Daily Kickoff: Meet Doug Jemal, Washington’s eccentric mogul | Interview with Sen. Ben Cardin | How Facebook enabled advertisers to reach anti-Semites


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LONG-READ PROFILE: “Inside an eccentric mogul’s quest to save D.C.’s most distinctive buildings” by Jonathan O’Connell: “Douglas Jemal leans back in his chair, rubs his bald head front to back with his fingertips, and smiles. He is sitting in his office at Douglas Development, surrounded by antique glass medicine bottles, Depression-era D.C. license plates and a photo of his father, Norman. Nearby is Eagle, an African gray parrot old enough to rent a car. Eagle lives in a cage by Jemal’s desk, among assorted other birds. Long ago, Jemal taught the bird that when he yells, “F— you, Eagle!” the bird should return in kind.”

“Today, you can stand at the corner of Seventh and H streets NW, outside of Jemal’s office, look in any direction, and see his fingerprints on some of Washington’s most distinctive blocks. Douglas Development now owns about 240 properties, about 150 of them in the District, and has 5 million square feet of projects in the works. All of this has made Jemal a wealthy man, though he is cagey about just how wealthy. Published estimates of his net worth start at $150 million. The last time I asked him for a ballpark figure, he reminded me that he drives a 1994 Ford Taurus to work every day. “I’ll be written down in every history book of Washington, D.C., forever,” he says. “Fifty years from now they’ll say, ‘That’s a Douglas building, that’s a Jemal building.’ So how do you put a price on something like that?” [WashPost]

FLASHBACK — How Sixth & I was ‘born again’: “Doug Jemal and Abe Pollin were walking together along a downtown street when Jemal brought up his yearning to establish a place for Jews to pray in the District’s revitalized center city. That was five years ago [1999]. “I want to put a synagogue downtown,” said Jemal, a rough and rowdy developer who’s been a driving force in the redevelopment of DC’s East End. In the winter of 2002, a church on the edge of Chinatown was about to be sold to a nightclub owner. It had been the home of Turner Memorial AME Church since 1951. But the pale brick building at Sixth and I streets, Northwest, originally had been a synagogue… A little more than a year later, the historic Sixth & I Synagogue has started holding services and hosting community events.” [Washingtonian]

TODAY AT 11AM: President Trump’s High holidays conference call with Jewish community leaders. The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism announced last month they would not participate in the call.

“Trump invites Orthodox, but not Jewish groups who snubbed him, to High Holidays conference call” by Ron Kampeas: “In addition to the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel of America and the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, participants who confirmed to JTA that they would be joining the call include four general organizations: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Zionist Organization of America.” [JTA]

“Why We Are Joining President Trump’s Rosh Hashanah Call” by Agudath Israel’s Avi Shafran: “The Jewish religious tradition is very clear on the matter of showing honor to governmental leaders – even those with overactive Twitter feeds.” [Forward]  

Will Pence continue the tradition of hosting Jewish leaders at the Naval Observatory? — by Jacob Kornbluh: Earlier this year in May, Vice President Mike Pence hosted the first-ever White House event celebrating Israel’s Independence Day. However, Pence does not appear to be continuing a tradition from the prior administration of inviting Jewish leaders to the Vice President’s residence in honor of the Jewish New Year. The event, often held in the backyard pool area of the U.S. Naval Observatory residence, was considered by attendees to be more exclusive than the much-hyped annual White House Hanukkah party.

Asked about Biden’s tradition last week, Pence advisor Tom Rose emailed that it was a “good idea. Should have thought of it.” As of Thursday, sources confirmed that no invites have been sent for a similar gathering at Pence’s home this year. Organizing the now highly-anticipated call with Jewish leaders — mostly from groups supporting the administration — at the last minute and the limited White House access many Jewish communal leaders face, points to the Trump administration’s lack of an official Jewish Liaison. Two months ago, several members of Congress wrote a bipartisan letter to President Trump urging him to continue a 40-year tradition by immediately appointing a White House liaison to the Jewish community.

Natalie Strom, a White spokeswoman, emails us… “The Trump Administration will be commemorating the upcoming High Holidays in several ways. President Donald J. Trump will hold a conference call with Jewish leaders and staff to send well wishes for the upcoming holidays and discuss his Administration’s progress on issues of interest to the Jewish community.” [JewishInsider]

DRIVING THE CONVO — “US set to extend Iran sanctions relief under nuclear deal” by Matthew Lee: “The Trump administration is poised to extend sanctions relief to Iran… “The Trump administration is continuing to review and develop its policy on Iran,” [Rex] Tillerson said at a news conference… in London… Tillerson said talks continue with the president and his senior advisers, but “no decision has been made.”” [AP• US, Iran set for first meeting on nuclear deal at UN [ToI

HEARD YESTERDAY — Trump in gaggle to reporters on AF1: “You’ll see what I’m going to be doing very shortly in October. The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen. Certainly, at a minimum, the spirit of the deal is atrociously kept. The Iran deal is not a fair deal to this country. It’s a deal that should not have ever been made…”

“Iran Nuclear Deal Critics Push Plan for ‘Global Economic Embargo’” by Jana Winter and Dan De Luce: “The document, which has been circulating on Capitol Hill and in the White House, says the president should declare to Congress next month that the deal is no longer in the national security interest of the United States. Then the president would make clear his readiness to hit Iran with a “de-facto global economic embargo” if it failed to meet certain conditions over a 90-day period, including opening military sites to international inspectors. “This would be a 21st century financial version of [John F.] Kennedy’s Cuba quarantine,” according to a copy of the proposal obtained by Foreign Policy… The unsigned memo was written by Richard Goldberg, a former Republican congressional aide who has long advocated tough action against Iran.” [FP]

“Netanyahu at Odds With Israeli Military and Intelligence Brass Over Whether to Push Trump to Scrap Iran Nuclear Deal” by Barak Ravid, Amos Harel, Chaim Levinson and Amir Tibon: “Israeli officials said Netanyahu and Israel’s ambassador in Washington Ron Dermer are encouraging Trump and his close circle of advisers not to recertify the agreement and announce that Iran is breaching it. Netanyahu and Lieberman’s position is at odds with most Israeli experts in Military Intelligence and in the IDF’s Planning Directorate, the Mossad, Foreign Ministry and the Atomic Energy Committee… “Like in the United States, we have disagreements on this issue,” said an Israeli official.” [Haaretz]

“U.N. braces for Trump” by Nahal Toosi: “Trump will meet next week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he will see Jordan’s King Abdullah, an influential Arab ally… Trump may use his U.N. meetings to gauge support for fiddling with or abandoning the internationally negotiated nuclear deal with Iran… There are some hints… that a few world leaders may be open to the idea of hammering out supplemental agreements with Iran that deal with sensitive issues such as its ballistic missile program.” [Politico]

SCENE YESTERDAY IN NYC: U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley along with Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon met with the national leadership of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations for a preview of the upcoming UN General Assembly. [Pic

JI INTERVIEW — Senator Ben Cardin  (D-MD) discussed the Anti-Boycott Act he introduced with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and the Iran deal in an interview with JI’s Aaron Magid yesterday. Cardin expressed concern regarding the Trump administration’s possible decertification of Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. “From everything we know, Iran is not in material breach. So therefore if the President doesn’t certify, he is setting up a situation where the U.S would be walking away and be the violator of an agreement, isolating the U.S. from Europe and giving Iran a much stronger platform in the international community,” he explained.

Cardin on the Anti-Boycott Act: “Those who have taken the effort to truly understand our amendment recognize that all of the complaints that have been raised deal with the underlying current law not with the amendment that followed. Having said that, we think there is ample support in Congress to pass this. We are open to clarifying this.” Read the full interview here[JewishInsider]

TAYLOR FORCE ACT: State Department declares its support for the Taylor Force Act — by Aaron Magid: The State Department told Jewish Insider yesterday that the “Trump administration strongly supports the Taylor Force Act,” noting that the legislation is a “consequence of Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization’s policy of paying terrorists and their families.” The administration “is closely following the progress of the legislation and looks forward to working with Congress as it takes its final form,” the State Department official added. [JewishInsider]

“White House, Israeli Embassy Strongly Deny Report McMaster Yelled at Israeli Officials” by Amir Tibon: “Michael Anton, the spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, told Haaretz that McMaster “never yelled” at any Israeli officials. Itai Bar Dov, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington separately confirmed that the allegation was indeed false… Bar Dov, the Israeli Embassy spokesman, stated that Israel “never asked” for [White House counter-terrorism expert Mustafa] Ali not to attend the meeting, and added that the allegations in the original report are “totally false.” He also told Haaretz that “Israel appreciates Gen. McMaster’s efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship.”” [Haaretz

“Palestinians Seek More Assertive Trump for Talks With Israel” by Jonathan Ferziger and Fadwa Hodali: “Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will try to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump when they meet next week to endorse a two-state solution… “We want to see him intervening, we want to see him successful and we want to see an ultimate deal,” Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the U.S., said in a phone interview. “We just have to know where we’re going, what’s the final destination.” … Abbas will meet Trump in New York on Sept. 20, the same day he addresses the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly.” [Bloomberg

TOP TALKER: “Trump signs resolution condemning ‘racist violence’ in Charlottesville” by Gregory Korte: “President Trump signed a congressional resolution condemning a white nationalist march on Charlottesville, Va. last month, saying he opposes “hatred, bigotry, and racism in all forms.” But the signing came just hours after he once again compared white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK to the anti-fascist “antifa” movement, repeating some of the very remarks that led Congress to pass the resolution in the first place. “I think especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also,” Trump told reporters on board Air Force One Thursday. “A lot of people are saying — in fact a lot of people have actually written —  ‘Gee, Trump might have a point.’ I said, you got some very bad people on the other side also, which is true.”” [USAToday

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: “It is sad that the President seems not to have learned from his conversation with Senator [Tim] Scott or from the unanimous vote from Congress condemning the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville. If he is not going to provide the moral leadership the country needs on this issue, we are glad that leaders from both parties are stepping up and doing so.” [Twitter

“Rahm Emanuel to US Jews: ‘This is our moment’ to defend the values that aided us” by David Horovitz: “Trust me, I know” there’s anti-Semitism, he says. But the Jewish community is more capable and influential than others who are facing hatred, he argues. Anti-Semitism has “always been present, as has bigotry and racism before,” he says… “But that fact is,” he elaborates, “American Jews, in our history, as a people, we’re in a unique position in America. You’re looking at the mayor of Chicago. The mayor of Chicago is an American Jew. The mayor of Los Angeles is an American Jew.”[ToI]

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Signature’s ideal buyer? A foreign bank that preserves its independence [AmericanBanker] • Sam Nazarian’s SBE Wants to Become the Ultimate Lifestyle Hospitality Group [Skift] • Joshua Harris scores UES mega mansion for $45M [NYPost] • The Political Awakening of Silicon Valley: What happens when tech leaders, like Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, believe our system is broken? They treat it like a startup [CaliforniaSunday]

SPOTLIGHT: “Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’” by Julia Angwin, Madeleine Varner and Ariana Tobin: “Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’” … After we contacted Facebook, it removed the anti-Semitic categories — which were created by an algorithm rather than by people — and said it would explore ways to fix the problem, such as limiting the number of categories available or scrutinizing them before they are displayed to buyers… Since we contacted Facebook, most of the anti-Semitic categories have disappeared. Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said that they didn’t appear to have been widely used.” [ProPublica]

KAFE KNESSET — Framers of the constitution? — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked dropped a bombshell last night, announcing a plan to institute a constitution for Israel. Their plan is inspired by repeated Supreme Court intervention in legislation, which they and much of the Israeli Right feel is not legitimate. Therefore, their proposed constitution would regulate the separation of government powers in Israel, or “restore the balance,” as they put it. Part of that would be a clause allowing the Knesset to re-enact laws that the court cancels. The Bennett-Shaked constitution would also include what is commonly known as the “nationality bill,” declaring Israel to be the Jewish State, which has been floating around the Knesset in various forms for years and is very controversial.

Many have tried adopting a constitution in the past, and just because they want something to happen does not mean that the rest of the coalition will go for it. The apparent futility of this effort did not stop the opposition from being up in arms over the proposal. Former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said “they don’t want a constitution; they want to destroy democracy and the Supreme Court.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Unwelcome in Israel, African refugees dream of home” by Stephen Weizman: “The migrants, who [Adi] Drori-Avraham says meet the UN definition of refugees, live in a strange half-world where the rules are often contradictory. Their visas do not grant the right to work but when the holders go to renew them every two months they are asked to produce payslips to prove they are employed… [Tsgahans] Goytiom has been in Israel for eight years, arriving after a gruelling trek across Ethiopia and what he says was kidnap and torture by Bedouin in Sudan and the Sinai. With his wife he runs a kindergarten for migrant youngsters. “If we had the option of change in Eritrea we would not stay here another month,” he told AFP. “Everybody is waiting for the present situation to change.”” [Yahoo]

DESSERT: “Oakland’s Oldest Kosher Bakery Bounces Back With a New Owner” by Clara Hogan: “[Sam Tobis] has set a lofty goal: to further the bakery’s engagement with the Jewish community, while at the same time, spreading the love for kosher baked goods to those who may think it’s off limits for them. “Jewish food is under-enjoyed and underappreciated in mass,” says Tobis. Grand Bakery will remain fully kosher, certified by Sunrise Kosher, one of the more strict supervising organizations. “I’m more of a live-and-let-live kind of Jew,” Tobis says. “If you want to keep kosher great; if not, great. I personally don’t keep kosher in my life, but Grand Bakery is kosher and we exist to serve both the kosher community and non-kosher alike.”” [SFEater]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYCEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein turns 63… Borscht Belt comedian known as “The Master of Malaprop,” Norm Crosby turns 90… 1969 Nobel Prize laureate in Physics and professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, Murray Gell-Mann turns 88… Professor of Education at Wheelock College in Boston, Diane Levin turns 70… NYC-based composer and multi-instrument musician, Ned Rothenberg turns 61… Kosher restauranteur and former quantitative research scientist at hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, David Magerman turns 49… NPR’s Media Correspondent who previously spent 10 years reporting at the Baltimore Sun, David Folkenflik turns 48… NYC-based fundraising and development consultant who has worked for JFNA and other Jewish organizations, Deborah Leipzig turns 41… Chicago public school teacher, event organizer and fundraiser, Shayla Rosen turns 39… Graduate of The Ohio State University, now a fellow there for the Israel on Campus Coalition, Tomer Elias turns 30… VP of business development at Rockville, Maryland based PW Communications, Amanda Bresler turns 29… Politico’s New York City education reporter, Eliza Shapiro turns 27…

SATURDAYArgentinian physician, author of controversial books on gender relations, Esther Vilar (born Esther Katzen) turns 82… Defense policy advisor to Presidents Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 and member of a number of DC based think tanks, Richard Perle turns 76… Montebello, California resident, Jon Olesen turns 73… Founder and CEO of OurCrowd, an equity-crowdfunding platform focused on investing in Israeli startups, Jonathan Medved turns 62… Senior account executive at The Forward, Fern Wallachturns 61… Award winning illusionist, who has sold over 33 million tickets to his shows worldwide, David Copperfield (born David Seth Kotkin) turns 61… 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 (who owned the Milwaukee Bucks), Dan Kohl turns 52… Yeshivat Chovevei Torah’s Rabbi Dov Linzer turns 51… Chapel Hill, NC resident, renowned magazine writer, Jason Zengerle turns 44… Israel’s only Olympic Gold medalist (to date),  Bronze in Atlanta 1996; Gold in Athens 2004, windsurfer Gal Fridman turns 42… Jerusalem-born founder and chairman of “Over The Rainbow – the Zionist Movement,” a World Zionist Congress faction, Tzvi (Tziki) Avisar turns 39… Associate Director at The Advisory Board Company, previously at both Hillel and AIPAC, Suzy Goldenkranz

SUNDAY: Founder and marketer of the Oreck Corporation, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, David Irving Oreck (family name was originally Oreckovsky) turns 94… Newberry award winning author of many young adult books, Gail Carson Levine turns 70… Rochester attorney, he served as the Executive Director of the philanthropic leadership group at UJA-Federation of NYC (2001-2003) and was a board member of the Rochester Jewish Federation, Frank Hagelberg turns 69… Professional tennis player who achieved a world ranking of No. 5 in 1980, Harold Solomon turns 65… Comedian, writer and actress, frequent guest of Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, Rita Rudner turns 64… Israeli businessman and former IAF pilot, with real estate holdings in Israel and NYC, he is the founder and chairman of NYC-based Alto Real Estate Funds and chair of the Israel Advertising Federation, Mody Kidon turns 63… Glasgow-born, senior rabbi of Masorati Judaism in the UK, rabbi of the New North London Synagogue with approximately 2,400 members, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg turns 60… Professor of Economics at Princeton, formerly Assistant Treasury Secretary and then chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger turns 57… Washington columnist for the British daily newspaper, The Guardian, he was an EVP and executive editor of MSNBC’s website, Richard Wolffe turns 49… Former regional communications director and spokesperson for President Obama, now at Blue Engine Message & Media, Adam Abrams turns 36…

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Daily Kickoff: Trump to dial Rabbis after all | Ivanka on her White House role | Daimler invests $60M in Israeli startup StoreDot | Larry Mizel BDay


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DRIVING THE CONVO — President Trump will hold a pre-High Holidays conference call on Friday with Synagogue Rabbis despite a boycott from rabbis who belong to the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements, Maggie Haberman reported. Trump “will send well wishes for the upcoming holidays and discuss his administration’s progress on issues of interest to the Jewish community,” the email invite reads. Rabbi Marvin Hier, Trump’s inauguration rabbi who criticized the President over his response to the Charlottesville protests, confirmed to Jewish Insider that he was invited to participate on the call.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan who oversaw Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism, tells us he did not receive an invite, “but if I were, I would dial in, out of respect for the President of the US.”

Graham Roth, Communications Director for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, emails… “Our position has not changed. Reform rabbis, along with Reconstructionist and Conservative rabbis, decided to forgo hosting the annual High Holiday call with the President this year. This was not a decision made lightly, but the President’s lack of moral leadership in the wake of Charlottesville made it necessary.”

“Rabbis To Tiptoe Around Trump” by Stewart Ain: “Rabbi Arthur Schneier at Park East Synagogue in Manhattan said he opted not to speak about the political divisions in the country because “we have overriding issues that are life threatening — earthquakes and wildfires and a potential nuclear confrontation with North Korea… Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan — the only one of a dozen rabbis interviewed… who said he would be taking on the president directly.” [JewishWeek

FIRST LOOK: “Ivanka Trump: ‘I will not be distracted by the noise’” by Courtney Weaver in the Financial Times: “At sundown on August 12, about 24 hours after neo-Nazis marched in the streets of Charlottesville… Ivanka Trump was at President Donald Trump’s golf club in New Jersey, marking the end of the Jewish Sabbath. Back online after disconnecting their devices for Shabbat, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner finally saw footage of the subsequent violence and the growing uproar over the president’s tepid condemnation… Overnight, the first daughter plotted her move. In the early hours of Sunday morning, she spoke out against the hate groups in a tweet. Separately, she advised her father to take a firmer stance against the neo-Nazi groups – something he did the following day…”

“Ivanka and Kushner departed for Vermont for a short holiday… Within 24 hours, the president had reasserted in a press conference that “both sides” had been responsible for the violence… Kushner got on the phone and tried to mitigate the situation. Ivanka, meanwhile, attempted to do what she had come on vacation to do: tune out… A few days later, she saw a short documentary that Vice News had made… For Ivanka, the documentary made Charlottesville hit home in a way that other White House controversies had not. “Seeing those images and hearing [Ivanka’s] name invoked later on obviously made it very personal,” someone familiar with her thinking told me.” [FT]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Kushner’s White House role ‘crushed’ efforts to woo investors for NYC tower” by Michael Kranish and Jonathan O’Connell: “They were crushed by this,” said Thomas Barrack, a friend of Trump and Kushner’s… Kushner’s move to the White House “just about completely chilled the market, and [potential investors] just said, ‘No way — can’t be associated with any appearances of conflict of interest,’ even though there was none.” Laurent Morali, who became president of Kushner Cos. last year, said in an interview that he is marketing a 60-year-old aluminum-clad building “that is not competitive” with more-modern properties….”

“In 2010, Barrack’s company acquired part of the distressed debt on 666 Fifth Avenue. He invested $45 million and eventually made a profit, he said… In 2011, Trump called Barrack to arrange a meeting for Kushner. As Barrack recalled it, “Donald called and said: ‘Look, I have no idea what’s going on. Jared has some deal you have an interest in.’ ” Kushner flew to California and told Barrack about his plan to salvage the project. He came alone, without lawyers, and Barrack was impressed… After 75 minutes, Barrack agreed to help, concluding that “it seems like it is in everyone’s interest to restructure this.” He said he called Trump and told him: “You should get down on your knees that your daughter found this kid. He is out of central casting. He was respectful, he was totally up to date on the facts and the numbers and had a very persuasive demeanor.”

“Barrack said that when Kushner went to the White House, his father, Charles — who had helped devise the redevelopment proposal — must have known that his efforts would be undermined… “This was [Charles’s] dream and his baby,” Barrack said. “When Jared decided to go to Washington, he probably had a heart attack.” As a result of the Kushner focus, Barrack said, investors have to ask themselves, “Are they willing to take the scrutiny of what comes along with” investing with Kushner Cos.?” [WashPost

TOP TALKER: “Rice told House investigators why she unmasked senior Trump officials” by Manu Raju: “Former national security adviser Susan Rice privately told House investigators that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year… Multiple sources have confirmed to CNN that [Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan] met at the time with [Mike] Flynn, [Jared] Kushner and [Steve] Bannon. The three-hour discussion focused on a range of issues, including Iran, Yemen and the Mideast peace process.” [CNN

BIBI’S US VISIT — Netanyahu sees window of opportunity on Iran deal — by Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash: “Israel’s opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal is nothing new, but analysts say Netanyahu likely sees a new window of opportunity to change it. Global concern over North Korea’s nuclear program is mounting, while Trump has repeatedly signaled a desire to kill the Iran deal… According to [a] Army Radio report, Netanyahu will also ask Trump to prevent Iran from conducting research in the nuclear field and developing advanced-stage centrifuges, with much higher power. In addition, the report said, Israel will demand that Iran cease developing long-range missiles and add a clause limiting Iran’s support of organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that Israel and the United States consider terrorist groups.” [WashPost• Netanyahu maintains battle against Iran deal ahead of UN meeting [Al-Monitor

“Ahead of sanctions deadline, Obama officials urge Trump to uphold Iran deal” by Eric Cortellessa: “Either directly or indirectly, ripping up this deal by the United States is the worst thing we could do for American national security,” said Wendy Sherman, a former undersecretary of state who was the chief negotiator of the deal… “I think it will be very interesting to see what happens next week at the UN General Assembly, when everyone will be in the same place at the same time — and whether there’s further discussion in this regard about where the agreement is.” [ToI] • Michael Singh: Trump Can Make the Most of a Bad Iran Deal [NYTimes

“Trump’s case against the Iran nuclear deal has very little to do with nuclear weapons” by Zack Beauchamp: “Trump has vocally attacked the Iran deal, like he has many pieces of President Obama’s legacy, and hates being forced to publicly certify that it’s working. Adhering to the deal is humiliating and feels like a betrayal of his campaign promises. It’s very likely that he hates being put in a position where he is forced either to accept Obama’s deal or face the reality that destroying it would do more harm than good.” [Vox]

“Qatar diplomatic crisis engulfs a major US military base” by Jon Gambrell: “Qatar’s al-Udeid Air Base, a crucial staging ground for U.S. operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, is one of several American military outposts across the Gulf that are intended to serve as a bulwark against Iran…”[AP] • ‘The severity of the dispute is unprecedented’: Qatar has spent $40 billion countering the Saudi-led blockade [BI]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Treasury Secretary Mnuchin requested government jet for European honeymoon” by Justin Fishel, Brian Ross and Jordyn Phelps: “Secretary Steven Mnuchin requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife on their honeymoon in Scotland, France and Italy earlier this summer… The highly unusual ask for a U.S. Air Force jet, which according to an Air Force spokesman could cost roughly $25,000 per hour to operate, was put in writing by the secretary’s office but eventually deemed unnecessary after further consideration of by Treasury Department officials… A spokesman for the Treasury Department told ABC News that the secretary requested government travel for his honeymoon out of a concern for maintaining a secure method of communication.” [ABCNews]

ON THE HILL — Joe Lieberman on Bernie Sanders’ Single Payer Bill: ‘Wonder Drug Stuff’ Sold at ‘County Fairs’” by Gideon Resnick: “Whether you call it a public option or you call it Medicare for All, what the advocates are really talking about is a governmentally controlled health care system,” former senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said in a phone interview… “Why is it happening now? I guess it’s a response to the failure of the Republicans to repeal Obamacare… For Democrats to respond to the Republican failure on health care by sort of offering a kind of a panacea for all your ills, this is like the wonder drug stuff that people used to sell at county fairs in America. It won’t work and it will really hurt the country financially.” [DailyBeast]

TRUMP-SCHUMER: “Pelosi and Schumer Say They Have Deal With Trump to Replace DACA” by Maggie Haberman and Yamiche Alcindor: “A total of 11 people were seated at the table in the Blue Room of the White House on Wednesday night, with the first 30 minutes of the meeting focused on China trade issues, according to one person briefed on the dinner. The meal served was Chinese food, an intentional nod to China trade, on which Mr. Trump and Mr. Schumer hold their closest views.” [NYTimes

“Trump’s Flirtation With Democrats Leaves Both Parties Uncomfortable” by Adrian Carrasquillo: “Sam Nunberg… said Trump’s deals with Democrats are only going to lead to “a bunch of crap that betrays the people that elected him. The president sooner or later is going to have to realize that Pelosi and Schumer will only work with him on one action item — impeaching his ass. When he starts to realize that, then maybe he’ll get smart on these deals,” Nunberg said.” [BuzzFeed

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: EBay partners with Alan Tisch’s fashion marketplace Spring in growing rivalry with Amazon, Wal-Mart [CNBC] • Adam Braun’s MissionU raises $8.5 million to give students a debt-free education [VB] • ‘It feels like the ocean is full of money,’ but it could evaporate, says global investor Barry Sternlicht [CNBC] • Israeli startup StoreDot raises $60 million from Daimler, others for electric car batteries that charge in 5 minutes[VentureBeatTC]

ISRAEL’S TOP 100 — according to TheMarker: “The ranking, complied from 35,000 online votes, comprises civil servants… elected officials, financial services, businesspeople (including Shahar Waiser the founder of Gett and Adam Neumann the founder of WeWork)… Mobileye’s Amnon Shashua is 13th. Prime Minister Netanyahu is ranked 1st. The editors also named four technology industry luminaries as Israel’s “Tech Ambassadors”, placing them jointly at number 21. The four are Start-Up Nation Central CEO Eugene Kandel, entrepreneur and DLD chairman Yossi Vardi, SOSA NYC general manager Guy Franklin, and collaboration network ICON founder Yasmin Lukatz.” [ToITheMarker]

STARTUP NATION: “Is Israeli tech behind iPhone X’s new facial recognition feature?” by Shoshanna Solomon: “Israel’s Channel 2 reported Wednesday that Israeli technology is partially behind the facial recognition technology of Apple Inc.’s new flagship device, the iPhone X. An Apple spokesman in Israel declined to comment on the Channel 2 report. But in February, the Calcalist financial website said the US giant had acquired Israel’s Realface, a cybertechnology startup whose facial recognition technology can be used to authenticate users, for several millions of dollars.” [ToI]

“How I ended up in an Apple Watch video that was played at the Apple Keynote” by Avi Lichtenstein: “In late July of this year I was contacted out of the blue by a casting agency. The casting agency told me told me that they really liked the blogpost I had written about the Apple Watch and wanted to potentially include me in a documentary they were shooting… After signing the NDA, they filled me in on the details about the project. All they could say at the time about my role in the video was that they would shoot me at a Shabbat dinner or a Bar Mitzvah… Initially they had me shooting on a Saturday, but when I explained that I was a Sabbath observer they were very accommodating and rearranged the schedule so I’d be able to shoot on Sunday instead.” [Medium]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Billionaire Diller’s Plan for Elaborate Pier in the Hudson is Dead” by Charles Bagli: “Barry Diller said Wednesday that he was pulling the plug on his family’s commitment to build and operate a $250 million performance center on an undulating pier 186 feet off the Hudson River shoreline… Some critics called the plan a monument to a billionaire’s ego, and it was quickly nicknamed “Diller Island.” Mr. Diller’s decision about the project, called Pier 55, came amid settlement discussions between the Hudson River Park Trust, which was overseeing the project, and the plan’s opponents, a small civic group backed by Douglas Durst of the New York real estate family.”[NYTimes]

Cuomo Compares Michael Bloomberg With FDR — by Jillian Jorgensen: “Governor Cuomo heaped praise on a New York City mayor Wednesday — going so far as comparing him to both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Cuomo’s own late father. But Hell hasn’t frozen over — he was talking about former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg was the star of the show Wednesday as officials gathered for a highly choreographed ribbon-cutting to dedicate the campus of Cornell Tech…” [NYDailyNewsWSJ

MEDIA WATCH: “She bet on the future of print news and bought Alaska’s largest daily paper. Now she’s lost it in a bankruptcy fire sale” by Rick Anderson: “I don’t see an end to print,” said [Alice] Rogoff, a former publishing executive in Washington, D.C… “If I could see it, I’d be preparing for it. We’re not.” That was evident this week. The paper, founded in 1946, was on the verge of shutting down when a federal bankruptcy judge approved a deal in which a pioneering Alaska family purchased it for $1 million… Rogoff personally lost millions. She had taken out a $13 million personal bank loan to help purchase the paper from McClatchy Newspapers and still owes the bank $10 million, the records show. “ [LATimes]

“Larry King reveals lung cancer diagnosis” by Christine Burroni: “Larry King revealed on Wednesday that he was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer and had successful surgery this summer… “On July 17, I had the surgery here at Cedars,” King said. “They took it out. It was malignant. They were going to take it out if it was malignant or benign. They tested it. They said, ‘You are fine.’ It was stage 1.”” [PageSix]

TRAVEL: $180 from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv? WOW: “Starting this week, the Iceland-based economy airline will begin flying to Tel Aviv from the Los Angeles via Keflavik International Airport for as little at $179.99 one-way. The price, which is far lower than the standard coach fare, will be available for a limited time, and for a limited number of seats (50) per flight.  The airline flies out of LAX to Tel Aviv one or two times each week.” [JewishJournal] • Israel’s EL AL Airlines Partners With ViaSat For In-flight Wi-Fi For New Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircraft [SpaceWatchME]

SPORTS BLINK: “Giro d’Italia becomes first grand tour to go outside Europe with Israel set to host first three stages of 2017 race” by Tom Bassam: “The first stage is expected to depart from Jerusalem, with race organisers, RCS, to unveil the exact route of the three-day leg in Israel next week. Italian and Israeli ministers will make the announcement, along with retiring former winner Alberto Contador… More than 175 of the world’s best cyclists will arrive in Israel for the race, one cycling’s top three stage races along with the Tour and La Vuelta.” [DailyMail]

Israel says international marathon body playing politics: “The Israel Marathon Association said Thursday that the Association of International Marathons and Distances Races has displayed a “discriminatory nature” against the Bible Marathon that “will certainly result in great anger” among runners around the world. Next month’s Bible Marathon stretches from central Israel to the settlement of Shiloh.” [AP]

SCENE IN JAFFA: Dr. Henry Kissinger attended a memorial event yesterday to mark a year since the passing of Shimon Peres at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv-Yafo. “To me, it was an honor to be his friend. It was a privilege to be his contemporary,” said Kissinger. “My affection and admiration for Shimon existed side by side with occasional doubts about the feasibility of his vision on a foreseeable timescale.” [PicTwitter]

SPOTTED: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, John Chambers, Orit Gadish, Joe Schoendorf, Meredith Rose Burak, Leora Strauss, David Lobl, and Amos Oz.

BIRTHDAYS: CEO of of MDC Holdings (parent company of Richmond American Homes), Chairman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and AIPAC board member, Larry A. Mizel turns 75… 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 Koenig turns 81… Founder of Vemont-based Kidrobot, a retailer of art toys, apparel and accessories, and Ello, an ad-free social network, Paul Budnitz turns 50… Managing director and co-head of the alternative investments group at NYC-based corporate communications firm Kekst and Company, he is also the president of the Young Israel of New Rochelle, Mark A. Semer turns 47… Comedian, television actor, writer and producer, Elon Gold turns 47… Public relations professional, formerly of ABC News, Courtney Cohen Flantzer turns 39… Founder at Mindchat Research Amy Kauffman (h/t Ken)… Senior Associate Editor at The Atlantic, he was previously a congressional reporter for The Hill and a Washington correspondent for The New York Sun, Russell Berman turns 34… New York Times metro reporter, Matt Flegenheimer turns 29… 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 24… Los Angeles based attorney, Roxana Pourshalimi

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]




Daily Kickoff: Congress reacts to Bibi’s plea to remove sunset clause from JCPOA | Sen. Graham’s MOU amendment | Remembering Newark’s Jerry Gottesman


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HAPPENING TODAY: “High Tech and High Design, Cornell’s Roosevelt Island Campus Opens” by Elizabeth Harris: “The campus was born of a 2010 competition started by the Mike Bloomberg administration… Cornell University and its partner, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, were declared the winners and awarded $100 million along with a stretch of city-owned land on Roosevelt Island. “High-tech companies and new, small companies that will be the next big companies, they tend to be created where the founders go to school,” the former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in an interview. “You see that in Silicon Valley. Here was a chance to get a bunch of people educated and create the economy of the future for New York City.”” [NYTimes

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and Mrs. Rhoda Dermer hosted their annual Rosh Hashanah reception in a tent on the front lawn of their Maryland residence.

Highlights from Dermer’s remarks: “Like category 4 hurricanes, Israel should be an issue that brings people together, and tonight is a time to be grateful that Israel is an issue that brings people together… Rosh Hashanah is also a time to think about the year that was and the year to be. As for the year that was — this is hard for me to admit but for the first time in 69 years, Israel was actually more boring than America. For years I’ve been telling people that Israel is such an exciting place that Israelis actually go to Manhattan to unwind (laughter)… But today, Israel’s political system and hectic media environment have nothing on DC. So congratulations Washingtonians, and let me take this opportunity to recommend that all of you come to Israel for a little R&R over the Jewish holiday… It’s true that Israel is disappointed to have lost our title as the most exciting place on the planet but… Israel is looking forward to the year ahead.”

Dermer on the Iran deal: “Israel hopes that the coming weeks will bring about a dramatic change in the trajectory of that deal that will ultimately either fix it or cancel it. Israel looks forward to working with the U.S. and its other allies to implement a tougher policy towards Iran in the months and years ahead.”

On Taylor Force Act: “Israel hopes that the passage of the Taylor Force Act will finally send a message to the Palestinian Authority that the days when it is internationally acceptable to pay people to kill Jews are over.”

SPOTTED in the big tent: Wolf Blitzer, Sam Feist, Danielle Heyman Feist, Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Merle Bari, Jason Greenblatt, Josh Raffel, Abe Foxman, Ann Lewis, Loribeth Weinstein, Bob Cohen, Howard Friedman, Howard Kohr, Norm Eisen, Lindsay Kaplan, Sander Gerber, Nathan Diament, Boris Epshteyn, Lauren Tanick, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Mort Klein, Tom Rose, Ken Weinstein, David Milstein, Matt Nosanchuk, Shmuley Boteach, Aaron Keyak, Avi Goldgraber, Roger Hertog, Danny Ayalon, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Henry Waxman, Janet Kessler, Yarden Golan, Cliff May, Evan May, Jason Isaacson, Eli Lake, Aaron David Miller, Max Weinberg, Ali Rogin, Josh Rogin, Noah Pollak, Daniel S. Mariaschin, Joel Mowbray, Stacy Burdett, Ron Kampeas, Nathan Guttman, Michael Wilner, Josh Lederman, Ron Prosor, Sarah Abonyi, Miriam Smallman.
DRIVING THE CONVO — Should the US listen to Netanyahu on the sunset clause? — by Aaron Magid: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Congressional delegation last month that the United States should remove the sunset clause from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.

“At a minimum, we should remove the sunset clause. The [nuclear] deal itself has been devastating,” Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) told Jewish Insider. “The sunset clause lifts the restrictions and allows Iran to make very steady progress or to actually turn the corner. I would not be happy with only doing that. I think we should walk away from the deal.”

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) agreed with Cheney. “Ten years for them in the grand scheme of things is a blink of the eye and then gives them the ability if they want to say: We lived up to our end of the bargain and now you have to live up to your end and let us produce this weapon. That would be a complete departure from anything we’ve done,” he explained.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) argued that ending the sunset provision would “nullify” the JCPOA “since you are opening up the deal.” The Arizona lawmaker added, “You have all of these international partners that agreed to certain embargoes. I don’t think we have the full support of all these other nations to pull out of the deal unilaterally and they would follow and join with us to impose (new) restrictions.”

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) also emphasized the importance of respecting the multilateral nature of the JCPOA. “I don’t think the US should unilaterally try to change any part of the Iran nuclear deal,” he said.

While some analysts refer to the JCPOA as the “Iran deal,” the State Department has emphasized that such a label is inaccurate. In a letter to then-Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), the State Department under the Obama administration noted, “The JCPOA is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document. The JCPOA reflects political commitments between Iran, the P5+1.”

Even though the JCPOA was not a signed agreement, analysts are reluctant to discard the importance of adhering to its clauses. Michael Makovsky, President of JINSA told Jewish Insider that the JCPOA is “incorporated in a UNSC resolution 2231 that we (U.S.) did vote for and does have legal validity.” Makovsky added that “there could be renegotiations if the Iranians agreed with it,” but he was highly skeptical that Tehran would voluntarily reimpose restrictions. “We can’t dictate to them (Iran). For them to agree, they would really have to capitulate. It’s really inconceivable. Why would they ever give something like that up?” he concluded. [JewishInsider]

“The U.S. Is Testing Support for Extending Iran Nuclear Limits” by Nick Wadhams: “U.S. diplomats have approached European officials to see if they would join in demanding an extension to limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment that are set to expire in 2025 and 2030 under the nuclear accord reached in 2015… State Department and Pentagon officials have approached counterparts from France, Germany and the U.K… The administration is also weighing whether to pressure the International Atomic Energy Agency to more rigorously enforce the current terms of the deal by gaining access to military sites… People familiar with internal discussions said [Nikki] Haley’s team didn’t work out her speech with Tillerson and his team in advance.” [Bloomberg

KAFE KNESSET — Deal or no deal — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Journalists following Netanyahu to Buenos Aires got a preview of what he’ll likely tell President Trump next week: When it comes to Iran, no deal is better than a bad deal. “Let me take this opportunity to clarify. I’ll be straightforward. This is a bad deal. Either fix it or cancel it. This is Israel’s position.” The JCPOA “paves the way of Iran to a nuclear arsenal,” he said. “It is a bad agreement that needs to be changed.” Netanyahu said he was responding to “stories about Israel’s purported position,” like one in Reuters quoting US officials who said Trump’s top national security advisers want to keep the deal intact, “as do US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, despite their reservations about Iran’s adherence to the agreement.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“The trickiest feature of having a more aggressive U.S. strategy on Iran” by Shmuel Rosner: “The real dilemma for the Trump administration… is whether to counter Iran even though it is holding to a problematic deal. Putting it more bluntly: It is the U.S.’s choice whether it wants to breach the deal to make room for a better policy… If the U.S. scraps the Iran deal and raises the level of pressure on the country and its forces and proxy allies, it could achieve the second objective only to find out that Iran rushed back to expedite its nuclear program.” [JewishJournal]

NORTH KOREA: “Time for America to Act on North Korea, Alone If Necessary” by Dov Zakheim: “The UN Security Council has approved the “strongest sanctions ever” against North Korea… They are not, however, the “strongest sanctions ever” passed by the Security Council. The sanctions on Iran prior to the 2015 nuclear agreement… were considerably tougher… President Trump has recently demonstrated that he can indeed work with a bipartisan majority in the Congress; he should join hands with that majority to impose the very sanctions his administration proposed, and failed to obtain, at the United Nations.” [NationalInterest]

Netanyahu says Israel endorses independence for Kurds: “In an announcement early Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says Israel rejects the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and considers it a terrorist organization. However, the statement says Israel “supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own.”” [AP] • Eli Lake: Iraq’s Kurds Have Earned Their Right to Independence[BloombergView]

“The Trump administration is trashing Middle East peace negotiations: Three recent statements reveal deep bias in their approach” by former U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer: “The fact that a majority of Israelis and Palestinians continue to support the two-state outcome is apparently of little interest to this administration. Under these circumstances, Israelis and Palestinians would be much better off if Trump, his ambassador and his spokespeople took their self-described deal-making elsewhere, lest they continue to cause damage to the already-slim prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” [NYDailyNews]

ON THE HILL — “Senate could reverse billions of dollars of cuts to Israeli defense sector” by Bryant Harris: “Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has filed an amendment to the annual defense bill that would allow Israel to continue to spend more than a quarter of US military assistance to buy equipment from domestic, rather than US, firms. The amendment would represent a payday of more than $8.5 billion for the Israeli defense sector, but some critics say it would put the entire 10-year, $38 billion agreement in jeopardy… “If Congress chooses to rewrite portions of the MOU [memo of understanding], any provision of the MOU could be called into question,” said [Daniel] Shapiro. “That undercuts the stability of US defense assistance to Israel that the MOU was meant to provide.”” [Al-Monitor

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on $75M add. Funds to Israel: “Israel is an important, trusted ally of the United States. That hasn’t changed and that won’t change… I know that Israel is in the position to be able to get that funding and that is something that we support… They’re going to get the money.”

REPORT: “McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah” by David Steinberg: “National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly brought NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism Mustafa Javed Ali to the White House meeting with Israel. Ali, a McMaster appointee, is described by a senior administration source as being “opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization.” … The Israeli delegation demanded that Mustafa Javed Ali leave the room… Sources reported that McMaster went on to explicitly dismiss the Israelis’ specific concerns about Hezbollah. McMaster was said to “blow off” this major Israeli concern, and to be “yelling at the Israelis” during the meeting.” [PJMediaNana10

AJC POLL (of 1,000 Jews over age 18): Just 21 percent of American Jews have a favorable opinion of the job President Trump has been doing, while 77% has an unfavorable view, according to the AJC’s Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion. However, among Orthodox Jews, 71% view Trump’s performance favorably, while 27% view his performance unfavorably. Overall, among U.S. Jews, 26% approve Trump’s handling of the Iran nuclear issue and 67% disapprove. Trump does best on U.S.-Israel relations. 54% approve while to 41% disapprove. In 2015, when the survey asked the same question about President Obama, responses were evenly divided, 49%-49%. [AJC]

TOP TALKER: “Steve Bannon’s Nazi Problem” by Tina Nguyan“In August 2016, Bannon called Breitbart “the platform of the alt-right,” yoking his site to an ugly strain of American politics at the expense of his own allies. “I’ve talked to people who work with him, and they said, ‘They don’t know why he said that,’” said Morton Klein, echoing several other Bannon associates I’ve spoken to over the past several months… Complicating the issue are the rank-and-file Web-based Breitbart constituency that Bannon calls the “Pepes,” after the cartoon frog often used in memes promoting far-right ideology… “Bannon sees the Pepes as kind of like trolls, and not like the Nazis like Richard Spencer and David Duke,” explained the person who spoke to Bannon. “Everybody’s kind of struggling with it… But that’s different, categorically, than neo-Nazis at rallies throwing Nazi salutes and throwing up Nazi flags.”” [VanityFair

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: “It’s time to update America’s important anti-boycott law for Israel” by Jonathan A. Greenblatt and Stuart Eizenstat: “The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, like its 1977 predecessor, is designed to protect U.S. businesses and individuals from being pressured into a discriminatory economic boycott of Israel or other friendly nations by international governmental organizations. While Congress has a heavy agenda, this bill should be passed promptly, before another “blacklist” of U.S. companies becomes a reality.” [WashPost

STATE-SIDE: “Gov. Reynolds: Iowans see opportunities in Israel” by Rod Boshart: “Gov. Kim Reynolds… who returned to Israel as leader of a delegation that signed agreements with universities — including Tel Aviv University and the Volcanic Institute — invited Netanyahu to visit Iowa, telling him “the World Food Prize would be a phenomenal event” for him to participate in.” [TheGazette

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Ben Smith on the bad new politics of big tech [BuzzFeed] • 23andMe confirms $250 million round led by Sequoia [TC• The rise and fall of New York City’s ‘Taxi King’ [BusinessInsider] • Ray Dalio Says ‘It Would Be Terrible’ If Gary Cohn Left the Administration [Bloomberg] • The easy money has already been made off the retail meltdown, Marc Lasry says [CNBC]

“Ousted NSC Official Takes Job at Oracle” by Kate Brannen: “Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was fired from the National Security Council in August, has landed a new job at the Washington, D.C. office of Oracle, the Silicon Valley software giant… The Trump administration already has ties to the company. Safra Catz, CEO of the company along with Mark Hurd, was on the executive committee of the Trump transition team, making her unique among Silicon Valley executives.” [JustSecurity]

“US Ambassador Friedman welcomes tech giant Oracle’s expansion in Israel” by Max Schindler: “Here’s special recognition to Oracle for having 20 years in the State of Israel,” Ambassador David Friedman said as he began his speech in heavily American-accented Hebrew before making a shout-out to the company’s CEO. “Please extend my best wishes to Larry Ellison, who’s a great friend to Israel.” … The ambassador then toasted the company as a rabbi blew into the shofar.” [JPost

“Israel’s first-ever Africa summit has been canceled setting back its quest to find global alliances” by Khanya Mtshali: “President Faure Gnassingbé, who is facing calls to step down after 15 years of ruling the west African nation, informed Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the event would no longer take place… The cancelation of the Africa-Israel summit, slated to take place between Oct. 23 and 27, will upend Israel’s efforts to build trade partnerships in Africa, and secure global allies in its attempts to gain a seat on the United Nations (UN) security council next year.” [QZ]

“Barbra Streisand Praises Former Israeli Leader Shimon Peres in Upcoming Documentary” by Lauren Huff: “”He was gifted with the ability to listen to others who did not share his views, and still remain determined to find a path forward,” Streisand says in a new clip from the film, titled Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres. “President Peres was all about love and compassion. He was a giver, not a taker,” she added. Joining Streisand in the film are Barack Obama, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former President Bill Clinton.” [THR]

“How Shimon Peres Helped Grow Israel Into a Startup Nation” by Chemi Peres: “In No Room for Small Dreams, my father relates that he was once asked by the young founder of a startup what the most important lesson about innovation he’d learned over the years was… My father responded that he’d learned a crucial lesson early in life. As a young man who’d been born in a small town in Poland and had come to work the land in what later became the State of Israel, he saw that the state was built not with natural resources, but rather by innovators and entrepreneurs… “We learned that the treasures hidden in ourselves are far greater than anything that can be found in the ground,” he told the young entrepreneur.” [Fortune]

MEDIA WATCH:  “Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush Take the Next Step with Trump” by Joe Pompeo: “The duo’s ambition for the as-yet-untitled book… is to do something that goes beyond the palace intrigue (though there’ll be plenty of that as well) to tell a larger story about who Trump is, why the country chose him, and what it all says about America and where we’re headed. They’ve told people that they want the book to be “durable,” and that, “We want this to mean something.”” [VanityFair]

REMEMBERING: “From a single parking lot in Newark to a $4B empire: Hundreds gather to remember Jerry Gottesman” by Rich Bockmann: “Jerry Gottesman oversaw a real estate empire worth a reported $4 billion, but he didn’t own a tie that cost more than $24 unless someone bought it for him. “We were not interested in being real estate big shots,” Gottesman said of his early days buying property in the 1960s in a pre-recorded video tribute that was shown during his memorial service Tuesday. But from a single parking lot that he and his brother Harold bought on Edison Place in Newark, New Jersey in 1956, Gottesman built a real estate empire on both sides of the Hudson River and in Baltimore that’s now reportedly valued at $4 billion. Gottesman died of pneumonia while on a trip to Israel Sunday at the age of 87… Gottesman didn’t spend on lavish displays of wealth. He left the majority of his fortune to Jewish educational causes, representatives said.” [RealDeal]

BIRTHDAYS: Television executive who held high level programming positions at CBS (1970-75), then ABC (1975-78), and then NBC (1978-81), Fred Silverman turns 80… Chairman of global brokerage at CBRE, a worldwide commercial real estate services company, Stephen Siegel turns 73… Senior investigative reporter at The Daily Caller, previously at the Washington Examiner and ABC News, Richard Pollock turns 66… CEO of The Mellman Group, a polling and consulting firm whose clients include leading political figures and Fortune 500 companies, Mark S. Mellman turns 62 (h/ts Playbook)… Ice dancer, who, with her partner Michael Seibert, won the 1981 and 1985 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Judy Blumberg turns 60… Media consultant, formerly CEO of NPR and head of news partnerships at Twitter, Vivian Schiller turns 56…

Comedian who earned the title “Roastmaster General.” for his Comedy Central celebrity roasts, Jeff Ross (born Jeffrey Ross Lifschultz) turns 52… Attorney General of North Carolina since January 2017, he was previously a member of the North Carolina Senate (2009-2016), Joshua “Josh” Stein turns 51… 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 50… Founder of United Hatzalah of Israel, a non-profit, fully volunteer emergency medical services organization, Eli Beer turns 44… Attorney, triathlete and director of Maryland government and community relations at the the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, Meredith Mirman Weisel turns 42… Member of the Colorado House of Representatives since 2012, Jonathan Singer turns 38… Senior analyst at progressive polling and strategic firm Lake Research Partners, Gary Ritterstein turns 34… Analyst at NYC’s Mission Capital Advisors, David Behmoaras turns 26… Founder and president of Reshet Capital, a boutique investment firm helping Israeli companies access global markets, Betty Grinstein… Encino, California resident, Orrie Wilner

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Kafe Knesset for September 8

Friday, September 8, 2017

Boom! After months of investigations, deliberations, leaks and discussions over Sara Netanyahu’s alleged criminal affairs – Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has officially announced that the PM’s wife will…

Screenshot 2017-09-06 at 1.31.37 PM

Kafe Knesset for September 7

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Mum’s the word: Israeli officials, as always, kept mum this morning as the country woke up to news of an air strike on a military factory in Syria….


Amendment cutting US aid to UNRWA & UNHRC advances

Thursday, September 7, 2017

WASHINGTON – An amendment from Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) that would sever U.S. aid to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) — an agency that exclusively assists…


Rep. Pocan blasts Palestinian Authority for arresting Amro

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

WASHINGTON – As one of the more outspoken Congressmen regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) spearheaded a June letter advocating on behalf of Palestinian activist Issa…

netanyahu plane

Kafe Knesset for September 6

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

From Hollywood to the interrogation room: The first rule of Fight Club is that there is no Fight Club. So maybe the fact that “Fight Club” producer Arnon…


Kafe Knesset for September 5

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Chief of Staff Curse: The criminal rope involving Netanyahu’s present advisors, past advisors and associates is increasingly tightening in recent days. The Police have shifted into high…