Aug
15

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Daily Kickoff: JI Feature — Inside Senator Corker’s unique foreign policy doctrine | Sheldon stands with McMaster | Spotted at Ron Perelman’s bash

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JI PROFILE: Inside Senator Bob Corker’s Realist Doctrine — by Aaron Magid: It was a rare and dramatic moment of Congressional foreign policy activism. On June 26, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, singlehandedly blocked all U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and five other Arab regimes until the public feud between those countries and Qatar ended. With no resolution in sight, Corker’s decision to withhold consent has prevented the White House from shoring up military ties with Saudi Arabia. Corker’s move came just two weeks after 47 of his Senate colleagues objected to arms sales to Riyadh in a tight vote, with many citing human rights violations and the country’s “indiscriminate killing” in Yemen. At the time, Corker insisted that Saudi Arabia had not intentionally bombed civilians and sided with 52 other lawmakers to proceed with the arms deal.

The rollercoaster month highlighted how a lawmaker from Tennessee, with a worldview distinct from the neoconservatives who typically dominate GOP foreign policy, wields significant influence over U.S. diplomacy. Welcome to Senator Bob Corker’s realpolitik foreign policy doctrine: maintaining strong ties with U.S. allies while rejecting arguments to prioritize human rights concerns when implementing sensitive international agreements.

During a recent sit-down interview with Jewish Insider in his Senate office, the affable Corker explained that he is neither “an ideologue or a neo-con” but rather a “pragmatic realist.” “I am a business guy and want to constantly figure out ways of advancing our national interest, but I am not locked into an ideological frame,” he said. Corker has tried to adopt a more realpolitik strategy putting aside ideological concerns in favor of maintaining productive ties with both Israel, its neighboring Arab states and international institutions. He declined to co-sponsor legislation that would defund the United Nations after the passage of UNSC 2334 as well as legislation demanding the transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At the same time, Corker marshalled support in recent months to advance the Taylor Force Act out of committee.

Last month, Corker met with Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt. Recalling the discussion, Corker appeared to lack the Trump administration’s enthusiasm to invest the White House’s limited resources on Israeli-Palestinian talks. “It’s interesting to me that they are pursuing it, but there are a lot of other issues that I think could be resolved and are resolvable. I don’t think this one, in the short term, is one of those,” Corker asserted. While some in the Trump administration may be trying to secure the “ultimate deal” for ideological reasons, Corker’s focus on pragmatic goals in the turbulent Middle East highlights his realism doctrine.

Jared Kushner tells us: “Senator Corker is a leading voice on some of the most serious issues facing our country and provides valuable guidance, advice and input both when he agrees and disagrees with us. It has been a tremendous honor to work with him on various projects including the President’s first international trip.”

When Corker initially entered Congress, “he questioned the value of being in the Senate,” noted Norm Coleman, who currently serves as Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “I don’t know if he found the Senate that exciting: there was a lot of talk and not a lot of action.” Yet, Corker’s rise to Chairman of Foreign Relations has now offered him a substantive and influential role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. Read the full profile on Sen. Corker here [JewishInsider]

KAFE KNESSET — Eyes on Pyongyang — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Israeli media has been following the US-North Korea standoff quite closely in recent days. Most politicians, however, are keeping a distance from the topic, and have not responded to inquiries on the latest events. Likud minister Tzahi Hanegbi explained earlier this week that “we do not want to be dragged into the North Korea clash. We trust that the US leadership will know how to deal with the North Korean aggression, which is just like Iranian aggression.”

Kulanu Deputy Minister and former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren told Kafe Knesset today that “everyone is looking at the situation. We are and the Iranians are as well. Israel has an interest in the US taking a strong stand against the North Korean nuclear program. North Korea is an enemy country and supports our enemies. North Korea built the Syrian nuclear reactor. Syria is a close ally of Iran, therefore Iran is a North Korean ally. Israel has an interest in what happens because of the Iranian nuclear program. The North Koreans have violated international agreements just like the Iranians are trying to, and because it affects our allies Japan and South Korea.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

NEW DETAILS: “Headed by Mossad Chief, Israeli Defense Delegation to Fly to Washington for White House Talks on Syria” by Barak Ravid: “The delegation will be headed by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, and he will be joined by the head of the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, as well as the head of the Defense Ministry’s political-security department, Zohar Palti… “Talks will focus on Israel’s security needs vis-a-vis Syria and Lebanon, and will not deal with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” [a] White House official said. “The delegation’s arrival in Washington is a powerful sign of the trust between Israel and McMaster.”” [Haaretz] • Has US sacrificed Israel for Syria deal? [AlMonitor]

“The Pentagon Fills Hezbollah’s Shopping List” by Tony Badran: “Yet even in the fever-dreams of Hezbollah’s bunker-bound leader, Hassan Nasrallah, it seems unlikely that anyone in the group imagined that the Pentagon would simply ship the advanced American gear they sought to obtain to Lebanon, gratis. But On Monday, US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard revealed that the Pentagon has done exactly that – or near enough to make Hassan Nasrallah jump for joy inside his bunker. In remarks delivered at the Port of Beirut, Ambassador Richard reviewed the material contents of a $100 million contribution that the US is making to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which last month provided support to Hezbollah in a joint military operation in northeastern Lebanon.” [TabletMag]

“Tony Blair’s Middle East envoy work secretly bankrolled by wealthy Arab state” by Edward Malnick: “Tony Blair’s work as a Middle East envoy trying to solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict was secretly funded by a wealthy Arab state which also employed him as a paid adviser, leaked emails seen by the Telegraph reveal. The United Arab Emirates quietly financed Mr Blair’s London office while he also received millions in consultancy fees from the state and the sovereign wealth fund of its capital, Abu Dhabi… A spokeswoman for the former Labour leader said he received the money to bankroll the travel expenses of him and his staff. But she insisted there was no conflict of interest between this and the work he did as envoy for the Office of the Quartet.” [TelegraphDailyMail]

TOP TALKER: “Bannon in Limbo as Trump Faces Growing Calls for the Strategist’s Ouster” by Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush: “Mr. Trump has now relegated [Steve] Bannon to a kind of internal exile… At a recent dinner at the White House with [Jared] Kushner and [John] Kelly, before Mr. Trump decamped for a working vacation at his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J., the president listened while one of the guests, Mr. Murdoch, a founder of Fox News, said Mr. Bannon had to go. Mr. Trump offered little pushback, according to a person familiar with the conversation, and vented his frustrations about Mr. Bannon… Mr. Bannon’s ability to hang on as Mr. Trump’s in-house populist is in part because of his connections to a handful of ultrarich political patrons, including Sheldon G. Adelson, the pro-Israel, Las Vegas-based casino magnate.”

“Mr. Bannon’s protégé, chief speechwriter and policy director, Stephen Miller… has become one of the president’s favorite aides. Despite his image in the news media as a confrontational ideologue, Mr. Miller has proved to be a deft operator who has ingratiated himself to Mr. Kushner. Still, Mr. Bannon is a survivor… This spring, as Mr. Kushner pressured Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Bannon, the president shot back at his son-in-law. He was not going to get rid of him, he said, just because Mr. Kushner wanted him to go.” [NYTimes

“Sheldon Adelson comes out in support of H.R. McMaster” by Jonathan Swan: “Andy Abboud, who represents Adelson, tells me: “Sheldon Adelson has nothing to do with the ZOA campaign against McMaster. Had no knowledge of it. And has provided zero support, and is perfectly comfortable with the role that McMaster is playing.” … Klein is increasingly isolated in his opposition to McMaster. His only senior ally inside the White House is Bannon; the rest of the senior staff has united in disgust at the outside campaign against McMaster. David Friedman, Trump’s staunchly pro-Israel ambassador, is vouching for McMaster, though he was unable to convince Klein.” [Axios

Abboud tells CNN… “[Adelson] has heard from many people that McMaster is good on many Israeli issues… He hasn’t spoken to Mort Klein about it.”[CNN

–Klein is currently on a speaking tour in Europe and could not immediately be reached for comment.

DRIVING THE CONVO: “Trump Condemns Racists but Creates New Uproar” by Glenn Thrush: “Racism is evil,” said Mr. Trump, delivering a statement from the White House at a hastily arranged appearance meant to halt the growing political threat posed by the unrest. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” … Shortly before leaving the capital, Mr. Trump attacked the news media for blowing the episode out of proportion.” [NYTimes

“What Donald Trump didn’t say when he talked about white supremacists” by Juana Summers: “Yet the statement also lacked one powerful — and critical — component: Trump failed to specifically reject support of the white nationalists, racists and bigots who say they back him… This was a missed opportunity for the White House. But — unfortunately — the President will likely soon have another opportunity, as the white nationalist Richard Spencer has announced his plans to hold another rally in Charlottesville.”[CNN]

VIVID RECAP: VICE News Tonight correspondent Elle Reeve went behind the scenes with white nationalist leaders, including Christopher Cantwell, Robert Ray, David Duke, and Matthew Heimbach—as well as counter-protesters. VICE News Tonight also spoke with residents of Charlottesville, members of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Charlottesville Police. [Video]

“Trump Adviser Schwarzman Condemns Hatred After Virginia Violence” by Melissa Mittelman: “Blackstone Group LP’s Steve Schwarzman, who leads one of President Donald Trump’s business advisory forums, called for efforts to “heal” wounds… “Bigotry, hatred and extremism are an affront to core American values and have no place in this country,” Schwarzman said in an emailed statement Monday. “Encouraging tolerance and understanding must be a core national imperative and I will work to further that goal.” … On Saturday, at a party in East Hampton raising money for Harlem’s Apollo Theater, Schwarzman questioned criticism of Trump’s response, saying he didn’t think the president’s comment faulting “many sides” for the violence was far-reaching.” [Bloomberg

ADL ‘troubled’ by Trump’s reluctance to denounce Alt-Right — by Jacob Kornbluh: During a press call yesterday, ADL CEO Jason Greenblatt cautioned that Trump’s statements “are no longer sufficient.” He criticized Trump for sending a message to “white supremacists and extremists rallying around his rhetoric” and for “his unwillingness to consistently and forcefully denounce their behavior.” Trump’s rhetoric, Greenblatt added, “was not a subtle dog whistle, but like a bullhorn and a signal for them to try and rise and take a seat at the center of the public conversation.”

Greenblatt tells us… “We have seen a pattern of the President equivocating in the face of intolerance, and an unwillingness to call out white supremacists, to name neo-Nazis, or to attack the alt-right. Let’s just say it’s hard to understand what his intentions are. I can’t discern what’s in his head or in his heart. At the ADL, we can only deal with the impact. And the impact is an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents. The impact is an increased tempo of white supremacist activity across the country. The impact is as we saw this weekend, unbridled violence from the worst elements of society. And so we find it very troubling that it has taken so long and it has been a serial issue.”[JewishInsider

HEARD YESTERDAY – Van Jones on CNN’s AC360: “You have the father of a Jewish daughter in the White House, and some of the worst anti-Jewish and anti-black statements I’ve ever heard were pouring out of Charlottesville from these white supremacist groups. [Trump] had a rare opportunity – as the father of a Jewish daughter – to step forward and speak personally — personally about his feelings, and he didn’t do it, today or before.”

“Explaining Trump’s Charlottesville Behavior” by John Podhoretz: “Trump was not only feeding his inexhaustible maw for attention. He was reaching a group of disaffected Americans entirely on the margins of American life, politically and culturally and organizationally. The dedicated prole-media audience, which might make up 5 or 6 percent of the electorate, is not enough to make a base. But it’s enough to make a nucleus. And what they knew is that he didn’t dismiss them. They knew he was listening to them. They knew he wanted to talk to them, wanted to hear from them.” [CommentaryMag]

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: “Why some Jewish groups aren’t happy with Cory Booker” by Jonathan Salant: “Almost half the Senate, 49 of 100 lawmakers, are sponsoring the bill, as are 254 of 435 House members. Only four of New Jersey’s 14 members of Congress, Booker and Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-9th Dist.), Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12th Dist.), are not on board. Booker, who has called BDS “an anti-Jewish movement,” is reviewing the legislation, spokesman Jeff Giertz said.”[NJAdvance]

SCENE YESTERDAY: Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan Meets With Israeli Ambassador: “Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan met with Ron Dermer, Ambassador of Israel to the United States, on Monday in separate events… Milligan attended a private luncheon in Little Rock hosted by the Jewish Federation of Arkansas, and then attended a ceremonial bill signing later that afternoon with Governor Asa Hutchinson and members of the State Board of Finance. “Soon after I took office, we were approached by representatives from an Israeli development corporation about the potential of bringing legislation to Arkansas that would allow the state to invest in bonds backed by Israel. We connected the representatives to Sen. Rapert, and through that connection, Act 644 was born,” Milligan said. Act 644 expands Arkansas’ investment opportunities to include the State of Israel.”[BoonevilleDemocratArkansasOnline]

“Daughter of US Ambassador David Friedman makes aliyah” by Raphael Ahren: “Talia Friedman, a nurse in her 20s, boarded an aliyah flight in New York on Monday… “As a father, I celebrate my daughter Talia’s realization of a life long dream to become part of the State of Israel,” Ambassador Friedman told The Times of Israel on Monday evening. “Our entire family is bursting with pride at Talia’s vision and determination to help strengthen Medinat Yisrael [the State of Israel] — one of America’s strongest and most important allies.” … Friedman is not the only member of US President Donald Trump’s team to have children moving to Israel this month. Jason Greenblatt… on Sunday tweeted that his triplets are headed to the Jewish state for a gap year program of Jewish studies.” [ToIJPost]

“Steve Israel Explains How Republicans Tried – and Failed – to Turn Jewish Voters Against the Democrats” by Amir Tibon: “When asked to sum up Obama’s legacy on the United States’ relationship with the Jewish state, [Steve] Israel used the words “conflicted” and “complicated.” His reasons: “The optics of the relationship were not good. The appearance was not positive. The headlines were all about tensions and disputes… This created an enormous sense of frustration for me, because I would go to town hall meetings and hear people accuse the administration of being anti-Israel, when in fact there were unprecedented levels of cooperation between Israel and the United States on the defense and intelligence fronts.” … As for President Donald Trump’s Israel policy, the former Congressman said it’s still too early to pass judgement… “I’m an outspoken critic of Trump and his policies on many issues, but with regards to Israel, I think he deserves more time to articulate a policy and implement it.”” [Haaretz]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: With 66M Monthly Visits, Yaron Ben Shaul’s HomeTalk Is On Its Way To Become The Next Houzz [Forbes] • Israeli Billionaire Beny Steinmetz Detained in Investigation [NYTimesReuters] • Montage’s Alan Fuerstman Is Hoping To Continue His Magic Touch With Pendry [Forbes] • Israel Medical Marijuana: Joint Panel Approves Government-Run Export Plan [IBTimes]

STARTUP NATION: “The tech industry is hiring Israeli engineers as fast as the army can produce them” by John Detrixhe: “There are about 90 Israeli companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, the most of any non-US nation apart from China. The sheer number of big foreign companies setting up shop in the country may eventually damage the startup sector, though, by snapping up the best engineers, choking off the supply of talent to innovative upstarts.” [QZ]

MEDIA WATCH: “Google cuts ties with neo-Nazi site for ‘inciting violence’” by Yaron Steinbuch: “Google has joined web hosting company GoDaddy in revoking the domain registration of the neo-Nazi website after it posted an article mocking an anti-hate crusader killed in Charlottesville… The Daily Stormer moved its registration to Alphabet Inc’s Google Domains… The domain was registered with Google a little before 11 a.m. EST and the company announced plans to revoke it at 1:56 p.m. EST.”[NYPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN — New York Gets Tougher on Community Center Bomb Threats: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law new penalties for those who make bomb threats against community centers. The Democratic governor approved the legislation Monday.” [AP

“Boston Holocaust Memorial vandalized again, 1 arrested” by Macy Corica: “A witness tells Boston 25 News someone threw a rock at the memorial, shattering the glass. Police say the teen was detained by two bystanders until officers arrived. He will be charged with willful and malicious destruction of property… It was just over a month and a half ago when the memorial was vandalized… The memorial was recently rededicated after the damaged glass was replaced.” [Fox25

“Outrage as Swiss hotel orders ‘Jewish guests’ to shower before swimming” by Nina Larson: “A Swiss hotel that posted signs telling Jewish clients to shower before using the pool and restricting their access to the facility’s freezer has unleashed outrage and official complaints from Israel… Paradies manager Ruth Thomann, who signed the notices, meanwhile insisted to Swiss daily 20Minutes that she was not an anti-Semite, and acknowledged that her “choice of words was a mistake.” She explained to the Blick daily that the apartment hotel currently had a lot of Jewish clients, and that other guests had complained that some of them did not shower before using the pool and had asked her to do something.” [AFP]

HOLLYWOOD: “Elizabeth Reaser joins Netflix’s ‘Haunting of Hill House’ Series” by Kate Stanhope: “Grey’s Anatomy grad Elizabeth Reaser and Kate Siegel (Hush) have all joined the drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Reaser, who will next be seen in NBC’s Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, is also known for her work in the Twilight films, The Good Wife and Mad Men. She is repped by UTA and Stone Genow. Siegel, whose other credits include Castle and Mob City, is repped by TCA/Jed Root.” [HollywoodReporter]

HAMPTONS SCENE: J-Rod hit the Hamptons’ hottest party” by Emily Smith: “J-Rod  (Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez) hung out… at the bash at Ronald Perelman’s estate the Creeks in East Hampton… Also there were power brokers such as Patriots owner Bob Kraft, Harvey Weinstein, Discovery Communications’ David Zaslav, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman, LionTree’s Aryeh Bourkoff, former Viacom boss Tom Freston, who was seen huddling with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.” [PageSixVanityFair]

BIRTHDAYS: Founder of Slim-Fast which he sold to Unilever in 2000 for $2.1 billion, S. Daniel Abraham turns 93… Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Stephen Breyer turns 79… Irvin Farberturns 87… Treasurer of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, Chaim Chesler turns 68… Principal of Atlas Philanthropy, a consulting firm assisting charitable organizations with fundraising projects, Margot Atlasturns 48… Senior Director of Programming at MassChallenge (a global non-profit startup accelerator), Rachel Spekman turns 34… Director of communications, marketing strategy and content for Lemonade, a VC-backed startup in the peer to peer insurance industry, Yael Wissner-Levy turns 33… Product designer at Weight Watchers, Talia Siegel turns 26… Global growth and experimentation manager at UberEATS, Ezra Mosseri turns 24… Real estate and business law attorney in the Baltimore law firm of Abramoff Neuberger, Meir Neuberger… Joe Farry… Sel Gerber… David Summer

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Aug
14

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Daily Kickoff: Israeli officials doubt US taking their concerns on Syria seriously | Pence calls out neo-Nazis by name | Drahi looks to buy Yedioth

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DRIVING THE WEEK: “Bibi to send delegation to the White House” by Jonathan Swan: “The Israeli government appears to be signaling confidence in [H.R. McMaster] and his colleagues in the White House’s national security team. A senior administration official tells me Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is sending leading security officials from his government to the U.S. later this week to meet with McMaster, Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell, Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt… The meetings “will primarily focus on Israeli security matters vis a vis Lebanon and Syria and are not focused on the ongoing peace conversations.” Jared Kushner and Greenblatt helped arrange the meetings, which have been several weeks in the making.” [Axios]

KAFE KNESSET — Israeli frustration with US position on Syria — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: As Haaretz reported last week, senior Israeli officials held secret talks with the US and Russia before the South Syria cease-fire deal, and presented Jerusalem’s reservations. Two senior Israeli officials told Kafe Knesset that there are ongoing efforts to convey Jerusalem’s concern with the permanent Iranian presence the agreement establishes. “It is the biggest challenge we are dealing with these days, and we are trying to create as much pressure as we can, though we are doubtful that our goals are being considered by the US,” one of them said. Another senior source told Kafe Knesset that “it appears that quiet diplomacy efforts are failing on this matter, no one is taking our concerns into account.”

Jewish Home’s Naftali Bennett decided that quiet diplomacy is not enough. Bennett launched a Hasbara campaign last week in an attempt to rally US public opinion to Israel’s positions. First, he published a WSJ op-ed in which he warned of Iran’s intentions to use the Syrian post-war arrangements to expand to the Mediterranean. On Thursday evening, Bennett posted an English-speaking Facebook video in which he urged “to get together and stop Iran before it’s too late.” According to Bennett, “While we fight ISIS, the real danger is growing. Right now, Iran is building a Shiite corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean coast. This corridor is an Iranian dream. It is a highway to transfer weapons. It is a highway to transfer extremism. It will bring Iranian aircraft to striking range of Europe. It will bring Iranian ships and submarines to the Mediterranean.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

White House sees ‘opportunity for peace’ following Temple Mount crisis: Jared Kushner is expected to return to the Middle East region later this month in a continued effort to jump-start the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Kushner will be joined by Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell. The U.S. negotiation team will be meeting with leaders from Israel, Palestinian Authority, and Gulf states – Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Senior White House official: Trump believes that the restoration of calm in Jerusalem after the recent Temple Mount crisis “has created an opportunity to continue discussions and the pursuit of peace that began early in his administration… The President has asked that these discussions focus on the path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, combatting extremism, the situation in Gaza, including how to ease the humanitarian crisis there, strengthening our relations with regional partners and the economic steps that can be taken both now and after a peace deal is signed to ensure security, stability and prosperity for the region.” [JewishInsider

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at start of weekly cabinet meeting yesterday: “Of course, we will welcome them as always.”

VIEW FROM RAMALLAH: “PA official says Palestinians ‘excluded’ from peace efforts” by Daniel Siryoti: “A senior official who works under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas even told Israel Hayom that apart from the lack of faith and the disagreements between Abbas’ staff and the team appointed by Trump, Abbas has completely lost faith in Kushner… “Washington is marching to Israel’s drum and accepting every mistake it makes, while dismissing the Palestinians,” the official said.” [IsraelHayom• Palestinian official: Trump’s true test is his support of two states [JPost

“Could there be a worse time for the arrival of a US peace delegation?” by Avi Issacharoff: “When Abbas first became prime minister in 2003, then-Israeli premier Ariel Sharon described him as a “chick without feathers.” That description could now be extended beyond Ramallah. Three ragged birds (Trump, Netanyahu and Abbas), dogged by political and legal troubles that severely limit their maneuvering room, are unlikely to find the will or political capability to advance any sort of peace agreement.” [ToI]

Can the Trump administration prevent another Gaza war? — by Aaron Magid: Within a span of six years, Israel and Hamas have fought three bloody resulting in thousands of casualties. Gaza remains one of the most sensitive and explosive areas dividing Israelis and Palestinians. A senior Israeli military official noted in April that the severe electricity crisis facing Gaza may lead to an imminent clash. With the Trump administration announcing last week that it will send top advisors to the region once again to secure the “ultimate deal,” the question remains what is the most effective U.S. policy to prevent a fourth Hamas-Israel war and alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza?

“If the administration’s concern was the plight of Gazans then there would and should have been some pushback when (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas decided to cut off funding for the electricity,” explained Grant Rumley, a researcher at the Foundations for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). … Professor Alan Dershowitz called for a hawkish U.S. approach towards Gaza. “The policy should be to see the destruction of Hamas and see the people of Gaza wanting to associate themselves with the peace camp and the Palestinian Authority,” he said. “I don’t think the U.S. should be helping Gaza economically since every time they have been given resources, they have diverted it to terror tunnels and rockets.”

White House official tells us… “The United States continues to look for ways that we can lawfully expand our assistance to the people of Gaza and alleviate their suffering.  When we have more concrete details to provide, we will do so.” [JewishInsider

DRIVING THE CONVO: “White House Acts to Stem Fallout From Trump’s First Charlottesville Remarks” by Glenn Thrush and Rebecca R. Ruiz: “A statement on Sunday — issued more than 36 hours after the protests began — condemned “white supremacists” for the violence that led to one death… It was not attributed directly to Mr. Trump, who often uses Twitter to communicate directly on controversial topics… The email was sent “in response” to questions about Mr. Trump’s remarks, in which he blamed the unrest “on many sides” while speaking on Saturday… The president’s reluctance to speak out with force and moral indignation against the white nationalists who incited the most serious racial episode of his presidency elicited deep feelings of disappointment spanning the ideological spectrum.”

“Mr. Trump consulted a broad range of advisers before speaking on Saturday, most of whom told him to sharply criticize the white nationalist protesters… Two hard-edge economic populists — Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and Stephen Miller, a senior adviser — spoke with Mr. Trump repeatedly on Saturday… Mr. Trump listened attentively… but repeatedly steered the conversation to the breakdown of “law and order,” and the responsibility of local officials to stem the violence.” [NYTimes

NY Post editorial… Trump badly missed the mark on Charlottesville: “It shouldn’t be that hard to summon up a few Trumpian terms like “losers” and “really, really bad people” to describe the hundreds of neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white supremacists… You don’t have to be any kind of radical to be anti-Nazi.” [NYPost

Alan Dershowitz‏: “The president has a special obligation to condemn those bigots who claim to act in his name. I hope he will do that.” [Twitter]

Bill Kristol‏: “I’ve got to say, I’m sick of the imploring & pleading with Donald Trump to say the right thing. He said what he meant & meant what he said.”[Twitter

“Scaramucci criticizes Trump’s Charlottesville statement: ‘I think he needed to be much harsher’” by Kristine Phillips and John Wagner: “[Anthony Scaramucci] also said that Trump’s aides and advisers are “probably reluctant” to be truthful with him and suggested that the president’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, would be the ones who can do that. “I don’t think you’re going to change the president,” Scaramucci said… “But I think it’s important for the people around him to give them direct advice, to be blunt with him.”” [WashPost] • Ivanka Trump said the things her dad wouldn’t on Charlottesville [NYDailyNews

PENCE STEPS IN — Vice President Mike Pence in Colombia: “We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo Nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms… I will say I take issue with the fact that many in the national media spent more time criticizing the president’s words than they did criticizing those that perpetrated the violence to begin with.”

“‘Jews will not replace us’: Why white supremacists go after Jews” by Yair Rosenberg: “They immediately went after the Jews. At their Friday night rally at the University of Virginia, the white nationalists brandished torches and chanted anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans… The attendees proudly displayed giant swastikas and wore shirts emblazoned with quotes from Adolf Hitler. One banner read, “Jews are Satan’s children.” … And James Fields Jr., the man who is accused of mowing down protesters that day… “had this fascination with Nazism and a big idolatry of Adolf Hitler,” according to his high school history teacher…. None of this should surprise us. The United States’ white nationalists have made no secret of their special hate for Jews, particularly during the 2016 campaign and its aftermath.” [WashPost

“Why Won’t Trump Call Out Radical White Terrorism?” by Jeffrey Goldberg: “It is true that Obama calibrated his rhetoric on the subject of terrorism to a degree even his closest advisers sometimes found frustrating… But Obama… believed that any sort of rhetorical overreaction to the threat of Islamist terrorism by an American president would create panic, and would also spark a xenophobic response that would do damage to America’s image, and to Americans Muslims themselves… [Trump’s] decision to maintain a neutral stance on the activities of the racist and anti-Semitic right has opened him to charges of hypocrisy; Trump is now refusing to speak plainly about the nature of a particular terrorist threat, a sin he continually ascribed to his predecessor.”[TheAtlantic

PALACE INTRIGUE — “Anti-McMaster campaign is about to get uglier” by Jonathan Swan: “Some White House officials were startled by the force of a recent statement by the conservative pro-Israel group, the Zionist Organization of America. On Wednesday, ZOA’s president Mort Klein issued a report accusing McMaster of being hostile towards Israel and unserious about the threats of Iran and radical Islamic terrorism… One of the GOP’s top donors, Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson, funds Klein’s group. I’ve asked an Adelson rep whether the billionaire donor signed off on ZOA’s call for Trump to fire McMaster. The Adelson rep hasn’t responded. Bannon is one of the few senior administration officials that the ZOA trusts on Israel.” [Axios

McMaster is a friend to Israel — by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror and Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman: “Israeli officers and scholars who have worked with McMaster say that he was always highly appreciative of Israel and of its contributions to the security of the US. They attest to his broad support for and admiration of the IDF… And whatever the reasons may have been for his decision to relieve certain senior National Security Council officials of their duties, antisemitic or anti-Israeli sentiments were certainly not part of the calculus.” [JPost

“Trump advisers signal the knives are out for Bannon” by Dan Merica: “Two senior Trump advisers… signaled Sunday that the knives are out for Steve Bannon… Bannon is seen as pursuing his own agenda, which does not mesh with the power structure Kelly is putting in place, the source added… National security adviser H.R. McMaster was asked three times by NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday whether he can work with Bannon in the White House. McMaster dodged the question each time.” [CNN

HEARD YESTERDAY — Fired White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci on ABC’s This Week: “If the president really wants to execute that legislative agenda that I think is so promising for the American people… then he has to move away from that sort of Bannon-bart nonsense… He’s got to move more into the mainstream, he’s got to be more into where the moderates are and the independents are that love the president… I think the president knows what he’s going to do with Steve Bannon.” [ABCNews

JI TRIVIA — congrats to JI readers Noah Silverman, Eli Schechner and Adam Rubenstein who identified at least 30 individuals in the photo of Republican members of Congress with Prime Minister Netanyahu last week including…

Lillian Pinkus, Michael Kassen, Rob Bassin, Ed Miller, Mitch Davidson, Kevin McCarthy, Ron Dermer, Michael Oren, David Keyes, David Kustoff, Roberta Kustoff, French Hill, Martha Hill, Karen Handel, Steve Handel, Warren Davidson, Lisa Davidson, Keith Rothfus, Lloyd Smucker, John Rutherford, David Young, John Faso, Mary Frances Faso, Jim Banks, James Comer, Andy Biggs, Cindy Biggs, Glenn Grothman, Trent Kelly, Sheila Kelly, Mike Johnson, Kelly Johnson, Jodey Arrington, Don Bacon, Angie Bacon, Jack Bergman, Randy Hultgren, Christy Hultgren, Greg Gianforte, Susan Gianforte, and Claudia Tenney.

IRAN DEAL: “Iran’s nuclear ambitions growing as it gains ground from IS, Mossad head warns” by Judah Ari Gross: “The Mossad chief (Yossi Cohen) noted that in the two years since the signing of the Iran nuclear deal… Tehran has not abandoned its desire to develop nuclear weapons, and that the agreement “only reinforced that trend and strengthened Iranian aggression in the region.” … During his presentation to the ministers, Cohen said Iran was now enjoying economic growth and international contracts in the deal’s wake. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Cohen’s presentation by noting “that Israel is in no way beholden to international treaties signed by Iran,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.” [ToI• Iran lawmakers raise missile, Guard spending to challenge U.S. [AP]

“PM appoints new national security adviser: Meir Ben-Shabbat” by Judah Ari Gross: “Ben-Shabbat, who previously served as a senior official in the Shin Bet security service, is scheduled to begin in the position on Tuesday, Netanyahu said at the start of this week’s cabinet meeting….The 51-year-old father of four also led the security service’s Cyber Directorate and its National Directorate for Thwarting Terror, Espionage, Research and Policy.” [ToI

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Why Robert Mueller Has Trump SoHo in His Sights[VanityFair] • London’s junior stock market faced renewed criticism today after AIM-listed Israeli tech firm Telit parted ways with chief Oozi Cats [EveningStandard] • Israel’s Onavo Gives Facebook Inside Peek at Rivals’ Users [WSJ• Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment still committed to Hakkasan Group merger [ReviewJournal] • Alice Rogoff’s Alaska Dispatch News files for bankruptcy; new publishers emerge [ADNNewsMiner] • Patrick Drahi’s Altice Is Considering Seeking Equity Funds for Charter Bid[Bloomberg] • A Brief History of How Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich Conquered the Art World [Artnet] • Obama treasury secretary Jack Lew: Financial risks ‘substantial’ [BBC

MEDIA WATCH: “French-Israeli Entrepreneur Patrick Drahi in Talks to Buy Israel’s Largest Daily Yedioth Ahronoth” by Nati Tucker: “Under the terms of deal reportedly being discussed Drahi, who controls Netherlands-based multinational telecoms company, Altice, would initially buy the 34% in the Yedioth group controlled by the bankrupt tycoon Eliezer Fishman and shares of other smaller shareholders, including members of the Mozes family. At a later stage, Arnon Mozes, who controls a 24% bloc of the publishing group and runs it, would sell his shares. None of the parties to the sale would comment on the reports or responded by press time.” [Haaretz]

STARTUP NATION: “International venture capital partnership to bring Israeli energy startups to Colorado” by Eric Douglas: “The Israel-Colorado Innovation Fund is a venture capital firm established in April by Gili Elkin, an Israeli citizen but a native of Berkeley, Calif., who worked in Silicon Valley representing venture capital firms. After moving back to Israel for a short period of time, she decided to try her hand in Colorado, a place she believes is fertile ground for new companies.” [DenverPost

PROFILE: “Wall Street Trader Chris Arnade Seeks Redemption for ‘Intellectual Grift’” by Matt Wirz: “The journey from bond trader to the Bakersfield parking lot began in a ramshackle house in San Antonio, Fla. [Chris] Arnade’s father, a Jewish university professor who escaped Nazi Germany, and mother, a socialist activist, raised him and six siblings in the conservative, Catholic town… His parents skimped on new clothes and car repairs so they could take the family on far-flung academic research trips and all of the children went to college, a rarity in San Antonio at the time, he says.” [WSJ

“Meet the Russian-American Hacker Who’s on Your Side” by Eugene S. Robinson: “Nothing about the playworld of plastic dolls held much purchase for Michael Borohovski, a New York native and the only son of Russian immigrants who’d hooved it out of the Soviet Union for Israel as soon as they could. His interests trended toward the mysteries inside machines… That decision, taken in 2011, took the form of Tinfoil Security, which offered simple, automated security tools, precisely when the security space was heating up. Their company launch also dovetailed with Ken Ross, longtime Silicon Valley angel investor, turning his interest to DevOps. “Scanning apps that are being developed before they go to market,” said Ross, who put his money where his mouth was, “was a smart way to stop the bad guys before they could do much damage.”” [OZY

“Trump Tower, a Home for Celebrities and Charlatans” by Jacob Bernstein: “Steven Spielberg, an enthusiastic donor to Mrs. Clinton who had the use of a pied-à-terre in Trump Tower purchased for him by Universal Pictures, barely stayed at the place, despite its views of Central Park, and offered it to the candidate as a crash pad on grueling campaign days.” [NYTimes]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “Netanyahu Loyalist Faces Prospect of Sending Patron to Trial” by David Wainer and Jonathan Ferziger: “Inside Benjamin Netanyahu’s “aquarium,” the glassed-in suite of offices that houses Israel’s prime minister and his senior staff, Avichai Mandelblit was a big fish. As cabinet secretary… Mandelblit supported Netanyahu through parliamentary budget battles, missile wars against Hamas and a showdown with former U.S. President Barack Obama over the Iran nuclear deal… In making this damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t choice, Mandelblit finds himself in a similar bind as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose office is investigating allegations of Russian interference in the election that brought to power the man who appointed him: Donald Trump… Admirers call him an ethical and professional civil servant who hasn’t hesitated to challenge Netanyahu in the past.” [Bloomberg]

“Netanyahu’s Fate Doesn’t Determine Israel’s Future” by Shmuel Rosner: “The truth is, Mr. Netanyahu has held office only a little longer than Barack Obama or George W. Bush served as president, a little less time than Tony Blair was Britain’s prime minister and quite a bit less than Angela Merkel has been the chancellor of Germany… What happens when Mr. Netanyahu goes? Maybe, in the end, not that much… When Mr. Netanyahu goes, Israel will lose some things and gain others. It will lose stability, experience, a steady hand — it will gain a fresh start and, possibly, less bickering for a while.”[NYTimes

COMING SOON: “Conan O’Brien heading to Israel in late August to ‘help Jared Kushner’ by Ran Boker: “Late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien is expected to arrive in Israel at the end of August to film a segment for his TBS show… O’Brien is expected to be in Israel for five days during which he will film the segment in different locations across the country. O’Brien announced his visit.. on Twitter Friday night, writing: “Breaking: Conan O’Brien sends Conan O’Brien to Israel to help Jared Kushner. Stay tuned.” … The filming in Israel will be produced by Assaf and Roni Nawi of the Nawi Pro production company.” [Ynet

“World’s oldest man, a Holocaust survivor, dead at 113” by Ian Deitch: “Israel Kristal, the world’s oldest man who lived through both World Wars and survived the Auschwitz concentration camp has passed away just a month short of his 114th birthday, his family said Saturday… Last year Guinness World Records awarded Kristal a certificate as the world’s oldest man at his home in Haifa, Israel. Kristal was born to an Orthodox Jewish family near the town of Zarnow in Poland in 1903… Kristal himself only celebrated his bar mitzvah last year, a hundred years later than usual. He missed his bar mitzvah… because of World War I.” [AP

DESSERT: “A Brief History of Lemonade” by Amanda Foreman: “One of the earliest references to lemons can be found in a 10th-century Arabic book on farming, and medieval Egyptians may have made an early version of the beverage. By 1100, documents suggest, Jewish traders in Cairo were selling and exporting a bottled drink called qatarmizat, which contained sweetened lemon juice…By the early 1780s, a German-Swiss jeweler named Johann Jacob Schweppe devised a new method, using a compression pump, that made quality mass production easier. By the early 1830s, the lemonade-stand business in Europe had been “disrupted” by the ready availability of Schweppes fizzy lemonade.” [WSJ

BIRTHDAYS: Board member of the UJA Federation-New York, co-president of American Friends of Shalva and president of the Hamptons Synagogue, Carol Levin turns 73… Member of the New York State Assembly and Chapter President of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, Charles D. Lavine turns 70… Director of the Department of Neurosurgery and Professor of Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Oncology and Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins, Henry Brem, M.D. turns 65… US District Court Judge in South Carolina, he previously served as President of the Columbia (SC) Hebrew Benevolent Society and the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, Judge Richard Mark Gergel turns 63… Professor, author, legal analyst and political analyst, he served as the director of Jewish outreach for Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, Martin J. Sweet turns 47… Former AIPAC and Republican Jewish Coalition staffer, now a Republican candidate for Congress running in the 10th District of Illinois, Jeremy Wynes turns 38… Russian-born political strategist, investment banker and attorney, he is currently the chief political analyst at Sinclair Broadcast Group after a ten week stint in the Trump White House, Boris Epshteyn turns 35… Ukrainian-born, moved to Los Angeles at the age of seven, she has appeared in dozens of films, Mila Kunis turns 34… Ryan Smith… Dylan Cooper… Tim Carney

Gratuity not included. We love receiving news tips but we also gladly accept tax deductible tips. 100% of your donation will go directly towards improving Jewish Insider. Thanks! [PayPal]

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Daily Kickoff: Abe Foxman defends Gorka’s Holocaust reference | What Teva’s plight says about the startup nation | Israel’s first single malt whiskey

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REPORT — Boston Mag’s David Bernstein tweets: Per Dem fundraiser, 4 Senators are telling donors they are running in 2020: Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar [Twitter]

“Can Any Democratic Candidate Satisfy the Left?” by Sarah Jones: “It is the year 2017, a full three years out from the next presidential election, and yet we are already talking about 2020…” [NewRepublicQuartz]

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand writes why she withdrew support from the anti-BDS bill… “As I said publicly at a town hall, I cannot support the bill in its current form if it can be interpreted as stifling or chilling free speech… Some have suggested that I suddenly began supporting the BDS movement when I took my name off the bill. This accusation has popped up on the Internet in recent days – both from Israel’s supporters and from Israel’s detractors. This is just plain false. I cannot state this more clearly: I vehemently oppose the BDS movement, which too often is used as a pernicious vehicle for anti-Semitism; I would never support it, and I signed on to the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in order to push back against this effort to make Israel – and Israel alone – a pariah… Don’t twist my words. When I am defending my constituents’ right to protest Israel, it doesn’t mean I agree with what they’re saying.” [Forward]

THE OTHER SENATOR FROM NEW YORK… “On Israel, Trump Administration Welcomes A New Ally: Chuck Schumer” by Curt Mills: “Seeing a rare opportunity for bipartisanship, the White House is welcoming co-sponsorship by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of legislation that would cut funding to the Palestinian Authority until it “has terminated payments for acts of terrorism.” … With Schumer’s backing, and following the overwhelming vote on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Taylor Force Act is likely to become law.” [NationalInterest]

REPORT: Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are expected to return to Israel and the Palestinian territories later this month, Israeli Channel 10 reported. [Nana10

“Israel, PA discreetly resume security coordination” by Shlomi Eldar: “US pressure appears to have played an even more significant role in the decision… Jason Greenblatt conveyed a clear message to [intelligence chief Majid] Faraj that a halt to the security coordination could end in disaster… It now turns out that security coordination between the sides was restored on Aug. 4, without any formal announcement and with Palestinian security forces being sworn to secrecy about the move. The next day, Israeli troops had already detained dozens of suspects in the Jalazone and Balata refugee camps in the West Bank.” [Al-Monitor]

JI CONTEST: In Jerusalem yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu met with a delegation of freshman Republican Members of Congress led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. [Pic] • As with the Democrats’ visit to Jerusalem earlier this week, we’re offering shoutouts in the next Daily Kickoff to any JI readers who correctly identify at least 30 individuals in the picture with PM Netanyahu. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com

DRIVING THE CONVO: Speaking to the press yesterday, following a national security briefing, President Trump defended National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster against calls for his firing or realignment: “Yes, I do [have confidence in McMaster]. General McMaster? He’s our friend. He’s my friend and he’s a very talented man. I like him and I respect him.”

Trump addressed the Iran deal: “I don’t think they’re living up to the spirit of the agreement. President Obama in his wisdom gave them $150 billion. He gave them $1.8 billion in cash. That’s a hard one to figure. But that was his decision. I think it’s a horrible agreement. But they are not in compliance with the agreement and they certainly are not in the spirit of the agreement in compliance, and I think you’ll see some very strong things taking place if they don’t get themselves in compliance.”

“Inside the warring factions of Trump’s White House” by Marisa Schultz and Bruce Golding: “Multiple sources said Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy, also sided with McMaster. Kushner — whose wife, Ivanka Trump, is an official assistant to her dad— likes McMaster, one source said.” [NYPost] • Breitbart’s war on McMaster bites Bannon[Politico]

“The ‘Alt-right’ Plot Against McMaster, Spurred by Its Jewish Fellow Travelers” by Dov Zakheim: “It is noteworthy that Trump, known for all his blunt statements and tweets, recently recertified American adherence to the Iran deal. In addition, Trump has voiced his support for a solution to the Middle East impasse that would result in an independent Palestinian entity. McMaster is therefore not out of step with the president, but with the “alt-right” ideologues and their Jewish fellow travelers… He deserves to be supported, and not maligned, whether in the White House, the American Jewish community, or Israel.” [Haaretz] • “Inside Sheldon Adelson’s Effort to Purge McMaster” [VanityFair]

“A Top Trump Adviser Compared The North Korea Situation To The Holocaust” by Amber Jamieson and Talal Ansari: “In an interview with BBC’s Radio 4, Sebastian Gorka used an anecdote he says comes from a Holocaust survivor “who had his whole family wiped out in the death chambers of the concentration camps” to explain Trump’s fiery words against North Korea in recent days. “And he asked this elder gentleman, ‘what is your one take home? What is your one lesson learnt from the horrors of the millions killed?’ And he said, ‘it’s very simple. When a group of people repeatedly says they want to kill you, sooner or later you should take them seriously,'” said Gorka.” [BuzzFeed] • The running list of Holocaust gaffes from President Trump’s White House [NYDailyNews

Abe Foxman,  Director of Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, tells us… “I have no problem with Gorka’s reference to the  Holocaust. He is not comparing the North Korea situation to the Holocaust. He is quoting a Holocaust survivor – sharing a universal lesson of the Holocaust  – when somebody threatens to kill you take him seriously. Too many people in Europe, including the Jews of Europe, did not take Hitler seriously. Gorka is saying, take a lesson from then and take North Korea seriously.”

“Sebastian Gorka, the West Wing’s Phony Foreign-Policy Guru” by Bob Dreyfuss: “By all accounts, Gorka’s own writing and statements at the time included no anti-Semitic comments, and neither The Forward nor other reporters who’ve investigated his background in Hungary have turned up any evidence that Gorka himself participated in anything that could be called anti-Jewish. “What you can say for sure is that he was allied with people who have very extremist views,” says Péter Krekó of the Political Capital Institute in Hungary…For his part, Gorka denies any knowledge of the anti-Semitic backgrounds of his colleagues. Katharine [Cornell] Gorka says that all of the charges about her husband’s years in Hungary have been debunked. “He has never in any way been associated with the far right,” she says. “One of the reasons why we left Hungary was because of Sebastian’s discomfort with the far right.”” [RollingStone]

MEDIA WATCH: “CNN severs ties with Jeffrey Lord” by Brian Stelter: “CNN severed ties with Jeffrey Lord on Thursday, hours after he ignited controversy by tweeting the words “Sieg Heil!” at a prominent liberal activist. “Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.” Lord… has been harshly critical of the activist he tweeted at, Angelo Carusone, and the liberal group of which Carusone is president, Media Matters for America… Earlier this week the two men got into another entanglement on Twitter, specifically over Media Matters’ past financial support from George Soros.” [CNNNYTimes

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Kushner fined for late financial report” by Anita Kumar and Ben Wieder: “Jared Kushner… was slapped with a fine by the Office of Government Ethics for late reporting of a financial transaction, according to a newly released document… The late fee can be waived if the White House’s ethics officer determines that the tardy filing was due to “extraordinary circumstances . . . which made the delay reasonably necessary,” including the agency’s failure to notify a worker of the need to file the disclosure report… Kushner will pay the fine, according to a White House official knowledgeable about the situation.” [McClatchyDC

KAFE KNESSET — A witch hunt? Israelis are not buying it — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Another roller coaster week of intense public engagement with Netanyahu’s legal and criminal affairs has come to an end. Bibi’s uphill battle to brush off the impact of the State’s Witness agreement signed by his former chief of staff, Ari Harow, last Friday was channeled into a “witch hunt” message targeting his favorite enemies – the left and mainstream media… The clear sense of political persecution captivated thousands of Likudniks attending the massive support rally on Wednesday, but for the general public, it is a different story. Several opinion polls were conducted yesterday, all showing that Netanyahu’s Trump-style claim that the media is on a witch hunt to bring him down divides Israelis.

Only 42% of Israelis polled by Channel 2 said they agreed with Bibi, while 48% said they disagreed. Asked whether Netanyahu’s heated speech strengthened or weakened their trust in the PM, 50% of the respondents said the speech had no impact, 11% said it strengthened their trust, but 27% said it worked in the opposite direction and weakened their confidence. A Channel 1 poll showed similar margins in identical questions, but had other bad news for Bibi: 67% of Israelis do not believe Netanyahu is innocent of corruption, and only 33% are sure he has done no wrong. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here[JewishInsider]

** 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: WisdomTree is watching the stock market boom pass it by [Crains• Delek expected to unveil new buyer for Phoenix[Globes] • Patrick Drahi’s Altice Launches Fresh SFR Buyout Attempt [FortuneMag] • Rich Hamptons Buyers Don’t Want Mega-Mansions [Bloomberg]

STARTUP NATION: “An Israeli pharma champion sickens: “Teva’s plight has revived a debate about whether Israel is benefiting enough from its high level of investment in research and development. Hundreds of technology startups have been snapped up by global firms in recent decades, and many of them have moved abroad. Israel now has two economies, notes Eugene Kandel, the former chairman of the government’s National Economic Council and the chief executive of Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit organisation. There is the lucrative, high-tech economy for a small share of the workforce and a second economy where most Israelis work and earn much less, he says.”[Economist

“WeWork acquires Israeli startup Unomy to boost its enterprise sales efforts” by Ryan Lawler: “Global co-working behemoth WeWork is best known for providing flexible office rentals to startups and other small businesses, but enterprise clients are becoming an increasingly large portion of its business. With that in mind, WeWork has acquired Israeli startup Unomy to help its team sell enterprise clients on the idea of opening up offices in its workspaces around the world.” [TechCrunch]

SPOTLIGHT: “Daniel Loeb, a Cuomo Donor, Makes Racial Remark About Black Leader” by Shane Goldmacher: “The hedge fund manager Daniel S. Loeb, a prominent supporter of charter schools and a major financial backer of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and congressional Republicans, accused the African-American woman who leads the Democrats in the New York State Senate of having done “more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood.” Mr. Loeb made the reference, apparently to the Ku Klux Klan, in a posting on Facebook in response to an article in The New York Times this week in which the Democratic leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, confronted Mr. Cuomo about prejudging her based upon race and gender… After The Times reported on his Facebook remarks, Mr. Loeb deleted them late Thursday night. “I regret the language I used in expressing my passion for educational choice,” he said in a statement.” [NYTimes

“Israel’s Getting a New Wall, This One With a Twist” by Isabel Kershner: “Israel is building another wall to protect itself from its enemies. But rather than a major eyesore, much of this one will be invisible. In the coming months, military officials say, the army will be accelerating construction of a subterranean barrier around the Gaza Strip, designed to cut off tunnels running beneath the border into Israel… The approach seems to have caught on internationally. President Trump invoked Israel’s “wall” — without specifying which one — as a model for the barrier he has vowed to build along the United States’ border with Mexico.” [NYTimes]

At a site of Nazi terror, Muslim refugees reckon with Germany’s past” by Isaac Stanley-Becker and Alexandra Rojkov: ““How was it possible?” Osman Jamo asked. Yet he also wondered why the site, where barbed wire and guard towers stood dark against the brilliant sunshine of a summer afternoon in this town north of Berlin, had been preserved at all. “Maybe the Jews want to keep these places going so they can be seen as victims forever,” he said of Sachsenhausen, which was mainly used for political prisoners but by the beginning of 1945 held 11,100 Jews. Jamo’s response is not the usual reaction to Europe’s postwar conversion of concentration camps into memorials and museums, places of atonement and civic education that ask visitors never to forget the Nazi past. But this was not a typical tour — nor was Jamo a typical visitor. This was an effort to sensitize Muslim migrants to the dark history of the country that today offers them asylum. Two years ago, Jamo, 38, fled to Germany from Kobane, a Syrian city occupied by Islamic State militants in late 2014.” [WashPost]

“Russian Court Will Hear Case on Raoul Wallenberg” by Oleg Matsne: “A court in Moscow will hear a lawsuit filed against Russia’s top security agency by relatives of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from death in Nazi extermination camps, a lawyer for the family said on Thursday… Marie Dupuy, Mr. Wallenberg’s niece, is seeking to force the F.S.B. security agency, a successor to the K.G.B., to make public documents that could shed light on his fate. She believes the documents are in the agency’s archive… Ivan Pavlov, Ms. Dupuy’s lawyer, said that predicting the outcome of the case was a “thankless job,” given the Russian government’s reluctance to re-examine the murky elements of the Soviet past.”[NYTimes]

COMING SOON: “Netflix Greenlights Drama Series From ‘Fauda’ Creators, Sets 2nd Project From Duo For Development” by Nellie Andreeva: “Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, whose acclaimed Israeli political thriller series Fauda streams on Netflix, are expanding their relationship with the Internet network in a big way with two English-language drama projects. The first, an untitled terrorism drama, has received a straight-to-series order with Raz also attached to star. The second, a political espionage thriller titled Hit and Run, is currently in development at the internet TV network… Both series will be executive produced by Raz and Issacharoff, along with Peter Principato, Itay Reiss and Kimberlin Belloni from Principato-Young Entertainment. Hit and Run also is exec produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Laurie Zaks.” [Deadline

“Israel, the land of milk and honey _ and now whiskey?” by Ilan Ben Zion: “The country’s first whiskey distillery is preparing to release Israel’s first single malt whiskey. “It’s a young whiskey,” said Eitan Attir, the distillery’s CEO. Attir says the brew is aged for three years and two months in virgin oak and old bourbon barrels at the company’s renovated former bakery in a rugged industrial area of south Tel Aviv… “This is the first ever single malt whiskey that any distillery has released from Israel.” … Milk and Honey was founded in 2013 and began distilling small experimental batches of whiskey a year later. One hundred bottles from their first cask of Single Malt are set to be sold at an online auction starting Aug. 11.” [APReuters]

WINE OF THE WEEK — by Yitz Applbaum: “Great wine has proliferated all over Israel. The quality and variety of superlative wine has increased exponentially over the past 10 years. I just spent two hours with my son, Ariel, walking through the Jerusalem Wine Festival. Even as an avid collector and drinker of Israeli wines, I was blown away. There were magnums of blush-wine flowing like water, I was even exposed to blueberry and blackberry wines. What heavenly bouquets! There were wines from every corner of our beautiful land. Some grapes grown on mountain tops, others in desert valleys. It is hard for me to imagine how I will ever get to taste all of the amazing  new wines coming out of Israel, but tomorrow I will start my journey. Stay tuned for next week’s column where I will review some great new wines from the festival.”

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYVenture capitalist and wine columnist for Jewish Insider, Isaac “Yitz” Applbaum turns 57… Conservative political and cultural commentator for The New York Times, David Brooks turns 56… Massachusetts attorney who is also a co-editor of a number of egalitarian Jewish prayer books, C. Peter R. Gossels turns 87… CEO of CBS Records (1975-1990), Walter Yetnikoff turns 84… 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 76… Baltimore-born billionaire financier and philanthropist, best known as co-founder and co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein turns 68… US Trade Representative, the country’s top trade negotiator (1997-2001), now the chair of the international trade group at WilmerHale, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky turns 67… Senior counsel for benefits and employment at the DC-based law firm of Keightley & Ashner, Linda E. Rosenzweig turns 65… Carolyn Dorfman turns 62… CEO, chairman and major shareholder of the Russian gas company Novatek, reported to be the second wealthiest Russian oligarch ($18.2 billion, per Forbes) Leonid Viktorovich Mikhelson turns 62… 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 60… Former yeshiva student and then IDF tank commander, member of Knesset since 2015 for the Likud party, David “Dudu” Amsalem turns 57… Chief of the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) since May 2016, Nadav Argaman turns 57… Emmy nominated producer at NBC’s Meet the Press, Ilana Marcus Drimmer turns 46… 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 45… Ukrainian-born and San Francisco-raised, a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University with a comparative literature degree, she writes for the New York Times and many other publications, Yelena Shuster turns 30… Medical student in the class of 2018 at University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Sara Ginzberg turns 26 (h/ts Playbook)… Jacob Segal of Standard Management… Daniel Weitz

SATURDAYBillionaire Hungarian-American investor, business magnate, currency trader, philanthropist and political activist, George Soros (born György Schwartz) turns 87… Novelist, playwright and screenwriter, winner of two Academy Awards for his screenplays, William Goldman turns 86… 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 71… Attorney in Ontario, Canada who served as president of the Canadian Jewish Congress (1989-1992), Lester Scheiningerturns 70… US diplomat, Karyn Allison Posner-Mullen turns 66… Director of management operations at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Fredi Bleeker Franks turns 65… Buenos Aires-born, immigrated to Israel at age 18, member of Knesset since 2015 from the Yesh Atid party, Haim Yellin turns 59… British-born Israeli journalist and the founding editor of The Times of Israel, David Horovitz turns 55… Raised in in Santiago, Chile, now Rabbi at Brookline’s Temple Beth Zion, Claudia Kreiman turns 43… SVP for development and communications at NYC’s Educational Alliance, Anya Hoerburger turns 40… Red Banyan Group’s DC principal, Jarad Geldnerturns 34… Customer Success Manager at NYC-based Dynamic Yield, David Fine… Jay Chernikoff… Ariel Applbaum

SUNDAYChair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System since 2014, Janet Yellen turns 71… Long-time DC reporter Trude Feldmanturns 93… Member of the New York State Assembly from Queens (1987-2011) and then the County Clerk of Queens County, Audrey Pheffer turns 76… Retired CPA and senior executive in Los Angeles, now serving as a mentor and volunteer at SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, Morton Algaze turns 74… Board member of the Beverly Hills Synagogue, Ruth Fay Kellerman turns 59… Michael Landau turns 52… President of Accessibility Partners, a Maryland firm that hires people with disabilities for tech jobs, she is also the founder of a non-profit Support the Girls, Dana Marlowe turns 41… Professor of Government at Harvard University, he was the Director of the Harvard Center for Jewish Studies (2012-2015), Eric M. Nelson turns 40… Strategy and projects associate at Nadav Foundation, formerly an associate director of APCO Worldwide, David Angel… Elaine Hall… Jonathan Gerber… Jodie Singer

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PHOTO: REUTERS

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