyahu Europe

Kafe Knesset for July 19

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Budapest dispatch – Bibi’s hot mic incident: Some journalists wait a lifetime for a “fly on the wall” moment, and reporters accompanying Bibi on his European trip got one…