Aug
23

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Daily Kickoff: A Palestinian candidate for Congress in California receives a boost as GOP opponent is indicted | Why Michael Cohen flipped

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MIDTERMS — Once considered a longshot candidate, Ammar Campa-Najjar, the Democratic candidate for California’s 50th Congressional District, has now emerged as a favorite to pull a possible upset. The incumbent Republican, Congressman Duncan Hunter was indicted this week for using campaign funds for personal expenses. For now, Duncan is still considered likely to win reelection in the conservative district but the race will now be competitive.

According to California’s election laws, a candidate’s name cannot be taken off the ballot unless he seeks removal from a state judge, and there can be no write-in candidates for the general election. But following Duncan’s indictment, Cook Political Report moved the district from ‘definitively Republican’ to ‘likely Republican,’ with the potential to move further.

BACKGROUND — “Campa-Najjar has an atypical background for a candidate for Congress, to say the least. The son of a Mexican-American mother and Palestinian-American father, he spent three years of his childhood living in the Gaza Strip… Campa-Najjar later went on to work in politics and government, with jobs with the 2012 Obama re-election campaign, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the White House, and the Department of Labor. His paternal grandfather, Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, was one of the masterminds of the Munich terrorist attack, in which Israeli Olympic athletes were massacred.” [TheIntercept]

SUPPORTERS — Campa-Najjar has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent an email to her supporters Tuesday calling on them to give money to Campa-Najjar. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District, is also raising funds for Campa-Najjar. The Democratic candidate is also backed by J Street’s PAC and Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolutionmovement.

Center for American Progress’ Neera Tanden, who hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a one-on-one discussion in 2015, tweeted: “Please support Ammar Campa Najjar who is running against Duncan Hunter, an incumbent Republican indicted today. Ammar has an inspiring life story. Let’s win this seat.”

— “Campa-Najjar has spoken before representatives of the Jewish community in his district and promised to try to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians if he makes it to Congress.” [Haaretz

2020 WATCH — Biden, Sanders Have Nearly Identical Lead Over Trump in Hypothetical Matchup — by Eli Yokley: “Pluralities of voters said they would choose former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over President Donald Trump in a hypothetical presidential election. But the two men – both in their mid-70s and both with unsuccessful runs for the Democratic nomination for president behind them – are just about the only possible 2020 contenders polled for whom voters currently have strong views.” [MorningConsult]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — White House sources: US to present limited Mideast plan — by Ariel Kahana: “Only the first phase of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan will be presented at the United Nations General Assembly, a source close to the White House told Israel Hayom on Thursday… The source said the president would only present a partial outline of the overall peace initiative the White House has been drafting, describing it more as an “agenda for peace.” The source said the reason… was that the president’s peace team has encountered difficulties in recent months, but also noted Trump’s current legal battles.” [IsraelHayom]

Yedioth Ahronoth reportsTrump’s peace plan may not see the light of day, according to senior Israeli cabinet ministers who have spoken to the White House Mideast peace team. The Israeli officials are under the impression that the White House understands that the Palestinians will reject the plan based on the compromises they would be required to undertake in a possible peace settlement.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia less optimistic of Trump’s ‘Deal of Century’ to bring Middle East peace — by Jacob Wirtschafter and Mina Nader: “After a year of shuttle diplomacy and multiple meetings with leaders in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Amman and Cairo, American envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt have failed to convince Egypt or other key Arab states that the U.S. can broker a fair solution. “Most of the Arab world – including Egypt and Saudi Arabia – have rejected the U.S.-proposed Deal of the Century,” said Saad El Gammal, head of the Egyptian parliament’s Arab Affairs Committee.”[USAToday]

Jason Greenblatt tweetsMet today with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Jordanian Ambassador to the US Dina Kawar. We discussed Jordan’s position on UNRWA and the U.S. Administration’s peace efforts. .. Delighted to welcome this dynamic group of Palestinian high school students to White House as they start their year-long #KLYES exchange in the USA. Good luck & have a great year! [Pic]

LAST NIGHT IN NYC: Greenblatt met with AIPAC leaders to discuss “the US-Israel relationship, recent events in the Middle East, and the Administration’s peace efforts.”

— According to a source, Greenblatt is spending today meeting with Jewish leaders in NYC.

DRIVING THE CONVO — White House downplays Trump’s “higher price” comment on Israel — by Barak Ravid: “Senior U.S. officials told me it was important to listen carefully to Trump’s words because, unlike what some Israeli politicians said, the president didn’t say Israel would have to pay a “high price” — a phrase they said has a very negative implication in the Middle East — but instead “a higher price.” They added: “The president’s words that Israel would pay ‘a higher price’ simply reflects a desire that our good faith initiatives would be reciprocated. And, just to be absolutely clear, the U.S. will not impose terms upon Israel that are unacceptable.”

“Israeli officials told me they got clarifications from senior U.S. officials who explained what Trump meant.” [Axios

HEARD YESTERDAY — White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a press briefing: “We think that the President’s decision was the right one to move the embassy — something that other Presidents had promised and failed to do. This is a President who’s been delivering on the promises that he’s made.” Reporter: What price are we talking about? What price might Israel have to pay? Sanders: “I don’t have anything further for you.”

Chemi Shalev writes… “Trump’s “higher price” bombshell was a shot across the bow for Netanyahu and other right wingers who thought they could sleep soundly for the next four or even eight years. It indicates that Trump can flip on Israel without a moment’s notice or a second thought, just as he renounces anyone else who dares challenge him, from political allies to top security officials to his own personal lawyer.” [Haaretz

US officials visit City of David in Jerusalem— by Yael Freidson: “The dinner… was attended by National Security Advisor John Bolton, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the head of the Israeli National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat, Israel’s Ambassador to US Ron Dermer, and other Israeli officials. Although the City of David is defined as a national park, it is still considered to be a politically sensitive location since it is run by the right-wing organization Elad, which deals with Jewish settlement in eastern Jerusalem. Before the meal, the attendees toured the antiquities of the City of David.” [Ynet]

HEARD THIS MORNING — In a press gaggle on the tarmac before leaving for Lithuania, Netanyahu was asked: Has Israel given up on its expectation that the US will recognize the Golan Heights in light of Bolton’s remarks? “I should give up on such a thing? That cannot be,” Netanyahu responded.

‘Summer Of Disharmony’ by Gary Rosenblatt: “When three Jewish U.S. ambassadors step up their criticism of Jerusalem’s actions, diaspora-Israel relations are in real crisis — This “summer of disharmony,” as World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder describes the current state of Israel-diaspora relations, could well lead to a fall and winter of further disruption and disengagement… And though both Dennis Ross and Stuart Eizenstat are steeped in the art of diplomatic parlance, each of them was quite clear in expressing to me this week their frustration with Netanyahu and his coalition members… Ross wrote in an e-mail that he and Eizenstat expressed their “disquiet” to the Israeli leadership, and he called on others to “explain to Israelis the cost and consequence in the diaspora” of Jerusalem’s actions.”[JewishWeek]

UN urges Israel not to hold Gaza aid ‘hostage’ to politics: “The U.N. political chief is calling on Israel to ensure that urgently needed humanitarian supplies for the Gaza Strip aren’t “held hostage to political and security developments.” Rosemary DiCarlo told the Security Council Wednesday… funding for U.N. emergency fuel to keep about 250 Gaza hospitals, water and sanitation facilities operating at a minimum level “has now run out.” [AP]

Mark Dubowitz and Orde Kittrie write — “Get Serious About Human Shields: Our recent study of Hamas leaders involved in using human shields shows that several have not been named as terrorists by the U.S., let alone the European Union or the U.K. At least one has traveled to Europe on behalf of Hamas without facing consequences… Human-shield sanctions can be used to help turn the lawfare tables against the terrorists.” [WSJ]

ON THE HILL — The Senate passed a bill yesterday to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the late President of Egypt Anwar Sadat recognizing his contributions to peace in the Middle East. The effort was spearheaded by Ezra Friedlander. [CSPAN]

TOP TALKER — Why Michael Cohen Agreed to Plead Guilty And Implicate the President — by Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Nicole Hong and Joe Palazzolo: “A personal turning point for Mr. Cohen was a conversation with his father, Maurice Cohen, a Holocaust survivor. Mr. Cohen’s father urged him not to protect the president, saying he didn’t survive the Holocaust to have his name sullied by Mr. Trump…” [WSJ]

New York state subpoenas Cohen in Trump Foundation probe — by David Klepper: “Investigators in New York state issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of their probe into the Trump Foundation… Cohen could potentially be a significant source of information for state investigators looking into whether Trump or his charity broke state law or lied about their tax liability.” [AP

— “Shortly after the subpoena went out, Cohen personally contacted the tax department to talk.” [NYDailyNews]

New York City taxi regulator orders Michael Cohen to divest of his medallions — by Dana Rubinstein: “On Wednesday afternoon… a prosecuting attorney with New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission demanded Cohen relinquish his interest in 10 taxi medallions or risk their revocation.” [Politico]

INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — ‘How Did We End Up Here?’ Trump Wonders as the White House — by Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers: “Advisers noticed that the president… seemed subdued. He appeared to realize the serious nature of what had just taken place, and yet his relative calm — contrasted with his more typical lashing out when he is anxious — unnerved some of his aides… By Wednesday, Mr. Trump’s lawyers were arguing privately that Mr. Cohen’s admission and guilty plea to violating campaign finance laws was a punch but not a knockout blow, and were assessing what options they had for fighting back.” [NYTimes]

“The Worst Hour of His Entire Life” — Cohen, Manafort, and the Twin Courtroom Dramas That Changed Trump’s Presidency — by Susan Glasser: “Tuesday was a day for the optimists who think they can finally see the beginning of the end of that story, those like Norm Eisen, who are convinced that the institutions of American democracy are proving resilient in the face of Trump’s assault… “Democracy writ large has beaten illiberalism again and again, and that’s why I have optimism that today’s struggle will be no exception,” Eisen told me.” [NewYorker

HEARD YESTERDAY — Novelist and law professor Thane Rosenbaum on WCBS 880: “President Trump, to my mind, still has much more of a political problem than a legal problem. If I was a Republican running in the midterm elections, I would be really unhappy right now… And until we see those items – criminal conspiracy and interfering in the presidential election of 2016 – and actual evidence of collusion and obstruction of justice – I think we’re talking about crimes that don’t rise to the level of impeachment yet.” [WCBS880]

Alan Dershowitz on UK’s Channel 4 — Host Matt Frei: Where is the moral backbone of America these days? Dershowitz: “Well, where is the moral backbone of Great Britain to have as the head of the Labour Party a virulent anti-Semite, a virulent hater of Jews and the nation-state of the Jewish people? Don’t lecture us about our political system as long as you have Jeremy Corbyn, who may potentially become the next Prime Minister of England. Shame on Great Britain for allowing that to come to pass.” [Video]

HAPPENING TODAY — Trump to meet with Sessions, Kushner to discuss sentencing reform — by Stef Kight and Jonathan Swan: “President Trump plans to meet with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner and Brooke Rollins on Thursday to discuss the prison and sentencing reform package being negotiated between the White House and members from both parties…” [Axios]

Senate won’t take up Kushner’s signature prison reform bill before midterms — by Burgess Everett: “I don’t think before the election. I think the sentencing reforms are still controversial and divide Republicans. I just don’t see the wisdom of dividing Republicans on a contentious matter like that before the election,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas… On Tuesday, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced support for the package, raising hopes for a bipartisan agreement ahead of the election.”[Politico]

SIGHTING — Jared Kushner was spotted at Café Milano in DC last night having dinner with investment banker Aryeh Bourkoff, founder and CEO of LionTree [Pic] h/t Playbook

COMING SOON — Amid Iran deal tensions, Merkel to visit Israel in October: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel is slated to visit Israel in early October, her first visit in four years, amid growing US-Europe tension over Iran… Merkel’s visit comes as part of a broader government-to-government summit that will bring several German cabinet ministers to Israel for meetings with their counterparts… According to the Ynet news site, Merkel will receive an honorary doctorate from Haifa University during her visit.” [ToI

— Germany accused by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of betraying pledge to combat anti-Semitism by ignoring Iran sanctions.

Washington Is Turning Into Moscow — by Ben Judah: “In 2014, I stopped going to Moscow. It felt like the right thing to do. Twice over the past two years, I had been taken in for questioning by the FSB… A few months later, I arrived in Birobidzhan. For years, I had dreamed of visiting the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, the name still attached to the mosquito-infested marshlands set aside by Stalin for Jewish settlement in Siberia as an alternative to Zionism. But before I could find any of the handful of Jews there was a knock on my hotel-room door. It was two agents from the FSB.” [TheAtlantic]

** 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: Dan Rose, one of Facebook’s most important business executives, is leaving [Recode] • CBS Chief Leslie Moonves Hires Legal Superstar for Sexual Misconduct Probe [HollywoodReporter] • Moishe Mana expands Allapattah portfolio [TheRealDeal] • Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel to Receive Variety Vanguard Award at Mipcom [Variety]

STARTUP NATION — What Your Car Knows About You — by Christina Rogers: “Today, auto makers can pull hundreds of different data points from the car, including everything from the odometer reading and blinker status to the tire pressure level. “It’s really like your cellphone but it is bigger and on wheels,” said Lisa Joy Rosner, of Otonomo, an Israeli-based startup that works with auto makers to process and license vehicle data. Otonomo’s business model is built around it taking car maker-provided data, cleaning it up so it is easier to use and read, and then licensing it to third-parties, such as app developers, insurance companies and municipalities. All the data is stripped of any personal information. Auto makers then collect the licensing revenue with Otonomo getting a small cut.” [WSJ]

Nobody Trusts Facebook. Twitter Is a Hot Mess. What Is Snapchat Doing? — by Sarah Frier: “Asked why he was so reluctant to shine, Evan Spiegel pauses for a few beats. “I had a pretty serious Christian upbringing. I remember growing up I was taught to be small, be a turtle,” he says. “I remember thinking, Why would I go around the company and just chat with people? Like that would be so awkward. Now I go walk around the office and get a ton of emails like, ‘Oh, my God, that was awesome you came by.’” [Bloomberg]

HOLLYWOOD — Comedy legend Carl Reiner turns Emmy shot into punchline — by Lynn Elber: “Ask 12-time Emmy Award winner Carl Reiner how it feels to be nominated again, and he fires back a wisecrack. “I’m impressed with myself,” says the droll, 96-year-old creator (or “96 and a half,” per his exacting count) of the TV classic “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” … Reiner is nominated as host-narrator of “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” a documentary about how perennial high achievers, including Mel Brooks and Tony Bennett, both 92, stay vibrant… Reiner, the oldest-ever Emmy nominee, is willing to look in the rearview mirror, but only to fuel new work…” [AP]

PROFILE — This Millennial Filmmaker Is Riding the Digital Wave With His NBA Buddies — by Matt Foley: “[Michael] Ratner and his older brother, Scott, co-founded OBB, aka Original Big Bold, in 2014 to deliver millennial-driven original storytelling… In June, OBB took over a 10,000-square-foot building as it diversifies into comedy, music and horror. First up? Finding a network home for Smart Money, a series based on Michael Konik’s 2006 memoir about life inside one of the world’s biggest gambling rings. And in early August, Ratner announced a new division, OBB Music, with a feature documentary chronicling the rise of superstar rapper Young Jeezy in the works.” [Ozy]

The Jewish Side of Cystic Fibrosis— by Shoshy Ciment: “For Emily Kramer-Golinkoff, starting her own nonprofit was more than an act of humanity. It was her only hope… “I never hid the fact that I had cystic fibrosis growing up,” said Kramer-Golinkoff, who was diagnosed with the hereditary disorder before she turned 1… “If we wanted breakthroughs in my lifetime, we were going to have to dive in head first and take matters into our own hands,” said Kramer-Golinkoff, who lives in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. So with the chutzpah of a woman with nothing to lose, she started Emily’s Entourage, a nonprofit devoted to spearheading research exclusively for nonsense mutations of CF.” [Tablet]

A pocket watch turns back the clock on Jewish life aboard the Titanic — by Menachem Wecker: “Sinai Kantor, a Russian immigrant bound for New York with his wife, Miriam, took with him a Swiss-made pocket watch embossed on the back with a seated Moses holding the Hebrew-inscribed Ten Commandments… He was among 1,503 passengers who died on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. His watch remains a relic of the broader but little-known Jewish experiences on the Titanic… This Saturday (Aug. 25), Heritage Auctions will sell the watch to the highest bidder in its Americana and political auction.” [ReligionNews]

Can Ultimate Frisbee Save the World? — by Jennifer Finney Boylan: “For the last couple of weeks this group of kids — some from Israel, some from Palestine — had been trying to learn something about conflict resolution, by playing Ultimate Frisbee. Some of them had become friends… “Well, we’re not trying to bring peace to the Middle East,” said David Barkan, who volunteers as the chief executive of Ultimate Peace, which sponsored the camp. “That’s not the goal. It’s about changing a mind-set through the values of the sport that we know leads to peace between people.”” [NYTimes

TRANSITION — Samantha Ravich, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been appointed as Vice Chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. Ravich served as Deputy National Security Advisor for former Vice President Dick Cheney, focusing on Asian and Middle East Affairs as well as on counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation.

BIRTHDAYS: Professor Emeritus at MIT and 1987 Nobel Prize laureate in Economics, Robert Solow turns 94… Billionaire owner of many car dealerships, art collector, top GOP donor and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Norman Braman turns 86… Retired South African hotelier, he was a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts and luxury hotels, Sol Kerzner turns 83… Owner of Paper Capers, a stationery, custom invitation and gift store located in Livingston, New Jersey, Leslie Mayeshturns 71… Former MLB player (1969-1978), he was the first designated hitter in MLB history (on 4-6-1973) and was the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox in the Israel Baseball League (2007), Ron Blomberg turns 70… General Counsel of Eastern Savings Bank in Hunt Valley, Maryland, Richard Zeskindturns 61…

Member of Knesset since 1996, representing the Labor Party, Eitan Cabelturns 59… Cincinnati resident, Bracha (Benita Amedeo) Radin turns 56… South African-born entrepreneur, he is the founder and was the CEO and later Chairman of Wonga, a British financial technology company, Errol Damelinturns 49… ESPN’s and ABC’s sportswriter, reporter and author, he has won eight Emmy Awards, Jeremy Schaap turns 49… Founder and director of Jewish Family Enrichment Project as well as the director of “To Kindle a Soul” Parenting Seminars, Rabbi Josh Kohl turns 48… Israeli supermodel, born in Haifa, Mor Katzir turns 38… Senior manager in the hospital and healthcare practice of Accenture, Avigail Goldgraber turns 34… Senior policy advisor and speechwriter for President Donald Trump, Stephen Miller turns 33…

Aug
22

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Daily Kickoff: Trump says it’s the Palestinians’ turn to ‘get something very good’

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HEARD LAST NIGHT — Speaking at a campaign rally in Charleston, West Virginia last night, President Trump indicated that Israel will be asked to pay a higher price in a future peace deal with the Palestinians after he ‘took Jerusalem off the table’ with the embassy move last May.

“If there’s ever going to be peace — remember I said it — with the Palestinians, it was a good thing to have done,” Trump said about the Jerusalem move, “because we took it off the table. Because every time there were peace talks, they never got past the fact of Jerusalem becoming the capital, so I said let’s take it off the table.”

Trump added: “And you know what? In the negotiation, Israel will have to pay a higher price — because they won a very big thing. But I took it off the table… Now it’s off the table. There is nothing to negotiate about. But they will get something very good because it’s their turn next. Let’s see what happens. It’s very interesting. I’ve always heard that’s the toughest deal of all deals; that’s called peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” [Video

Aaron David Miller tells us: “Trump hasn’t taken Jerusalem off the table. He’s made Jerusalem the table — the most important focal point of the negotiation. If by Israel paying a big price he means that the U.S. will accept a proposed Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem too, okay. If not, he’ll need to hang a ‘closed for season’ sign on the ultimate deal.”

National Security Advisor John Bolton sought to clarify Trump’s comments at a press conference in Jerusalem this morning: “It was not an issue of quid pro quo. He’s made the point, I think, several times that this issue has been a hang-up in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and as he said last night as well, he’s taken that issue off the table. As a dealmaker, as a bargainer, he would expect that the Palestinians would say, “Okay great, so we didn’t get that one, now we want something else.’ And we’ll see how it goes. But the fundamental point is that ultimately this is something that the parties are going to have to agree on… They will decide between themselves what if anything the price of that was.”

VIEW FROM JERUSALEM: “President Donald Trump will not “turn on Israel,” Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said on Wednesday… Trump, according to Hanegbi, is trying to “find a way into” the hearts of the Palestinians to regain their confidence in the US as an “honest broker.” … Deputy Minister Michael Oren (Kulanu) said that Trump’s comments were “expected.” [JPost]

— Bolton says no timetable on peace plan: “John Bolton said a “lot of progress” has been made, but he refused to say what the plan entailed or when it may be publicized.” [AP]

— Jared Kushner and Trump’s Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt met yesterday with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani. “We discussed the situation in Gaza and the administration’s peace efforts,” Greenblatt tweeted.

— Tal Shalev reports: Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman met with Qatari Foreign Minister al-Thani while in Cyprus in June.

— Bolton on Iranian presence in Syria: “What [Russian President Vladimir Putin] was saying was that Iranian interests in Syria were not coterminous with Russian interests in Syria and that he would be content to see the Iranian forces all sent back to Iran. It wasn’t a question where they might be inside Syria. We were talking about the complete return of both regular and irregular Iranian forces. But he said, ‘I can’t do it myself.’ So the point was that perhaps joint US-Russian efforts might be sufficient. Now, I don’t know that that’s right either, but it’s certainly one of the subjects that I’ll be discussing with my Russian counterpart in Geneva tomorrow to try and follow up on the discussions on Syria that President Putin and President Trump had in Helsinki on that subject.” [Video

Bolton: U.S. not discussing recognition of Israel’s Golan hold — by Dan Williams: “The Trump administration is not discussing possible U.S. recognition of Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the Golan Heights, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said… “I’ve heard the idea being suggested but there’s no discussion of it, no decision within the U.S. government,” Bolton told Reuters… “Obviously we understand the Israeli claim that it has annexed the Golan Heights — we understand their position — but there’s no change in the U.S. position for now.” [Reuters]

AMERICANS’ VIEW OF BIBI — 17% of Democrats, compared to 64% of Republicans, have a favorable view of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Americans’ views of several of the leaders measured are highly partisan. Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to feel positively about Netanyahu, reflecting their greater support for Israel and perhaps Trump’s own close relationship with the Israeli leader… Netanyahu’s current 37% favorable rating is similar to Gallup’s last several measurements, taken between 1999 and 2015.”

“Netanyahu was viewed more positively in December 1998 after signing a U.S.-brokered peace treaty with the Palestinians known as the Wye agreement.”[GallupChart]

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro emails us… “The approval ratings of foreign leaders by the American public may not be the most meaningful measure, and in any case, Netanyahu’s overall ratings have remained quite consistent through the years. But these results do underscore the importance of trying to maintain a bipartisan consensus around Israel, and not allowing it to become subject to the same partisan tensions that define almost everything else these days. Netanyahu has work to do in that regard, and so do Democrats and Republicans in the U.S.”

Former advisor to seven Israeli Prime Ministers, Shalom Lipner tells us… “The widening gap between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to support for Israel precedes the Trump era. What stands out strikingly in the Gallup numbers is the increasing politicization of America’s global relationships. When it comes to leaders with whom Trump gets along (or appears to) — e.g. Netanyahu, and even Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un — Republicans view them more favorably than Democrats. Obviously, there are real ideological underpinnings to this polemic, but tribalism is evidently a strong motivating factor in determining public attitudes toward Trump’s frenemies.”

DRIVING THE CONVO — Cohen pleads guilty, implicates Trump in payoff scheme — by Devlin Barrett, Carol Leonnig, Philip Bump and Renae Merle: “In a guilty plea entered in a Manhattan federal courthouse, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen implicated Trump directly in some of his acts, saying he arranged to pay off two women to keep their stories of alleged affairs with Trump from becoming public before Election Day — in coordination with the then-candidate… Cohen pleaded guilty after prosecutors warned that he risked more than a dozen years in prison.” [WashPost]

Michael Cohen Nails the Casket Shut on His Former Boss — by Emily Jane Fox: “Whether Cohen would be able to surrender voluntarily was a matter of concern for him… He had wanted avoid a perp walk, which his children, who are around college-age, would inevitably have had to witness. Last week, he made jokes about setting up a chair in front of the court house in the middle of the night so as to allow agents to take him in immediately.”[VanityFair]

Video by Matthew Chayes‏: “Lock him up!” hecklers jeer at Michael Cohen as he leaves court after pleading guilty. [Video]

HOW IT PLAYED — A One-Two Punch Puts Trump Back on His Heels — by Mark Landler, Michael Shear and Maggie Haberman: “Mr. Trump’s advisers spent hours working on a statement that was attributed to his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, but privately several said they could not come up with something to explain away Mr. Cohen’s admissions beyond calling him a liar… People close to Mr. Trump privately acknowledged that the declarations from Mr. Cohen, made under oath in open court, could have significant political ramifications.” [NYTimes]

Alan Dershowitz — Michael Cohen’s guilty plea ‘not nearly as deadly lethal’ for Trump as many suspect: “This is the beginning of a story that will unravel over time, but it’s not nearly as deadly lethal as some have portrayed it as being,” Dershowitz… said during an interview on Fox News.” [WashExaminerMediaite]

Bret Stephens‏ tweets: “I’ve been skeptical about the wisdom and merit of impeachment. Cohen’s guilty plea changes that. The president is clearly guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. He should resign his office or be impeached and removed from office.”

As Mueller’s Siege Tightens, Trump’s Twitter Rage Crests — by Gabriel Sherman: “Over the weekend, Jared Kushner described Trump’s mood as “rip-shit,” according to one of the advisers. “Total meltdown” was how another adviser put it. “He’s extremely frustrated,” a Republican close to the White House said.” [VanityFair]

TRANSITION — Ari Schaffer has left his job as Associate Director of Research at The White House to serve as a special advisor for communications at the Commerce Department, according to Politico Playbook. During the 2016 presidential election, Schaffer worked at the GOP opposition research firm America Rising PAC.

WHITE HOUSE NOMINATION — President Trump has nominatedJeffrey Ross Gunter, a dermatologist from California and a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board of directors, to become the next U.S. Ambassador to Iceland. In 2016, Gunter served on the Trump transition finance committee.

Trump tweets this morning: “Thank you to Democrat Assemblyman Dov Hikind of New York for your very gracious remarks on Fox & Friends for our deporting a longtime resident Nazi back to Germany! Others worked on this for decades.”

IRAN DEAL — Top U.K. Envoy Breaks With Trump Administration Over Iran Policy — by Jessica Donati: “Jeremy Hunt, the U.K.’s new foreign secretary, signaled on Tuesday that his country’s view remains unchanged… “We do have a genuine difference of opinion because we think the best way to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to stick with the nuclear deal,” Mr. Hunt told an audience at the United States Institute of Peace.” [WSJ]

Germany urges EU payment system without U.S. to save Iran deal: “It is indispensable that we strengthen European autonomy by creating payment channels that are independent of the United States, a European Monetary Fund and an independent SWIFT system,” [German Foreign Minister Heiko] Maas wrote in the Handelsblatt business daily. “Every day the deal is alive is better than the highly explosive crisis that would otherwise threaten the Middle East.” [Reuters] • Israel employs Chinese companies operating in Iran[Globes]

Israel mocks Iran’s ‘indigenous’ fighter jet as copy of obsolete F-5: “The Iranian regime unveils the Kowsar plane and claims that it is ‘the first 100% locally-manufactured Iranian fighter jet,’” Ofir Gendelman, Netanyahu’s Arabic language spokesman, wrote on Twitter. “It boasts about its offensive capabilities. But I immediately noticed that this is a very old American war plane (it was manufactured in the ‘50s). It is from the F-5 class of jets which has not been in use for decades.” [ToI]

Sprawling Iranian influence operation globalizes tech’s war on disinformation — by Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin, Tony Romm and Ellen Nakashima: “Iran was behind a sprawling disinformation operation on Facebook that targeted hundreds of thousands of people around the world, the social media company said Tuesday night… The Iranian effort dated to 2011 and had ties to state media operations in that country, Facebook said, involving hundreds of accounts on both Facebook and its sister site, Instagram.”[WashPost]

Hudson Institute Ken Weinstein writes about being the targetof Fancy Bear, a Russian cyber-espionage group… “If Fancy Bear’s intention is to embarrass or intimidate us, it won’t work. Hudson fellows will continue to speak their minds on public-policy matters… At Hudson Institute we have proudly worked with our friends in the administration to promote American national security, and will continue to do so.” [WSJ]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Ken Weinstein on CNN with Wolf Blitzer — Blitzer: Are you surprised the President has not responded on Twitter or elsewhere to this Microsoft development? Weinstein: “I’m sure he will. I’m not surprised. There’s a lot going on today.” [Video]

MSNBC’s ‘Headliners’ is looking for dirt on Jared Kushner — by Sara Nathan: “Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner will be the subject of a new episode of MSNBC’s “Headliners,” Page Six has learned. Network staff have already been calling Kushner’s colleagues and friends for dirt, we’re told… An MSNBC insider said the episode will air in the fall.”[PageSix]

MIDTERMS — Zuckerberg and his co-founder pour millions into midterm initiatives: “Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz are mounting campaigns to get voters to approve housing and criminal justice reforms at the ballot box in November.” [Axios

SCENE LAST NIGHT — Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle headlined a fundraiser in support of Rep. Lee Zeldin (D-NY) in Nissequogue, Long Island. The event was co-hosted by Ari Fleischer and Steve Louro, who quit his post as regional finance chairman for the New York Republican Party over objections to the new tax reform law last year.

Dem candidates bring diversity to Florida governor’s race — by Brendan Farrington: “In a state with a long-standing tradition of electing white, Christian men, Florida’s Democratic primary could produce the state’s first black or woman governor or the second Jewish governor in its history… Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine or billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene… could become the state’s only Jewish governor besides David Sholtz, who served from 1933 to 1937, but both said that’s not important to them.

“I don’t think it really matters to most Americans any more what your race is, or your religion or your nationality of your gender. I think people are looking for someone who they think can solve their problems, or make their lives better,” Greene said. “If the person you’re choosing happens to have something in common with you, that’s just a little bonus.” Levine had similar thoughts but did say the Democratic side of the ballot better represents the people of Florida.” [AP] 

** 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: Disney Is Considering News Role for Ben Sherwood After Fox Deal [Bloomberg] • Stewart Butterfield’s Slack Raises $427 Million More, at $7.1 Billion Valuation [NYTimes] • Leslie Moonves Quoted ‘The Godfather’ to Prepare for Redstone Battle [Variety] • Liz Wessel: On my first day as a CEO of WayUp, half my face was swollen from getting my wisdom teeth out — but the 2 meetings I had with investors completely changed my life[BusinessInsider] • Fox 2000, Scooter Braun Partner for K-Pop Movie [HollywoodReporter]

Israel bans Juul e-cigarettes citing ‘grave’ public health risk: “Israel on Tuesday outlawed the import and sale of e-cigarettes made by Silicon Valley startup Juul Labs, citing public health concerns given their nicotine content… In a statement Tuesday, Juul Labs said it was “incredibly disappointed” with what it called a “misguided” decision by the government in Israel… The ban, which goes into effect in 15 days, was signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the health portfolio.” [Reuters]

Israel eases gun controls following lone-wolf attacks: “Israel has changed its gun regulations to enable hundreds of thousands more civilians to apply for licences, a move authorities say will increase security but others argue will stoke violence… A source in the public security ministry, however, estimated that only 35,000 people will be interested in applying for gun licences under the new regulations.” [YahooNews]

Lana Del Rey Will Now Visit Palestinian Territories After Israel Concert — by Halle Kiefer: “Lana Del Rey has written yet another note doubling down on her decision to perform in Israel, saying it does not preclude the fact that her “views on democracy and oppression are aligned with mostly liberal views.” She does say, however, that in addition to Israel, she will also now be extending her trip to Palestine to visit and perform for children in both regions. That visit, she says, is in response to Roger Waters’s call for action. “I want peace for both Israel and Palestine,” she writes.” [VultureInstagram]

HOLLYWOOD — Natalie Portman to direct, star in Dear Abby-Ann Landers biopic: “Natalie Portman has closed a deal to direct and star in an untitled biopic about the identical twin sisters who wrote advice columns as Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers. The sisters were born in 1918. Dear Abby was launched in 1956 by Pauline Esther Friedman in the San Francisco Chronicle. Her twin sister was born Esther Pauline Friedman and won a contest in 1955 to take over the “Ask Ann Landers” advice column in the Chicago Sun-Times. The competing columns led to the sisters having a bitter professional rivalry that lasted the rest of their lives. Portman will play both sisters for the project.” [VarietyHollywoodReporter]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Trump adviser Larry Kudlow hosted publisher of white nationalists at his home — by Robert Costa: “The publisher of a website that serves as a platform for white nationalism was a guest last weekend at the home of President Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow… Kudlow said Tuesday that [Peter] Brimelow was a guest at his birthday party at his Connecticut home and has been someone he has known “forever,” going back to their work in financial journalism. Kudlow expressed regret when he was described details of Brimelow’s promotion of white nationalists on Vdare.com. “If I had known this, we would never have invited him,” Kudlow said.” [WashPost]

Trayon White paid back constituent fund for ‘inappropriate’ Nation of Islam donation — by Fenit Nirappil: “The D.C. lawmaker at the center of an anti-Semitism controversy earlier this year paid back his constituent services fund for a $500 donation he made to an out-of-town event where Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan derided Jews… Campaign finance officials closed their investigation on July 25 without additional penalty after [D.C. Council member Trayon] White (D-Ward 8) showed he personally reimbursed the constituent services fund.” [WashPost]

Why the “wrong side of the tracks” is usually the east side of cities:“In this short talk about a surprising insight, anthropologist and venture capitalist Stephen DeBerry explains how both environmental and man-made factors have led to disparity by design in cities from East Palo Alto, California to East Jerusalem and beyond — and suggests some elegant solutions to fix it.” [Ted2018]

DESSERT — Kosher caterer shortlisted for ‘Oscars’ of the food world: “A kosher caterer from London was left open-mouthed this week after being shortlisted for the “Oscars of the catering world.”  Food Story… was named on a short-list of three for ‘Event Caterer of the Year’ at the Foodservice Cateys… with the ultimate winners to be announced at an event on 12 October at London’s Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel.” [JewishNews]

Honeys for Rosh Hashana — by Florence Fabricant: “Honey to beckon a sweet year is a traditional treat for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which will start at sundown Sept. 9. These assorted Waxing Kara raw honeys — all kosher in varieties like buckwheat, wildflower, spring and Florida orange blossom — come from a 102-acre farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.”[NYT

BIRTHDAYS: Hedge fund manager and philanthropist, Paul Elliott Singerturns 74… Chairwoman of Israel’s Strauss Group, Ofra Strauss turns 58… Emmy Award winning television news journalist, formerly the weekend anchor of CBS Evening News, Morton Dean (born Morton Dubitsky) turns 83… Author, journalist, Yale Law graduate, he founded the magazine “American Lawyer” and the cable channel Court TV (now TruTV), he recently co-founded NewsGuard, which rates the legitimacy of online news sites, Steven Brill turns 68… Former Chief of Staff to US Vice President Dick Cheney, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby turns 68… Portland, Oregon’s Marque Lampert Schererturns 68… Chairman of Israel Military Industries (now know as IMI Systems), he was a member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party (2006-2015) and served in multiple cabinet posts, Yitzhak Aharonovich turns 68… Encino, California’s Robin Elcott turns 62…

Former MLB outfielder, then investment banker, he was the US Ambassador to New Zealand (2015-2017) and has served as President of B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, Ambassador Mark Gilbert turns 62… Former investment banker who left his job to run a Los Angeles-based homeless service provider, he is now a professor at USC and a trustee of Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Adlai W. Wertman turns 59… Co-founder of Marquis Jet, one of the largest private jet card companies, former rapper and part owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Jesse Itzler turns 50… Director of strategic partnerships at the Paul E. Singer Foundation, Deborah Hochberg turns 45… Political consultant and investor, Michael Fragin turns 45… Project coordinator for “The Conversation: Jewish In America,” (an annual invitation-only, 48-hour gathering sponsored by The Jewish Week), Rachel Saifer Goldman… Co-Executive Director of Christians United for Israel, Shari Dollinger Magnus turns 41… Joyce Fox… Margie Berkowitz

Aug
21

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Daily Kickoff: The Jaffa, now open | Adelson gives GOP $25M | Dustin Moskovitz becoming ‘Sheldon of the left’ | Marty Baron on his Jewish background

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TALK OF THE TOWN — Aby Rosen Creates New Hotel in Vibrant Tel Aviv — by Sarah Medford: “Thirteen years ago, property developer Aby Rosen acted on a long-held dream and purchased a historic building in the old city of Jaffa, now part of Tel Aviv, with plans to open a hotel and residence complex. The 19th-century former hospital needed restoration, but its period details—columns, arched ceilings, stained-glass windows—were exceptional. Time passed, and work inched along. Meanwhile, excavations turned up a 13th-century Saracen wall fragment, occasioning another delay.”

“Rosen has a deep-rooted affinity for Tel Aviv, where he vacationed as a child. He sees The Jaffa, which finally opened August 20, as an oasis. “Israel is very hectic,” he says. “The goal is to take the speed out.” … Rosen tapped New York’s Major Food Group to oversee Don Camillo, serving a New York–style Italian menu, and Golda’s, a classic Jewish deli. “You have the tuna melt, you just die,” Rosen says.” [WSJMagazineRobbReport]

TOP TALKER — President Trump discussed his interactions with foreign leaders regarding the most pressing issues in the Middle East in a wide-ranging interview with Reuters yesterday:

Turkey: Trump complained that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan didn’t keep his side of the bargain to release North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson being held in Turkey after he managed to get Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release a Turkish woman who was being held in Israel. “I got that person out for him… It can’t be a one-way street. It’s no longer a one-way street for the United States,” Trump said.

Russia: Trump said he discussed the situation in Syria and Israel’s security among other issues in his private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, adding that he would consider lifting U.S. sanctions if Russia took positive steps on Syria or Ukraine. “I would consider it if they do something that would be good for us. But I wouldn’t consider it without that,” he said.

Iran: Trump seemed to have backtracked on meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss the Iranian nuclear program. “If they want to meet that’s fine, and if they don’t want to meet, I couldn’t care less,” Trump declared. “But I have not asked to meet.” [Reuters]

— Iran unveils a new fighter jet: “Iran unveiled a new fighter jet on Tuesday in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani, state media reported.”[Reuters]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Israel’s Finance Minister Aims to Improve Palestinian Economy — by Gwen Ackerman: “After more than three years of meetings with Palestinian officials, Moshe Kahlon is pushing a plan to build joint industrial zones, ease movement out of the West Bank and allow the Palestinian Authority to collect its own customs taxes. He will discuss the plan with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace envoy, later this month in Washington.” [Bloomberg]

TWITTER DIPLOMACY — Jason Greenblatt tweets statement signed by Trump’s Mideast peace team: “The United States has invested more money in helping the Palestinian people than any other country in the world.”

REPORT: Trump envoy held secret meeting with Palestinian President’s son — by Barak Ravid: “President Trump’s special envoy for Middle East peace, Jason Greenblatt, held a secret meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ son last September on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York… Tarek Abbas told Greenblatt that, unlike his father, he is against the two state solution because he thinks the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank made it impossible. Abbas’ son told the U.S. envoy he supports a one state solution with equal rights for all citizens.”

“Trump and Abbas will both be in New York this year for the General Assembly but are not expected to meet.” [Axios]

VIEW IN THE REGION — No Arab Leader Will Be Able to Accept Trump’s Peace Plan, ex-Jordanian FM Says — by Amir Tibon: Marwan Muasher, who was the Hashemite Kingdom’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister from 2002 to 2005… wrote in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad that Jordan can block Trump’s peace plan by ending its security coordination with Israel… Muasher cautioned in his article that Trump’s plan won’t include “the minimum Arab and Palestinian demands” and that it is, in effect, a “full surrender” by the administration to the demands of Israel’s right-wing government.” [Haaretz

Muslims at haj blame Arab disunity for Jerusalem embassy move — by Muhammad Yamany and Seham El-Oraby: “Muslims at the annual haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia criticized what they described as discordant Arab leaders for failing to block President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem… Some critics accuse Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, of surrendering Palestinian rights for the sake of its alliance with Trump and his tough stand on Iran.” [Reuters]

IN JERUSALEM — National Security Advisor John Bolton visited Yad Vashem this morning. He was accompanied by Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman. Bolton wrote in the Yad Vashem Guest Book: “In memory of the greatest tragedy which the spirit and resilience of the Jewish people has overcome, to help us prevent its like from ever happening again… to anyone.” [Pic]

New Russian Hacking Targeted Republican Groups, Microsoft Says — by David Sanger and Sheera Frenkel: “The sites appeared meant to trick people into thinking they were clicking through links managed by the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute, but were secretly redirected to web pages created by the hackers to steal passwords and other credentials… The Hudson Institute has promoted programs examining the rise of kleptocracy in governments around the world, with Russia as a prime target.” [NYTimes]

MIDTERMS — Adelsons shell out $25 million to keep Senate in GOP hands — by Theodoric Meyer: “Republican megadonors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave $25 million last month to the Senate Leadership Fund… The contributions are the first the Las Vegas casino magnate and his wife have made this cycle to the super PAC, which is closely aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.” [Politico]

— “Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC focusing on voter engagement and turnout, reported raising $4.1 million, with $2 million of that coming from hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman of Paloma Partners Management Co.”[Bloomberg]

Ten big Silicon Valley money players behind this November’s U.S. midterm elections — by Theodore Schleifer: “While [Dustin] Moskovitz is a well-known figure in Silicon Valley, the Facebook co-founder had barely given money to political groups. Overnight, he became the biggest donor on the left side of Sheldon Adelson — leaving reporters and even some Democratic fundraisers at the time scrambling to figure out: “Who is this guy?” Now he doesn’t have the cloak of anonymity. Moskovitz… has an estimated net worth of about $14 billion and could very well be the next Adelson of the left if he is prepared to dig deep into his bank account. Moskovitz and his wife, Cari Tuna, have together funneled almost $5 million to Democratic groups this cycle.”[Recode]

From Illinois Playbook“Members of the Democratic National Committee are in Chicago this week for meetings to prepare for the upcoming midterm elections. They’ll be staying at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, which was co-founded by gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker’s late father. Pritzker’s cousin, Tom Pritzker, is executive chairman of the Hyatt board. J.B. has sold his stake in the hotel empire.”

SCENE LAST NIGHT — Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in Jackson Hole for GOP fundraiser — by Bradly  Boner: “A handful of protestors shouted questions to U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, as they boarded the Bridger Gondola at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on Monday evening… At the end of the video, one person can be heard yelling, “Ivanka’s complicit,” before telling them to “enjoy the mountains.” [JHNewsAndGuide]

Levi Sanders Is Not His Father. He Keeps Telling That to Voters — by Sydney Ember: “I’m not a clone of my father,” Levi Sanders said in a late-night interview after the forum earlier this month. His shirt was rumpled. He looked weary. But with just weeks to go until his primary in [New Hampshire’s] First District, Mr. Sanders, 49, still cannot avoid comparisons to his father, Bernie Sanders… Oh, and one more thing: His father has not endorsed him… The younger Mr. Sanders swears he is not upset by his father’s decision not to endorse him. “He’s always believed, ever since I was little, that I have to stand up on my own.” [NYTimes]

Past divisions forgotten, Obama endorses J.B. Pritzker — by Greg Hinz: “Pritzker was invested in Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, pitting himself against sister Penny Pritzker, who was for [Barack] Obama and went on to serve as commerce secretary in his Cabinet… Now that Pritzker is the Democratic nominee for governor, all apparently has been forgotten, with his campaign releasing a video endorsement by the Chicagoan who was president that could not be more flattering. “J.B. gets things done,” declares an earnest-looking Obama… “I know J.B.  I trust J.B.,” says Obama.” [CrainsChicagoVideo]

Holocaust survivor denounces Cuomo: ‘America is great’ — by Jacob Kornbluh: Republican gubernatorial hopeful Marc Molinaro and an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor joined arms on Monday to denounce New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’ recent comments that America “was never that great.” “I really think that America is great. As far as I am concerned, America was great even before I came here, and we don’t want to give that up,“ Jerry Wartski, a Manhattan real estate investor and a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, told reporters.

Molinaro insisted that he was not exploiting the Holocaust to score political points. Wartski, according to Molinaro, reached out to the campaign and offered to speak out. “I think that any individual who has lived through that horror, who wishes to speak up because his governor would demean what this nation means to him, it’s certainly his right,” Molinaro told Jewish Insider[JewishInsider]

TALK OF THE NATION: Nazi collaborator Jakiw Palij is deported from U.S. to Germany — by Carlo Angerer: “The last known Nazi collaborator living in the U.S. was deported to Germany overnight. Jakiw Palij, 95, had lived in New York City for decades…  In a statement released by the White House after Palij landed in Germany early Tuesday said President Donald Trump commended the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for “removing this war criminal from United States soil.” … “To protect the promise of freedom for Holocaust survivors and their families, President Trump prioritized the removal of Palij.” [NBCNews]

— “According to a source familiar with the matter, Trump told U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to make Palij’s deportation his number one priority when he got to Berlin.” [ABCNews]

German foreign minister honors victims at Auschwitz — by Vanessa Gera: “In the first visit to the camp by a German foreign minister in 26 years, [Heiko] Maas wrote in a memorial book that Auschwitz was “hell on earth” and a “German creation,” according to Germany’s dpa news agency… The visit is particularly personal to Maas, who took over at the Foreign Ministry in March. “I went into politics because of Auschwitz,” he said at the time.” [AP]

** 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: Under PepsiCo, SodaStream’s Marketing-Savvy CEO Says He is Not Going to Pipe Down [Calcalist] • In the CBS-Viacom Legal Struggle, the Sumner Whisperer Comes Under Fire [VanityFair] • Les Moonves’ contract reveals nearly $200 million at stake if he leaves CBS [CBSNews] • RedSky buys Williamsburg development site from Thor Equities, lands $222M refi of neighborhood portfolio [TheRealDeal] • Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor Signs With D.C. Lobbying Firm Led by Former Trump Campaign Adviser [Variety] • Sam Zell’s outdoor home rental business luring investors [TheRealDeal]

Trump Complains to Donors in the Hamptons About Powell’s Rate Hikes — by Jennifer Jacobs and Saleha Mohsin: “Trump held a discussion with a small group and then made remarks to a larger group over a dinner of salad with chicken in a tent in [Howard] Lorber’s yard. It was a humid night and Trump joked that Lorber could have afforded better air conditioning.” [Bloomberg]

PROFILE — Can This Refugee Advocate Survive the ‘Stop Soros’ Crossfire? — by Erik Noel Nelson: “As an aspiring attorney, specializing in immigration interested [Tímea] Kovács partly for its complexity, because it dealt with evolving European law, rather than straightforward criminal acts… Now there are worries that her chosen vocation could make her a target of the [Hungarian “Stop Soros” anti-immigration] law, particularly given her prominence in the media… For her part, Kovács is wary of how she communicates and prefers in-person meetings. That’s not surprising since Politico reported in July that the government hired an Israeli firm to contact NGO staff — especially those associated with Soros — and recorded conversations that were later used by Orbán in the final days of April’s election campaign.” [Ozy]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Washington Post editor Marty Baron shared his Jewish background with David Axelrod on The Axe Files podcast: “My father was born in Germany. He went to what was then Palestine. My mother was born in what was then Palestine, [which later] became Israel. They loved that country. They were in Paris a couple of years and then came to the United States.”

Axelrod: Why did they come here? Baron: “My father believed in the American dream. That’s what he wanted. He loved the opportunity of the United States. He was a true believer in all of that, and it just suited him, I guess. So he became a businessman and that’s what he was about. I, as a kid, traveled a lot with my parents. My father was in the export business, so we traveled overseas. So I got around the world, and you get exposed to lots of different kinds of people… I hope, I expect, and I believe that people are making the kinds of contributions that my parents made to this country.” [AxeFiles

ACROSS THE POND — Jeremy Corbyn’s secret trip to Israel to meet Hamas — by Eylon Levy: “Jeremy Corbyn visited Israel and the West Bank in November 2010 with an Islamist lobby group to meet senior Hamas officials, and failed to declare the funding for the trip in violation of parliamentary rules… The UK Labour Party… defended his meetings with Hamas officials…”  [i24News]

David Horovitz writes… Corbyn, who sought Israel’s demise, is an anti-Semite. Labour must kick him out: “He backed a group that called ‘to eradicate Zionism’; he’s likened Israeli policy to the Nazis’; his party can’t accept the world definition of anti-Semitism because he breaches it.

“Corbyn’s Labour has become a hothouse of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism — in its leader’s radical hard-left image. His defense and that of his loyalists, when accused of failing to tackle the blight, is to attempt to distinguish between the two: Yes, they proudly acknowledge, Corbyn and many others in Labour are deeply critical of Israel and its policies regarding the Palestinians, but the allegations of anti-Semitism are not merely unfounded but are being deliberately manufactured in order to silence their legitimate criticisms of the Jewish state. Iranian ayatollah-style, they would have us believe that they loathe Israel but have nothing whatsoever against the Jews.” [ToI]

Speaking of Iranian views towards Jews — U.S. prosecutors announced charges Monday against two men arrested Aug. 9 and accused of acting as agents of the government of Iran, covertly monitoring a Jewish center in Chicago and American members of an Iranian opposition group in exile in behalf of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. [ChicagoTribune]

REMEMBERING: Uri Avnery, left-wing Israeli journalist, politician and peace activist, dies at 94 — by Harrison Smith: “By all accounts, the first time an Israeli met Yasser Arafat was in July 1982, after Uri Avnery — a white-haired war veteran, left-wing politician and muckraking journalist — boarded the Palestinian leader’s armored Mercedes in the streets of West Beirut… When he died Aug. 20 at 94, at a hospital in Tel Aviv after suffering a stroke, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called him “the eternal opposition figure” in a tweet, whose struggle for free speech “paved the way for Israel as a young country.” [WashPostNYT]

DESSERT — Massive Mall Near MetLife Stadium Will Have Over 100 Restaurants — by Stefanie Tuder: “American Dream in East Rutherford has been 16 years in the making… On the food side of the $3 billion, 4.5 million-square-foot project, there will be more than 20 full-service restaurants, a Vice-branded food hall, a Kosher food hall, and about 50 grab-and-go options.”[EaterNY]

HELPFUL GOOGLE MAP OVERLAY — Manhattan Kosher Restaurant Map: A map of kosher, vegan, and vegetarian restaurants in New York City’s most densely populated borough [KosherMap]

BIRTHDAYS: Russian-born Internet entrepreneur, he co-founded Google and is the president of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Sergey Brin turns 45… Retired owner of Effective Strategy Consultants, Boynton Beach resident, Irwin Wecker turns 83… Judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (with chambers in Chicago), the first woman appointed to this court, Judge Ilana Kara Diamond Rovner turns 80… President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2012, L. Rafael Reif turns 68… Israeli physician who was a member of the Knesset (1999-2003), he now serves as mayor of Ashdod (Israel’s largest port and its sixth largest city), Dr. Yehiel Lasri turns 61… Co-founder of BlueLine Grid, he was previously an Assistant US Attorney in Los Angeles (1994-2000) and a member of the Los Angeles City Council (2001-2009), Jack Weiss turns 54…

Manager of strategic partnerships for UJA-Federation of New York’s Day School Challenge Fund, she is a former litigator at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, Chavie N. Kahn… Global head of public affairs at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, he held several national posts in the Republican Party (including Party Chair from 2005-2007) and the George W. Bush administration, Ken Mehlman turns 52… MLB pitcher for 9 teams in a long career (2000-2015), he was the starting pitcher in three of Team Israel’s first four games in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, all of which the team won, Jason Marquis turns 40… Senior strategist at PSB Research (PSB is a part of Y&R and WPP), named a non-partisan “Rising Star” by Campaigns & Elections magazine, Adam Rosenblatt turns 33… Associate Area Director for AIPAC in Philadelphia, Erica N. Miller turns 33… Tzippy Baitch… Lynn Sharon… James Barton… Elon Issashar

Kafe Knesset for August 18

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bait and switch: As usual, the Barcelona terror attack was widely and quickly denounced by everyone in the Israeli political system. But the PM appeared to be putting…

Kafe Knesset for August 17

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Alternative realities: The front pages of the two biggest Israeli newspapers – Noni Mozes’s Yediot Aharonot and Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Hayom, are many times mirror images of each…

RJC, Orthodox Groups Reject Trump’s ‘Both Sides’ Remarks

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jewish groups, with some members that have been more sympathetic to President Trump in recent months, have joined the widespread criticism against the President for drawing a moral…

State Dept Annual Report Critiques Israeli Actions in West Bank

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WASHINGTON – In a move likely to upset conservative supporters of President Donald Trump, a new State Department report released on Tuesday criticized both Israeli and Palestinian policies…

Kafe Knesset for August 16

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Just one side: President Trump’s controversial press conference, backtracking from his condemnation of white supremacists in Charlottesville in favor of blaming “both sides,”drew strong criticism in Israel. Justice…

Kafe Knesset for August 15

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Eyes on Pyongyang: The Israeli media has been following the US-North Korea standoff quite closely in recent days. Several media outlets have sent special correspondents to report from…