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JI EXCLUSIVE: White House explains redirected funds to Palestinians — by Aaron Magid: A White House official confirmed Jewish Insider’s report from Wednesday that the Trump administration had quietly transferred an additional $20 million to Palestinian wastewater programs after the funds were frozen in an Egyptian economic aid package. “The State Department came to us and said they had identified this particular piece of money and these were, if I recall, FY2016 (Fiscal Year) funds that disappear at the end of September,” the White House official told Jewish Insider last week.
However, the Trump administration source objected to an assertion made by a Congressional aide that the Trump administration was rushing to move the funds to West Bank water programs before the Taylor Force Act could be passed. “There was a particular window for this so that the money would be used. TFA (Taylor Force Act) would have no impact on this even if they passed it tomorrow. There wasn’t an ‘oh my gosh, let’s get this money before Taylor Force passes,’” the White House official added. The official said that there were numerous Palestinian projects that the U.S. would like to support. “But when you have terrorists stabbing American citizens in the back and tax paying dollars used to support these people, the President said very clearly to President Abbas in both Washington and Bethlehem in May, this is intolerable to us.”
On a separate note, the White House official declined to opine regarding an announcement from Hamas last week that the U.S. designated terror group would dissolve the Gaza administrative committee and move towards a unity government. “Our feeling is very much wait and see. There have been lots of attempts at this before,” the White House official noted. “We appreciate the Egyptians (mediation) efforts to try and come to some resolution to do this.” [JewishInsider]
“Trump Told Abbas: We’re Working on New Peace Deal, but Need More Time to Formulate It” by Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury: “Palestinian and U.S. sources said Trump requested that Abbas give him time to draft the proposal and avoid taking any measures that would impede the process… Senior Palestinian figures said the Palestinian Authority agreed to wait for the U.S. proposal to be presented before taking any significant diplomatic steps.” [Haaretz]
KAFE KNESSET — Trump’s mystery peace plan — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Jason Greenblatt is on his way back to Israel for another round of peace talks followed by a family Sukkot holiday, and the Israeli PM wanted to welcome him with a warm hug. Yesterday, Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet for a three hour meeting, during which he briefed the ministers on his last trip to the US and his meeting with President Trump. According to a well-informed source, Netanyahu told the ministers he is interested in “pleasing” Greenblatt and the administration with new economic gestures. The PM specifically discussed a plan to build a new industrial zone near the city of Tulkarem and expanding the road to the West Bank city of Rawabi, but none of these plans were actually approved. Approvals have been postponed until further discussions.
Netanyahu also told the Security Cabinet that he decided to postpone by a week or two the upcoming meeting of the Civil Administration’s planning committee. The planning committee has several settlement construction projects on the agenda. The PM explained the rationale for the postponement “because we have no interest in annoying the friendly administration.” President Trump, Netanyahu added, is “determined to get the ultimate deal, and is putting a lot of weight and importance on the matter.” Netanyahu said he presented Israel’s positions to POTUS, and that Trump is preparing a plan. When one of the ministers asked what the plan is – Netanyahu declined to answer and said “I still don’t know.” On the Iranian issue and the future of the Iran deal, Netanyahu said he’s waiting for Amb. Ron Dermer to arrive in Israel, and that he would convene the Security Cabinet again ahead of the 15th of October, the decertification deadline. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here[JewishInsider]
“How Trump can get Mideast peace talks back on track” by Dannis Ross: “The Saudis could be asked to announce that they will send a delegation to Israel to discuss common threats in the region and security assurances under the rubric of the Arab Peace Initiative. In return, Israel could announce that because of its commitment to two states for two peoples, it will not build outside the settlement blocs and will forswear sovereignty in the areas that are east of the security barrier.” [NYDailyNews]
PODCAST PLAYBACK — Former Quartet Mideast envoy Tony Blair on The Global Politico podcast with Susan Glasser: “I think in relation to the peace process, there is an opportunity for this presidency, indeed for any presidency, to get an alliance between the state of Israel and the Arab nations, provided you can deal with and resolve the Palestinian issue in a fair way. But there is a greater willingness, I think, from the Arab world, to reach an agreement, and to move on, and to focus on those twin objectives: connected rule-based economies, religiously tolerant societies. There’s a great desire there particularly with the new leadership in the Middle East than there’s ever been, so I do think there’s a big opportunity there, and I think that the White House understands that, and the question is obviously how you implement it.” [Politico]
IRAN DEAL: Trump points to Iran missile test in criticizing nuke deal: “Video of the test firing of a Khoramshahr medium-range ballistic missile aired Friday on Iran’s state TV… Trump tweeted Saturday about the public unveiling of the missile: “Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!”” [AP]
“Iran nuclear deal is best option, says Israeli general” by Anshel Pfeffer: “Uzi Eilam, 83, a retired brigadier-general who for a decade was director-general of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, said that while he had no doubt that Iran wanted to develop nuclear weapons the agreement signed in July 2015 was “the best of options”. “The most critical element is fissile material. When you don’t have fissile material you don’t have a nuclear bomb,” he told the Israeli news website Walla. “The agreement blocks Iran’s path to fissile material.”” [TheTimes]
HEARD YESTERDAY — Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on CNN with Fareed Zakaria: “Let me stress one thing that has been a myth here in the United States, and we need to dispel this myth. They say there is a sunset clause in the deal. There is no sunset clause. Iran has committed itself never to develop nuclear weapons, both as a member of the NPT and in the deal itself.” [Video]
“Trump Has Created Leverage Against Iran. Now He Needs a Closer” by Eli Lake: “At this point Trump should consider appointing a special envoy for fixing the Iran deal… It should be someone like John Bolton… Unfortunately, Bolton has already made it clear that he opposes the nuclear deal altogether… The ideal candidate to negotiate for the Trump administration would be an opponent of the original deal: That stance gives a negotiator credibility.” [BloombergView]
THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Kushner used private email to conduct White House business” by Josh Dawsey: ““Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business,” Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Kushner, said in a statement… “Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address.” Aides who have exchanged emails with Kushner on his private account… include… National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and spokesman Josh Raffel… In some cases, those White House officials have emailed Kushner’s account first… There is no indication that Kushner has shared any sensitive or classified material on his private account… Aides say he prefers to call or text over using email.” [Politico]
INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Enforcer or ‘choke point’? Kelly seeks to bring order to chaotic White House” by Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker: “Kelly has required that Ivanka Trump… go through him first when she wants to speak with her father about anything involving the administration, a requirement she has so far followed. In the run-up to the United Nations General Assembly in New York… a number of foreign governments and organizations reached out to her to set up meetings — all of which she ran by Kelly and his team before adding them to her schedule… Other senior staffers — such as Reed Cordish and Chris Liddell of the Office of American Innovation, who both work with Jared Kushner… on long-term domestic policy initiatives — have more amorphous positions, and Kelly is trying to more clearly define their roles.” [WashPost]
GARY’S STILL IN: “Yellen and Cohn Said to Be on Shortlist to Lead Federal Reserve” by Kate Kelly and Binyamin Appelbaum: “The White House has created a list of about a half-dozen candidates to be the next leader of the Federal Reserve, including its current chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen, and the president’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn… The list also includes Jerome H. Powell, a member of the Fed’s board of governors; Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor; and the Stanford University economist John B. Taylor… Mr. Trump has deputized four officials to lead the selection process for the Fed’s next chairman… Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; two of Mr. Cohn’s aides on the National Economic Council, Jeremy Katz and Andrew Olmem; and John DeStefano, the White House personnel director.” [NYTimes]
IN THE SPOTLIGHT… GOP Funds Donald Trump’s Defense in Russia Probe With Help From a Handful of Wealthy People” by Rebecca Ballhaus: “In April, billionaire Len Blavatnik gave $12,700 to the RNC’s legal fund, on top of donations of about $200,000 to other RNC accounts. He also gave the legal fund $100,000 in 2016, according to FEC filings. The contribution from Mr. Blavatnik came during the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe of U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings of Russian meddling in the U.S. election… Mr. Blavatnik… is a longtime business partner of Viktor Vekselberg, who is one of the richest men in Russia and has close ties to the Kremlin.” [WSJ]
BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “Former US ambassador Dan Shapiro said set to testify in Netanyahu graft case” by Raoul Wootliff: “Shapiro will reportedly give testimony to Israeli police in the coming weeks… Netanyahu is said to have asked Shapiro and then-US secretary of state John Kerry in 2014 to intervene and arrange a long-term US visa for Israeli film producer Arnon Milchan.” [ToI]
2020 WATCH: “Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sure sounds like a 2020 presidential candidate” by Aaron Blake: “Schultz spoke with The Washington Post at a job fair for young people on Wednesday… It wasn’t difficult imagine him delivering the same words in a stump speech in Des Moines. “The worst thing that we all, whether we be businesspeople or private citizens — we should not be embracing indifference right now,” Schultz said at the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative. “We have to be engaged, we’ve got to speak out, we’ve got to be involved, we gotta stand up for the things that we know are true. And I think the country, in many ways, is in need of a moral, a cultural and an economic transformation.”” [WashPost]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Obama tried to give Zuckerberg a wake-up call over fake news on Facebook [WashPost] • 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki explains the DNA testing company’s privacy protections [Recode] • Dan Doctoroff on Rebuilding New York After 9/11 [Citylab] • How Israeli Expats In Silicon Valley Produce Winning Startups [Inc]
STARTUP NATION: “SAP is buying identity management firm Gigya for $350M” by Ingrid Lunden: “SAP, the German enterprise software giant… has acquired Gigya, a firm that helps online properties manage customer identities and profiles… (Gigya is based out of Mountain View, CA, but its R&D is based in Israel, and its founders are Israeli). Analytics firm Zirra also told TechCrunch that the company was valued at around $250 million in its last valuation… Gigya today manages some 1.3 billion customer identities across hundreds of sites.” [TC]
“Facebook wishes a happy Jewish New Years to a random group of users” by Kerry Flynn: “Some Facebook users were greeted with a “Happy New Year” message on the top of their News Feeds Wednesday and Thursday in celebration of Rosh Hashanah… It wasn’t available to everyone, though, and some of the users saw it shared on Twitter that, nope, they weren’t Jewish. Others said, at the very least, they never self-identified to Facebook that they were Jewish.” [Mashable]
“Justice Ginsburg surprise speaker at Jewish new year service” by Jessica Gresko: “If you are a member of a minority group, particularly a minority group that has been picked on, you have empathy for others who are similarly situated,” [Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg] said during about 20 minutes of answering questions from attorney Kenneth Feinberg… The service she attended was organized by Sixth & I, a historic synagogue… “The Jewish religion is an ethical religion. That is, we are taught to do right, to love mercy, do justice, not because there’s gonna be any reward in heaven or punishment in hell. We live righteously because that’s how people should live and not anticipating any award in the hereafter.” [ABCNews]
“Jews around world concerned by far-right breakthrough in German election” by by Francesco Guarascio and Andrea Shalal: “Early projections gave the AfD ((Alternative for Germany) 13.5 percent of the vote, allowing it to enter the Bundestag for the first time, as Germany’s third-biggest party. The far-right has not been represented in parliament since the 1950s… Ronald Lauder… called Chancellor Angela Merkel a “true friend of Israel and the Jewish people” and decried the AfD’s gains at a time when anti-Semitism was increasing across the globe.” [Reuters] • German nationalists seek to allay fears; show cracks at top [AP]
“The Jewish Immigrants Who Helped the U.S. Take on Nazis” by Arthur Allen: “After being deployed to the front, the émigrés joined five-man interrogation and mobile radio teams that often were led by American-born officers… Some of the unit commanders were brazenly anti-Semitic. “Our captain wore his friendliness to Germans on his sleeve. We felt very uncomfortable,” recalled Ritchie Boy Henry Schwab in a 1996 interview… “The army policy was we were fighting a war against the Germans…” Gerald Bamberger, another Ritchie Boy, concurred: “The Holocaust at that time was not discussed. Not as an American soldier under those circumstances.” The Ritchie Boys, with great discipline and loyalty to the U.S. cause, were trained to ask questions of tactical value to the advancing U.S. armies. The fate of Europe’s Jews did not arise… During the post-WWII period, young German-born Jewish American troops like Henry Kissinger, Albert Rosenthal and Victor Brombert had more to offer Germany, and America’s objectives there, than the typical occupying troops.” [Politico]
“From Poland to Lithuania: A Writer’s Search for Her Jewish Past” by Charly Wilder: “With its cobbled streets and 19th-century rowhouses, Plock’s old Jewish district looks like a film set. Nearly all the remnants of its thriving Jewish community, which once made up nearly half the population, are long gone or repurposed beyond recognition… Nearly the entire population of Jonava was wiped out by World War II and the Holocaust; the current residents were brought in afterward from other parts of Lithuania and the Soviet Union, said Renate [Kilinskaite], many to build and staff the state-owned Achema factory. Today, most of the buildings in the Old Town look darkened and disused, remote from the postwar city built up around it.” [NYTimes]
“The World’s Largest Book Club” by Jessica Kasmer-Jacobs: “In her memoir, “If All the Seas Were Ink,” Literary agent Ilana Kurshan tells the story of how she recovered from her divorce, in part through daily study of the Talmud… For Ms. Kurshan, such study provided a kind of intellectual stimulation that distracted her from the sorrow of her divorce.” [WSJ]
MEDIA WATCH: “Atlantic editor-in-chief talks career in journalism” by Jonathan Douglas: “What advice would you give to a student aspiring toward a career in journalism? “Don’t. Well, let me add to that. I discourage people from looking into journalism. Mine was a more stable era in journalism. It has to be your obsession. You’re never going to make a ton of money. It’s a very unstable business right now. So I discourage people. But if they keep coming back, two or three or four times, then we can talk.”” [BrownDailyHerald]
COMING SOON: Gal Gadot to Host Saturday Night Live: “Gal Gadot, who played the female superhero in the box-office blockbuster (Wonder Woman), has been tapped to host Saturday Night Live, NBC announced Thursday… Gadot will host Oct. 7 with musical guest Sam Smith.” [THR]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “In Central Park, Teaching Dogs to Sit (in Yiddish)” by Alix Strauss: “The class was organized by Workmen’s Circle, a progressive Jewish community and education nonprofit. “People want to teach their dog Yiddish,” said David Dossick, the event manager at the Circle… Steve Zelman, 69, from Sutton Place, Manhattan, was there with Ollie, his longhaired miniature dachshund to “meet some nice Jewish dogs,” he said. Edna Schwartz, also 69, came in from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, with Puma, her miniature poodle, for the training aspect. “My family would yell at us in Yiddish, so this reminds me of my childhood,” she said.” [NYTimes]
SPORTS BLINK — Did Trump flip the bird at Robert Kraft? “Kraft said Sunday he was ‘deeply disappointed’ in the president who said ‘disrespectful’ players who don’t stand for the national anthem should be fired. When asked about the jibe from Kraft, a strong supporter of Trump during his campaign, he appeared to brush it off saying: ‘He has to take his ideas and go with what he wants.’ … But as he spoke to reporters, he chose to use his middle finger to sweep back his hair. And viewers on social media were quick to point out that the gesture looked an awful lot like the President of the United States was surreptitiously flipping his critic the bird.” [DailyMail; Video]
“Redskins players, owner link arms during anthem following Trump’s criticism” by Liz Clarke: “While most Raiders players remained seated for the playing of the anthem Sunday night, a majority of the Redskins stood, linking arms, with owner Dan Snyder joining them, flanked by cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman.” [WashPost]
Jason Kander tweets re NFL: “Patriotism isn’t about making everyone stand and salute the flag. Patriotism is about making this a country where everyone wants to.” [Twitter]
MAZEL TOV — RYDER JONAH SHERMAN, son of Irene and Jake Sherman, was born Friday morning at 3:45am at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Northwest Washington. [Playbook]
BIRTHDAYS: Pioneering woman television anchor/host of Today, The View, 20/20 and the ABC Evening News, Barbara Walters (family name Abrahams) turns 88… CEO and Board Chairman of Budget Rent A Car (1968-1989), he is the former owner of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins where he won the Stanley Cup in 1992, Morris Belzberg turns 88… Member of the UK’s House of Lords, expert on prison reform, Baroness Vivien Helen Stern turns 76… Former member of Knesset (1996-1999), he also served as Israel’s ambassador to France (1992-1995) and Israel’s ambassador to the the United Nations (1999-2002), Yehuda Lancry turns 70… Israeli television anchor/host and one of the most popular Israeli singers of all time, Yardena Arazi turns 66… Founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, a large enterprise cloud computing company, Marc Russell Benioff turns 53… Novelist, screenwriter, television producer and director, co-creator of the award-winning HBO series “Game of Thrones,” David Benioff (born David Friedman, Benioff is his mother’s maiden name) turns 47… Son and grandson of leading British rabbis, he has led congregations in London and Moscow and is presently the senior rabbi at the Beverly Hills Synagogue, Rabbi Pinchas Eliezer “Pini” Dunner turns 47… Bloomfield Hills, Michigan resident, Mary Elizabeth Aaron turns 47… Milwaukee-born member of the Wisconsin State Assembly (first elected in 2014), Jonathan Brostoff turns 34… Yanky Rodman…
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Ed note: With Rosh Hashanah beginning this evening, we would like to wish all JI readers a happy, healthy and wonderful New Year! We’ll be back next week.
JI EXCLUSIVE: Trump administration quietly transfers $20M to Palestinian programs — by Aaron Magid: The Trump administration has quietly directed an additional $20 million towards projects that would ‘directly benefit’ the Palestinian Authority, three Capitol Hill sources told Jewish Insider. “It means that the Trump administration is trying to get money out of the door before Taylor Force (Act) goes into effect,” a Congressional aide explained. In August, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson withheld $30 million of economic aid from Egypt, citing Cairo’s harsh restrictions on human rights organizations. Congressional staffers asked the administration about the reprogramming of this funding and were told that $20 million of the sum would be spent on West Bank and Gaza programs that would “directly benefit” the P.A. [JewishInsider]
2024 WATCH — Haley passes ‘Shana Tova’ test: Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon, US Ambassador Nikki Haley and ambassadors from other countries participated in a Shana Tova video produced by Israel’s mission. “Happy New Year to all of our friends, whether it’s in the United States, Israel or around the globe. Shana Tova. We wish you all the best, in health, happiness and peace. God bless,” Ambassador Haley said in her video message. [Video]
Vice President Mike Pence on the Jewish High Holy Days: “The most important word during this most important period of the Jewish year is “Teshuvah,” or Repentance. Teshuva tells us we can change. It tells us that what we have been until this moment need not limit what we can become from this moment. It says we can be better tomorrow than we were today, and that in the affairs of humankind, nothing is fixed. Of all the manifold gifts bestowed upon us by the Almighty, is there any gift greater than the power He gave us to change?”
DRIVING THE DAY: “As the Clintons Step Back From Global Stage, Bloomberg Steps Up” by Shane Goldmacher: “[Mike] Bloomberg [is hosting] a reorganized and rebranded Bloomberg Global Business Forum at the Plaza Hotel, drawing a high-powered crowd and speakers from Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, to President Emmanuel Macron of France. In a symbolic passing of the guard, [Bill] Clinton [was] the first speaker on the day’s agenda almost exactly a year after he urged attendees “you have to keep this alive” in a farewell address at the last Clinton Global Initiative. “He doesn’t just happen to be the first speaker,” said Kevin Sheekey, one of Mr. Bloomberg’s top advisers…. “There is a bit of a handoff.” The speaker and panelist list is impressive and wide-ranging.” [NYTimes] • Watch the livestream[Bloomberg]
“The US Government In Exile Has A New President” by Ben Smith: “The former New York mayor is inheriting not a conference, but a platform for an alternative American diplomacy… “Nations are bound together by trade and investment, and while chief executives are not diplomats, they can be voices for cooperation on issues where the private sector can be constructive — from infrastructure to climate change,” [Bloomberg] said in an emailed comment Tuesday. “Actions taken by the private sector, while not replacing official diplomatic channels, can often carry more weight than words spoken (or tweeted) by public officials.” … Bloomberg’s new stage is a sign that on the issues on which he’s already begun to dog Trump — climate change, in particular — the former mayor is likely just getting started.” [BuzzFeed]
DRIVING THE WEEK: “Anxious world lobbies Trump on Iran nuclear deal” by Nahal Toosi: “Former aides to President Barack Obama are growing increasingly worried that Trump will reject the advice of some of this top advisers and declare Tehran in violation of the agreement… That would open the door Congress to reimpose sanctions that many experts say could provoke Iran to restart its nuclear program… “We have an unmoored flame-thrower in the Oval Office who acts more out of spite and reprisal than principle,” said Ned Price, a former Obama National Security Council spokesman who helped make the official case for the nuclear deal… Arab countries hostile to Iran have mostly been quiet on the subject… “It’s not high on our list” of things to discuss with the administration, one Arab official said…”
“Trump has at least one prominent defender: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… “That’s why Israel’s policy regarding the nuclear deal with Iran is very simple: Change it or cancel it. Fix it or nix it,” Netanyahu said. Caught between competing arguments, some analysts think Trump might look once again to his favorite foil: Obama. “It’s his own internal logic chain,” said Aaron David Miller… “It all starts from his prime directive, which is to dismantle everything that his predecessor has done.” [Politico]
“Netanyahu pitches his UN address to one man: Donald Trump” by Nicole Gaouette: “Netanyahu “had an audience of one,” said David Makovsky, a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “He sees a chance to somehow either jettison the agreement or more vigorously enforce it. And that could be where they end up.”” [CNN]
TRUMP TAKES NOTE: “With Combative Style and Epithets, Trump Takes America First to the U.N.” by Peter Baker and Rick Gladstone: “The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” Mr. Trump said. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.” The tough words cheered the delegation from Israel, whose prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, applauded from the gallery and called it the boldest speech he had heard at the United Nations in 30 years. In his own address later, he said Mr. Trump had “rightly called the nuclear deal with Iran an embarrassment” and pointed to North Korea as an example.” [NYTimes] • Twitter Trump and Teleprompter Trump merge on global stage [Politico]
Ben Rhodes: “Trump threatened to kill 25 million people and 10s of thousands of Americans at UN. Mooch and Spicey are interesting stars! Bibi loves it!” [Twitter]
Closing ranks with Israel, Tillerson takes aim at ‘sunset clause’ in nuclear deal: “If we’re going to stick with the Iran deal there has to be changes made to it. The sunset provisions simply is not a sensible way forward,” Tillerson said [on Fox News]. “It’s just simply … kicking the can down the road again for someone in the future to have to deal with.” [Ynet; FoxNews]
“GOP foreign affairs chair Ed Royce: US should stay in Iran deal, ‘enforce the hell out of’ it” by Eli Watkins: “I think we should enforce the hell out of the agreement and thereby force compliance on the part of Iran,” Royce, a California Republican, said in an interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” … Royce said he believed Iran was “violating the spirit of the agreement,” but he said the lifting of sanctions under the Iran deal meant the US lost a considerable amount of leverage that went directly to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. “They now have this money,” Royce said. “And so in a way, the toothpaste is out of the tube.” [CNN]
HEARD YESTERDAY — Chris Christie at the UANI summit at The Roosevelt: “I would be very surprised if he does not decertify the JCPOA… I am just telling you that I know the guy for the last 15 years and if I had to guess, that’s my guess of what’s going to happen – because of what I’ve heard him say during the campaign and what I think he believes philosophically, which is: a bad deal is worse than no deal.”
Jeb Bush at a panel with former Governor Bill Richardson: “I think once in awhile, the chaotic nature of the President is helpful… North Korea is a rogue nation, Iran is a rogue nation… These are regimes that need to be called out, and President Trump is pretty good at it. But what’s lacking, perhaps, is a consistent, coherent policy to back that up.”
Richardson: “If Iran is complying… I think we should retain that… Side agreements are still worth doing. But if we pull out, we are not going to get nothing.”
Richardson on the U.S -Israel relationship: “One thing I do like about the president’s policy – it seems that our relationship with Israel is back on track. That’s fundamental. Although, Prime Minister Netanyahu — I have always liked him, but there he goes and endorses an issue important to me – that I don’t like – and that’s the wall with Mexico. Why is he endorsing the wall with Mexico because he wants to please Trump? I want Prime Minister Netanyahu to know there is a Democratic Party in the U.S. that should not be ignored.”
Jeb jokes: “Does he want Mexico to pay for it, Governor?”
HOW IT PLAYED: “New York crowd gets glimpse of President Jeb(!)” by Katie Glueck: “A bespectacled Bush… was relaxed and genial during much of his appearance… He showed up to assess the Trump administration’s foreign policy so far… “Generally, in the post-World War II era, there’s been a broader [foreign policy] consensus,” he said. “I think President Trump, with his foreign policy team intact, is moving in that direction. I may be wrong, his impulses contradict that from time to time, but I can tell all the people analyzing the tweets…I would follow more what we’re doing rather than what he says.” On the campaign trail, Bush once plaintively encouraged an audience to “please clap.” And in response to that assessment of the current president, there came a smattering of applause.” [McCaltchyDC] • Donald Trump wasn’t the only politician who gave a foreign policy speech today[TampaBayTimes]
HEARD TODAY — Trump ahead of meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas: “Israel is working very hard toward the same goal… So we will see if we can put it together. Who knows? Stranger things have happened. But I think we have a good chance (for peace).” [Video]
DRIVING THE CONVO: “Muzin’s work for Qatar raises eyebrows” by Theodoric Meyer: “The relatively small world of Jewish Republicans in Washington hasn’t been able to stop talking about Nick Muzin… Muzin’s decision to work for Qatar was the talk of Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer’s Rosh Hashanah party last week, according to three sources present, as well as the Republican Jewish Coalition’s meeting in Washington the next day. “His name was on everybody’s lips,” one source said. “Everybody was talking about it.” — There were “three main areas of puzzlement about Muzin” at the Dermer party, according to another attendee: Why “he would work for a client as grotesque as Qatar”; how he intended to sell Jewish leaders on meeting with Qatar, which has been accused of funding the Palestinian group Hamas; and why he wasn’t getting paid more for such controversial work.” [Politico]
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington is organizing a protest outside the Qatari embassy in Washington, DC next Thursday to “demand the Qatari government use its influence over the terrorist group Hamas to unconditionally and immediately return the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oren Shaul.”
“Trump Warned Saudis Off Military Move on Qatar” by Jennifer Jacobs: “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates considered military action in the early stages of their ongoing dispute with Qatar before Donald Trump called leaders of both countries and warned them to back off… Trump, who initially sided with the Saudi-led bloc, had a change of heart because of evidence that a prolonged dispute with Qatar will serve as an advantage to Iran… Trump met with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday… Trump confronted the Qatari leader with what one U.S. official said is evidence that Qatar is still engaged in terrorism-related activity and told him it has to stop.” [Bloomberg]
ON THE HILL — Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Cornyn (R-TX), and James Lankford (R-OK) yesterday introduced the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, which would make houses of worship eligible for FEMA Public Assistance program grants. Under the Stafford Act, houses of worship are ineligible for FEMA grants for the repair, reconstruction, or replacement of private nonprofit facilities. “Religious non-profit organizations, including churches, synagogues… and community centers should not be excluded from federal disaster assistance just because they are faith-based,” Cruz said in a statement.
“Bernie Sanders, Jewish Senate Colleagues Blast Netanyahu for Blocking Equality Among Israeli Jews” by Judy Maltz and Amir Tibon: “The seven Democratic senators are Ron Wyden (Oregon), Ben Cardin (Maryland), Dianne Feinstein (California), Al Franken (Minnesota), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) and Sanders (Vermont). “We fear actions like the conversion bill and the suspension of the Kotel agreement will strain the unique relationship between our two nations, particularly if the majority of American Jews see the movements to which they are committed denied equal rights in Israel,” the senators wrote. “Given all the challenges Israel faces on the international state, we urge you not to alienate committed Zionists.”” [Haaretz]
“Ellison compares illegal immigrants to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany” by Josh Delk: “Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is comparing giving sanctuary to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to giving shelter to Jews fleeing the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. “And if you ask yourself ‘What would I do if I was a gentile in 1941, if my Jewish neighbors were under attack by the Nazis? Would I give them sanctuary?'” Ellison said Monday in comments on President Trump’s move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.”[TheHill]
Ambassador David Friedman on Charlottesville: “I’m not saying there’s no anti-Semitism, but nothing close to what has been in the news lately. I haven’t studied it, but from my own experience, the hard-core anti-Semites that you see on television, the real ugly ones, are a tiny tiny tiny minority of the U.S. population… Anti-Semitism from the right – neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan – that’s ugly, it’s unacceptable, and almost everyone who sees it immediately recoils from it. They say it’s horrible. Anti-Semitism from the left has been cleverly repackaged as anti-Israelism. That’s something that you can discuss at a cocktail party in Manhattan or Beverly Hills and no one will throw you out of the room. You can talk about how Israel is becoming an apartheid state and how Israel shouldn’t really exist, and it is much more acceptable because at first it doesn’t sound like the Ku Klux Klan, it sounds like an intellectual argument.” [IsraelHayom]
** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Michael Wright Exiting As Amblin Partners CEO; Steven Spielberg Takes Reins [Deadline] • Sony Pictures Classics Buys ‘Foxtrot,’ Israel’s Ophir Winner and Oscar Entry [IndieWire] • Bond King Bill Gross Falls to the Middle of the Pack [Bloomberg] • Adelson, Wynn make Forbes list of top business minds [ReviewJournal; Forbes] • Billionaire Warren Buffett sings a duet with Stevie Wonder at star-studded Forbes 100th anniversary [DailyMail] • NYPost: Jann Wenner really blew it with Rolling Stone [NYPost]
LISTS, LISTS, LISTS — JPost announces “50 Influential Jews Of 2017.” Jared and Ivanka are 1, Gal Gadot at 2, and Israeli PM Netanyahu at 3. Interesting pick: Disney CEO Bob Iger at 9. [JPost] • The Algemeiner’s Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life [Algemeiner]
STARTUP NATION: “Augmedics is building augmented reality glasses for spinal surgery” by Romain Dillet: “Meet Augmedics, an Israeli startup working on augmented reality headsets for surgeons performing spinal surgery. Instead of making you look away from your patient, the device acts as a heads up display and gives you greatly enhanced perception.” [TechCrunch]
“A D.C. rabbi enlists some comic book collaborators for a blessed project” by John Kelly: “Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld… knew exactly where to turn: Brian [Ash], a classmate from his Yeshiva high school in the Bronx who used to sit at the back of class drawing caricatures of rabbis. Brian brought in Yehudi [Mercado] and the trio perfected the game… The game is called AlefBlessed… The back of each card contains textual references to the blessing in question. Ohev Sholom gives packs of the cards to its young members and sells them online. “When I printed 50,000, everybody looked at me like I was crazy,” Herzfeld said. “We’re almost out of them. I’m getting calls from rabbis around the world: ‘Please ship me some AlefBlessed cards.’ I’ve been contacted by two Judaica distributors who want to sell it.”” [WashPost]
Conan Meets With Refugees, Chats With Gal Gadot in Israel Special: “Speaking to some pedestrians, the host asks what the Israeli attitude is towards President Trump. “It’s a good show for us,” one of them replies. “Did you know that the president’s son-in-law is working very hard on making a peace plan [for the Middle East]. Jared Kushner has been studying very hard on the issue of Middle East peace,” O’Brien explained to the group, before pulling out a copy of the book Middle East Peace for Dummies and proclaiming that Kushner “read two pages and got confused and went home.” … At one point, O’Brien says that [Gal] Gadot is “the whole reason” he came to Israel, before excitedly knocking on the star’s door. Although he can’t contain his enthusiasm, Gadot seems less interested.” [THR] • Conan O’Brien’s Trip To Israel Was Hilarious — And Heartbreaking [HuffPost]
“Evangelical Christians Head to Jerusalem to Rally Behind Israel” by Jonathan Ferziger: “Thousands will pour in from more than 80 countries to the streets of Jerusalem in early October for an annual march celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, or the Jewish festival of Sukkot… “After the elections, being pro-Israel became a part of the establishment, rather than part of the opposition,” said Rabbi Tuly Weisz… “I do believe that this year’s increase in tourism and overall growth in charitable giving can be partially attributed to the fact that the Trump administration is seen to be extremely pro-Israel.” Although some fundraisers haven’t seen a Trump-related uptick in donations, Mike Evans, founder of the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, saw the U.S. president’s May visit as a peerless opportunity to recruit Christian support.”[Bloomberg]
“You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Celebrate Rosh Hashana” by Bari Weiss: “The morning of Jan. 1 is when the counting of calories recommences: We join Weight Watchers; we splurge on gym memberships. Rosh Hashana requires a deeper kind of counting. That process is called “heshbon hanefesh,” literally an “accounting of the soul.” The stocktaking requires serious reflection on the past year… The remembering is not just a private act: We are required to ask for forgiveness for those we have hurt during the past year. Some rely on mass emails, but we are meant to be as specific as possible, to make the apologies personal and precise. It’s like the ninth step of A.A. But every year.” [NYTimes]
“As building booms in Chelsea area, rabbis hope for Jewish renaissance” by Laura Crimaldi: “Walking in Chelsea’s waterfront one day, [Rabbi Sruli] Baron said an older man in a car pulled up beside him, slammed on the brakes, and rolled down the window. “What’s your name? What are you doing here?” the man asked. “I can’t remember the last time I saw an Orthodox Jew walking around Chelsea.” That history, Baron said, holds great promise for the Jewish community’s future in the area. “It’s just fascinating to imagine that so much Jewish life was here,” he said. “The history allows us to envision in real, practical ways the rich future that the community could have.””[BostonGlobe]
BIRTHDAYS: After a 40 year career at the New York Times, he founded The Hill and then helped launch Politico, journalist and author Martin Tolchinturns 89… Florida real estate developer who acquired 785 acres of mostly swamp land in South Florida for $6 million in 1967 and converted it to Aventura and Turnberry Isle Resort, Donald Soffer turns 85… Author, television personality and philanthropist, she is the widow of Aaron Spelling, Carole Gene “Candy” Spelling turns 72… Long-time SVP at Booz-Allen after a career than included two White House staff positions, former CEO of Special Olympics International, Bruce Pasternack turns 70… Engineer, inventor, philanthropist, co-founder of Broadcom and owner of the Anaheim Ducks, Henry Samueli turns 63… Rabbi of Congregation Beit Torat Chaim of Jakarta, Indonesia and the founder and director of Outreach Judaism, a counter-missionary organization, Rabbi Tovia Singer turns 57…
Civil rights attorney, author and legal analyst on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News and MSNBC, Lisa Bloom turns 56… Founder of PFAP Consulting, Melissa Jane Kronfeld, Ph.D. turns 35… National security, homeland security and foreign policy advisor to Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), James Mazol turns 31… Associate director of the Middle East Program at the DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, previously a political assistant at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, Emily Grunewald turns 30… MBA candidate at Columbia Business School, she was a summer associate at New Enterprise Associates during 2017, Alison Bogdonoff turns 28… OneTable’s Zoe Plotsky turns 25… Manhattan resident, Isabel Tsesarsky turns 23… Bloomberg LP’s legal reporter, Drew Singer… Membership manager of the Sacramento-based California Solar Energy Industries Association, Carter Lavin (h/t Playbook)… Lauren Ackerman…
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OUT TODAY — “Thanks, Obama. My Hopey, Changey White House Years” by former White House speechwriter David Litt: In advance of the book’s publication, we conducted an iMessage interview with David late last night. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
JI: In the book, you write “if something kishke-related came up (at the White House), I was the go-to guy.” How did you become that guy?
Litt: In 2011, President Obama delivered a speech at the Union of Reform Judaism’s annual meeting. I had this moment where I was like “As a kid, I did eight years of Hebrew school and never knew why. This is why!” After that speech if something was going to be delivered to the American Jewish community, I generally handled it.
JI: How was teaching Hebrew to the President?
Litt: It was great, except for the hard ‘CH’ sounds. Those didn’t go so well. People could be pretty hard on him if he didn’t get a “Chag Sameach” right, but I write in the book about how he gave it plenty of tries. And it’s not like he grew up with that sound. As we all know, it’s a tough one!
JI: In 2012, you were in the storm path of one Harvey Weinstein. How did that happen?
Litt: Maybe it’s best to let people read the whole story in the book!
JI: You mention your great-grandparents from Eastern Europe several times in the book. If they were still with us, what do you think they would be most surprised to read?
Litt: Honestly, I think they’d be stunned that I ended up in the White House just a few generations after they arrived here with almost nothing, in many cases not even speaking English. That’s such a typical American story, but we shouldn’t lose sight of how remarkable that typical-ness is. And I like to think they’d understand that in it’s own way, the fact that I got serve under America’s first black president is part of that story too. This is a country that at its best is always expanding its definition of what’s possible, and my family got to be part of that.
JI: Not to spoil the ending to a chapter about the legendary Correspondents’ Dinner speeches, but what did you have to tell the President after he asked what happened to using a photoshopped picture he liked of him and Bibi Netanyahu in 2013?
Litt: “I’m sorry, Mr. President, we just couldn’t use that picture. You kind of looked like Hitler in it.” Like you said, it’s a long story. $18.29 for the hardcover. Available now [Amazon]
“Ivanka Trump talks Hillary’s book on ‘Dr. Oz’” by Maggie Coughlan: “The first daughter sat down with Dr. Oz for an interview about her life in Washington, D.C., but surprised the audience when she commented on Hillary Clinton‘s newly released book… Ivanka said she’d be curious to know what Hillary, 69, would do when she disagreed with husband Bill while he was president. During the interview, Ivanka, 35, also revealed that she suffered from postpartum depression following the birth of her first child, Arabella… “The highlight of the show was when Ivanka joked about taking over her father’s Twitter account.”” [PageSix]
TODAY AT 10:30 AM: President Trump delivers his much-anticipated address at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will attend the President’s speech. Netanyahu is expected to speak around 1:00 PM. Trump will be in the UN building, meeting with the UN Secretary-General, during Bibi’s speech. [Livestream]
“Egypt’s Sisi meets Israeli PM at UN for first public talks” by Emmanuel Parisse: “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu publicly for the first time in New York to discuss Middle East peace… Sisi emphasized the importance of “resuming negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides to reach a comprehensive solution,” the [Egyptian] presidency said. The two leaders discussed “ways to resume the peace process and establish a Palestinian state,” it said.” [Yahoo; Haaretz]
BIBI MEETS TRUMP: Trump met with Netanyahu for over an hour yesterday at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. Ahead of the meeting, Trump that there’s a “good chance” for Middle East peace. “It’d be a fantastic achievement. We are giving it an absolute go.” Netanyahu said, “I want to say that under your leadership the alliance between America and Israel has never been stronger, never been deeper… “I want to say, that under President Trump, America’s position towards Israel and the U.N. has been unequivocal. It’s been strong.” [Video]
HOW IT PLAYED: “Trump at U.N. Talks Up, but Does Not Press, Mideast Peace” by Mark Landler: “While Mr. Trump has clung to the hope for peace… he has put much more time into cementing alliances with the Sunni Muslim kingdoms of the Persian Gulf, as a way of confronting Iran… “Middle East peace is desirable because it’s the mother of all diplomatic deals,” said Robert M. Danin, a senior fellow… at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But the conflict that’s taking place in the Gulf is harming U.S. interests in a more immediate sense.” … The allure of a history-making peace accord is still strong, as Mr. Trump’s remarks with Mr. Netanyahu illustrated. While the Israeli leader kept his focus on “the terrible nuclear deal with Iran,” Mr. Trump spoke expansively about a peace agreement as though it was a genuine possibility, somewhat to the Israelis’ surprise.” [NYTimes]
KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Netanyahu said that he “shares the desire to reach peace with the Palestinians, but I insist on those vital interests – the goal is peace, security, security and peace. There will be no peace if we cannot anchor the security of the State of Israel.” Despite the fact that the peace process was the only topic mentioned by the President during the photo op, Israeli and US officials told Kafe Knesset that the issue took second place during the meeting, which was mostly dedicated to Bibi’s favorite topic – Iran. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]
“Mea Culpa: I Said Trump and Bibi Would Blow Up” by Aaron David Miller: “A year or so ago in this space… I predicted that it would be only a matter of time before U.S. President Donald Trump and… Netanyahu would be annoying the hell out of one another… Even I’m a little stunned by how the relationship has blossomed seemingly without serious disruption and complication… Trump may be unpredictable on many issues, but when it comes to the U.S.-Israeli relationship he’s been preternaturally and consistently pro-Netanyahu.” [FP]
BRIEFING: “The President and Prime Minister Netanyahu had a very good meeting,” State Department Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook told reporters at a briefing yesterday. The President reaffirmed America’s unshakable bond with the Jewish state.” The two leaders, according to Hook, discussed “at length” countering Iran’s malign influence in the region, not allowing the “Lebanization” of Syria, and the Middle East peace process.
Hook told JI’s Jacob Kornbluh that the peace process didn’t take up much time in the meeting: “I didn’t keep a stopwatch, in terms of just how long everybody discussed each subject. As I said, they spent a lot of time talking about Iran and about Syria — Middle East peace. I would say it was an equitable distribution of topics. I think each was given the time necessary needed to kind of give it full justice. So, it was a very good discussion. But these discussions are so regular, it wasn’t a lot of time that had elapsed because the trip that Jared and his team recently made was only a few weeks ago. We’re in regular discussions with the Israelis.”
Hook on the two-state solution: “What the President has been talking about in the context of Middle East peace is trying to avoid bumper stickers and slogans around this. He does not want to impose a solution. And what he’s really trying to do is work as a facilitator to find a solution that both sides can accept. Ambassador [David] Friedman has talked about it in terms of a win-win for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. He does want to take a new approach.”
‘Ridiculous’ if Trump doesn’t back two-state solution: Palestinian official: “It would be utterly ridiculous if Mr Trump doesn’t eventually say that,” Nabil Shaath, a senior Abbas adviser, told journalists in Ramallah when asked about the two-state solution. “What the hell are we negotiating? We are negotiating a diplomatic accord between Abu Mazen and Mr Netanyahu where they can meet each other? No.” [YahooNews] • More Palestinians Seek Abbas Resignation; Skeptical of Trump [AP]
WHAT NETANYAHU WANTS TO TALK ABOUT — Netanyahu at a briefing for Israeli reporters: “The American establishment has changed its approach toward Iran. We’re in agreement with the Americans that this agreement is terrible. There’s a clear American interest, which was conveyed to me explicitly, about the desire to fix the problems in the agreement… I said in the past that the biggest problem I see isn’t if Iran violates the agreement, but if it upholds it… The president’s starting point regarding Iran is identical to ours. That wasn’t the case in the previous administration. Like us, this president sees Iran as the root of the Middle East’s problems.” [Haaretz]
ON THE HILL — JI’s Aaron Magid asked Senators yesterday what they’d advise the administration to do on October 15th, the next certification deadline for the Iran deal.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “I would support the administration on decertifying Iran from adherence to nuclear deal. He (the President) can lead on that particular issue, which is fine with me.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): “I think as they (Iran) are adhering to the nuclear agreement, we should stay in the agreement and not change it. All of the reports have said so. The Trump administration has certified that they (Iran) have been.”
HAPPENING TODAY — United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) will host its second annual Iran Summit at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Speakers include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, General (Ret) David Petraeus, HRH Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, Joe Lieberman, John Bolton, Dennis Ross, former Governors Jeb Bush and Bill Richardson; Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ron DeSantis, former Congressman Steve Israel, former Senator Mark Kirk, and former Attorney General of Canada Dr. Irwin Cotler.
HEARD YESTERDAY — Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt called on the Palestinian Authority to reassert control over Gaza in an address before donor nations to the Palestinians. “The time has come to stop monitoring the situation in Gaza and start changing the situation in Gaza,” Greenblatt said, according to a transcript released by the White House. The New York attorney slammed Hamas for its abusive treatment of Palestinian people since its 2007 coup over Gaza. “For too long, Hamas has exploited the people of Gaza as hostages and shields, bullying them into submission. Hamas rules by the fist, instead of by improving the lives of the people it purports to govern,” he added.
While the Trump administration is now supporting the Taylor Force Act, which would cut off all US economic aid to the PA for terror payments, Greenblatt urged donor countries to help the PA during its current economic struggles. “The PA is still dependent on international donors and is unable to afford important services which Israel is willing to provide – so I encourage all of us to work with the parties, in a coordinated manner, to reduce fiscal losses and ensure that the Palestinian Authority collects the taxes it is owed,” he explained.
“The Hubris of Hezbollah: How the militant group will fumble into the next Middle Eastern war” by Andrew Exum: “Israel knows it cannot intercept each and every shipment of arms. Sometimes the weather is too poor, or the intelligence too fuzzy, to act. And now Hezbollah is reportedly developing indigenous arms-making capabilities that will render cross-border shipments of advanced weaponry less necessary. So, for nearly two years now, Israeli military and intelligence officials have been warning every American official who comes through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that the next war is coming. Israel has methodically prepared its allies—and most especially the Americans— for a very, very ugly war on the horizon… Hezbollah has grossly underestimated Israel, a mistake that will prove costly. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of Israelis could die in another conflict, but Israel isn’t going anywhere. This is existential for them. It will be the Lebanese who suffer immeasurably more.”[TheAtlantic]
“Putin Seeks Syria Deal That Both Iran and Israel Can Swallow” by Anshel Pfeffer: “According to well-placed sources in Moscow, Putin is planning to propose a formula to Netanyahu whereby no foreign country will be allowed to turn Syria into a platform for attacking neighboring states. This won’t go as far as Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran be prevented from establishing a permanent presence in Syria. If enforced, though, it would prevent them from establishing air and missile bases there. Netanyahu is unlikely to accept such a formula in public, but he is unlikely to have much of a choice.” [Haaretz] • U.S. Establishes Permanent Military Base in Israel [RealClearDefense]
** Good Tuesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Kushner Cos. Acquires New Jersey Apartment Complex for $190 Million [Bloomberg] • Rubenstein Partners Sells 1000 Washington Street in Boston [BusinessInsider] • As ‘Diller Island’ Sinks, Whitney Plans Major Artwork on Hudson [NYTimes]
Exhibit Allows Virtual ‘Interviews’ With Holocaust Survivors: “An exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City called “New Dimensions in Testimony” uses hours of recorded high-definition video and language-recognition technology to create just that kind of “interview” with Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s stepsister, and fellow survivor Pinchas Gutter. “What we’ve found is that it personalizes that history,” says concept designer Heather Smith. “You connect with that history in a different way than you would just seeing a movie or reading a textbook or hearing a lecture.” The project is a collaboration between the Steven Spielberg-founded Shoah Foundation, which has recorded nearly 52,000 interviews with Nazi-era survivors, and the Institute for Creative Technologies, both at the University of Southern California.” [AP]
“When Life Asks for Everything” by David Brooks: “Most religions and moral systems have aimed for self-quieting and, figuring that the great human problem is selfishness. But around the middle of the 20th century, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and others aimed to liberate and enlarge the self… Rabbi Wolfe Kelman’s life was fraught with every insecurity when he marched with Dr. King in Selma, but, he reported: “We felt connected, in song, to the transcendental, the ineffable. We felt triumph and celebration… That was a warming, transcendental spiritual experience. Meaning and purpose and mission were beyond exact words.”” [NYTimes]
“TV tonight: Seinfeld stand-up, Conan goes to Israel” by Kelly Lawler: “Jerry Before Seinfeld Netflix: Jerry’s back. The comedian is debuting an intimate stand-up special on Netflix, the future home of his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee series. The nostalgic special was filmed at The Comic Strip, the New York club that helped launched his career, and mixes new and archival material and even childhood videos… Conan Without Borders: Israel – TBS, 10 ET/PT: Conan O’Brien is on the move, again. The host of TBS’s Conan is taking his seventh international trip in the past two years, this time to Israel, where he visits Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other sites. The trip follows earlier sojourns to Mexico, South Korea and Cuba.” [USAToday; NYT]
DESSERT: “Treif No More at Franklin Barbecue: Aaron Franklin goes kosher for the day” by Daniel Vaughn: “Last week, under the burned out shell of Franklin’s now-fireless pit room, this barbecue brain trust gathered to cook a trio of kosher briskets, the likes of which had never been attempted at Franklin. The idea was hatched during a brisket competition in Brooklyn. Franklin and I were judges, and agreed with the five others on the panel to crown Sruli “Izzy” Eidelman the Brisket King of New York. His duo of smoked brisket and pastrami, both of them kosher, wowed the judges. He celebrated with his friend and fellow kosher barbecue cook, Ari White, who took 2016’s title. Eidelman felt especially proud that judges from Texas had crowned his barbecue.” [TexasMonthly]
WSJ A1: “‘I Still Have Nightmares.’ The Dicey Future of Jarred Gefilte Fish” by Lucette Lagnado: “Traditional jar fans haven’t gone away by any means, but times and tastes have changed. In an artisanal food world, Manischewitz is struggling to make its shelf-stable product hook a new, more-finicky generation of eaters. Among its more popular innovations are gluten-free gefilte fish and a “Premium Gold” version. A new secret variation is yet to come. The emphatic response from Jewish foodies? Don’t bother. “I ate gefilte fish from the jar as a child,” says Chanie Apfelbaum, a gourmet cook and kosher blogger from Brooklyn. “I still have nightmares.”” [WSJ]
SPOTTED: Mrs. Sara Netanyahu at Reserve Cut, a kosher steakhouse in NYC’s Financial District, last night. [Pic]
BIRTHDAYS: Entrepreneur and philanthropist, co-founder with his brothers of a large industrial parts and electronic component distribution firm, Morton Mandel turns 96… Actor, writer and Dean Emeritus of the Drama School at Pace University, James Lipton turns 91… Professor of Jewish history and literature at Yeshiva University, he is the only son of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Haym Soloveitchik turns 80… Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2016, he was a professor of health management and policy at the University of New Hampshire, Jeffrey Colman Sallowayturns 76 (h/t Jeff Wice)… Professor at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law and director of the Innocence Project, he became famous as a member of O.J. Simpson’s defense team called the “Dream Team,” Barry Scheck turns 68… Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, after a 28 year Pentagon career as a Middle East expert, Harold Rhode turns 68… Reporter for the Voice of America, following a long career as the Washington correspondent for the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, Bruce Alpert turns 67… Stockton, California-based physician, he is Board certified in both sleep medicine and pulmonary medicine, he practices at The Pacific Sleep Disorders Center, Ronald Kass M.D. turns 65…
Reporter for The Wall Street Journal, she was born to a Jewish family in Cairo, Egypt, and wrote a prize-winning book about her childhood, Lucette Lagnadoturns 61… Attorney at the Boston-based law firm of Weston Patrick, Mark A. Chapleau turns 57… Bow tie-clad field reporter for “Major League Baseball on Fox” since 2005, sportswriter and reporter Ken Rosenthal turns 55… Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington since 2001, Ronald Halber turns 49… Author of four popular business books, former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Mike Michalowicz turns 47… Founder and CEO of MassChallenge (a startup accelerator), John Harthorne turns 44… Director of external relations at the DC-based bipartisan think tank, the Center for New American Security, Neal Urwitz turns 34 (h/t Playbook)…
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