Daily Kickoff: Trump fires Tillerson | Paul Singer’s philosophy towards philanthropy | Larry Page’s flying taxis | Goldman’s next head: D.J. D-Sol.

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BREAKING: “Trump ousts Tillerson, will replace him as secretary of state with CIA chief Pompeo” by Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker:“President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him as the nation’s top diplomat… Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.” [WashPost]

— “He had no idea that this was occurring,” said Steve Goldstein, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. “He did not know.” [Bloomberg]

QUICK REACTIONS — Elliott Abrams emails us… “Mike Pompeo has been a very successful CIA Director. Morale at CIA is very good, and he has established a very close relationship with the President. All that bodes well for him at State.”

Former U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro: “Tillerson was an ineffective Secretary of State, who did not value the professionals of the State Department, and was disrespected by the President. The timing of his ouster is terrible, because it appears to punish him for speaking the truth about Russia’s chemical attack in the UK. But overall, it will be better to have a Secretary of State who can speak authoritatively for the President. With respect to Israel, Tillerson was irrelevant. It seems unlikely that Pompeo, who has visited Israel many times as a Member of Congress, will accept being completely cut out of that relationship. Look for a more traditional conduct of the U.S.-Israel relationship to emerge.”

Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official under John Kerry and a Middle East expert at the Center for a New American Security, tells us… “Tillerson was a historically weak Secretary of State because of his bad relations with the President and total mismanagement of the department. So it’s not surprising, but the timing is odd. It means the administration will be without a real Secretary of State just as they are supposedly planning this big North Korea conference. Pompeo will be better at managing the department and have a better relationship with Trump – both good things. But Pompeo’s policy instincts, especially on Iran, worry me. I could see his voice helping end the nuclear agreement.”

MEANWHILE, IN ISRAEL — U.S. Ambassador David Friedman‏ tweets“Thrilled to host State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert and Dr. Victoria Coates along with amazing staff in beautiful Israel. Wishing them an incredible trip!” [Pic]

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Paul Singer, founder of Elliott Management, kicked off the Jewish Funders Network conference in Jerusalem: “In my day job, I manage a multi-strategy hedge fund. What that means, in practice, is that I manage risk. Nobody can time the markets or predict the future, but our investors expect us to have an acute awareness of the history of the markets, the macro variables that could impact these markets and a deep understanding of human behavior… But frankly, to succeed in my business, you need more than just risk awareness. Great opportunities come along from time to time. When they do appear, you need to get smart, get conviction, make a real commitment, and make it work. You need to make big bets when you spot a great opportunity — and to size those bets to ensure maximum rate of return.”

“So… you may be wondering: what does this have to do with the price of halvah in Machne Yehuda market? (laughter) Or, if you wish, how does this apply to Jews at this particular moment in history? My starting point is that Israel and the Diaspora need to strengthen one another. While we all hope that Jews will continue to thrive across the globe, this prayer does not guarantee the Jewish future. Israel is the only country in the world where Jews are the majority, and… the only context in which Jews experience political sovereignty. It’s the birthplace of our memories and the home of our destiny… I feel strongly that diaspora Jews need an economically and militarily strong Israel. The challenge for all Jews is to stay connected and committed. If we break our links with Israel and/or our Jewish traditions, diaspora Jews are at risk of walking down the path of complete assimilation, or worse. History has reminded us that Israel may be the only insurance policy all Jews, everywhere, can rely upon for the safety and continuity of Judaism.”

“In the face of a global situation with risk at every level, Israel is both our once-in-a-millennium opportunity, and our great hedge. It is a beautiful and tiny country, composed of the human capital of not quite nine million people — but upon this beautiful and tiny place so many hopes for our people and our children depend. Winston Churchill said that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, and an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” As a hedge fund manager, I’m a little of both. That’s how I think about managing money — and that’s how think about my philanthropy in Israel and for the Jewish people.” [Pic

DRIVING THE DAY — The Trump administration will host a “brainstorming session” at the White House today to address deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza. Members of the international community, including representatives from Israel and neighboring Arab states, White House advisors Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and members of the National Security Council will present specific proposals for consideration to help the people of Gaza, according to  a senior White House official. The Palestinian Authority is boycotting the meeting.

“The Trump administration believes that deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza require immediate attention,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “Solving the situation in Gaza is vital for humanitarian reasons, important for the security of Egypt and Israel and is a necessary step toward reaching a comprehensive peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, including Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank. We are pleased with the committed list of attendees which includes many of the relevant parties and anticipate a robust dialogue. The challenge will be determining which ideas can be realistically implemented in light of the fact that the Palestinians of Gaza continue to suffer under the authoritarian rule of Hamas.”

ON THE GROUND — “Explosion strikes Palestinian PM’s convoy in Gaza” by Fares Karam: “An explosion struck the convoy of the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah Tuesday as he was making a rare visit to Gaza, in what his Fatah party called an assassination attempt it blamed on Gaza militants. The explosion went off shortly after the convoy entered Gaza through the Erez crossing with Israel. Hamdallah was unharmed and went on to inaugurate a long-awaited sewage plant project in the northern part of the strip.” [AP]

— “Hamdallah… sent a message to the White House and said: “There is a meeting in Washington today — we will not accept any attempt to bypass the Palestinian Authority and we will not accept any attempts to condition international assistance with political solutions.” [Axios

David Makovsky’s advice… “Forget the Ultimate Deal: Trump and Netanyahu Should Save Gaza For Now: Halting the economic decline is the best hope to avert a fourth war between Gaza and Israel within this past decade. Ironically, such an American focus could play to the Trump administration’s desire to focus on the economic rather than political dimensions of an issue… Another set of critics may charge that any focus on Gaza is a diversion from the “ultimate deal” as the issues of Gaza and the West Bank should be solved together. However, the ultimate deal is not possible now: in the Middle East, whenever it is all or nothing, it is always nothing. While a plan to avert further economic deterioration in Gaza is not an ultimate deal, it is a necessary one.” [WashInstitute]

“Amid U.S. Cuts, Palestinian Refugee Agency Left in the Lurch” by Colum Lynch: “Two months after the United States withheld $65 million in pledged funding to a U.N. agency that serves more than 5 million Palestinian refugees, no other country has stepped forward to increase its 2018 funding pledge… In an effort to address the sudden cutback in U.S. aid, ministers from nearly 90 countries will meet in Rome Thursday for a major funding conference on Palestinian aid. The conference — which is being convened at the request of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and co-chaired by foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan, and Sweden — will test whether [Nikki] Haley’s strategy will shock the rest of the world into meeting the gap created by America’s retreat from Palestinian aid…” [ForeignPolicy]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — Ambassador Nikki Haley hosted National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, Henry Kissinger, and Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon for dinner in NYC. “We discussed the strong bond between our countries over the years & how we continue to stand together in the face of challenges to peace & security,” Danon tweeted. [Pic]

JARED INSIDER — “Jared Kushner’s Pet Project Doesn’t Have A Signature Accomplishment” by Tarini Parti: “Kushner’s allies acknowledge they have yet to report any flashy accomplishments, but say those are not the types of achievements the office is designed for. The office has stayed out of the administration’s major policy fights — tax reform and repealing Obamacare — because they believe their work, is meant to be long-term, “multi-year or even multi-administration,” and largely nonpartisan… But the already small office, which has about five or six people, some of whom also have other White House responsibilities, is already losing key staff… These days [Kushner] is not working on all projects the office is involved in, but he remains most interested in the technology-related tasks and prison reform, which was not originally part of the office’s purview.” [Buzzfeed]

INTERVIEW — “Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, says Robert Mueller is ‘not an unguided missile'” by Kevin Johnson: “The special counsel is not an unguided missile,” [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein said in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY. “I don’t believe there is any justification at this point for terminating the special counsel.” … Appearing upbeat and at ease in his fourth-floor office, Rosenstein said oversight of the inquiry requires only “a fraction” of his daily work. He estimated that less than 5% of his week is related to briefings or other matters involving Mueller’s investigation… He also conceded that the public nature of his job, traditionally carried out in near-anonymity, was un-expected. “I anticipated that this would be a lower-profile job,” he said.” [USAToday]

HAPPENING TODAY —Ambassador Dore Gold, former Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, will deliver a multimedia presentation on Jerusalem in the Senate Auditorium at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in the afternoon. The presentation, “Jerusalem: What Is at Stake?,” is co-hosted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Israeli Embassy in DC. 

ON THE HILL — Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22) along with Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) blasted Iran for denying its commitment to help the U.S. in bringing Bob Levinson home. “This is a despicable attempt by Iran to absolve itself of past commitments to help locate Bob and bring him home,” said Deutch. “I urge the Trump administration to immediately call out Iran and pressure them to uphold their commitments to Bob’s case,” added Rubio.

Sen. Lindsey Graham writes… “The Most Unnerving Visit to the Middle East in a Long Time: I have been to the region many times, and this was the most unnerving visit I’ve taken in a long time. With the help of Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad, Iran is winning. Sunni Arabs, Israel and the U.S. are on their heels… This growing threat on the Israel-Syria border must be confronted before it becomes a launchpad for more rockets into Israel. The biggest concern is Hezbollah’s militarization of southern Lebanon. Soon Israel will have to attack these rocket sites, which Hezbollah has integrated into civilian infrastructure… Israeli leaders are concerned that this integration will lead to high civilian casualty rates if the Jewish state has to defend itself. Israeli officials repeatedly reminded us of this fact and expressed hope we would be there for them.” [WSJ]

“After Putin Cites Jews, Democrats Implore Trump to Extradite Russians” by Nicholas Fandos and  Matthew Luxmoore: “Among Democrats in Congress, patience with the White House’s silence in the face of such Kremlin provocations is running thin. [Chuck] Schumer and [Nancy] Pelosi were joined by… Senator Dianne Feinstein of California and Jerrold Nadler of New York. “While Putin’s stance is not surprising, it is also simply unacceptable,” they wrote in their letter. Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said… “That President Trump has failed to condemn Putin’s statement, just as he equivocated on Charlottesville, undermines America’s moral responsibility to combat the kind of racism and anti-Semitism perniciously re-emerging today.”

“However, Mr. Putin’s comment may well have been lost in translation. Speaking in Russian to the NBC presenter Megyn Kelly, Mr. Putin spoke of “Russkie,” a term denoting ethnic Russians in opposition to other nationalities living in the country… “When I first came to America in 1991 and was asked at J.F.K. airport, ‘Are you Russian?’ I responded ‘No, sir, I’m Jewish,’” said Boruch Gorin, a senior aide to Russia’s chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, who has been supportive of the Russian leader. “Putin’s comments were lost in translation.””[NYTimes]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — “Netanyahu may be facing his last stand” by Ben Caspit: “The fate of the current coalition will be decided in the next [few] hours. It is Netanyahu’s decision, and it may have been already decided together with [Avigdor] Liberman. These two men began their political lives together after Netanyahu took control of the Likud in 1993. Since then, they have quarreled, parted ways and also reconciled many times. Now they are renewing their historic alliance. Circumstances have again caused them to be dependent on one another. Netanyahu, besieged by criminal investigations, is desperate for recourse. Liberman failed to generate a massive, growing political support base, so now he needs rebooting. Their plot will come at the expense of all the other senior members of the political system… And as far as Netanyahu is concerned, it may be his very last stand.” [Al-Monitor]

“Netanyahu thinks elections can save his skin. He should just come out and say so” by David Horovitz: “Netanyahu has concluded that the attorney general may be less likely to prosecute a prime minister who has just received a fresh mandate from the voting public… Simply telling Israelis straight out that he’s considering a resort to early elections to further strengthen his position — essentially, an electoral referendum on his fitness for office — would likely help Netanyahu even more.” [ToI

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Larry Page’s Flying Taxis, Now Exiting Stealth Mode [DealBook] • Kushner Conflict Cloud Hovers Over Brooklyn Sale Linked to Japan [Bloomberg] • Elbit to Buy Uzi Maker IMI in Major Israeli Defense Merger [Haaretz] • Spotify finally lands in Israel [JPost] •  HBO Puts in Series Order for ‘Euphoria,’ Based on Israeli Format [HollywoodReporter] • Haim Saban signs Static and Ben-El to Capitol Records [JPost]

TRANSITION: “The Next Goldman Chief Could Be a Banker Who Moonlights as a D.J.” by Kate Kelly: “David M. Solomon, 56, a longtime investment banker, has been anointed as the sole heir apparent to Goldman’s chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein. The decision was signaled Monday with the abrupt retirement of Mr. Solomon’s lone rival for the job, Harvey M. Schwartz…. Last month, Goldman’s board met at its headquarters and evaluated the two candidates. Mr. Blankfein offered his view, and the directors decided that Mr. Solomon was their man… The anticipated elevation of Mr. Solomon, a Goldman veteran who moonlights under the name D.J. D-Sol, spinning electronic-dance music, marks a strategic shift for the bank…” [NYTimes] • What Solomon’s Ascent at Goldman Signals About the Firm’s Future [Bloomberg

HEARD AT #INTV2018: “TV Bosses Talk Diversity, Streaming and the Ad Challenge at Jerusalem Conference” by Scott Roxborough: “For the closing panel on day one of the two-day INTV conference, held in Jerusalem, organizers pulled out the big guns on Monday. Top executives from Showtime, TNT, Fox Television Group and HBO sat down with Rick Rosen, head of TV at WME, for a wide-ranging discussion on the present, and possible future, of the small-screen business… [Gary] Newman and the other members of the panel —“all white males, though not all straight,” as [Casey] Bloys put it —talked up their companies’ achievements in addressing gender and racial inequalities in house, but all acknowledged the need to do more.” [HollywoodReporterVariety]

“CBS News President David Rhodes on Stormy Daniels Interview, Fake News & Charlie Rose” by Debra Kamin: “CBS News boss David Rhodes hasn’t seen Stormy Daniels’ “60 Minutes” interview with Anderson Cooper, but he promises that it’s coming soon. Its delay is due to good-old boots-on-the-ground journalism, he says, rather than a flurry of legal action from the 45th president of the United States. “The only reason it hasn’t run is that there’s still a lot of journalistic work to do,” Rhodes told the crowd at INTV, Keshet International’s annual gathering of small-screen talent and management in Jerusalem.” [VarietyDeadline]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — “When the President of the United States Calls You a ‘Son of a Bitch’” by Susan Glasser: “Since Trump won the White House, Trump has blasted [Chuck] Todd publicly and privately — but often, at least in off-the-record settings, he has also seemed to be seeking his approval… I asked Todd in our interview Friday why he thought the president had such an obsession with him. His nasty tweets about Todd—including calling him “sleepy”—go back to 2011… Todd told me that was the year Trump was repeatedly calling him, trying to sell him on the idea of a Trump-led ticket against President Barack Obama… In one off-the-record group session that was later reported on, Todd recalled, “Trump one second called me a monster and the other second [was] going, ‘And I love this guy.’”‘ [Politico]

HAPPENING TODAY — “President Trump will help his party raise $5 million at a fundraising dinner in Beverly Hills… The fundraiser is being hosted by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, national finance chairman Todd Ricketts and deputy national finance chairman Elliott Broidy.” [LATimes] • Few Stars Expected at Trump’s Hollywood Fundraiser [HollywoodReporter]

TRANSITION — Former Congressman Gary Ackerman and Shai Franklin, former World Jewish Congress’s director of international organizations, have joined NY-based Gotham Government Relations as partners.

SXSW SCENE — Guy Oseary’s venture fund held one of the most exclusive and bonkers parties at SXSW — by Melia Robinson: “Sound Ventures, a tech-investment firm founded by Ashton Kutcher and the talent manager Guy Oseary held one of the most exclusive and lavish parties at the SXSW film festival and tech conference on Saturday night. Powerful forces from Hollywood and Silicon Valley came together for the event — dubbed “The Party” — set on a rooftop bar in Austin.” [BusinessInsider]

BIRTHDAYS: Pop singer, pianist, composer of over 500 songs and record producer, whose family name derives from the Hebrew word for charity, Neil Sedaka turns 79… Syndicated columnist whose weekly column appears in more than 400 publications worldwide, author, political commentator and non-practicing physician, Charles Krauthammer turns 68… Former Florida congressman, Alan Grayson turns 60… Former US Ambassador to the United Nations and deputy national security advisor to President Bill Clinton, currently president and CEO of Soderberg Global Solutions, Nancy Soderberg turns 60… Ordained by Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1986, he now serves as a rabbi and as a faculty member at HUC-JIR Los Angeles, Rabbi Neal S. Scheindlin turns 58…

Founder and CEO of MediaBistro which she sold in 2007, now managing partner of Supernode Ventures (formerly Flatiron Investors), a NYC-based investors syndicate, Laurel Touby turns 55… Heavy metal songwriter, vocalist for the band Disturbed as well as for the band Device, former yeshiva student, David Draiman turns 45… Member of the California State Senate since 2014, Benjamin Allen turns 40… Senior advisor for Senator Bernie Sanders, former host of daily SIrius XM program “The Agenda,” Ari Rabin-Havt turns 39… Television and film actor, Emile Hirsch turns 33… Director of business development and general manager of Nefco, a distributor of construction and industrial supplies, Matthew Gelles turns 30… Television and film actor, Emory Cohen turns 28… Social Media Manager at NBC Universal, Jessie Rubin… Gabriel Romano… Robert Smith




Daily Kickoff: Trump’s peace plan — DOA? | Ben Falk, the Smartest Basketball Mind Outside the NBA | The Women’s March + Farrakhan | BDay: Jake Tapper

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Ed note: The Daily Kickoff is being curated this week from Israel. If you’re attending #INTV2018 or the Jewish Funders Network conference, feel free to give us a holler!

HEARD IN JERUSALEM THIS AM — Showtime’s David Nevins on President Trump’s tweet attacking NYTimes reporter Maggie Haberman: “Trump said he doesn’t give her access. We have conversations between them on camera. Maggie is a major character in the new documentary we’re releasing soon.” The documentary titled The Fourth Estate follows the New York Times’ newsroom as they cover the first year of the Trump administration. [JewishInsider

Avi Nir, the CEO of Keshet Media Group, moderated the conversation with Nevins at the INTV conference and used an ancient depiction of Jerusalem under siege as a metaphor to describe Showtime’s current environment. In 2010, the network faced competition from HBO, FX and AMC [Pic] • In 2018, the behemoths Netflix, Amazon and Apple have joined the fray [Pic

Later, Nevins was interviewed by an Israeli solider with Galei Tzahal, also known as Army Radio [Pic

MEDIA RISING STAR: “The Smartest Basketball Mind Outside the NBA: Cleaning the Glass’s Ben Falk” by Chris Ballard: “When Ben Falk first conceived Cleaning the Glass, the NBA site he launched last year, he tried to balance hope and realism. Hope: that basketball fans like him might find the site interesting enough to pay for; realism regarding how many other such humans actually exist. Falk, who is 29 but looks younger, is many things—a former front office executive for the Blazers and the Hinkie-era Sixers, an observant Orthodox Jew, and someone who, in the ninth grade, designed, programmed, and launched his own fantasy basketball game, building in rewards for defense, teamwork and other traditionally overlooked elements. He is the type of person who enjoys an hour-long conversation about, say, the offensive rebounding rate and technique of Steven Adams but has little interest in a subjective, ill-defined debate such as who should win this year’s MVP award.”

“As an Orthodox Jew, he observed the Sabbath every week. From sundown Friday until sundown Saturday, he couldn’t work or use electricity. No phones, no computers, no flights. In Portland, he could only accompany the team on shorter road trips. He missed the two iconic playoff games of his tenure… During both, Falk was ensconced in what peers called his “cone of silence”, often alone in his apartment, reading. Only on Saturday night, if he’d successfully avoided hearing a result at synagogue, would he finally watch the games. “It was a challenge but I think people understood how it was the core of who I am,” he says. “It was probably apparent that it was more of a self-sacrifice.” “Honestly I think it might have made him more valuable, not less,” [Sam] Hinkie says now. “During the craziest times of the years when we were working 18 hour days, he’d often come back from Shabbat with even better perspective. He wasn’t as caught up in the fog of war as the rest of us.” [SportsIllustrated]

REPORT: “Josh Kushner donates $50k to March for Our Lives” by Mike Allen: “Josh Kushner — a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who founded Thrive Capital, a venture capital firm; Oscar, a health insurance company; and Cadre, a real estate investment platform (and brother of Jared) — has quietly donated $50,000 to March for Our Lives.” [Axios

SPOTLIGHT: “‘Where is Ivanka?’ First daughter seeks control in dual role as White House aide” by Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker: “Ivanka and [Jared] Kushner have become known simply as “Javanka,” a nickname that they view as disparaging and that they speculate was coined… by rivals, such as then-chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, to undermine them. Ivanka resents that she and her husband are seen as a single unit, in part because their work portfolios are different… The president himself has exacerbated the tensions between his chief of staff and his family. He has mused to [John] Kelly that he thinks Ivanka and her husband should perhaps return to New York… In the president’s eyes, “Ivanka’s still his little girl,” as one confidant put it.”

“On a small table in her well-appointed office sit several pictures of her kids, a framed copy of Trump’s typed “Remarks Regarding the Capital of Israel” — signed “To Ivanka, Love Dad” in the president’s oversized Sharpie scribble — and the lyrics to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” handwritten to her by one of the songwriters… Ivanka has privately said she was naive when she first came to Washington. She was unprepared for the palace infighting…”

“Everybody loves and respects Ivanka,” the president said in a statement. “She works very hard and always gets the job done in a first class manner. She was crucial to our success in achieving historic tax cuts and reforms and served as my envoy in South Korea, where she was incredibly well received. Her work on behalf of American families has made a real impact.”” [WashPost

THE DAILY KUSHNER — “Out of Public View, Trumps and KushnersAre Talking Business” by Ben Protess, Steve Eder and Jesse Drucker: “Jared Kushner’s family company recently began construction on an oceanfront development in this Jersey Shore city… The Kushners are in private discussions to have President Trump’s company manage at least one hotel at the center of the development known as Pier Village… Whether or not the Trumps and Kushners reach a deal, Mr. Kushner stands to gain. He is expected to eventually own 20 percent of the hotel in Pier Village.” [NYTimes] • Jersey Shore town seeks ferry to dock next to Kushner resort [AP]

HEARD THE OTHER NIGHT — Laurent Morali, President of Kushner Companies, on the Talkline Communications Network with Zev Brenner: “We decided in January 2017 to have a new set of compliance rules to abide by to avoid the perception of any conflict of interest. [Jared Kushner] is not involved at all in anything.”

— QATARIS CLAIM THEY HAVE DIRT: “Qatari officials gathered evidence of what they claim is illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner and other Trump associates, including details of secret meetings, but decided not to give the information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump administration, say three sources familiar with the Qatari discussions.” [NBCNews]

‘THE ULTIMATE DEAL’ — “The Mideast Peace Plan Is Nearly Finished. Is It Dead on Arrival?” by Mark Landler: “The Trump administration is putting the finishing touches on its long-awaited Middle East peace plan, three senior officials said on Sunday, and President Trump is likely to present it soon… The most immediate challenge for the White House is how to roll it out so that it is not proclaimed dead on arrival. But the quickening pace of activity inside the White House suggests that, regardless of the political headwinds, Mr. Trump will soon unveil a detailed blueprint that one of his senior aides said was intended to help Israelis and Palestinians get around traps and bottlenecks to an agreement. The aide likened it to Waze, the navigation software, developed by Israelis, that helps drivers bypass traffic jams… For example, the plan will not call for a two-state solution as one of its goals, though it will prescribe pathways for the creation of two states.”

“To lay the groundwork in the Middle East, the White House is convening a conference on Tuesday to discuss ways to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. But the Palestinian Authority said on Saturday that it would boycott the meeting… The Gaza conference, which will be led by Kushner and [Jason] Greenblatt, is designed to give momentum to efforts to stabilize the Palestinian territory.” [NYTimes]

REPORT —  Netanyahu said to tell cabinet still no ‘concrete’ US peace plan: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told cabinet ministers on Sunday that there is still no “concrete” US peace plan. “At the moment, there is no concrete American peace plan on the table. I’m not saying there won’t be, but at the moment there isn’t,” Channel 10 quoted him as saying.” [ToIAxios]

“Trump administration backs PLO in terror lawsuit, angering conservatives” by Ron Kampeas: “The Trump administration sided with the Palestine Liberation Organization in a terrorism lawsuit the Supreme Court may soon consider, drawing an angry rebuke from conservatives, including one of its most steadfast Jewish community defenders, the Zionist Organization of America. In 2015, a federal jury in Manhattan ruled in favor of American victims injured in six terror attacks that occurred in Israel in 2002-2004, handing down a $656 million decision against the PLO. An appellate court overturned that decision a year later. Solicitor General Noel Francisco supported the appellate court’s finding in a Supreme Court filing last month, mostly on technical grounds.” [JTA]

THE KOREA EFFECT ON IRAN — “Trump-Kim Meeting Could Have Negative Implications for Iranian Nuclear Deal, Officials Say” by Laurence Norman: “Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. negotiator on the Iran deal… said “the logic is that if the United States leaves” the Iran deal, it would undermine Washington’s credibility. “However the president may, because of the way he operates, believe that somehow, tearing it up, will say that he won’t negotiate what he calls a ‘bad deal.’ That would be a disaster because he would then have two nuclear crises on his hands at the same time,” she said. Another senior western diplomat said the Kim talks are likely bad news for the Iran agreement… “There’s a risk that he says this was a bad agreement and we’ll show you how to do business,” the person said… James Carafano, vice president of the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, who worked on the Trump transition team, said… “Kim is going to learn that if he thinks he is going to cut a deal, it’s going to have to be way more ironclad than the JCPOA,” he said.” [WSJ

“Trump told Netanyahu U.S. will pull out of Iran deal if big changes not made” by Barak Ravid: “President Trump told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in their meeting at the White House last Monday that he won’t show flexibility in the negotiations with France, Germany and the U.K. on amending the Iran nuclear deal… The officials say Trump told Netanyahu that until now the three European powers only proposed “cosmetic changes” that he doesn’t find satisfactory… Trump stressed that if his demands are not met, the U.S. will withdraw from the deal.” [Axios] • Netanyahu told Trump he’s concerned about U.S.-Saudi nuclear deal [Axios]

HEARD YESTERDAY — CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Face the Nation: “My critique of the Obama administration’s JCPOA commitment was that they left the Iranians with a breakout capacity… And North Korea’s human capital and enrichment capacity continues to remain in place. Those are all things that present risk to the world and President Trump is determined to prevent that from happening in North Korea.”

Pompeo on Iranian threat in Syria: “In fact. the JCPOA and the negotiations prevented a United States response. The previous administration, Ben Rhodes and Obama’s team, didn’t want to upset the apple cart. This administration has taken a much stronger approach, a much more aggressive posture with respect to countering Iran… We’re working closely with the Israelis to develop a full intelligence picture of what’s taking place there so that the president has options to counter that threat.” [CBSNews

PALACE INTRIGUE — “‘Trump Is Red-Hot’ — A Fuming President Prepares to Go Full MAGA” by Gabriel Sherman: “Sources said that the first officials to go will be Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster… Trump met with John Bolton in the Oval Office. When he plans to visit Mar-a-Lago next weekend, Trump is expected to interview more candidates for both positions… [Gary] Cohn had been lobbying to replace Kelly as chief, two sources said, and quit when he didn’t get the job. “Trump laughed at Gary when he brought it up,” one outside adviser to the White House said.” [VanityFair] • Christopher Liddell Is Front-Runner to Become Trump’s Top Economic Adviser [NYTimes

“Trump finally losing patience with VA Sec. Shulkin” by Jonathan Swan: “Trump has been telling associates he doesn’t know what’s happened at the VA, but he doesn’t like what he’s hearing and he may have to fire [David] Shulkin if the situation further deteriorates.” [Axios]

Bret Stephens writes… “In Praise of Globalists: I grew up in Mexico City and remember vividly the things that impressed me most as a child whenever I visited the United States… Since then, I have lived in Chicago, London, Brussels, Jerusalem, New York and Hamburg. I suppose this makes me a “globalist” in certain eyes, though I’ve never seen myself that way… Oh, and I’m Jewish. Which, some say, is what happens to globalism after it’s been circumcised.” [NYTimes]

FIRST LOOK: “Reddit and the Quest to Detoxify the Internet: The trolls are winning. How do we fix life online without limiting free speech?” [NewYorker]

TALK OF OUR NATION — “Putin condemned for saying Jews may have manipulated U.S. election” by Avi Selk: “Maybe they’re not even Russians,” Putin told Megyn Kelly, referring to who might have been behind the election interference. “Maybe they’re Ukrainian, Tatars, Jews — just with Russian citizenship.” … The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Trump has previously been reluctant to criticize Putin… “President Putin bizarrely has resorted to the blame game by pointing the finger at Jews and other minorities in his country,” Anti-Defamation League chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement… The American Jewish Committee also compared Putin’s comments to the “Elders of Zion.””  [WashPost] • ‘Why Is Trump Silent?’ U.S. Lawmakers Ask After Putin Says ‘Jews’ May Be Behind Election Meddling [Haaretz]

“Is Vladimir Putin an anti-Semite or philo-Semite? Depends on His Agenda” by Anshel Pfeffer: “While Putin often goes to unusual lengths to show his friendship to the Jews – including donating a month’s salary to the main Jewish community center in Moscow, and periodically visiting it – the use of anti-Semitism by those linked to the Kremlin has continued under his presidency…” [Haaretz]

LongRead: “The Women’s March Has a Farrakhan Problem” by John-Paul Pagano: “Understanding the controversy requires the context of more than a century of relations between Jews and African Americans. The two minorities are linked by histories of extreme and prolonged oppression, but the differences in their experiences are more meaningful than the similarities. The seminal one is that of origin: Jews found asylum and assimilation in the United States, a path denied to African Americans…”

“For many in the African American community, Farrakhan’s specific theological or historical claims are of secondary importance. The Nation rebuilds and uplifts the neighborhoods it dwells in, and this has won it deep respect and gratitude—especially during the horror and anomie of the crack epidemic. Consequently, there is little Farrakhan might say that could threaten his standing among many of his admirers—his pronouncements may be crazy and hateful, but the Nation can really clean up a street corner.”

“In reality, just like everyone else, people on the contemporary left pick and choose when to be practical and when to be idealistic. That there appears to be no desire on the part of Women’s March to confront Jew-hatred specifically and substantively, even as most religious hate crimes target Jews and anti-Semitism stats rise, is something that should trouble anyone of genuine antiracist sentiment. That the group refuses to be accountable for a high-level alliance with an open anti-Semite disqualifies it from ranking among today’s movements for social justice.” [TheAtlantic]

“Why Tamika Mallory Won’t Condemn Farrakhan” by Adam Serwer: “From the perspective of her critics, Mallory’s refusal to denounce Farrakhan or the Nation appears as a condemnable silence in the face of bigotry. For her supporters, Mallory’s refusal to condemn the Nation shows an admirable loyalty towards people who guided her through an unfathomable loss. But watching Farrakhan bask in the media attention, as yet another generation of black leadership faces public immolation on his behalf, it is impossible to see him as worthy of her loyalty.” [TheAtlantic]

“Pol who warned of bigoted rhetoric justifies ties with Louis Farrakhan, lashes out at Jewish group” by Elizabeth Llorente: “A defiant Rep. Andre Carson told FOX 59 that the Jewish coalition “doesn’t have any credibility with [him]” and that it’s all part of their political agenda. “The Congressional Black Caucus is asking that organization to condemn (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu and the (Israeli) government for discriminating against Africans who are migrating, who are fleeing dictatorships, who are fleeing oppression,” he added.” [FoxNews]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Keshet Media Turns 25: Israel-Based Juggernaut Shows No Signs of Slowing Down [Variety] • Discovery CEO David Zaslav finds new home for Manhattan headquarters [NYPost] • Facebook Releases, Then Quickly Pulls, an App by Israeli Startup Onavo [Calcalist] • Atomwise, which uses AI to improve drug discovery, raises $45M Series A [TechCrunch] • Boeing says Israel may opt for Chinooks over Sikorsky choppers [Reuters]

TRANSITION: “Lloyd Blankfein Prepares to Exit Goldman Sachs as Soon as Year’s End” by Liz Hoffman and Joann S. Lublin: “Goldman is likely to follow an announcement of Mr. Blankfein’s departure with a quick transfer of power and isn’t looking beyond Goldman’s two co-presidents, Harvey Schwartz and David Solomon, to replace him… Mr. Blankfein has often joked he will die at his desk, and his enthusiasm for the job has led many within the firm to believe he might outlast another set of would-be successors… At a Goldman board meeting in February, Mr. Blankfein briefed the bank’s fellow directors on what he considers the strengths and weaknesses of his two likely successors, but he hasn’t shared his preference…” [WSJ

PROFILE: “The Man Who’s Helped Elon Musk, Tom Brady, and Ari Emanuel Get Dressed” by Sheila Marikar: “Andrew Weitz’s clients are men who sit behind desks. They include Michael Lombardo, the former HBO executive; Bruce Rosenblum, the head of Disney and ABC’s business operations; Howard Gordon, Homeland’s executive producer (“It’s still half embarrassing to me,” he says)—and plenty of men who aren’t eager for the world to know that they need another man to help them get dressed. Weitz, who is forty-four, comes from their world. He spent eleven years as an agent with William Morris Endeavor before leaving to start his company… Weitz travelled to Israel and had what he describes as an epiphany at the Western Wall. “I told myself, ‘This is who you are, and these are the gifts you have.’ ” The following February, he quit the agency.” [NewYorker]

“Fastest woman in Israel is religious US-born mother of five” by Amy Spiro: “Beatie Deutsch, a religious immigrant from the United States who lives in Jerusalem, clocked a time of 3:09:50 on Friday – making her the fastest Israeli woman, the fifth-fastest woman and the 25th quickest runner overall to finish the race… Deutsch is a mother of five young kids with a full-time job at a nonprofit, but she always found time to train. Last month, she ran the Tel Aviv half-marathon and finished with an impressive 1:30:21. Last year, she raised eyebrows when she finished the full Tel Aviv Marathon while seven months pregnant.” [JPost]

“Aviva Drescher would return to the ‘Real Housewives’” by Christine Burroni: “Aviva Drescher wouldn’t say “no” if she was ever asked back to “The Real Housewives of New York.” “If they needed somebody and I worked in the mix, I would go back,” she recently told Page Six… However, the mom of four, who appeared on the franchise’s fifth and sixth seasons, says her lifestyle is a bit different from the ladies who are currently on the Bravo show.” [PageSix

“Michelle Fields Is Shopping a TV Show Based on Her Dinner Parties” by Amanda Whiting: “Since 2012, [Jamie] Weinstein has hosted a series of dinners between reporters and Washington insiders at his million-dollar corner-unit at the Ritz… According to sources close to the couple, Fields and Weinstein were approached by a talent agent last fall and are shopping the dinners as a television series… In total, Weinstein says he’s hosted about 30 dinners, including serving Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Podesta, and Peter Thiel. …  The dinners won’t be off-the-record anymore, but it’s easy to see how the promise of a home audience will lure “bigger and better guests” to the dinner table.” [Washingtonian

BIRTHDAYS: Chief Washington correspondent for CNN and anchor of the Sunday morning program “State of the Union,” Jacob Paul “Jake” Tapperturns 49… Sportscaster for ESPN since 1993, host of SportsCenter best known for his work broadcasting NHL hockey, Steve Levy turns 53… Attorney, real estate developer and former President of AIPAC, Robert A. Cohen… Born in Venezuela, raised in Israel, now residing in Lakewood, NJ, Rabbi Yitzchak Abadi turns 85… Sam Cohen turns 85… Photographer, author of 15 children’s books and musician, married to Alan Alda since 1957, Arlene Weiss Alda turns 85… Carol Margolis turns 73… Director, producer and screenwriter of movies and television including “The Fast and the Furious” film franchise, Rob Cohen turns 69… Born in Bombay, British sculptor who in 2017 won the $1 million Genesis Prize for “commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and the State of Israel,” Sir Anish Kapoor turns 64… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, he is from the Israeli Druze community and serves as Israel’s Minister of Communications, Ayoob Kara turns 63… Lynne Blumenthal turns 60…

Chief Marketing Officer at Consensus Systems, better known as ConsenSys, a blockchain software technology company, Amanda Gutterman… Founder of, and designer for, a NYC-based eponymous clothing line that uses CEOs and other successful women as its fashion models (“role models not runway models”), Carrie Hammer… Principal of the Ryan Advocacy group, part of the Dallas-based global tax services firm, previously campaign manager for Rick Perry’s presidential campaign and an advisor for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Jeff Miller… Democratic communications director for the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Brian T. Weiss turns 42 (h/t Playbook)… Congressional reporter Aaron Magid turns 29… Israeli figure skater who won the  2016 World Junior championship, he competed for Israel at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Daniel Samohinturns 20…




Daily Kickoff: Haim Saban & Jared Kushner had more to discuss than Mideast peace | Adelson to sell Sands Bethlehem | Dan Koh profile | Shabbat at SXSW

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MEDIA WATCH: “Jared Kushner Sought To Sell Newspaper To Trump’s Political Enemies” by Charlie Warzel: “Just days before heading to a West Wing job, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was secretly engaged in talks to sell his struggling news organization, the New York Observer, to Clinton megadonor and Univision chair Haim Saban and Hillary Clinton ally David Brock — a progressive media figure with aspirations to turn the news outlet into “the Breitbart of the left.” … A source familiar with the matter said that Kushner did not initiate the talks and largely recused himself after an initial discussion, though he did not have any apparent reservations about selling to his father-in-law’s sworn enemies.”

“Ken Kurson, then editor-in-chief of the Observer, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that he and [Kushner’s brother-in-law Joseph] Meyer spoke with Saban on the phone that winter. According to one source, Brock and Saban’s planned editorial direction for the site was made clear in the discussions… Saban, the source noted, was interested in having a presence in Washington… The talks fell apart over money.” [BuzzFeed]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — “Is the Bibi era over? A conversation with Naftali Bennett, the brash right-winger who wants to succeed Benjamin Netanyahu” by Susan Glasser: “After the era of Netanyahu, I intend to be the prime minister of Israel,” said Bennett on The Global Politico podcast… “I do not intend to be a rival of Netanyahu. I think he’s doing a fair job. We’ve had our disagreements, etc., but I think as a prime minister, he’s certainly doing a fair job. So I stand behind him. But if he steps down, I absolutely intend to contend and become the next prime minister… I think we would need a big bang in the right side, sort of a unification of many parties, to be one central front… I think that would be a healthier structure for Israel.”[Politico]

RECAPPING BIBI’S U.S. VISIT — “Netanyahu’s Bilingual U.S. Tour: Triumphal and Defensive” by David Halbfinger: “Perhaps the clearest indicator of the dual audiences and agendas of this trip were the differences between Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks in English and Hebrew. Addressing American audiences in English, Mr. Netanyahu beat the drum, steadily and loudly, for confrontation with Iran… He whittled his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict down to a blunt end… And in English, Mr. Netanyahu trumpeted Israel’s and, by implication, his achievements… Speaking to the Israeli news media in Hebrew, by contrast, Mr. Netanyahu played the victim and continued his monthslong assault on the credibility and motives of Israeli law enforcement…” [NYTimes

— “Netanyahu Leaves U.S. On A High Note But Troubles Await Him At Home” by Daniel Estrin: “On the plane Wednesday… before departing for New York, NPR asked Netanyahu how he thought the Israeli public perceived his U.S. trip. “They hear the things that I say, they see the reception that I receive, and it’s a very warm one,” Netanyahu said. “I think people have a very strong and clear impression of Israel’s position in the world, in the U.S., and my position in the U.S. and in the world.” [NPR]

TURTLE BAY — “Israeli leader opens Jerusalem exhibit, rebukes opponents” by Edith Lederer: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened an exhibition on Jerusalem Thursday to reinforce Israel’s claim to the historic city as the Jewish people’s “eternal capital”… The Israeli leader noted a disclaimer sign at the entrance to the exhibition that says: “The holding of the exhibit in U.N. premises does not imply endorsement by the United Nations…” Netanyahu responded: “Of course it doesn’t represent the United Nations. It represents the truth, and we’ll continue to tell the truth and speak the truth everywhere, including the United Nations.”

“Netanyahu met with U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley before viewing the exhibition and praised her strong support for Israel at the U.N., saying: “We call her Hurricane Haley.” [APVideo

“Netanyahu wants to transfer part of UNRWA funding to Jordan” by Barak Ravid: “[Netanyahu] suggests that some of the money be transferred directly to the Jordanian government, and has raised the idea with UN secretary general Antonio Guterres… Netanyahu met today in New York with the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and discussed the possibility of further cutting U.S. funding to UNRWA.” [Axios]

Trump’s Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt writes… “Does Hamas have the courage to admit failure? In response to the burgeoning humanitarian situation in Gaza, key countries and stakeholders are preparing to act: There was a meeting in Cairo on Thursday, and there will be a brainstorming session at the White House next week to find real solutions to the problems that Hamas has caused… Hamas’s utter failure to fulfill any of the most basic functions of governance has brought Gaza to the brink of collapse, which has necessitated the response of the international community.” [WashPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer addressed Treasury Secretary Steven Munchin at Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network annual gala at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan: “I want to thank Secretary Mnuchin for his tremendous friendship and support for Israel. You know, a lot of people see that in the big things that are happening within the administration, and there are many of those, but we see it every day, and we thank you. Now that you are done with the tax cuts and now you have got the tariffs and everything out of the way, now we can actually start and strengthen the U.S.-Israel economic relationship and bring it to unprecedented heights.”

Dermer added: ‘I think that it is fair to say that in 14 months of the current administration, that there has been no previous administration that has shown Israel greater support.”

Mnuchin after receiving the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson Award: “There is no better partner of the U.S. than the State of Israel. This President is the greatest friend to the State of Israel… The President is not only committed to making sure that Israel is safe, but that its neighbors and the rest of the world is safe from ballistic missiles and from Iran exporting terrorism throughout the region.”

Mnuchin also shared the news about Trump accepting offer to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un: “And as the President recently tweeted — and those of you who know, including Sean [Spicer (who was also honored at the event)], how much he loves his Twitter account — we will not take off these sanctions until we achieve our goals to make sure that the world is protected.” [Video]

The highlight of the evening was the Champion of Israel and LGBTQ Rights Award presented to Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner: At the beginning of her remarks, Jenner struggled to hold back her tears. “I have had been touched by the Jewish community on a few occasions throughout my life that has had a really big impact on me and the person I am today,” she said, as she mentioned her father surviving WWII and witnessing the Munich terrorist attack on Israeli athletes. “For the entire Middle East and the rest of the world, Israel is a beacon of hope,” Jenner added… “Israel is a long-standing refuge for the LGBT people.” [Video

After Ambassador Dermer concluded his remarks, he called Jenner to the stage and said: “I do not know if to win an Olympic gold medal you have to have courage… But there’s a different type of courage, and I think what you have done tonight is, you have shown that you are a person of remarkable courage in standing up to all the haters, and all the people who tried to convince you not to come tonight. You stood up for the truth, and you stood up for Israel.” [Pic

“Jake Tapper Chastises Israel PM Netanyahu For Claiming No Disagreements With Trump: ‘Charlottesville?’” by Aidan McLaughlin: “Netanyahu said he has fewer disagreements with Trump than he did with Obama — adding that he actually hasn’t encountered a single disagreement with the current president. And Netanyahu’s claim struck CNN anchor Jake Tapper as somewhat curious, given the controversy surrounding Trump’s claims defending neo-Nazis that rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia over the summer: “How about on the “very fine people” marching in Charlottesville? No disagreement there, @netanyahu?”” [Mediaite]

“Friedman: Trump backs ADL’s war on anti-Semitism” by Yoni Kempinski: “The ADL has evolved to keep pace with anti-Semitic and racist forces of a new generation,” said Friedman. “We should note that the Trump administration and myself, personally, support you 100% in your efforts to combat racism and anti-Semitism in the United States and everywhere in the world.” [IsraelNationalNews]

“This Anti-Semitic Term Was Casually Used At The White House 3 Times This Week” by Nina Golgowski and Luke O’Brien: “The term “globalist” has been used at the White House at least three times this week in reference to an outgoing Jewish Trump administration official, raising some eyebrows because the word is increasingly used in xenophobic and anti-Semitic contexts… The third instance came during a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, when Trump lauded Cohn as “a globalist,” while adding, “but I still like him.” “He’s been terrific,” Trump said. “He may be a globalist, but I still like him. He’s seriously globalist, there’s no question, but you know what, in his own way he’s also a nationalist because he loves our country.”” [HuffPost]

2018 WATCH — “GOP Candidate Stacey Dash on MSNBC: ‘I’m Not Here to Judge’ Neo-Nazis” by Matt Wilstein: “Ari Melber opened his interview with recently announced California congressional candidate Stacey Dash by playing a clip of her performance in 1995’s Clueless… Then, Melber brought up President Donald Trump’s comments after last summer’s events in Charlottesville. Does Dash think he was right to say there was “blame on both sides” for the violence? “I think he’s absolutely right,” she said… Asked if she really believes there were really “good people” marching with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, Dash told Melber, “I’m not here to judge. The only one who can judge is God. Do I know every person in the neo-Nazi party, if they have a good heart or not? No, I don’t.”” [DailyBeast]

“Danny Davis now says he condemns Louis Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic remarks” by Diana Stancy Correll: “So let me be clear: I reject, condemn and oppose Minister Farrakhan’s views and remarks regarding the Jewish people and the Jewish religion,” [Davis said on Thursday]. “Those who have attempted to defame me either do not know me or my lifetime record or are deceitfully and deceptively attempting to use this as an opportunity to foment division and hatred between the African-American and Jewish communities.” [WashExaminer]

HOURS EARLIER — INBOX: Jewish Dems Withhold Support from Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) Over Farrakhan Remarks: “JDCA will not support anyone, including a member of Congress, who condones a person spewing such hatred,” The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) said in a statement, “We hope that Rep. Davis will agree with us, and rethink his praise for Farrakhan, especially given the congressman’s own good record of speaking out against anti-Semitism.”

2020 WATCH — “As Democrats shift left on Palestine, 2020 contender Kamala Harris gives off-the-record address to AIPAC” by Zaid Jilani: “Harris, widely considered a 2020 presidential contender, spoke at a Monday session called “A Conversation with Senator Kamala Harris,” which was not listed on the conference’s program or website… An AIPAC official later told The Intercept that the event with Harris was a breakout session for students, and that those sessions are typically off the record. Tyrone Gayle, Harris’s press secretary, did not provide a transcript of the senator’s remarks but said that the California senator emphasized the need for U.S.-Israel ties.” [TheIntercept]

RISING STAR: “Koh, What a Life” by Malcolm Burnley: “The grandson and great-grandson of immigrants from Korea and Lebanon, Dan Arrigg Kohin many ways is the fulfillment of the American dream. Growing up, he watched his father rise from dermatology professor at Boston University to assistant secretary for health under President Barack Obama; he watched his mother, Claudia Arrigg, instill a strong moral compass in her children while managing to run a renowned ophthalmology practice in the Merrimack Valley. Koh himself graduated from Phillips Academy before earning degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Business School. He interned with then-Senator Ted Kennedy, because of course he did, and then worked as chief of staff for notorious diva Arianna Huffington in New York at the Huffington Post. Then, at the ripe old age of 29, Koh took a job as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s chief of staff… The coming months, however, are going to test how long he can keep it up. Koh’s early money and endorsements failed to scare off other challengers, teeing up a 13-way street fight for the rare open congressional seat.” [BostonMag]

** 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: Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, joins Jonathon Triest of Ludlow Ventures to discuss his background, as well as new innovations and technology driving a resurgence of Detroit [YouTube] • WeWork is on an acquisition spree — and they’re all over the board [Recode] • How Israeli entrepreneur Orit Hashay built a big data-powered bra empire [TheNextWeb Uber has hired a top Amazon voice exec, Assaf Ronen, as head of product as Daniel Graf departs [Recode] • Sheldon Adelson to sell Sands Bethlehem for $1.3B [HotelBiz] • Isaac Kassirer closes on $116M UWS portfolio buy [RealDeal]

STARTUP NATION — “Phantom Auto pioneers remote driving technology” by Emma Hall: “The startup, based in Mountain View, California, has developed technology that incorporates a remote driver through the cellular network, allowing control of the car from virtually anywhere…” “We see Phantom Auto as one of these types of technologies that can accelerate the deployment by filling those gaps with their teleoperations,” Michael Granoff told Israel’s Channel 2. [CNETVideo]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Israeli trauma experts help counselors in Parkland, Florida” by Jake Tapper: “Helping avoid those triggers is why [Yotam] Dagan and another psychologist recently flew from Tel Aviv to London to Miami to meet with teachers, counselors, first responders, clergy and others to offer practical lessons learned from Israel’s vast experience with terrorism and war. “It’s not as if Israel knows anything America doesn’t,” Dagan’s colleague on this trip, psychologist Alan Cohen, told me. “But we have a lot more practical experience in putting them into a coherent program.”” [CNN]

HAPPENING TONIGHT — “Deep in the heart of Texas, have a Jewish connection at SXSW” by Tracy Frydberg: “South by Southwest begins this Friday and goes through March 18. The festival celebrates the world’s greatest new talent and innovation by blending technology, film, music, gaming and comedy tracks into one huge happening… All Jews in town for SXSW are invited to a community #openShabbatdinner at the Hilton Austin hosted by Chabad’s Tech Tribe initiative… The event’s hosts, Rabbi Mordechai and Chana Lightstone, created the now-popular Friday night gathering in 2011… “People come because they know that we’re the only place to offer the marriage of transcendent tradition and the ground-breaking innovation that drives society forward,” said Lightstone…” [ToI]

SPOTLIGHT — “NY Times’ Bari Weiss Warns ‘Social Justice Warriors’ Are Taking Over College Campuses” by Jon Levine: “Students are being coddled and professors are taking on the role of babysitters. University used to be, and are in a democracy, a sacred place in the pursuit of truth,” she said during an interview on “Morning Joe” Thursday. “They’re in the truth pursuit business, and increasingly it seems, they’re in the business of turning out social justice warriors.” Weiss went on “Morning Joe” to defend her most recent column, “We’re All Fascists Now.” The piece, which warned of the growing danger to free speech on college campuses and elsewhere, was swiftly denounced on Twitter.” [TheWrapVideo]

“The Sliming of Bari Weiss” by David French: “Bari is doing exactly what she did [at Columbia] in 2004 and 2005. She perceived intolerance and called it out. She decried an unwillingness to debate and a university that seemed closed off to dissenting ideas. It is not censorship to critique censorship… And it’s most definitely not “racism” to raise credible concerns about anti-Semitism. Days after I sent the FIRE letter, I went to campus to speak to a mainly Jewish gathering of concerned students, parents, and members of the community. My purpose was simple: to correct the claims that students like Bari were the real threat to discourse and to defend their proper role in campus debate. It was the first (and so far only) time that I had to walk through a metal detector to give my lecture… She was brave to take her stand those many years ago, and one thing I know after reading her work and watching the backlash — she remains brave today.” [NationalReview]

HOLLYWOOD: “Holy Land Goes Hollywood: Gal Gadot, ‘Fauda’ Put Israel in Spotlight” by Itay Hod: “It’s nice for Israel to be enjoying a moment of something these days, isn’t it?” Adam Berkowitz, the co-head of television at Creative Artists Agency, told TheWrap… Berkowitz… also serves as Israel’s unofficial ambassador to Hollywood, putting together deals to adapt Israeli shows to the U.S. market. His most recent acquisition, “Fauda” … was bought by Netflix in 2016 and has quickly garnered a fierce following around the world… It’s hard to say how many people have actually seen “Fauda.” … But the phenomenon has fans among both Israelis and Palestinians, who aren’t known for agreeing. It’s already made its star and creator, Lior Raz, one of the hottest tickets in Hollywood.” [TheWrap]

SPORTS BLINK: “There were miracles aplenty for Team Israel in ‘Heading Home’ documentary” by Lauren Comitor: “The Ironbound Films documentary, which chronicles the journey of Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, will be screened three times during the Chicago Jewish Film Festival, which runs through March 18. The idea for the film came in 2015 — filmmakers Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger began interviewing Jewish baseball players about their experiences and the stereotypes that come along with that, but they found there wasn’t much of a narrative…” [TheAthletic]

PIC OF THE DAY — U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley posted a picture with Israeli actress Noa Tishby at an event marking International Women’s Day at the UN in New York City [InstagramPic]

REMEMBERING: “He shot down an enemy and was marked for assassination. His life changed in Miami” by Howard Cohen: “Gideon Lichtman spent more than 30 years teaching under an assumed name after Israel’s president warned he could well be a target for assassination. Lichtman, who died Wednesday at 94, was the first fighter pilot in the young Israeli air force to shoot down an enemy fighter in aerial combat… [Ezer] Weizman, Lichtman’s roommate in 1948, told his pal, “Your life is in danger.” The Israeli leader’s suggested pseudonym: Rimon…” [MiamiHerald

DESSERT: “Are These Foods Kosher for Passover? The Answer Is More Complicated Than You Think” by Mahita Gajanan: “Millions of Jewish families all over the globe are prepping for Passover — an eight-day religious festival that, once a year, turns matzo into one of the most popular commodities at certain grocery stores.” [TimeMag]

“Hot dog! Loeser’s deserves a ‘place’ in history” by Zak Kostro: “Fredy Loeser is a man of few words, and a quietly wicked sense of humor. One could cut the guy some slack for showing a trace of fatigue, but he doesn’t. He’s been serving those knishes, dogs and pickles — plus homemade soups, from hearty split pea to classic matzo ball and other kosher delicacies to the Kingsbridge and Riverdale communities for nearly six decades. And he still works 10 hours a day, six days a week, showing little sign of slowing down.” [RiverdalePress]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYMayor of North York, Ontario (1973-1997), then Mayor of Toronto (1998-2003), founder of the Bad Boy Furniture chain, Mel Lastman turns 85… Billionaire and co-founder of Sunbeam Television (owner of multiple TV stations) and developer of a 400 acre business park in Broward County, Florida, Edmund Ansin turns 82… Former professor of sociology and Jewish studies at the University of Toronto, best known for his work on German Jewry, Y. Michal Bodemann turns 74… Sag Harbor-based painter, sculptor and printmaker, Eric Fischl turns 70… Radio and television journalist and author who hosts Public Radio International’s popular program, Science FridayIra Flatow turns 69… Rhodes Scholar, Harvard Law graduate, political journalist and commentator, former co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, editor at large for The New Republic, Michael Kinsley turns 67… Moroccan-born member of Knesset (since 1998) now representing the Zionist Union party, previously Minister of Defense (2006-2007) and leader of the Labor Party, Amir Peretz turns 66… President and CEO of NYC’s flagship public TV station WNET, previously the president of NBC News and the executive producer for Dateline NBC, Neal Shapiro turns 60… CEO of NYC-based Gotham Media, holds an MA in Russian history from the London School of Economics and a JD from Harvard Law, previously an Emmy Award-winning producer for ABC News Nightline, Gordon Platt turns 56… Director of Research at Facebook, he was previously VP and Chief Strategy Officer at Intel Corporation, David I. Ginsberg turns 43… Chief of Staff and Acting Deputy US Trade Representative, Matthew Vogel turns 40… CEO of the Trevor Project, he was a management consultant in the NYC office of McKinsey & Company and a reporter for the Washington Post, Amit Paley turns 36… Member of the City Council of the Municipality of Jerusalem from the Hitorerut B’Yerushalayim party, Hanan Rubin turns 36… Israeli-born singer, now one-half of the world music duo Shlomit & RebbeSoul, Shlomit Leviturns 35… Communications director for North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper since 2-2017, previously at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Alissa “Sadie” Weiner turns 31… Founding partner of Mothership Strategies, a DC-based firm using digital strategies for organizational fundraising and activism, previously at the DCCC, Jacob “Jake” Austin Lipsett turns 25… Private equity and venture capital investor, Howie Fialkov… Stephen Lent

SATURDAY: Long Beach, California general surgeon, Leonard M. Lovitch, MD turns 74… Record producer, former co-president of Columbia Records and a co-founder of Def Jam Records, Rick Rubin turns 55… Peabody Award-winning financial journalist and market news analyst for CNBC and one of the co-hosts of its morning show “Squawk on the Street,” David Faber turns 54… CEO of DC-based International Lifeline Fund, an NGO focused on poor countries, previously President of both the Genesis Prize Foundation (2013-2015) and Hillel (2006-2013), Wayne L. Firestone turns 54… Stage, screen and television actor, the son of novelist Norman Mailer, Stephen Mailer turns 52… Investigative reporter for The New York Times stationed in the London bureau, Danny Hakim turns 47… Senior Policy Advisor to U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Carrie Filipetti… News editor of Mishpacha Magazine, Binyamin Rose… Author and publisher of the Phoenix Scottsdale Jewish Friendship Trail Guidebook, Michael A. Ross… Chief Transformation Officer at Gaithersburg, MD-based BroadSoft, previously a consultant to Israeli start-up and established companies and government officials, Jeffrey Kahn

SUNDAYProfessor emeritus at Princeton University whose research focused upon the Cairo Geniza and Jewish life in Muslim countries, Mark R. Cohenturns 75… Composer and conductor specializing in movie scores, since 1984 he has composed the music for nearly 100 feature films, David Louis Newmanturns 64… Singer-songwriter who has also worked in film, television, voice-over work and children’s recordings, also promotes an eponymous line of eyeglasses, Lisa Loeb turns 50… Israeli singer-songwriter and pianist who has twice been recognized as Israel’s Singer of the Year, Keren Peles turns 39… VP for investor relations and communications at Ridgewood Energy, an energy-focused private equity firm, Samuel J. Lissner turns 32… Graduate of Yale Law School, clerked for Judge Cabranes on the 2nd Circuit, co-founder of Headliner Labs, Dana Stern Gibber… President of Jerusalem Capital Studios, a graduate of Harvard Business School, Michal Grayevsky… Graduate of NYU (B.A., cum laude), University of Illinois (M.S. in journalism) and University of North Carolina (Ph.D.), Sharon Polansky Hermine Warren… Glenda Kresh

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…