Daily Kickoff: Which Israel celebration will Trump attend? | JINSA visits Cairo | Saban sells Power Rangers | Dan Gilbert and the ‘Heter Iska’ issue

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‘NO DAYLIGHT’ — “Trump Reverses U.S. Policy: Israeli Nukes Not Up for Debate Until Mideast States Recognize Country’s Right to Exist” by Chaim Levinson: “The Trump administration has taken the position that Israel should not be required to discuss giving up nuclear weapons, which according to foreign sources it possesses, without recognition by all states in the Middle East of the country’s right to exist… Preparatory talks are currently being held in Geneva in advance of a conference in 2020 on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, a meeting that is held every five years… Last week, the United States submitted two position papers to the Geneva preparatory committee that fully adopt Israel’s stance.” [Haaretz]

DRIVING THE CONVO — “Will it be U.S. and Israel against the world over Iran? Only Trump is buying Netanyahu’s warning” by David Brennan: “Netanyahu’s warnings seem only to have struck a chord in the U.S., with the other signatories reiterating their support for the pact. Two camps seem to be forming. In one, the U.S.—with Israeli encouragement—appears to be stepping away from the deal. In the other, Iran and the other signatories are trying to save it.” [Newsweek]

— “We have to ask ourselves, ‘Who was the audience of [Monday’s] presentation?’” said Amos Yadlin, the former chief of military intelligence for the Israeli Defense Forces. “Was it the Iranians, to tell them Israel has penetrated their secrets? Maybe it was Iranian public opinion, or the opposition? Or was Trump himself the target, because the prime minister felt the Europeans had convinced him not to walk away?” [NYTimes]

“Netanyahu’s info on Iran nukes known to U.S. intelligence for years” by Andrea Mitchell and Ken Dilanian: “The information unveiled by Netanyahu with great fanfare on Monday has largely been known to American intelligence agencies for years… Other U.S. intelligence officials added that nothing in the documents… has changed the American intelligence judgment that Iran is living up to its agreement not to restart a nuclear weapons program… American intelligence officials… told NBC News that while the documents may contain new details, the story they tell — that Iran once had an unauthorized nuclear program — is an old one.” [NBCNews]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer on CNN’s OutFront: “The only agency that has seen the information is the U.S. intelligence agency, the CIA. As of last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the director of the CIA, and he said himself that this is new information. It was new to us. I don’t know if Senator [Bob] Corker or the other people who you showed on screen, if they had this information, it was certainly new to Israeli intelligence. It’s a massive amount of information… And there are many things that the prime minister didn’t show… The prime minister actually showed some new things for people who are really in the weeds on this stuff.” [Video]

Former Secretary of State John Kerry tweets“Every detail PM Netanyahu presented yesterday was every reason the world came together to apply years of sanctions and negotiate the Iran nuclear agreement – because the threat was real and had to be stopped. It’s working! That’s why Israeli security experts are speaking out… (shares J Street’s statement by 26 commanders) It’s worth remembering that the early 2000’s – when his evidence comes from – was the period where the world had no visibility into Iran’s program. More and more centrifuges were spinning each month and the world wasn’t united like it is now. There was no negotiation – and all of that changed with JCPOA. Blow up the deal and you’re back there tomorrow!”

Bret Stephens writes… “The Iran Deal Is a Lie: The deal’s defenders have dismissed the Israeli prime minister’s presentation as a bunch of old news… Yet it’s difficult to imagine that the I.A.E.A. can now square Iran’s 2015 declaration with what the Israelis have uncovered… As for Iran’s current compliance, of course it’s complying. The deal gave Iran the best of all worlds… But why believe this regime will be faithful to the deal at its end when it was faithless to it at its beginning?” [NYTimes

David Ignatius writes… “We know Iran’s nuclear secrets now. Let’s make the most of them: Trump’s choice on May 12 is clearer now: If he scuttles the deal, he risks isolating the United States, rather than Iran. If he instead uses Israel’s intelligence windfall to fuel a global pressure campaign, he may actually have a pathway for getting a better, longer-lasting and more enforceable agreement. Thanks to Israeli intelligence, Trump just got lucky on Iran. But will he be smart?” [WashPost

Eli Lake tweets“Mossad should create a website to publish the new Iranian intelligence trove. Call it WikiNukes.”

“Morocco cuts ties with Iran over Hezbollah arms transfer to the Polisario Front: “Morocco has cut its diplomatic ties with Iran, the kingdom’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita told reporters… The minister accused Iran and its ally Hezbollah of supporting the Polisario Front, a decades-old movement intent on ending Moroccan presence in Western Sahara. “Hezbollah sent military officials to Polisario and provided the front with…weapons and trained them on urban warfare,” Mr Bourita said.”[TheNational]

FOGGY BOTTOM — “Pompeo Vows ‘Swagger’ Will Return to State Department’s Work” by Jessica Donati: “At the top of the agenda in [Mike Pompeo’s] first week in office will be President Donald Trump’s decision on whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal by his self-imposed deadline of May 12… By making Saudi Arabia and Israel among the first destinations on his first official trip abroad, Mr. Pompeo underscored the deeper relationship Mr. Trump has tried to develop with the two countries. Mr. Trump also visited Saudi Arabia and Israel on his first official foreign trip and has sought closer ties with Riyadh as a bulwark against Iran.” [WSJWashPost

HAPPENING AT 11AM: President Trump attends the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony of Secretary of State Pompeo at the State Department. [CSPAN]

JERUSALEM EMBASSY — Invitations to the opening ceremony for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem have been sent out by Ambassador David Friedman. The event is expected to take place on Monday, May 14 at 4:00PM Israel time (9:00 am EDT), according to an invite obtained by Jewish Insider. Yesterday, President Trump was asked by a reporter if he’s planning to travel to Israel to attend the event. “I may. I may. I’m not sure,” Trump replied. Earlier in the day, Netanyahu told Fox News, “[We] would love to have him here. It’s his decision. He’s got an open invitation.”

— Amb. Dermer to CBN News: “Obviously, if President Trump came to Jerusalem for the opening of the embassy it would make the celebration all the greater. I think President Trump, if he decided to come, would see a tremendous outpouring of gratitude from the entire people of Israel.” [CBN]

— Worth noting: Amb. Dermer himself is hosting a large Israel Independence Day celebration in DC, an annual event that in previous years has featured speeches from a sitting Vice President and a White House Chief of Staff. Last year’s event featured then National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. If Trump does not fly to Israel, we’re told there’s a decent chance he’ll attend the Embassy’s event. The Israeli Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.

TALK OF THE REGION — Holocaust row: Abbas accused of anti-Semitism: “Remarks by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas about the Holocaust have been condemned as anti-Semitic by Israeli politicians and rights activists. Mr Abbas told a meeting in the West Bank the Nazi mass murder of European Jews was the result of their financial activities, not anti-Semitism…. Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive officer of the ADL, which campaigns to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people,” dismissed the Palestinian leader’s “ahistorical and pseudo-academic assertions.” [BBC] • U.S. Officials and Jewish Groups Denounce Abbas’ Speech, Accusing Him of anti-Semitism [Haaretz

Amb. David Friedman tweets“Abu Mazen has reached a new low in attributing the cause of massacres of Jewish people over the years to their “social behavior relating to interest and banks.” To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again.”

Amir Tibon tweets“Palestinians have a real opening to improve their standing with American Jews in light of Trump and of Bibi’s shift to the right, so of course, Abbas gets those Jews angry by spreading anti Semitic conspiracy theories.”

“EU calls Abbas Holocaust remarks ‘unacceptable'” by Alastair Macdonald: “The European Union’s foreign service condemned remarks on the Holocaust by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as “unacceptable”, echoing criticism on Wednesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… In strikingly blunt language from Brussels, the European External Action Service said in a statement: “The speech Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered on April 30th contained unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel’s legitimacy…” [Reuters]

“What Is Women’s March Leader Tamika Mallory Doing In Israel And The West Bank?” by Aiden Pink: “Tamika Mallory, the co-chair of the Women’s March who was harshly criticized for refusing to condemn the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, is traveling in Israel and the Palestinian territories as part of a delegation of left-wing activists organized by the Center for Constitutional Rights.” [Forward]

SPOTTED IN CAIRO — Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with a delegation of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA). [Pic] • “President Sisi expressed Egypt’s keenness to be in constant contact with all sects of the American society in order to enhance common understanding and intensify consultations on the diverse challenges facing the region,” according to a statement by the Egyptian government.

ON THE HILL — “Congress Seeks Showdown On Ending U.S. Aid to Palestinians” by Adam Kredo: “A group of 14 lawmakers formally petitioned Pompeo this week to “immediately suspend all aid payments to the Palestinian Authority” due to recent reports these funds continue to be used to pay convicted terrorists and their families… The lawmakers seek a public showdown with the Trump administration over the future of U.S. aid to the Palestinian government, which has publicly refused to comply with new U.S. laws mandating the terror payment program known as “pay to slay” be stopped.” [FreeBeacon]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — In a conversation released this morning, Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his new book Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor on The Atlantic Interview podcast with Jeffrey Goldberg:

Goldberg to Klein Halevi: You come out of the American Jewish Right, albeit 30 years ago or more, what don’t Right Wing Jewish American supporters of Israel understand about the conflict?

Klein Halevi: “The first thing they don’t understand is that there really is a Palestinian people, and I discovered the reality and the power of Palestinian identity by getting a rock thrown at my head and I was carrying an M16 and I looked at these kids and I said they are ready to do what I was ready to do as a teenage Jewish militant… The Right has not yet come to terms with the fact that Palestinian national identity and the willingness to sacrifice is a reflection of their own sensibility… The definition of peoplehood is that you are contrived. So that’s what the Israeli and Jewish Right haven’t internalized…”

Goldberg: Have they internalized lessons about Jewish moral law and what Jews because of Judaism owe the stranger or owe the weaker party? Or is that a more difficult one for you?

Klein Halevi: “I think that Jewish history speaks to our generation of Jews with two commanding voices, and these voices have analogues in biblical verses. The first is ‘Remember you were strangers in the Land of Egypt,’ and the lesson there is: don’t be brutal, don’t do to others what was done to you. The second voice is ‘Remember what the tribe of Amalek did to you when you were leaving Egypt and you were attacked without provocation,’ and the message there is: don’t be naive. Remember that you live in a world where genocide against the Jewish people is possible. Part of the tragedy of the Left-Right Jewish discourse today is that each of these camps has appropriated another one of these commanding lessons. So the Left has done a really great job in remembering that we shouldn’t be brutal. The Jewish Left has done a far less good job in not being naive… The fatal mistake on the Jewish Left is not to take Israel’s vulnerability seriously enough and not to take Palestinian rejectionism of Israel’s legitimacy and indigenous seriously enough.”[TheAtlantic]

THE DAILY KUSHNER — “The Jared “Cleanse” — The Endgame Approaches for the Kushners’ Looming Tower” by William Cohan: “In addition to trying to resolve their massive financial problem at 666 Fifth Avenue, the Kushners also appear to have started to position themselves for Javanka’s expected return to New York City from the White House probably “by the end of the year,” according to an experienced real-estate banker… This, of course, is more than just a little revisionist history and may have been designed to try to “cleanse” Jared, as this real-estate banker put it, of the taint of 666 Fifth when he again takes up the reins of Kushner Companies when he leaves Washington.”

“Another influential real-estate executive told me that the Kushners misjudged Jared’s ascent to the Trump White House, hoping it would help them recruit capital to their real-estate enterprise rather than deter organizations and countries fearful of the troubling optics. According to this person, the family business has turned into a “leprosy colony.” [VanityFair]

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM — “Kim Kardashian West has talked to White House about pardoning nonviolent drug offender” by Jake Horowitz and Kendall Ciesemier: “Kim Kardashian West and… Jared Kushner have spoken over the phone about a possible presidential pardon for Alice Marie Johnson, a 62-year-old great-grandmother serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense. The telephone calls… have taken place over the course of the past several months and have picked up in intensity over the last several days.” [Mic]

MUELLER WATCH — “The real reason Mueller hasn’t called Ivanka Trump” by Annie Karni: “That someone so close to the major events under scrutiny would not be interviewed is unusual, former prosecutors and Justice Department lawyers said. But [Robert] Mueller’s decision to steer clear of the first daughter — at least for now — is a signal of his “don’t poke the bear until you have to” strategy. “Mueller would know that trying to interview Ivanka Trump would be like lighting a match to the highly combustible Donald Trump,” said Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor… Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Abbe Lowell… said in a statement: “That Politico is now doing an article on why Ms. Trump has not done anything to merit an article is the definition of making up the news.” [Politico]

“‘The Department of Justice is not going to be extorted’: Rosenstein responds to impeachment threat” by Matt Zapotosky: “Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein took aim Tuesday at Republican lawmakers who have drafted articles of impeachment against him… “I think they should understand by now that the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted,” Rosenstein said. “We’re going to do what’s required by the rule of law, and any kind of threats that anybody makes are not going to affect the way we do our job.”

“Rosenstein also on Tuesday addressed a question that has long vexed members of the D.C. press corps: Should his last name be pronounced Rosen-steen or Rosen-stine? “So, there’s no right answer to that question,” Rosenstein said, to laughter. “My family, my father, pronounces it ‘stine.’ That’s how I pronounce it. But I actually have relatives who pronounce it ‘steen,’ so I’ll answer to either one.” [WashPost]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Bornstein claims Trump dictated the glowing health letter” by Alex Marquardt and Lawrence Crook: “He dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” [Dr. Harold] Bornstein told CNN on Tuesday. “I just made it up as I went along.” … He said Trump read out the language as Bornstein and his wife were driving across Central Park. “(Trump) dictated the letter and I would tell him what he couldn’t put in there,” he said. “They came to pick up their letter at 4 o’clock or something.” [CNN]

— “Trump’s doctor says Trump bodyguard ‘raided’ his office, took files” by Anna Schecter: “Bornstein told NBC News that he felt “raped, frightened and sad” when Keith Schiller and another “large man” came to his office to collect the president’s records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller… was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House. “They must have been here for 25 or 30 minutes. It created a lot of chaos,” Bornstein said, who described the incident as frightening.” [NBCNews]

2018 WATCH —  “Grayson says he’ll challenge Soto in Florida’s 9th” by Marc Caputo: “Former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson announced Tuesday morning that he’ll mount a primary challenge against his successor, Rep. Darren Michael Soto… The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which seldom weighs in on its party primaries, took the unusual step of not welcoming Grayson to the race.” [Politico]

Bluelight Strategies’ Aaron Keyak writes… “Don’t let Koch dollars work against Israel: Through his foundation, Charles Koch, who has vowed to spend millions of dollars to support Republicans in the upcoming elections, is arming isolationist college professors with money and a platform to push their shared foreign policy agenda… Many of the academics Koch supports are outspoken critics of the Jewish state, and their policies would give more power to Russia, hurt Israel and end America’s role as a world leader.” [JNS

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Is Said to Seek Sale of Apartments [Bloomberg] • Nobu Hospitality to Launch the Nobu Hotel and Restaurant in Tel Aviv with a vision crafted by Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman [PRNewswire] • Jeffrey Soffer closes deal to buy South Florida’s Mardi Gras Casino [FloridaPolitics] • Glencore wins injunction against Gertler following royalty claim [FinancialTimes] • Mark Zuckerberg Has a Message: Facebook Will Keep Building [NYTimes]

SPOTLIGHT — “Hasbro buys Power Rangers from Haim Saban” by Anna Nicolaou: “Hasbro has struck a deal to buy media brands including the Power Rangers for $522m, as the toymaker tries to boost sales after the fallout from the Toys R Us bankruptcy. The Rhode Island-based company is paying about $230m in cash and $270m in stock to Haim Saban, a media billionaire who created Power Rangers 25 years ago. Hasbro will also acquire other Saban brands such as My Pet Monster.” [FinancialTimesLATimes]

“The Philanthropist Of Film: How The Power Rangers Billionaire Has Given Back To Los Angeles” by Madeline Berg: “Haim Saban’s home has been Los Angeles for over three decades, but part of his heart is still in Israel, where he grew up. So for every dollar given in Los Angeles, he says he hopes to give a dollar away in Saban’s home country… In total, the Sabans have given $350 million to various initiatives around the world—mainly in Israel and Los Angeles. Born in Egypt to Jewish parents, Haim Saban immigrated to Israel as a child, his entire family living in a one room flat in Tel Aviv… “For me, it was about giving back to those I am close to…more than reaching out to the community. We didn’t have any money to give, so it was about the spirit of supporting, in our closest circle, those that need our support,” Saban says.” [Forbes

HEARD YESTERDAY AT MILKEN CONFERENCE — “The big comeback: Hedge fund managers at Milken predict industry rebound” by Lawrence Delevingne: “Ricky Sandler, another prominent hedge fund manager who leads $7 billion stock-focused Eminence Capital, said the opportunity to find alpha, or returns above market benchmarks, was as good as 15 or 20 years ago, a period known for double-digit investment gains. “The opportunity is there,” Sandler said.” [Reuters]

“Milken Party-Goers Courted for Cash in Fight for Congress” by Christopher Palmeri, Nabila Ahmed and John Gittelsohn: “[Mike Pence] was the star of a $10,000 per person fundraiser Sunday afternoon at the Malibu home of TCW Group Inc. Chairman Marc Stern. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a conference speaker, was also there… Attendees at a separate fireside chat at the Montage got a vice presidential briefing on trade, immigration, health care and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, said billionaire Tom Barrack, the Colony NorthStar Inc. chairman who hosted that event…”

“Democrats didn’t pass up the chance to tap donors either. City National Bank Chairman Russell Goldsmith hosted a fundraiser for two Democratic Senate candidates that was attended by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer… Former economic adviser Gary Cohn stopped by a party sponsored by the hedge fund WorldQuant LLC. Veterans Affairs ex-chief David Shulkin, who was scheduled to speak at the conference before the president let him go in March, was seen at a mixer sponsored by the public relations firm Prosek Partners.” [Bloomberg]

Correction: In yesterday’s Daily Kickoff we incorrectly noted that Frank Luntz interviewed Sen. Chuck Schumer at the Milken conference on Monday. The moderator was Richard Sandler, who also serves as Chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees.

TOP TALKER: “Some rabbis say it isn’t kosher to borrow from Quicken Loans — because it’s run by Jews” by Ben Sales: “Agudath Israel of America… issued a Jewish legal ruling last month prohibiting Jews from taking out loans from the Detroit-based [Quicken Loans] because it is majority-owned by Jews… Jewish law… forbids Jews from charging interest to other Jews… In the Middle Ages, rabbis devised a contract called a “heter iska,” or business permit, that technically transforms the loan into a co-investment… Agudath Israel says Jews can keep using Quicken Loans — that is, if they sign a heter iska.”

“On Monday, Quicken responded to a query saying it was open to the idea. “Over the next 30 days, Quicken Loans will assemble a committee to quickly and efficiently dive into the issue of ‘Heter Iska,’ and once and for all attempt to find a solution that the observant Jewish community, as well as our legal and capital markets team, finds acceptable. I am confident that this can and will be achieved,” said a statement attributed to Dan Gilbert, chairman of Rock Holdings, Quicken’s parent company.” [JTA]

TALK OF THE TOWN — “Rabbi Who Publicly Rebuked Trump at AIPAC Interrupts D.C. Council To Protest Failure To Censure Anti-Semitic Member” by Yair Rosenberg: “In March 2016, Shmuel Herzfeld, the modern Orthodox rabbi of Washington D.C. synagogue Ohev Sholom, grabbed headlines when he publicly interrupted Donald Trump’s speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference… Today, Herzfeld again donned his shawl to protest politicians for coddling hatred. But this time, his target was the Washington D.C. Council… who had refused to censure the anti-Semitic conduct of one of their own: Council member Trayon White.” [TabletJPost] • Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories roil DC city government [AP]

— “Bowser appointee resigns after organizing rally where a lawmaker was called a ‘fake Jew’” by Fenit Nirappil: “Joshua Lopez, whom Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) paid as a consultant in her 2014 campaign and appointed to the board of the public housing authority, faced scathing criticism over a “unity rally” he organized last week to defend D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8)… The event organized by Lopez sparked an uproar after a representative of the Nation of Islam called D.C. Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) a “fake Jew” for criticizing Farrakhan.”[WashPost]

TRANSITION — Wall Street Journal foreign affairs reporter Felicia Schwartz is moving to Tel Aviv to be the paper’s Israel and Palestinian territories correspondent. h/t Politico Playbook

DESSERT — “Is This Artichoke Kosher? Rome Defends a Classic Jewish Dish” by Jason Horowitz: “As women wearing artichoke body paint caressed artichoke sculptures shaped like an owl, a snowman and a cobra at this seaside town’s 68th annual Festival of the Artichoke, Ada Di Porto stood inside a tent, banging a peeled artichoke bud against a white plastic plate. “Look at this plate! Do you see anything? Any worms?” Ms. Di Porto, a retired teacher at a Roman-Jewish school, asked as she gave a lesson about the preparation, cleanliness and kosherness of the carciofo alla giudia, or Jewish-style artichoke, a dish that for centuries has been the symbol, specialty and cash crop of the 2,000-year-old Jewish community in Rome.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Former Lord Chief Justice and President of the Courts of England and Wales, Baron Harry Kenneth Woolf turns 85… Professor of international relations and Middle Eastern studies at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, Dr. Alon Ben-Meir turns 81… Author, publisher, president of four radio stations in the Pacific Northwest, Alan Merril Gottlieb turns 71… Former member of the Texas Senate (1993-2013), she was born in NYC to Holocaust survivor parents, Florence Shapiro turns 70… Former USAID contractor imprisoned by Cuba from 2009 to 2014, Alan Gross turns 69… Analyst at MSNBC, he was previously Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy (2014-2016) and Managing Editor of Time Magazine (2006-2013), Richard Allen “Rick” Stengel turns 63… Member of the New York State Assembly, previously a member of the NYC Council and former Deputy Superintendent of the NYS Banking Commission, David Weprin turns 62… Billionaire businesswoman, entrepreneur, civic leader, she served as US Secretary of Commerce (2013-2017), now chairman of the private investment firm she founded PSP Capital Partners, Penny Sue Pritzker turns 59…

Partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, she is active on many non-profit boards including Penn Law School and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Jodi J. Schwartz turns 58… Director of the Chabad Center in Bratislava, Slovakia, Rabbi Baruch Myers turns 54… Founder and CEO of Shutterstock, Jonathan E. Oringer turns 44… Director of communications at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Stephen Schatz turns 38… DC-based CBS News correspondent, once a K-12 student at CESJDS in Rockville, Julianna Goldman turns 37… VP of Campaigns at the Center for American Progress, she was previously the executive director of the Young Democrats of America during the 2012 election cycle, Emily Tisch Sussmanturns 36… Senior communications specialist at the NYC office of HIAS, previously a senior strategist at West End Strategy Team, Gabe Cahn turns 28… Director of development at Cornell Hillel, Susanna Rachel Fried turns 28…




Daily Kickoff: Debating what’s new after Israel’s daring raid of Tehran warehouse | WhatsApp founder Jan Koum stepping down | BDay: Abe Foxman

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TALK OF THE VALLEY — “WhatsApp founder plans to leave after broad clashes with parent Facebook” by Elizabeth Dwoskin: “The billionaire chief executive of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, is planning to leave the company after clashing with its parent, Facebook, over the popular messaging service’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption… Koum, who sold WhatsApp to Facebook for more than $19 billion in 2014, also plans to step down from Facebook’s board of directors…”

“Koum’s exit is highly unusual at Facebook. The inner circle of management, as well as the board of directors, has been fiercely loyal during the scandals that have rocked the social media giant. In addition, Koum is the sole founder of a company acquired by Facebook to serve on its board. Only two other Facebook executives, Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, are members of the board.” [WashPost]

Koum writes on Facebook“It’s been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it’s been an amazing journey with some of the best people. But it is time for me to move on… I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it’ll continue to do amazing things. I’m taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee. And I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible.”

— Mark Zuckerberg replied to Koum’s post: “Jan: I will miss working so closely with you. I’m grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world, and for everything you’ve taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”

DRIVING THE CONVO — Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled evidence gained from 100,000 original Iranian documents — seized by Israeli intelligence — that he said proved Iran was lying about its nuclear program. In a TED Talk-style presentation, Netanyahu claimed Iran has “a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons” despite its claims it has no ambitions to pursue nuclear weapons development. [Video

In an interview with President Trump’s favorite show Fox and Friends this morning, Netanyahu said he presented the information to Trump during their last meeting in March. Netanyahu added that Iran complying with a terrible deal does not justify the U.S. staying in the JCPOA.

HEARD THIS MORNING — CNN’s Chris Cuomo asks Netanyahu in a satellite interview on New Day: Why give this speech in English, and do it in such a big way? Netanyahu: “Well, because I wanted the world to hear it – all of it – and there are only a few million Hebrew speakers and a there are a few billion English speakers.” Netanyahu added, “No one had better intelligence on Iran than Israel.” [Video

Susan Page, Washington Bureau chief of USA TODAY, on CNN’s The Lead: “I think Prime Minister Netanyahu had an audience of one in mind when he gave that presentation and that audience was Donald Trump and he listened to it. I don’t know if he’s assured that the president is going to pull out of the Iran deal.”

Gloria Borger on CNN Newsroom: “I think there’s no way that Netanyahu would have done this in English first, which means he was speaking not only to Trump, but to the American people.”

President Trump confirmed he knew the details Netanyahu shared with the public and that he watched part of the speech, but he refused to rule out a possible diplomatic solution with Iran. Later in the evening, the White House issued a statement saying Netanyahu’s information is “new and compelling.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also told reporters on his flight back to the United States that “these documents are real, they are authentic” and that he discussed the material in his meeting with Netanyahu on Sunday.

— “Iran Gains, Then Loses, Nuclear Weapons Program Thanks to White House ‘Clerical Error’” by Margaret Hartmann: “These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people,” said the statement from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders… Without offering any apology… the White House corrected the line to the past tense when the statement was posted online: “Iran had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people.” When asked for clarification, the White House said it was a “clerical error.” [NYMag

Netanyahu’s presentation was “nothing new,” Senator Bob Corker, the Republican head of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. However, according to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, Netanyahu “did not present a smoking gun, he presented a smoking bomb” and “exposed the fangs of the Iranian wolf.”

BEHIND THE SCENES — by David Halbfinger, David Sanger and Ronen Bergman: “Netanyahu said that Iran had intensified its efforts to hide evidence of its weapons program after signing the nuclear deal in 2015, and in 2017 moved its records to a secret location in Tehran that looked like “a dilapidated warehouse.”
“Few Iranians knew where it was, very few,” Mr. Netanyahu said proudly. “And also a few Israelis.”

“A senior Israeli official… said that Israel’s Mossad intelligence service discovered the warehouse in February 2016, and had the building under surveillance since then. Mossad operatives broke into the building one night last January, removed the original documents and smuggled them back to Israel the same night, the official said. President Trump was informed of the operation by the Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, on a visit to Washington in January.” [NYTimes]

James Stavridis, a retired United States Navy admiral and former NATO Supreme Commander, on Morning Joe: “The first reaction on this one is: damn, the Mossad is good. This would be like us, the CIA, getting into the Kremlin and taking files out.”

HOW IT PLAYED — Israel Said That Iran Lied About Wanting A Nuke And So The Iran Deal Is Garbage [Buzzfeed• Obama team: ‘Nothing new’ in Netanyahu speech [WashExaminer] • Eli Lake: Israel Exposes Iran’s Nuclear Lies, and the Limits of U.S. Intelligence [BloombergView] • Anshel Pfeffer: What the Israeli prime minister presented wasn’t a smoking gun but a photograph of a smoking gun taken years ago [Haaretz] • U.S. Jewish groups hail Israeli intel after Iran nuke revelations [JPost]

REACTION — Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro tells us… “The information in the documents Netanyahu revealed was all known and built into the assumptions of the deal, as was the expectation that Iran would lie about it. The deal was designed to keep them at least a year from that capability, and ensure that they could not achieve it for over a decade. It may be the first time some of it was presented to the public. And so that, combined with Netanyahu’s skill in presenting it, could have some effect on public opinion. But I suspect most deal supporters and opponents remain where they were. The new public quality is useful to Trump when he announces he is leaving the deal by May 12. This presentation, coordinated with his team, will be cited as evidence to justify it.”

FDD’s Mark Dubowitz emails us… “Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed that the Iranian regime lied about its nuclear weapons program. It also retained a vast atomic archive with detailed instructions on how to restart its nuclear weapons program at a time of its choosing. That is new, alarming and inconsistent with its JCPOA pledge not to develop nuclear weapons and only to have a program for peaceful purposes. It is now clear that a fix to the deal must include a US-European pledge to force the regime to do what it didn’t do in 2015: Provide full access to its nuclear scientists, sites and documentation so that the IAEA can use this as a baseline to fully verify Iran’s commitment to the deal.”

Amb. Dennis Ross: “It is not new to say that the Iranians lied. It is not new to say that the Iranians were not required to come clean on their whole nuclear program — something that was a major flaw in the deal, partly because it allowed them to claim they had never worked on a nuclear weapon when we know that they had.” [WashPost]

Hudson Institute’s Mike Doran: “If Netanyahu didn’t tell us anything new today, then why did John Kerry, back in 2015, offer this ludicrous testimony to Congress about the fatwa and how the Supreme Leader was opposed to building a bomb?” [Twitter]

Aaron David Miller on NPR’s Morning Edition: “Netanyahu is on the verge of a major political victory – getting the U.S. to walk away from [the nuclear] deal, and I think Mr. Netanyahu likes to be President Trump’s coach, he likes to be the cheerleader, and he is also – as the prime minister of Israel – a major player in this looming game with respect to an impending confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria.” [NPR]

Sen. Brian Schatz‏ tweets“The reason they want to undo the Iran Deal is Barack Obama.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon writes… “Israel and Its Neighbors Need an Iran Deal Overhaul: After the intelligence revealed Monday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one thing is clearer than ever: The Iranian regime has lied repeatedly about its nuclear program and cannot be trusted. No matter what happens on May 12, May 13 must not see a return to the status quo ante July 2015.” [WSJ]

“Israel’s Netanyahu Can Now Declare War on Iran With Single Vote” by Tom O’Connor: “The Israeli parliament voted in favor Monday of granting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the ability to declare war with the sole approval of his defense chief under certain conditions.” [Newsweek]

“Mattis plays down odds of Syria pullout before peace agreement” by Phil Stewart: “The United States and its allies would not want to pull troops out of Syria before diplomats win the peace, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday, one of the strongest signs yet a full U.S. withdrawal was unlikely anytime soon.” [Reuters]

‘ULTIMATE DEAL’: “Israeli official says Israel should welcome Trump peace plan” by Aron Heller: “Michael Oren, the deputy minister for diplomacy in the prime minister’s office, said the U.S. president’s much-anticipated plan will undoubtedly require Israeli concessions, but that Israel would be foolish to reject it. “I have never known a team to be more favorably disposed to us,” Oren… told foreign journalists. “My own feeling is to strongly recommend that the Israeli government accept this plan with an open mind, if not open arms, that we engage with it energetically and that we certainly don’t reject it out of hand… In the world of business negotiations, the first offer on the table is the best offer, the second offer is a less good offer, the third offer is less than that.” [AP]

Abbas says Jews’ behavior, not anti-Semitism, caused the Holocaust: “In a long and rambling at speech in Ramallah at a rare session of the Palestinian National Council, [Mahmoud] Abbas touched on a number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during what he called a “history lesson” … Pointing to Arthur Kessler’s book “The Thirteenth Tribe,” which asserts Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Khazars, Abbas said European Jews therefore had “no historical ties” to the Land of Israel. He went on to claim that the Holocaust was not the result of anti-Semitism but rather of the Jews “social behavior,  [charging] interest, and financial matters.”” [ToI]

MUELLER WATCH — “Mueller Has Dozens of Inquiries for Trump in Broad Quest on Russia Ties and Obstruction” by Michael Schmidt: “Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump… They also touch on the president’s businesses; any discussions with his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, about a Moscow real estate deal; whether the president knew of any attempt by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel to Russia during the transition…” [NYTimes

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Michael Cohen Is Ready to Soldier On” by Emily Jane Fox: “Cohen… had not initially been watching as Trump gave his… phone interview to Fox, in which he contended that Cohen performed “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his overall legal work. But he was surprised by the comments, which he listened to as the fire alarm in the Regency Hotel… Cohen… was baffled about why Trump even made the remarks in the first place… “But,” one person noted, “knowing him, the fight goes on.” … Another person close to Cohen called Trump’s comments a “stupid” and “unnecessary” blow to his longtime attorney… But, this person added, he is entering a prize fight, and these remarks were not quite a body blow. “I think he is a little bit numb at this point,” this person said.“ [VanityFair] • Trump campaign has paid portions of Michael Cohen’s legal fees: Sources [ABCNews]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Goldman Sachs president David Solomon says there is no timeline for CEO succession at firm [CNBC] • Kushner Companies received financing from Internet bank that was recently under federal investigation[Newsweek] • Who Is John Galt? Ken Moelis Has 1,000,000,000 Answers[Bloomberg] • Sapir Corp Ltd. Acquires Majority Interest In NoMo-SoHo Hotel, NYC [PRNewswire] • Canyon’s Josh Friedman Laments GSO’s ‘Unseemly’ Hovnanian Swaps Deal [Bloomberg] • How Stewart Butterfield’s Slack Got Ahead in Diversity [TheAtlantic

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Toronto vape company Green Tank poised to cash in on cannabis legalization” by David Dias: “Dustin and Corey Koffler, brothers and co-founders of Green Tank Technologies Corp., have been growing their business at breakneck speed over the past year – and the pace is unlikely to slow down as cannabis legalization approaches. Entrepreneurship runs in the Koffler family. The brothers’ grandfather was Murray Koffler, who, in the 1940s, founded the pharmacy chain that came to be known as Shoppers Drug Mart.” [Globe&Mail]

TRANSITIONS — “Billionaire Dan Loeb stepping down as Success Academy chair” by Selim Algar: “Billionaire Dan Loeb is stepping down as chairman of Success Academy, the city’s largest charter-school operator — and will be replaced by… venture-capitalist board member Steven Galbraith on July 1… It is unclear why Loeb — who just recently gave Success $15 million — is stepping down as chairman now.” [NYPost]

Arthur Stark, Chairman of the Board of Friends of the IDF, was elected yesterday to serve as Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations effective June 1, 2018.  

LIFE LESSONS — “Philosophy Prepared Me for a Career in Finance and Government” by former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin: “I’m asked from time to time which undergraduate courses best prepared me for working at Goldman Sachs and in the government. People assume I’ll list courses in economics or finance, but I always answer that the key was Professor Demos’s philosophy course… I concluded that you can’t prove anything in absolute terms, from which I extrapolated that all significant decisions are about probabilities. Internalizing the core tenet of Professor Demos’s teaching — weighing risk and analyzing odds and trade-offs — was central to everything I did professionally in the decades ahead in finance and government.” [NYTimes]

HEARD YESTERDAY AT MILKEN CONFERENCE — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a conversation with Frank Luntz: “America has always had dark times, and this is one of them. My goal if I become Majority Leader is to work in a bipartisan way on things we can agree on — infrastructure, immigration — and really get some major things done.” Schumer noted the bipartisan relationships he’s made in the Senate gym, striking up conversations with GOP senators during early morning workouts, but said… “bipartisanship in the abstract, not getting anything done, isn’t going to work.”[AP]

Tony Blair on Netanyahu’s Iran files presentation in interview with Bloomberg TV: “Obviously, we are going to have to examine very carefully what the documents say that has been disclosed by the Israeli government, but plainly on the face of it, it’s very serious. These things have to be investigated whether they constitute breaches of the agreement. But I think more than that, what it does is, it will increase pressure on those who want to keep the agreement to make sure that it is adjusted in order to take in account other things like the ballistic missile program and so on. So I think it’s a further ratcheting up the pressure before the president comes to make his decision.”[Video]

“Antitrust Chief Says AT&T Faces Same Time Warner Deal Condition” by Nabila Ahmed: “AT&T Inc.’s planned takeover of Time Warner Inc. might be approved by U.S. regulators if Turner Broadcasting assets are severed from the merged company, the Justice Department’s top antitrust enforcer… Makan Delrahim said Monday at the conference… The Turner Broadcasting assets include CNN, one of President Donald Trump’s favorite Twitter targets.” [Bloomberg] • Future of AT&T-Time Warner Deal Is in Judge’s Hands [NYT]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Axios’ Mike Allen asked former FBI Director James Comey at a book-signing event at George Washington University: What’s the biggest mistake you made as FBI director that didn’t involve a Clinton or a Trump? Comey: “I carelessly created a problem with the government of Poland in a speech I was giving about the Holocaust, and it was a distraction and just a boneheaded play by me.” [Video

TALK OF THE NATION — “Starbucks drops Jewish group from bias training” by Andrew Hanna: “The ADL, whose mission is to fight anti-Semitism, will play an advisory role in the company’s long-term efforts to combat discrimination, Jaime Riley, a Starbucks spokeswoman, told POLITICO Monday. But the group won’t help develop the curriculum for Starbucks’ May 29 mandatory anti-bias training, as originally planned… “When Starbucks asked for assistance, we agreed to help,” ADL spokesman Todd Gutnick told POLITICO. “As to whether Starbucks may or may not now want to utilize our expertise, you should ask them.” … Starbucks’ Riley denied the company cut the organization loose because of political pressure, saying in an email, “We are architecting a multi-phase approach to addressing bias.”” [Politico]

— Liel Leibovitz writes… “Considering the fact that Jews are, by far, the most prominent targets of hate crimes in America these days, giving in to anti-Semites and removing the ADL from a diversity training initiative of a major American corporation is particularly heinous.” [Tablet

HOLLYWOOD — “Joel Grey is directing ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in Yiddish” by Cindy Adams: 
“Joel Grey is directing. So what’s he know from Yiddish? “Nothing. I was bar mitzvah’d in Cleveland. An Orthodox temple. Saturdays my dad went to shul. But I don’t know the language. It wasn’t spoken in my house. The show’s been translated. Hal Prince, who produced ‘Fiddler’ in ’64, called to suggest me. I thought, interesting. I can’t know each word, but I can be brilliant. Look, I’m a saver. I know the play well. I’ve kept its original program. Love it. Know it by heart. I followed the Yiddish reading with English words in front of me so I know what’s intended. We did casting for three weeks. Gentiles who did other shows elsewhere spoke it perfectly.”” [PageSix

“Actually, Seth Rogen Doesn’t Think North Korea Was Behind the Sony Hack” by Yohana Desta: “Though it does seem that North Korea hacked into Sony’s system in order to view The Interview long before the film’s actual release, the nation may not have been behind the leaked e-mails—because it wasn’t until closer to the film’s premiere that hacked messages began to surface. “Then, months later, when the movie itself finally came out, all this hacking s**t happened,” Rogen said. “This was months after North Korea had probably already seen the movie. Why would they wait [to leak the e-mails]? And they never did anything like that before and haven’t done anything like it since. So things just never quite added up.” [VanityFair]

LongRead: “They Saved Hitler’s Skull. Or Did They?” by Jean-Marie Pottier: “In 2009, Nicholas F. Bellantoni, an archeologist at the University of Connecticut, claimed he had analyzed a sample of the skull in a documentary broadcast on the History Channel, bluntly titled Hitler’s Escape, and concluded that it belonged to a 40-year-old-woman—but probably not Eva Braun, who poisoned herself. His findings gave another impulse to the Hitler-did-not-die-in-the-bunker cottage industry, exemplified by Jerome R. Corsi, the far-right American writer who, in addition to peddling theories about Barack Obama’s birthplace, is the author of Hunting Hitler: New Scientific Evidence That Hitler Escaped Nazi Germany…. The Russian State Archive had then claimed, and still claims, that Bellantoni never got access to its vaults. Both he and that History Channel say he did. Russia’s wariness about letting the French team examine the skull may have been caused by fear they would come to the same conclusion as Bellantoni…” [Slate]

SPORTS BLINK — “Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldinho opens academy in Israel” by Marcus M. Gilban: “Ronaldinho, who spent last week in the Jewish state, announced Thursday the establishment of the Ronaldinho Soccer Academy for children aged 6 to 16. The goal is to combine the passion and fun of Brazilian soccer with a strong teaching methodology and friendship values. The school will launch in the summer as a camp for some 100 youths before opening in September.” [JTA

BIRTHDAYS: National Director Emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, head of the Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Abraham Foxman turns 78… Member of the New York City Council (1974-1983) and Commissioner of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (1983-1990 and a second term from 1994-2000), Henry Sternturns 83… Progressive political activist, pacifist, literary and political journalist, Larry Bensky turns 81… Assistant professor of Bible and Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University and editor of Tradition, an Orthodox theological journal, Rabbi Shalom Carmy turns 69… Attorney specializing in redistricting, voting rights and census law and director of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, Jeffrey M. Wice turns 66… Member of the House of Representatives for Colorado’s 7th congressional district since 2007, Edwin George “Ed” Perlmutter turns 65… Political reporter and columnist for The Richmond Times-Dispatch, he has covered Virginia elections and the state Capitol for 30 years, Jeff E. Schapiro turns 63…

Israeli entrepreneur and software engineer, founder and CEO of Conduit, an online platform for app publishers with 260 million users, Ronen Shilo turns 60… Real estate entrepreneur, born in Israel, has lived in Southern California since 1986, a co-founder of the Israeli American Leadership Council (IAC), Eli Tene turns 55… Professor of computer science and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, David R. Karger turns 51… Israeli judoka, she was the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal when she won Silver at Barcelona (1992), she now is a manager of the Israeli operations for Viacom (and its Nickelodeon subsidiary), Yael Arad turns 51… Member of the Washington State Senate where he currently serves as the Senate Democratic Whip, co-owner of minor league baseball’s Spokane Indians, Andrew Swire “Andy” Billig turns 50… Award-winning broadcast journalist for more than 30 years including GM of CBS Radio News, now SVP of communications at University of Maryland University College, Michael Freedman… DC-based political reporter for The Guardian US, previously a reporter for the Daily Beast, Ben Jacobs… Deborah Chin




Daily Kickoff: Netanyahu to deliver ‘big speech’ on Iran today | When Qatar paid Iran’s Soleimani a $50M ransom | Milken Scene | Bob Dylan’s whiskey

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DRIVING THE DAY — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to deliver a primetime address at 1PM EDT to issue a statement on a “significant development regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office. Netanyahu will also reportedly “present new intel evidence about Iran’s plots to attack Israel and its wide deployment in Syria.”

President Trump spoke on the phone with Netanyahu on Saturday. “The two leaders discussed the continuing threats and challenges facing the Middle East region, especially the problems posed by the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities,” according to a White House readout. The White House did not provide further details of the phone call.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. Much of the conversation centered on Iran, Pompeo said following the meeting. “We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats to Israel and the region and Iran’s ambition to dominate the Middle East remains. The United States is with Israel in this fight.”

— “Syria Missile Strikes Reportedly Kill at Least 16” by Ben Hubbard: “Missile strikes in Syria hit military bases used by Iran and its proxy militias fighting in the civil war there, killing at least 16 people… There was no claim of responsibility for the strikes, but suspicion fell on Israel, which has repeatedly bombed what are believed to be Iranian convoys in Syria transporting weapons to its regional allies… The Israeli military… declined to comment on whether it had carried out the strikes on Sunday.” [NYTimes]

“Pompeo and Palestinians Have ‘Nothing to Discuss’ Amid Gaza Crisis” by Gardiner Harris and Isabel Kershner: “No one at the State Department called Palestinian leaders to ask for a get-together with Mr. Pompeo, according to Palestinian officials. And that may be because the Americans knew the answer they would have gotten: No… “No meeting in Ramallah on his first visit sets an ominous tone about prospects for any progress, or even dialogue, with the Palestinians,” said Daniel B. Shapiro.” [NYTimes]

“Pompeo says Israel, Palestinian peace still a US priority” by Matt Lee: “He said the United States is open to a two-state solution to the conflict if both parties agree, calling it a “likely outcome.” But he would not agree with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi’s characterization of the conflict as “the main cause of instability” in the region. “The parties will ultimately make the decision as to what the correct resolution is,” Pompeo told reporters at a joint news conference with Safadi. “We are certainly open to a two-party solution as a likely outcome.” [ABCNews

VIEW FROM RIYADH — “Saudi Crown Prince: Palestinians should take what the U.S. offers” by Barak Ravid: “In a closed-door meeting with heads of Jewish organizations in New York on March 27th, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) gave harsh criticism of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), according to an Israeli foreign ministry cable sent by a diplomat from the Israeli consulate in New York… The Saudi Crown Prince told the Jewish leaders: “In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given. It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.”

“A source who was briefed on the meeting told me the attendees were stunned when they heard the Saudi Crown Prince comments on the Palestinian issue. “People literally fell off their chairs,” the source said.” [Axios]

— “Saudi court starts trial of two Arabs accused of spying for Mossad”  by Marwa Rashad: “A Saudi Arabian court began the trial of two Jordanians accused of spying against the kingdom for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency…” [Reuters]

Jordan, Israel, Palestinians in rare Japan-hosted meeting: “The Japanese foreign minister has presided over a rare meeting of Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian officials to push ahead with an agro-industrial park intended to enhance cross-border trade and cooperation.” [AP]

“Pompeo swaps no-profile espionage for overt diplomacy” by Matt Lee: “I haven’t been to my office yet,” Pompeo quipped on Sunday after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on only his third full day on the job.” [AP]

Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky write… “As Pompeo’s star rises in Trumpland, Haley and Kushner risk getting eclipsed: [Mike] Pompeo’s star will eclipse that of Haley — who recently angered Trump, and not for the first time, with a statement about new sanctions against Russia — and she will likely assume a lower public profile in deference to Pompeo… Kushner’s wings have been clipped by the Mueller investigation; he’s keeping his head down and out of the line of fire. He can claim no foreign policy successes; Middle East peace diplomacy, which he owned lock, stock and barrel, is going nowhere. Pompeo knows it and seems determined to wrestle back foreign policy authority from the White House. The odds are in his favor.” [CNN]

IRAN DEAL — After visiting Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Pompeo accusedIran of “behaving worse” since signing the 2015 nuclear deal, asserting that if the U.S. fails to reach a new deal with the Europeans, Trump will withdraw from the deal.” Talking to reporters en route to Israel, Pompeo brushed asideconcerns that a decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal could impact negotiations with North Korea. At a campaign-style rally in Michigan on Saturday, Trump critiqued the previous administration ahead of his highly-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “Strength will keep us out of nuclear war,” he said. “I’m not gonna be a John Kerry who makes a horrible Iran deal.”

National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Fox News Sunday:“Trump has made no decision on the nuclear deal, whether to stay in or get out.” [Video

“Squeeze Iran and It Will Cave Like North Korea, Top Israeli Minister Says” by Ethan Bronner: “If North Korea abandons its nuclear weapons, credit belongs to President Donald Trump for his aggressive rhetoric and increased sanctions — and a similar policy would defang Iran… Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said in an interview… Katz… was critical of French President Emmanuel Macron for his attempt last week to persuade Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. “Macron made a big mistake. He should have gone to Iran to persuade Iran to change, not to Trump,” he said.” [BloombergReuters]

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) on Fox News Sunday: “If President Trump can successfully lead an effort with our European allies to rein in or to end their ballistic missile program, to change the outcome of the current Iranian deal so there isn’t a sunset clause — I think these will be positive things that I would support.” [Video]

Peter Beinart writes… “Trump May Already Be Violating the Iran Deal: Section 22 of the deal specifically obliges the United States, subject to some restrictions, to “allow for the sale of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran.” … Erich Ferrari, a lawyer in Washington who works on sanctions issues, told me there’s “definitely been a shift. Certain transactions that we’ve seen licensed in the past under the Obama administration, are now being denied.” … The Trump administration has never fully complied with the nuclear deal, and likely never will. The real question isn’t whether Trump violates it, but how.” [TheAtlantic]

“Hacked messages show Qatar appearing to pay hundreds of millions to free hostages” by Joby Warrick: “The conversations and text messages obtained by The Post show senior Qatari diplomats appearing to sign off on a series of side payments ranging from $5 million to $50 million to Iranian and Iraqi officials and paramilitary leaders, with $25 million earmarked for a Kata’ib Hezbollah boss and $50 million set aside for “Qassem,” an apparent reference to Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and a key participant in the hostage deal.”[WashPost]

REPORT — Trump could let Pollard go to Israel in honor of embassy launch: “Donald Trump seems increasingly likely to attend the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem next month, and is reportedly thinking of allowing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard to come to Israel at the same time. The president… is being pressured to go to Israel for the ceremony by supporters and donors, Hadashot TV news reported.” [ToI]

“Trump ‘May’ Go to Opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem” by Felicia Schwartz: “I may go,” Trump said at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday… Mr. Trump revealed new details about his deliberations on the decision to construct a temporary facility, saying he almost signed off on a $1 billion plan. “I had my name half-signed, then I noticed the figure. I never got to the word ‘Trump,’” he said… Mr. Trump said he then called David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, who told him he could relocate the embassy for $150,000… In the end, the U.S. spent about $400,000 to retrofit a complex in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, U.S. officials said. “It will be somewhat temporary, but it could be for many years,” Mr. Trump said.” [WSJWashPost

HEARD YESTERDAY AT THE JPOST CONFERENCE IN NYC — Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) on Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem: “Every country determines its own capital – what’s the big news here? I don’t see this as a major decision by the president of the U.S. (the audience booed this line). The manner in which the president handled it, in my view, was a missed opportunity. But Israel’s capital is Jerusalem, and we’ve all recognized that and will continue to recognize that.”

— “Reporter’s Notebook: Effusive celebration of Israel in NY” by Lahav Harkov: “When I interviewed Senator Ben Cardin – the senior US Senator from Maryland, the former ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a Democrat – you could get whiplash from the crowd, cheering one minute and jeering the next. Few could doubt Cardin’s pro-Israel bona fides in his decades of public service, but when he mentioned that he spoke at the J Street Conference, the crowd seemed to do just that, and began to jeer. And they booed again when Cardin gave Congress credit for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital 23 years ago, as opposed to US President Donald Trump.” [JPost]

HIGHLIGHTS — Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Trump’s Jerusalem move: “It should have happened many years ago… However, before we get overjoyed, let’s not forget that in Trump’s announcement he refers to the West side of Jerusalem, and he also said that the final borders will be determined in negotiations, which means that he does not necessarily accept that all Arab neighborhoods ought to be part of Jerusalem. We rather have a Jewish Jerusalem, and I hope it will be recognized by the entire international community soon.”

Olmert on Trump’s peace plan: “From past experience, we know that America can’t impose on any of the sides to do what they don’t want to do. It depends what the plan is. But for the time being, if the president will sponsor a thoughtful and forthcoming peace initiative, I think it will be a positive step forward… If there is peace between us and the Palestinians, then overnight there will be peace between Israel and 10 Arab Muslim countries and Israel will become the capital of the Middle East and all the money coming to the region will pass through Tel Aviv.”

Former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi: “I think Trump will nix the deal. I think nixing the deal is a good idea. It’s time the world – and I am glad that the Trump Administration understands the real nature of Iran… The real issue is whether the Iranian will decide to go for the [nuclear] bomb.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I want to applaud President Trump for understanding this [Iran] deal sucks. I hope we get out unless we make it better because its a lousy deal.”

Ron Lauder: “In many ways, the World Jewish Congress serves as Israel’s foreign ministry. Which is a good thing, because Israel is probably the only country in the world right now that doesn’t have its own foreign minister… Imagine if Israel bought one less F-16 plane, and used that money on hasbara. What a difference that would make.”

— Lauder on Trump: “With the most pro-Israel president in American history, Donald J. Trump, I believe that peace is possible and within reach. And we all thank President Trump for his historic courage in moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.” [Video

Anthony Scaramucci, defending Trump over his Charlottesville ‘both sides’ comments: “If you think about what the president is doing for the State of Israel and the Jewish community in general, he’s the least anti-Semitic person that I know… There are mezuzahs in the West Wing – it’s not just Jared’s office… Trump’s comments [on the Charlottesville protests], he probably meant to say that there are ‘bad people’ on both sides, and then he said something like there are quite a few fine people on both sides, and that got him into a lot of hot water… I think he gaffed in Charlottesville.” [Video]

— The Mooch: Trump “thinks he can beat Netanyahu in an election for prime minister. I know he believes that.” Added that Trump told him in a phone call in November, ‘You tell Bibi that I am coming to Israel, I’m going to beat him to be prime minister. I am very popular over there, Anthony.’

“Roseanne Barr Talks Donald Trump, Says She Wants to Run for Prime Minister of Israel” by Kathy Campbell: “Barr, who has been to Israel three times, told interviewer Dana Weiss, “I want to move to Israel and run for prime minister, I do. In 2012, I said I was gonna run for president of the United States and prime minister of Israel, a twofer. I do have that fantasy. If God calls me, I’ll go, of course.” “I still have this fantasy of being an old Jewish lady living in the Jewish homeland, so someday I will do it,” added the star… “I want to buy a farm there, maybe bring my family.”” [USMagazine

Roseanne on Natalie Portman: “I asked a lot of Israeli friends what they thought, and they said, ‘Oh I wish she would have said it in Israel.’ Because Israel is a country where dissent is allowed, and to go out of your country and say something like that, it’s not the bravest way of doing it. Also, I think it plays into the hands of the BDS movement. You know, they are thanking her today. But, whatever, we have to figure out a way to talk to each other and stand together… We have to be able to talk to the young people in America because they’re way off, they’re way out there. We have to figure out a way to reach them instead of turning them off… I would make her a lovely meal, and then I would talk to her about Jewish history and Torah because I think those are the things that bring people back and wake people up.” [VideoJPost]

NYTIMES AD DEPT: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network ran a full-page ad in the New York Times on Saturday calling Portman a “hypocrite” for criticizing Israel. Boteach emails… “Our full-page NYT ad holding Natalie Portman to account for her false charge of Israeli atrocities generated a massive response, both pro and con. Those who agree with her excoriated us for pointing out her hypocrisy. But those who understand that Israel, a righteous democracy, has a moral obligation to defend innocent life thanked us in untold number for our bold defense of the Jewish state.”

“Blasted limbs, broken dreams: Israeli gunfire is taking a severe toll on the lower limbs of Palestinian protesters” by Erin Cunningham and Hazem Balousha: “For some youths like [Muhammad al-] Ajouri, the weekly protests were a welcome distraction, an escape from daily life in the Gaza Strip, where jobs and hope are both rare. The soft-spoken 17-year-old said he was injured at a March 30 protest after he had turned to leave. The bullet tore through his right leg, which was subsequently amputated above the knee. He still smiles, his eyes crinkling, when he recalls the medals he’d won for the 400-meter dash. “I’m fast, and I love running,” he said from his bed in a sparse room in Jabalya’s refugee camp, as friends and family held vigil. “My hope was to travel to the West Bank and to compete in international games.” [WashPost

HAPPENING TODAY — The Charles Bronfman Prize is expected to hold its annual award ceremony in New York, honoring David Lubell, founder of Welcoming America, for helping immigrants coming into the U.S. feel welcomed in 190 communities across the nation. The Charles Bronfman Prize is an annual award of $100,000 presented to humanitarians under 50 who have significantly improved the world. The prize was created by Charles Bronfman’s children as a surprise for his 70th birthday back in 2004.

Bronfman, co-founder of Taglit-Birthright Israel, tells JI’s JacobKornbluh… “Immigrants have made this country great. If we are an outreaching society, we must welcome those who come to our shores. I know that my own grandparents came to Canada in the 1890s, and there was a Jewish organization at that time called the Jewish Colonization Association, which bought a lot of land in western Canada for 2-5 dollars an acre. They saved that land for the Jewish people when they immigrated to Canada, and look at Canada today, and the Jewish community today. It’s great.”

Bronfman on Israel-Diaspora relations: “I think it’s vital to the Jewish future that these two great societies have empathy for each other. Really, we are one people. It’s not just a campaign slogan. And the day we forget it, we’re in terrible trouble. I think that there has to be some accommodation on both sides. The diaspora is not going to do legislation in Israel, but at the same time, I think we have a right and a responsibility to say, ‘Look, this might be very good for your country, but it’s going to be very difficult for the Jews in America, or Jews in Russia etc.’ Yes, we do not vote in Israel, but we are Jews and we are one Jewish people, and our view must be taken into account.” [JewishInsider]

PROFILE — “Meet the pro-Trump PR Guy at the Center of the Mueller Probe — And Everything Else” by Ben Schreckinger: “[Ronn] Torossian’s numerous other ties to Trumpworld span the professional, the political and the personal. He sends his children to the same New York private school that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s children attended before the family decamped for Washington. And in August, when POLITICO revealed numerous allegations of financial misconduct against Moshe Lax, a former close business partner of Ivanka Trump’s who first introduced her to Kushner, Lax turned to Torossian to make a video statement in response… Trump’s longest-serving political adviser, the dirty trickster Roger Stone, has done work with Torossian, too, and once delivered a speech at 5W’s offices. And before he was Stone’s protege, future Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg, while on the payroll of Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law & Justice, regularly worked out of 5W’s offices in 2009 and 2010… Despite his extensive ties to Trump world, Torossian gave $2,700 to Hillary Clinton in June 2016 and did not give to Trump’s campaign.”[PoliticoMag]

“The Original Donald Trump: The New York Establishment will ignore unscrupulous acts to serve its interests — just look how it treated Roy Cohn, onetime lawyer to the president” by Frank Rich:“The more I’ve looked back at the entanglements of Trump, Cohn, and their overlapping circles and modi operandi, the more I think the crux of their political culture could be best captured if Edward Sorel were to create a raucous mural depicting the Friday night in February 1979 when Cohn celebrated his 52nd birthday at Studio 54. The guest list? “If you’re indicted, you’re invited,” went the comedian Joey Adams’s oft-repeated joke about Cohn’s soirées.”

“The investigative reporter Wayne Barrett, who covered the scrum from the sidewalk for the Village Voice, noted that, among the usual Warhol celebrity crowd, politicians, and fixers, was a “surprise” attendee — “newcomer Chuck Schumer, a ‘reform’ assemblyman from Brooklyn who insisted he was just the date of a gossip columnist.” Also in attendance, less surprisingly, and camera-ready for the paparazzi, was the 32-year-old Trump, who by then had been in Cohn’s orbit for six years.” [NYMag]

“‘Who the hell is this person?’ Trump’s Mar-a-Lago pal stymies VA project” by Arthur Allen: “Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, an internist and friend of Trump confidant Ike Perlmutter, who advises the president informally on vet issues, objected to the $16 billion Department of Veterans Affairs project because he doesn’t like the Cerner Corp. software he uses at two Florida hospitals… With the White House’s approval, Moskowitz has been on two or three monthly calls since November with the contracting team responsible for implementing the 10-year project… Perlmutter, the Marvel Entertainment chairman, has also been on some of the calls… Perlmutter, meanwhile, has been advising Trump on veterans affairs since before the inauguration. Some news reports say the Israeli-born businessman’s interest in veterans stems from serving in the Six-Day War of 1967.” [Politico

2018 WATCH — “Republican Senate Candidate, Who Has Called for Country ‘Free From Jews,’ Could be Dianne Feinstein’s Challenger” by Michael Edison Hayden: “Patrick Little, an extremist with hardline anti-Semitic views who is backed by David Duke and other far-right extremists… will be squaring off in a top-two primary with 10 other Republicans as well as Democrats and independents on June 5 for the chance to oppose veteran Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein… A poll conducted by local ABC News affiliates along with the polling company Survey USA, suggested that Little is polling at 18 percent of the vote on the Republican ticket, a full 10 points ahead of his next strongest opponent.” [Newsweek]

“Rahm Emanuel racks up campaign cash — fund nears $5 million” by Fran Spielman: “The new donors also include: Bernard Schwartz, CEO of BLS Investments ($100,000); Eli Broad ($25,000) and Michael Polsky, CEO of Invenergy LLC ($25,000).” [ChicagoSunTimes]

2020 WATCH — Trump’s Role in Midterm Elections Roils Republicans” by Jonathan Martin, Alex Burns and Maggie Haberman: “The president’s announcement that Brad Parscale, his 2016 digital guru, would manage his 2020 re-election campaign caught many of his most senior advisers by surprise… And the hasty decision immediately raised suspicions it was part of a power play by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, to isolate Corey Lewandowski… Mr. Parscale has rankled Trump advisers by giving the president a perpetually rosy assessment of his poll numbers. He often tells Mr. Trump his numbers have “never been higher,” according to two advisers.” [NYTimes

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Alibaba chairman Jack Ma to visit Israel this week, will meet with Netanyahu [GlobesCalcalist] • Sumner Redstone’s Grandson Rips RICO Lawsuit Filed by Mogul’s Ex-Companion [HollywoodReporter] • Dan Gertler seeks $3bn damages from former partner Glencore[FinancialTimes]

MILKEN CONFERENCE — “Milken Lures Mnuchin, Goldman’s Solomon to ‘Davos of the West’” by John Gittelsohn, Christopher Palmeri and Sonali Basak: “With an expected attendance of 5,000 and a more eclectic agenda than the World Economic Forum, some call the gathering “Davos of the West” or “Davos With Palm Trees.” … “Mike always assembles an array of fascinating individuals and things to talk about going on around the world, whether it’s in the capital markets, whether it’s about science or health care,” said Eric Cantor, the vice chairman of Moelis & Co. and former House majority leader who’s a Milken conference regular… Milken, 71, is set to take the stage with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, retired CIA Director David Petraeus and former Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer.” [Bloomberg

— HAPPENING THIS MORNING — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will be interviewed by Frank Luntz and Milken Family Foundation’s Richard Sandler at 9:30 AM PT. [Program] • Schumer was spotted holding court at the opening reception yesterday at the Beverly Canon Gardens adjacent to the Montage [Politico]

GQ interview with former Labour leader Ed Miliband — on Trump: What does it say about the US that they elected him? “It is similar to Brexit. Read about the Midwest, where he won. It was economic. No doubt there is racism among some people. But two days before the election, his last big ad was taken as being anti-Semitic because he attacked three Jews, but it was his message that the global elite have taken your jobs, closed the factories and it’s time to take back the country. This has been coming for a long time. The same kind of discontent that drove Brexit drove Trump.” [GQ]

“Krafts honor family legacy at newly renovated CJP building” by Joe Halpern: “Robert Kraft, along with sons Jonathan and Dan, were on hand Friday morning to dedicate the newly renovated headquarters for Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) in downtown Boston… [Kraft] earned the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon… after his family donated $10 million… in honor of Robert’s late wife who served as chair of the CJP board of directors. The Krafts’ donation is the largest ever received by the CJP for a capital project.”[Bizjournals]

“The tycoon who donated half a billion dollars to Jewish causes” by Tamara Zieve: “Russian businessman Roman Abramovich had poured half a billion dollars into Jewish communities in Russia, Israel and other countries around the world, over the past 20 years, The Federation of Jewish communities of Russia (FJCR) announced… A special recognition has been bestowed upon Abramovich, honoring him for his contributions… The award is signed by Rabbi Alexander Boroda, FJCR president and the Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar.” [JPost]

COMING SOON: “Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles to Celebrate Trio of Honorees” by Gregg Kilday: “The Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles will honor Netflix exec Larry Tanz, Star Wars: The Last Jedi producer Ram Bergman and philanthropist Stanley Black at a May 31 Sponsor Luncheon to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. The fest, which bills itself as the largest showcase of Israeli films in the U.S., will use the luncheon to kick off its 32nd edition, which will is set to run Nov. 6-20, and to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel. The honorees were announced Friday by festival founder and executive director Meir Fenigstein. [HollywoodReporter]

LongRead: “Who Stole The Torahs? An Ancient Sect, A Brazen Theft And The Hunt To Bring The Manuscripts Home” by Daniel Estrin: “Before dawn on March 21, 1995, someone broke into a synagogue in the Palestinian city of Nablus. The thief — maybe it was a band of thieves — crossed the carpeted sanctuary, pulled back a heavy velvet curtain, and opened a carved wooden ark. Inside were two handwritten copies of the Torah, the Five Books of Moses. One was a sheepskin scroll written around 1360 and kept in a slender copper case. The other was a codex, a thick book, probably from the 15th century and bound in a maroon leather cover…”

“They were perhaps the most ancient Torahs stolen in the Holy Land since the Crusaders pillaged Jerusalem. And they belonged not to Jews but to the Samaritans, one of the world’s oldest and tiniest religious sects… Benny [Tsedaka] believes the community did not wish to revisit Palestinians’ potential involvement in the theft, which could threaten the Samaritans’ delicate relations with their neighbors. The high priest says he was not willing to lose ownership of the Torah scroll by allowing a museum to purchase it. And community members were clearly uncomfortable investigating prominent Samaritans who may have helped orchestrate the theft. Whatever the reason, the Samaritans sacrificed their chance to recover the very Scriptures their ancestors had protected for centuries.” [NPR]

“Is Germany Capable of Protecting Its Jews?” by James Kirchick: “Completely sealing off the continent’s borders is neither sensible nor humane. But nor is it sensible or humane to admit unlimited numbers of people whose cultures and value systems are so fundamentally different from those of the native population—and among whom are many who hold beliefs so firmly at odds with Europe’s post-Holocaust reckoning. A country like Germany will have to try harder at inculcating an appreciation for its liberal democratic values among the Muslim migrants wishing to live there. Among those values is acceptance of what it means to be a citizen of the country that perpetrated the Holocaust.” [TheAtlantic]

DESSERT — “Bob Dylan’s Latest Gig: Making Whiskey” by Ben Sisario: “A trademark application for the term “bootleg whiskey” had been filed under Mr. Dylan’s name. Among those who noticed the news was Marc Bushala, 52, a lifelong fan and a liquor entrepreneur whose bourbon brand, Angel’s Envy, had just been sold for $150 million. Mr. Bushala said he immediately spent weeks “obsessing over this concept of what a Dylan whiskey could be.” … Next month, he and Mr. Dylan will introduce Heaven’s Door, a collection of three whiskeys — a straight rye, a straight bourbon and a “double-barreled” whiskey… Mr. Dylan is not simply licensing his name. He is a full partner in the business, Heaven’s Door Spirits, which Mr. Bushala said had raised $35 million from investors.” [NYTimes

BIRTHDAYS: Psychologist, glassblower and founder of Cheryl Saban Designs, president of the Saban Family Foundation, Cheryl Saban… Israeli actress, star of Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot turns 33… Social critic, political activist, co-founder of the DC-based the progressive Institute for Policy Studies and professor of public policy at GWU, Marcus Raskin turns 84… Rabbi, scholar, associate professor at Yeshiva University, adjunct professor at Columbia University Law School, Saul J. Berman turns 79… US Ambassador to Portugal (2010-2013), distinguished professor at UMKC, former City Commissioner of Tallahassee, Allan J. Katz turns 71… Marsha S. Rimlerturns 71…  Tunisian-born, Israeli Supreme Court justice since 2014, previously Attorney General of Israel (2004-2010), Menachem “Meni” Mazuz turns 63… Partner in the communications and ad agency GMMB, James David (Jim) Margolis turns 63… Cartoonist and illustrator, best known for his over one hundered magazine covers appearing on The New Yorker and other publications, Barry Blitt turns 60…

Commissioner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2010, previously a US Supreme Court law clerk and then a professor at Georgetown Law Center, Chai Feldblum turns 59… Professor of sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and president of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Eva Illouz turns 57… Founding VP of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies and diplomatic columnist for The Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom newspapers, David M. Weinberg turns 56… Democratic member of the New York City Council and chair of the New York City Council Jewish Caucus, Mark D. Levine turns 49… Washington, DC-based senior program officer for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, David Rittberg turns 38…  Growth strategy editor at The New York Times, Ari Isaacman Bevacqua turns 33… Founder of Lubin Strategies, former director of the Obama White House Office of Digital Strategy, Nathaniel (Nate) Lubin turns 31… Press secretary for Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Rachel S. Cohen turns 31… Manager of Digital Strategy at the Podesta Group, Daniel Wolman turns 28… Jenna Luks turns 25… Idan Megidish… Noam Aricha

JI Viewpoints on 2nd Anniversary of Iran deal

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Alan Solow, former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations: “Two years into the deal, I think that the indications are that Iran is in compliance with…

Kafe Knesset for July 14

Friday, July 14, 2017

Calls to change the status quo on Temple Mount: After this morning’s terrorist attack on the Temple Mount, in which three assailants opened fire, killing two border policemen,…

State Dept Questions if Taylor Force Act ‘Accomplishes’ Objective of Stopping Terror

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Top State Department official notes Palestinian progress in cutting terror payments WASHINGTON – A top State Department official expressed skepticism regarding the efficiency of the Taylor Force Act…

Bipartisan Letter Demands Answers on Bob Levinson

Thursday, July 13, 2017

WASHINGTON – Nearly two dozen lawmakers led by Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) published a letter to President Donald Trump imploring the White House to increase…

Kafe Knesset for July 13

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dropping like flies: The walls seem to be closing in on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as several of his closest allies have been implicated in corruption scandals. Yesterday…

Kafe Knesset for July 12

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Gabbay Effect: The Labor Party has jumped in the polls a day after Avi Gabbay won the leadership contest. Under Isaac Herzog, the party had taken a nosedive…