Sep
14

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Daily Kickoff: Inside Mnuchin’s ‘resistance’ to Trump’s Iran strategy | Watch Paul Ryan’s ‘Shana Tova’ | Fish Fridays in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint

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ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Kushner Says Punishing Palestinians Won’t Hurt Chance for Peace Deal — by Mark Landler: “Speaking on Thursday, 25 years to the day after the Oslo peace accords were signed on the White House lawn… Mr. Kushner said President Trump had actually improved the chances for peace by stripping away the “false realities” that surround Middle East peacemaking… “All we’re doing is dealing with things as we see them and not being scared out of doing the right thing. I think, as a result, you have a much higher chance of actually achieving a real peace.”

“Mr. Kushner… also insisted that the rift between the Palestinians and Washington was not unbridgeable… “In every negotiation I’ve ever been in,” he said, “before somebody gets to ‘yes,’ their answer is ‘no.’” [NYTimes]

U.S. expects some Israeli criticism of parts of coming Mideast plan: envoy — by Matt Spetalnick and Steve Holland: “In an interview with Reuters, Jason Greenblatt… said U.S. negotiators had entered the “pre-launch phase” of the plan… But he declined to specify a time frame… “We’re going to have to defend the plan to Israelis and Palestinians. We are ready for criticism from all sides, but we believe this is the best path forward for everyone,” he said.” [Reuters]

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert at a press briefing: “We’re trying a different approach, seeing if this is going to work. We are committed to it. We have people on the ground who are working to this effort each and every day and we remain optimistic and committed to working on this… We will unveil [the plan] when we are ready to unveil it.”

REPORT — Trump tempts Palestinians back to talks with $5b carrot — by Dan Zaken: “The US is offering the Palestinian Authority $5 billion to return to the negotiating table…  According to diplomats, Trump approved the concept and the amount of the budget – $5 billion from the administration and a similar amount from the European Union and the Persian Gulf states.” [Globes

Jason Greenblatt tweets“Fact: False. When the peace plan is released, if the PA is serious about peace & wants to improve Palestinian lives, the PA should want to review the plan & engage. It is an absurd idea to pay $5b for a party to “return to the negotiating table.” How would that accomplish peace??”

Kushner on U.S. aid to the Palestinians: “Nobody is entitled to America’s foreign aid.” [NYT]

Former Ambassador Martin Indyk writes… “The Day Israeli-Palestinian Peace Seemed Within Reach: Perhaps when Mahmoud Abbas, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Donald Trump leave the scene, it will be time to try again. Perhaps then someone will dig up the video of that magical day in September 1993, when peace seemed within reach, and when an American president promised Israelis and Palestinians “the quiet miracle of a normal life.” [TheAtlantic

TRANSITION — Martin Indyk is joining the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as a distinguished fellow and director of executive education, a new initiative aimed to provide tailored educational offerings to corporate members. Indyk served as the John C. Whitehead Distinguished Fellow in International Diplomacy in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings.

OP — Senator Bernie Sanders writes in an op-ed that it is “hard to imagine that Israel’s Netanyahu government would have moved to pass the recent ‘nation-state law,’ which essentially codifies the second-class status of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, if Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t know Trump would have his back.”

Sanders on Adelson: “Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson gives generously to rightwing causes in both the United States and Israel, promoting a shared agenda of intolerance and illiberalism in both countries.” [TheGuardian]

PALACE INTRIGUE — The day after Bob Woodward’s book — Gabriel Sherman details President Trump’s current state of mind and the people who are paying a price for the bombshell book, based on West Wing and outside sources:

Trump is furious at former economic adviser Gary Cohn… Trump’s relationship with Secretary of Defense James Mattis, which was already strained, has become almost nonexistent… One of the only people Trump continues to trust is Stephen Miller… Ivanka Trump is even worried about impeachment…

Ivanka and Jared Kushner continue to agitate for Trump to replace Chief of Staff John Kelly with a more pliable manager. Ivanka recently asked a friend about Republican political adviser and former lobbyist Wayne Berman… Another name Ivanka has discussed is former federal prosecutor Matt Whitaker, currently serving as Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff. [VanityFair]

INSIDE THE ADMIN — It’s Trump vs. Trumpworld Over North Korea — by Susan Glasser: “In recent days, I spoke with a half-dozen former U.S. government officials and Allied diplomats who have been briefed by Trump Administration officials on the state of play with North Korea since Trump’s Singapore summit with Kim. All acknowledged what one called the “frustratingly slow” progress with the post-Singapore discussions, and described a Trump Administration whose top officials remain deeply skeptical of the course being pursued by the President, with even the usual bureaucratic turf battles being subordinated to the shared concern over Trump’s very public embrace of Kim.” [NewYorker]

Inside Steven Mnuchin’s ‘resistance’ to Trump’s Iran strategy — by Josh Rogin: “Several administration officials claim that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has found another way to “resist” the president’s maximum-pressure strategy on Iran: simply neglect to give the president a document he requested several weeks ago… Following a July 26 Principals Committee meeting on Iran, the Treasury Department was tasked with producing an options memo laying out possible sanctions on SWIFT, its board members or their banks. Almost two months later, the document is missing in action — which prevents Trump from making a decision.”

“Even if SWIFT capitulates, there’s no assurance Iran will negotiate. Trump’s maximum-pressure strategy may fail. But we’ll never know if that’s the case if Trump isn’t able to actually implement maximum pressure, said Richard Goldberg, who wrote the original SWIFT sanctions legislation as an aide to Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). “The only hope for the president’s strategy to succeed is getting SWIFT to disconnect all the Iranian banks,” he said. “And if the Treasury Department waffles one iota on that mission, they are setting the president up for failure.” [WashPost]

President Trump tweets“John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!”

ON THE HILL — The House approved a bipartisan bill yesterday that would elevate the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to the rank of Ambassador (appointed by the President and requiring Senate confirmation) and prohibit the person from being double-hatted with another portfolio of issues. It would also impose a legal limit on the time in which the Administration can continue to leave the post of the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism without a designated appointee. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who co-sponsored the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act in 2004.

Ira Forman, who held the position until the end of President Barack Obama’s term, tells us… “I think this is a good thing. I am particularly happy that Congress made clear that once the legislation is passed that the administration has 90 days to appoint a special envoy. I don’t have any reason to believe that the administration is purposely not doing this, but I think anything that can be done to emphasize the importance of filling this position sooner than later is great. This is an issue that has largely been bipartisan and I hope that it continues to be bipartisan.”

Watch — House Speaker Paul Ryan wishes Politico’s Jake Sherman a “Shana Tova” at the weekly GOP press conference on the Hill [Video]

NEW YORK PRIMARY RESULTS — Governor Andrew Cuomo sailed to victory in his bid for a 3rd term, beating Cynthia Nixon and her anti-establishment ticket by 32 points. Despite ruling out a 2020 presidential run during the primary, Cuomo’s win places him back into the 2020 mix.

Julia Salazar overcomes controversy to notch another victory for democratic socialists: “For the national media, this was a rollercoaster — but through it all, Salazar tried to refocus the campaign on her leftist platform for addressing local issues, particularly the ballooning cost of housing in Brooklyn. It’s a message seems to have resonated, and is more evidence that the socialist left is a force to be reckoned with in the Democratic Party.” [Vox]

Democratic Insurgents Topple 6 New York Senate Incumbents — by Vivian Wang: “The most high-profile casualty was Senator Jeffrey D. Klein of the Bronx, the former head of the I.D.C. In that role, he was for years one of Albany’s most powerful players, sharing leadership of the chamber with his counterparts in the Republican conference and participating in the state’s secretive budget negotiations. But on Thursday, he was defeated by Alessandra Biaggi, a lawyer and former aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.” [NYTimes] • “Klein… did not appear to address supporters at Maestro’s Caterers in Morris Park.” [NorwoodNews]

Simcha Felder Wins District 17 State Senate Race: “Felder sparked outrage among Democrats this year when decided to caucus with Republicans after the disbandment of the Independent Democratic Conference. But ultimately Blake Morris was unable to defeat the well-established Felder, who had the Hasidic community and more than $500,000 in campaign donations behind him.” [Patch]

MIDTERMS — Two Republican Congressmen, Dana Rohrabacher (CA) and Matt Gaetz (FL), were seen with an alleged Holocaust denier this summer, after being criticized in the past for associating with the individual, according to a report by Mother Jones’ David Corn. Charles Johnson, who denied the Holocaust in a 2017 Reddit Ask Me Anything, attended a fundraiser for Gaetz’s reelection campaign held on a yacht in Newport Beach, California, on July 20. Rohrabacher also attended and spoke at the event, according to the report. The fundraiser was hosted by Alfred Balitzer and Rod Wilson, founders of Pacific Research & Strategies Inc. In a June 21 Facebook post, Johnson referred to Rohrabacher as “my friend and adopted congressman.”

— Rohrabacher is facing a tough reelection bid against Democratic challenger Harley Rouda. A newly released New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll shows Rohrabacher and Rouda tied at 45 percent.

2020 WATCH — Michael Bloomberg set to run for Democrats against Trump for presidency in 2020 —by David Charter: “Michael Bloomberg… is preparing to run for president as a Democrat, The Times understands… “Mike Bloomberg told me he is going to run in 2020,” a source said. “He has the money to see it through while other candidates knock themselves out.” [TheTimes

** 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: Josh Luber, Greg Schwartz and Dan Gilbert’s StockX raises $44M from GV and Battery to expand marketplace internationally [TechCrunch] • Steven Mnuchin Asks $32.5 Million for Longtime Manhattan Home [WSJ] • Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor, Always Looks to Grow, Starts Podcast Division [NYT] • Leslie Wexner’s L Brands close down Henri Bendel stores [WSJ]

Spotlight — Michael Steinhardt accused of inappropriate remarks to female Hillel employees: “Billionaire philanthropist Michael Steinhardt is the subject of an internal investigation by Hillel International for making inappropriate sexual remarks to two female employees, The New York Jewish Week reported.” [JTA]

— “Details of Hillel’s investigation remain hazy. Steinhardt’s own attorney, Tom Clare, said in a statement to the Forward that, contrary to the Jewish Week’s reporting, Hillel told him that its investigation was not focused on Steinhardt.” [Forward]

Netanyahu Aide Steps Aside After Sexual Assault Allegations — by David Halbfinger: “It was [David] Keyes’s behavior toward young women that resulted in measures being taken to insulate them from his advances, according to interviews. That is why he was curbed from the Wall Street Journal’s opinion section… in November 2013. The section’s deputy editor at the time, Bret Stephens… said he gave Mr. Keyes a dressing-down, calling him a “disgrace to men” and “a disgrace as a Jew.” On Nov. 2, 2016, after an Israeli reporter began inquiring about Mr. Keyes, Mr. Stephens said he contacted Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, warning him that Mr. Keyes posed a risk to women in Israeli government offices.” [NYTimes]

Eurovision Song Contest Set For Tel Aviv in 2019 — by Robert Mitchell: “The 64th edition of the annual international song competition will be broadcast around the world from the Expo Tel Aviv International Convention Center in Israel with semi-final shows on May 14 and 16, and the final broadcast May 18 next year.” [Variety]

ACROSS THE POND — Labour antisemitism row was created by Israel to distract from ‘atrocities’, trade union boss suggests — by Benjamin Kentish: “Mark Serwotka, who leads the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and is a staunch supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, told a fringe event at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference that the Jewish state could have “created a story that does not exist” in order to distract attention from “atrocities” he said it has committed.” [TheIndependent

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks during a debate on anti-Semitism at the House of Lords: “Anti-Semitism, or any hate, become dangerous when three things happen. First, when it moves from the fringes of politics to a mainstream party and its leadership. Second, when the party sees that its popularity with the general public is not harmed thereby. And three, when those who stand up to protest are vilified and abused for doing so. All three factors exist in Britain now. I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. That is why I cannot stay silent. For it is not only Jews who are at risk. So too is our humanity.” [Video]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — The Algemeiner held it’s 5th annual J100 Gala last night at Capitale in New York City. Honorees at the event included Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, actress Sharon Stone, and Richard and Monique Chera. The publication also announced its annual J100 list of “the top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life.”

SPOTTED: Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan, Einat Dayan, Andrew Gross, Howard Lorber, Dovid and Mushka Efune, Ira and Ingeborg Rennert, Amb. Miroslav Rames, Arthel Neville, Keren Brosh, Malcolm Hoenlein, Ron Agam, Stanley and Cookie Chera, Siggy Flicker, Ross Cameron, Mark Dubowitz, Joan Nathan, Thane Rosenbaum, Ruchie Freier, Winnie Grinspoon, George Klein, Mark Levenson, Bob and Amy Book, Samuel Schear, Ken Kurson, Ofir Dayan, Ben Brafman, Yehuda Meshi Zahav, Jeff Wiesenfeld, Avi Posnick, Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt and Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt.

IDEA — Let’s bring back the Sabbath as a radical act against ‘total work’ — by William Black: “As a boy in late-1940s Memphis, my dad got a nickel every Friday evening to come by the home of a Russian Jewish immigrant named Harry Levenson and turn on his lights, since the Torah forbids lighting a fire in your home on the Sabbath… When taken seriously, the Sabbath has the power to restructure not only the calendar but also the entire political economy. In place of an economy built upon the profit motive – the ever-present need for more, in fact the need for there to never be enough – the Sabbath puts forward an economy built upon the belief that there is enough. But few who observe the Sabbath are willing to consider its full implications, and therefore few who do not observe it have reason to find any value in it.” [Aeon]

DISPATCH — Anshel Pfeffer reports from Rosh Hashanah in Uman, Ukraine: “I realized that I may be standing by the grave of a Hasidic rabbi, in a dreary backwater of what was once the Jewish Pale of Settlement, but most of the Jews surrounding me were not Ashkenazim. They were descended from families who had lived not long ago in the Maghreb, Yemen, Ethiopia, Iran and Iraq and every other non-European diaspora that ever existed. If I was writing for one of the more enlightened American Jewish publications, I would say that a majority of pilgrims at Uman are Jews of color. Jews of every color.” [Haaretz]

DESSERT — For Five Hours on Fridays, Fish Factory Is a Hot Spot — by Charles Passy: “If you visit Acme Smoked Fish’s headquarters in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood on Friday morning, you’ll find a scene that is anything but corporate. This loxapalooza is a weekly event that goes by the formal name Fish Friday… Acme now calls itself the largest producer of smoked fish in the country. The company expects the lines for Fish Friday to be even longer this Friday, which comes a few days before Yom Kippur… Moshe Shmueli, a 32-year-old resident of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, said Fish Friday is about more than a deal. “It’s the atmosphere,” he said.” [WSJ

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says she had ‘a very strange Jewish upbringing’ —by Josefin Dolsten: “I had a very strange Jewish upbringing actually,” Kagan, 58, told journalist Dahlia Lithwick… “You would think Lincoln Square Synagogue, she comes from a Modern Orthodox family. Actually, my family didn’t really know what it was… [We] kept a kosher home so that my grandparents would eat there, but otherwise we were the kind of Jews who kept a kosher home and then went out and ordered shrimp at the Chinese restaurant,” the jurist recalled.” [JTA

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: CEO of MDC Holdings, Chairman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and AIPAC board member, Larry A. Mizel turns 76… Actor, writer and director with a fifty year career in film and TV, first known for his role in the original Star Trek television series, Walter Koenigturns 82… Founder of Vermont-based Kidrobot, a retailer of art toys, apparel and accessories, and Ello, an ad-free social network, Paul Budnitz turns 51… President of Strauss Media Strategies since 1996, during the Clinton administration he became the first-ever White House Radio Director, Richard Strauss turns 49… Managing director at NYC-based corporate communications firm Kekst and Company, he is also a past president of the Young Israel of New Rochelle, Mark A. Semer turns 48…

Comedian, television actor, writer and producer, Elon Gold turns 48… Public relations professional, formerly of ABC News, Courtney Cohen Flantzerturns 40… Staff writer at The Atlantic, Russell Berman turns 35… New York Times metro reporter, Matt Flegenheimer turns 30… Founder and owner of ARA Capital, a British firm with holdings in e-commerce and energy, he is the son of billionaire Roman Abramovich, Arkadiy Abramovich turns 25… Los Angeles based attorney working as a contracts manager at East West Bank, Roxana Pourshalimi… Senior national political reporter for Bloomberg, Jennifer Jacobs… Amy Kauffman

SATURDAY: CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein turns 64… Borscht Belt comedian known as “The Master of Malaprop,” Norm Crosby turns 91… 1969 Nobel Prize laureate in Physics and professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, Murray Gell-Mann turns 89… Professor of Education at Wheelock College in Boston, Diane Levin turns 71… NYC-based composer and multi-instrument musician, Ned Rothenberg turns 62… Former Quantitative research scientist at hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, David Magerman turns 50… NPR’s Media Correspondent, David Folkenflik turns 49…

Vice President of Leadership at Anti-Defamation League, Deborah Leipzigturns 42… Chicago public school teacher, event organizer and fundraiser, Shayla Rosen turns 40… Graduate of The Ohio State University, now a fellow there for the Israel on Campus Coalition, Tomer Elias turns 31… VP of business development at Rockville, Maryland based PW Communications where she has worked to help Israeli firms sell to the U.S. government, Amanda Bresler turns 30… Politico’s New York City education reporter, Eliza Shapiro turns 28…

SUNDAY: Argentinian physician, author of controversial books on gender relations, Esther Vilar (born Esther Katzen) turns 83… Defense policy advisor to Presidents Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 and member of a number of DC based think tanks, Richard Perle turns 77… Montebello, California resident, Jon Olesen turns 74… Founder and CEO of OurCrowd, Jonathan Medvedturns 63… Senior account executive at The Forward, Fern Wallach turns 62… Award winning illusionist, David Copperfield (born David Seth Kotkin) turns 62… Candidate for Congress from Wisconsin in 2018, he was the VP of political affairs and political director for J Street, he is a nephew of former US Senator Herb Kohl, Dan Kohl turns 53…

Rosh Yeshiva of the Modern Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in Riverdale, New York, Rabbi Dov Linzer turns 52… Long-form magazine writer, featured in publications including Politico Magazine, New York Magazine, GQ Magazine and The New Republic, Jason Zengerle turns 45… Israel’s only Olympic Gold medalist (to date), Bronze in Atlanta 1996; Gold in Athens 2004, windsurfer Gal Fridman turns 43… Jerusalem-born founder and chairman of “Over The Rainbow – the Zionist Movement,” a World Zionist Congress faction, Tzvi (Tziki) Avisar turns 40… Associate Director at education consulting firm EAB, she was previously at both Hillel and AIPAC, Suzy Goldenkranz

Sep
13

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Daily Kickoff: 25 years after Oslo | Previewing New York’s primary | Eric Trump’s ‘shekels’ | Michael Milken + stationary bikes | Zuckerberg’s Teruah

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DRIVING THE CONVO — 25 Years After Oslo Accords, Mideast Peace Seems Remote as Ever ― by David Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner: “The Oslo accords, first unveiled on the White House lawn with a handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat on Sept. 13, 1993, culminated in mutual recognition between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization… and the first formal agreements in a phased effort to resolve the century-old conflict… Today, however, the Oslo process is moribund, having produced neither a peace agreement nor a Palestinian state.”

“In hindsight, many analysts say, it was a mistake for the Palestinians to let the Israelis defer talk of core issues of the conflict… until final-status talks… “What they got,” said [Daniel] Kurtzer, who remembers a sinking feeling evident on the faces of some Palestinians at the 1993 ceremony, “was poorly negotiated.” Others question the wisdom of entrusting the P.L.O. with any counterterrorism responsibility early on. “Arafat didn’t do enough to stop terror,” said David Hacham, who represented the Israeli defense ministry in the Oslo process. “Either because he couldn’t, or because he didn’t see it as important enough at the time.” [NYTimes]

‘The Oslo Diaries,’ documentary on the secret talks in the early 1990s that led to the Oslo peace accords, will air tonight on HBO at 8 PM EDT.

SCENE LAST NIGHT — The Washington Institute hosted an advanced screening of the HBO film, followed by a panel with Joel Singer, Ghaith al-Omari and David Makovsky and moderated by Dennis Ross. SPOTTED: Susie Gelman, Esther Kurz, Marvin Feuer, Jonathan Schwartz, Jake Walles, Arthur and Barbara Berger, Dina Gold, Ralph Nurnberger, Wolfgang Pordzik, and Daniel Serwer.

Daniel Levy, who served as an Israeli peace negotiator under Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak, writes… “The Oslo Accords Are Dead, but There Is Still a Path to Peace: On this Oslo anniversary, those who care about Israeli-Palestinian peace should set aside nostalgia for a missed opportunity and think instead about the conditions that once made that tantalizing prospect possible—and which could still be within our reach.” [ForeignPolicy]

Jeff Jacoby writes… “The Oslo handshake, 25 years on: The crowd swooned at the White House that day, but it was Rabin whose instincts were right. He should have trusted his intuition and refused to take that anti-nausea pill. Instead he shook hands with a mass killer, and led his nation into disaster.”[BostonGlobe]

The Washington Institute’s Ghaith Al-Omari: “Why Trump’s Closure of the Palestinian Diplomatic Mission in Washington Could Backfire: While the Palestinians may have so far withstood American pressure, they are back in a situation similar to the pre-Oslo days: despite enjoying the support of many in the international community, they are unable to advance their cause because of the lack of U.S. support.” [Time]

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres: American Power Is in Decline, the World Is ‘in Pieces’ — by Uri Friedman: “Asked whether he is worried about a severe disruption like the United States withdrawing entirely from the United Nations, the secretary-general gave an answer that was noteworthy less for what he said than for what he didn’t say: that such a scenario was unthinkable. “I will do everything possible to avoid it,” he responded.” [TheAtlantic]

REPORT — Israel, Saudi Arabia poised to ink Iron Dome sale: “Saudi Arabia has procured an Israeli-made Iron Dome defense system, the Persian Gulf-based Alkhaleej Online website reported Thursday… According to the report, the deal will be brokered by a third party, most likely the United States.”[IsraelHayom]

Haley says Iran is ‘feeling the pain’ from Trump’s revived sanctions — by Gregg Re: “Iran is “feeling the pain” from the sweeping sanctions revived by President Trump in August, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told Fox News… “They feel weak and we are suffocating them to the point that they have to address ballistic missiles; they have to address their support on terrorism,” Haley told “Special Report” anchor Bret Baier.” [FoxNews] • Iranians Can’t Leave Home, as Sinking Currency Stymies Travel [WSJ]

Bret Stephens writes… “To Thwart Iran, Save Idlib: The Trump administration might still think it can fire off a few cruise missiles and the odd tweet in the face of Assad’s depredations. If so, it will wind up as a midwife to the mullahs’ ambitions, however many sanctions the president might otherwise slap on Tehran.” [NYTimes]

PRIMARY DAY — New York voters will head to the polls today to pick their candidates for the November general election [Vogue

RACES TO WATCH — Governor: Andrew Cuomo, the two-term incumbent, is being challenged by actress and activist Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary for governor. The winner will face Republican Marc Molinaro, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, and independent Stephanie Miner in the fall general election. Recent polls show Cuomo with a comfortable lead. Nonetheless, Nixon is counting on several missteps made by Cuomo’s team over the weekend to have an impact on the results.

Former Cuomo Aide Drafted Language for Inflammatory Anti-Semitism Flier — by Jesse Mckinley: “Lawrence S. Schwartz, the former secretary to the governor, inadvertently signed off on the flier after its language was drafted by David Lobl, a former special assistant to the governor who was volunteering with the re-election campaign, the campaign said… The correspondence, dated Sept. 1, shows Mr. Lobl outlining text that was later replicated almost verbatim on the back side of the mailer.” [NYTimes]

Grace Rauh“A Cynthia Nixon aide tells me the anti-Semitic mailer attacking Nixon seems to have broken through. Aide says they’ve heard from voters who are questioning Nixon’s support of Israel. Mailer appears to be working as intended.”

PIC — Nixon’s Jewish supporters share a cinnamon-raisin-lox bagel outside City Hall after press conference condemning Gov. Cuomo for the anti-Nixon mailer [Pic]

A1 Headline — Cinnamon-Raisin Bagels Face a Schmear Campaign in New York [WSJPic]

Lieutenant governor: Councilman Jumaane Williams, backed by Senator Bernie Sanders, is challenging incumbent Kathy Hochul. If Williams pulls off an upset, he could appear on the same ticket as Cuomo in November.

Attorney General: Public Advocate Letitia James, law professor Zephyr Teachout, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and Leecia Eve are competingfor the seat vacated by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Teachout is backed by Bernie Sanders and The Jewish Vote, a progressive organization. James, the established candidate, is the favorite candidate among Orthodox Jewish voters.

Headline… Eating Matzo Ball Soup with Zephyr Teachout [GQ]

State Senate: Blake Morris, a progressive candidate supported by Nixon, is challenging Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), a 3-term incumbent who caucuses with the Republicans, in the State Senate’s 17th District. Felder has faced criticism within the Democratic Party for holding up the state budget over oversight measures of the yeshiva education system. The Orthodox Jewish community has rallied behind Felder…

Julia Salazar, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, is challenging incumbent State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan in the 18th District. Salazar has faced immense scrutiny over the past few weeks… Zellnor Myrie is challenging incumbent Jesse Hamilton in the 20th District, which includes the Crown Heights Chabad community…

Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), who led the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference, is facing a tough reelection bid in the 34th District, challenged by Alessandra Biaggi, a lawyer who worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, who is being supported by mainstream Democrats…

Ross Barkan, a former journalist at the New York Observer, is running in the Democratic primary in the 22nd District to take on Republican Marty Golden in the fall. Barkan quit the Observer, owned by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, after it was revealed that the then editor in chief, Ken Kurson, helped draft Trump’s speech to AIPAC in 2016.

“When I quit the Observer, I never imagined I’d run for office,” Barkan told Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh in an interview. “It was in no part of my mind. I told people at the time this wasn’t about Trump’s politics, necessarily, though I found them abhorrent, and it wasn’t about the AIPAC conference. It was about the fact that my editor, who was supposed to be keeping this firewall between Jared Kushner, who was helping to run the Trump campaign, and the New York Observer, was breaking that firewall. Just as if my editor had helped Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton write a speech, I would have quit. I felt, how could I work for a publication where the person who is overseeing my reporting is also an active participant in a presidential campaign?”

After he quit the Observer, Barkan freelanced for several local publications. In an opinion piece for City and State NY in 2016, he criticized the City Council’s anti-BDS resolution. Barkan also criticized Israel’s response to the Gaza protests last May. “I do believe you can both be a proud Jew and have criticisms of the government,” he explained. “I am a proud American, and I criticize the American government. Just as Barack Obama and Donald Trump are not infallible, I don’t think Benjamin Netanyahu is infallible. There are a lot of people who feel that no government should be above criticism. That all being said, I am very proud of my Jewish identity, and I take it very seriously. I experienced anti-Semitism myself as a child. Both my parents spent time in Israel, so I know the issue well.”

MIDTERMS — Republican House Candidate: Joe Lieberman only supported Iraq War because he’s Jewish: Jim Hagedorn, the Republican nominee in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District once wrote that former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman supported the Iraq War because he is Jewish. The letters spelling out “Jew or Arab” were bolded in the original post. Hagedorn, who has a history of making incendiary comments on his blog “Mr. Conservative,” was named by the NRCC as one of its “Young Guns” in a fundraising program last week. NRCC chairman Steve Stivers told reporterslast week he was unaware of Hagedorn’s past comments. In a statement to The Daily Beast yesterday, NRCC spokeswoman Maddie Anderson called Hagedorn’s remarks “inappropriate.”

McCain family ‘disappointed’ with GOP attack ads using his words — by James Arkin and Zach Montellaro: “In Michigan, the NRCC’s ad showed [John] McCain criticizing Elissa Slotkin, a former Obama administration official, while she was testifying before a Senate committee in 2014… The ad attacking Slotkin featured McCain telling her she “either don’t know the truth, or you are not telling the truth.” Slotkin is running in Michigan’s 8th district against Republican Rep. Mike Bishop.”

“Democrat Tom Malinowski, who is running in a battleground New Jersey House district, is also running an ad featuring McCain. The ad shows a clip of McCain praising Malinowski for his record opposing torture during Malinowski’s confirmation hearing to be an assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration… Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, criticized Malinowski for using McCain’s praise for political gain… “To wait until the passing of Senator McCain to release a political ad featuring his kind words, and implying support for Malinowski, a claim that McCain is no longer here to refute, is disgusting,” Brooks said.” [Politico]

— Benji Schwartz, Malinowski’s Communications Director: “This is another sad attempt by the RJC to politicize support for Israel — a commitment shared by most Americans of both parties — to distract from their lackluster candidate. The RJC knows that Tom is a strong backer of Israel, and they know Tom and the late Senator McCain had a friendship built upon mutual respect and a dedication to core American values.”

The RJC launched this week a $1 million television and digital ad campaign against Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). The ad, entitled “Roots,” highlightsHeitkamp’s support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. “This issue is important to the RJC, but importantly, it matters to all Americans and North Dakotans who care about national security,” RJC’s Matt Brooks said in a statement.

— Last month, Christian United for Israel (CUFI) launched a six-figure TV campaign urging Heitkamp to support the Iran Hostage Act.

2020 WATCH — Hickenlooper moves closer to 2020 presidential bid — by David Siders: “Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is edging closer to a potential run for president, following what he called an ‘encouraging’ summer mulling a campaign. ‘What I saw was an interest … a genuine interest in terms of what we’ve done in Colorado,’ Hickenlooper said.” [Politico]

ON THE HILL — The House passed yesterday the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, which codifies the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Obama Administration and Israel in 2016. The legislation was introduced by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The Senate’s version passed on August 1.

— In a speech on the House floor, Deutch thanked Ros-Lehtinen for her “ardent and unwavering support for our ally Israel throughout her nearly 3 decades in Congress.” [Video]

The House has postponed a voteon a bipartisan bill that would elevate the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to the rank of Ambassador (appointed by the President and requiring Senate confirmation) and prohibit the person from being double-hatted with another portfolio of issues. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who co-sponsored the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act in 2004.

Republican Rep. Steve King Promotes Another Well-Known White Supremacist On Twitter — by Christopher Mathias: “For the second time in three months, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has promoted the views of a prominent white nationalist on Twitter. In a tweet posted early Wednesday afternoon, King quote-tweeted Lana Lokteff, a host for the white nationalist media outfit Red Ice… In his tweet, King argued incorrectly that Nazis were part of a left-wing movement.” [HuffPost

Eric Trump accused of anti-Semitism after ‘shekels’ remark — by Brent Griffiths: “But don’t you think,” [Eric] Trump said on Fox News, “people look through the fact that you can write a sensational nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president, and it will mean that you sell three extra books and you make three extra shekels, at the behest of the American people, of our country and our president that is doing a phenomenal job by every quantifiable metric — is that really where we are? I think people read through this.”

A number of writers and journalists on social media questioned why Trump would mention “shekels,” seemingly oblivious to the anti-Semitic connotation coming amid the High Holy Days. “Eric Trump said this morning that Bob Woodward made ‘three extra shekels at the behest of the American people’ with his book,” Bill Kristol… wrote… “Is Eric too stupid to know he’s being anti-Semitic?” [PoliticoRawStory]

— “In a brief phone call on Wednesday, Eric Trump declined to comment on his use of the term. “Oh stop, it’s nonsense,” he said.” [WashPost]

Matthew Gertz tweets jokingly: “Very few people know this but the weather machine is coin-operated, three shekels per use.”

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Bob Woodward reacting to Eric Trump’s comments on CNN’s AC360: “I just hope no one would talk like that, frankly… Anyone who talks like that, whether it’s a dog whistle or whatever the intent is, it’s not fitting — I mean, part of the point of this book is that we need to have a serious debate about serious issues, and to use invective rhetoric, or whatever it might be, it sets us back.”

Even Ivanka’s liberal New York haters like her on Instagram — by Annie Karni: “Ivanka Trump’s “likers” include billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry, a major Democratic donor and a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton… “Ivanka and Jared are old friends and I like seeing pictures of her and her kids,” Lasry said. “It has nothing to do with politics, but with being friends with someone for a long time.” Even so, those “likes” from Democrats have become a point of fascination among those in her old Manhattan social set. “There is a cocktail party game where everyone opens Ivanka’s pictures to see who in their contact list liked a photo,” said one major New York socialite. “It’s always a surprise.” … David Geffen, known as one of Hollywood’s biggest Democratic donors, “liked” a photo of the Kushner family gathered at Blair House during inauguration weekend in 2017.” [Politico]

SIGHTINGS: Ivanka Trump was spotted lunching with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) yesterday in the Senate Dining Room. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) hosted Jared Kushner for dinner with House Republicans at Joe’s on 15th Street. [Playbook]

Ann Coulter Daydreams About Trump Whacking Jared Kushner —by Lloyd Grove: “If Trump realized that Jared Kushner was ruining his presidency and shot him, and then he fired the U.S. attorney investigating the crime, that would be a textbook case of obstruction of justice,” Coulter writes [in her new book, Resistance Is Futile! How the Trump-Hating Left Lost Its Collective Mind]… “But Trump hasn’t shot Kushner, and he probably won’t, since he doesn’t even realize that Kushner is wrecking his presidency.”[DailyBeast

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Why CBS’s Board Turned Against Leslie Moonves [NYTimes] • Viacom CEO Bob Bakish Avoids CBS Talk, Trumps Paramount Turnaround [HollywoodReporter] • At Campbell Soup, Heirs Hold the Key as Activist Daniel Loeb Tries to Remake Board [WSJ] • Tamir Sapir failed to report $194M from partial sale of 11 Madison: IRS [TheRealDeal] • WeWork shells out $100 million for a software startup called Teem [TechCrunch] • Jacob Weisberg Leaves Slate to Join Malcolm Gladwell in Podcast Venture[NYTimes] • Roman Abramovich’s UES megamansion is for ex Dasha Zhukova [NYPostDailyMail]

Florida mansion used to host political fundraisers asks $8M — by Jennifer Gould Keil: “A posh Palm Beach County manse once used to host fundraisers for American presidential candidates, including the late Sen. John McCain, is now on the market for $7.99 million. Former owner Lothar Mayer, the 87-year-old ex-president of Liberty Hardware Manufacturing, hosted parties that were also attended by Democrats, like former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Joe Lieberman.” [NYPost]

SPOTLIGHT — Bike Maker Peloton Claims Flywheel Copied Its Technology — by Sara Randazzo: “Peloton claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas, that Flywheel… created a copycat of Peloton’s bike using the company’s proprietary patents… The alleged scheme to copy the technology includes a cameo from Michael Milken… At a conference for high-net-worth investors, Mr. Milken approached Peloton Chief Executive John Foley as a potential investor “and pressed for—and obtained—information from Foley about Peloton’s technology and business strategy,” according to the lawsuit.”

Peloton, represented by Hueston Hennigan LLP, alleges Mr. Milken didn’t disclose a multimillion-dollar investment he had made in Flywheel and that Mr. Milken passed on the information to the competitor. A representative for Mr. Milken, who isn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit, said “any claim that he acted improperly is totally without merit.” [WSJ]

LongRead — Where in the World Is Larry Page? — by Mark Bergen and Austin Carr: “Page has long been reclusive, a computer scientist who pondered technical problems away from the public eye, preferring to chase moonshots over magazine covers. Unlike founder-CEO peers (Mark Zuckerberg comes to mind), he hasn’t presented at product launches or on earnings calls since 2013, and he hasn’t done press since 2015.”

“He leaves day-to-day decisions to Pichai and a handful of advisers. But a slew of interviews in recent months with colleagues and confidants, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were worried about retribution from Alphabet, describe Page as an executive who’s more withdrawn than ever, bordering on emeritus, invisible to wide swaths of the company. Supporters contend he’s still engaged, but his immersion in the technology solutions of tomorrow has distracted him from the problems Google faces today.”

“People who know him say he’s disappearing more frequently to his private, white-sand Caribbean island… Along with Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who’s now Alphabet’s president, Page even occasionally holds court at the company’s weekly all-hands “TGIF” meetings at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. He sometimes fields questions from employees… Page has reached a point where he takes on only rare projects that deeply fascinate him, like the sci-fi pursuits at X, Alphabet’s secretive research lab.” [Bloomberg]

Leaked video: Google Leadership’s Dismayed Reaction to Trump Election — by Allum Bokhari: “The video is a full recording of Google’s first all-hands meeting following the 2016 election… It features co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, VPs Kent Walker and Eileen Naughton, CFO Ruth Porat, and CEO Sundar Pichai… Co-founder Sergey Brin can be heard comparing Trump supporters to fascists and extremists. Brin argues that like other extremists, Trump voters were motivated by “boredom,” which he says in the past led to fascism and communism.” [BreitbartAxios]

INTERVIEW — Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? The most famous entrepreneur of his generation is facing a public reckoning with the power of Big Tech — by Evan Osnos: “I asked Zuckerberg about his aversion to opening up. “I’m not the most polished person, and I will say something wrong, and you see the cost of that,” he said. “I don’t want to inflict that pain, or do something that’s going to not reflect well on the people around me… In an alternate world where there weren’t the compounding experiences that I had, I probably would have gotten more comfortable being more personal, and out there, and I wouldn’t have felt pushback every time I did something. And maybe my persona, or at least how I felt comfortable acting publicly, would shift.”

“In one of our conversations, I asked Zuckerberg whether he finds it insulting when people speculate that he lacks emotions. “Insulting?” he asked, and then paused for several seconds to consider. “I don’t find it insulting. I don’t think it’s accurate. I mean, I definitely care a lot. There’s a difference between letting emotions drive impulsive decisions and caring.” [NewYorker] • Mark Zuckerberg posts 3,200-word battle plan to fight election meddling[FastAndCompany]

Watch — Zuckerberg blowing a several-foot-long shofar on Rosh Hashanah.”I got a little carried away on my Teruah,” Zuckerburg wrote. [Video]

Netanyahu Shared Fake News About Soros. Now He and Facebook Have to Answer to the Court —by Nati Tucker: “Netanyahu and Facebook will have to explain why they allowed the spread of a false story on Netanyahu’s Facebook page that claimed – falsely and misleadingly – that billionaire George Soros was cooperating with the Iranian regime. The lawsuit was filed in Tel Aviv District Court by attorney Shachar Ben-Meir… Ben-Meir is demanding that the court issue a declaratory order stating that Netanyahu’s account did distribute false news, and that it therefore order Facebook to reduce exposure to the post significantly.” [Haaretz]

12 women cite pattern of improper behavior by PM’s aide Keyes — by Raphael Ahren: “A total of 12 women have accused David Keyes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson to the foreign media, of inappropriate behavior toward them and other women… Several sources, furthermore, have said that Keyes’s alleged improper behavior toward women, which took place before he was appointed Netanyahu’s spokesman in 2016, was so well-known that he was asked to stay away from certain offices that he used to frequent in New York.” [ToI] • Israeli lawmaker asks PM to suspend aide accused of assault [AP]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Nazis Stole His Renoir. His Granddaughter Finally Got It Back — by James Barron: “The canvas, painted by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in the last year of his life, had belonged to Alfred Weinberger, a Parisian collector and dealer who was Jewish… Mr. Weinberger’s granddaughter and only heir, Sylvie Sulitzer, had never seen it — until Wednesday, when the painting, “Two Women in a Garden,” became the centerpiece of an emotional ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan… Among the officials were William F. Sweeney Jr., the head of the F.B.I.’s New York office, and Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan, who said before the ceremony that the outcome “brings some measure of justice to the Weinberger family and to Madame Sulitzer.”[NYTimes]

California transit agency allows ad from Holocaust denial group — by Sam Levin: “Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) officials defended their decision to allow ads for the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has classified as a hate group that aims to “defend Nazism” and spread Holocaust denial propaganda. The electronic billboards, which say “History Matters!” and provide the name of the California-based organization, are in rotation at two Bart stations in San Francisco.” [TheGuardian]

Paul McCartney: ‘Hey Jude’ isn’t about the Jews — by Amy Spiro: “Paul McCartney had no idea anybody would associate the now iconic Beatles song “Hey Jude” with the Jews. That was, until he got a very angry phone call… The song, he said, was originally going to be called Hey Jules, for John Lennon’s son Julian. But later, McCartney decided he preferred the name Jude instead. “I didn’t realize it meant Jewish,” the singer said in the video published on Monday… One day in 1968, McCartney said, “I got this furious phone call from this guy, Mr. Leon, who was Jewish, he said: ‘What are you doing, how dare you do this.'” The singer added that “in Hitler’s day, in the Nazi thing, ‘Juden raus’ meant Jews out. And I didn’t connect.” [JPost]

BIRTHDAYS: Television executive who held high level programming positions at CBS, ABC and NBC, Fred Silverman turns 81… Chairman of global brokerage at CBRE, Stephen Siegel turns 74… Senior investigative reporter at The Daily Caller News Foundation, Richard Pollock turns 67… CEO of The Mellman Group, a polling and consulting firm whose clients include leading political figures and Fortune 500 companies, Mark S. Mellman turns 63… Ice dancer, who, with her partner Michael Seibert, won the 1981 and 1985 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Judy Blumberg turns 61… CEO at Civil Media Foundation, she was formerly CEO of NPR (2009-2011), SVP at NBC News (2011-2014) and head of news partnerships at Twitter (2014), Vivian Schiller turns 57… Comedian who earned the title “Roastmaster General” for his Comedy Central celebrity roasts, Jeff Ross (born Jeffrey Ross Lifschultz) turns 53…

Attorney General of North Carolina since January 2017, he was previously a member of the North Carolina Senate (2009-2016), Joshua “Josh” Steinturns 52… Member of the Los Angeles City Council since 2013, he was previously a member of the California State Assembly (2008-2013), Robert J. Blumenfield turns 51… Founder of United Hatzalah of Israel, Eli Beer turns 45… Attorney, triathlete and director of Maryland government and community relations at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, Meredith Mirman Weisel turns 43… Member of the Colorado House of Representatives since 2012, Jonathan Singer turns 39… Senior analyst at progressive polling and strategic firm Lake Research Partners, Gary Ritterstein turns 35… David Behmoaras turns 27… Founder and president of Reshet Capital, she is also the co-founder of Supersonas, an Israeli women’s business network in NYC, Betty Grinstein… Encino, California resident, Orrie Wilner

Sep
12

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Daily Kickoff: Education Dept. to now use State Dept’s anti-Semitism definition | Bob Woodward book details Saudi summit | Cynthia Nixon on BDS

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Over the Rosh Hashanah holiday… The White House shut down the PLO office in DC… National Security Advisor John Bolton threatened the International Criminal Court in Hague with sanctions… Les Moonves resignedfrom CBS… Andrew Cuomo aides were revealed to be pitching BDS-related stories against Cynthia Nixon. The Cuomo campaign blamed a mailer tying Nixon to anti-Semitism on a constituency representative… New York tax investigators met with Michael Cohen’s attorney, defying federal prosecutors’ request… Trump aide Stephen Miller was slammed by his childhood rabbi in Rosh Hashana sermon… Iran’s nuclear chief warned in an interview that Iran will increase uranium enrichment to 20 percent if the nuclear deal falls apart…

TOP TALKER — Trump administration adopts new definition of anti-Semitism in schools — by Michael Stratford: “The Trump administration is changing how the Education Department investigates allegations of discrimination against Jewish students, backing an approach that is favored by pro-Israel groups but that critics worry will stifle free speech on campus. The policy change was outlined in a letter last month by Kenneth Marcus, who leads the department’s Office for Civil Rights… Marcus wrote in the letter that the Education Department, in its investigations into discrimination, would adopt the “working definition” of anti-Semitism that is “widely used by governmental agencies” including the State Department.”[Politico]

— Flashback: In December of 2016, the Senate unanimously passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act to expand the Department of Education’s definition of anti-Semitism. However, the House bill, sponsored by Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), was stalled in the Judiciary Committee after Republican Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte voiced concerns with the legislation. [JewishInsider]

— Context: Education Dept. Reopens Rutgers Case Charging Discrimination Against Jewish Students — by Erica Green: “The new head of civil rights at the Education Department has reopened a seven-year-old case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University… In a letter to the Zionist Organization of America… Kenneth Marcus informed ZOA that he would specifically be reviewing one of the three allegations made in its 2011 complaint, which said that a liberal, pro-Palestinian group, Belief Awareness Knowledge and Action, imposed an admissions fee on Jewish and pro-Israeli students who attended an event called “Never Again for Anyone.” [NYTimes]

— Noah Pollak points out“[The Belief Awareness Knowledge and Action group] is not a “liberal, pro-Palestinian group.” It’s a [Students for Justice in Palestine] cutout that promotes BDS, endorses terrorism, and calls for the destruction of Israel.”

— Lahav Harkov also criticized the NYTimes story: “This is appalling. NYT positions itself against the IHRA definition of antisemitism IN ITS REPORTING not even in an opinion piece. (Plus, this reporter is totally ignorant of the precedents of Title VI applying to discrimination vs religions)”

From a profile of Mark Zuckerberg in this week’s New Yorker by Evan Osnos: “Zuckerberg’s solution was to ban “hate speech” and impose lesser punishments for “misinformation,” a broad category that ranged from crude deceptions to simple mistakes. Facebook tried to develop rules about how the punishments would be applied, but each idiosyncratic scenario prompted more rules, and over time they became byzantine. According to Facebook training slides published by the Guardian last year, moderators were told that it was permissible to say “You are such a Jew” but not permissible to say “Irish are the best, but really French sucks,” because the latter was defining another people as “inferiors.” [NewYorker]

‘NO DAYLIGHT’ — U.S. Pressure on Palestinians Raises Middle East Tension — by Michael Gordon and Felicia Schwartz: “The move to shut the PLO office is the latest in a series of steps by the administration that appear to be moving away from the 1993-95 Oslo accords… Dennis Ross… said that “if the administration has an interest in somehow reaching out to Palestinians in advance of presenting its peace plan, its recent steps…will surely make that task much more difficult.” [WSJ] • Max Boot: Trump’s bear hug risks crushing Israel [WashPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert at a press briefing: “The office could reopen in the future. They could, but we would certainly like them to take some meaningful steps in that direction of advancing peace.”

VIEW FROM RAMALLAH — Palestinians to Consider Severing Israel Ties, Erekat Says — by Abbas Al Lawati: “The Palestinian Authority vowed to reconsider its cooperation with Israel… Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat told reporters in Ramallah that the full range of political, economic and security ties would be reassessed in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision on Monday to shut the Palestinian mission in Washington.”[Bloomberg]

“Trump Shutters the Palestinian Diplomatic Mission — and Middle East Peace” — by Robin Wright: “During the first ten months of the Trump Administration, the top Palestinian diplomat in Washington, Husam Zomlot, was summoned to the White House every two or three days, he told me. He spent many hours with Jared Kushner… I reached Zomlot by phone on Monday, in Ramallah, the West Bank capital, in between crisis meetings with the Palestinian leadership… “The peace process as we knew it has definitely just received a lethal bullet to its heart,” he told me. “This Administration is using bullying as a tactic and trying to blackmail us.” He called the U.S. announcement “a reckless act in blind execution of Israel’s wish list that started with Jerusalem.” [NewYorkerWSJ]

REPORT — Abbas to ‘Personally Insult’ Trump in UN Speech: “PA sources told Channel Ten that Abbas “plans a very critical speech at the end of September and will place the blame for the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East on Trump personally. He plans on using very undiplomatic language, to say the least,” the sources said.” [News10Hamodia]

Washington Post’s Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash talk to 25-year-old Israelis and Palestinians on the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords signing ceremony. [WashPost]

Aaron David Miller writes… “25 years ago this week, Mideast peace seemed inevitable. Now it’s further away than ever: This week on the 25th anniversary of the Oslo agreement, U.S. hopes and dreams of Arab-Israeli peacemaking lie broken and shattered. The Trump administration has shed any pretense of being an honest or effective broker.” [USAToday]

— How This Brooklyn-Based Artist is Transforming Palestinian Folk Art — by Rebecca Bengal: “Since his first solo American show at Los Angeles gallery Anat Ebgi last year, [Jordan] Nassar has been embraced by collectors and curators on both sides of the Middle East divide and globally. He’s currently making work for upcoming exhibitions at the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv and the Third Line in Dubai, and he has just been announced as one of 16 finalists for the Museum of Arts and Design’s inaugural Burke Prize for contemporary craft…” [WSJ]

NOW AVAILABLE ― Excerpts of Bob Woodward’s new book titled Fear: Trump in the White House — When Derek Harvey, Trump’s top Middle East adviser on the National Security Council, warned the White House about the threat from Hezbollah (Chapter 14): “Harvey went to see Jared Kushner, who had a small office adjacent to the Oval Office. Kushner sat back, crossed his legs and listened to Harvey’s case. Harvey’s number one worry in the Middle East was Hezbollah… Hezbollah was a perfect proxy for Iran to use to pressure and attack Israel, whose air bases could be pummeled with rockets. Israel’s defenses of Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow missiles would be inadequate. Harvey argued there was potential for a catastrophic war, with immense humanitarian, economic and strategic consequences.”

“In the summer, the Israeli ambassador to Washington (Ron Dermer) and its national security adviser wanted Harvey to come to Israel. McMaster said Harvey couldn’t go, though he gave no reason. In early July, Harvey arranged to meet with senior intelligence officials from Mossad, military intelligence, and representatives from the Israeli Air Force and Army. McMaster, angry with Harvey, would not let him move forward.”

Harvey and Kushner thought Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, his first trip overseas, and arms deal would benefit Israel: “Making Saudi Arabia the first presidential trip could go a long way to signaling that the Trump administration had new priorities. It was also very attractive to Harvey that the president’s first trip might be to his region because all the other senior NSC staffers would be clamoring to have the first trip in theirs. A summit in Saudi Arabia would also benefit Israel… Harvey knew to focus rigorously on such a suggestion from Kushner, who was obviously not just another senior presidential adviser…”

“Harvey was as well connected as any intelligence officer to Israeli intelligence and knew that Kushner had established his own connections there… Kushner told Harvey he had important and reliable intelligence that the key to Saudi Arabia was the deputy crown prince, the charismatic 31-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS… When McMaster learned of Kushner’s Saudi summit idea, he asked Harvey nervously, ‘Who’s pushing this? Where’s it coming from?'”

“Kushner said that if the United States was going to stay engaged in the region, they needed to help the Saudis and Israelis succeed. The president was not going to continue paying the bills for U.S. defense in the Middle East when the primary beneficiaries were the countries in the region, according to Kushner… Get the Saudis to buy more, Kushner said. If they bought weapons systems, it would help the U.S. economy and job creation… At times the Saudis were not delivering enough on contracts or arms purchases. ‘I’ll make a phone call,’ Kushner said to Harvey. He phoned MBS directly and the Saudis increased their arms purchases… Trump finally gave the go-ahead and the trip to both Saudi Arabia and Israel was announced on Thursday, May 4… Harvey believed the summit had reset the relationships in a dramatic way, a home run.”

Rex Tillerson lobbied Trump to certify Iran deal: “When [Reince] Priebus briefed Trump on Tillerson’s proposal, the president retorted, ‘You aren’t going to jam this down my throat!’ Priebus ran shuttle diplomacy between the president and the secretary of state. ‘They’re not in violation,’ Tillerson said… Tillerson went to see the president. ‘This is one of my core principles,’ Trump said. ‘I’m not in favor of this deal. This is the worst deal that we have ever made, and here we are renewing this deal.’ Since it was only for 90 days, he would go along. ‘This is the last time. Don’t come back to me and try to renew this thing again. There’s going to be no more renewals. It’s a shitty deal.’ Mattis found a diplomatic, quieter way to agree with Tillerson. ‘Well, Mr. President,’ Mattis said, ‘I think they are probably in technical compliance.'”

“Priebus and Tillerson and McMaster made sure they were “calendaring”—as they say in the White House—when the next 90-day renewal would come up. ‘They’re in violation,’ Trump said in a meeting before the July 17 deadline, ‘and you need to figure out how the argument is going to be made to declare that.’ One day Tillerson came to the dining room next to the Oval Office to see Trump and Priebus and explain to the president again that there was no violation. ‘They are in violation,’ Trump insisted, ‘and you should make the case that this agreement is done and finished.’ … CIA Director Pompeo did not disagree with Tillerson’s arguments on Iran and the reality of the Iran deal, but he, like Mattis, handled it more softly with the president… ‘I’m never signing one of these recertifications again,’ Trump said. ‘I can’t believe I’m signing this one. There’s no way you’re going to get me to sign another one.'” (Chapter 16)

NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY RESULTS: Levi Sanders, the son of Senator Bernie Sanders, and former Obama administration official Maura Sullivan fell short in their respective bids for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District. The winner of the Democratic primary, Chris Pappas, will face off against Republican Eddie Edwards for the toss-up seat of retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).

MIDTERMS — Peter Roskam and Democratic challenger face off in debate over past comments —  by Mary Ann Ahern: “In one of the most closely watched congressional races in the country — Republican incumbent Peter Roskam and Democrat Sean Casten clashed over President Donald Trump in their debate at the Daily Herald Monday… “He’s compared the president of the United States to Osama bin Laden, he said there are Nazis that are working in the White House,” Roskam said. “Peter has taken a number of things out of context and I don’t claim to remember everything that I’ve ever tweeted,” Casten responded.” [NBCChicago]

NEW YORK PRIMARIES — New York voters will go to the polls on Thursday to select Democratic and Republican nominees for statewide offices.

Over the weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is running for a 3rd term, came under fire for a mailer — aimed to boost turnout among Jewish voters — that suggested his challenger Cynthia Nixon supports the BDS movement and would turn a blind eye towards anti-Semitism. Cuomo later distanced himself from the mailer and his campaign identified the creator as “an individual helping the campaign on constituency outreach.”

Nixon called the mailer “deeply offensive” and demanded an apology. “To use this in this nasty and untruthful way — it’s really Trumpian,” she said in an interview. The NYTimes, which had endorsed Cuomo’s reelection, called on Cuomo to apologize and “describe Ms. Nixon as a worthy opponent who abhors anti-Semitism.”

CYNTHIA NIXON ON BDS — On BDS, Nixon says she’s not a supporter but supports the rights of those who are — by Jacob Kornbluh: “I am not a supporter of BDS, I have never been a supporter of BDS,” Nixon proclaimed at a press conference on Sunday. “I am a supporter of a two-state solution… I do not personally support BDS, but I support the right of those who do to speak about it.” Nixon indicated to Jewish Insider that she would revoke Cuomo’s executive order on BDS because it is “trampling on people’s civil liberties.”

Nixon also told us she stands by her 2010 support of Israeli artists for boycotting a performance in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. “My signing of the letter had nothing to do with the appropriateness or inappropriateness of performing there,” Nixon explained. “It had to do with the protection of Israeli artists. It was a letter that was signed by a 150 English and American artists.”[JewishInsider]

Attorney General candidate Zephyr Teachout, competing in a four-way Democratic primary to replace former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s seat, was endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders on Monday. Teachout will hold a campaign event with House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outside a Kushner Co. building in Long Island City this afternoon.

Real estate and insurance firms tout AG candidate to Jewish voters — by Will Bredderman: “A new business-backed political action committee hopes to convince religious Jews that supporting Letitia James for attorney general is a mitzvah.” [CrainsNewYork]

This Week in Julia Salazar: She had a trust fund, her ancestors were Catholic elites, and she has a new version of her conversion story — by Garance Franke Ruta: “Interviews with [Salazar] and with Jewish religious leaders show her story about converting to Reform Judaism could not have happened as she has described it to multiple reporters, because the person she now says guided her conversion process was not an ordained rabbi and also was, in any case, not affiliated with Columbia University the year she initially said she converted through the Columbia/Barnard Hillel… And she now says, for the first time, that she was certified by a beit din, though she has no record of it. “I just did not keep my records,” she told me.” [NYMag] • This Is the Story of How a Campaign Goes Off the Rails [RollingStone]

— Netanyahu Spokesman Denies Sexual Assault Claim by N.Y. State Senate Candidate Julia Salazar — by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “Julia Salazar… publicly accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign media spokesman, David Keyes, on Tuesday of sexually assaulting her in 2013. Keyes denied the claims to Haaretz… On Tuesday evening, Keyes once again denied Salazar’s charges, telling Haaretz, “This false accusation is made by someone who has proven to be repeatedly dishonest about her own life. This is yet another example of her dishonesty.” [Haaretz

HAPPENING TODAY — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will meet with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in New York.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — Awaiting Sentencing, Cohen Grapples with Trump’s Good Luck — by Emily Jane Fox: “Caught in limbo as he awaits sentencing, Michael Cohen spent a reflective Rosh Hashanah weekend with family in Long Island… Cohen no longer has an office to go to each day, or clients to call… Under the conditions of his bail, he is permitted to leave the Southern or Eastern Districts of New York only to go to Florida, where some members of his family live, or to Illinois, where he has some business, and to Washington, D.C.” [VanityFair]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Blackstone Agrees to $500 Million NYC Apartment Deal [Bloomberg] • Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities just put a huge Coney Island assemblage on the market [TheRealDeal] • Bryan Goldberg and his Bustle Digital Group will relaunch gossip blog Gawker in 2019 [NYPost] • Prying inside Alex Sapir’s real estate empire [TheRealDeal] •  Boston investor Seth Klarman is top donor to pro-transgender equality group [Bizjournals] • Volkswagen Trial Offers Hedge Funds a Chance to Settle Old Scores [NYTimes] • The Incredible Shrinking Hedge Fund [Bloomberg

STARTUP NATION — Drone delivers food and drinks at North Dakota golf course — by Scott Gleeson: “The company providing the drones is FlyTrex, an Israeli start-up which has already found success in the food delivery business in Iceland this year. For the drones to be a permanent fixture at the golf course, they’d need an FAA permit… However, the open spaces provided by a golf course make an ideal test market, CEO Yariv Bash told CNN.” [USAToday]

C-SUITE — With Leslie Moonves out, Shari Redstone emerges the winner in the fight over control of CBS — by Meg James: “In one dramatic swoop, CBS announced the departure of longtime CEO Leslie Moonves amid a widening sexual harassment scandal, installed an acting CEO and announced six new members to its board. Gone were the old-timers, friends of Sumner Redstone, who were some of Moonves’ strongest allies… Not mentioned in CBS’ statement was that Shari Redstone… was deeply involved in the group’s selection…

“This may look like a compromise resolution at first blush, but it’s not,” Los Angeles investment banker Lloyd Greif said. “Shari won this round — big. Les Moonves must feel like he got run over by an 18-wheeler.” The retirement of long-serving board members and Moonves’ resignation handed Redstone a major victory and could eventually strengthen her influence in shaping the future of the storied media company that her family controls.” [LATimes] • Strauss Zelnick Among New CBS Board Members [Variety]

A Top Goldman Banker Raised Ethics Concerns. Then He Was Gone — by Emily Flitter, Kate Kelly and David Enrich: “James C. Katzman, a Goldman partner and the leader of its West Coast mergers-and-acquisitions practice, dialed the bank’s whistle-blower hotline in 2014 to complain about what he regarded as a range of unethical practices… Senior investment-banking executives at the firm — including David M. Solomon, now Goldman’s incoming chief executive — urged Mr. Katzman to move past his complaints… Mr. Katzman refused. In 2015, he left Goldman and was required to sign a confidentiality agreement that he believed prevented him from sharing his concerns with board members or regulators… Goldman’s board will be briefed on his interactions with Mr. Katzman at its scheduled board meeting on Thursday, said two people who have been briefed on the plans.” [NYTimes]

MEDIA WATCH — The Atlantic’s new cover: “Is Democracy Dying?” — by Brian Stelter: “The Atlantic is rolling out this special issue on Wednesday and Thursday… The mag says “the editors have assembled some of the top voices on law, race, history, and the constitution, to look at the slow-motion crisis to democracy in America, and what can be done to right the ship.” Among the contributors: Justice Stephen Breyer, Anne Applebaum, Ibram X. Kendi, Amy Chua, Yoni Appelbaum, and Jeffrey Rosen.” [ReliableSourcesTheAtlantic]

LongRead: The real Goldfinger: the London banker who broke the world — by Oliver Bullough: “The main buyers of these bonds were individuals, usually from eastern Europe but often also from Latin America, who wanted to have part of their fortune in mobile form so that if they had to leave they could leave quickly with their bonds in a small suitcase,” Fraser wrote in his autobiography. “There was still a mass migration of the surviving Jewish populations of central Europe heading for Israel and the west.”[TheGuardian]

TALK OF THE TOWN: Nazi Collaborator or National Hero? A Test for Lithuania — by Andrew Higgins: “For the tiny village of Sukioniai in western Lithuania, the exploits of General Storm, a local anti-Communist hero executed by the Soviet secret police in 1947, have long been a source of pride… All along, though, there have been persistent whispers that General Storm, whose real name was Jonas Noreika, also helped the Nazis kill Jews. But these were largely discounted as the work of ill-willed outsiders serving a well-orchestrated campaign by Moscow to tar its foes as fascists. Blaming Russian propaganda, however, has suddenly become a lot more difficult thanks to Mr. Noreika’s own granddaughter, Silvia Foti, a Lithuanian-American from Chicago who has spent years researching a biography of her revered relative and went public in July with her shocking conclusion: Her grandfather was a fierce anti-Semite and Nazi collaborator.” [NYTimes

HEARD ON ROSH HASHANAH — Key Trump aide Stephen Miller condemned by childhood rabbi — by Andrew Gumbel: “Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels of Beth Shir Shalom, a progressive reform synagogue in the beachside city of Santa Monica where Miller grew up, devoted his sermon marking the Jewish New Year to a striking denunciation of Miller… “Honestly, Mr. Miller, you’ve set back the Jewish contribution to making the world spiritually whole through your arbitrary division of these desperate people,” the rabbi said. “The actions that you now encourage President Trump to take make it obvious to me that you didn’t get my, or our, Jewish message.” … Rabbi Comess-Daniels found a receptive audience, which greeted his words with rapturous applause.” [TheGuardianNYDailyNews

FASHION WEEK — At a Celeb-Filled 50th Anniversary Show, Ralph Lauren Was Back on Top, Doubters Be Damned — by Jacob Gallagher: “Mr. Lauren’s Friday night Central Park soirée on the second night of New York Fashion Week was a celluloid dream-scene come to life. Attendees included actors (Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Pierce Brosnan, Jessica Chastain), Grammy winners (Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen) and corporate titans (Barry Diller, Martha Stewart).” [WSJ]

SPORTS SCENE — Djokovic Has Schwarzman’s Support as Billionaires Gather at U.S. Open — by Gillian Tan: “Novak Djokovic clinched his third U.S. Open and 14th major crown Sunday night… The three-hour match was witnessed by a crowd of more than 23,000 — including billionaires from Wall Street and Silicon Valley… Dotted across suites and lower-bowl of the stadium were KKR & Co.’s Henry Kravis, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, actress Meryl Streep and art curator Vito Schnabel, seated next to Wendi Deng… Decked out in several layers, Blackstone Group’s Stephen Schwarzman said before the match that he was pulling for Djokovic.” [Bloomberg]

Karlie Kloss Says She’s ‘Chosen to Be With’ Josh Kushner ‘Despite the Complications’ From His Trump Ties —by Alyssa Bailey: “[Kloss] would not confirm or deny rumors she is converting to Orthodox Judaism for him the way Ivanka did before marrying his brother. “At the end of the day, I’ve had to make decisions based on my own moral compass—forget what the public says, forget social media,” she said of the relationship’s strings generally. “I’ve chosen to be with the man I love despite the complications.”[ElleVogue]

TRANSITION: Former VA chief, fired by Trump, to serve as Sanford’s chief innovation officer — by Patrick Springer: “David Shulkin, a physician whom President Donald Trump tapped to head health care for veterans and later fired, will serve as Sanford Health’s chief innovation officer. Shulkin’s portfolio will put him in charge of Sanford’s research, clinical genetic medicine, Profile weight loss and world clinic programs.”[GrandForksHerald]

DESSERT: Philly region gets its first all-kosher supermarket — by Kristin Holmes: “House of Kosher, on Bustleton Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia, is believed to be the first major all-kosher supermarket in the region… Having such an expansive store — 13,000 square feet and about to grow — “is a big thing,” said [Yael] Tkachuk, showing off the fish head she purchased for a ceremonial dinner plate to be displayed during the High Holidays.” [Philly]

BIRTHDAYS: 20-term Democratic Congressman (served in office from 1975-2015) from Los Angeles, Henry Waxman turns 79… 2017 Nobel Prize laureate in Economics, University of Chicago behavioral economist, Richard H. Thaler turns 73… Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama White House (2014-2017), he was previously Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky (2011-2014) and mayor of Louisville (1986-2011), Jerry Abramson turns 72… US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, he was Governor of Kansas (2011-2018) and a US Senator (1996-2011), Sam Brownback turns 62… Miami based Chairman of American Principles Super PAC, Eytan Laor turns 59… Internet entrepreneur and a pioneer of VoIP telephony, Jeff Pulver turns 56…

Attorney specializing in the recovery of looted artworks during the Holocaust and featured in the 2015 film “Woman in Gold,” E. Randol (Randy) Schoenberg turns 52… Sherri Jankowski turns 51… Author and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Max Boot turns 49… South Dakota native, now serving as deputy chief of staff for Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota-1), he was previously legislative director at Christians United for Israel, Jason Stverak turns 45… Israeli singer, songwriter and musician, who has performed around the world, Idan Raichel turns 41… AIPAC’s area director for Philadelphia and South Jersey, Kelly Lauren Stein… Sara Greenberg

Kafe Knesset for November 30

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The embassy, again? Moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem made it back into the headlines last night. Israel’s Channel 2 reported that officials in Jerusalem…

Kafe Knesset for November 28

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Shaming and acceptance: The tension between the Israeli government and segments of US Jewry continues to make headlines, and yesterday Channel 2 sent out a push notification with out…

Kafe Knesset for November 21

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Knesset marked the 40th anniversary today of the historic 1977 speech by then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.  The event was, of course, filled with messages of peace,…

Kafe Knesset for November 16

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan: The top-secret White House Middle East peace effort to design the “ultimate deal” and solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a major discussion topic…

Kafe Knesset for November 14

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Netanyahu and friends: As Bibi’s investigations are expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, we can expect many more leaks of evidence and testimony. Last night, TV channels…

Kafe Knesset for November 9

Thursday, November 9, 2017

After more than six months of investigation, officers from Lahav 433 (the the National Crime Unit of the Israeli Police) are set to meet the Prime Minister again…