Aug
10

Author:

Comment

Daily Kickoff: George Klein rumored to become State’s Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism | RBG reflects on rejections | The role of Jewish summer camps

Have our people email your people. Tell your friends to sign up for the Daily Kickoff here

VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the app-based Debut Inbox for newsletters starting at 6:47 AM EDT and then updated throughout the morning. 

SUMMER READ: The Evolving Ideologies of American Jewish Summer Camp — by Dan Nosowitz: “Jews attend summer camp at a higher rate than Americans as a whole, though not nearly as high a rate as Mormons, but the particulars of the Jewish camping experience—begun due to exclusion, changing rapidly due to politics and social movements and the Holocaust—put it in a unique place.”

“Before the Second World War, American Jews had never seen themselves as the center of the Jewish world: that was in Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Hungary. American Jews were unsettled, immature. They hadn’t unpacked in their new home yet. But following the Holocaust, the weight of leading Jewish culture settled on the shoulders of the Americans. Summer camp was a vital part of this effort.”

“Summer camp had already proven a valuable place to shape the youth in non-religious molds, as seen in the socialist and Zionist camps from past decades. But in the wake of genocide, some of these Jews in positions of power within Jewish communities—prominent rabbis, organizers, spokespeople—decided that those tools should be applied to Jewish religion and culture.” [AtlasObscura]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Omega Advisors’ Leon Cooperman discusses The Giving Pledge and his Jewish philanthropy on Barry Ritholtz’s Masters in Business podcast: “I have a large fund where I send a bunch of busloads of kids to Birthright Israel, I subsidize Jewish summer camps, my granddaughter and daughter-in-law preside over requests for mitzvah money, I did a major wing at Saint Barnabas Medical Center… I get more credit than I deserve. I feel blessed to be in the position to give it away. And it wasn’t always that way. As I said to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg, I’m the first generation to be born in America in my family, first generation to go to college, up until Columbia all my education was public school-based. Columbia MBA got me to Goldman when I had a negative net worth. I like the arc of my life, I was lucky.” [BloombergPodcast

GEORGE KLEIN TO STATE? — Michael Wilner scoops: “The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism post has been left vacant since US President Donald Trump took office. Now the White House plans to name George Klein, a fellow real estate magnate from New York and a founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), to the position, two sources familiar with the discussions told The Jerusalem Post. A White House official told the Post there are “no announcements at this time.” [JPost]

TALK OF THE REGION: Israel and Hamas Clash Again, Threatening Peace Talks — by Felicia Schwartz: “Israel’s security cabinet met Thursday evening to discuss the flare-up and directed Israel’s military “to continue taking strong action against the terrorist elements.” Yoav Galant, a senior Israeli cabinet member and minister of construction and housing, said Israel is prepared to go to war with Hamas if the rocket fire doesn’t stop, but is still willing to continue to negotiate an Egyptian-backed cease-fire.” [WSJ]

Israel and Hamas Trade Blows Again. Was That a Negotiating Tactic? — by Isabel Kershner: “The sharp blows left many wondering if these were the final shots ushering in a new, if fragile, cease-fire, or the opening shots of the next war… Analysts on both sides said Israel and Hamas were trying to improve their negotiating positions for a longer lasting truce by letting their guns talk.” [NYTimes]

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon on PBS Newshour: “If it will be quiet in Israel, it will be quiet in Gaza. That’s what we told all those people who try to mediate and to bring tranquility to the region.” [PBS]

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert at a press briefing: “We’ve been watching this as it has been unfolding, and it’s a very concerning situation that has taken place in Gaza. Overall, we condemn the launching of missile attacks into Israel and call for an end to the destructive violence… We fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and to take actions to prevent provocations of that nature.”

Washington Institute’s David Makovsky emails us… “This round seems – according to Israeli officials and media — to have been driven by a mistake. Gunfire at a Hamas ceremony triggered an Israeli attack and then Hamas fired no less than 180 rockets. So even if the interests of both sides is to prevent a war, this incident points to how miscalculation can lead to violence — especially when there is no direct contact. (I am not advocating direct contact.)”

“In absence of direct contact, this makes the role of mediators like Egypt and the UN more important. Yet gaining calm in Gaza is only the first step – stopping the incendiary kites for opening of Kerem Shalom. Who will invest in repairing Gaza’s infrastructure? Don’t believe anyone will so long as Hamas is there. This makes Egypt’s effort more important – first get calm and then work on the main event, getting a more responsible government into Gaza. I wrote a piece with my colleague Ghaith al-Omari this week explaining the challenges and possibility of the wider Egyptian effort.”

Trump’s Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt writes… “Israelis and Palestinians must unite against shared threat: Imagine a region where Israelis and Palestinians work together to not only fight fires, but to build a better future for their respective people. My colleagues and I on the US peace team are driven by this vision… Israeli and Palestinian children deserve a future in which kites and balloons are simply toys, and they can call upon their neighbors in their hour of need. Hamas has chosen to weaponize fire in its persistent but futile effort to destroy Israel, driving hopes for peace further away.” [CNN]

For Trump and Co., Few Palestinians Count as Refugees — by Colum Lynch: “Jay Sekulow wants to know one thing from the U.S. State Department: How many Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes with the creation of Israel in 1948 are still alive today? … Sekulow has been pressing the State Department for years to publish a report it drafted in 2015 about the refugees… His obsession is largely a personal one—an activist group he runs, the American Center for Law & Justice, has been at it for some time. But it underscores how the people closest to Trump—including his ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and his own son-in-law, Jared Kushner—hold positions on Israel that are well to the right of the American mainstream.”[ForeignPolicy]

Colombia recognizes Palestine, sparking fury in Israel — by Barak Ravid: “This is a big deal. Colombia was and still is Israel’s biggest ally in Latin America, sharing deep military, intelligence and political ties. After President Ivan Duque was elected, Israel discussed with people in his inner circle the possibility of Colombia moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Instead, Colombia recognized Palestine… Outgoing foreign minister [Maria] Holguin gave an interview last night to Colombian TV and said the outgoing government consulted the new government about the decision to recognize Palestine and got a green light for doing it… Israel still hopes the new government might change the decision.” [Axios]

KUSHNER FILE: Trump huddles with governors, other officials on prison overhaul — by Seung Min: “Trump hosted a roundtable Thursday with governors, state attorneys general and Cabinet officials on prison reform during his 11-day working vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J… Among those who attended, according to one of the officials, were [Chuck] Grassley, [Mike] Lee, and GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina, as well as Jared Kushner… Criminal justice reform is just one item on Kushner’s broad policy portfolio at the White House, but one that resonates personally.”[WashPost]

PROFILE: Marco Rubio Goes Nationalist — by John McCormack: “Rubio now speaks with President Trump “I would say twice, three times a month.” He worked closely with Ivanka Trump on developing a paid-family-leave bill that would give Americans the option of taking some of their Social Security for family leave in exchange for delaying retirement by three to six months. “Ivanka views her role as sort of the host of a competition of ideas,” Rubio says. “She’s trying to encourage people to come forward, so we’re going to be the first entrant into this competition on the Republican side.” … While Rubio called for a “new nationalism” in June, the speech focused heavily on the need to strengthen families and civil society. It was the kind of nationalism admired more by David Brooks than Steve Bannon.”[WeeklyStandard]

The making of a judicial phenomenon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg marks 25 years on the bench — by Joan Biskupic: “There is something in the current “Notorious RBG” fervor that offers the perfect paradox for a woman whose early career was marked by rejection and work in the trenches of anti-discrimination law. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s superstardom has not been fleeting, precisely because of what she did before and what she represents today… “I have been lucky at every turn,” she says, adding that it may have been for the better that she never landed the law firm positions she sought. “I would have been long retired from a law firm,” rather than in a life-tenured position on the nation’s highest court. “Things that look bad at the time can turn out to be the greatest thing.” [CNN]

INTERVIEW — Tzipi Livni talks to The Jerusalem Post about her new role as Israel’s Opposition Leader: Netanyahu calls himself the leader of the Jewish world. Do you see yourself as the opposition leader of the Jewish world? “The answer is yes. We represent different views about Israel and World Jewry. Much of the Diaspora, though not all of it, is not Orthodox. They need someone to represent them. I will represent the Diaspora. Those in the Jewish world who are worried about promises made to them that have not been kept should know that they have a very significant group in Israel that is their partner, their address… I don’t know what Netanyahu’s actual worldview is on Diaspora Jews but here he has his natural partners and there he might, too.” [JPost]

New tax code makes synagogues pay for employees’ benefits. Jewish groups are balking: “An Orthodox Jewish organization called on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to delay implementing a tax code provision that requires synagogues and nonprofits to pay federal taxes on employee benefits… “This unprecedented change in the tax law is a significant and worrisome change,” the O.U. letter said.” [JTA]

SIGHTING: Mitt Romney spotted at Logan Airport with frozen yogurt — by Kaya Williams: “The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate was spotted in Logan Airport on Thursday. In a photo tweeted by Alex Goldstein, it doesn’t appear that Romney was in a rush as he strolled past an airport Wahlburgers. Goldstein’s photo shows Romney… carrying a swirl of chocolate fro-yo from Pinkberry as he strolled through Terminal C.” [BostonGlobe]

— Alex Goldstein, former Gov. Deval Patrick’s spokesperson, tweeted“I’ve spent over a decade of my life toiling in #mapoli comms and this frozen treat will be my entire legacy.”

MIDTERMS: Write-in candidate joins congressional race to counter GOP Holocaust denier with neo-Nazi ties — by John Byrne: “Justin Hanson, 35, said he was spurred to action while watching the unopposed GOP candidate, Arthur Jones, get more than 20,000 votes in the March primary election [in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District]… “I don’t think it was the party’s finest moment to let Jones go unchecked in the primary, and I think they know that now,” he said.” [ChicagoTribune]

‘Who are we?’ Big donors battle for Democrats’ future in Florida — by Letitia Stein: “Billionaire philanthropists Tom Steyer and George Soros are pouring extraordinary manpower and money — each committing about $1 million so far — into [Andrew] Gillum’s campaign ahead of Florida’s nominating contests for governor on Aug. 28… Soros… has contributed about one-fifth of all funds raised by Gillum’s campaign and an affiliated political committee, Forward Florida… It is George Soros’ largest contribution to a single candidate this election cycle.” [Reuters

Bloomberg eyes 2020 presidential run as a Democrat, but can a centrist unite the party? — by Edward Helmore: “In 2020, sources close to the finance mogul have told the Guardian, if the now 76-year-old candidate does eventually jump into the race, he plans to run as a Democrat. But after two, and now three, election cycles in which Bloomberg has teased his interest and poured over polling data, there are still questions about his ultimate commitment to a run.” [TheGuardian]

FROM NORMAN TO CONGRESS? Democrats talking up Richard Gere as potential candidate for Congress — by Carl Campanile: “Actor Richard Gere’s name is being floated as a potential candidate for Congress in the northern suburbs, The Post has learned. The current representative of the 18th Congressional District, Sean Patrick Maloney, is running in September’s Democratic primary for state attorney general and, if he’s successful, his House seat would be open.” [NYPost]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Sumner Redstone Trust Restricts Sale Options for CBS, Viacom [WSJ WeWork Raises $1 Billion in Debt From SoftBank as Revenue Doubles [WSJ] • Personalized Shopping Engine Dynamic Yield Raises $32M [MediaPost] • Daniel Loeb’s activist hedge fund Third Point calls for Campbell Soup sale [Reuters] • ‘Everything Was a Struggle.’ Bethenny Frankel on How She Went From $20,000 in Credit Card Debt to a $100 Million Skinnygirl Deal [Time]

Why the Children of the Wealthy Are Vulnerable to Cults — by Doree Shafrir: “Groups like Nxivm are adept at giving rich people a sense that their lives now have meaning… Wealthy people are often brought into a cult by other wealthy people, and Nxivm is no exception. Clare and Sara Bronfman, heiresses to the Seagram fortune, have been members for years; their money has reportedly bankrolled the group’s operations and litigation for the last 10 years, to the tune of close to $100 million. Like [India] Oxenberg, their father Edgar Bronf­man Sr. initially took a five-day “VIP” course, but he never got involved to the degree that his daughters did.” [TownAndCountry]

THIS WEEKEND: Virginia governor declares state of emergency for anniversary of Charlottesville protests — by Julia Jacobo: “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the city of Charlottesville have declared a state of emergency ahead of the anniversary of the violent Unite the Right rally. Several events are planned in the Charlottesville area beginning Friday through Sunday to mark the anniversary of the rally…” [YahooNews] • Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) Condemns Upcoming Neo-Nazi Rally[JewishJournal]

Hate, white supremacist propaganda at high level since Charlottesville: Experts — by Aaron Katersky: “Hate and white supremacist propaganda have been at a high level in the year since the streets of Charlottesville erupted in deadly violence, according to the Anti-Defamation League.” [ABCNews]

The White Nationalists Are Winning — by Adam Serwer: “Despite the controversy over the rally and its bloody aftermath, the white nationalists’ ideological goals remain a core part of the Trump agenda. As long as that agenda finds a home in one of the two major American political parties, a significant portion of the country will fervently support it… A year after white nationalists in Charlottesville chanted, “You will not replace us!” their message has been taken up and amplified by Fox News personalities…” [TheAtlantic]

Bret Stephens writes… “The Outrage Over Sarah Jeong: In February, my centrist colleague Bari Weiss celebrated U.S. figure skater Mirai Nagasu’s historic triple axel by tweeting a line from the musical “Hamilton”: “Immigrants: They get the job done.” Left-wing social media went berserk over this alleged “othering” of Nagasu… By contrast, the left has been nothing if not aggressive in its defense of Jeong. That’s the right thing to do, but it’s also rank hypocrisy coming from many of the same people who loudly demanded the ouster of Williamson, Weiss, or, well, me.” [NYTimes]

The Crown Center and the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy partner to enhance policy-relevant knowledge of the Middle East: “Launching the project, Tamara Cofman Wittes, project co-director and Senior Fellow at Brookings’s Center for Middle East Policy, said: “We are delighted to combine our first class policy scholars with the rich, interdisciplinary expertise of the Crown Center’s researchers. Washington policymakers—especially next-generation leaders—are hungry for a deeper understanding of a region undergoing dramatic change, and this partnership will help us fill that need.” [Brookings]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — Martin Greenfield, a Holocaust survivor and the tailor to many presidents and celebrities, celebrated his 90th birthday at the Friars Club in Manhattan. Participants at the event included former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Rabbi Marc Schneier. [Pic]

— Flashback: The President’s Tailor Survived the Holocaust[GreatBigStory]

DESSERT — Hasiba opens in Pico-Robertson with kosher, vegetarian fare: “A new Middle Eastern spot has made its debut in the neighborhood. Called Hasiba, the new addition is located at 8532 Pico Blvd…” [ABC7]

Mall of America’s vegan fast food joint starts slingin’ plant-based patties next week: “In a good ol’ fashioned game of Dietary Restriction Bingo, no one has it harder than a Kosher vegan with a gluten intolerance. Dining out? Tough enough as is. Finding something on a fast food menu? Forget it! But that’ll change for Mall of America shoppers on August 13, when the vegan fast food restaurant Earth Burger brings its Kosher certified burgers and chik-n tenders—plus gluten-free options—to Bloomington.” [CityPages]

WINE OF THE WEEK — Pelter Winery 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon — by Yitz Applbaum: When I see a beautiful painting I often try to transport myself into the picture. I love to make the viewing experience immersive. With no specific painting in mind, my recent trip to the Pelter Matar Winery felt just like such a moment, both idyllic and real. We drank many brilliant wines, but the winner of the show was a one hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon.

The color was brilliant. The flavor had deep velvety plum overtones. There were tannins on the mid-palate which at first seemed unrestrained, and then the wine culminated in a burst of smoky chocolate and prunes. This wine will last a long time. What to eat it with? We were treated to an eight-course tasting menu by a great local chef. The dish that was paired with this wine was a sheep-fat soaked lamb filled pita. A great combination. [Pelter]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Maverick US District Court judge in the Eastern District of New York since 1967, he also served as chief judge of the district (1980-1988), he took senior status in 1993, Judge Jack B. Weinsteinturns 97… NYC-based real estate developer, he is the founder and principal of Clipper Equity, David Bistricer turns 69… Born in Johannesburg, she was elected to Parliament in 1994 and then served as the ninth Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (2009-2014), Gill Marcus turns 69… Conservative rabbi who serves as the Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance since January 2015, Rabbi Jack Moline turns 66… Co-leader of the securities litigation practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and co-president of NYC’s Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Joseph S. Allerhand turns 65… Austrian journalist, writer and the current director of the Jewish Museum of Vienna, Danielle Spera turns 61… Winner of a special election in 2015 to the California State Senate, Steven Mitchell Glazer turns 61… Early employee of Yahoo in the 1990s, then a member of the Florida State Senate (2006-2016), he is the Democratic nominee for Chief Financial Officer of Florida in the 2018 election, Jeremy Ring turns 48… Senior development officer of the NYC-based Tikvah Fund, Eytan Sosnovich turns 35… Jason Reyes… Robert Feldman… Eliza Daddario… Ella Raevskaya

SATURDAY: Massachusetts attorney who is also a co-editor of a number of egalitarian Jewish prayer books, C. Peter R. Gossels turns 88… CEO of CBS Records (1975-1990), he was the chief architect of the sale of CBS Records to Sony to create Sony Music Entertainment in 1988, Walter Yetnikoff turns 85… Member of the US House of Representatives (D-NY-16) (1973-1981) when she was succeeded by Chuck Schumer, she also served as Brooklyn DA (1982-1989) and NYC Comptroller (1990-1993), Elizabeth Holtzman turns 77… Baltimore-born financier and philanthropist, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein turns 69… US Trade Representative (1997-2001), now the chair of the international trade group at WilmerHale, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky turns 68… Senior counsel for benefits and employment at the DC-based law firm of Keightley & Ashner, Linda E. Rosenzweig turns 66… Carolyn Dorfman turns 63… CEO, chairman and major shareholder of the Russian gas company Novatek, Leonid Viktorovich Mikhelson turns 63… Member of the Massachusetts Senate (2011-2017), he is the founder of Cape Air (an airline started on Cape Cod but that now has 43 domestic and international destinations), Daniel A. “Dan” Wolf turns 61… Venture capitalist and wine columnist for Jewish InsiderIsaac “Yitz” Applbaum turns 58… Former yeshiva student and then IDF tank commander, member of Knesset since 2015 for the Likud party, David “Dudi” Amsalem turns 58… Chief of the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) since May 2016, Nadav Argaman turns 58… Conservative political and cultural commentator for The New York Times, David Brooks turns 57… Emmy nominated producer at NBC’s Meet the Press, Ilana Marcus Drimmer turns 47… MLB pitcher (1994-2002) for seven teams, he was the pitching coach for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic in South Korea and Japan, Andrew Lorraine turns 46… Yelena Shuster turns 31… General surgery resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Sara Ginzberg turns 27… Jacob Segal of Standard Management… Daniel Weitz

SUNDAY: Billionaire investor George Soros (born György Schwartz) turns 88… Novelist, playwright and screenwriter, winner of two Academy Awards for his screenplays, William Goldman turns 87… NYC-born historian and author, held academic positions in the UK and Australia, he was president of the Jewish Historical Society of England (2002-2004), William Rubinstein turns 72… Attorney in Ontario, Canada who served as president of the Canadian Jewish Congress (1989-1992), Lester Scheininger turns 71… US diplomat, Karyn Allison Posner-Mullen turns 67… Director of management operations at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Fredi Bleeker Franks turns 66… Buenos Aires-born, immigrated to Israel at age 18, member of Knesset since 2015 from the Yesh Atid party, Haim Yellin turns 60… British-born Israeli journalist, he is the founding editor of The Times of Israel, formerly the editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, David Horovitzturns 56… Raised in in Santiago, Chile, now Rabbi at Brookline’s Temple Beth Zion, Claudia Kreiman turns 44… SVP for external engagement at NYC’s Educational Alliance, Anya Hoerburger turns 41… Director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Jarad Geldner turns 35… Senior customer success manager at NYC-based Dynamic Yield, David Fine… Jay Chernikoff… Ariel Applbaum

Aug
9

Author:

Comment

Daily Kickoff: Rand Paul dissuaded Trump from pushing regime change in Iran | Abboud explains ‘Sheldon Adelson money’ | Rabbi Sacks on Jordan Peterson

Have our people email your people. Tell your friends to sign up for the Daily Kickoff here

VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the Debut Inbox for newsletters starting at 6:42 AM EDT this morning.

DRIVING THE CONVO: Trump connects with Rand ‘at gut level’ — by Eliana Johnson: “Trump has drawn praise from the right-wing establishment for hammering the mullahs in Tehran, junking the Iran nuclear deal and responding to the regime’s saber rattling with aggressive rhetoric of his own… But Trump has stopped short of calling for regime change even though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and [John] Bolton support it, aligning with Paul instead, according to a GOP foreign policy expert in frequent contact with the White House. “Rand Paul has persuaded the president that we are not for regime change in Iran,” this person said, because adopting that position would instigate another war in the Middle East.”[Politico]

— Paul is on a trip to Moscow this week for meetings with top Russian officials and was hoping to secure a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House said yesterday that at Senator Paul’s request, President Trump provided him a letter of introduction that also “mentioned topics of interest that Senator Paul wanted to discuss with President Putin. A Kremlin spokesman confirmed that the letter was delivered and was making its way to Putin.

Is Sen. Paul, who is opposed to U.S. presence in Syria, trying to convince Putin to take full responsibility of the situation in Syria so that the U.S. can go ahead and withdraw its troops, despite John Bolton’s recent assurances to Israel?

Elliott Abrams, a former Republican diplomat and now a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, called that “pure speculation,” but criticized Paul for meeting with Russian legislators. “What we can say is that he is meeting with members of Russia’s phony legislature and treating its members as equals,” Abrams said in an email. “That’s an insult to the United States Senate.”

Shalom Lipner, a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, tells us that while it’s unclear what Paul’s agenda is, “it doesn’t appear that Trump needs much persuasion what it comes to relying on Putin. Seems that Trump is most interested in ending his foreign headaches — and if Putin is actually volunteering to take them off of U.S. hands, Trump is more than happy to let him do so. It’s almost as if Trump feels like he’s pulling a fast one on Russia, selling them his old jalopy. But this is what handing off the baton of global leadership looks like.”

INSIDE THE ADMIN — Steven Mnuchin Is Still Standing — by Devin Leonard and Saleha Mohsin: “One of only a few moderates left in the White House, Mnuchin has acted, not always successfully, as a bulwark against some of the administration’s more reactionary forces, trying to dissuade Trump from launching a full-blown trade war with China and other allies… He’s also the lead enforcer of sanctions against Russia… A current White House official… describes Mnuchin’s ideological bent less flatteringly, calling him a Wall Street Democrat.” [Bloomberg]

REPORT — US game plan on Iran written in Tel Aviv, claim Israeli insiders — by Ben Caspit: “According to close associates of the prime minister, everything that is happening now on the American-Iranian-Israeli front was planned in Israel, “marketed” to President Donald Trump by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is now being implemented to “fix it or nix it.” … Trump is following Netanyahu’s plan meticulously.”

“The only thing that sours Israel’s premature celebrations is Trump’s startling but not atypical announcement that he [might] speak with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting next month in New York. “If Trump meets with him, that could slow down or ruin the implementation of the plan,” a senior security source told Al-Monitor.” [Al-Monitor]

ON THE GROUND — Israel and Hamas exchange fire in sudden Gaza escalation — by Oren Liebermann: “According to the IDF, at least 100 rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israel, with rocket alarms ringing into the early hours of the morning… Following the rocket launches, the Israeli air force struck more than 140 military targets across 20 sites in Gaza, including a factory for manufacturing facilities, training complexes, a maritime tunnel shaft, and other sites.” [CNNNYT]

Palestinian Factions Declare Round of Hostilities Over — by Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury: “Palestinian factions in Gaza declared Thursday that they consider the latest round of violence between Israel and Gaza over, saying that maintaining the peace now depends on Israel… “We don’t see the end of the escalation. We are closing in on operation in Gaza,” a senior IDF official said Thursday.” [Haaretz]

White House Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt tweets“Hamas regime again is launching rockets at Israeli communities. Another night of terror & families huddling in fear as Israel defends itself. This is the Hamas regime’s choice. Hamas is subjecting people to the terrifying conditions of war again.”

Avi Issacharoff writes… “With no strategic change on either side, the battle in Gaza is over PR: That is how both sides are presently conducting themselves: First of all by thinking about how their actions affect public opinion… It is more important to Hamas to market its image as a “resistance” organization — while its leaders abroad stay mainly at luxurious apartments and hotels. For the Israeli government, it is more important to promote the nation-state law than to bring about an actual solution in the south.” [ToI]

AT THE UN — Israel might not withdraw from UNESCO after all — by Barak Ravid: “Six months before the U.S. and Israel are due to withdraw from the UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a rare phone call with the director general of the agency, Audrey Azoulay. Netanyahu might meet Azoulay next month to discuss the possibility of Israel remaining in the organization… Israeli officials told me one of the ideas being considered in Israel is to postpone Israel’s withdrawal from UNESCO by 6-12 months… But the Israeli officials also say any Israeli decision to change course will have to be discussed with the Trump administration.” [Axios]

Michelle Bachelet, socialist ex-president of Chile, is tapped for UN human rights post — by Adam Shaw: “United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has nominated socialist ex-President Michelle Bachelet of Chile to be the next human rights chief… [U.S. Ambassador Nikki] Haley reacted to the nomination by saying that it was incumbent on Bachelet to “avoid the failures of the past.” [FoxNews]

New Colombia government to review decision to recognize Palestine —  by Julia Symmes Cobb, Luis Jaime Acosta and Michelle Nichols: “Colombia’s new government said it would review former President Juan Manuel Santos’ recognition of Palestine after the previously unreleased decision was made public on Wednesday. President Ivan Duque took office on Tuesday and was informed a few days ago of Santos’ decision… The Israeli embassy in Bogota said it was surprised and disappointed… The decision came to light during a visit to Colombia by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.” [Reuters

MIDTERMS — Palestinian-American candidate is source of West Bank pride — by Mohammed Daraghmeh: “Relatives in Beit Our al-Foqa, where [Rashida] Tlaib’s mother was born, greeted the news with a mixture of pride and hope that she will take on a U.S. administration widely seen as hostile to the Palestinian cause. “It’s a great honor for this small town. It’s a great honor for the Palestinian people to have Rashida in the Congress,” said Mohammed Tlaib, the village’s former mayor and a distant relative.” [AP] • First Muslim woman set for Congress ‘probably’ won’t vote for Pelosi as leader [TheHill

Rosen says she was out ‘in front’ after Las Vegas shooting because of synagogue experience — by Megan Messerly: “Congresswoman Jacky Rosen told attendees of a Seattle fundraiser last month… that she “channelled [her] inner rabbi” while visiting hospital rooms and attending funerals in the wake of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history… The Democratic congresswoman said that while other politicians asked “What do we do?” she was out “in front” and “just did that because [she] knew.” … In a statement, Rosen said that politicians don’t have a “guidebook” for responding to tragedies but that she was able to draw on her experience as a synagogue president.” [TheNevadaIndependent]

— “Rosen’s Jewish religion, [Sen. Dean] Heller’s Mormon faith in a state with a strong church presence, and the influence of Sheldon Adelson are all wild cards in what is certain to be a dramatic campaign.” [Haaretz]

Vice President Mike Pence, who was in Michigan yesterday for a unity rally in support of the Republican nominees for Governor and Senator, tweeted his support of Lena Epstein, the Republican nominee for the 11th Congressional District: “Proud to support Lena Epstein — an early supporter of President Trump. She’ll be a fighter for the Donald Trump agenda in Congress and a strong advocate for the people of Michigan!”

FLORIDA GOV: Sheldon Adelson’s spokesperson Andy Abboud hit back at GOP gubernatorial hopeful Adam Putnam for attacking opponent Ron DeSantis during a debate last night for taking campaign contributions from “casino owners.” Abboud told Florida Playbook the Adelsons support DeSantis because they like him and his support of Israel.

“I guess I’m shocked that Putnam would make an issue of it because his campaign team consistently tried to get meetings with us to ask for money. They repeatedly asked for meetings. And we repeatedly made clear we were with Ron DeSantis,” Abboud said. “So maybe he’s just jealous that he didn’t get Sheldon Adelson money. Sheldon Adelson money and Miriam Adelson money is Republican money. It’s patriotic money. It’s not really casino money.”

Lackluster election results spark debate over Trump’s midterm role — by Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey: “Ivanka Trump is likely to be dispatched to suburban districts to talk about the economy and the workforce… Ivanka Trump visited Illinois on Wednesday, speaking at a community college alongside Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.). Although the visit was an official White House endeavor, Davis is a self-described “Main Street Republican” facing an uphill reelection race.” [WashPost]

Trump allies luring Hope Hicks into 2020 campaign — by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Hicks intended to have dinner at Bedminster with Sanders on Friday night and then Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner on Saturday evening before her impromptu Air Force One trip… Once back in New Jersey, she ate dinner with White House staffers and spent the night at Bedminster as a guest of Jared and Ivanka.” [Politico]

Trump’s Orthodox voters still on board — by Jonathan Mark: “After a seemingly endless barrage of confrontations and accusations from Trump detractors — regarding issues from Charlottesville to the Southern border to Helsinki — liberal Jews are at the “resistance” barricades, while Orthodox Jews are standing by their man. “The Trump administration has been there for the [Orthodox] community’s needs,” said Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union’s Advocacy Center.” [JewishWeek]

MOVING ON: Jon Ossoff on How to Talk About Special Elections and the Ohio Twelfth — by Eric Lach: “A year removed from his own special election, Ossoff argued that people underestimate the long-term effects of these races. “There’s real party-building that happens when competitive campaigns unfold in districts that haven’t recently been so,” he said. In the Georgia Sixth, he said, there is now “an army of battle hardened volunteers and activists.” Since his campaign, Ossoff has returned to work at his documentary production company, Insight TWI. He’s also lent a hand to some local candidates for office in Georgia. “I’m a recovering candidate who is staying politically active,” he said.” [NewYorker]

** 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: Before he was a Trump Veterans Affairs ‘shadow ruler,’ Ike Perlmutter transformed Marvel [WashPost] • Carl Icahn ratchets up pressure against Cigna-Express Scripts deal [Reuters] • CBS’ controlling shareholder Shari Redstone is quietly shopping for a new CEO to replace embattled Leslie Moonves [NBCNews] • Delaware judge declines to order ailing Sumner Redstone to be deposed in legal battle between his family holding company and CBS [WSJ] • Failed business leaves Israel with a crocodile conundrum [AP]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — The story of Levi Strauss on the latest episode of ‘Stuff You Missed in History Class.’ “Levi’s story is historically interesting because it touches on a lot of important moments in U.S. history. His business was tied to the California Gold Rush, the U.S. Civil War and American clothing culture.” [MissedInHistory]

MEDIA WATCH — The New York Times is expanding its coverage in Australia: “Jamie Tarabay, a veteran journalist with experience across the Middle East and Asia in a variety of mediums, will join [the NY Times] Sydney bureau as a correspondent this fall as we continue to expand our coverage and audience-engagement initiative in Australia. Jamie… covered both the Iraq war and the second Palestinian intifada… Bret Stephens, who lived next door to Jamie in Manhattan a few years ago, called her “a cross between Julia Child and Lara Croft.” … Bari Weiss of Opinion will head over after Thanksgiving. She will be writing about Australia’s role in the world, politics and feminism, and also working on partnerships and events.” [NYT]

Israeli Broadcasters Reshet, Channel Ten to Merge — by Amy Spiro: “Israel’s Antitrust Authority has approved a merger of TV broadcasters Reshet and Channel Ten… According to Israeli media reports, Channel Ten – which first hit the airwaves in 2002 – could stop airing as early as October following the merger with Reshet. Reshet CEO Avi Zvi is expected to take control of the combined company… Reshet mostly airs Israeli versions of reality shows such as “Big Brother,” “The Voice,” “Survivor” and “Amazing Race.” Channel Ten mostly broadcasts news and documentary programming.”[Variety]

Shmuel Rosner writes… “Does Sacha Baron Cohen Understand Israel? Today, the military is not as dominant in Israel’s culture as it used to be, and Israel is more Westernized, more capitalist, more focused on trade and high-tech innovation, and less rugged, than it was in its early years. Morad is a caricature of our past, not our present… And what we learn from him is a little troubling: Israel’s most avid supporters in America might like us more as crude machos than as start-up entrepreneurs. They might even prefer our satirized fossils to our real selves.” [NYTimes]

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Jordan Peterson: “Making a series of programmes for the BBC on morality in the twenty-first century, Peterson told me, “People have every reason to construe themselves as victims. Their lives are characterised by suffering and betrayal. Those are ineradicable experiences. [The question is] what’s the right attitude to take to that – anger or rejection, resentment, hostility, murderousness? That’s the story of Cain and Abel, [and] that’s not good. That leads to Hell.”

“There really are victims in this world, and none of us should minimise their experiences. But in most cases (admittedly, not all) the most important thing we can do is help them recover their sense of agency. This is never easy, but is essential if they are not to drown in their own learned helplessness. No one should ever blame a victim. But neither should any of us encourage a victim to stay a victim. It took immense courage for Mikhaila Peterson and the Holocaust survivors to rise above their victimhood, but what a victory they won for human freedom, dignity and responsibility.” [RabbiSacks]

“Why the Left Is So Afraid of Jordan Peterson” by Caitlin Flanagan: “It is because the left, while it currently seems ascendant in our houses of culture and art, has in fact entered its decadent late phase, and it is deeply vulnerable. The left is afraid not of Peterson, but of the ideas he promotes, which are completely inconsistent with identity politics of any kind.” [TheAtlantic]

CAMPUS BEAT — U.S. academic group decries both BDS and legal attempts to squelch it: “The American Association of University Professors said it is as opposed to the movement to boycott Israel as it is to requirements that academics renounce the movement to boycott Israel. “We oppose all academic boycotts, including an academic boycott of Israel, on the grounds that such boycotts violate the principles of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas for which our organization has stood for over one hundred years,” said the statement.” [JTA]

Photo exhibit documents revival of Polish Jewish life — by Vanessa Gera: “A new photo exhibition opened this week in Warsaw that brings together [American photographer Chuck] Fishman’s early documentation of a melancholy and declining Jewish world with the revival of traditions by the third and fourth generations after the Holocaust… Titled “Re-Generation: Jewish Life in Poland,” the exhibition showing at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw will run until Oct. 28 and then go to the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow for several more months.” [AP]

SPORTS BLINK: Robert Kraft opens up about ‘continuity’ within organization — by Kristen Parker: “The job of ownership is to keep continuity when you have something good. I think some people just make change for change’s sake, and I have a rule: We never break something down unless we can put something better in its place,” [New England Patriots owner Robert] Kraft said. “And the Belichick-Brady combo has been pretty good.” He added: “Everyone checks their ego at the front door and puts team first.”[PatriotsWire]

DESSERT: Dunkin’ Donuts opens first kosher shop in Palm Beach County — by Lulu Ramadan: “Dunkin’ Donuts converted the shop on Powerline Road, between Glades and Palmetto Park roads, into a kosher location to serve the large Jewish population in southern Palm Beach County.” [PalmBeachPostMiamiHerald]

REMEMBERING: Richard Jarecki, Doctor Who Conquered Roulette, Dies at 86 — by Daniel Slotnik: “Dr. Jarecki was born to Jewish parents, Dr. Max and Gerda (Kunstmann) Jarecki, on Dec. 1, 1931, in Stettin, Germany. His father was a dermatologist, and his mother’s family owned a major shipping company. But with the rise of the Nazis and the growing persecution of Jews, Hitler’s regime took control of the family’s shipping fortune, and they fled Germany in the late 1930s… Dr. Jarecki moved to Manila about 20 years ago, his wife said, because he liked the lifestyle there and preferred the city’s casinos to those run by Americans. His touch at the roulette wheel endured until nearly the end. Ms. Jarecki said he last played in December, at a tournament in Manila. He came in first.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Physicist and venture capitalist, co-founder and general partner of New Markets Venture Partners, Donald M. “Don” Spero, Ph.D. turns 79… Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News for more than 20 years and a professor of national and international affairs at Boston University, Carl Robert Zelnick turns 78… Host of Showtime’s “Inside Comedy,” son of a Rabbi, he has appeared 130 times on Johnny Carson, David Steinberg turns 76… Romance novelist with 19 books on the NYT bestseller lists, Barbara Delinsky (born Barbara Ruth Greenberg) turns 73… Author of 36 Jewish themed books, publisher, editor, educator, and founder of Rossel Books, he lectures on Israel, the Holocaust, Bible, archaeology, spirituality, Jewish history and Jewish education, Seymour Rossel turns 73… Psychologist and bestselling suspense novelist, Jonathan Kellerman turns 69… Southern California resident, Faith Schames turns 67…

Member of the Minnesota Senate since 2007, following four years in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Ronald Steven “Ron” Latz turns 55… Chief of Staff for Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Amy B. Rutkinturns 49… Kiev-born, member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 2007 from Montgomery County, Kirill Reznik turns 44… Reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times since 2017, he was previously Chief Investigative Reporter for Politico (2007-2017), Kenneth P. Vogel turns 43… Executive Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition, Jacob Baime turns 33… South Pasadena, California resident, Giovanna Fradkin… Senior director at Dezenhall Resources since April 2017, he was previously communications director for the Republican Jewish Coalition and an RNC alum, Fred Brown… Partner at Hilltop Public Solutions, who served as Special Advisor to NYC Mayor de Blasio, Rebecca Kirszner Katz… Law student at Boston College, Isaac Lederman… Amanda Isaacson… Elise Aronson… Dan Zimerman… Mark Shapiro

Aug
8

Author:

Comment

Daily Kickoff: Ike Perlmutter’s influence at Veterans Affairs | Aryeh Bourkoff teams up with Cal Ripken | Previewing Perelman’s Apollo in the Hamptons

 Have our people email your people. Tell your friends to sign up for the Daily Kickoff here

VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the Debut Inbox for newsletters starting at 7:15 AM EDT this morning. 

SPOTTED by a JI reader — White House aides Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Tom Rose separately waiting in line at Max’s Kosher Grill, the kosher stand at Nationals Park, during last night’s Braves Nationals game.

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — U.S. Official: Trump’s Peace Plan Will Cause Discomfort to Both Israel and Palestinians — by Amir Tibon and Amos Harel: “When reading through the plan, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) will be unhappy on some pages and happy on others just as Israelis will be pleased with some pages and uncomfortable on others,” one senior administration official explained. The official added that the plan will “go beyond broad parameters that in the past didn’t actually solve the problem.” … The White House is currently polishing a document which is dozens of pages long, “much longer than some previous plans of this kind.” 

“Sources outside the administration who are involved in the discussions over the plan told Haaretz that the Trump peace team believes their plan could be the first one ever to receive a positive answer from both Israel and major Arab countries, regardless of the Palestinian position.” [Haaretz]

Aaron David Miller tells us… “I am assuming that what the White House Mideast peace team is proposing is going to fall far short of the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 and remotely resembling the Clinton Parameters. That’s another reason, in my judgment, they should delay the rollout, or alternatively, they should say two things: Number one, there will be a Palestinian State unconstrained, unhinged from any other condition. Just leave it very general. Number two, as we said in the Jerusalem statement, the borders and sovereignty of Jerusalem are up for negotiations, but it is the view of our administration that Jerusalem can host two capitals — without any further commentary on what’s going to happen beyond the city, the inner neighborhoods and the outer neighborhoods.”

“The issue here is not whether or not this is going to be accepted. The issue is whether or not, when this plan comes out, people will say, ‘You know, I may not like this piece or that, but the U.S. genuinely grappled, and in a fair way came to terms with what we think is a reasonable basis to launch negotiations.’ There’s never been a peace plan in the history of the U.S. peace process in which both sides said, ‘Okay, where do we sign?’ What they should want is to establish their credibility. It’s only year two of a four-year, possibly longer administration, and why put something out that is not going to be accepted and won’t even be viewed as a credible basis for negotiation?”

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert at a press briefing: “The peace plan is being largely handled out of the White House, but we’re in close consultation with them. I’m not going to get ahead of any announcements or negotiations that they are involved with… I think everybody would like to see progress on that front.”

Netanyahu to meet Trump on sidelines of UN confab — by Raphael Ahren: “Netanyahu is planning to attend the upcoming United Nations General Assembly and meet US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the conference, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Wednesday.” [ToI

REPORT — Israel, Hamas to Agree on Cease-fire by End of August: “Israel and Hamas are expected to sign a cease-fire agreement by the end of August, a Hamas official told the Turkish state news agency Anadolu… According to the source, the cease-fire would last for at least five years, and include the release of Israeli citizens Avera Mengistu and Hisham Sayed, as well as the remains of soldiers 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul… The deal also reportedly calls for the establishment of a port in Gaza.” [Haaretz] • Abbas to visit Qatar for talks on truce, reconciliation proposal [JPost]

COMING SOON? — Brace yourselves: The next Israeli election is on the way — by Gil Hoffman: Tuesday night’s Supreme Court ruling requiring the Knesset to pass a new law by December 2 to draft yeshiva students made it very likely that an election will be held between the end of January and the end of February… The only chance that won’t happen is if the heads of the parties in Netanyahu’s coalition all decide that they want the election postponed as much as possible, because they want to wait for Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to indict Netanyahu on bribery charges. Perhaps the parties will want to gamble that an indictment would finish off Netanyahu politically, and their parties would gain seats at the expense of his successor at the head of Likud.” [JPost]

TRENDS — In crisis after crisis, Israel is losing the public relations war. Is it winnable? — by Noga Tarnopolsky: “The bench of official Israeli spokespersons is pretty much empty,” said Shalom Lipner, a veteran of 26 years in the prime minister’s office… “It is a virtual wasteland.” … “The Israeli government has prioritized a digital approach to communications,” said Yigal Palmor, director of public affairs and communications for the Jewish Agency… Such a social-media-based national communications strategy, he said, was so flawed as to be “unforgivable.” [Netanyahu’s spokesman David] Keyes defended the strategy. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is using powerful technologies to bring the truth about Israel to enormous new audiences around the world.” [LATimes]

ANTI-ISRAEL LEFT FRUSTRATED WITH BOOKER’S POSTER DENIAL — “Cory Booker Claims He Didn’t Know He Held a Pro-Palestine Sign. New Details Cast Doubt on His Denial” — by Zaid Jilani: “A USCPR statement provided to the Intercept casts doubt on Booker’s claim… The last sentence of [the] statement suggests that Booker had spoken to the USCPR members prior to the photo being taken, thus raising some skepticism about his claim that he did not know what the sign said. Also notable is the fact that one of the USCPR members in the photo wore a T-shirt that read: “Palestine is a queer, feminist, refugee, racial justice issue.” [TheIntercept]

— Senator Booker in an interview with InsiderNJ: “Anybody who knows me knows where I’ve stood for seven years, knows that I believe in Israel’s right to protect itself. I have been voting to expand Israel’s security capacity. Again, the state of Israel is under constant threat; terrorist attack after terrorist attack. They need to protect themselves and my record is 100% clear on that.”

— Booker on the Iran deal: “Iranians having a nuclear weapon puts us in jeopardy. As a result of that deal we have – or had – incredibly intrusive inspections. They dismantled their pipeline of materials. They took reactors offline. There is a consensus… we stopped the immediacy of their race toward a nuclear weapon.” [InsiderNJ]

PRIMARY RESULTS — Michigan: In the 8th Congressional District, Elissa Slotkin was declared the winner of the Democratic primary to take on Rep. Mike Bishop (R) in the fall. In the 9th District,  Andy Levin, the son of longtime Rep. Sander Levin, is leading a 3-way race to replace his father. In the 11th District, Trump’s 2016 Michigan campaign co-chair Lena Epstein declared victory in the Republican primary for the open seat of retiring Rep. David Trott (R).

 In the 13th District, former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed for the House seat vacated by former Rep. John Conyers, setting her up to become the first Muslim, Palestinian woman elected to Congress. Tlaib was backed by J Street’s PAC.

Missouri: In the 2nd congressional district, Rep. Ann Wagner (R) averted a primary challenge from Israeli American Noga Sachs, winning 90 percent of the vote.

Kansas: In the 3rd Congressional District, Sharice Davids defeated Brent Welder, a candidate backed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Davids, who would be the first Native American woman elected to Congress and the first openly LGBT person to represent Kansas, will face U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, the incumbent Republican from Overland Park, in the general election.

Republican Holds Slim Lead in Ohio Special Election for House Seat — by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns: “The Republican, Troy Balderson, a state senator who ran a plodding campaign, led his Democratic challenger, Danny O’Connor, by less than 1 percentage point with all precincts reporting… National Republicans declared victory before midnight, but it could be days or weeks before there is a conclusive result in the race.” [NYTimes]

IMAGE — Jake Sherman‏ tweeted: “Here at Danny O’Connor HQ, CNN — and Alan Dershowitz from vineyard haven — is on the big screen.” [Pic]

Barack Obama is back on Martha’s Vineyard — by Kevin Slane: “Unlike Alan Dershowitz, it appears Barack Obama shouldn’t be worried about getting the cold shoulder on Martha’s Vineyard… According to The Martha’s Vineyard Times, Obama arrived on the island Saturday for a vacation that could last for much of August.” [BostonGlobe]

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cheered at arts conference hosted by Jewish museum — by Ben Sales: “Ocasio-Cortez appeared at a conference here hosted by the Immigrant Arts Coalition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage… While politics did frequently come up, none of the panelists — including Ocasio-Cortez, who has been critical of Israel — mentioned Jews or Israel… And former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, a fellow panelist, praised her. Messinger, who is also the former president of American Jewish World Service… told the JTA… that Ocasio-Cortez should be given time to clarify her positions on specific issues, but that she possesses the qualities to be a successful member of Congress.” [JTA]

Zeldin Responds To Comments Made By Trump Jr. Comparing Democratic Party Policies To Nazi Policies — by Cailin Riley: “References to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany became a source of fierce debate within the 1st District race between U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin and Democratic challenger Perry Gershon… Mr. Zeldin drew a distinction between the way he feels about Mr. Gershon’s comments, and the way he feels about Mr. Trump Jr. making similar references… “My opponent was attacking me [with those comments], trying to kick me out of office because of comparisons to Trump and Adolf Hitler, and that’s absolutely insane,” Mr. Zeldin said…” [27East]

‘Holocaust revisionist’ running for Hilton Head mayor on anti-development platform — by Katherine Kokal: “A self-proclaimed “Holocaust revisionist” wants to be Hilton Head’s next mayor, but said his beliefs will not impact his local anti-development platform. Michael Santomauro… runs the website, ReportersNoteBook[dot]com, which claims to offer rewards for those who can prove the validity of Holocaust events, such as the death toll and the existence of Nazi gas chambers.” [IslandPacket]

IRAN SANCTIONS — Experts: Iran could answer US sanctions with cyberattacks — by Deb Riechmann: “The U.S. is bracing for cyberattacks Iran could launch in retaliation for the re-imposition of sanctions this week by President Donald Trump, cybersecurity and intelligence experts say.” [AP]

STATE OF SANCTIONS: Neil Bhatiya and Edoardo Saravalle argue sanctions are meant to induce adversaries to come to the negotiating table; when they achieve their goals, they should end. Attacking each and every foreign-policy problem with sanctions will make them more rigid and harder to lift. [TheAtlantic]

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Trump in pool spray ahead of dinner with business executives in Bedminster, NJ: “Iran is a whole different country since we got rid of one of the worst deals that I have ever seen. Much, much different country.”

Business executives come back to Trump a year after Charlottesville — by Andrew Restuccia, Christopher Cadelago and Stephanie Murray: “The guest list for Tuesday night’s dinner at the president’s Bedminster, New Jersey, country club included 15 top executives of some of the country’s largest companies… including LeFrak CEO Richard LeFrak.”[Politico]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: ‘It’s Fantastic!’ Trump Warms to Rosenstein — by Michael Bender and Sadie Gurman: “The two men talk once or twice a week, and Mr. Trump calls [Rod] Rosenstein on his cellphone to discuss such issues as immigration… Mr. Rosenstein consistently prepares the president’s team ahead of major news, officials said. And he visits the White House as often as three times a week, meeting with the president or White House chief of staff John Kelly… “It’s fantastic,” Mr. Trump said about his rapport with Mr. Rosenstein when a spokesman told him The Wall Street Journal was seeking a comment. “We have great relationship. Make sure you tell them that.” … Privately, Mr. Rosenstein has developed a gallows humor about his relationship with the president, joking to friends that he wakes up not knowing if he still has a job.” [WSJ]

DEEP DIVE: The Shadow Rulers of the VA — by Isaac Arnsdorf: “Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA… Moskowitz… is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman.”

“If the bureaucracy resists the trio’s wishes, Perlmutter has a powerful ally: The President of the United States. Trump and Perlmutter regularly talk on the phone and dine together when the president visits Mar-a-Lago. “On any veterans issue, the first person the president calls is Ike,” another former official said. Former administration officials say that VA leaders who were at odds with the Mar-A-Lago crowd were pushed out or passed over.” [ProPublica]

SPOTLIGHT: Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Under Investigation for Tax Fraud — by Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Nicole Hong: “Federal authorities are assessing whether Mr. Cohen’s income from his taxi-medallion business was underreported in federal tax returns, one of the people said… Meantime, federal prosecutors subpoenaed Mr. Cohen’s former accountant, Jeffrey A. Getzel, who was responsible for preparing many of Mr. Cohen’s financial statements submitted to banks… Mr. Getzel also served as an accountant for Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, a taxi-medallion manager who worked with Mr. Cohen… Mr. Freidman is cooperating with federal prosecutors in the investigation.” [WSJCNN]

** 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: Aryeh Bourkoff’s LionTree, a company that has guided Verizon and Snapchat, is now a ‘significant’ investor in Ripken Baseball [BaltimoreSun Salesforce Names Keith Block Co-CEO, Sharing the Top Job With Marc Benioff [Fortune] • Questions About Sumner Redstone’s Health Re-Emerge in CBS Battle [Bloomberg] • Glencore Notches Record Profit on Commodities Recovery [WSJ] • At WME, Attempts to Scrub Scandal From Executive Ari Emanuel and AMI Chief Executive Officer David Pecker Wikipedia Pages [TheWrap] • Silicon Valley: Mark Zuckerberg Would Have Broken Steve Jobs’s Heart [VanityFair] • Barney Frank on His Regrets From the Great Recession [NYMag]

Otto co-founder Lior Ron is back at Uber — by Sarah Buhr: “Lior Ron, the co-founder of the controversial self-driving technology company Otto, is returning to Uber to head up its trucking logistics company, Uber Freight… Both Ron and his co-founder and ex-Googler Anthony Levandowski went to Uber after it acquired Otto in August of 2016. However, Levandowski was fired from Uber after pleading the Fifth Amendment to his accused involvement in stealing Google’s self-driving car trade secrets for use in Otto’s technology. Ron exited Uber a month after the company settled with Google parent company Alphabet for $245 million over the dispute. Now, after some reportedly intense, month-long negotiations, Lior plans to return to Uber pending acquisition of Otto Trucking.” [TechCrunch

MEDIA WATCH: Fox News adds One America’s Trey Yingst to Jerusalem bureau — by Joe Concha: “Fox News on Tuesday announced the signing of One America News Network’s Trey Yingst as a general assignment reporter. Yingst, who has served as One America’s chief White House correspondent since June 2016, will be based out of Fox’s Jerusalem bureau, reporting to bureau chief Eli Fastman. Yingst, 23, will start on Tuesday, according to the network.” [TheHill]

Birthright Co-founder Says Walk-out Protesters Don’t Have Right to Criticize Israel ‘On Our Nickel’ — by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “Birthright co-founder Charles Bronfman says participants don’t have the right to criticize Israel while they are enjoying a free trip paid for by others. “It’s not a fair game if you are going to take advantage of a gift,” the Birthright-Taglit co-founder told Haaretz… “If people want to call Israel names and say bad things about the country, they certainly have the right to free speech. But they don’t have the right to do it on our nickel,” he said… “What is not fair is making a big tzimmes [mess] while the trip is on,” said the 87-year-old, Montreal-born billionaire-philanthropist.” [Haaretz]

Vivien Duffield: I’ll be more ‘choosy’ in backing Israel after ‘apartheid’ law: “One of Britain’s biggest donors to Israel has said she will now be more “choosy” in selecting causes as she condemned the Nation State law, saying “my Israel has died.” Dame Vivien Duffield –  the driving force between JW3 who also backs a wide variety of education and arts projects in Israel – described the new act as an “apartheid law,” in forthright interview with Haaretz.” [JewishNews]

In find of ancient gold earring, echoes of Greek rule over Jerusalem: “A gold earring believed to date back more than 2000 years has been unearthed near the site of the ancient Jewish temples in Jerusalem, in what Israeli archaeologists called rare evidence of Hellenistic influence.”[Reuters]

TALK OF OUR NATION: Converting to Orthodox Judaism Is a Lot. Here’s How 3 Women Did It [ElleMag]

HOLLYWOOD: Gal Gadot to Star in Hedy Lamarr Series From ‘The Affair’ Creator at Showtime — by Joe Otterson: “Sources tell Variety that Gadot is near a deal to star in and executive produce a Showtime series based on the life and career of Hedy Lamarr. Lamarr was born in Austria and went on to become one of the most famous American film stars of her generation…” [Variety] • Gal Gadot Beams Over Boy Who Chose Wonder Woman Backpack, Crown [HollywoodReporter]

THIS WEEKEND: Ninth Year For Apollo In The Hamptons — Bridget Leroy: “Enter Apollo’s vice chairman Ronald Perelman, who happens to be good buddies with Jon Bon Jovi, and Apollo in the Hamptons was born — a super-exclusive, one-night fundraiser, this year on Saturday, August 11, which has, since its inception in 2009, raised approximately $20 million. … The private dinner and concert at Perelman’s The Creeks in East Hampton are the stuff that dreams are made on. This year’s line-up includes Sting and Shaggy, the two one-name wonders currently touring together, Alice Smith Jr., some special guest stars as yet to be divulged, and all with the best house band imaginable, The Roots.” [IndyEastEnd]

BIRTHDAYS: US Ambassador to Israel David Melech Friedman turns 60… Professor Emerita at the Graduate School of the City University of New York and mother of Bill Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb turns 96… Actor and director, with a career in film, television, and theatre, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1980 for Kramer vs. Kramer and in 1989 for Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman turns 81… Dutch diplomat and politician, he served at the Dutch mission to the UN (1970-1977), then a member of the Dutch House of Representatives (1982-2006) including the last four years as Speaker, Frans Weisglas turns 72… Vancouver, Washington resident, Juliana E. Miles Bagherpour turns 61… CEO of BusinessGhost, a ghostwriting firm that has written and published 550 books, including 18 national best sellers, he has completed more than a dozen triathlons since 2002, Michael GraubartLevin turns 60… EVP and general counsel at Revolution, he was previously a Chief of Staff to both VP Al Gore (1995-1999) and VP Joe Biden (2009-2011), Ron Klain turns 57…

Film director whose works include 9 Disney films, Jon Turteltaub turns 55… Founder in 1994 and CEO ever since of DC-based Connections Media, Jonah Seiger turns 47… Jewish blogger and member of the editorial committee of the Orthodox Union’s “Jewish Action” magazine, Rabbi Gil Ofer Student turns 46… MLB pitcher since 2005, he attended Yale University and majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, he pitched during the qualifying round for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Craig Breslow turns 38… Peoria, Illinois native, now a senior strategist at West End Strategy Team, Sarah Garfinkel turns 29… Manager of content development at Omaze, a Los Angeles-based fundraising firm, Morgan Furlong turns 26… Internet celebrity and fitness model, Jennifer Leigh “Jen” Selter turns 25… Skokie, Illinois native, now the Chicago director of community engagement at Honeymoon Israel Foundation, Zachary Pellish… Jack Baum… Rob Schwartz… Elizabeth Gordon

Congressional Hearing Highlights the Plight of Americans Jailed in Iran

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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

Kafe Knesset for July 26

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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

Kafe Knesset for July 25

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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

Kafe Knesset for July 21

Friday, July 21, 2017

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

Kafe Knesset for July 20

Thursday, July 20, 2017

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

Kafe Knesset for July 19

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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