Daily Kickoff: Mr. Steinhardt, tell em how you really feel! | Klarman now funding Dems | Israel’s next super fruit | BDays: Ron Dermer, Tony Blinken

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PIC OF THE DAY: Outside last night’s Birthright Israel gala dinner in NYC, Michael Steinhardt’s message to protesters…

ALSO SPOTTED AT THE DINNER: Sheldon & Miriam Adelson (along with a son who skipped Coachella to be there), Haim Saban, Bob Kraft, Israeli Consul Gen. Dani Dayan, Dan Senor, Charles Bronfman, Shawn & Dorit Evenhaim, Gidi Mark, Phil Rosen, Tom Stern, Jay Feldman.

2018 WATCH — “In the era of Donald Trump, New England’s biggest GOP donor is funding Democrats” by Annie Linskey: “Boston hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman lavished more than $7 million on Republican candidates and political committees during the Obama administration… But the rise of Donald Trump shocked and dismayed Klarman… He’s given roughly $222,000 since the 2016 election to 78 Democrats running for Congress… “The Republicans in Congress have failed to hold the president accountable and have abandoned their historic beliefs and values,” Klarman said in a prepared statement… “I received a tax cut I neither need nor want… I’m choosing to invest it to fight the administration’s flawed policies and to elect Democrats to the Senate and House of Representatives.” [BostonGlobe

— Trump sticking with small donor strategy: “Even as some major Republican donors have warmed to Mr. Trump, his political operation is not abandoning the approach that carried it through much of the 2016 campaign, when it relied primarily on a stream of donations from small donors giving online.” [NYTimes]

2020 WATCH — “Kander targets Trump during New Hampshire address that sounded like a potential 2020 stump speech” by Paul Steinhauser: “Jason Kander took sharp aim at President Donald Trump on Saturday night as he headlined a major Democratic Party dinner in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first presidential primary. The former Missouri secretary of state… claimed that “right now, white supremacists and the KKK are literally on the march, displaying for everybody their horrific views that they once thought they had to hide. Why? Because they are emboldened by a president that says they are very fine people.” Kander added: “We deserve to have a commander-in-chief who at least has the courage to stand up to the KKK and Nazis.”” [STLTodayCSPAN]

— “Eric Garcetti, presidential long shot, journeys to Iowa, the land of dreams” by Mark Z. Barabak: “When Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti set out Friday to introduce himself to Iowa with a two-day visit, the all-but-announced Democratic candidate for president was traveling a well-trod path… He used the occasion to speak a bit of his fluent Spanish, denounce anti-Semitism…” [LATimes]

TOP TALKER — “Trump, a reluctant hawk, has battled his top aides on Russia and lost” by Greg Jaffe, John Hudson and Philip Rucker: “The president, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia… His briefers tried to reassure him that the sum total of European expulsions was roughly the same as the U.S. number. “I don’t care about the total!” the administration official recalled Trump screaming… Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. “There were curse words,” the official said, “a lot of curse words.””[WashPost]

PALACE INTRIGUE — “G.O.P. Pollster Withdraws From Role Advising Both Pence and Haley” by Maggie Haberman: “The Republican pollster who had planned to split time advising both Vice President Mike Pence and the United Nations ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, on national security issues withdrew from the dual role on Sunday night… The move by the veteran strategist, Jon Lerner… came two days after President Trump learned of the unusual time-sharing plan… Mr. Trump was displeased by the move for several reasons… Mr. Lerner will continue in his role advising Ms. Haley and, one White House official said, continue to informally advise the Pence team… Mr. Trump made clear to advisers… that he did not want to see Mr. Lerner with a seat at the table in the White House.” [NYTimes]

BEHIND THE SCENES: “Trump was furious when he learned Pence was bringing on Nikki Haley’s deputy Jon Lerner… “Why would Mike do that?” Trump wondered aloud about Pence’s decision… Trump told Kelly to get rid of Lerner… Senior officials, including White House Counsel Don McGahn, were concerned about the logistics of Lerner dividing his time between Haley and Pence.” [Axios]

— Lerner was pictured in The Situation Room with the President on Thursday evening discussing Syria.

TALK OF THE MIDDLE EAST — The United States, along with Britain and France, launched airstrikes on Friday night against Syrian research, storage and military targets as President Trump sought to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus last weekend that killed more than 40 people. Trump rushed to declare “mission accomplished, indicating the one-time strike does not reflect a shift in position to withdraw from Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the strike, but Israeli officials are worried that Putin may try to limit Israel’s operations in Syria in retaliation for U.S.-led strikes. Yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had convinced Trump to stay engaged in Syria long-term. “I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term,” said Macron. The White House pushed back immediately. “The U.S. mission has not changed — the President has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

“Inside Trump’s decision to bomb Syria” by Philip Rucker, Missy Ryan, Josh Dawsey and Anne Gearan: “National security adviser John Bolton, in his first week on the job, was a hawkish voice urging a meaningful show of force that would deter Assad. Trump also heard from some hawks on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who said he urged the President to forgo his plan to pull back troop levels in Syria…” [WashPost] • Trump Adviser Bolton Coordinated U.S.-led Strike in Syria With Israel [Haaretz]

ISRAEL’S STRIKE — Tom Friedman writes… ”The Real Next War in Syria: Iran vs. Israel: Round one occurred on Feb. 10, when an Iranian drone… was shot down… Israeli Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said Friday that… “the aircraft was carrying explosives.” … “This is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel — not by proxy,” a senior Israeli military source told me. “This opened a new period.” It certainly helps to explain why Israeli jets launched a predawn missile raid on the Iranian drone’s T4 home base last Monday… “It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people,” said the Israeli military source.”

“Senior Israeli defense officials have let it be known that if the Iranians were to strike back at Israeli targets, Israel may use the opportunity to make a massive counterstrike on Iran’s entire military infrastructure in Syria… These defense officials say there is zero chance Israel will make the mistake it made in Lebanon — of letting Hezbollah establish a massive missile threat there — by letting Iran do the same directly in Syria… Unless [Qassem] Suleimani backs down, you are about to see in Syria an unstoppable force — Iran’s Quds Force — meet an immovable object: Israel. Fasten your seatbelt.” [NYTimes]

DRIVING THE CONVO — “A Trump Doctrine for the Middle East” by Martin Indyk: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried repeatedly to enlist Trump’s aid in establishing red lines in Syria against Iran’s establishment there… Instead, Netanyahu has had to travel seven times to Moscow to beseech Putin for the help he could not secure from Trump. But absent Trump’s engagement, Putin has no interest in challenging his Iranian partner… Bibi’s appeals therefore fell on Putin’s deaf ears… Now Tehran’s promises of retaliation are ratcheting up tensions and an all-out confrontation is looming… Should that happen, Trump can be counted on to cheer Israel from the sidelines as the troubled place becomes predictably even more troubled.”[TheAtlantic

Eliot Cohen writes… “Neither Precise Nor Proportionate: Vladimir Putin has yet another piece of evidence that President Donald Trump will steer away from a direct confrontation with him… So message received: The American enemy will posture and thump his chest, but is afraid to actually stand up to you, even though his air force could blow yours out of the sky and his navy sink yours to the bottom of the sea.” [TheAtlantic

Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky write… “The bottom line, while far from perfect, the Trump administration’s response is better than the alternatives in the land of lousy options.” [USAToday]

Wall Street Journal editorial… “Trump’s Next Syria Challenge: The better U.S. strategy is to support regional opponents of Iranian imperialism and try to turn Syria into the Ayatollah’s Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran begin to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war.” [WSJ

“Arab leaders meet to unify ranks with eye on Iran, Jerusalem” by Aya Batrawy: “Arab heads of state stressed in their opening remarks unity and unwavering support for Palestinians. King Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the US decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel… The strongest criticism of the Trump administration came from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas… “The decisions have made the United States a party to the conflict and not a neutral mediator,” he said.” [ToI]

Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt tweeted on Friday afternoon: “Saeb Erakat’s personal attack on me is a symptom of the difficulties in the path to peace. Saeb knows there’s no truth to his accusation. This outburst, like all his recent outbursts, is merely intended as a distraction from the important work that lies ahead. But this empty, self-indulgent rhetoric won’t stop us from trying. Saeb: It’s time to time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Or, you can continue to run in circles, and get pretty much nowhere! Shabbat Shalom/Salam!”

“Think tank offers roadmap for Israel-Diaspora relations” by Tamara Zieve: “The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) has released a new framework for Israel-Diaspora relations… One of the main recommendations is that Israel take Diaspora Jews into consideration when formulating Israeli policies that have ramifications for world Jewry, while advising that Diaspora communities aspire to interact with all parts of Israeli society and exercise “appropriate caution with regard to major involvement in the political plane.””[JPost]

HEARD AT J STREET CONFERENCE DAY 2 — “Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, accused Israeli politicians from the current government of showing “ignorance” about American Jewry and its connection to Israel. He specifically mentioned Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, a member of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party, who said that non-Orthodox Jews won’t exist in two generations. Jacobs said that this ignorance leads the Israeli government “to miss our strength, our vitality and our commitment to Jewish values.” [Haaretz

Nadav Tamir, senior adviser at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, at a panel discussing the future of the Israeli-Diaspora relationship: “I can guess that most people here in this room don’t like Sheldon Adelson, but you have to give him the credit that he is putting his money where his mouth is.” [Video]

HAPPENING TODAY — Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-IL), Ambassador Susan Rice, and Palestinian Chief Representative to the U.S Dr. Husam Zomlot will address J Street. In the evening, J Street will celebrate its 10th anniversary at a gala dinner featuring a keynote address from Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and a conversation with former Mideast Envoy George Mitchell, moderated by Susan Glasser. [Livestream]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Alan Dershowitz discusses his recent meetings with Trump on CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter: “I was there to talk about the Middle East. I’ve been there at three times to talk about the Middle East. My hope is that he can help bring about a peaceful resolution of the Middle East and I want to help him… That’s why I was invited to the White House and that’s why I will continue to go back to the White House, no matter who’s president, to try to help fix the big problems of the Middle East… I was only with him for an hour and a quarter. It was a very informal dinner with a group of people, he seemed upbeat. He wanted to talk about, you know, the Netanyahu issue in Israel. He wanted to talk about the Gulf and Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… In fact, at the dinner, they basically threw me out when they wanted to talk about confidants, as they said, ‘All right. We’re finished with dinner. You leave now.'” [Video]

INSIDE THE ADMIN — “Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein tells confidants he is prepared to be fired” by Julia Ainsley: “One source who spoke to Rosenstein said he seemed fully aware he may soon lose his job and was at peace with the possibility… Rosenstein has said in recent private conversations that history will prove he did the right thing by firing Comey in May 2017.” [NBCNews

“Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency” by Adam Davidson: “Even if he were to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and then had Mueller and his investigation put on ice, and even if—as is disturbingly possible—Congress did nothing, the Cohen prosecution would continue… This is the week we know, with increasing certainty, that we are entering the last phase of the Trump Presidency. This doesn’t feel like a prophecy; it feels like a simple statement of the apparent truth.” [NewYorker

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Michael Cohen once rented Ivanka’s Park Avenue apartment to the Taxi King” by Richard Johnson: “Cohen… once put a shady Russian-born taxi magnate into a Trump Park Avenue apartment owned by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. The tenant was Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, who was sentenced in 2017 to 28 days in a Chicago jail for contempt of court. Freidman — who was Cohen’s partner in operating 32 taxi medallions that Cohen owned — is set to go on trial in May in Albany on charges of failing to pay $5 million to New York State.” [PageSix]

“Under Siege, Michael Cohen Is Vacillating Between a New Level of Exasperation and Trumpian Business-As-Usual” by Emily Jane Fox:“[Cohen] has suggested to people close to him that perhaps he should act as his own attorney, because he may be the most apt person to defend himself. He has expressed anger at the lack of outrage over the fact that his legal office and private residences were searched… at times, he has jokingly asked whether there is going to be a “Million Michael March”—a reference to the renowned 1995 African-American display of unity—to retrieve his documents.” [VanityFair] • Everything that mattered in the Trump Organization, every sizable deal or sensitive transaction, required Jason Greenblatt’s signature, not Cohen’s [Bloomberg]

Elliott Broidy Quits RNC Post After Report on Payment to Ex-Model: “Los Angeles-based investor Elliott Broidy, who has been a top fundraiser for Trump and the party, issued a statement Friday acknowledging that he “had a consensual relationship” with the woman, who got pregnant. He said he retained [Michael] Cohen after Trump’s personal lawyer told Broidy he had been contacted by the woman’s attorney. “It is unfortunate that this personal matter between two consenting adults is the subject of national discussion just because of Michael Cohen’s involvement,” Broidy said in the statement.” [WashPostWSJ] • Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Used the Same Delaware Company for Payment Deals to Two Women [WSJ

— Broidy “also resigned from the Republican Jewish Coalition, where he had been a member of the national board of directors.” [Forward

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Wall Street Titan, Hank Greenberg, Takes Aim at Law That Tripped Him Up [NYTimes] • Leon Black may be looking to buy Tronc [NYPost]  Turnberry Associates and Richard LeFrak buy Costco store next to SoLē Mia in North Miami Beach [TheRealDeal] • Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz Tells Trump Pentagon Cloud Plan Makes ‘No Sense’ [Bloomberg] • Citigroup and Apollo defend Kushner family loans [Politico] • Moelis Reminds Staff to Treat Young Bankers Well [Bloomberg] • Israeli cybersecurity startup empow raises $10 million in Series B funding round [CyberScoop]

SPOTLIGHT — “Wall Street’s $6 Trillion Man Fink Is Finally Worth $1 Billion” by Tom Metcalf: “[Larry] Fink and [Stephen] Schwarzman… have been on a collision course for years. They work, literally and figuratively, on the opposite sides of the same street… The broad outlines of their twin careers are by now well-known. First came the years together at Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group LP, where the young Fink added a bond shop to the striving buyout operation. Then, the inevitable split. Fink got what was then the underdog: BlackRock Inc. It’s no underdog now. Lately, the investment world has been tilting BlackRock’s way. Today the firm sits atop $6.3 trillion in assets, making it the world’s largest money manager and one that dominates the market in passive-investments… Fink’s personal fortune, meantime, has at last eclipsed $1 billion.” [Bloomberg]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT — “Goldman Sachs Comes to the App Store” by Peter Rudegeair: “The deal closed on Friday for Clarity Money, whose backers include Soros Capital and Citigroup Inc.’s venture-capital arm. Adam Dell — brother of Michael Dell, the personal-computer pioneer—founded Clarity Money and will join Goldman as a partner, a title rarely given to outsiders… Goldman is paying a high eight-figure sum for Clarity Money — a rich valuation for a two-year-old startup that has yet to turn a profit. But Clarity Money’s roughly one million users will quadruple Goldman’s customer base.” [WSJ]

“Zuckerberg’s $1.5 Million Worth of Private-Plane Trips—and Other Perks of Being the Boss” by Anders Melin: “The benefits of running a large public company go well beyond paychecks and stock awards. Take Mark Zuckerberg, who crisscrossed the U.S. last year… all part of a personal challenge to meet and talk with regular people. The cost of his personal trips on private planes added up to $1.52 million… while the expense of his personal security program rose 50 percent to $7.32 million. Facebook Inc. footed both bills…  Las Vegas Sands Corp. spent $3.97 million last year on personal security for CEO Sheldon Adelson and his family, surpassed only by Facebook’s costs for protecting Zuckerberg.” [Bloomberg

“The Scientist Who Rose From Russia’s Ghettos to Israeli President” by Gil Troy: “Chaim ben Ozer had to be crazy smart to be the first kid ever sent at eleven, from his “shtetl,” Motol, to study science in the big city, Pinsk. After studying in Germany, he earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in Switzerland—escaping Russia’s restrictions on Jews’ creativity, identity, and freedom… Legend has it that Chaim Weizmann parlayed his successes as “Charles” to make Jewish history. In 1917, when [Lord Arthur] Balfour… asked his super-scientist friend how to honor his contribution to the British war effort, Weizmann supposedly replied: “There is only one thing I want: a national home for my people.”” [DailyBeast]

HOLLYWOOD — “‘Broad City’ Renewed for Final Season; Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson Sign Comedy Central Deal” by Daniel Holloway: “The half-hour series from Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson has been renewed for a fifth and final season set to premiere in 2019, Comedy Central announced Wednesday… As part of the first-look deal, Comedy Central is putting three new series into development. Two, “Mall Town USA” with writer-creator Gabe Liedman “Young Professionals” with writer David Litt, executive produced by Glazer and Jacobson; and a third, “Platinum Status,” written by Glazer’s brother Eliot and exec produced by Glazer with Principato Young and Electric Avenue’s Will Arnett and Marc Forman.” [Variety]

TALK OF THE TOWN — “Starbucks C.E.O. Apologizes After Arrests of 2 Black Men” by Matt Stevens: “The video shows the men surrounded by several police officers wearing bicycle helmets in the Center City Starbucks. When one officer asks another man whether he is “with these gentlemen,” the man said he was and called the episode ridiculous. “What did they get called for?” asked the man, Andrew Yaffe… Moments later, officers escorted one of the black men out of the Starbucks in handcuffs. The other soon followed… Kevin R. Johnson, the chief executive of Starbucks, released a statement in which he called the situation a “reprehensible outcome.””[NYTimes]

TRANSITION — Michael Froman, former U.S. Trade Representative in the Obama Administration, is joining Mastercard as vice chairman and president of strategic growth. h/t Playbook

DESSERT: “Move Over, Avocado — Meet the Next Super Fruit” by Nick Dall: “When Israeli horticulturist Yossi Zaphrir first started experimenting with pitaya (aka dragon fruit) back in 1990, people often told him the flamboyant-looking fruit “tasted like wood.” Now, after decades of selective breeding, demand for his supersweet, purple-fleshed Bilu pitaya is so high that the 88-year-old has had to double production capabilities at his farm in Rehovot, Israel.” [Ozy]

BIRTHDAYS: Born and raised in Miami Beach, he is Israel’s Ambassador to the United States since 2013, Ron Dermer turns 47… Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Advisor under President Obama, Antony John “Tony” Blinken turns 56… Actress, she was previously married to Ronald Perelman, Ellen Barkin turns 64… Singer Mordechai Werdyger, known by his stage name Mordechai Ben David, turns 67… Olympic track-and-field athlete, and survivor of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, Esther Roth-Shachamorov turns 66… Physician, venture capitalist in the biotechnology and life-sciences industries, founder of development stage biotech companies, Lindsay Rosenwald turns 63… Professor of international affairs at Princeton University and co-director of the Woodrow Wilson School’s Center for International Security Studies, Aaron Louis Friedberg, Ph.D. turns 62… Filmmaker, he directed the 2011 documentary “Paul Williams Still Alive” and the 1997 slapstick comedy “Vegas Vacation” starring Chevy Chase, Stephen Kessler turns 58 (h/t Heather Podesta)… Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School since 2016 and former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf turns 56…

Television producer David Kohan turns 54… Long Island native, now a Los Angeles pharmacist, Jeffrey D. Marcus turns 54… Former Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, Dawn Zimmer turns 50… Member of the House of Commons of Canada since 2015, she represents the riding of Toronto-Danforth, Julie Dabrusin turns 47… Ellen K. Finestone turns 45… Senior communications officer for media and external relations at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2017, Alexandra Sydney Glass turns 40… Principal of Dark Horse Strategy Group, Geoff Middleberg turns 28… Uriel Kejsefman turns 27… Singer, pianist, and composer, Mendy Portnoy turns 26… Associate at NYC’s Global Infrastructure Partners, he was a White House staffer in 2017, Matthew Saunders turns 25… SVP of Schnur Associates, a marketing, PR and lobbying firm, he was previously a deputy director for AIPAC, Joel L. Schnur… Allan A. Myer… Darlene Arden… Josh Goldstein… Sarah Wolfson (h/ts Playbook)…




Daily Kickoff: Bob Iger on running for office | Jon Lerner promoted | GOP mega-donor Sam Fox calls Gov Greitens ‘a disgrace’ | John Paulson’s tax bill

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INBOX — “Today is Friday the 13th and the 13th day of the Omer. What are the odds?” — Jay Orchard, Miami Beach, FL. 

PROFILE — “Disney CEO Bob Iger On Taking the Biggest Risk of His Career” by Rob Haskell: “Iger was born in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, where both of his parents had also been born and raised, and grew up in Oceanside, Long Island, a post–World War II insta-community of 500 identical houses. Iger conveys the angstless placidity of a man who has his life sorted… an unmistakable gravitas hovers around him. He is, by most accounts, what his mother’s friends would call a mensch.”

First Jewish POTUS? “Even before the last election, Iger started to think about running for president himself. “Willow [Bay, Iger’s wife] initially not only hated the idea,” he says, “but put her foot down because she thought it would be highly destructive to our family and to our lives.” But the thought nagged at him, and with his wife’s reluctant permission, he was in the process of seriously exploring a run when the Fox deal sealed his fate. “The thought I had was coming from the patriot in me, growing up at a time when we respected our politicians not only for what they stood for but because of what they accomplished. I am horrified at the state of politics in America today, and I will throw stones in multiple directions. Dialogue has given way to disdain. I, maybe a bit naively, believed that there was a need for someone in high elected office to be more open-minded and willing to not only govern from the middle but to try to shame everyone else into going to the middle.”

“Iger’s good friend Oprah Winfrey believes he would have been the ideal candidate. “Bob is one of the people I respect most in the world,” she says. “That’s a very short list. He is infinitely capable of multiple categories of expertise, and he has created an environment where you can disagree with him—and that’s not just because I’m Oprah. I really, really pushed him to run for president, so much so that I said to him, ‘Gee, if you ever decide to run for office, I will go door to door carrying leaflets. I will go sit and have tea with people.’ ” I ask if perhaps there will be a place for Iger in her Cabinet. “Um, I’d have been happy to be in his Cabinet.” [Vogue]

“Iger Says What Sort of President He’d Be, Then Visits Iowa” by Anousha Sakoui: “The profile posted online a day after Iger visited a children’s hospital that Disney supports in Des Moines, Iowa, a must-stop state for any presidential candidate.” [Bloomberg]

ALSO IN THE HAWKEYE STATE: “LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, eyeing a presidential run, will be in Iowa this weekend” by Elizabeth Chou:“Garcetti, who has aspirations to run for president in 2020, will be in Iowa… on Friday and Saturday as part of a push by the Democratic party to support their candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.” [MercuryNews]

2020 WATCH — “As most Democrats stay silent, Elizabeth Warren calls on Israel to exercise restraint against Palestinian protesters” by Zaid Jilani: “I am deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries in Gaza,” Warren said. “As additional protests are planned for the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.” … The Intercept reached out to a trio of other high-profile Democratic senators: California’s Kamala Harris, New Jersey’s Cory Booker, and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand. Booker and Gillibrand did not respond to a request for comment. Harris’s office said it would send a statement, but did not do so or respond to a follow-up inquiry.” [TheIntercept

ON THE GOP SIDE: “Sam Fox, former chairman of Republican Jewish Committee, says Greitens should resign” by Eric Berger: “Sam Fox, a former U.S. ambassador and prominent philanthropist in the St. Louis Jewish community, told the St. Louis Jewish Light in a statement that Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens should resign in the wake of allegations that he was abusive to a woman he had an affair with in 2015. “The Governor is a disgrace to the Republican Party, to the State of Missouri, and to himself,” Fox stated in an email. “He should resign.” [StlJewishLight]

Eric Cantor on PBS Frontline — And with the chronology, Charlottesville happens next, you’ve said some very important, strong things about it. The President comes out and states—he’s awkward in the way he equates the premises with the protesters. What was your reaction? What was Trump missing?

Cantor: “My view was plain and simple. I mean, the irony of being in Thomas Jefferson’s town and to sit here and allow for that kind of hate and not calling everyone out who was a part of the hatred, it just struck me as just unacceptable. And I think most of the country—most of my party, I think—took that position, too, and did not like the fact that when you had people bearing torches, saying completely repugnant, racist, anti-Semitic slurs, remarks and chants, that you didn’t call them out unequivocally, period? So I just think there was a lot of visceral reaction to that, and unfortunately, that lingers.” [PBS]

JON LERNER PROMOTED — “Pence Hires Haley Aide as National Security Adviser, Creating Unusual Dual Role” by Maggie Haberman: “Vice President Mike Pence has hired Jon Lerner, a veteran Republican pollster who is a deputy for the United Nations ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, as his national security adviser, a spokeswoman for Mr. Pence said on Thursday evening. Mr. Lerner will continue to work with Ms. Haley while advising Mr. Pence “full time,” according to Alyssa Farah, the vice president’s spokeswoman.” [NYTimes]

— Flashback to a 2010 profile: “Associates of Lerner, a devout Jew, say his ethical and religious principles are as important to him as his conservative political beliefs. So faithful is Lerner to Judaism that he never works on Sabbath. Even in the heated final weeks of a campaign, he drops everything from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. “That’s a good thing,” Mark Sanford said. “The lesson is that you can, in fact, shut down in the middle of campaigns and still have good things happen in the electoral sense.” [McClatchy]

“Trump’s foreign policy is about to get a lot more Republican” by Josh Rogin: “Lerner has close relationships with Mike Pompeo and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another card-carrying member of the traditional GOP foreign policy establishment.” [WashPost]

ON THE HILL — “Pompeo’s diplomatic foray falls flat” by Elana Schor and Nahal Toosi: “Mike Pompeo had his best chance yet Thursday to win over skeptical Democrats. But after hours of tough questions at his confirmation hearing, he had changed no new minds in his bid to become secretary of state… With Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) opposed to Pompeo, [Sen. Bob] Corker faces a thorny task in steering the nominee to the floor before a scheduled recess at the end of the month. The Foreign Relations panel is divided 11-10.” [Politico] • Trump nominee Pompeo pledges to be tough on Russia, ‘fix’ Iran deal [Reuters]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt writes… “Don’t overlook John Bolton and Mike Pompeo’s anti-Muslim ties: I am aware that a segment of people in the United States — within the Jewish community and among the public — see Islamist extremism as the most pressing threat to our interests and thus are ready to overlook the views and associations of these two men. And I can appreciate Bolton and Pompeo’s outspoken stance on fighting terrorism. They have a strong record of support for Israel, and I agree with some of their policy positions regarding the Jewish state. But choosing to ignore a public official’s intolerance or role in conspiracy theories is neither practical nor morally appropriate.” [WashPost] • Watch Cory Booker confront Mike Pompeo on his ties to Islamophobes [Vox]

IRAN DEAL — “European official sees progress on Trump’s Iran deal concerns” by Arshad Mohammed and John Irish: “We came out feeling like we are making good progress towards addressing the president’s concerns and coming (up) to an agreement,” [a] European diplomat told a small group of reporters… Senior diplomats from the three European nations that are party to the deal met Brian Hook, the U.S. State Department’s director of policy planning, in Washington on Wednesday…“If the U.S. agrees to … working with the Europeans to ensure the Iranian nuclear program is only for civilian use forever then we can agree on something,” the diplomat told Reuters.”[Reuters]

— “Israel and Iran Are Headed for a Collision in Syria” by Avi Issacharoff: “With each passing day the sensation in Israel, of standing alone against the Iranian gambit to turn Syria into an Iranian forward base, grows more intense. The only thing that might change it is change of American policy.” [TheAtlantic] • Jerusalem Responds to Russia: Iranian Aggression Is Destabilizing Syria – Not Israel [Haaretz]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Trump’s allies worry that federal investigators may have seized recordings made by his attorney” by Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey and Tom Hamburger: “Two people familiar with [Michael] Cohen’s practices said he recorded both business and political conversations. One associate said Trump knew of Cohen’s practice because the attorney would often play him recordings Cohen had made of his conversations with other top Trump advisers… During the 2016 race, Cohen — who did not have a formal role on the campaign — had a reputation among campaign staff as someone to avoid, in part because he was believed to be secretly taping conversations.” [WashPost] • Hearing related to FBI raid at Cohen’s office set for Friday [NYPost]

MUELLER WATCH — Rod Rosenstein, the embattled deputy attorney general overseeing the Robert Mueller Russia probe, met with President Trump at the White House yesterday amid growing expectation that the President may oust Rosenstein. Rosenstein reportedly came to assure Trump that the Justice Department was cooperating with the Republican congressional examination of the origin of the FBI’s inquiry, but he failed to defuse the President’s anger over his approval of the FBI raids of Michael Cohen’s office and home. CNN reported that the White House is preparing talking points designed to undermine Rosenstein’s credibility. But Trump’s whisperer, Alan Dershowitz, warned on CNN’s AC360 that “it would be a terrible mistake” to fire Mueller, Rosenstein “or anybody.”

James B. Comey: By the Book: If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be? The United States Constitution isn’t a book, so I would pick “The Road to Character,” by David Brooks.” [NYTimes]

Benjamin Wittes writes… “The Principle of Professional Law Enforcement Is Now on the Line: Expect President Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the next few days. Maybe he won’t do it. Maybe he’ll change his mind… I understand the instinct to treat a Rosenstein firing as different from a Mueller firing… But today is the wrong day to dwell on Rosenstein’s vices and errors—because those vices are not the reasons Trump is persecuting Rosenstein. Instead, Trump is persecuting Rosenstein because of the deputy attorney general’s virtues.” [TheAtlantic]

OF NOTE — Ron Kampeas tweets“Trump fired Jim Comey the day after Comey spoke at last year’s ADL National Washington conference. Rod Rosenstein is speaking this year.”

— The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Leadership Summit will be held on May 6-8 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Other featured speakers include Reps. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and world champion gymnast Aly Raisman.

HAPPENING ON MONDAY: Palestinian Chief Representative to the U.S Dr. Husam Zomlot will address the J Street National Conference in Washington, DC at the afternoon plenary session.

“In Harsh Letter, Top Palestinian Negotiator Tells Foreign Diplomats Trump Envoy Greenblatt Has Turned Into Israel’s Spokesman” by Jack Khoury and Noa Landau: “[Saeb] Erekat, who has met with [Jason] Greenblatt many times since the latter took office, charged that since the mass demonstrations near the Israel-Gaza border began a few weeks ago, the U.S. envoy has “assumed the role of spokesperson of the Israeli Authorities” and “consistently repeated Israeli talking points.” … A senior Palestinian Authority official… said the letter was intended to persuade the diplomatic corps, especially European diplomats, that nothing can be expected of the Trump Administration… “We keep hearing, ‘Let’s wait for Trump’s plan,’” the official said. “But in light of positions like those Greenblatt has voiced, there’s nothing to wait for.”” [Haaretz

“U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem Stalled, Despite Government Efforts” by Yael Darel: “The conversion of the American consulate in Jerusalem into an embassy was exempted from needing a building permit, and a contractor has been chosen to do the work, but the chances of it being completed by Independence Day are slim, TheMarker has learned. The reason is that no funds have been committed for building a wall around the embassy, one of the main safety precautions demanded by the Trump administration.”[Haaretz]

INTERVIEW — “Jimmy Carter: Trump should avoid nukes; nationmust bridge divides” by Bill Barrow: “As president, Carter… drove peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt in the Camp David Accords, though he couldn’t replicate the feat between Israel and the Palestinians. “I took a position of wanting to see balance between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said… “Evangelicals are naturally inclined from a religious point of view to be loyal to Israel,” he said, because of their more literal interpretations of the Bible. Those Christians also hold “that the Jews should also all become Christians — that’s not often mentioned,” Carter added.” [AP

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Stephen Schwarzman, School District Change Terms on His $25 Million Gift [WSJ] • Bernie Madoff Victims to Receive $504 Million From Fund [DailyBeast]  General partner of Sequoia Capital’s Israeli arm, Gili Raanan, is setting up a new fund to invest in early stage cybersecurity companies [ToIGlobes]

“Worried About Your Tax Bill? Hedge-Fund Star John Paulson Owes $1 Billion” by Gregory Zuckerman: “By April 17, [Paulson] the hedge-fund manager must make federal and state tax payments of about $1 billion, on top of roughly $500 million in taxes he paid late last year, said people close to the firm… Seven years ago, Mr. Paulson was managing $38 billion and was firmly among Wall Street’s elite. Today, Paulson & Co. is managing under $9 billion—most of it Mr. Paulson’s own assets, said the people close to the firm. That’s one reason this particular IRS deadline sting “ [WSJ]

SPOTLIGHT — “Glencore Is Losing Billionaire Allies to Trump’s Sanctions” by Thomas Wilson and Thomas Biesheuvel: “In just four months, Glencore Plc chief Ivan Glasenberg has lost two of his closest business allies as President Donald Trump’s aggressive foreign policy hits home, forcing him to cut ties with billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Dan Gertler… In Congo, where Gertler had aided most of Glencore’s engagement with the government, the company now needs to navigate a series of complicated roadblocks without its trusted trouble-shooter. In Russia, Deripaska, a Glencore partner since at least 2007, was one of the company’s most important allies.” [Bloomberg]

MEDIA WATCH — “The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media 2018” by Alison Brower and Marisa Guthrie: “Andrew Lack, 70, is still trying to wrap his head around Trump’s attacks on NBC News… which he’s called an “out-of-body experience.” When not defending his network (and, this fall, its handling of Ronan Farrow’s Harvey Weinstein reporting), Lack, the husband of a Snap executive, is talking tough, pushing the Facebooks and Twitters of the world to start compensating publishers for content.” Also on the list: Campbell Brown, Noah Oppenheim, David Rhodes, Jeff Zucker, Ben Smith, David Remnick [HollywoodReporter]

PIC OF THE DAY — TechCrunch obtained screenshots for the new Gmail from “a tipster called Chaim.” Naturally, the screenshot features an invite by David to a Seder at Chabad. [Pic]

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE — As Israelis observed the Yom HaShoah yesterday with a moment of silence and several ceremonies, President Donald Trump proclaimed April 12 through April 19 as the “Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust.” Trump also tweeted, “On Yom HaShoah we remember the six million Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust.” Meanwhile, a new survey found that many U.S. adults lack basic knowledge of what happened in the Holocaust. As many as 41% — including 66% of millennials – cannot say what Auschwitz was. Sen. Chuck Schumer called the survey “extremely troubling.”

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli and Polish presidents march from Auschwitz to Birkenau: “Presidents Reuven Rivlin of Israel and Andrzej Duda of Poland… led thousands, including many young Jews from around the world, in the March of the Living… Rivlin recalled how Poland was the cradle of Jewish culture before the Holocaust. But he also referred to the “deep disagreement” his country has had with Poland over its passage earlier this year of a Holocaust speech law… Duda, whose wife has a Jewish father… recalled Polish wartime heroes who struggled to save Jews and said Poland fulfills its duty to remember the Holocaust by preserving sites like Auschwitz.”[PBS] • Israeli, Polish presidents fail to resolve Polish ‘Holocaust law’ crisis[JPost]

REPORT — “White House urged Israel to end Poland Holocaust bill dispute” by Barak Ravid: “The White House and State Department conveyed messages to Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, and to other diplomats at the Israeli embassy about the importance of relations with Poland… Vice President Pence met with the head of the Israeli opposition, Itzhak Herzog, on March 5 in Washington and raised the Poland crisis. An Israeli foreign ministry official said Pence asked Herzog to temper his critical statements against the Polish government and help solve the crisis, and Herzog stressed that the bill and the rhetoric about it from the Polish government were highly offensive and unacceptable.” [Axios

TRANSITION: Roger Zakheim has been hired as director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute Washington, D.C. office.

DESSERT — “Rabbis Banned His Beer. But He’s The Most Jewish Person Ever” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: “[Simon] Bergson’s first language is Yiddish, and he sprinkles Yiddish phrases liberally in conversation… Bergson said that one of their rabbis waited in the lobby of his apartment building for hours on Sunday before Passover. They spoke to each other in Yiddish, and Bergson invited him to the office the next day to sign the agreement. After the deal was done, Bergson, no naïf in the ways of Jewish communal professionals, got ready for the inevitable ask. “I said to [the rabbi], ‘Okay, tell me, tukhes afn tish, how much is this going to cost me?’” Bergson said, using a common Yiddish phrase that directly translates as “ass on the table,” and means, “let’s be real.” The rabbi was offended. “He said, ‘No, you’re insulting me, it’s not about the money,’” Bergson said.” [Forward

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Film director and choreographer, famous for “Singin’ in the Rain,” Stanley Donen turns 94… Curator and then director of the Louvre, he is the son-in-law of Alain de Rothschild, Pierre Rosenberg turns 82… Geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate, Michael Stuart Brown turns 77… Actor who won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Vincent in the television series “Beauty and the Beast,” Ron Perlman turns 68… Longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and the bandleader for Conan O’Brien on The Tonight Show, Max Weinberg turns 67… Member of the UK Parliament (1992-2005), she served as the UK’s first ever Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration under then-PM Tony Blair, Barbara Roche (née Margolis) turns 64… Principal of Dubin & Co., Glenn Dubin turns 61… Pacifica Radio’s investigative journalist Amy Goodmanturns 61… Aide to President George W. Bush (2002-2006), then the youngest-ever Federal Reserve Governor (2006-2011), Kevin Warsh turns 48… Guitarist and founding member of the rock group “Staind,” Aaron Lewisturns 46… Executive director of DC-based Sixth & I, Heather Moran turns 45… Major gifts officer for OneTable, Lauren Epstein… Director of Operations at Israel on Campus Coalition, Ian Hersh… Helene Cash… Director of Operations at Dataminr, Morgan Hitzig

SATURDAY: Former member of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Elisse B. Walter turns 68… Senior columnist for Haaretz, Chemi Shalevturns 65… Media executive, majority owner of CBS Corporation, Viacom, MTV Networks, BET and Paramount Pictures, Shari Redstone turns 64… Television and theatre producer, Marc Platt turns 61… Professional makeup artist and the founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown turns 61… Birmingham, Alabama-based post denominational rabbi, known on social media as “Deep South Rabbi,” Barry Altmark turns 61… US Ambassador to Mexico (2016-2018), previously Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (2012-2016), Roberta S. Jacobson turns 58… Front-office official of MLB’s Los Angeles Angels, he was previously the manager of the Detroit Tigers (2014-2017), an MLB catcher (1993-2010) and manager of Israel’s national baseball team, Brad Ausmus turns 49… Emmy Award-winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur, best known for her portrayal of Buffy Summers on the WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Sarah Michelle Gellar turns 41… Author of three books, journalist for Monocle and Bloomberg Politics, co-founder of Votecastr to track elections in real-time, Sasha Issenberg turns 38… Hillel David Rapp turns 38… Jon Fine… Founder and CEO of Charity Bids, Israel Schachter… Moriah Elbaz… Casey Tepper… Glenn Starr-Conner… Anne Monk… Documentary filmmaker Nicholas Ma… Yitzchak Tendler… Co-Founder at BurnAlong, Daniel Freedman

SUNDAY: Movie producer and philanthropist, Dr. Henry George Jareckiturns 85… Senior advisor at Covington & Burling, Howard Lawrence Berman turns 77… Duke University professor and Nobel Prize laureate, Robert Lefkowitz turns 75… NYU professor Avital Ronell turns 66… Executive director at American Press Institute and author of a debut novel “Shining City,” Tom Rosenstiel turns 62… Born in NYC, now living in Jerusalem, he is the Rebbe of the Boyan Hasidic dynasty, Rabbi Nachum Dov Brayer turns 59… Deputy Secretary of the Treasury (2014-2017) and member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2010-2014), Sarah Bloom Raskin turns 57… Managing partner, CEO and chief investment officer of Hudson Bay Capital Management, Sander R. Gerber turns 51… Cheryl Myra Cohn turns 43… Senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and founder of the Truman National Security Project, Rachel Kleinfeld, Ph.D. turns 42… Actor, comedian, writer, producer and director, Seth Rogen turns 36… Policy director at the DC-based, Arab American Institute, Kristin McCarthy turns 30… Resident of NYC and Tel Aviv, he is the founder and CEO of Stoop ​and Mdrn., two platforms offering residential housing solutions as a service, Zach Ehrlich turns 29… Social entrepreneur, environmental activist Erin Schrode turns 27… VP of government affairs at Cross River Bank, he was previously AVP for government affairs at Yeshiva University and a member of the New York State Assembly, Y. Phillip Goldfeder…  Moshe Lehrer… David Brand




Daily Kickoff: Israel caught in US – Russia rift | Moonves vs. Redstone | What’s become of Isaac Lee’s media empire | How diamonds shape NYC’s skyline

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WAR OF WORDS — Russian President Vladimir Putin is pushing backagainst Trump’s threats to launch missile strikes against the Assad regime in Syria. Yesterday, Putin spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone and warned him against violating Syria’s sovereignty. However, it’s unclear if Netanyahu is heeding the call. Speaking at Yad Vashem on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah), Netanyahu said, “I have a message to the rulers of Iran: Do not put to test Israel’s resolve.”

TRUMP’S TWEETS THIS AM: “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our “Thank you America?”” [Twitter]

“Israel Caught in U.S.-Russia Rift Over Syria” by Yaroslav Trofimov: “It has definitely been a goal of Israeli policy to avoid confronting Russia on a number of issues that have been a cause of friction between Russia and the West,” said Dan Shapiro… “But if we see an open conflict emerge between Russia and the U.S., I don’t think Israel could afford that luxury,” he added. “Israel’s primary alliance is of course with the United States. Israel will stand beside the United States, but this would be a particularly painful vise to be caught in.” [WSJ]

— “Israel ‘alone in fight’ against Iran in Syria” by Ben Caspit: “Trump apparently told Netanyahu that now that the Islamic State has been defeated and eliminated, the United States has no reason to remain there. At the same time, Trump promised Netanyahu that the United States would stand beside Israel and provide it with assistance if needed. This was a major disappointment for Netanyahu… “Ostensibly, when it comes to the situation of Iran along our northern border, there is no difference between his [Trump’s] position and that of Obama,” a senior Israeli Cabinet member told Al-Monitor.”[Al-Monitor]

“Bernie Sanders: Trump has no authority to broaden war in Syria” by Max Greenwood: “President Trump has no legal authority for broadening the war in Syria,” Sanders said in a statement. “It is Congress, not the president, who determines whether our country goes to war, and Congress must not abdicate that responsibility.” [TheHill]

Eli Lake writes… “America Learned Wrong Lessons From Iraq, and Syria Suffers: It’s an irony that the reason for the Iraq War was the dictator’s failure to account for and destroy his stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Today Syria’s dictator has not only failed to destroy such weapons, but is actually using them on his own population. It would be a tragedy if he got away with it because the U.S. president is still fighting against the last war.”[BloombergView

TRUMP WHISPERER — Alan Dershowitz was back at the White House yesterday, less than 24 hours after he dined with President Trump on Tuesday, huddling again with senior Trump aides. In an interview with Sean Hannity, Dershowitz insisted that he’s not advising Trump on the Mueller probe. However, minutes before the start of the 9 PM Hannity program, Trump promoted the program, which featured an extensive segment with Dershowitz, who suggested Rod Rosenstein should recuse himself from overseeing the Russia probe.

“Trump’s lovefest with Dershowitz blossoms” by Annie Karni and Eliana Johnson: “The president… has increasingly turned to [Alan Dershowitz] privately as his stable of lawyers has dwindled. He has spoken with him about a range of issues, including his escalating legal troubles, people familiar with the conversations said. Top White House advisers said they view Dershowitz as an important legal asset, even if he’s not officially on the payroll… For weeks leading up to Tuesday’s dinner, Dershowitz appeared to be playing a coy game with journalists who asked him whether he had been approached by the president… about joining the legal team… On Wednesday, however, Dershowitz categorically denied that Trump had personally asked him to join his legal defense team. Instead, he has used the newfound fame that alights on anyone in Trump’s orbit to tout his Middle East bona fides – and position himself as a conduit to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”[Politico]

OUTSIDER WITHOUT INFLUENCE — “Bannon pitches White House on plan to cripple Mueller probe and protect Trump” by Robert Costa: “Stephen K. Bannon… is pitching a plan to West Wing aides and congressional allies… The first step… would be for Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein… Bannon is also recommending the White House cease its cooperation with Mueller… And he is telling associates inside and outside the administration that the president should create a new legal battleground to protect himself from the investigation by asserting executive privilege… There is no indication that Trump… would be willing to take Bannon’s advice or is aware of the plan… If you say his name in front of the president, it’s not a pretty sight,” said a senior administration official.”[WashPost]

“Michael Cohen had lunch with Donny Deutsch hours after the Morning Joe contributor said that Trump’s lawyer could be on the ‘right side of history’ and help ‘bring down the presidency'” by Jamie Jones: “Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen dined out with ad exec and MSNBC regular Donny Deutsch on Wednesday… At lunch Cohen told Donny, according to Donny,  ‘I’d rather jump out of a building than turn on Donald Trump.'” [DailyMail]

PALACE INTRIGUE — “Jared, Ivanka heading to Peru amid White House drama” by Nancy Cook: “Where in the world are Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner? The pair… has been largely absent from the news during a hectic period at the White House. But the two are heading to Lima, Peru this week for the Summit of the Americas… The pair has not been totally missing from public view — Ivanka Trump made an appearance on Wednesday at the Oval Office signing of a bill aimed at combatting human trafficking… A Republican close to the White House acknowledged that the married couple prefers to lay low during hectic moments because they don’t want to be associated with stories about chaos in the White House.” [Politico]

TRANSITION — “Aide Ousted From White House Re-emerges at Justice Dept.” by Adam Goldman: “Ezra Cohen-Watnick will play an important role at the Justice Department, advising [Jeff] Sessions on counterintelligence and counterterrorism… Mr. Cohen-Watnick was ousted in August 2017 as part of changes in the White House, one of several appointees of [Mike] Flynn who were removed by his replacement, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.”[NYTimes

“The hawkish world of GOP national-security hands sees hope for renewed relevance in John Bolton and Mike Pompeo” by Rosie Gray: “With Tillerson and McMaster there were basically no normal conservative right-wing kids getting national-security jobs. Anybody who wrote an anti-Trump letter was iced out,” [a] Bolton ally said.  “Now with Pompeo and Bolton, if it can last long enough, there’s a chance to mold another generation of conservative foreign-policy types with real experience, a real network… The people who work for Pompeo and Bolton could be the core of the movement for a long time to come.” [A Republican foreign policy] source said that even the nixing of Bush administration official Elliott Abrams last year for a top job in the State Department could be less definitive than it appears… Some insiders think Abrams could have a shot at a job in the State Department again now.” [TheAtlantic]

LATEST ON THE ‘ULTIMATE DEAL’ — “As Trump Mideast peace plan nears completion, rollout still unclear: source” by Matt Spetalnick, Steve Holland and Yara Bayoumy: “The Trump administration has nearly completed a long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan but is still struggling to decide how and when to roll it out, a senior White House official said… While offering few specifics… the official confirmed it would not contain a U.S. commitment to a two-state solution, as the Palestinians had demanded. It will instead stick to Trump’s assertion that he will accept whatever the two sides agree… “We are refining it,” the official said… “We are definitely still struggling on Jerusalem … But we are very close to completing it.”

“While Trump’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, is a pro-Israel hawk who has criticized previous U.S. peace moves, the official said the Middle East team has already met with him and believe he will be supportive.” [Reuters• Abbas says Palestinians won’t accept any American peace plan [JPost]

TOP TALKER: “Killed Palestinian Journalist’s Colleagues And Family Refute Israel’s Hamas Claim” by Daniel Estrin: “Days after Israeli troops fatally shot a Palestinian photojournalist covering protests on the Gaza border, Israel’s defense minister alleged the photographer had served as a high-ranking member of… Hamas since 2011. But State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the photojournalist had passed a U.S. government vetting process for his media company to receive a USAID agency grant. The seemingly conflicting claims by Israeli and U.S. officials about the photographer’s identity are raising new questions over a killing that drew international media coverage and calls for an investigation.” [NPR

ON THE HILL — Mike Pompeo will testify this morning before members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his confirmation hearing for Secretary of State. [CSPAN]

In prepared remarks released last night, Pompeo is expected to say that President Trump is still prepared to fixing the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) “if such a fix is achievable.” If confirmed in time, Pompeo is expected to travel to Toronto to participate in the G7 Ministerial Meeting on April 22nd and the NATO Ministerial Meeting later that week to discuss the matter with key European allies ahead of the May 12 deadline.

Ahead of the hearing, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent a letter urging senators to press Pompeo about his past comments on Muslims and seek assurances that he’ll reactivate the State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Senators also received a letterfrom ZOA’s Mort Klein pushing back on the ADL’s concerns. “The ADL Letter ignores and downplays Islamist threats and attacks on Jews, Americans, and others,” Klein wrote. 

“Mnuchin Signals ‘Very Strong’ New Sanctions on Iran Coming” by Saleha Mohsin: “[Steve] Mnuchin, testifying before a House appropriations subcommittee, said there will be “primary and secondary sanctions” against Iran… Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Mnuchin said he was referring both to a possible fresh round of sanctions, as well as the return of previous sanctions that have been periodically waived as part of the nuclear deal. “If the president doesn’t sign the certification, the sanctions snap back into place,” Mnuchin said… “I do think the primary and secondary sanctions would have an important impact on the Iranian economy, and that’s something he’s thinking about and balancing as he makes his decision.” [Bloomberg]

2018 WATCH — “The leading Republican running for Paul Ryan’s seat is a white nationalist” by Carter Sherman: “Long-shot candidate and self-described “pro-white” politician Paul Nehlen is now the leading Republican to take over Ryan’s Wisconsin seat… Prior to Ryan’s resignation, few believed that Nehlen had a chance at stealing the Republican nomination for Wisconsin’s first district from the Speaker; now, the GOP establishment will almost certainly find another candidate to back.” [Vice]

INBOX — Jewish Democratic Council of America: “Let that sink in: The Republican Party’s strongest—if only—candidate in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District is an open anti-Semite… And, come November, he could be a member of the U.S. Congress. We can’t let that happen… We call on the Republican Party to strongly disavow Paul Nehlen.” 

RJC’s Matt Brooks in a statement: “Although a fringe candidate with abhorrent neo-Nazi views was already running against the Speaker, we are very confident that with the leadership of the Wisconsin GOP, the eventual Republican nominee to fill Paul Ryan’s House seat (WI-01) will be someone who upholds the GOP’s best values and traditions.”

“Former ADL director: Trump has opened the ‘sewers’ of antisemitism” by Juliane Helmhold: “The rise of antisemitic incidents in the United States is “worrying, but not critical,” the former National Director of the ADL Abe Foxman said in an interview with Army Radio… “Antisemitism has always been here,” Foxman clarified… “When you remove political correctness, when it’s OK to say Mexicans are rapists and Muslims are murderers — of course that means it’s OK to be more anti-Semitic or more anti-Semitic in public.” The former ADL director specified his concern, specifically calling on President Trump to “put the cover back on the sewers.” [JPost

HEARD THE OTHER DAY — by Jacob Kornbluh: New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman responded to the pushback he received for writing that the American-Jewish establishment is too preoccupied with Israel and ignores anti-Semitism at home. Weisman’s comments came during a panel discussion, featuring Stanford historian Steven Zipperstein and NYTimes opinion editor Bari Weiss, at The Cooper Union on Tuesday: “There’s been a lot of pushback and I’ve had this weird pushback that I did not expect. I expected pushback from conservative Jews that I didn’t talk enough about anti-Semitism of the left. I did talk about it. But I had an odd pushback from liberal, kind of social justice Jewish organizations who were just angry that I didn’t give them enough credit. ‘We’re doing wonderful things! Why aren’t you giving us credit?’ Well, my book is something of a wake up call.”

According to Weisman, there are two ways to look at how the Trump presidency has impacted the fate of the Jewish community in America. “The tribalists view everything through the prism of, ‘What is going to be good for the state of Israel and empower and strengthen Israel,’” and therefore point to Trump’s strong pro-Israel record, he explained. The Internationalists, however, view the rise of nationalism in so many forms as usually bad for the Jews. Weisman went to claim that the security of Israel would be in jeopardy if the United States becomes a hostile nation to Jews. Read a full recap of the panel here [JewishInsider]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Shari Redstone likely to replace Moonves as head of CBS if no deal with Viacom, sources say [CNBC Moonves vs. Redstone: Inside the Poisonous War for Control of CBS and Viacom [HollywoodReporter] • Thrive Capital partner Chris Paik leaving to start own fund; Josh Miller is joining the firm’s investment team fulltime[Axios] • Bernie Madoff’s Beachfront Mansion Is Selling for $21 Million [Bloomberg] • As Elliott Circles, Hyundai Readies ‘Shareholder Friendly’ Plan[Bloomberg] • WeWork is buying China’s Naked Hub for $400 million[FastCompany]

MEDIA WATCH: “As Fusion Media Implodes, Will the Gawker Orphans Hit the Block?” by Joe Pompeo: “It was around 2011 when Isaac Lee, then a 40-year-old news executive at the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, saw the writing on the wall, and it read: multicultural millennials. So Lee and Univision made a bold, some thought outlandish, series of bets. It all began with Fusion, a general-interest Web site and corresponding cable channel launched in 2012 and 2013, respectively… Lee’s biggest coup was the August 2016 acquisition of a half dozen orphaned Gawker Media brands, including Gizmodo, Jezebel, and Deadspin. Less than two years after that acquisition, and seven years since Lee first started assembling his fiefdom, Univision is letting the air out of the Fusion Media Group balloon at a fairly rapid rate.”

“Lee, for his part, has still had some moments in the spotlight lately… On March 2, Lee was photographed by a Daily Mail paparazzo as he and Univision chairman Haim Saban entered Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s Washington, D.C., home for a Purim celebration. “He still runs a big chunk” of Univision, said one of the executives I spoke with. “It’s just that he’s not a part of the business he built anymore.” [VanityFair]

SPOTLIGHT: “The dismantling of Forest City Ratner” by Konrad Putzier: “In early 2003, Bruce Ratner walked into City Hall with a proposal to… erect a sports-and-entertainment arena along with 4,500 apartments and 2.1 million square feet of commercial space on (and around) an underused rail yard along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. During Ratner’s presentation, a senior policy adviser in the Bloomberg administration reportedly leaned over to deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff and whispered, “the guy has balls.” Fifteen years later, Ratner’s vision has become only a partial reality, with an arena that’s home to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders and four of 16 residential towers up… But Ratner is now retired, and his company — once one of the most powerful real estate developers in New York — is a shell of its former self… The firm doesn’t have any other major projects in the works in New York City. Last year, Forest City Ratner Companies… quietly dropped Ratner’s name, rebranding itself as Forest City New York.” [TheRealDeal]

“Rough cut: How the global diamond trade — from cartels to war zones — shaped New York’s skyline” by Konrad Putzier: “Developers who began in the diamond trade have built, acquired or have an interest in over 200 properties and projects now worth at least $20 billion, according to an analysis of Real Capital Analytics by The Real Deal. And then there’s the broader influence diamond money has on the market — entities tied to Manhattan’s Diamond District own at least 259 properties in New York City, an analysis of property records shows… “The diamond business is a cash business,” [Yitzchak] Tessler said. “So diamond people — the successful ones, at least — always have cash. And developers don’t have cash. So they all came in one way or another.”” [TheRealDealMag]

TALK OF THE TOWN — “Polish Consulate Cancels Award for Polish-Jewish Dialogue” by Armin Rosen: “The Jan Karski Humanitarian Awards Night… recognizes Jews and non-Jews who are helping to heal the painful and in all likelihood permanent wounds that the near-total extermination of the country’s Jewish community created. But not this year: On Tuesday, the [Polish] Consulate announced that the dinner was “canceled,” owing to “factors beyond our control which will impact the overall quality of the event.” “Let’s focus on the issue of the Holocaust law. I think that’s where the attention and the priority needs to be right now,” said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik… who received a Karski award in 2014.” [Tablet]

HOLLYWOOD — “Sacha Baron Cohen To Star As Eli Cohen In Netflix Limited Series ‘The Spy’” by Nellie Andreeva: “Sacha Baron Cohen is set to headline the six-episode limited series The Spy, which will debut globally on Netflix (outside of France), and on OCS in France. Written and directed by Gideon Raff, creator of the Israeli drama Prisoners of War on which Showtime’s Homeland was based, The Spy tells the story of legendary Israeli spy Eli Cohen (Baron Cohen). Eli Cohen lived in Damascus undercover in the beginning of the ’60s, spying for Israel… Baron Cohen’s interest in Syria has led him and his wife, actress Isla Fisher, to donate to a number of organizations including a $1 million to support Syrian refugees in 2015.” [Deadline]

‘When Heroes Fly,’ ‘State of Happiness’ Top Canneseries” by John Hopewell: “Omri Givron, co-creator of famed Israeli series “Hostages,” proved the big winner at the first Canneseries festival taking Best Series for the fast paced Israel/Colombia-set drama-thriller “When Heroes Fly,” which he created, wrote and directed. Produced by Eitan Mansuri’s Spiro Films (“Foxtrot” and “Lebanon”), “When Heroes Fly” … turns on a former 2006 Lebanon war combatant who reunites with his estranged commando unit comrades to rescue the love of his life, abducted by a cartel in Colombia.” [Variety]

“Steven Spielberg said to turn down invite to light Independence Day torch” by Sue Surkes: “Top American filmmaker Steven Spielberg was approached to light the Diaspora Torch at Israel’s Independence Day ceremony but turned it down because of previous commitments… The multiple award-winning director said he would have been happy to come but would be filming in Japan at the time, the paper said, describing him as “very moved” by the offer.” [ToI]

SPORTS BLINK — “Patriots owner Robert Kraft calls for criminal justice reform after visiting Meek Mill in prison” by Chuck Schilken: “New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft spent some time Tuesday in a Pennsylvania state prison visiting Meek Mill and emerged calling for the rapper’s release and an overhaul of the criminal justice system. “Makes it clear to me we have to do something with criminal justice reform,” Kraft said. “His kind of case, to be in a situation like this, it’s really bad… I see it firsthand that it’s just wrong. We have to find a way to correct it and also help the community help themselves.”” [LATimesTheGuardian]

COJO TO ISRAEL — NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, also known as CoJo, is heading a weeklong mission to Israel to participate in Israel’s 70th-anniversary celebration taking place next week. Other members of the delegation – leaving this evening – include Councilman Chaim Deutsch, Chair of the NYC Jewish Caucus, and Councilmembers Stephen Levin, Karen Koslowitz, Francisco Moya, Carlina Rivera, Rafael Espinal, Ritchie Torres, Alika Ampry-Samuel, and Justin Brannan. The trip is sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of New York. [JewishInsider]

DESSERT — “Orthodox Rabbis Order Jews To ‘Stick To Budweiser’ — Or Skip Beer” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: “The unusual edict was made after the rabbis… realized in the weeks before Passover that the owner of the NYC’s dominant beer wholesaling firm is Jewish. “He’s 100% Yid,” said a rabbinic administrator at the Central Rabbinical Congress… That posed a problem for the rabbis, because while the New York beer magnate, Simon Bergson, is Jewish, he is not traditionally observant. Under certain complexities of Jewish law, that has led some Orthodox rabbis to rule that all the beer he owned during the week of Passover is not suitable for consumption by Jews… Budweiser, which is distributed in New York by its manufacturer and not Bergson’s firm, is among the few beers these rabbis say is permitted.” [Forward]

BIRTHDAYS: Phoenix, Arizona resident, Anita Rochelle Goldberg turns 81… Son of NYC real estate mogul Seymour Durst, and the elder brother of Douglas Durst, head of the Durst Organization, linked to three murder investigations, Robert Durst turns 75… Media entrepreneur and philanthropist, built SFX Entertainment (a concert and stage performance promoter that was sold to Clear Channel in 2000 for $4.4 billion), Robert Sillerman turns 69… Attorney and bestselling novelist of ten legal thrillers and author of two nonfiction books, Scott Turow turns 69… Television producer, screenwriter, director and businessman, he serves as chairman of the Liverpool Football Club and the Boston Red Sox, Thomas Charles Werner turns 68… Senior Vice President at UJA Federation of New York, Stuart Tauber turns 66… Moroccan-born fashion designer, Paul Marciano turns 66… West Bloomfield, Michigan resident, Ron Mitnick turns 64…

Partner in Holland & Knight’s Washington, D.C., office, Norman B. “Norm” Antin turns 62… Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews since 2014, she is a former British Labour Party Member of Parliament (1997-2010), Gillian Joanna Merron turns 59… US District Judge for the Southern District of New York, he was a law clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall (1988-1989), Judge Paul A. Engelmayer turns 57… Realtor and VP for Keller Williams focused on Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts, Ilya Jacob Rasner turns 37 (h/t Playbook)… Comedienne, writer and actress, best known for co-creating and co-starring in the Comedy Central series Broad City, Ilana Glazer turns 31… Israeli actress, for her lead role in the 2012 film, Fill the Void, she won the Israeli version of an Oscar and Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, Hadas Yaron turns 28…

Kafe Knesset for June 19

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Israel woke up to the exciting news of a Jared Kushner visit later…

Kafe Knesset for June 16

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Against the backdrop of right wing discontent with the limitations placed upon settlement…

Kafe Knesset for June 15

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Trump, Israelis, Palestinians – and the settlers: The US special envoy, Jason Greenblatt,…

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts on the Early Days of Dad’s Company, Maccabiah Games

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts talked with renowned financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein about the company he helped build with his father Ralph, his early life experience, as well…

Kafe Knesset for June 14

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Secretary Tillerson’s statement that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has changed its policy of…

Kafe Knesset for June 13

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Tensions on the southern border continue to exacerbate: On Sunday evening, the security cabinet…