SCENE LAST NIGHT — Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and his wife Rhoda hosted Jewish leaders, diplomats, journalists and members of Congress in a tent on the front lawn of their Chevy Chase, Maryland for an annual Rosh Hashanah reception.
“From my vantage point as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, it is hard to imagine a better year than the past year,” Dermer began his remarks, highlighting President Trump’s decisions to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
Dermer also paid tribute to the late Senator John McCain, whom he described as “a great friend of Israel and a great champion” of the U.S.-Israel alliance. “One of the things I personally found most admirable about Senator McCain was that he was a fierce fighter who knew the difference between an adversary and an enemy,” Dermer added.
Dermer concluded his remarks with a message of unity: “The Jewish people are a very big tent. In fact, we have always been a very big tent. We began as twelve tribes. And in fundamental ways, we are still many tribes. Look around you. In this tent are people across the political, ideological and religious spectrum. Democrats and Republicans. Liberals and Conservatives. Reform and Orthodox. As for views on Israel, I suspect if I put a ballot box by the door, nearly every party in the Knesset would get a healthy share of the votes. But we should always remember that despite our differences, we are still one people. My hope for the coming year is that as we all continue to fight for what we believe in, we remember that those inside the tent are not enemies. Rest assured, there will always be plenty of enemies outside the tent.” [Pic]
SPOTTED: Wolf Blitzer, Jane Harman, Marty Baron, Ann Lewis, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Ted Deutch, Gabby Deutch, Rep. Brad Schneider, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Rep. David Kustoff, Ron Klein, Elliott Abrams, Sam Feist, Danielle Feist, Jason Greenblatt, Martin Indyk, Stu Eizenstat, Leon Wieseltier, Howard Berman, Henry Waxman, Joe Kristol, Mark Dubowitz, Cliff May, Evan May, Jonathan Schanzer, Michael Tuchin, Rabbi David Saperstein, Mort Klein, William Daroff, Heidi Krizer Daroff, Lily Daroff, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
Richard Heideman, Phyllis Heideman, Paul Berger, Rabbi Jonathan Schnitzer, Ellen Hershkin, Mira Resnick, Harold Luks, Nathan Diament, Sarah Stern, Paul Teller, Harold Rhode, Jonny Fluger, Amir Tibon, Aaron Keyak, Steve Rabinowitz, Adam Kredo, David Bernstein, Matt Nosanchuk, Boris Epshteyn, Lauren Tanick, Joel Mowbray, Karen Paikin Barall, Allan Barall, Josh Kram, Mark Hetfield, Mark Levin, Jason Isaacson, Stacy Burdett, Omri Ceren, David Weinberg, Susie Turnbull, Omri Nahmias, Israel Maimon, Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, Josh Lederman, Miriam Smallman, and Vivian Bass.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted yesterday: “I received a call this morning from the Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu. I appreciate the Prime Minister for calling today to express his condolences on the passing of Sen. John McCain… I enjoyed working with Senator McCain to strengthen the US-Israel relationship. This work will never stop and my commitment to Peace through Strength remains steadfast.”
TODAY AT 12:15 PM: President Donald Trump will hold a High Holidays conference call with Jewish community leaders and rabbis.
— Headline: “Last-minute invite appears to treat White House call with rabbis as an afterthought” [ReligiousNews]
FIRST LOOK — The New Republic asked 12 writers to address the relationship between American Jews and Israel: “Many American Jews now report that their position on Israel has become either ambivalent or outright negative. What does this mean for Israel’s role in American Jewish identity? The New Republic asked a dozen thinkers for their reflections on the evolving relationship between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora in America. Here are their thoughts, personal and political.” [NewRepublic]
Dennis Ross on Israel’s Prerogatives; Joshua Cohen on Israel’s Season of Discontent; Michael Koplow: Fraught Relationship, Fated Bond; Ruth Margalit on the Perils of the Ultra-Orthodox Alliance; Theodore Ross: Who’s Afraid of Criticizing Israel?; Talia Lavin: A Memoir of Disillusionment; Jeremy Ben-Ami: Don’t Give Up; Jacob Bacharach: A Homeland in America; Gideon Levy: What Israel Needs From American Jews; Elisheva Goldberg: The intersectional Jewish America; Batya Ungar-Sargon on Two Ways of Being Jewish; Yehuda Kurtzer: The Deep Sources of a Great Divide.
INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — White House Searches for Anonymous Inside Critic — by Michael Bender: “White House aides launched a search for the anonymous author of an opinion column who claimed Wednesday to be part of a secret group of officials inside the administration acting as a check on President Trump’s “worst inclinations.” … The writer was identified only as a senior administration official… Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.)… told reporters Wednesday night that the op-ed wasn’t a surprise to many officials. “This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from Day 1,” Mr. Corker said.” [WSJ]
— “Trump reacted to the column with “volcanic” anger and was “absolutely livid” over what he considered a treasonous act of disloyalty… According to one Trump friend, he fretted after Wednesday’s op-ed that he could trust only his children.” [WashPost]
Woodward’s Reality Bomb Is Blowing Up the West Wing — by Gabriel Sherman: “Two sources said Trump is particularly angry with former economic adviser Gary Cohn… “He hates that people are leaking. They think they can take things off the Resolute desk because of this idea they’re ‘saving’ the country,” one senior West Wing official said… One source said Cohn called up his former colleagues to ask them how he came off in the book. “Gary wanted to make sure he didn’t compromise himself that much,” a source who spoke with Cohn said.”
“Even Trump’s family is concerned the president is in deep trouble. After attending John McCain’s funeral, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump told Trump he needs to get control of himself. A person briefed on the conversation recalled, “Jared told him if they’re going to last in Washington they can’t be this far off the mark with the establishment.” [VanityFair]
Another passage from Woodward’s book — by Tom Mccarthy: “Jared Kushner made a few stabs at brokering a deal on immigration reform with congressional leaders, Woodward reports, and he seems to have waded into, and then mostly out of, Middle East policy. But Kushner’s main role in the campaign was to help make spending decisions for his father-in-law, to which the answer was almost always “no”, according to Fear. “He doesn’t have a lot of cash,” Kushner is quoted as saying.” [TheGuardian]
CFR’s Richard Haass tweets: “In Woodward book, Egypt’s Sisi says “Donald. I’m worried about this investigation. Will you be around?” Now he, others are reading the anon op-ed. So we have uncertainty about Donald Trump future combined with uncertainty over the present. US cannot be effective in the world.”
REPORT: The White House is discussing potential replacements for Jim Mattis — by Josh Rogin: “The speculation about who replaces Mattis is now more real than ever,” said a senior White House official who was not authorized to speak about internal matters. “The president has always respected him. But now he has every reason to wonder what Mattis is saying behind his back. The relationship has nowhere to go but down, fast.” [WashPost]
#CHUTZPAH — Iran accuses Trump of ‘bullying’ other countries into anti-Tehran stance: “Iran’s foreign minister has accused Donald Trump of trying to hijack the United Nations security council for the purposes of “bullying others” to turn against Tehran… “There’s only one UNSC resolution on Iran … Donald Trump is violating it & bullying others to do same,” Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter. “Now he plans to abuse presidency of SC to divert a session – item devoted to Palestine for 70 yrs – to blame Iran for horrors US & clients have unleashed across (Middle East) #chutzpah.”[TheGuardian]
— Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan tweets: “You know, Mr. Zarif? It’s always that way. You start hashtagging Hebrew words. Then you suddenly find yourself singing #HavaNagila in the shower. Then wearing a #KovaTembel. And here we are: you became a #Zionist! Welcome (or best ברוך הבא) to the club!”
Outcry from Israel after Paraguay moves its Jerusalem embassy back to Tel Aviv — by Oliver Holmes: “Paraguay has reversed a decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after just three months, prompting anger from Israel which responded by shuttering its embassy in Asunción and recalling its ambassador… Former president Horacio Cartes personally inaugurated the new diplomatic site… However, Paraguay’s new president, Mario Abdo Benítez, who took office last month, reviewed the choice and his foreign minister told reporters on Wednesday that the decision had been changed.” [TheGuardian; Newsweek]
Israel’s top court says West Bank village can be demolished — by Aron Heller: “Israel’s Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for the demolition of a Bedouin village in the West Bank… The court rejected an appeal to block the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar… The United Nations, the European Union and others have expressed concern over the fate of Khan al-Ahmar, which is just east of Jerusalem.” [AP]
US ambassador believes Golan will be ‘part of Israel forever’ — by Ariel Kahana: “In an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom… [David] Friedman says that “I can’t imagine a circumstance where the Golan Heights will be returned to Syria. I cannot imagine, frankly, a circumstance where the Golan Heights is not a part of Israel forever…” Friedman stressed that the Trump administration may consider official recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory in the future.” [IsraelHayom; NYTimes]
— Martin Indyk tweets: Yet again US Ambo in Israel decides to change US policy. Does @jdgreenblatt45 (Jason Greenblatt) agree or is the Ambo freelancing?
Hussein Ibish writes… “Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Makes Palestinians Disappear: If Trump and Kushner really imagine that stripping Palestinians of their claims regarding Jerusalem and refugees will coerce them into abandoning any aspirations for independence and first-class citizenship, they’re in for a surprise. But if they’re just trying to set up a pretext for castigating the Palestinians as the party that “said no to peace,” it’s a sound stratagem.” [BloombergView]
ON THE GROUND — In Secret Program, Israel Armed and Funded Rebel Groups in Southern Syria — by Elizabeth Tsurkov: “Israel secretly armed and funded at least 12 rebel groups in southern Syria that helped prevent Iran-backed fighters and militants of the Islamic State from taking up positions near the Israeli border in recent years… The military transfers, which ended in July of this year, included assault rifles, machine guns, mortar launchers and transport vehicles… Israel also provided salaries to rebel fighters, paying each one about $75 a month… The payments, along with the service Israel was getting in return, created an expectation among the rebels that Israel would intercede if troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad tried to advance on southern Syria. When regime forces backed by Russian air power did precisely that this past summer, Israel did not intervene, leaving the rebel groups feeling betrayed.” [ForeignPolicy]
SCOTUS WATCH — Kavanaugh stumbles when grilled on whether he discussed Mueller probe — by Elana Schor: “Nearly 12 hours into Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing, Kamala Harris opened with a tantalizing query: Has the Supreme Court nominee ever discussed Robert Mueller’s probe with a lawyer at Kasowitz Benson & Torres, President Donald Trump’s longtime law firm? ‘Be sure about your answer, sir,’ Harris asked Kavanaugh. Trump’s high court pick appeared nonplussed, responding that ‘I’m not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm,’ but the California Democrat — a veteran prosecutor known for her tenacious questioning and high on her party’s 2020 presidential short lists — would not let up.” [Politico; Video]
Rep. Pete King (R-NY) on interruptions at Kavanaugh’s Senate hearing in a Facebook post: “Let me make it clear that I would say the same thing if right wing agitators resorted to mob rule — as I did when I condemned the neo-Nazis and White Supremacists in Charlottesville last summer… I fully understand and respect Senators who have serious questions for Judge Kavanaugh. That is their right and obligation. Nazi Beer Hall tactics, however, have no place in a democracy.”
INBOX — Student leaders at Hillel International today launched MitzVote, a non-partisan campaign to register and engage 100,000 voters on more than 100 college campuses across the United States. Hillel International worked with Mik Moore (co-creator of 2008’s The Great Schlep with Sarah Silverman) to produce a video, Today You Are A… Voter. Featuring popular actors and comedians, it mimics a bat mitzvah mazel tov video, with friends and family congratulating Hannah, a typical college first-year student, on her MitzVote.
Want to Be the Next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Be Careful What You Wish — by Jesse McKinley: “As next week’s Democratic primary draws near, scrutiny of Julia Salazar’s history has revealed numerous inconsistencies in her background that threaten to undermine her candidacy… Born into a Catholic family, Ms. Salazar said she converted to Judaism in her early 20s, and has been a part of a number of groups devoted to Jewish causes. Ms. Salazar said her interest in Judaism is rooted in family history and their Sephardic roots in Spain, and was spurred as she was mourning her father’s death from prostate cancer in 2009…”
“Ms. Salazar’s mother said that neither side of the family was Jewish, though she confirmed her late husband’s family had a Sephardic background, and that Julia had been curious about it. “That’s where her interest stems from,” she said, noting that her daughter had traveled to Israel during college. “This is not something that was invented for the purposes of this campaign.” [NYTimes]
** 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: CBS board offering CEO Les Moonves $100 million in stock as exit package [CNBC] • Sharon Waxman’s The Wrap is adding a subscription business, by buying a subscription business [Recode] • WeWork Fails in Bid to Lease Space in New York’s World Trade Center [WSJ] • Under the sea: antiquities make way for Israel’s Leviathan pipeline [Reuters] • Bloomberg Forum in Beijing for Business Elites Is Put Off, Chinese Hosts Confirm [NYTimes]
Virtual reality tour brings biblical-era Jerusalem to life — by Ilan Ben Zion: “The Tower of David Museum, which is housed in the Old City’s ancient stronghold, plans to launch the high-tech guided tour this month ahead of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The virtual reality guide, “Step into History,” offers visitors a chance to “walk in the streets of Jerusalem and enjoy the present and take a look back to the past,” said Tower of David Museum director Eilat Lieber.” [ABCNews]
PROFILE: Palestinian Journalist Declares Jerusalem Mayoral Run — by David Brennan: “Aziz Abu Sarah is a cosmopolitan figure, who divides his time between Washington, D.C. and Jerusalem. The journalist has traveled the world working for National Geographic among other publications, and has been involved in many joint Israeli-Palestinian projects in his home city… Sarah plans to focus his campaign on the city and its residents, avoiding larger practical questions of peace deals.” [Newsweek]
Roy Moore Sues Sacha Baron Cohen for $95M Over ‘Who Is America?’ Appearance — by Ashley Cullins: “Sacha Baron Cohen is being sued for defamation by Roy Moore over his appearance on the actor’s controversial Showtime series — and the embattled former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice is seeking $95 million in damages… “Defendant Cohen’s character falsely and fraudulently introduced a false and fraudulent ‘device’ supposedly invented by the Israeli Army to detect pedophiles,” state the complaint… Moore is suing Cohen, along with CBS and Showtime, for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud.”[HollywoodReporter]
Goat Yoga, Mosh Pits, Glow Sticks: Younger Jews Reinvent Yom Kippur — by Shayndi Raice: “This year, some rabbis, eager to woo younger people to High Holiday services, are holding programs in a beer garden, replacing deep reverential bows with goat yoga and celebrating the end of the season with glow sticks in a mosh pit… Many Jews still want to attend a synagogue, listen to a cantor and hear a rabbi’s sermon on the holiest days of the year. Robert Smith, a 77-year-old retired engineering professor who lives in Syracuse, N.Y., and attends the Conservative synagogue Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, said he finds programs like Yom Kippur in a bar to be “strange,” especially if the point isn’t to lead young Jews back to a traditional Jewish life.” [WSJ]
DESSERT — Denver Jewish Deli Nosh-Off — by Daliah Singer: “The Mile High City’s lineup of Jewish-inspired delis nearly doubled when Rye Society Delicatessen & Picklery and Leven Deli Co. opened their doors (in RiNo and the Golden Triangle, respectively) in July. Now, with the High Holidays around the corner—Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on September 9—it’s time to celebrate the new spots by pitting them against local deli vets in a battle based on four classic Jewish eats.” 
For this Greek immigrant, Jewish New Year brings back sweet memories — and foods — of home — by Susan Barocas: “[Paulette Nehama’s] childhood home in Greece always had some ready to serve with strong coffee or tea to anyone who stopped by for a visit, which meant lot of extra biscottakia, also called paximadakia, had to be made for such Jewish holidays as Rosh Hashanah… Apple preserves called mylo tou koutaliou were another traditional Rosh Hashanah dish in Nehama’s childhood home. The name means “apple spoon sweets” because they were traditionally served on individual spoons with a glass of water to welcome guests.” [WashPost]
REMEMBERING: Sheldon S. Cohen, IRS commissioner who computerized agency, dies at 91 — by Adam Bernstein: “Sheldon S. Cohen, a tax lawyer and certified public accountant who helped set up the first presidential blind trust, for Lyndon B. Johnson, and then helped fully computerize the IRS as Johnson’s commissioner of internal revenue, died Sept. 4… Mr. Cohen, a longtime resident of Somerset, Md., was an officer in Jewish, community and legal groups. He also advised foreign countries on their tax systems.” [WashPost]
BIRTHDAYS: Member of the US House of Representatives since 1983 (D-MI-9), he was Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (2010-2011), Congressman Sander Levin turns 87… Short Hills, New Jersey resident who is the co-founder and CEO of Murray Hill Properties, a NYC-based real estate development and property management firm, Norman Sturner turns 78… Beverly Hills-based public relations consultant, Mara Kochba turns 76… Retired director of the Robotics Laboratory at the Technion, Jacob Rubinovitz turns 71… Democratic member of the New York State Assembly from a district within Brooklyn since 1981, she chairs the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, Helene Weinstein turns 66… Oncologist and bioethicist, the older brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hollywood talent agent Ari Emanuel, he is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Ezekiel Jonathan “Zeke” Emanuel turns 61… Co-founder in 2008 of Kol HaNeshamah: The Center for Jewish Life and Enrichment, Dr. Adena Karen Berkowitz turns 59…
Former New Jersey Governor (2010-2018), Chris Christie turns 56… Native of NYC’s Lower East Side and Brooklyn, Treasurer of Southfield, Michigan, Irv “Moishe” Lowenberg turns 50… Director in the NYC office of AIPAC, he is a co-founder and chairman emeritus of Fuel For Truth, an Israel advocacy organization, Joe Richards turns 46… Chief Communications Officer at Bloomberg LP since 2012, formerly assistant press secretary in the White House (1997-2001), Jason Schechter turns 44… Rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in Minneapolis, Avi S. Olitzky turns 37… Communications advisor at the Commerce Department, Ari Schaffer turns 27… Australian born entrepreneur, now living in NYC, he is the co-founder of the technology and social media company Monkey Inc. and Executive Director at HPS Investment Partners, LLC, Ben Pasternak turns 19… Senior advisor at Israel’s United Nations delegation, he was previously a senior analyst at Avascent, a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces and an AIPAC alum, Daniel Flesch… Toronto-based publisher and philanthropist, Elisa Morton Palter... Madi Portugal…
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EXCLUSIVE — Haim Saban and Paul Singer hosted a dinner with the Trump peace team last night: Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, Haim Saban and Paul Singer convened a private dinner on Tuesday evening in New York City featuring U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, Jared Kushner, and Jason Greenblatt. The kosher-catered dinner, held in a private room at the Pierre Hotel on the Upper East Side, brought together a politically diverse group of twenty Jewish business and communal leaders.
According to sources familiar with the event, the gathering was an opportunity for the senior administration officials to discuss their emerging plans for an Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It isn’t clear what, if any, specific details from their plans were shared during the two-hour-long dinner. However, winning support from influential leaders across the political spectrum has been a priority for the administration.
Attendees at Saban and Singer’s dinner included foreign policy experts Elliott Abrams and Martin Indyk, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, former Time Warner executive Gary Ginsberg, Start-Up Nation author Dan Senor, Israel Policy Forum leaders Charles Bronfman and Susie Gelman, Tikvah’s Roger Hertog, former New York Observer editor Ken Kurson, Guess Jeans’ Maurice Marciano, Ira Rennert, Bob Book, and former Conference of Presidents’ Chair Jim Tisch. [JewishInsider]
Earlier on Tuesday, Haley told reporters at the United Nations that the timing of the peace rollout is “getting close” adding, “I have read the plan. It is thoroughly done. It is well-thought-out from both sides — the Palestinians and the Israelis.”
Also on Tuesday, The State Department denied a report that Trump sought a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. “The press report that President Trump requested a meeting with President Abbas is untrue and misleading,” State Department Spokesperson Edgar Vasquez said in a statement. According to a report from Hadashot TV News, Abbas sent Trump a list of demands, including ‘significant diplomatic gestures’ and the dismissal of Greenblatt and Jared Kushner from the Middle East negotiation team.
Video — Palestinians burn photos of Trump in front of the American House in Ramallah [YouTube]
HEARD LAST NIGHT — U.S. Ambassador David Friedman during a Rosh Hashanah toast at his residence in Herzliya: “Since 1994, the United States has thrown more than $10 billion in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Without minimizing the importance of medical treatment and quality education for children — and we don’t minimize that, not even for a minute — we found that these expenditures were bringing the region no closer to peace or stability, not even by a millimeter.” [Video]
UNGA — Trump Plans to Take Aim at Iran in U.N. Session — by Michael Schwirtz: “President Trump plans to preside over a session of the United Nations Security Council this month “to address Iran’s violations of international law” and press world leaders to adopt a more assertive approach to the country… The decision raises the possibility of a face-to-face confrontation between the president and Iranian officials, perhaps even President Hassan Rouhani, who according to United Nations protocol would be invited to participate in the session.” [NYTimes; Bloomberg]
— “Trump isn’t seeking a Council resolution or statement, but rather an opportunity to openly discuss what the U.S. calls Iran’s “violations of international law” and its regional policies… By personally hosting a debate on Iran, Mr. Trump will elevate a sidelined Council issue to a major event.” [WSJ]
Israel says it struck Iranian targets in Syria 200 times in last two years — by Dan Williams: “Israel has carried out more than 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria in the last two years, a senior Israeli official said on Tuesday… According to regional sources, Israel began carrying out military strikes in Syria in 2013 against suspected arms transfers and deployments by Iranian forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies.” [Reuters]
TOP TALKER — Gary Cohn and Ivanka Trump are among those featured in the first reported excerpts of Bob Woodward’s upcoming book titled Fear: Trump in the White House.
When Cohn took action ‘to protect the country’: “Former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn saw a draft letter he considered dangerous to national security on the Oval Office desk. The letter would have withdrawn the US from a critical trade agreement with South Korea. Trump’s aides feared the fallout could jeopardize a top-secret national security program: the ability to detect a North Korean missile launch within just seven seconds… “I stole it off his desk,” Cohn told an associate. “I wouldn’t let him see it. He’s never going to see that document. Got to protect the country.” [CNN]
— “Cohn came to regard the president as “a professional liar” and threatened to resign in August 2017 over Trump’s handling of a deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Cohn, who is Jewish, was especially shaken when one of his daughters found a swastika on her college dorm room… When Cohn met with Trump to deliver his resignation letter after Charlottesville, the president told him, “This is treason,” and persuaded his economic adviser to stay on.” [WashPost]
Ivanka Trump, when told she was a ‘staffer’ by Steve Bannon: “I’m not a staffer! … I’ll never be a staffer. I’m the first daughter and I’m never going to be a staffer.” [WashPost]
Zeke Miller: “In Woodward book (pp 83): “Mattis was worried about Iranian expansion. At one point he later referred to ‘those idiot raghead mullahs.'”
Trump wanted to kill Bashar al-Assad after chemical attack: “Let’s f–king kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the f–king lot of them,” Trump said… [James] Mattis told the president that he’d get right on it. But after hanging up, he told a senior aide: “We’re not going to do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured.” [NYPost]
— Israeli minister: no knowledge of Trump ordering Assad killed: “I do not know of any such instruction. He (Trump) is also denying it, by the way,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told Tel Aviv radio station 103 FM. “In any event, what can be said is that in the framework of the coordination between the United States and Israel … the subject of the Syrian regime is certainly part of the discussions. Israel did not take a decision to topple Assad.” [YahooNews]
Where Will the Trump Investigations Go Next? — by Adam Davidson: “The one person who likely knew as much or more than [Allen] Weisselberg about recent business, aside from Trump himself, is Ivanka—“she knows a million times more than Don, Jr.,” my source said. Ivanka personally handled many of the most problematic deals.”
“Most of the dozen or so lawyers who work in Trump headquarters spend most of their time doing routine legal work… Jason Greenblatt… may be an exception; he may know a fair bit about Trump’s more troubling deals. Greenblatt’s rise came just as the Trump Organization was in the early stages of its frenzy of overseas dealmaking with people who were convicted of crimes or whose past deals showed potential signs of money laundering, sanctions violations, and other financial crimes. Greenblatt, several Trump Organization lawyers told me, was responsible for conducting due diligence on partners.”[NewYorker]
Michael Cohen Prayed With Al Sharpton at Breakfast. But Other Democrats Stay Away — by Maggie Haberman: “The Rev. Al Sharpton sat at a table at the Loews Regency hotel on Park Avenue one morning last week, his shoulders hunched as he prayed with an unlikely dining companion: Michael D. Cohen. Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, had asked Mr. Sharpton to meet him for breakfast not long after he pleaded guilty in a federal court in Manhattan to an array of charges. “He seemed to be resolved that he was facing some time,” Mr. Sharpton said of his second meeting with Mr. Cohen in recent months. “He even asked me to pray with him, and we did at the table.” [NYTimes]
SCOTUS WATCH — A Kavanaugh Supporter Was Accused of Making a White Power Symbol. She’s a Descendent of Holocaust Survivors — by Mahita Gajanan: “A former White House staffer was accused by some on Twitter of making a white supremacist symbol during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday — causing her husband to publicly defend her and point out that she is Jewish, Mexican-American and the descendant of Holocaust survivors. The online furor about Zina Gelman Bash’s alleged hand symbol spread on Twitter Tuesday — despite attempts by supporters and journalists to point out her heritage.” [Time]
RAHM STEPS DOWN — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he won’t run for re-election next year — by Bill Ruthhart: “Pugnacious and ever confident, Rahm Emanuel never has been one to back away from a political fight. But on Tuesday, he did just that, abruptly dropping a bid for a third term as Chicago’s mayor… In an interview, the mayor described his personal and professional lives as two planes preparing to land on separate runways, making the timing right to step away from public life… “I’ve decided not to seek re-election,” said Emanuel, who took office as Chicago’s first Jewish mayor in 2011.” [ChicagoTribune]
In an emotional speech — at times pausing to hold back tears — Emanuel also reflected on his Jewish background: “I want to thank my grandfather, who at the age of 13 took an enormous chance — a century ago — immigrating here from Eastern Europe to flee the pogroms prosecuting Jews to meet a third cousin he did not know, in a city whose name he could not pronounce. In four Congressional runs, on the north and northwest sides of Chicago, and in two races for mayor, you the people of Chicago and on the north side cast aside old history and voted for a Jewish kid with the middle name Israel. I will always be profoundly grateful for that, and what it means to my family.” [Video]
David Axelrod, who served alongside Emanuel in the Obama White House, tells the Chicago SunTimes: “I wasn’t shocked by his decision. He didn’t make this decision lightly… Rahm has been considering other things in life beyond this job. But I don’t think he mapped out his next steps,” Axelrod said. “I know he’ll be in great demand. But he’s not in a hurry to figure it out.”[ChicagoSunTimes]
Rabbi Jack Moline, the Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance and described as Rahm’s rabbi, tells us… “Rahm told me when he decided to run eight years ago that he would serve two terms and out. I know he has gone back and forth on continuing, but if he made this decision it is because it is what is best for the city he loves. He is a young man in political years. I am certain there is, at least, one more chapter left, and I am certain it will be something in which he is the agent of change for the better.”
“My experience with Rahm is that he is energized by challenges and has no interest in honorific positions. In fact, one of the people he most admired was Shimon Peres who made a huge impression on him as President of Israel with his energy and vision. My hope for my friend is that he will take some time for himself. My hope for the guy I admire is that once he does that, he gets back in the game.”
ANOTHER PRIMARY UPSET — Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley scored a stunning upset last night in Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District, defeating 10-term Rep. Michael Capuano. Pressley is poised to become the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts in November, especially as there are no Republican candidates in the race.
Pressley has drawn comparisons to House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ousted veteran Congressman Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District. But unlike Ocasio-Cortez — who supported her candidacy — Pressley is more aligned with the Democratic Party establishment. Less known are her views on Israel. In the primary, Pressley refused to take a position on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.
Alex Goldstein, former campaign press secretary for Gov. Deval Patrick and a senior advisor to Pressley, told us by text message… “I am deeply humbled to have been a small part of this special campaign and to work with an extraordinary leader like Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. Since day one, Councilor Pressley ran a campaign focused on addressing the systemic and entrenched inequalities of the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District that have left far too many people behind for far too long. It’s a great night for the Commonwealth. L’shana tova to all.”
Bernie Sanders tees off on Trump in Labor Day visit to key presidential primary state — by Paul Steinhauser: “Sanders’ son, Levi, a New Hampshire resident, is one of 11 Democrats currently running for the open congressional seat in the state’s 1st District. However, the elder Sanders has stayed neutral in the race and has refrained from endorsing his son… Still, the senator did give his son a very quick shout-out near the beginning of the speech, saying, “Let me also thank my son Levi, who is here. Levi, stand up.” [FoxNews]
** 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 **
IN THE SPOTLIGHT — Sheryl Sandberg’s New Job Is to Fix Facebook’s Reputation—and Her Own — by Betsy Morris: “Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg… has told people the delayed response was one of the company’s biggest mistakes ever. But not the only one. While the technology platform designed and overseen by Mr. Zuckerberg is also to blame for some of Facebook’s challenges of late, units under Ms. Sandberg’s control failed to respond to mounting signs of trouble… Now Ms. Sandberg must fix the mistakes. Urged by his board to be more proactive, Mr. Zuckerberg quietly asked her to lead the company’s efforts to identify and prevent future blowups on the platform. The new job, insiders say, is at least as challenging as the company’s transition to mobile several years ago, which was late and rocky. Ms. Sandberg’s role is likely to be complex, expensive and thankless, people close to the company say, with any failures very public.
“Ms. Sandberg will face her first extended questioning about many of the issues surrounding Facebook on Wednesday, when she is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill about matters regarding foreign interference.” [WSJ]
Getaroom Sold to Private Equity Firm Court Square Capital Partners — by Dennis Schaal: “Getaroom President Bob Diener told Skift Tuesday that he and his business partner for the past 35 years, Getaroom CEO Dave Litman, still maintain a substantial minority stake in Getaroom, and sold the larger stake to help the company reach the next level, including accelerating international expansion. Diener and LItman, former college roommates, co-founded Hotels.com in 1991, and sold a majority stake in that company in 1999 to USA Networks.” [Skift]
Israel’s Leumi stake sale wraps up bank privatisations: “Israel has sold off almost all of its remaining stake in Leumi, the country’s last bank to be fully privatised, for close to 1.9 billion shekels ($525 million). “The era of state holdings in the banks’ shares is over,” Israel’s Accountant General Rony Hizkiyahu said in a statement on Wednesday.” [Reuters]
Yuval Noah Harari writes… “Why Technology Favors Tyranny: Nationalization of data by governments could offer one solution; it would certainly curb the power of big corporations. But history suggests that we are not necessarily better off in the hands of overmighty governments… If you find these prospects alarming—if you dislike the idea of living in a digital dictatorship or some similarly degraded form of society—then the most important contribution you can make is to find ways to prevent too much data from being concentrated in too few hands.” [TheAtlantic]
HEARD LAST NIGHT — Yuval Noah Harari discussed his new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century in a conversation with Bari Weiss at Times Talks, a New York Times series. [Video]
INBOX — The Charles Bronfman Prize announced yesterday that Amy Bach, Founder and Executive Director of Measures for Justice, as its 2018 recipient. Measures for Justice is the first organization to publicly measure how the entire criminal justice system is performing in all counties across the United States by collecting, analyzing and comparing county-level data. The Charles Bronfman Prize is an annual award of $100,000 presented to a humanitarian under 50 whose innovative work informed by Jewish values has significantly improved the world.
ACROSS THE POND — Labour adopts IHRA antisemitism definition in full — by Dan Sabbagh: “Labour’s ruling body has agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism in full after a tense meeting in which an accompanying clarification put forward by Jeremy Corbyn was not accepted. The party leader withdrew his additional statement when it was clear it could not be agreed upon and instead, after a discussion that overran its allotted time by several hours, the national executive committee (NEC) approved the release of brief remarks emphasising freedom of expression on Israel and the rights of Palestinians.” [TheGuardian]
YouTube Flags Video Featuring Holocaust Survivor As ‘Inappropriate Or Offensive To Some Audiences’ — by Paul Miller: “A newly-released video featuring a Holocaust survivor was flagged by social media giant YouTube as “inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.” The nearly three-minute video, released on August 28, bore the designation for one week. Google, YouTube’s parent company, finally removed the label only after an official appeal and a press inquiry. The video, produced by Christians United for Israel (CUFI), highlights [Holocaust survivor Irving] Roth’s work with the largest pro-Israel organization in America. In the video, Roth is seen showing young people — mainly college students — the death camps in Poland.”[DailyWire]
A Daily Caller Editor Wrote for an ‘Alt-Right’ Website Using a Pseudonym — by Rosie Gray: “Scott Greer, an editor and columnist at the Caller, also wrote as “Michael McGregor” for Radix Journal, the publication associated with the “alt-right” figure Richard Spencer.” [TheAtlantic]
A Teacher Made a Hitler Joke in the Classroom. It Tore the School Apart — by Jonathan Mahler: “Ben Frisch opened his Feb. 14 pre-calculus class at Friends Seminary… He then introduced the day’s lesson, involving the calculating of angles of depression and elevation. Frisch straightened out his right arm to demonstrate. He lowered it down and then raised it up. Glancing at his arm, now fully extended and pointing slightly upward, Frisch realized something: He was inadvertently pantomiming the Nazi salute. Frisch is a practicing Quaker, but his father was Jewish, and two of his great-grandmothers were killed at Auschwitz. Mortified, he searched for some way to defuse the awkwardness of the moment. And then he said it: “Heil Hitler!”
“A few students gasped; others exchanged surprised looks or laughed nervously. Instantly aware that his stab at Mel Brooks-style parody hadn’t landed, Frisch lowered his arm and tried to explain himself, telling his students that it used to be common to make fun of Nazis. Only recently, he said, had such jokes become taboo. He resumed the lesson, and the weird moment seemed to be over.” [NYTimesMag]
Anthony Scaramucci explains the annual Day of Jewish Unity: “John McCain’s comes just weeks before the annual Day of Jewish Unity, which is celebrated each year in memory of a rabbi known as the Chofetz Chaim. Acheinu, the outreach arm of the Jewish education organization Dirshu, created this day originally to unify the Jewish people but is also asking people of all faiths worldwide to unite in prayer for global peace and stability… With such a difficult past and a disconcerting present, I completely understand why a Jewish organization feels we need a day to pray in unity for peace.” [TheHill]
SPORTS BLINK: Ahmadinejad’s Quarterback Sneak — by Steve Inskeep: “Iran’s former president marked the coming pro-football season on Monday, writing on Twitter that “unfortunately once again [Colin Kaepernick] is not on an NFL roster. Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league.” This was a surprise. In a decade of reporting on and visiting Iran, I had missed Ahmadinejad’s interest in American football… It’s conceivable that Ahmadinejad has become an American sports fan… Whataboutism is the most straightforward way to understand Ahmadinejad’s NFL tweet. In effect he is saying, “See? You Americans punish dissent, too.” [TheAtlantic]
DESSERT — Matzo Balls and Chiles? It’s Rosh Hashana With the Flavors of Mexico — by Priya Krishna: “In the late 1920s, the chef Fany Gerson’s grandparents, Jewish and facing persecution, fled Ukraine and boarded boats bound for New York City. But they weren’t able to immigrate through Ellis Island, for reasons they can’t quite remember — perhaps because of financial turmoil preceding the 1929 stock market crash, or because of limits set a few years earlier on the number of immigrants from certain countries. So they settled in the closest country that would take them: Mexico. … over the years, the family’s colorful surroundings crept into those monochromatic Jewish dishes.” [NYTimes]
BIRTHDAYS: Long-time member of Knesset (1977-2002), he is a law professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Amnon Rubinsteinturns 87… Judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, she was appointed in 1979, took senior status in 2014 and inactive status in 2016, Judge Dolores Korman Sloviter turns 86… Author, educator, and activist, best known for his books promoting public education, Jonathan Kozol turns 82… Catherine Nelson turns 70… Rabbi of Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck, New Jersey since 1979 and Rosh Yeshiva of the Torah Academy of Bergen County since 1990, Rabbi Yosef Adler turns 67… Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, JoAnne Fishman Kloppenburg turns 65… New York-based real estate developer, Jacob Frydman turns 61… Russian investigative journalist, she is active in the Russian Jewish Congress, Yevgenia Albats turns 60… Retired Major General in the IDF and the former head of its Manpower Directorate, she was the first woman to be made Major General (the IDF’s second highest rank), Orna Barbivai turns 56…
Chairman of the Board of Investment Canada, a government agency promoting foreign investment into Canada, he was Chairman of Cirque du Soleil, Mitch Garber turns 54… Nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and a senior editor at Reason magazine, Jacob Z. Sullum turns 53… Entrepreneur and investor, engaged in numerous transactions in the fields of education, Internet marketing and financial services, he is the chairman of Mentored, an education technology platform, Eric Aroesty turns 48… DC-based reporter at Bloomberg, Holly Rosenkrantz turns 48… Born in the Soviet Union, made aliyah in 1998, she is a member of the Knesset since 2016 for the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Yulia Malinovsky turns 43… Director in the DC office of Baron Public Affairs LLC, Jeremy Furchtgott turns 27… Mobile strategist at Leanplum, Anthony Klor turns 25… Shoshanna Liebman… Stu Shloss…
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FAVORITE QUOTE OVER THE WEEKEND — “People don’t expect zombie jeeps to be driven by Orthodox Jews from France, but they are” — from a NYTimes Magazine profile of actor Riz Ahmed, describing a roadside encounter the HBO star had with the “The Twins From France” who were in the process of producing a kids’ DVD based on their zombie-proof jeep.
JI SCOOP — The excerpts published in Jewish Insider on Friday from former Secretary of State John Kerry’s new book made news in Israel over the weekend. Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, commented on the excerpts with a link highlighting his rejection of Kerry’s security plan: “Any extra word would be superfluous.”
BIG BOOK DAY TODAY — In addition to Kerry’s book, other authors releasing books today include Wendy Sherman on diplomacy, Mark Leibovich on the NFL, Yuval Noah Harari on 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Norm Eisen on The Last Palace, Scott Shay on Questioning Religion and Atheism, and Strauss Zelnick on Becoming Ageless. Zelnick, a 61-year-old CEO, shared his tips for staying fit on ABC News’ Good Morning America.
In her new book titled Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence, Wendy Sherman, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and chief U.S. negotiator for the Iran nuclear deal, details her decades-long career in the State Department and her role in negotiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
A few excerpts and notable highlights from Sherman’s book:
“My father had come to Judaism late in life,” Sherman writes about her Jewish background. “He had been spurred to explore his faith by his marriage to my mother, Miriam, but he only embraced it after the death of his sister, who, like their father, killed herself before reaching midlife… Never having been bar mitzvahed, my father never felt fully accepted as a Jew, Nevertheless, he found serenity in the ritual of prayer, and I cherished sitting all day with him in High Holiday services.”
Summarizing her work on foreign affairs in the State Department, Sherman writes that while one of the greatest moments of her professional pride was when she became the first woman to serve as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, she was disappointed that she wasn’t selected to be the Deputy Secretary of State when Bill Burns retired in 2014.
Sherman recounted the moment that John Kerry informed her of the decision. “On a Friday, the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Secretary Kerry called me to his office. The president, he informed me, had decided on Tony [Blinken].” Sherman took the news very hard, breaking into tears as she packed up to go home to the final meal before the Yom Kippur fast and for evening services at the synagogue. “I spent the holiday in mourning,” she writes.
Sherman found her inner peace when she got her wish to serve as acting deputy until Blinken was confirmed by the Senate. She also found comfort in the fact that by not getting this top position at the State she was able to serve as chief negotiator on the Iran nuclear deal, which she calls “one of the singular accomplishments” of her time at Foggy Bottom.
Sherman writes how pleased she was when the Jerusalem Post placed her in fourth place in its 2015 list of most influential Jews in the world. “Behind Jack [Lew] but, maybe as satisfying, ahead of the casino magnate and major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson,” Sherman noted. [JewishInsider]
INTERVIEW — Norm Eisen, former White House ethics czar and ambassador to the Czech Republic, discussed his new book titled The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House in an interview with Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh.
The book tells the story of the fight between democracy and illiberalism in Europe and the US over the past century through the lives of four occupants of the United States Ambassador’s residence in Prague, the Petschek Palace, which was built in the late 1920s by a wealthy Jewish banker Otto Petschek. Those accounts are woven together by the story of Eisen’s Czechoslovakian mother, Frieda, who was deported to Auschwitz by the Nazi regime that once seized the house.
Eisen was appointed Ambassador to the Czech Republic by his former Harvard Law School classmate, President Barack Obama in 2010. “I was shocked when I was asked to take the job,” Eisen said in an interview on Friday. “Even though it wasn’t my idea, I did see the historic nature of it and the American nature of it. This is the very American story of a first-generation American, going back to represent America in his parents’ land, and to live in this historic house which was built by a Jewish family, and to put a mezuzah on the door, to make it kosher, to light the Shabbat candles on Friday night, and keep Shabbat in that same house where the Nazis and the Soviets once dominated.”
Eisen details in the book how he tried to persuade his mother to come to visit him at the residence. “I thought she would be excited when I called her from Air Force One to tell her” about my appointment as Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Eisen recalled. “Instead, she was anxious. She didn’t want me to go. Eventually, I persuaded her to let me go.” He later tired convincing her to come to visit him by explaining that living in the house was the best revenge on Hitler. Eisen insisted we don’t publish how the end of the story so that readers could read it for themselves. “For any readers of Jewish Insider who have a Jewish mother, it will put a smile on your face.”
In 2016, Eisen told a Jewish audience in New York that every time he ate a kosher lamb chop in Prague, he would say ‘take that Hitler!’ “People loved hearing that,” Eisen tells us. “Jews and non-Jews alike, Americans, Czechs, and Israelis who visited me, wherever you came from, people loved hearing that. For me, it was a great act of historical vindication.”
Q: How many lamb chops did you consume there?
Eisen: “Thousands. We had thousands of lamb chops. I’m afraid that having a Kosher Ambassador in a house with such a large dining room was very bad for the lamb population, but very good for the kosher butchers of Europe.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]
Taking on the New Atheists, Scott Shay’s new book sparks a conversation about the existence of God — by David Goldman: “Scott Shay is a banker, not a rabbi or professor. He’s a founder and chairman of Signature Bank, a New York lender catering to local middle-market businesses and one of the financial success stories of the past decade. He dedicates a large part of his time to Jewish community work… A few years ago, Shay noticed that Jewish kids with a high degree of Jewish literacy, including day-school students, drew a blank on the central premise of Judaism, or any religion: that there is a God who wants something from us. He noted the cultural impact of the New Atheists, a small but influential group of writers… He couldn’t find a book that took on the New Atheists, so he wrote it himself: In Good Faith: Questioning Atheism and Religion.” [TabletMag]
— Former Congressman Barney Frank, who sits on the board of Signature Bank, writes: “I can’t think of another book with which I disagree so strongly that has engaged me as deeply as this one. Scott Shay makes the case for religious belief with deep scholarship, clear logic and great civility. It would be wonderful if other advocates on both sides would take up this discourse in a similarly civil manner.”
‘Humans are a post-truth species’ — an edited extract from 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari: “A cursory look at history reveals that propaganda and disinformation are nothing new, and even the habit of denying entire nations and creating fake countries has a long pedigree… In the early 20th century, a favorite Zionist slogan spoke of the return of “a people without a land [the Jews] to a land without a people [Palestine].” The existence of the local Arab population was conveniently ignored. In 1969 Israeli prime minister Golda Meir famously said that there is no Palestinian people and never was. Such views are very common in Israel even today, despite decades of armed conflicts against something that doesn’t exist… In fact, humans have always lived in the age of post-truth. Homo sapiens is a post-truth species, whose power depends on creating and believing fictions.” [TheGuardian]
A Palestinian Memoir to Counter Trump’s Troubles in the Middle East — by Robin Wright: “Yousef Bashir… was eleven when the second intifada erupted, in 2000, and the Israel Defense Forces took over the family farm in Gaza… and Bashir’s father, Khalil, refused to move. “My father was as much in love with his land as he was with my mother,” Bashir recalls in his remarkable new memoir, “The Words of My Father.”
“Last year, he was a congressional intern with the Virginia Democrat Gerald Connolly, who suggested that Bashir, who is now twenty-nine, may someday be President of the Palestinian people. While on the Hill, Bashir went with a group of Israeli students to meet Senator Bernie Sanders. “I told Bernie he was the most popular Jew in Gaza since Moses,” Yousef told me. Sanders laughed, and later hired him as an intern… Bashir, who now spends his time lobbying for the Palestinians, speaking to Jewish groups, including AIPAC, and telling his story to anyone who will listen, hasn’t given up hope on peace.” [NewYorker]
TALK OF THE REGION — Abbas: Trump’s Team Offered to Establish a Jordanian-Palestinian Confederation — by Yotam Berger and Amir Tibon: “I was asked if I believe in a federation with Jordan,” Abbas said about a talk he held with Trump’s aide and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt. “I answered: Yes, I want a confederation with Jordan and Israel. I have asked the Israelis if they would agree to such an offer.” [Haaretz]
— Palestinian intelligence delegation in D.C. for talks with CIA by Barak Ravid: “Abbas told Israeli members of the Knesset… that — despite the deep crisis with the Trump administration — a Palestinian delegation of security and intelligence officials is in Washington, D.C. for talks with the CIA… The official heading the Palestinian delegation is General Majed Faraj — who was also in Washington for medical treatments.” [Axios] • Abbas demands US replace ‘biased’ Greenblatt as peace mediator [IsraelHayom]
This afternoon, Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt will discuss the Trump peace plan in a conversation with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at the World Values headquarters in Manhattan.
Jason Greenblatt writes… President Donald J. Trump wants this to be a new year of shalom, salaam, peace [JTA]
REPORT — The Trump Administration’s decision to stop all aid to UNRWA was supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without any discussion in the Israeli security cabinet or in consultation with Israel’s security and intelligence services, Barak Ravid reported over the weekend. In the past, Israel never asked the U.S. to end funding for the Palestinian refugee group, according to former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro. • The U.S. Is Sidelining Itself in the Middle East, writes Krishnadev Calamur [TheAtlantic]
Israeli-Palestinian hi-tech hub heading to West Bank — by Ofer Petersburg: “A joint Palestinian-Israeli industrial and commercial center is set to be built near the Teneh Omarim settlement located in the Mount Hebron Regional Council… The mixed industrial hub will receive government funding and is expected to serve as a model of Israeli-Palestinian economic cooperation that will be presented at a conference of US-led finance ministers in the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.” [Ynet]
U.S. Tells Israel Not to Attack Iranian Targets in Iraq —by David Wainer: “The U.S. sent a message to Israel warning it not to attack Iranian targets in Iraq, the Kan public broadcaster reported… Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that Israel could target Iranian military assets beyond Syria, in the wake of a Reuters report that Iran had transferred short-range ballistic missiles to Shi’ite allies in Iraq in recent months.” [Bloomberg]
LongRead — How Rudy Giuliani Turned Into Trump’s Clown — by Jeffrey Toobin: “Theories abound about Trump’s refusal to give Giuliani the State Department job. One of them is that Trump was penalizing him for his closeness to Christie, who had been placed in charge of the transition and then was quickly fired… Yet another theory is that Kushner and Bannon wanted a weak Secretary of State so that they could run foreign policy out of the White House.” [NewYorker]
New Yorker Festival Pulls Steve Bannon as Headliner Following High-Profile Dropouts — by Sopan Deb and Jeremy Peters: “Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, will no longer appear as a headliner at this year’s New Yorker Festival, David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, announced in an email to the magazine’s staff on Monday evening.” [NewYorker; CNNMoney]
MIDTERMS — Florida Election Is Latest Target Of White Supremacist Robocalls —by Emily Sullivan: “Racist robocalls targeting Andrew Gillum, a black Democrat gubernatorial nominee in Florida, went to residents throughout the state recently in an apparent attempt to influence voting… The calls end with a disclaimer that they were paid for by The Road to Power, a neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic podcast operated by Scott Rhodes of Idaho… A spokesperson for [Ron] DeSantis said the calls were “absolutely appalling and disgusting.”” [NPR; Politico] • DeSantis PAC Returned $11K To Fervent Fan Of Trump And Israel [Forward]
Michigan Democratic gubernatorial running mate supported Hamas, blasted politicians for ‘kissing Israel’s a**’ — by Jackson Richman: “Garlin Gilchrist, the running mate of Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, has come under fire for Twitter posts from almost a decade ago, supporting Hamas and demonizing those who kiss “Israel’s a**.” This development comes as Whitmer declined to take a stance or denounce the BDS movement earlier this week at a town hall event.”[JNS]
Salazar Meets Fellow Jews of Color After Twitter-storm — by Shahar Golan: “It’s shocking and disappointing to have your Judaism scrutinized,” [Julia] Salazar told the dozen or so members of Jewish Vote… Adding that she was happy to be around “people who affirm” her Judaism… Calling the criticism “unfair scrutiny” Salazar claimed that her identity is “not what this campaign is about,” before telling the room that “we can inspire other Jews of color.” [Bklyner]
PRIMARY TODAY — In Massachusetts, Rep. Mike Capuano faces his first serious challenger since taking office in the late 1990s — Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, a 44-year-old African American woman. Pressley said she supports a House bill that would require the American government to ensure that none of its military aid to Israel would be used for reported “detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.” Capuano said he opposes the bill because he doesn’t think it “presents a balanced account of the continuing tragedy of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.” On BDS, Capuano wrote, “I do not support BDS, but I believe others should be free to advocate for it.”[Politico; Boston]
— Alex Goldstein, who was the campaign press secretary for Deval Patrick during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign and subsequently served in the then-governor’s communications shop, is advising Pressley on strategic communications in her primary race… [BostonGlobe]
HAMPTONS SCENE — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met up with Alex Soros on Labor Day. “The secret is out: the Democrats are taking the Senate,” Soros wrote on Instagram. [Pic]
At David Zaslav’s annual end of the summer bash on Saturday night — by Brian Stelter: Lloyd Blankfein with Chuck Schumer; Oprah Winfrey with Nancy Pelosi; Steve Kroft and David Rhodes at the bar; Ron Howard with daughter Bryce Dallas Howard; Don Lemon and his mom Katherine with Tamron Hall; plus David Geffen, Josh Sapan, Jeff Zucker, George Stephanopoulos, Savannah Guthrie, Alan Patricof, Barry Diller, Katie Couric, Dan Abrams, Jon Bon Jovi, Jon Steinberg, Mark Hoffman, Bob Kraft, Jordan Roth, Richie Jackson, Alec and Hilaria Baldwin, Emily Jane Fox, Aryeh Bourkoff, Eric Kuhn, Dr. Oz, Jerry Seinfeld, Ron Meyer, Joy Behar, and Martha Stewart. [ReliableSources; PageSix]
VIRAL IN JERUSALEM — Monica Lewinsky shuts down interview —by Amy Spiro: “Monica Lewinsky ended a live discussion and walked off stage at an event in Jerusalem on Monday night after being asked a question involving former President Clinton. Following her speech at the Channel 2 news conference, Lewinsky sat down for a scheduled talk with news anchor Yonit Levi. Levi asked Lewinsky if she was still expecting a private apology from Clinton after all these years. Lewinsky simply answered: “I’m sorry, I’m not going to be able to do this,” and quickly walked off the stage… Lewinsky later said in a statement shared on Twitter that she walked off stage because she and Levi had agreed to “clear parameters” for the interview and that she had told Levi that the Clinton question was “off limits.” [Video]
— “Before leaving the stage, Lewinsky gave a thoughtful, emotional speech… “My strong sense of family is rooted in the cultural traditions of Judaism,” Lewinsky said, “but there have been periods of my life where my faith has been challenged.” Lewinsky, who attended the Sinai Akiba Academy as a child in Los Angeles, said that after the Clinton story broke, “I was shunned from almost every community which I belonged to, including my religious community. That led to some very dark times for me.” [JPost]
— Roseanne Barr Says She’s Moving to Israel [HollywoodReporter]
** 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: Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim talks antitrust on Recode Decode [Recode] • Incoming GitHub CEO pays visit to Israel [Globes] • Aaron Levie, the 33-year-old founder of $3.75 billion Box thinks everyone needs to read these 2 books [BusinessInsider] • Seen at Burning Man: Idan Ofer [Instagram]
Israeli general’s text messages misfired to old number: “An Israeli businessman on Monday said he received calls and messages from senior Israeli and foreign military officials after he was assigned the former phone number of Israel’s military chief of staff… Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot… According to the radio report, the provider said the number was not classified and was reassigned to another customer.” [AP]
PROFILE — Batsheva Hay Rethinks the Traditions of Feminine Dress —by Anna Russell: “Hay, a willowy redhead with a quietly assertive manner, grew up in a secular Jewish family in Kew Gardens, Queens. Her mother, Gail Rosenberg, met her father, an Israeli research engineer, while she was working on a kibbutz. When choosing a name for her daughter, Rosenberg was drawn to the Old Testament. She liked Yocheved and Elisheva, but settled on Batsheva, after the object of King David’s lust. “I wanted the name of someone who’s known for being beautiful,” Rosenberg told me. “Beauty, but power also.”
“In her early twenties, when she was a lawyer, she would throw on a Moschino dress and platform shoes at the end of the day and head downtown. Then she began dating Alexei Hay, a well-known fashion photographer, who had recently become an Orthodox Jew. Alexei was serious about his spiritual pursuits, but he and Hay both took an interest, too, in Orthodox clothing, with its modesty and rigor. Alexei photographed Hay constantly, and sometimes she modelled Orthodox styles for him.” [NewYorker]
How This Fashion Brand Is Bringing Women From Israel And Palestine Together —by Michelle Martin: “After visiting Israel and seeing the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians firsthand, [Paula] Jones began looking for ways to facilitate peaceful connections that could transcend the conflict. Given the skill sets of women in the region, Jones had the idea to bring Israeli seamstresses and designers together with Palestinian embroiderers to create a high-end fashion collection that could create jobs and highlight talents from both sides of the conflict. The result, Two Neighbors, is a socially conscious fashion brand that is empowering women and encouraging ‘peace through the eye of a needle’ as their tagline states.” [Forbes]
Lana Del Rey Cancels Israel Performance a Week Out From Concert — by Shirley Halperin: “Lana Del Rey has called off her Sept. 7 performance at Israel’s Meteor Festival… Writing on social media, Del Rey commented: “It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally. … therefore, I’m postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival.” … A source tells Variety that Del Rey had already been paid for the performance, receiving a fee of $700,000. Although the cost will be reimbursed, and the festival is nearly sold out, organizers are said to be livid at the last-minute cancellation.” [Variety] • Yair Lapid in letter to Lana Del Rey: You were lied to [JPost]
The Chosen Wars review: study of American Jews reveals familiar schisms — by Lloyd Green: “The political cleavages that mark the broader American landscape exist among America’s Jews. Just as Jews were to be found on both sides of slavery, secession and the civil war, they are again combatants in a political skirmish. Think of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader. Welcome to The Chosen Wars, a narrative of the Jewish journey across the American landscape. Steven Weisman, who covered politics and economics at the New York Times for a quarter of a century, marshals an impressive array of facts to argue that the competing tugs of separatism and assimilation have been present ever since Jews landed in the New World in the 17th century, that even among the devout the broader culture affected religious practice, and that Jewish communal engagement has ebbed and flowed with time.” [TheGuardian]
Duterte calls Hitler ‘insane’ at Israeli Holocaust memorial — by Aron Heller: “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who once compared himself favorably to Adolf Hitler, paid a solemn visit to Israel’s national Holocaust memorial on Monday, branding the Nazi leader “insane” as he lamented the genocide of 6 million Jews.” [AP]
ACROSS THE POND — Protests as Labour vote on anti-Semitism definition — by Jon Craig: “At a crucial meeting of Labour’s ruling body, the national executive committee (NEC), [Jeremy Corbyn] is hoping to reach a deal on a definition of anti-Semitism. Protesters on both sides gathered for a heated demonstration outside Labour’s headquarters ahead of the vote.”[YahooNews]
Corbyn a ‘danger’ to British Jews, says ex-chief rabbi: “Lord [Jonathan] Sacks has said he stands by his view that Jeremy Corbyn made “massively irresponsible” comments about Zionism and the Jewish people… He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that the Labour leader presented as great a danger as Enoch Powell did in the late 1960s after his infamous “Rivers of Blood” immigration speech – and Mr Corbyn must show “clear remorse.” [BBC]
— Listen to Rabbi Sacks’ new podcast on the “Morality in the 21st Century” [BBC]
REMEMBERING JOHN MCCAIN — Joe Lieberman lauds John McCain’s accommodation of Jewish observance, love of Jerusalem — by Ron Kampeas: “Lieberman, speaking Saturday at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., recalled McCain suffering through Shabbat elevators in Israel, walking long distances with him on Shabbat, and forgoing Friday night festivities overseas to share a quiet meal with Lieberman — what McCain called a “Shalom Shabbat.”
McCain, Lieberman said, “is deriving pleasure from the fact that his funeral is on a Saturday and I had to walk here,” prompting laughter… Lieberman wrapped up his eulogy, recalling how much he and McCain enjoyed talking about faith whenever they visited Jerusalem… When Lieberman entered the private sector, McCain urged him to buy an apartment in Jerusalem with a view, and to reserve a room for him.” [JTA; Video]
— McCain’s two best friends were glad Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were at the late senator’s memorial service — by Ellen Cranley: “Former Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Lindsey Graham said they were happy Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attended Saturday’s memorial service for the late Sen. John McCain… “Nobody that was at the funeral didn’t get invited by the family,” Graham said. “Ivanka said nice things about Senator McCain after his passing, and it was not unnoticed by the family.” … Lieberman said the couple sat right behind him and when he spoke to them after the ceremony, he thanked them “as John’s friend,” and they seemed to have enjoyed the service.” [BusinessInsider]
PICS — Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer in a conversation with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [Pic] • Joe Lieberman, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman and Henry Kissinger “reminiscing tonight about a world without John McCain.” [Pic] • Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump listening to Meghan McCain’s eulogy of her father [Pic] • Jared and Ivanka chatting with Joe Lieberman [Pic]
BIRTHDAYS: Born in Tel Aviv, award winning computer scientist and philosopher who is a pioneer in artificial intelligence, he is the father of slain WSJ journalist Daniel Pearl, Judea Pearl turns 82… Emeritus professor of law and former acting dean at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Lester Brickman turns 78… Louisville, Kentucky resident and principal of Bluegrass Progressive Strategists, Mark Ament turns 67… Celebrity doctor who is a board-certified internist, addiction medicine specialist and media personality, best known as “Dr. Drew,” Drew Pinsky, M.D. turns 60… Inmate #79112-054 at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts, he is scheduled for release on 5-14-2019, former Congressman Anthony Weinerturns 54… Real estate strategic advisor, political strategist and commentator, E. O’Brien (“Obi”) Murray turns 52…
Screenwriter best known as the writer of the 2008 film Vantage Point, Barry Louis Levy turns 46… Member of Knesset for the Labor / Zionist Union party and the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, he was the Secretary General of the Labor party until early 2017, Yehiel “Hilik” Bar turns 43… General partner in Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital, he was a special assistant and personal aide to President George W. Bush (2006-2009), continuing on in Dallas even after GWB left office, Jared Weinstein turns 39… Actor Max Greenfield turns 38… Television and film actor, Carter Mark Jenkins turns 27… Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, Edmundo N. Kraiselburd, Ph.D…. Melissa Kaplan…
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