Daily Kickoff: Joe Lieberman on law and Shavuot | Redstone vs Moonves continues | Elon Musk’s Boring talk at synagogue…

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JUST ANOTHER NIGHT AT SYNAGOGUE — “Elon Musk Presents His Tunnel Vision to the People of LA” by Jack Stewart and Aarian Marshall: “One day, if Elon Musk gets his way, the Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles’ tony Bel Air neighborhood will be just a hop, skip and a quick walk from the nearest Loop station. The “Loop,” for the uninitiated, is what Musk calls his latest idea for moving people and things from one place to another. For a measly $1, you’d be shot at 150 mph through a city-wide network of tunnels, until you reached whichever of the hundreds or thousands of stations fell closest to your destination… Today, though, getting to the temple, where Musk hosted the Boring Company’s first public informational meeting, requires crawling through miles of hideous 405 rush hour traffic.” [WiredMag]

SHUL SCENE — “The crowd is remarkably varied, ranging from gray-haired men in baseball caps and plaid shirts to fashionable young women to yarmulke-wearing members of the congregation to couples in their 70s. But you can’t miss the majority: men in their 20s and 30s whose passion for Musk verges on the spiritual. “I’m a big Elon fan,” one tells me when I ask why he’s here.” [TheVerge]

DRIVING THE WEEKEND — “Your Jewish guide to the royal wedding” by Amy Spiro: “This weekend, neither current Ambassador Mark Regev nor current Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will witness the royal occasion. The reason is simple: the wedding of Prince Harry and Markle is a much smaller, less official affair… Mirvis, of course, would not have attended an event on Shabbat, and on Shavuot eve at that… One person who is almost certain to be in attendance is Jewish American designer Misha Nonoo. Nonoo, a longtime friend of both the royal family and Markle, is reportedly the woman who introduced the happy couple… Another close friend of Markle’s, Jessica Mulroney — of the Jewish Montreal Brownstein family — is also certain to be in attendance… Mulroney’s children will be page boys and a bridesmaid at the nuptials.” [JPost]

HOLIDAY WEEKEND — “Why Joe Lieberman and I think the world of Shavuot” by Ari Kahn: “…then-Senator Lieberman remarked to Rabbi Genack that he is often saddened by the fact that the overwhelming “success” of the Passover seder does not carry through to the holiday that follows it in the Jewish calendar: Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost). Determined to raise awareness of the message of Shavuot and to illuminate the link between the well-known holiday of freedom, Passover, and the often-overlooked or unknown festival of the Giving of the Law, Shavuot, the idea for “From Liberty to Justice” was born. The concept was to produce a volume made up of 50 short chapters that take the reader on a journey through the days that are counted between the two festivals.” [ToIAmazon]

— Lieberman writes in the WSJ’s Houses of Worship column: “A doctor, an engineer, and a lawyer get into a debate about whose profession is the oldest. The doctor argues that it’s medicine: “There must have been a doctor in the Garden of Eden to help God transform Adam’s rib into Eve.” “Oh no,” the engineer shoots back. “Before that there must have been an engineer who assisted God in changing primordial chaos into the order of the universe.” Then the lawyer chimes in: “You’re both wrong. There must have been a lawyer there first to create the chaos.”

“Sure, some lawyers’ behavior merits such jokes. But many play a crucial role in maintaining the rule of law, which creates order. A good legal system makes the difference between a civilized society and a chaotic one, and it all began when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. For Jews, now is the perfect time of year—between Passover and the much less observed holiday of Shavuot—to contemplate the role of law in our lives.” [WSJ]

NOW BACK TO POLITICS — Former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman: I support Trump on US embassy move to Jerusalem and Iran nuclear deal exit: “Democrats and Republicans need to support solid policies regardless of which party takes the lead such as President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, Joe Lieberman told CNBC… “I happen to agree with President Trump on these two decisions,” the former Democratic and independent senator from Connecticut said.” [CNBC]

HEARD THE OTHER DAY — Ilan Goldenberg, a former Obama administration official, on a conference call hosted by the Israel Policy Forum: “I’m actually not opposed to moving the Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if done correctly. The reality is, Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Jerusalem will be Israel’s capital in any two-state agreement and recognizing that reality could be a positive step. But the key is — if you’re going to give such a huge political win for the Israelis and you’re the mediator, and you’re the one in the center of this, you need to give something to the Palestinians as well. So I would have liked to see us announce that we were turning our Consulate, which is also in Jerusalem, and really is responsible for engaging with the Palestinians, into an embassy as well. So that we would have two embassies in Jerusalem as part of our policy in support for what will inevitably have to be in any two-state agreement, two capitals in Jerusalem.”

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — “Mideast Turmoil Complicates Arab Support for Trump Peace Plan” by Felicia Schwartz, Dov Lieber and Margherita Stancati: “The Trump administration’s still-secret Middle East peace proposal is running into headwinds after deadly clashes at Israel’s border fence with the Gaza Strip and the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem rattled Arab governments who could help bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table… In private, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, another U.S. ally, warned the move would hurt the peace process.”

“Now U.S. officials said they don’t expect to release the plan before the end of Ramadan, which begins this week and lasts until mid-June… Trump administration officials say they understand the anger among Arab nations but think it will eventually cool.” [WSJ

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat writes… “Trump Provides the anti-Palestinian Incitement, Israel the Bullets: We consider this embassy… as a natural extension of the Trump administration’s policy of encouraging Israeli violations of international law. We don’t see a difference between this embassy and any Israeli settlement in occupied Palestine…” [Haaretz]

Netanyahu posts on Facebook: “Just take a look at this video. Palestinians break through Israel’s security fence—some of them waving meat-cleavers. ‘O Jews!’ they shout. ‘We’re coming to slaughter you!’ This is what we are defending our families against. And you would do exactly the same.” [Video]

— “Netanyahu’s son deletes Instagram after ‘F–k Turkey’ post” by Yaron Steinbuch: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son crudely weighed in on a diplomatic spat between Jerusalem and Ankara — posting “F–k Turkey” on his Instagram account… A family spokesman said: “Yair Netanyahu is a private individual and his Instagram account is private.” His account appears to have been deleted.” [NYPost

— “Why Investors Have Become Skittish About Turkey” by Benjamin Harvey: “As Erdogan’s hold over the Turkish economy grows, so will the threat to the country’s recent decade and a half of prosperity as investors and a generation of young talented Turks flee.” [Bloomberg]

Former President Jimmy Carter in an interview with CBN News: “I don’t have any support for Hamas. I have support for the Palestinians in general…the top priority in my international life has been to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors. I think the only way to do it is to treat the Palestinians fairly and let them have their own state alongside Israel.” [CBN]

THE ECONOMIST EDITORIAL — “Israel must answer for the deaths in Gaza: But it is time for Palestinians to take up genuine non-violence… For all their talk of non-violence, Hamas’s leaders have not abandoned the idea of “armed struggle” to destroy Israel. They refuse to give up their guns, or fully embrace a two-state solution; they speak vaguely of a long-term “truce”. With this week’s protests, Hamas’s leaders boasted of freeing a “wild tiger”. They found that Israel can be even more ferocious.”

“If Hamas gave up its weapons, it would open the way for a rapprochement with Fatah. If it accepted Israel’s right to exist, it would expose Israel’s current unwillingness to allow a Palestinian state. If Palestinians marched peacefully, without guns and explosives, they would take the moral high ground. In short, if Palestinians want Israel to stop throttling them, they must first convince Israelis it is safe to let go.” [TheEconomist]

CAMPUS BEAT — “UC Program Cancels Israel Event Due to Gaza Violence” by Aaron Bandler: “The violence at the Israel-Gaza border has prompted the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) to cancel a June 2nd event that would have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the UC study abroad program in Israel… Rabbi Aaron Lerner, the executive director of UCLA Hillel, told the Journal in an email that they would be proceeding with the event anyway.” [JewishJournal]

IRAN DEAL — Michael Singh writes… “Here’s What Trump Should Do Post-Nuke Deal: Senior U.S. officials should engage in an intensive diplomatic roadshow to explain the path ahead to international partners beyond key European allies and to foreign firms, and begin the hard work of limiting diplomatic rifts that adversaries will be keen to exploit.” [ForeignPolicy]

“Merkel, Macron Try to Preserve Iran Deal Without Provoking U.S.” by Laurence Norman: “French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out actions that could put the European Union and the U.S. into a trade war over Iran sanctions… Mr. Macron said he wouldn’t support retaliation against U.S. companies even if European firms are hit by U.S. sanctions. “We are not going to launch a strategic or trade war against the United States on the issue of Iran. That would make no sense, including geopolitically,” he said.” [WSJ]

“This Is How Donald Trump Has Already Succeeded In Exposing Divisions Among European Governments” by Alberto Nardelli: “On the eve of a summit in Bulgaria this week, many of the EU’s 28 heads of state and government took it in turns to vent their anger and exasperation towards the US president as they discussed over dinner how to respond to recent decisions to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, relocate the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem… Last week, Axios reported that Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic blocked a joint EU statement criticising the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. A senior EU official confirmed the story to BuzzFeed News this week, including that it emerged during the drafting process that Romania was considering moving its own embassy to Jerusalem.” [BuzzFeed• Romanian PM faces possible dismissal over Jerusalem embassy move [Ynet]

Nikos Konstandaras writes… “Trump’s Iran Move May Swamp Greece: For Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras… closer relations with the United States and Israel at this time could also create domestic complications… Greece’s economic recovery depends on negotiating with its European partners a reduction of its public debt (318.3 billion euros last year), so Athens cannot afford to isolate itself in Europe by taking the United States’ side in any major dispute.” [NYTimes]

“Is Trump the Second Coming of Reagan?” by Susan Glasser: “When I called Bill Kristol, who came to Washington as a young Reaganite, in 1985… he was thinking of a very different Presidential comparison. Kristol has been an unrelenting Never Trumper since Trump announced his Presidential campaign, and he certainly wasn’t about to concede the analogy, no matter how stretched, between Trump and the President that he still idolizes. With this week’s one-year anniversary of the special counsel investigation into Trump and his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia in mind, Kristol told me the Republican whom President Trump most resembles is not Ronald Reagan, but Richard Nixon. “I would say Trump is more like Nixon, though it’s unfair to Nixon in that Nixon was a more serious person,” Kristol said.” [NewYorker]

— “Richard Pipes, Historian of Russia and Reagan Aide, Dies at 94” by William Grimes: “Richard Pipes, the author of a monumental, sharply polemical series of historical works on Russia, the Russian Revolution and the Bolshevik regime, and a top adviser to the Reagan administration on Soviet and Eastern European policy, died on Thursday at a nursing home near his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 94. His son Daniel confirmed the death… Professor Pipes [was] a moralist shaped by his experiences as a Jew who had fled the Nazi occupation of Poland…” [NYT]

Anshel Pfeffer writes… “It’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s World Now: In his 36 years as a diplomat and politician, Mr. Netanyahu has been reprimanded by the Reagan administration, nearly barred from entering the White House, and banned from the State Department during George H. W. Bush’s administration because of his criticism of its policies. He has been at loggerheads with President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, both of whom could barely conceal their disdain for him. Now he has an administration that shares his positions almost instinctively.” [NYTimes]

ON THE HILL — “Congress to Consider Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights” by Adam Kredo: “Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced on Thursday a resolution that could lead to an historic recognition by the United States that the contested area fully belongs to Israel… “Given the civil war in Syria and the expansion of Iranian influence in Syria, the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the amendment [says]. The House Rules Committee is in possession of the measure, but have yet to take a stance.” [FreeBeacon]

House panel approves bills on anti-Semitism envoy, combating genocide: “The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved two bills that have wide Jewish organizational backing, one to enhance the role of the anti-Semitism monitor and the other named for Elie Wiesel, to make combating genocide a U.S. policy.” [JTA]

“Hungarian PM Accused George Soros of Fueling Anti-Semitism, MTI Reports” by Zoltan Simon: “Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused George Soros, the Jewish billionaire philanthropist who survived Nazi persecution, of fomenting anti-Semitism by helping immigrants come to Europe… Soros and his Open Society Foundations… “bear responsibility for the increase in anti-Semitism in Europe,” Orban said in a letter to Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress.” [Bloomberg

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Kushners Near Deal With Qatar-Linked Company, Brookfield Properties, for Troubled Tower [NYTimes] • Carl Icahn Fights Attempt to Take AmTrust Financial Services Private [WSJCNBC] • In Cannes, Saudi Arabia Pitches Itself as a Cinema Player [VanityFair]

MEDIA WATCH — “Shari Redstone won a round in her fight with Les Moonves and CBS. What’s her next move?” by Edmund Lee: “It was a battle of the media titans, and Les Moonves lost the first round. The chief executive of CBS, who just yesterday received a standing ovation from advertisers at the broadcaster’s upfronts presentation at Carnegie Hall, failed to convince a judge it was in CBS’s best interests to dissolve Shari Redstone’s control over the company. The ball is now in Redstone’s court, and we lay out her options…” [Recode]

“Shari Redstone and Leslie Moonves Have Starring Roles in a Corporate War” by Michael J. de la Merced and John Koblin: “They were once allies, if not friends. The entertainment mogul Shari E. Redstone and the CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, whose careers have been entwined for nearly 20 years, appeared to be getting along famously as recently as February, when they sat in the CBS box at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, both rooting for the New England Patriots… The recent split seems to have come as a surprise to Ms. Redstone. “It’s so hurtful, because Shari thought she had a good relationship with Les,” said an associate of Ms. Redstone.” [NYTimes]

“Miriam Adelson takes reins at Israel Hayom” by Yonatan Kitain: “The “Israel Hayom” daily today announced that publisher Asher Baharav and CEO Zippi Koren, both of whom have been in their positions since the free newspaper was founded over a decade ago, will be leaving the paper. Baharav’s replacement will be none other than Dr. Miriam Adelson, who owns the paper together with her husband, Sheldon Adelson… “Israel Hayom” also announced that its veteran political correspondent, Shlomo Cesana, would be leaving his position and would become a media advisor for Yesh Atid Party chairperson MK Yair Lapid.” [Globes]

HAPPENING TODAY — Embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens bracing for impeachment proceedings: “The scandal-plagued saga that has surrounded Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ tenure is about to enter a new chapter. At 6:30 p.m. Friday, legislators at the state capitol in Jefferson City will call to order a special 30-day session to begin impeachment proceedings against the embattled head of the Show-Me State… After Friday night’s official beginning, state house members will meet next week for a series of hearings expected to last several days.” [ABCNews]

“The Lesson of Eric Greitens, and the Navy SEALs Who Tried to Warn Us” by Phil Klay: “A former Navy seal who was once a rising star in the Republican Party, Greitens is now fighting allegations of sexual coercion, blackmail, invasion of privacy, and misuse of charity resources to fund his campaign. The charges stunned many in Missouri, but in the tight-knit seal community, Greitens has been a divisive figure for years. In 2016, before Greitens was elected, a group of mostly anonymous current and former seals tried to sound the alarm about why they thought he was unfit for office.”[NewYorker]

A Mushroom Revolution Takes Root in the Middle East and Africa” by Tafline Laylin: “Palestinian friends Sameer Khraishi, Wadia Nassar, Tayeb Akel and Mahmoud Kuhail were unwilling to purchase Israeli produce, so they raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to establish their own mushroom farm, Amoro, in Jericho in 2013… Amoro is joining a growing number of organizations across the Middle East and Africa that are cultivating mushrooms as a form of economic empowerment and resistance…” [Ozy]

BOLLYWOOD: “The Jewish superstars who once ruled Bollywood” by Maria Thomas: “In 2006, the Melbourne-based documentary filmmaker Danny Ben-Moshe was given a newspaper clipping by his Indian research assistant. Spotted by the girl’s father, who knew Ben-Moshe was Jewish, it was an obituary for a veteran Indian actress who had made her name playing the vamp in Bollywood movies of the 1950s and 1960s… His documentary, Shalom Bollywood, came out in 2017, and it traces the rise of Jewish girls in the cinema industry at a time when most Indian women, notably Hindu and Muslim ones, couldn’t even dream of being seen on the silver screen.” [Quartz]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Man volunteers at kosher soup kitchen to make up for mocking Jewish boy: “Quaishawn Stewart has apologized for offending the Jewish community and is volunteering at the well-known Masbia soup kitchen. The video shows a little boy and Stewart mocking his haircut. “It was my fault,” Stewart says. “I messed up.” … After the incident, Councilman Brad Lander invited him to volunteer at Masbia. Stewart agreed. Now he says he’s using it as a learning experience and giving back in a humble way.” [BronxNews12]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Founder in 1972 of Kroll, Inc., Jules B. Kroll turns 77… Best-selling author of spy thriller novels including a prequel to the TV series “Homeland” and the “Scorpion” series, Andrew Gary Kaplanturns 77… Former New York Times columnist and reporter, Clyde Habermanturns 73… Los Angeles-based attorney, board member of American Friends of Nishmat, Linda Goldenberg Mayman… Washington correspondent for Newsweek, he was previously a writer and senior editor at Congressional Quarterly, Jonathan Broder turns 70… Member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 1983, Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg turns 68… Senior Advisor at Moelis & Company, previously a Major General in the IDF, then CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (2007-2012), Shlomo Yanai turns 66… Politico’s national security editor, Bryan Bender turns 46… Co-founder, editor and columnist for the news website Vox, Matthew Yglesias turns 37… Middle East and North Africa staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 2017, Eric Trager turns 35… DC-based reporter for The Associated Press covering foreign affairs, national security and diplomacy, Joshua Lederman turns 33… National security adviser to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a former senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council, Ezra Asa Cohen-Watnick turns 32… Analyst for financial services clients at Invariant (formerly known as Heather Podesta + Partners), Lauren DePinto turns 25… Netanel Levitt turns 25… Co-Founder of Rebel, Joe Teplow… Alan Kitey

SATURDAY: Senior Counsel in the DC office of Blank Rome LLP, Harvey Sherzer turns 74… A New York State judge since 1995, later serving as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (2009-2015), now of counsel in the NYC office of Latham & Watkins, Jonathan Lippman turns 73… Clinical psychologist, author, teacher, public speaker and ordained rabbi, Dennis G. Shulman turns 68… A nurse by profession who served as member of the Wisconsin State Assembly (2009-2015), Sandy Pasch turns 64… Harvey D. Harman turns 62… Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces since 2015, Gadi Eizenkot turns 58… Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic rabbi, born in Milan, now Chief Rabbi of Russia, friend of Vladimir Putin, Shlomo Dovber Pinchas Lazar (better known as Rabbi Berel Lazar) turns 54… Journalist, teacher and playwright, now deputy managing editor for news and a columnist at the New York Daily News, Gersh Kuntzman turns 53… Author of 23 novels that have sold over 14 million copies in 34 languages, Jodi Picoult turns 52… Chief Executive Officer of Bend the Arc, a Jewish partnership for justice, Stosh Cotler… Professional baseball player who pitched for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Zachary “Zack” James Thornton turns 30… Professional ice hockey forward for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, Brendan Leipsic turns 24…

SUNDAY: Canadian businesswoman and elected official, she served in the Ontario Assembly (1985-1997) and in the Canadian House of Commons (1997-2004), she is a director of Covalon Technologies Ltd., Elinor Caplan turns 74… Democratic member of the New York State Assembly since 2007, representing the 97th Assembly District in Rockland County, Ellen Jaffeeturns 74… Former member of the US House of Representatives from Connecticut’s 2nd district (1981-2001), he was born in a DP camp in Germany after WW2, Sam Gejdenson turns 70… Chagrin Falls, Ohio attorney, Robert Charles Rosenfeld turns 69… Producer and writer who has worked on Saturday Night Live, PBS’ Great Performances, and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Alan Zweibel turns 68… Director of international affairs, policy and planning at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Michael Alan Salberg turns 66… Professor at Tulane U, he retired as president of the Aspen Institute in 2017, he is the former CEO of CNN and former Managing Editor of Time, Walter Isaacson turns 66… Born in upstate NY as Michael Scott Bornstein, former Israeli ambassador to the US (2009-2013), now a Deputy Minister and a member of Knesset for the centrist Kulanu party, Michael Oren turns 63… Chief Legal Affairs Anchor for ABC News (and son of First Amendment scholar Floyd Abrams), Dan Abramsturns 52… Former executive director of Business Forward and Deputy National Finance Director for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, Ami Copeland turns 46… Emmy Award-winning singer and songwriter, Rachel Platten turns 37… Program Associate at the Michigan-based William Davidson Foundation, Vadim Avshalumov turns 33… Founder and CEO of  Berkeley, California-based Caribou Biosciences, a genome engineering company, Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D. turns 33… Legislative Director for Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA 30), Lauren Wolman turns 32… VP of Austin-based digital agency Harris Media, Josh Canter turns 26… Aide on the Mikie Sherrill for Congress campaign (NJ-11),  he will be at American University in DC this fall, previously national chair of the High School Democrats of America, Aylon Berger turns 18… Ilene Leiter… Abraham Eckstein

MONDAY: Hedge fund manager and philanthtropist, CEO of the Boston-based Baupost Group, Seth Klarman turns 61… Former MLB pitcher, played (1957-1967) for the White Sox, Indians, Angels and Astros, an All Star in 1961 and 1962, Barry Latman turns 82… Former US Senator from Minnesota (2009-2018), Al Franken turns 67… Guitarist and composer, Marc Ribotturns 64… Bestselling author, staff writer at The New Yorker and legal analyst at CNN, Jeffrey Toobin turns 58… Actress and playwright Lisa Edelsteinturns 52… Head of Dewey Square’s sports business practice, author and former AP journalist, Frederic J. Frommer turns 51… President and CEO of the Michigan-based William Davidson Foundation, Darin McKeever turns 44… CEO of Relativity Global, co-founder at 1776, a global incubator and seed fund, Brandon Pollak turns 38… Executive producer of CBS Evening News, Mosheh Oinounou turns  36… Los Angeles-born, raised in Israel, international fashion model for Versace and others, Sharon Ganish turns 35… Ron Solomon




Daily Kickoff: Trump peace plan relies on Arab leaders pushing the Palestinians, Dennis Ross says | How MBS made his billions | WeWork buys MissionU

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REPORT — NPR’s Daniel Estrin tweets“A person who attended an off-record briefing last week with Trump adviser Jason Greenblatt tells NPR that Jason Greenblatt said the US Israeli-Palestinian peace plan has been completed, and that it deals with all the core issues of the conflict plus regional issues. In the briefing, according to the person who attended, Greenblatt called Netanyahu “exceptional” and “creative,” and that it was hard to get creative ideas out of Palestinian leader Abbas but that “it’s not our job to get him back to the table” of the peace process.”

“Mideast Power Plays Have Left the Palestinians Behind” by Ethan Bronner: “Middle East experts, including Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center, say Kushner has been in touch in the course of designing his proposal and that he seems dead serious about presenting it in the coming months. “It’s apparently a 30-page plan, but I can’t tell if they understand the Palestinian side of the story,” Miller says… Trump’s recent moves may increase his ability to get Netanyahu to endorse a peace plan, according to Ross. “They have enormous leverage over Bibi now,” says Ross… “It will be very hard for him to say no to any plan they present.”

“At the same time, the Trump administration has made clear it wants the Saudis and other Arab states to play a significant role in any agreement. In particular, Ross says, the hope is that the Arab leaders will embrace what the Palestinians themselves find difficult to accept: perhaps reduced land swaps, no right of return for Palestinians to lands inside Israel, and far more limited sharing of Jerusalem. “If they’re sustained,” Ross says, referring to the violent confrontations, “it may make the issue more prominent but make the Arabs less willing to be outside the Palestinian consensus. The key is that when the Americans put the plan on the table, the Arab leaders must be able to say there are elements here that are credible, and the Palestinians have to step up.”[Businessweek]

NYTimes The Daily Podcast, with over 4 million listeners –– “A Child of Gaza Becomes a Political Symbol” by Michael Barbaro: “Layla Ghandour, an 8-month-old Palestinian girl, inhaled tear gas during the protests at the Gaza border on Monday and died hours later. The tragedy became a focal point of outrage for critics of Israel’s use of force, while the Israeli military and its supporters questioned the narrative around her death as a political ploy by Hamas.” [NYTimes]

MEDIA WATCH — “When the Haim Saban-owned media criticizes Israel, it’s time for a Haim Saban-funded PR campaign to save the day” by Liel Leibovitz: “The billionaire and philanthropist owns a controlling stake in the humor website The Onion. Yesterday, The Onion ran a piece entitled “IDF soldier recounts harrowing, heroic war story of killing 8-month-old child.” … How to respond to such counterfactual, anti-Semitic drivel masquerading as satire? How to counter a publication massively popular with American millennials sounding every bit like Hamas propaganda? Just ask Haim Saban, of course: The billionaire’s other recent investment was the Campus Maccabees, a group of real-life teenage Power Rangers that he founded with his fellow billionaire Sheldon Adelson and that was designed to fight anti-Israel bias in academia. Saban eventually bowed out of the group, but the recent Onion piece is a reminder that Israel still has a hasbara problem, as Haim Saban had wisely intuited.” [TabletMag]

“Falling for Hamas’s Split-Screen Fallacy” by Matti Friedman: “A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to “tear out the hearts” of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening… The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for. The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences.” [NYTimes]

Thane Rosenbaum: “Disproportion may infuriate political leaders like Bernie Sanders and Theresa May, but Hamas plays this numbers game as if devised by legendary military strategist Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War… These were not peaceful gatherings, and Americans, at least, should know better than to judge them as if they were. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led a protest movement that rejected violence and never glorified death. And yet, some headlines are treating Gaza like a Middle Eastern Selma.” [CNN]

Bret Stephens writes… “Gaza’s Miseries Have Palestinian Authors: The mystery of Middle East politics is why Palestinians have so long been exempted from… ordinary moral judgments. How do so many so-called progressives now find themselves in objective sympathy with the murderers, misogynists and homophobes of Hamas? Why don’t they note that, by Hamas’s own admission, some 50 of the 62 protesters killed on Monday were members of Hamas? Why do they begrudge Israel the right to defend itself behind the very borders they’ve been clamoring for years for Israelis to get behind? Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven?”[NYTimes

“The Democrats’ Shameful Collective Silence on Gaza” by Dean Obeidallah: “It’s surprising that in 2018 the leading Democrats, who are progressive on issue after issue, are silent on Gaza. No tweets from Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, or Kamala Harris. At least Warren did join in a letter along with 13 other Democratic senators calling on the Trump administration to “do more to alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.”… Let’s be clear: Hamas is a terrorist group. Period… But Trump and Netanyahu blaming Hamas exclusively for the human suffering in Gaza may play well on Fox & Friends but not with the facts.” [DailyBeast]

Peter Beinart writes… “Trump Has Freed Progressive Democratic Senators To Finally Criticize Israel: You can see the outlines of the Israel debate in the 2020 Democratic primary. It’s not surprising that Sanders and Warren signed the letter but Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand did not… More than any other national Democrat, Sanders is testing the limits of conventional Beltway discourse on Israel. Warren is moving in that direction too. Booker, Harris and Gillibrand are not. But, significantly, they’re not defending Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza. They’re staying silent.” [Forward

INBOX — Responding to criticism about the postponement of a solidarity trip to Israel, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Press Secretary Dani Lever emails us: “Governor Cuomo wants to expand the scope of the visit to show more Israeli communities his support. To accomplish that we needed more time. New York stands with Israel and Governor Cuomo looks forward to visiting in the coming weeks.”

EMBASSY TREND: “Why some Latin American countries are rushing to open Jerusalem embassies, too” by Rick Noack: “Paraguay, Honduras and Guatemala all have large evangelical Christian populations and long-standing ties to Israel. But it’s likely that their decisions are intended to get the attention of — and help from — the United States. “The embassy move is really about trying to curry favor with the U.S.,” said Eric Olson, the deputy director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program, referring to all three countries. “It’s an opportunity for them to make their cases on foreign assistance and other issues.” [WashPost]

Noah Feldman writes… “This Isn’t Bigotry. It’s a Religious Disagreement: Color me genuinely confused by the outcry against Texas televangelist Robert Jeffress, who spoke Monday at the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem… I can’t, and shouldn’t, feel offended by someone telling me that I won’t be saved because I don’t have the right religious beliefs. Most religions in the monotheistic tradition think they are right and others are wrong. That’s normal. It isn’t a reason to consider those who hold other beliefs to be bigots.” [BloombergView

IRAN DEAL: “E.U. Official Takes Donald Trump to Task: ‘With Friends Like That’” by Megan Specia: “With friends like that, who needs enemies.” That was how Donald Tusk, one of the European Union’s top officials, took President Trump to task on Wednesday, offering the latest look at how the Continent’s leaders are trying to come to terms with the United States’ shifting policy on issues like the Iran nuclear deal… A day earlier, Mr. Tusk wrote an open letter to the members of the European Council, calling for the body to “reflect on recent global developments.” He noted in particular “President Trump’s announcements on Iran and trade as well as the latest, dramatic events in Gaza.” [NYTimes]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Deputy Minister Michael Oren at an event hosted by the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus in Jerusalem regarding Trump’s Jerusalem move and Iran deal exit: “Everybody in the world is taking note. And if you think for a second that little guy with the strange haircut in North Korea isn’t taking notes of this, you are mistaken. Believe me, he’s taking notes. I see the Iranians already blinking… not just because Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal, but blinking because he moved the embassy to Jerusalem.” [Video]

NYTIMES CORRECTIONS DEPT: “An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to the salary of Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, when compared with those of leaders of other Washington think tanks. Mr. Dubowitz’s $560,221 compensation in 2016 was determined by the foundation’s board of directors and is commensurate with the average annual salary of other think tank leaders in Washington in recent years. It is not nearly twice as much as the salaries of his counterparts. The article also inaccurately linked the foundation to Israel’s Likud party. While the think tank does align with some of Likud’s positions, it is not directly involved with the party. The article also referred imprecisely to the funding of conferences held by the foundation and the Hudson Institute. While Elliott Broidy provided $2.7 million in funds for consulting, marketing and other services, the foundation says it received only $360,000 from Mr. Broidy for one conference.” [NYTimes]

Mark Dubowitz tweets“NY Times issues corrections to profile story on me. Corrects FOUR material facts. Also, corrected my birthplace after original story posted. Appreciate efforts of senior editors to correct. Many other misleading elements remain… And just for the record, I own no tailored suits, French or otherwise, unless having to shorten my pants every time you buy them because l am short counts as bespoke.”

SPOTLIGHT: “Mohammed bin Salman’s Guide to Getting Rich” by Justin Scheck and Bradley Hope: “It was around 2000 when the teenage prince had what he would years later call a shocking realization: His father wasn’t rich. Salman subsisted on money from his brother, then-King Fahd, Prince Mohammed has told people… The concerned prince, seeking more financial independence, scraped together about $100,000 to invest in Saudi stocks, he has said. Prince Mohammed kept trading through college and law school. Through the early 2010s, as his father moved up the royal ranks, he was appointed to a series of government positions. During that time Prince Mohammed made billions of Saudi riyals—hundreds of millions of dollars—on the Saudi stock market… Prince Mohammed also branched into business. Saudi corporate records as of 2017 show he owns stakes in at least five real-estate development companies, as well as a recycling firm.” [WSJ

THE DAILY KUSHNER — “‘Infuriated’ Jared Kushner Lost His Cool When Russians Didn’t Deliver Hillary Dirt” by Adam Rawnsley: “[Rob] Goldstone… testified that Kushner became visibly angry when [Natalia] Veselnitskaya delivered a lengthy diatribe about U.S. sanctions on Russia and their impact on adoptions—instead of handing over dirt on Clinton. “After a few minutes of this labored presentation, Jared Kushner, who is sitting next to me, appeared somewhat agitated by this and said, I really have no idea what you’re talking about. Could you please focus a bit more and maybe just start again?” Goldstone recalled of the meeting according to hearing transcripts released by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.” [DailyBeast] • Witnesses disagree on Kushner timing at Trump Tower meeting [CNN]

TOP TALKER — “Inside Trump’s failed efforts to meet Putin in 2013” by Philip Rucker: “As soon as the deal was struck for Miss Universe to take place in Russia, pageant president Paula Shugart told Rob Goldstone, a publicist and fixer who helped bring the pageant to Russia, “Oh, God, he’s going to want to meet Putin,” according to Goldstone’s testimony… “It was the gorilla in the room that had to be addressed, but there seemed to be no answer to address it,” Goldstone told the committee. Negotiations for a face-to-face meeting began with a written request from Trump Tower to the Kremlin, included a personal call with Putin’s top spokesman… Trump and Putin did not end up meeting because, according to Goldstone, Putin was too busy receiving the new king of Holland.” [WashPost]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Behind the Scenes, After Another Week in the Spotlight, Michael Cohen Oscillates” by Emily Jane Fox: “Cohen… has vacillated between fuming over Avenatti’s involvement in the matter and feeling browbeaten by the barrage of headlines… In the last week, he has told friends that he is being attacked, and his family is being made to suffer, all because investigators are trying to get to the president. “I’m not going to just roll over,” he has told friends, spending hours each day with his attorneys in order to comb through documents the government has returned to them from their raids last month… As he watched the news unfold in his hotel room in Philadelphia over the weekend, he evidenced some exasperation. He has confided in friends, “I just can’t take this anymore.”” [VanityFair]

DEEP DIVE: “Missing Files Motivated the Leak of Michael Cohen’s Financial Records” by Ronan Farrow: “The payments to Cohen that have emerged in the past week come primarily from a single document, a “suspicious-activity report” filed by First Republic Bank, where Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants, L.L.C., maintained an account… By January of this year, First Republic had filed the three suspicious-activity reports about Cohen’s account… Bank compliance officers noted eight payments from a company called Columbus Nova to Cohen’s account between January and August of 2017, totalling five hundred thousand dollars. The investigators wrote that Columbus Nova’s biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, whom they described as “reputed to be a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” … Other banks also noticed Cohen’s suspicious transactions and filed their own SARs about his activity… One, filed by City National Bank, follows money paid to Cohen by Elliott Broidy, at the time the deputy finance chairman for the Republican National Committee.”[NewYorker]

“Trump’s personal attorney solicited $1 million from government of Qatar” by Karen Deyoung, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman: “Michael Cohen… solicited a payment of at least $1 million from the government of Qatar in late 2016, in exchange for access to and advice about the then-incoming administration… The offer, which Qatar declined, came on the margins of a Dec. 12 meeting that year at Trump Tower between the Persian Gulf state’s foreign minister and Michael Flynn… Cohen did not participate in the official meetings but spoke separately to a member of the Qatari delegation, Ahmed al-Rumaihi, who at the time was head of the investments division of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.” [WashPost]

“Qatari Investor Linked to Trump Scandal Was Schmoozing With U.S. Jewish Leaders at Gala Events” by Amir Tibon: “Ahmed al-Rumaihi attended the Zionist Organization of America’s annual gala last November… At the gala… Rumaihi openly presented himself as a Qatari investor and expressed interest in meeting influential supporters and members of the pro-Trump ZOA… In January, Rumaihi attended an AIPAC gala event in Los Angeles… At the same time as Rumaihi was attending the ZOA and AIPAC events, Qatar was in the midst of a charm offensive focused on the Jewish community in the United States.” [Haaretz]

“Pro-Trump Jewish Lawyer Caught Ranting About People Speaking Spanish In New York Deli” by Ari Feldman: “Aaron Schlossberg had a meltdown in a Fresh Kitchen in East Midtown Wednesday morning after hearing some of the employees speak Spanish to one another and to Spanish-speaking customers… “Your clients and your staff are speaking Spanish to staff when they should be speaking English,” the man said to the manager… Videos surfaced of Schlossberg at earlier rallies standing and yelling with pro-Trump protesters.” [ForwardGothamist]

“Preet Bharara being drafted for war on Trump” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Among the people who’ve reached out, the sources said, are Mike Bloomberg consigliere Howard Wolfson and independent-minded GOP consultant John Weaver, along with a host of top Democratic operatives, donors and fundraisers.” [Politico]

2018 WATCH — Democratic Rising Star In Swing District Gave $300K To Pro-BDS Groups” by Aiden Pink: “Scott Wallace, a multimillionaire philanthropist and the grandson of former vice president Henry Wallace, won the party primary in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County outside Philadelphia on Tuesday night, earning him the right to face off against first-term incumbent Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick… Along with his wife, Wallace ran the Wallace Global Fund from 2003 until he stepped down to run for Congress… In 2009, the Wallace Global Fund gave $25,000 to Code Pink, the same year that the anti-war organization formally endorsed BDS. The fund gave $25,000 in 2010 and another $25,000 in 2011 to Jewish Voice for Peace… The Wallace Global Fund… gave $5,000 in 2016 to the Arab American Association of New York, which at the time was run by the pro-BDS Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour.” [Forward]

2020 WATCH — “Garcetti taps Hollywood ties to fuel 2020 campaign” by David Siders: “The Los Angeles mayor hosted the South Carolina Democratic Party on Tuesday for a fundraiser in the city’s Hancock Park, raising about as much in a few hours as the state party collected in the entire month of March. “This is a first,” [Eric] Garcetti adviser Rick Jacobs said before the South Carolina event, held at the home of Showtime Networks Inc. President David Nevins and his wife, Andrea Blaugrund Nevins. “The mayor really wanted to do it … He really thinks it’s a great opportunity to encourage donors in Los Angeles to invest, frankly, in things that aren’t often seen as sexy as a candidate.” … Turning to an audience that included Nevins, fashion designer and actress Nicole Richie and the film studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, [Jamie] Harrison said, “Now $1 million here, you guys don’t even turn your heads, right?” [Politico]

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Shari Redstone Moves to Defend Family’s Voting Power Over CBS [WSJ] • Hedge Fund Managers Shift Billions Over Carried Interest Concern [Bloomberg] • Elliott urges Israel’s Bezeq to appoint new CEO, buy back shares [Reuters] • Credit Suisse to raise $250m for Israeli health tech venture fund Nacht’s aMoon [Globes• David Einhorn Is Having a Hedge-Fund Midlife Crisis [Bloomberg] • WeWork acquires Adam Braun’s MissionU to boost education ambitions [Axios

STARTUP NATION — “Intel’s Mobileye gets self-driving tech deal for 8 million cars” by Steven Scheer: “Mobileye, Intel Corp’s Israel-based autonomous driving unit, has signed a contract to supply eight million cars at a European automaker with its self-driving technologies, a company official told Reuters. The deal, one of the largest yet for Mobileye, is a sign of how carmakers and suppliers are accelerating the introduction of features that automate certain driving tasks… to generate revenue while technology to enable fully automated driving in all conditions is still years away from mass-market deployment.”[Reuters]

“Steve Wynn furious at Christie’s for damaging his Picasso masterpiece” by Emily Smith: “Sources say Wynn’s 1943 Picasso self-portrait, “Le Marin,” was severely damaged while stored at the auction house, as a metal extension pole for a wall paint roller allegedly fell on the canvas, creating a “significant hole” in the masterpiece. The catastrophe uncoiled as Christie’s staff prepared to exhibit the artwork ahead of the auction. Wynn, 76, fears “Le Marin” is so badly damaged that it may be beyond repair. He also believes Christie’s may be low-balling him by valuing it at $70 million, while he insists it could have fetched more than $100 million at the May 15 auction.” [PageSix

TALK OF THE TOWN — “First Amendment comes to life at Long Reach High School” by Kate Magill: “When it came to choosing a topic for his entry in C-SPAN’s national student documentary contest, Long Reach High School sophomore Eli Kuperman thought about showing the ways the Constitution related to his life, settling on a provision that he said allows “me to be me”— freedom of speech… Eli’s entry, focusing on U.S. Supreme Court cases that paved the way for student free speech in schools, was one of 150 honored by the cable television public affairs channel, which received 2,985 middle- and high-school student contest submissions. His documentary included the landmark case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that defined the constitutional rights of public school students… As a result of his work, Eli, 15, said he’s interested in becoming a lawyer to “defend those who can’t defend themselves.””[BaltimoreSun

STATE-SIDE: “Gov. Scott visits Boca to spotlight $2 million for Jewish school security” by Lulu Ramadan: “Gov. Rick Scott flaunted $2 million in state funding he helped earmark for Jewish school security to a welcoming crowd in Boca Raton on Wednesday, following his official visit to Israel for the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Scott and his wife, Ann, were greeted at Torah Academy of Boca Raton by young students who held colorful welcome signs and thanked him for being a friend to Israel. Scott, a Republican who seeks to replace U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, highlighted the $2 million in his Securing Florida’s Future budget set aside to harden security at at-risk nonpublic Jewish schools. The investment is a threefold increase from the previous budget year.” [PalmBeachPost]

BIRTHDAYS: President of the Philadelphia-based Honickman Foundation, owner of one of the largest Pepsi and Canada Dry bottlers in the US, Lynne Korman Honickman turns 79… News anchor for WPVI-TV (ABC Channel 6) in Philadelphia since 1977, Jim Gardner (born James Goldman) turns 70… Canadian philanthropist and the first woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia (2000-2006), Myra Freeman turns 69… Comedian, actor and television host, Bob Saget turns 62… Founder and president of ENS Resources, a DC-based consulting and lobbying firm focused on natural resources and sustainable energy, Eric Sapirstein turns 62… Host of “Marketplace Morning Report” on public radio and “Now on PBS,” a public television news magazine, David Brancaccio turns 58… Author of the 2005 book “Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish” and a 2017 book about Jewish holidays, she is president of NYC’s Central Synagogue, Abigail Pogrebin… and her identical twin sister, Robin Pogrebin, art and auction reporter for The New York Times, both turn 53…

General Manager for Corporate Strategy at Microsoft, friend and classmate of President Obama at Harvard Law School, strategist, consultant, author, lawyer and former White House Fellow, Kinney Zalesne turns 52… CPA and founder of the Baltimore Hunger Project, it provides food packs for the weekend that are discretely slipped into over 400 poverty-stricken public-school children’s backpacks each Friday, Lynne Berkowitz Kahn turns 49… Reporter in The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau since 2014, covering national politics,Reid J. Epstein turns 39… Labor Party / Zionist Union member of Knesset, when elected in 2013 she became the youngest female Knesset member in Israel’s history, Stav Shaffir turns 33… Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis staffer, Heather Renetzky turns 25… Founder of Most Good and digital strategy adviser to Democratic organizations and candidates, including the Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York, Jenna Ruth Lowenstein turns 31… Senior political writer at GQ and Cosmopolitan Magazine, Rebecca Nelson… Robert Pollock… Randolph Koch




Cuomo postpones Israel trip | Interview with Sen. Dean Heller | Mike Bloomberg’s new Davos | Jami Gertz, star of the NBA Draft Lottery

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SPOTLIGHT — “Mega-donor Adelson, with access and influence, scores two pro- Israel victories” by Peter Stone: “These are heady days for casino billionaire and megadonor Sheldon Adelson… Adelson was in Jerusalem… for a celebration of the U.S. embassy’s relocation to that city… And the day after [Trump’s Iran deal] announcement, Adelson quietly slipped into the White House for a private meeting with Trump and three top administration officials: Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and an Adelson favorite, National Security Adviser John Bolton, according to two conservative sources familiar with the previously unreported private event…”

“The White House actions partially are testament to Adelson’s clout and that of like-minded pro-Israel conservatives, many observers believe. Mel Sembler, a fellow board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a former fundraising chair of the Republican National Committee, thinks Adelson’s influence was palpable. “I’d say he was an important factor in all these decisions,” said Sembler.” [McClatchyDC]

“Guatemala opens embassy in Jerusalem, two days after U.S. move” by Jeffrey Heller: “Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the embassy’s opening on Wednesday in an office complex in West Jerusalem. “It’s not a coincidence that Guatemala is opening its embassy in Jerusalem right among the first. You were always among the first. You were the second country to recognize Israel,” Netanyahu said.” [Reuters]

SPOTTED: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, accompanied by Israel Hayom editor-in-chief Boaz Bismuth arriving at the Guatemala Embassy ceremony [Pic]

2018 WATCH — “Amid Debate and Violence, Trump Delivers Embassy Victory to Christian Base” by Elizabeth Dias: “For the religious right, opening an American Embassy in Jerusalem is as significant as when Mr. Trump nominated Neil M. Gorsuch as a Supreme Court Justice… Leaders of the Christian conservative movement are planning their largest midterm election mobilization ever, and warning the president’s base that they cannot afford to be complacent in November, as opposition to Mr. Trump surges on the left. The opening of the embassy in Jerusalem gives the movement another accomplishment with which to energize their base. “Because of this decision and exiting the flawed Iran nuclear deal, Trump will be rewarded with continued strong support from evangelicals in 2018 and 2020,” [Ralph] Reed said.”

“Sensing opportunity, candidates in some hotly contested races participated in the festivities in Israel on Monday. At a private breakfast, Rick Scott, the Republican governor of Florida, who is running to unseat the incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, met with supporters and the mayors of Judea and Samaria. “Rick Scott helped himself a lot here,” Mr. Reed said.” [NYTimes]

DRIVING THE CONVO — “Israel, U.S. criticized for Palestinian deaths in Gaza clashes as death toll rises” by Carol Morello, Loveday Morris and Karen DeYoung: “Israel and the United States came under harsh, global criticism Tuesday as both countries defended Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinians protesting at the Gaza border… State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the misery endured by Gazans, who have the world’s highest unemployment rate and are largely cut off from the rest of the world, is entirely the fault of Hamas. “We have seen how Hamas continues to incite violence,” she said.” [WashPost]

“A House Divided: Gaza Violence and Embassy Divides American Lawmakers” by Amir Tibon: “As Israel and the Trump administration celebrated the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem on Monday – and as the army killed dozens of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border – reactions in D.C. signaled the growing divide between Republicans and Democrats on Israeli-Palestinian policy.” [Haaretz]

“Democrats conspicuously absent from Israeli embassy’s DC party” by Eric Cortellessa: “I can only imagine that they would want members of Congress who would be completely supportive of the embassy move and uncritical of the violence taking place in Gaza,” said one Jewish Democratic House member who said they were not invited… The House member said the embassy party seemed like a tough place for Democrats to be at such a fraught time. “I would imagine that would be a difficult environment for Democrats to be in if there’s a mood of celebration with respect to the embassy move and complete indifference to the loss of Palestinian lives in Gaza.” [ToI]

INBOX — The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) in a statement: “We condemn the loss of life in recent days and urge calm and restraint, while supporting Israel’s right to self-defense against terrorism and threats to its borders.”

“Cuomo postpones Israel trip” by Jimmy Vielkind: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo is postponing his planned trip to Israel amid ongoing violence on its border with Gaza, his spokeswoman said. Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term in a contested race, said last week that he hoped to travel to Israel to show solidarity after forces allied with Iran launched missiles into the northern part of the Middle East nation. “Last week after missiles were fired toward the Golan Heights, Governor Cuomo announced a trip to visit the area and meet with Israeli leadership,” Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever, said in a statement. “Israel is now engaged on multiple fronts, including significant hostility and loss of life on the Gaza border… We will continue to monitor the situation and will visit in the coming weeks when the active on-the-ground conflict abates and Governor Cuomo can visit both the Golan Heights area and the Gaza border.”[Politico]

NYPOST Editorial… “When times get too tough for Andrew Cuomo’s friendship: Cuomo had pointed to the need for “showing up at a time of trouble as a sign of solidarity.” Plus, he had no problem heading over in 2014 (another election year) amid even more deadly fighting with Hamas. It seems a governor who has always expressed unhesitating support for Israel now prefers to get some distance from the bloody pictures flashed on the world’s TV screens. Cuomo, after all, is facing a challenge this year from his left flank — and eyeing a 2020 White House run in a Democratic Party that is just galloping away from the Jewish state.” [NYPost]

Stu Loeser tells us: “I know the Cuomo team wanted to go, but worried about being a distraction in terms of resources. I also know that the Israelis never tell people not to come visit, but it is clear that they have a lot of security issues to deal with right now and don’t need more.”

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro emails us… “Democratic support for Israel, its legitimacy and security, and the U.S.-Israel relationship remains strong. There are some voices in the party that challenge those positions — which is different from legitimate criticism of specific Israeli policies from committed friends — but they are not dominant. People like me, who continue to believe those positions serve U.S. interests, are committed to maintaining them. The current Administration certainly has the ability to set a more bipartisan, inclusive tone on matters related to Israel, but that doesn’t seem to be its MO. Nothing about the Jerusalem embassy ceremony suggested they care about that. Its supporters should call on them to do better.”

“And the Israeli government has responsibilities here as well.  It’s one thing to appreciate Trump’s policies that they agree with and forge a close working relationship with his team. That’s obviously fine. But when they embrace such a divisive figure in hyperbolic terms, when they seem to walk away from even keeping the prospect of a two-state solution alive, when they expand settlements in ways that would make it impossible, when they show disrespect to non-Orthodox American Jews and their values, they risk alienating important bases of support in the United States, and make the work of Democrats like me who are committed to this relationship harder.  There is a pendulum in American politics. The bilateral relationship is best served when the Israeli government works as closely as possible with the sitting Administration, and maintains connections and shows sensitivity to the views of the other party, who will eventually be back in power.”

Brookings Senior Fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes: “I don’t think the embassy opening says anything about Dems’ attitudes. They weren’t invited; that’s a decision by the administration. And there was only one member of Congress (D or R) that I could see at the DC reception because it was a Monday night and they were back in their districts, so that’s not evidence of anything either.”

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor: “I wish that it wouldn’t have happened at all. I mean, Hamas is pushing people with a view of a massive infiltration into Israel, openly declaring their goal is to destroy Israel. They’re paying these people. They’re pushing civilians, women, children into the line of fire with the view of getting casualties. We try to minimize casualties. They’re trying to incur casualties in order to put pressure on Israel, which is horrible… I don’t know of any army that would do anything differently if you had to protect your border against people who say, “We’re gonna destroy you. And we’re gonna flood into your country.”

Glor: Do you see peace in your lifetime? Netanyahu: “I see it already now. We have peace with Egypt. We have peace with Jordan.” Glor: Peace with the Palestinians? Netanyahu: “Yes. I think it’s possible. Not with those Palestinians like Hamas, who call for a destruction. But I see peace with any one of our neighbors who’s willing to live in peace, I think yes. I think it’s possible.”[Video]

Netanyahu in an interview with Vice News Tonight: “It’s time to tell Palestinians: Abandon your fantasy of destroying Israel. Abandon the fantasy that says Israel will disappear. It will not.” [Video] • Netanyahu also showed off the exploded parts of downed Iranian drone [Video]

HEARD THIS MORNING — Alan Dershowitz on Fox & Friends: “[Netanyahu] is desperately trying to figure out ways to reduce the number of casualties because he knows, and everybody knows, that every time Israel inadvertently kills an innocent person it loses; it loses its moral high ground, it loses amongst its own people, and yet the media encourages it. And he’s trying to develop non-lethal ways of doing this, and there are many in the works, but it will take some time.” [Video]

“How Gaza Became Hell on Earth” by Neri Zilber: “Putting the Gazan people through another war—after three in the last nine years—was difficult to countenance. Abbas was playing a cynical game of power politics and appeared unmoved. The current Israeli government was unwilling to countenance taking serious steps—a port, a lifting of the blockade, a long-term truce—without reciprocal meaningful steps by Hamas… So the Islamist movement latched on to a grassroots protest movement, the brainchild of one young man on Facebook, and eventually co-opted it.” [DailyBeast]

Jonathan Schanzer writes… “Palestinian Nationalism Is at Its Lowest Point Ever: The Israelis would like nothing more than to see an end to this crisis. It’s terrible PR during what has otherwise been a proud national moment. It’s also a grim reminder of the fact that enemies are still quite literally at their gate, even after two weeks of consecutive and conclusive military and diplomatic victories. Perhaps even more disheartening to decision makers, it’s a sign that the Palestinian problem persists, despite Israel’s attempts to focus on more pressing matters… Interestingly, despite the current despondency, or perhaps because of it, there is a sense of possible opportunity. The West Bank government is irrelevant. The Gaza government is collapsing. The Palestinians need a way out of all this. And so do the Israelis.” [Tablet]

Joe Truzmah: “Well known Saudi writer explains why Palestinians are having difficulty finding support. – “If your opposition to the occupation was right, no one would have hesitated to stand by you..but this is an Iranian exercise that #Hamas is implementing at the expense of Gaza’s children.” [Twitter]

“Greenblatt in Qatar to discuss Gaza and Trump’s peace plan” by Seth Frantzman: “US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt met with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on Wednesday to discuss the Trump administration’s upcoming peace plan. He tweeted that he also met with Qatar’s Gaza emissary to discuss the need for humanitarian support for Gaza.” [JPost]

TURTLE BAY — “Nikki Haley says Israel has acted with ‘restraint’ in Gaza and then walks out of UN as Palestinian envoy begins speaking” by John Haltiwanger: “US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday defended Israel’s use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza and walked out of a UN Security Council session as Palestine’s envoy, Riyad Mansour, began to speak. “Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border?” Haley said… “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.” … Haley claimed Hamas is “pleased with the results from yesterday.” [BusinessInsider]

— “Nikki Haley honored with rare artifact for aiding US embassy move” by Ariane Mandell: “Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon… presented Haley with an ancient coin from the Great Revolt of 68 CE, with a personal dedication that read: “This is a historic day for Israel and the United States. I thank you, Ambassador Haley, for your strong support of this great move.”” [JPost]

“Palestinians recall envoy from Washington over embassy move” by Barak Ravid: “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to recall the head of the PLO office in Washington in protest over the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem… This move further deepens the crisis between the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority… The Palestinian boycott makes the White House ambition to launch a peace plan and new round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the upcoming months much more difficult to achieve.” [Axios]

“Turkey Invites Press to Film Ousted Israeli Envoy Frisked at Airport” by Noa Landau: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the only remaining Turkish representative in Israel to a meeting on Wednesday to protest the security check Israel’s ambassador to Turkey was subjected to upon leaving the country… Turkish media was invited to cover the departure of [Eitan] Naeh, who was subjected to what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described as a harsh and humiliating security check… To retaliate, the press was invited to witness the Turkish representative, Umut Deniz, arrive for his hearing in Tel Aviv. When Deniz arrived at the Foreign Ministry, he was asked to hand over his passport.” [Haaretz]

— Erdoğan receives anti-Zionist Jewish group in London: “President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received members of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta International organization… in London on Tuesday.” [DailySabah

IRAN DEAL — “Europe adopts defiant stance in attempt to save Iran nuclear deal” by Michael Birnbaum: “The European Union’s chief diplomat took a defiant stance Tuesday after meeting with Iran’s foreign minister and other top European diplomats to try to salvage the Iran nuclear deal… Comparing the 2015 nuclear agreement to “a relative in intensive care,” Mogherini said ideas under consideration include plans to deepen Europe’s economic relationship with Iran, shield banking transactions with Tehran, keep purchasing Iranian oil and gas, and use E.U. financing for investments there… British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned Tuesday that Washington’s sanctions may be able to strike around the world… “We have to be realistic about the electrified rail, the live wire of American extraterritoriality, and how that can serve as a deterrent to business,” he said.” [WashPostBloomberg]

“US hits head of Iran’s central bank with terror sanctions” by Josh Lederman: “Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Iranian central bank, was named a “specially designated global terrorist” along with another senior official, Ali Tarzali, who works in the central bank’s international division… Seif, whose role is equivalent to the Federal Reserve chairman in the U.S., oversees major financial decisions in Iran. Any transactions that involve his signature could potentially run afoul of the sanctions.” [AP]

Politico/Morning Consult poll: “While a majority of voters say they support the agreement — 54 percent support it, 28 percent oppose it — 37 percent say the U.S. and Trump made the right decision in withdrawing from the agreement. Slightly more, 40 percent, say Trump and the U.S. made the wrong decision.” [Politico]

INTERVIEW — Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) discussed the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh in Jerusalem: “I was glad the President did what he did. I sat with the Treasury Secretary on Sunday at dinner and we talked about some of the new sanctions the administration is going to put on Iran. I think financial institutions are just as big of a fighting tool as weapons and boots on the ground, and I do believe that this administration is going to do everything it can to avoid missiles, ammunition, and boots on the ground because they think they can get this done through sanctions. I would support the administration moving forward on what they are going to try to do to get Iran back to the table if we put together something that works better. I also believe that our European allies will come to the table now that they have seen this President and the strength that he has in willing to take the necessary steps to renegotiate this deal.”

Heller on Trump’s policy against Iranian presence in Syria: “Iran is doing everything they possibly can to ramp up their ability to attack a state like Israel. I am concerned, and I think that this administration will stand strong. I know Lindsey Graham has been talking to the President, Ted Cruz has been talking to the President, and I have been talking to the President about maintaining some kind of presence in Syria only because of the concern that we will have Iran completely taking over Syria.” [JewishInsider]

Tom Friedman writes… “Trump’s Dream Come True: Trashing Obama and Iran in One Move: To his credit, Trump has drawn attention to Iranian misbehavior in ways the Europeans never have. Israel gets censured for implanting settlements deep into the West Bank… But the Iranians have gotten away with murder, mass murder, at home and abroad — with virtually no censure… But Trump wanted to crush both Obama and Iran, and so he trashed the whole deal.” [NYTimes]

“A Reckoning for Obama’s Foreign-Policy Legacy” by Eliot Cohen: “Which should lead to some reflection by the veterans and supporters of the Obama administration, who find themselves almost daily mortified by the repudiation and dismantling of all their hard work. They are learning a hard lesson: that policies constructed by executive order and executive agreement are just as easily blown up by them… They deserve their mortification, in part because, while in office, they thought they could treat constitutional requirements and everyone else’s opinions with contempt… Trump is a force—he has real demagogic talents. He is, as well, a symptom of deeper problems and perversities in the American body politic. But he is also, in part, a consequence of the tone and style as well as the policy substance of his predecessor.”[TheAtlantic]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: David Einhorn’s Greenlight takes on stakes in Office Depot and Abercrombie [CNBC] • Elliott Wins Allies in Blocking Hyundai Motor’s Restructure Plan [Bloomberg] • Lemonade wants to rewrite the insurance policy itself [TechCrunch] • Lightstone near deal to acquire $53M Bronx portfolio [RealDeal] • Kushner family buys hotel at Jersey shore as it continues to expand N.J. portfolio [NJAdvance] • Obamacare startup Oscar will expand to new states, CEO says [CrainsNewYork] • Israel’s BrainQ raises $5.3M to treat neurological disorders with the help of AI [TechCrunch Moonves Sets Stage for Final Showdown With Redstone Family [Bloomberg] • Saban Picks Up Nicolas Cage Thriller ‘Between Worlds’ [HollywoodReporter]

 “Michael Bloomberg launches China-linked rival to Davos” by Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson: “Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, is launching a rival to the World Economic Forum’s annual gatherings in Davos, aimed at addressing a changed global order in which China’s rise challenges the primacy of the US. The financial data billionaire has enlisted two long-term China watchers, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former US Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, to design the New Economy Forum… The forum will hold its first two-day meeting in Beijing in November… Bloomberg said it would keep the guest list to 400 people.” [FinancialTimes]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Guy Rolnik, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, discussed Israel’s political, diplomatic and security situation with Bradley Tusk on the Firewall podcast:

Tusk: The political chaos in Israel is meaningful. Netanyahu is under serious corruption investigations and could face charges, and at the same time it’s really hard to come up with solutions that work in terms of the Palestinian situation. There’s the need of constantly being aggressive with countries like Iran or Syria, and they still get along globally. It feels like, depending on your perspective, Israel is either soaring or struggling. How do you see it?

Rolnik: “Let’s start with the Israeli economy. Israel’s economy is doing very well, and we are not embroiled in the financial crisis like the U.S., UK, and many other countries. We started a series of reforms in Israel that made our economy more resilient, and this is why we didn’t have to bail out banks… and actually the balance sheet of Israel as an economy is now at its peak… And, of course, we have a thriving hi-tech and start-up industry. Now, having said that, we huge political problems that are mounting in the last three years… It’s like the U.S. in many way. The kind of political debate that we have seen here after the election of Trump, you see the exact same phenomena in Israel. Politics has turned into pro-Bibi or anti-Bibi…”

“Netanyahu is involved in a few corruption cases, we will see whether he is indicted or not. And, by the way, two of the cases deal specifically with regulatory capture… but when I look what is happening in Israel, I think Israel actually is doing much better than it was 10 years ago because we exposed a lot of those things. The reason there is so much discussion about those issues in Israel is because people in Israel have woken up and now politicians have to be accountable for those issues. I don’t think that Israel is more corrupt than most OECD countries… or the United States. I think that Israelis care a lot more about those issues today than in the past.” [SoundCloud]

TALK OF THE TOWN — “Betsy DeVos Sparks Ire For Skipping Public Schools During New York Visit” by Leslie Brody: “U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made her first visit to a New York City school while in office on Tuesday, touring an Orthodox Jewish school for girls on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. She plans to see a boys’ yeshiva on Wednesday. Mrs. DeVos’s decision to skip public schools in the nation’s largest district, with 1.1 million students, upset some public-school advocates… During several hours inside the Manhattan High School for Girls, Mrs. DeVos came “to learn a little bit more about Jewish education in the city,” said Nate Bailey, her spokesman… David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, said Tuesday marked the secretary’s first visit to an Orthodox school… Mrs. DeVos visited classes on science and Jewish law, and looked in on a project where students trace their genealogy back to the Holocaust era, Mr. Zwiebel said.” [WSJ

“These Jewish groups are fighting — even physically, according to some — behind the scenes” by Ron Kampeas: “Three Jewish organizations — the National Council of Jewish Women, the Anti-Defamation League and HIAS — accused the Zionist Organization of America of inappropriately criticizing them; in turn, the ZOA filed complaints against member groups that have yet to be scheduled for hearings. The complaints range from differences as picayune as who is responsible for anti-Zionist signs at a mass rally to intimations of corrupt intent to allegations of violence.” [JTA]

Spike Lee blasts Donald Trump over Charlottesville: “Lee spoke to reporters Tuesday after his “BlacKkKlansman” premiered Monday night at Cannes to a rousing standing ovation. The 1979-set film, loosely based on a true story, is about black police detective Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington, Denzel’s son) and a Jewish detective (Adam Driver) who together infiltrated a Ku Klux Klan cell in Colorado.” [PageSix

SPORTS BLINK — “Meet the future owner of NFL’s Carolina Panthers. He called Trump ‘the father of lies'” by Eli Rosenberg: “The NFL could soon welcome a new owner: David Tepper, a hedge fund founder, recently agreed to purchase the Carolina Panthers for about $2.2 billion, which would be the highest price ever paid for an NFL team. The sale has yet to be approved by the league or the team’s 32 owners, at least 24 of whom must approve for the deal to go through… Forbes estimates that as of May 2018 Tepper is worth $11 billion, calling him “arguably the greatest hedge fund manager of his generation. Tepper keeps a set of brass testicles in his office, according to a 2010 profile in New York magazine. Tepper grew up near Pittsburgh in a Jewish household.” [WashPostNYTimes]

“Jami Gertz is the real winner of the NBA Draft Lottery” by Jaclyn Hendricks: “The wife of Atlanta Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler, Gertz, 52, best known for her roles in “The Lost Boys,” “Less Than Zero” and “Square Pegs,” took on a new part as the team’s representative in Chicago. “A lot of pressure,” Gertz said Tuesday, per the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “And I’ve had a lot of pressure in my life. I’ve done live theater. You’ve got to come up with the goods night after night, which is a lot of pressure. Tony Ressler seems to feel like I’m his gal. We got one life. Why not be the one who gets to be a lottery-pick?” [NYPostAJC

DESSERT — “Celebrity chef Eyal Shani goes kosher” by Gloria Deutsch: “As we walked through the glass doors of Malka, the buzz was almost tangible, and not a spare table was to be seen… Our waiter… explained that the idea behind Malka was to bring the up-to-date Tel Aviv culture to the kosher-eating crowd – locally grown produce and free-range animals, which are already standard concepts in the non-kosher restaurants… My first course was Bellini soused herring with aioli (NIS 47). This was chunks of schmaltz herring resting on a kind of crepe with a garlicky sauce and plenty of red onion… The herring was the kind usually found in synagogue kiddushes.” [JPost]

“Boichik Bagels pop-up goes brick-and-mortar at original Noah’s location” by Alix Wall: “The owner of Boichik Bagels, the pop-up that is trying to bring a real New York bagel to the Bay Area, has signed a contract to open her first East Bay brick-and-mortar shop in an incredibly auspicious location. And the store may even end up being kosher… Boichik Bagels will open later this year in the storefront of the original Noah’s, on College Avenue near Alcatraz in Berkeley. “This was the first New York-themed bagel experience in the Bay Area, and now 29 years later, the New York bagel will rise again,” said owner Emily Winston.” [JWeekly

BIRTHDAYS: Real estate developer, Charles Kushner turns 64… Real estate mogul, Aby J. Rosen turns 58… Chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, Andrew Lack turns 71… Businessman and former CEO of Warner Music Group, Edgar Bronfman Jr. turns 63… Special Assistant to VPOTUS Walter Mondale (1977-1981), later Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (1989-1993), Bernard W. Aronson turns 72… Longest serving member of the New York State Assembly (since 1971), his district includes portions of Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side, Richard N. Gottfried turns 71… Member of the House of Representatives since 2013, representing Florida’s 21st congressional district, previously Mayor of West Palm Beach (2003-2011), Lois Frankel turns 70… Harvard history professor, a member of the Rothschild banking family of England, Emma Georgina Rothschild turns 70…

Proto-punk singer, songwriter and guitarist, Jonathan Richman turns 64… Film and stage actress, noted for “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982) and “Terms of Endearment” (1983), Debra Winger turns 63… President of Tribe Media, publisher and editor of Jewish Journal, David Suissa… Esther Bushey turns 57… Social entrepreneur, independent scholar and local civic leader, earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from UCSB, co-founder of non-profit Jumpstart, Jonathan Shawn Landres turns 46… Actress, television personality and author, Victoria Davey (Tori) Spelling turns 45… Author, actor and host of Travel Channel’s Man v. Food, Adam Richman turns 44… Attorney Drew Shenkman turns 36… Communications director at America Rising PAC, Jeff Bechdel turns 32 (h/ts Playbook)… Lake Worth, Florida resident, Harriet L. Caplan

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