Jun
12

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Daily Kickoff: Experts on North Korea summit; comparing and contrasting with the Iran deal | Beinart on expecting a ‘radical’ Bernie on Israel in 2020

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DRIVING THE DAY — President Donald Trump concluded a 5-hour summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore by proclaimingsuccess in getting Kim to agree to begin dismantling his nuclear program. “Yesterday’s conflict does not have to be tomorrow’s war,” Trump said at a news conference following the talks and a signing ceremony of a “comprehensive” agreement to work towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Trump remembers Otto Warmbier, the Jewish American student who died after his captivity in North Korea: “Otto Warmbier is a very special person and he will be for a long time in my life. His parents are good friends of mine. I think without Otto, this would not have happened. Something happened from that day. It was a terrible thing. It was brutal. But a lot of people started to focus in what was going on, including North Korea. I really think Otto is someone who did not die in vain. I told that to his parents… He had a lot to do with us being here today.” [Video]

— Trump refused to answer a question posed by Israeli reporter, Moav Vardi, regarding the concern that he’s given Kim Jon Un the legitimacy he’s been craving. “I understand them much better than you do,” Trump said as he waved off the question. [Video]

HOW IT PLAYED — Trump’s North Korean gamble ends with trust but little verify — by Kevin Liptak: “Nearly five hours of unprecedented and surreal talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un culminated… with fulsome declarations of a new friendship but just vague pledges of nuclear disarmament.” [CNN

Elliott Abrams tells us… “I think it is impossible to know whether this will work. It may be the start of a real change in North Korea’s policy, or it may be just another trick. In previous administrations, the joint statements have been more specific, but North Korea lied and violated them. This time the statement is vague, but there is a personal element present and a different North Korean leader. At this juncture, the only actual concrete concession was by the United States — stopping military exercises. I’d like to see some concrete North Korean action soon.”

Martin Indyk emails us… “The devil is in the details but, as Churchill said, ‘It’s better to jaw-jaw than war-war.’ If Trump has persuaded Kim to give up his nukes it will be a major achievement, with global consequences, including in the Middle East.”

Former Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken writes… “The Best Model for a Nuclear Deal With North Korea? Iran: The administration may find merit in an interim agreement that requires North Korea to disclose all of its programs, freeze its enrichment… in return for limited economic relief. That would buy time to negotiate a more comprehensive deal… That’s the approach Mr. Obama took with Iran… As part of the team that produced the Iran agreement, I hear the lesser angels of my nature rooting for failure in Singapore. But the national interest trumps schadenfreude, so I’m hoping for success — as long as it’s not “the worst deal ever.”” [NYTimes]

HEARD ON MORNING JOE — Wendy Sherman, who was North Korea policy coordinator in the Clinton administration and led the Obama administration’s negotiating team on the Iran deal: “We have not only been here before, but we have been here before with much greater specificity.” Mika Brzezinski: Mike Pompeo did say they would take whatever they did put together to the Senate. Any regrets not doing that with the Iran deal? Sherman: “No regrets. Congress did get to decide on the Iran deal… And the other thing about these very complicated reciprocated agreements — the Iran deal was 110 pages — is that a treaty doesn’t make it easy to look at reciprocal depths and pull back if necessary. So the Congress did get to decide on the Iran deal. It was an interesting process, and so I am all for them having to take this as a treaty to the Senate, but they will fail if they do so.”

In an interview aired today, ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Trump: You’ve set the bar for nuclear agreements by criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, said it’s the worst deal ever made. Does that mean that any deal with North Korea has to be tougher than the Iran deal?

Trump: “I don’t think a deal could be softer. First of all, we’re not paying $150 billion, OK, we’re paying nothing from that standpoint other than, you will see what happens.” [ABCNews]

How Trump Made Diplomacy Great Again — by Blake Hounshell: “Several Obama administration officials I spoke with, including Jake Sullivan, the former State Department policy planning chief… were circumspect in their critique of Trump’s summit with Kim. All doubted that Trump will strike a truly serious bargain, but most expect him to reap political benefits from the pageantry of the summit no matter what. And they don’t seem prepared to get payback from the Obama years: When I asked Sullivan if he would criticize Trump for, say, shaking hands with Kim, he paused thoughtfully for a few seconds and then said, “No.”” [PoliticoMag]

VIEW FROM JERUSALEM — Dore Gold, former Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, emails us… “Many see the JCPOA with Iran as a disaster. It is also assumed that President Trump is not going to replicate the terms of the Iran deal with North Korea. So there is more room for hope that Singapore will lead to a more stable outcome. The demand for denuclearization in the Korean deal has implications for Iran, which was allowed to keep uranium enrichment under the JCPOA and might not have an easy time retaining that in a future negotiation.”

ON THE GROUND — Israeli Intel: Trump’s Pressure on Iran Working Better Than Expected — by Amos Harel: “Israeli intelligence officials have the impression that the double economic pressure, domestically and from abroad, is accelerating the division at the top of the [Iranian] regime between the conservative camp and the more moderate one. Part of the dispute involves the question of Iranian foreign aid to terrorist and guerrilla organizations across the Middle East… According to this analysis, the leadership in Tehran is also worried about the pressure on it in Syria to reach a deal reducing its military presence there.” [Haaretz]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Tom Donilon, former National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama, on The Axe Files podcast with David Axelrod: “The sanctions will never be as effective as they were. We had the world engaged in a pressure campaign on Iran, including the Chinese and Russians. It will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for us to put together that kind of campaign again. And at some point, if you can’t put together that kind of campaign that brought them to the table, you will be confronted with that choice that makes military action more likely… I think we will look back at it and see [the pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement] as the worst mistake since the Iraq war in the Middle East.” [AxeFiles]

Trump Administration officials define the Trump doctrine in conversations with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg: “The third-best encapsulation of the Trump Doctrine, as outlined by a senior administration official over lunch a few weeks ago, is this: “No Friends, No Enemies.” … The administration officials, and friends of Trump, I’ve spoken with in recent days believe… that Trump is rebuilding American power after an eight-year period of willful dissipation. “People criticize [Trump] for being opposed to everything Obama did, but we’re justified in canceling out his policies,” one friend of Trump’s told me. This friend described the Trump Doctrine in the simplest way possible. “There’s the Obama Doctrine, and the ‘F*** Obama’ Doctrine,” he said. “We’re the ‘F*** Obama’ Doctrine.”” [TheAtlantic]

David Brooks writes… “Donald Trump Is Not Playing by Your Rules: What Trump did to the G-7 is essentially the same thing he did to the G.O.P. He simply refused to play by everybody else’s rules and he effectively changed the game. Trump is really good at destroying systems people have lost faith in… The grand project for those of us who believe in a high-level, civilized world order is to find ways to restore social trust… As Jonathan Sacks writes in his 2007 book, “The Home We Build Together,” there’s only one historically proven way for people to build community across difference. It’s when they build things together.” [NYTimes]

Peter Beinart writes… “Bernie Sanders’ Criticism Of Israel Is Radical. And He’s Taking It Mainstream: Sanders is betting that the political ground has shifted. In a sense, he’s doing in the Democratic Party what Trump has done inside the GOP… He knows that Netanyahu’s opposition to the two state solution, and his support for the Iraq War, and his battles with Barack Obama, and his bromance with Trump, have deeply eroded support for Israel among African Americans, progressives and the young. He knows that his likely 2020 competitors are moving left on issue after issue… But he knows that when it comes to Israel, those competitors are constrained by their fears of the American Jewish establishment. Bernie Sanders, who now stands a better chance of becoming president than any Jew in American history, is not afraid.”[Forward]

DHS Secretary Nielsen is first Cabinet member to host meeting at Jerusalem embassy — by Samuel Chamberlain: “Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with her Israeli counterpart Israeli Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan Monday in the first meeting hosted by an American Cabinet member at the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem… Nielsen tweeted that it was a “distinct honor” to host the first Cabinet-level meeting at the new embassy.” [FoxNews]

AT THE KNESSET — On Monday, legislation to hold back tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority on condition they cease payments to terrorists passed its first reading at the Knesset. Two additional readings are expected in the coming weeks.

Sander Gerber, who orchestrated similar legislation in the U.S. known as the Taylor Force Act, tells us: “The Stern legislation is significant for two reasons beyond the Taylor Force Act. First, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is Avi Dichter, a former head of the Shabak, who understands the value of the Palestinian security service cooperation better than anyone else. He was very firm that there should be no waiver on the reduction of tax revenues ($370M) rebated to the PA. This amount dwarfs the impact of the TFA, but also should conclusively demonstrate that stopping Pay for Slay is more important than preserving the PA security services. Secondly, the escrowed monies will be used to satisfy victims judgements against the PA from Israeli courts. It was high time that Israel took a stance, and now the process has moved significantly.”

** 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: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump made at least $82 million in outside income last year while serving in the White House, filings show [WashPostWSJ] • Henry Kravis’ KKR announces $9.9B deal to buy Envision Healthcare [NYPost• Quicken Loans makes it kosher for Orthodox Jews to take out a mortgage [JTA• Ori Allon in talks to buy Boston Celtics stake [Globes] • Why Bozoma Saint John Left Uber After One Year to Become CMO of Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor [AdWeek]

SPOTLIGHT: “It’s Billionaires at the Gate as Ultra-Rich Muscle In on Private Equity” by Simone Foxman and Sonali Basak: “Around the globe, bankers are vying for the world’s hyper-wealthy as never before. And they are holding out investments that are tantalizingly off-limits to the rest of us, behind a velvet rope of bespoke investment banking. Over at JPMorgan, bankers in April arranged financing for an acquisition of Texas-based food company C.H. Guenther & Son by PPC Partners. The investment company is controlled by the Pritzker family, one of America’s richest clans… Credit Suisse, which has also advised PPC, went as far as to organize an event in Detroit to nurture ties with Daniel Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans Inc.” [Bloomberg]

STARTUP NATION — Startup With Israeli Intelligence Bona Fides Offers Defense Against Fake News — by Raphael Kahan and Asaf Shalev: “After years of experience mounting digital influence campaign in business and politics, a handful of Israeli entrepreneurs switched sides and founded Cyabra Strategy Ltd., a startup promising to help politicians and brands defend themselves from digital attacks involving fake news and disinformation.” [Calcalist]

MEDIA WATCH: “Laurene Powell Jobs is investing in media, education, sports and more. What does she want?” by David Montgomery: “Last year, Powell Jobs unleashed a series of dramatic moves across a three-dimensional chessboard of American culture. In July, Emerson Collective purchased a majority stake in the Atlantic, a 161-year-old pillar of the journalistic establishment. In September, an arm of the collective and Hollywood’s Entertainment Industry Foundation co-opted the four major networks in prime time to simultaneously present an hour of live television, featuring dozens of celebrities inviting the nation to reconceive high school… In October, she bought the second-largest stake — about 20 percent — in the estimated $2.5 billion holding company that owns the NBA’s Wizards, the NHL’s Capitals, Capital One Arena and several other sports ventures.” [WashPost]

HOLLYWOOD — Gal Gadot To Star With Dwayne Johnson In ‘Red Notice’ — by Mike Fleming Jr.: “Gal Gadot has closed a deal to star opposite Dwayne Johnson in Red Notice…  This will mark Gadot’s first starring role outside the DC universe since she joined the A-list on Wonder Woman.” [Deadline]

Roseanne Barr apologizes to George Soros for calling him a Nazi — by Tyler McCarthy: “Roseanne Barr has issued yet another apology. This time, she’s walking back comments she made about George Soros, most notably calling him a Nazi… “I apologize sincerely to @georgesoros. His family was persecuted by The Nazis & survived The Holocaust only because of the strength & resourcefulness of his father. Learn more of the truth about this,” she wrote, linking to an article about Soros’ family from Open Society Foundations.”[FoxNews]

ROYAL VISIT — Prince William to visit Yad Vashem with Chief Rabbi Mirvis as Israel trip itinerary announced — by Daniel Sugarman: “Prince William is to visit Yad Vashem and the Peres Center for Peace on his Israel trip, as well as meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, Kensington Palace has announced. The  Duke of Cambridge will arrive in the evening on June 25, after visiting Jordan… The program also includes “allowing His Royal Highness to understand and pay respect to the religions and history of the region”, suggesting he might visit the Kotel and the Temple Mount.” [TheJC

Shalom Lipner writes… “When Fighting BDS Helps BDS: Israel and its friends make the valid argument that culture must not be held hostage to politics, and that politically-motivated discrimination against Israeli consumers is unfair. In fact, artists play an important role in promoting dialogue; when they bypass Israel, they forfeit a genuine opportunity to advance the cause of reconciliation. It is beyond absurd that members of the Israeli government should now be the ones infecting the arts with a political virus.” [Forward]

DESSERT: “George Hill finds his sweet spot in sauerkraut company” by Marc Spears: “A tall guy who looked and sounded like Cleveland Cavaliers guard George Hill sat in the Cleveland Kraut booth at the Natural Products Expo West Convention. The nametag confirmed it was indeed Hill, a minority stakeholder who spent an off day in Los Angeles in March pitching his healthy probiotic sauerkraut to prospective buyers.” [TheUndefeated

BIRTHDAYS: President and CEO of Showtime, David Nevins turns 52… EVP of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), Rabbi Levi Shemtovturns 50… Founder and managing partner of the investment firm Thrive Capital, he is the co-founder of Oscar Health and the brother of Jared Kushner, Joshua Kushner turns 33… Sportscaster for NBA games on TNT, has also been the play-by-play announcer of multiple Super Bowls, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and the World Series, Marv Albert (born Marvin Philip Aufrichtig) turns 77… Israeli statesman and scholar who has served in multiple ministerial and leadership positions in the Israeli government including 20 years as a member of the Knesset (1988-2008), Yossi Beilin turns 70… Rabbi at Temple Beth El in Santa Cruz County, California (1976-2016), now emeritus, Richard Litvak, a/k/a Rabbi Rick, turns 68… British Conservative Party member of Parliament since 1992, Michael Fabricant turns 68…

Director of Education at Beacon Bay Dental, Kenneth Nussen turns 63… Board member of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru since 2011, he was previously Peru’s Agriculture Minister, José Chlimper Ackerman turns 63…  Rosslyn, VA-based editor of Politico, Carrie Budoff Brown turns 42… Communications director for US Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) since 2014, Eliezer O. (“Eli”) Zupnick turns 35… Deputy Director of the Truman National Security Project’s Partnership for a New American Economy, Hanna Siegel turns 33… Software engineer and co-creator of the Mozilla Firefox internet browser, Blake Aaron Ross turns 33… Canadian tech entrepreneur, television personality and venture capitalist, Michele Romanow turns 33… Attorney since 2012, in 2017 he joined the law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner as an associate, Zachary Louis Baron turns 32… DC-based reporter with BuzzFeed News, Alexis Rose Levinson turns 30… Transportation planner in the Silver Spring office of Toole Design Group focused on bicycle and pedestrian master plans, Eli Glazier turns 28… University of Southern California student, campus representative of PETA, active in USC’s Hillel Foundation, Tessa Nesis turns 25…

Jun
11

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Daily Kickoff: Deep dive on the new Trump — Bibi era | Report: Kushner was concerned with Embassy move | Shai Babad on meeting Warren Buffett

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QUOTE OF THE DAY — Stu Loeser on 2020 candidates fundraising in NYC: “The road to the White House runs down 57th Street.”

— More from the piece by Shane Goldmacher: “Ronald Perelman, the billionaire donor, organized a fund-raiser for [Sen. Kamala] Harris’s PAC at the offices of his company, MacAndrews & Forbes, last December. Earlier in the year, Mr. Perelman, who contributes to both Republicans and Democrats, had another ambitious Californian, [Eric] Garcetti, for a cocktail hour among donors at his estate in the Hamptons. Mr. Garcetti, who is known to hand out his personal cellphone number to contributors and encourage them to stay in touch, was last in New York in March.” [NYTimes]

“Inside Obama’s secret meetings with 2020 contenders” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Barack Obama has in recent months met with at least nine prospective 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Deval Patrick, pulling them in for one-on-one sessions at his Washington office.” [Politico]

FIRST LOOK // MUST READ: “Donald Trump’s New World Order: How the President, Israel, and the Gulf states plan to fight Iran—and leave the Palestinians and the Obama years behind” by Adam Entous: “One of the biggest differences between the Obama and Trump Administrations on Middle East policy was their approach to, and understanding of, the Palestinian question. Kushner told aides that he thought Obama “tried to beat up on Israel and give the Palestinians everything.” This was a common view on the right. Trump’s advisers, by contrast, wanted the Palestinians to think that their stock value was declining—a strategy advocated by Netanyahu and Dermer… One senior Trump Administration official used the price of stock as an analogy: “Like in life—Oh, I wish I bought Google twenty years ago. Now I can’t. I have to pay this amount of money. It’s not that I’m being punished. I just missed the opportunity.”

“Remarkably, M.B.S. met with Jewish-American organizations in New York in March and criticized Abbas for rejecting offers of peace. “In the last several decades,” he said, “the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given. It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.”

“Netanyahu’s assumption is that Abbas, who has been counting for decades on a full-fledged final settlement and a state, will reject Kushner’s meliorist blueprint. That would put the onus on M.B.Z., M.B.S., and other Arab leaders to decide whether to follow Abbas’s lead or chart a different course. Netanyahu hopes that Gulf Arab leaders will not disapprove of the new American offer, and opt instead to deepen coöperation against Iran and other enemies. Toward the end of the Obama Administration, one of Abbas’s top aides told a U.S. official that “our worst nightmare” would be for Netanyahu to find a way to divide the Gulf states from the Palestinians. “Bibi’s greatest dream and Abbas’s worst nightmare could be coming true,” the former U.S. official told me.” Worth reading the full piece [NewYorker]

— Kushner and Dermer don’t agree on everything: “The tensions and the general chaos in the White House sometimes affected the relationship between the Israelis and the Trump Administration. On February 13, 2017, the day that Michael Flynn was forced out as national-security adviser, Ron Dermer went to the White House to try to arrange for Trump to sign secret documents, as other Presidents had done, which the Israelis saw as an American commitment not to ask them to give up their undeclared nuclear arsenal. He asked to meet privately with Flynn. Aides told Dermer that he could not dictate whom he wanted to meet with. (It turned out that Flynn had urgent business to attend to: writing his resignation letter.) Later, White House officials commiserated over what they saw as Dermer’s heavy-handed tactics. “This is our f*ckin’ house,” one of them said. The feeling in the White House, a former adviser there told me, was “There is a lot of good will, but don’t take advantage of us.”

“At one point, in front of witnesses, Kushner swore at Dermer in his West Wing office, saying he wasn’t going to do his bidding just because of his Jewish background. “You’re not going to tell us how to run these things,” he told Dermer. “Don’t try to push us around. Don’t try to jam us.” When I asked Dermer about the incident, he didn’t remember Kushner using that language, and said, “I have a very good relationship with Jared, but we don’t always agree on everything.” [NewYorker]

The Art of the Foreign-Policy Deal: An Insider’s Guide to Trump’s Tactics — by Michael Bender, Dion Nissenbaum and Michael Gordon: “Last year, Mr. Trump faced a deadline that collided with a campaign promise, his vow to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem… Six months later, Mr. Trump met again with the team… he was intent on keeping his campaign promise, even though most of his advisers, including Mr. Kushner, continued to raise concerns about the decision… Mr. Trump asked Mr. Kushner to assess what impact the embassy move would have on his diplomatic efforts… Mr. Kushner “told the president it would add uncertainty to the peace process and create short-term disruption” but “thought it would be net beneficial over the long-term.” Others in the room, including Rex Tillerson, then-secretary of state, urged the president to delay the move… Mr. Trump cut off discussion. “I hear you guys,” he told them, “but I want to do it anyway.” Mr. Tillerson told the president: “You’re making a huge mistake.” [WSJ]

DRIVING THE WEEK — Trump to Find Out If Bet on Kim Will Pay Off in Historic Summit — by Margaret Talev, Toluse Olorunnipa, Jennifer Jacobs and Kanga Kong: “The president said June 9 that he expected to know “within the first minute” if Kim [Jong Un] was serious about giving up his weapons. The two leaders will open their history-making summit on Tuesday in Singapore with a handshake and a walk in view of the media…”

“Wendy Sherman, the Obama administration’s undersecretary of state who led the negotiating team for the Iran deal Trump since rejected, said the “litmus test” for any deal Trump can strike with Kim is whether it includes a full accounting of the North Korea nuclear arsenal and ballistic missile program. “If there isn’t a very robust verification monitoring regime, then none of this will be worthwhile,” said Sherman, who was North Korea policy coordinator during the Clinton administration.” [Bloomberg]

Escalating Clash With Canada, Trump Is Isolated Before North Korea Meeting — by Peter Baker: “President Trump escalated a bitter clash with some of America’s closest allies on Sunday, lashing out through his advisers at Canada’s prime minister in unusually personal terms… The exchange left Mr. Trump estranged from America’s partners at the very moment he is about to stride onto the most important world stage he has assumed since taking office. Aides attributed his outburst over the weekend to his feeling undercut as he prepared to meet with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, while critics said he had stiff-armed his friends at the expense of a unified front.” [NYTimes]

— “The unraveling of the Canada summit meeting increases the North Korean leader’s incentive to “up his asks and limit his compromises and for Trump to do the opposite,” Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said on Twitter, adding, “Hardly the ideal context.” [NYT]

Nixed Iran nuclear deal looms over Trump’s North Korea talks — by Nahal Toosi: “Democrats say Trump’s actions on Iran could undermine him as he seeks a deal with North Korea… Trump aides argue, however, that by scrapping the Iran deal, the president has demonstrated his seriousness about securing a better bargain with Kim… As they watch the Iran deal teeter, some Obama administration officials who helped craft it say they nonetheless hope Trump’s diplomatic overture to Kim succeeds. Some of them note that a treaty would be difficult to secure, but said it probably would be fine if Congress passes special legislation reviewing any agreement with Kim, just as it did for the Iran deal.” [Politico

HEARD YESTERDAY — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Summit in Jerusalem: “We know that in two days, President Trump will meet Kim Jung-Un. I think the entire world, as we do, prays for the success of this effort. Now, Imagine that President Trump would come back with some deal, and Britain, France and Germany would applaud it and South Korea and Japan would say that it endangers their existence. You’d think you’d listen to this, right? So, the same thing happened with the Iran deal. This deal was applauded by many in the international community who are not in the missile range of Iran, but Israel and Saudi Arabia and others said this deal will ultimately give Iran a nuclear arsenal.” [Video]

Ron Ben-Yishai writes… “What Israel would like to achieve from Trump-Kim meeting: North Korea’s main clients at the moment are Iran and Syria, and some say Egypt is also holding secret talks with Pyongyang on nuclear knowledge and ballistic missiles. If, as a result of the Singapore summit, the North Korean leader vows to prevent the distribution of the non-conventional knowledge and weapons, it will be a great success as far as Israel is concerned.” [Ynet

Former Israeli Air Force General Amos Yadlin and INSS’s Ari Heistein write… “The Four Scenarios Facing Israel as the U.S. Withdraws From the Iran Deal: Rigorously enforced U.S. sanctions during a period of economic instability in Iran, along with the credible threat of a military strike, may bring Tehran back to the negotiating table to make a “better deal.” … If Washington succeeds in striking an agreement according to the demands it has outlined, it would be a major success by all of Israel’s national-security parameters… With or without an agreement, the U.S. and Israel will need to prepare to take on Iran on both fronts without losing sight of Israel’s primary objectives… and changing the hostile orientation of the regime toward the West, the Arabs, and Israel.” [TheAtlantic]

Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro tweets“Trump promised crippling sanctions on Iran. To be effective, we will need the cooperation of allies. When that effort fails, we will look back at these outlandish tariffs and Trump’s boorishness at the G-7 in Quebec as a strategic blunder of the highest order.”

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Trump’s Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt writes… “The Palestinians Deserve So Much More Than Saeb Erekat: While I understand that Dr. Erekat is angry about President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel… his claims were in many respects simply inaccurate… For far too long, the United States has turned a deaf ear to such words, but ignoring hateful and false words has not brought peace and it will never bring peace… The time for leadership and responsibility is now… The notion that Israel is going away – or that Jerusalem is not its capital – is a mirage. The notion that the United States is not the critical interlocutor for the peace process is a mirage.” [Haaretz]

— Erekat responds: “If this is Greenblatt’s vision of a “realistic approach,” then he cannot blame Palestinians for considering the current U.S. administration as an extension of Netanyahu’s right-wing extremist government, merely propping up settler-colonialism in support of a one-state apartheid reality… In dozens of meetings we had with Mr. Greenblatt he refused to discuss substance: no borders, no settlements, and no two-state solution. Today, his role is nothing less than peddling Israeli policies to a skeptical international community, and then becomes upset when he’s reminded of this.” [Haaretz

HOW IT PLAYED — Trump envoy, Palestinian mediator trade barbs in media: “Jason Greenblatt was responding… to an earlier op-ed by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accusing American officials of acting as “spokespeople” for Israel… The exchange comes shortly before the Trump administration is expected to unveil its Middle East peace plan.” [AP]

David Friedman skips AJC conference to return to DC for talks on Trump’s peace plan — by Judy Maltz: “David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, had been scheduled to address the [AJC Global Summit on Sunday], but a representative of the AJC notified participants that he was unable to attend because he had been summoned to Washington D.C. “on important business related to the administration’s forthcoming peace plan.””[Haaretz]

AJC POLL OF JEWS — Trump’s approval on handling the U.S.-Israel relationship: 77 percent of Israeli Jews compared to only 34 percent of American Jews approve Trump’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations, while 57%, of U.S. Jews disapprove. On the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there, 85% of Israeli Jews, compared with 46% of U.S. Jews, support the decision, while 7% of Israelis and 47% of U.S. Jews oppose it.

On 2018: If Elections for Congress were held today, 20% would vote for the Republican candidate, 67% for the Democrat, and 3% for another party. See the full survey here [AJC]

‘I must be doing something right’: Billionaire George Soros faces renewed attacks with defiance — by Michael Kranish: “For all the billions of dollars at his disposal, Soros is also being forced to reckon with limits on his political influence in the United States. He acknowledged that he did not see Trump’s election coming. “Apparently, I was living in my own bubble,” he said… In the final days of the White House race, Trump spoke in his closing television ad about sending a tough message to “global special interests” who wanted to control Washington… Soros, who describes himself as an agnostic Jew, said he considered the ad “a coded anti-Semitic message.” … Soros said he spent months studying what went wrong in the election. He said he concluded that while Clinton would have made a “very good president,” she was not a good campaigner.”

“Soros… refused to pick favorites among the emerging crop of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. But there is one prospective candidate he said he hopes does not get the nod: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. He blames Gillibrand for pushing the resignation of former senator Al Franken “whom I admire,” Soros said, “in order to improve her chances.” [WashPost]

Romney predicts Trump’s re-election — by Steve Peoples: “Mitt Romney is now predicting that Trump will “easily” win his party’s presidential nomination in 2020 and “solidly” win a second term… He delivered the remarks on the first day of the three-day, closed-door summit in Utah’s mountains… Dignitaries on the guest list included House Speaker Paul Ryan, billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg… former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz… A handful of Trump loyalists were in attendance as well, including… Anthony Scaramucci and Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman.”[AP]

INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — Meet the guys who tape Trump’s papers back together — by Annie Karni: “Solomon Lartey spent the first five months of the Trump administration working in the Old Executive Office Building, standing over a desk with scraps of paper spread out in front of him… Armed with rolls of clear Scotch tape, Lartey and his colleagues would sift through large piles of shredded paper and put them back together… Lartey said the papers he received included… letters from constituents or lawmakers on the Hill, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I had a letter from Schumer — he tore it up,” he said.” [Politico]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Ministers approve cutting Netanyahu’s taxes: ‘If we don’t… he may quit’ — by Raoul Wootliff: “Cabinet ministers on Sunday approved a bill that would exempt the prime minister from paying taxes on certain assets… According to [MK Miki] Zohar, it is “completely unacceptable” that the prime minister earns such a “pitiful and pathetic salary.” Zohar added: “If we don’t take care of the prime minister’s salary, I worry, along with many citizens, that he may leave his position.” The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on whether Netanyahu was considering leaving public service in order to pursue a more lucrative career.” [ToI]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Kim Jong-un has arrived at the Marina Bay Sands — it’s a hotel owned by Sheldon Adelson [Video] • Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich rejects purchase offer from UK’s richest man – reports [ESPN• Israel’s Shai Babad on Bank of Israel Policy, Meeting Warren Buffett [Bloomberg• Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark Gives $20 Million to CUNY Journalism School [NYT]

“Um, Charlie Rose?”: One of the #MeToo Disappeared Resurfaces — by Joe Pompeo: “In addition to hitting the Sun Valley circuit every summer, Rose has been hosting his own gathering of über-elites in the billionaire idyll of Aspen—a September event billed as “Weekend with Charlie Rose” and put together by Ari Emanuel of W.M.E., Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and others. People with knowledge of the plans told me it will carry on this year but without Rose as its host, and will be renamed “The Weekend.” W.M.E. didn’t have a comment.” [VanityFair]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — David Brooks on the Conversations with Tyler podcast hosted by Mercatus Center — Tyler Cowen: You’ve described yourself at times as religiously bisexual. What do you mean when you say that? Brooks: “I need my own bathrooms. [laughter] I grew up in a Jewish household. And when you grow up in a Jewish household and Jewish family, kept Kosher all those years, you read the Passover Seder, and you feel deeply how stories enter you and the story of Judaism. And I feel so Jewish. A lot of my friends are Jewish. My jokes are Jewish. My style is Jewish. And so you feel that you’re just deeply and irrevocably embedded in that story.

“At the same time, I went to the school that probably had the biggest influence on me was called Grace Church School, which if anybody goes to the Strand Bookstore in New York, it’s just really next door. A beautiful church on Broadway. I was in the choir, and so I sat in chapel every day. Then I went to an Episcopal camp for 15 years, and then I read Reinhold Niebuhr, and then I fell in love with Saint Augustine, and somehow you find that story settling into you. And so I feel more Jewish and more attached to the Christian story than ever. Both. So that’s why I’m bisexual.” [Audio]

Seymour Hersh in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review –Elon Green: In a footnote, you mentioned that George Soros asked to meet with you after one of your 9/11 stories in The New Yorker, and you initially declined. Why? Hersh: “Because it was a story about intercepts of the Saudis. I knew he would guess correctly that there was a lot of talk about oil, so I thought his purpose was not necessarily marginal. I had never met George and I didn’t wanna go. But he then went to Morton Abramowitz, who’s a friend of mine, who had been ambassador to Thailand among other things. And Mort called up and said he’s going to give me $50,000 [for Abramowitz]. Ten people are going to come to that dinner and [Soros] is gonna to pay $5,000 each to me if you come. So how could I say no? So I said yes and fuck if they didn’t have it; they’re all brokers.” Green: Stock brokersHersh: “Oil brokers! George is a master, man. I avoid those guys like the plague.” [CJR

TALK OF OUR NATION — In Poland, ‘a Narrow Window to Do Justice’ for Those Robbed by Nazis — by Joanna Berendt: “Poland — the only country in Europe that has not passed legislation to compensate owners for properties seized under Nazi and Communist rule — has long wrestled with the difficult riddle of restitution… All previous efforts failed, however, with one of the biggest obstacles being concerns among lawmakers about how much the restitution legislation could cost… The official government estimate is that the legislation would cost about $4 billion., although other estimates are much higher.” [NYTimes]

TONY AWARDS — The Band’s Visit earns 10 awards — by Joanna Walters: “The Band’s Visit, an Israel-based musical adapted from a 2007 movie, was the major winner at this year’s Tony awards, winning 10 trophies at American theatre’s biggest night of the year. Ari’el Stachel, who won the Tony for best featured actor in a musical for his role in the show, said the musical was “a small story about Arabs and Israelis getting along, at a time when we need that more than ever.”” [TheGuardian]

MEDIA WATCH — David Frum, senior editor at The Atlantic, on CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter: “You know, to your very first question about news fatigue, if your child is feverishly ill, it can be very fatiguing to sit by her bedside and take care of her but it’s what you do, because that’s your duty and that’s — I think your responsibility and it’s also a source of satisfaction to you. If your country is ill, you have the same responsibility. You know, there may be things that newsrooms can do differently or better to help people keep better track of the stories, but it’s also your responsibility as a citizen… The job of the press is to tell you the truth as it is, whether it’s good news or not.” [Video]

SPORTS BLINK — Justify wins the Belmont Stakes and becomes the 13th horse in history to complete the Triple Crown — by Keith Griffith and Jennifer Smith: “Justify has won the Belmont Stakes and become the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, days after it was revealed billionaire international financier George Soros is a 15 per cent stakeholder in the winner.” [DailyMail]

SPOTTED IN DC — Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner celebrate with Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals — by Maegan Vazquez: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were photographed with Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals players Saturday amid President Donald Trump’s media battle with other professional athletes and sports leagues. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law were snapped at the tony Washington, D.C., restaurant Cafe Milano in the Georgetown neighborhood, posing with members of the team.” [CNN

TRANSITION — Avi Mayer, the Spokesman to the International Media for The Jewish Agency for Israel, has been appointed as Assistant Executive Director and Managing Director of Global Communications for the American Jewish Committee (AJC). [Facebook]

REMEMBERING — USA TODAY foreign affairs reporter Oren Dorell killed in hit-and-run — by Sean Rossman: “Oren Dorell, a former construction contractor who became a globe-trotting foreign affairs reporter for USA TODAY, died Friday evening in Washington, D.C. He was 53. Dorell was hit by a suspected impaired driver while riding his motorcycle… Born in Canada in 1964, Dorell lived in Bolivia and Philadelphia, but considered his home to be Haifa, Israel, where he lived from ages 5 to 12.” [USAToday

DESSERT — The magic ingredient in Silicon Valley’s favorite ‘bleeding’ veggie burger is under fire — by Erin Brodwin: “Today’s veggie burgers can be described with a handful of delicious-sounding adjectives, but “meaty” isn’t one of them. At least it wasn’t — until Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods began creating a meat-free burger that tastes disturbingly close to the real thing. The meat-like flavor can largely be attributed to an ingredient called heme — the magic spark that even allows the Impossible Burger to “bleed” like a real burger does. But that magic spark may be poised to ignite a fire.” [BusinessInsider] • Flashback: The Impossible Burger has new bragging rights–it’s kosher [FastCompany

“He Built Qatar’s First-Ever Vegan Cafe — and They Came” by Lina Zeldovich: “Ghanim Al-Sulaiti, the 26-year-old owner of the Evergreen Organics cafe in Doha, Qatar, sits at a table about to bite into his burger. But that charred slab of protein isn’t made from meat. The burger, forged from vegetables, beans and grains, is 100 percent vegan. So is everything else served at Sulaiti’s café, the first ever vegan eatery in this Gulf Coast country.” [Ozy]

BIRTHDAYS: Heir to the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, minister in two British governments under prime ministers Major and Thatcher (1990-1994), Sir Timothy Alan Davan Sainsbury turns 86… Executive director of NYC-based government watchdog Citizens Union, she was elected as NYC’s Public Advocate in 2001 and reelected in 2005, Elisabeth A. “Betsy” Gotbaum turns 80… Columbus, Ohio-based retail mogul, chairman of American Eagle Outfitters, Value City Department Stores, DSW and others, sponsor of ArtScroll’s translation of the Babylonian Talmud, Jay Schottenstein turns 64… Hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen turns 62… Israeli politician who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for the Shas party, Yoav Ben-Tzur turns 60… VP of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Duke University, based at Duke’s DC center, Michael J. Schoenfeld turns 56…

President of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami turns 56… Partner in the DC office of WilmerHale, he previously served as Under Secretary of the Treasury (2011-2015) and Deputy Director of the CIA (2015-2017), David S. Cohen turns 55… VP at the DC-based crisis management firm Quadrant Strategies, he was the White House Jewish liaison from 2013 to 2016, Matt Nosanchuk turns 53… National educational director for Olami Worldwide and founder of Shabbat[dot]com, Rabbi Benzion Zvi Klatzko turns 50… Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson turns 46… Budget director at the City Council of the District of Columbia, Jennifer Budoff turns 44 (h/t Playbook)… Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist, she participated in two seasons of the Israeli reality show Me’usharot, Nicole Raidman turns 32… Actor, performance artist and filmmaker, Shia LaBeouf turns 32… Israeli attorney and manager of the legal department at the Israel Women’s Network, Dana Naor Mande’el… Jennifer Rubin

Jun
8

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Daily Kickoff: Unique instructions for Bibi’s flight crew | Why Bernie won’t endorse his son’s campaign | George Soros and the Triple Crown

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Brian Stelter reports — CNN’s Anthony Bourdain dead at 61: “Anthony Bourdain, the chef and gifted storyteller who took TV viewers around the world to explore culture, cuisine and the human condition for nearly two decades, has died. He was 61. CNN confirmed Bourdain’s death on Friday and said the cause of death was suicide.”

Flashback to 2013 — Bourdain reveals Jewish heritage during show in Israel: “Focusing on what he called “the most contentious piece of real estate in the world,” Bourdain used the episode to reveal his own Jewish heritage: “I’ve never been in a synagogue. I don’t believe in a higher power,” he told viewers. “But that doesn’t make me any less Jewish, I don’t think.” During the show, Bourdain puts on tefillin by the Western Wall, takes a walking tour of the Old City with famed international chef Yotam Ottolenghi, eats a meal with an American-born settler, chats with members of the first all-Palestinian race car team in Ramallah, and eats fire-roasted watermelon and other Palestinian foods in Gaza.” [ToI]

RUDY ON THE ROAD — Palestinian Authority is a “renegade group; terrorists and thieves.” — Rudy Giuliani referring to the Palestinian Authority’s success in pushing the Argentinian national team to cancel friendly match in Jerusalem during in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. “You don’t let terrorism frighten you into not doing what you already agreed to do.”

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem was important “for the same reason it would have been important for Argentina to go through with this game. There was only one reason not to move the embassy: fear. America, the greatest military power on earth, should not be affected by fear.” [JPost]

CAVEAT — Pompeo: Giuliani doesn’t speak for administration — by Kevin Liptak and Sophie Tatum: “I know Rudy. Rudy doesn’t speak for the administration when it comes to this [North Korea] negotiation and this set of issues,” Pompeo said Thursday when asked about Giuliani’s comments [in Israel]… “I took him as being in a small room and not being serious about the comments,” Pompeo said during a briefing at the White House. “I think it was a bit in jest. We are focused on the important things.”[CNN]

Giuliani Speaks for Trump. Except When He Doesn’t — by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman: “Mr. Giuliani also ventured into Middle East peace as Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has developed a plan to resolve the decades-old dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians… The former mayor told Israeli reporters that he had seen Mr. Kushner’s secret peace plan and that it made “all the sense in the world.” But Mr. Giuliani called The Wall Street Journal afterward to say he only knew what had been in news reports. “I have not seen any secret plan or been told about one,” he said. “I based my comments on the publicly available discussion of the plan.” [NYTimes]

Giuliani discussed Bibi’s cigars at an event hosted by the OneFamily Foundation: “Cowards can’t protect people. So Donald Trump seeks his guidance from the soul of America. And I think your prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) does because he’s really — he may not like it when I say it, he’s really an American. He loves America, he knows American politics, as well I bet as I do. And my goodness they’re now torturing him because he loves cigars. I love cigars and I’ve had more than one with him and… so did Winston Churchill, by the way.” [Video]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — The Odd Instruction Given to the Crew on Netanyahu’s El Al Flight — by Yossi Verter: “In the past two years, since the eruption of criminal investigations against him, [Netanyahu] seems to have become a more frequent flyer than ever. His wife, Sara, always goes with him… On Monday, the couple left for Germany, France and England… The flight attendants were given a page of guidelines about how to comport themselves vis-a-vis the prime minister and his wife… Among the don’ts, one instruction stood out: Under no circumstances are you to address the prime minister directly. Every approach to him is to be made solely through his wife.”

“This anecdote will strike a chord with people knowledgeable about the history of the relations between Bibi and Sara. The two first met in the 1990s on an El Al flight. He was deputy foreign minister in the government of Yitzhak Shamir; she, a stewardess, “blonde with a bob haircut and shy eyes. The two exchanged a few words, no more,” as journalist Ben Caspit writes in his recently published biography of Netanyahu. “During a stopover at Schiphol Airport in Holland, the flight attendant left him a note with her name and phone number.” [Haaretz]

TRUMP DIPLOMACY — Donald Trump is undermining the rules-based international order: “The split with the Europeans makes co-ordinating pressure on Iran harder and creates a “major disconnect between the objective and the means,” says Martin Indyk… “For all those who say there’s no chance this can work, there’s a part of me that says: well, I wonder,” says Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. A new alignment of interests between Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states helps. “If it’s properly handled there is a way to push back against the Iranians in the region,” says Mr Indyk.” [Economist]

Trump Says Abandoning Iran Deal Has Already Curbed Tehran’s Bad Behavior — by Mark Landler: “Iran is not the same country that it was a few months ago,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference… “They’re a much, much different group of leaders,” he concluded… Some experts, in trying to interpret Mr. Trump’s comments, pointed to Israel’s recent military strike on Iranian forces in Syria, the pullout of foreign companies from Iran, and the deepening woes of the Iranian economy as signs of how Iran’s position has weakened in the past few weeks. “Before we pulled out of the Iran deal, Iran’s leadership was arrogant and on the march,” said Mark Dubowitz… “What I think he means is that he’s cut them down to size.” [NYTimes]

UK now ‘far more likely’ to back Israel and Trump on Iran nuclear deal — by Lee Harpin: “The British government is now “far more likely” to side with Israel and President Trump against Iran following the meeting this week between Prime Minister Theresa May and Benjamin Netanyahu… Sources on Wednesday evening said Mr Netanyahu was left with “hope and belief” that the best chance of real success in breaking continued support for the Iranian deal was with Britain… One Israeli diplomat insisted: “There’s certainly a feeling that Britain is currently the weakest link in the European resistance to Trump’s policy.” [TheJC]

TALK OF THE REGION — Deal With Turkey Threatens Trump’s Iran Strategy — by Eli Lake: “On June 4, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, appeared to reach an understanding that U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters and political leaders would pull out of the [Syrian town of Manbij]… A deal between the U.S. and Turkey on Manbij is important because the Turks had threatened to attack the city if Kurdish militias didn’t leave. At the same time, the deal could undermine the Trump administration’s goal of working with allies to roll back Iran’s presence in the Middle East… The threat from Turkey could force the Kurds who fought against the Islamic State to seek their own peace with the Assad regime, jeopardizing Trump’s Iran strategy.” [BloombergView]

Can Voters Bring Down Turkey’s Erdogan? — by Borzou Daragahi: “Muharrem Ince… is the main opposition candidate running against Turkey’s longtime leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan for president of Turkey… In contrast to his usual energetic, combative image, the 64-year-old Erdogan appears tired and easily flustered on the campaign trail… In Ince, the president has met a worthy opponent, a streetfighter who’s 10 years younger and has roots in the same rough Black Sea town of Rize that Erdogan’s family comes from.” [DailyBeast]

Key figures in Gulf crisis sever ties with Qatar — by Ben Schreckinger: “Joey Allaham, a Syrian-born restaurateur and entrepreneur who had been helping Qatar make politically useful investments and curry favor with the American Jewish community, told POLITICO that he has recently cut ties with the country… His defection comes at the same time that another top Qatari agent, Nick Muzin, a former adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), is also stopping work for the wealthy monarchy.”

“Efforts by Allaham, who is Jewish, included outreach to prominent American advocates of Israel, including Alan Dershowitz, an informal Trump adviser, and Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America… Dershowitz and Klein both traveled to Qatar in January to discuss improved relationships with the Jewish community, a move that stoked controversy in Israel and among American Zionists… In a further blow to Qatar’s diplomatic efforts, Klein on Wednesday backed away from any rapprochement, reiterating his condemnation of the country. “I’ve lost confidence that they’re at all serious about changing,” he told POLITICO… Allaham told POLITICO that he would register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for the work he performed for Qatar.” [Politico]

A DAY EARLIER… Elliott Broidy to Get Information in Case Against Qatar — by Bob Van Voris and Caleb Melby: “A federal judge in New York ruled Wednesday that Joey Allaham… must turn over any records showing ties to the government of Qatar. Broidy claims Allaham worked as an unregistered agent for the Middle Eastern nation and has ties to one if its lobbyists, Nicholas Muzin… U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan gave Allaham 72 hours to comply.” [BloombergWSJ]

DRIVING THE DAY — Israel and Hamas Take Steps to Avoid War After Violent Cycle — by Felicia Schwartz and Abu Bakr Bashir: “The demonstrations are set for the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan… Still, appeals to protest by Gaza’s rulers, the militant and political group Hamas, are more subdued. The loudspeaker announcements and posters imploring Gazans to gather at the border fence… have largely been absent this time. For their part, Israeli officials said the military would bring more nonlethal equipment to confront any violent protesters. Israel’s military also said it also dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip warning residents not to approach the border’s security fence.” [WSJ]

— “Some of the Palestinians protesting as part of the “March of Return” will display Holocaust-themed clothes, including a striped uniform representing the garb Jews were forced to wear in Nazi camps. The protest’s organizers say that the theme is intended to send a message that the Palestinians are not responsible for the Holocaust, yet they pay the price for it.” [Haaretz]

Israeli Video Portrays Medic Killed in Gaza as Tool of Hamas — by Herbert Buchsbaum: “The tightly edited video shows a woman identified as the medic, Rouzan al-Najjar, throwing what appears to be a tear-gas canister… In a second scene, according to the video, Ms. Najjar tells an interviewer, “I am here on the front line and I act as a human shield.” … The video… did not try to make the case that Ms. Najjar’s actions provided a justification for her shooting. Rather the clip… appeared to be part of the battle over her story’s narrative and an effort to chip away at Ms. Najjar’s image of fresh-faced innocence.” [NYTimes]

STARTING SUNDAY IN JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, foreign diplomats, and Knesset Members are expected to address the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum kicking off on Sunday through Tuesday in Jerusalem.

ON THE HILL — Kenneth Marcus, who founded the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, was approved by the Senate as the next Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Civil Rights along party lines (50-46).

2018 WATCH — The Most Powerful Conservative Couple You’ve Never Heard Of — by Stephanie Saul and Danny Hakim: “Few political donors are as influential, yet little known, as Liz and Dick Uihlein. The Midwestern couple has joined the upper pantheon of Republican donors alongside names like Koch, Mercer and Adelson. They have spent roughly $26 million on the current election cycle, supporting more than 60 congressional candidates, working outside the party establishment to advance a combative, hard-right conservatism, from Washington to the smallest town.” [NYTimes

Sheldon Adelson: the casino mogul driving Trump’s Middle East policy — by Chris McGreal: “Adelson’s influence has never been greater. The imprint of the 84-year-old’s political passions is seen in an array of Donald Trump’s more controversial decisions… Daniel Levy, a former member of Israeli negotiating teams with the Palestinians and policy adviser to the then Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, said that Adelson’s money had helped resurface neoconservative policies which had been discredited after the US invasion of Iraq.” [TheGuardian

Senator Bernie Sanders hasn’t endorsed his son in N.H. Congress run — by James Pindell: “Sanders has refrained from endorsing Levi Sanders in his only son’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for a New Hampshire congressional seat… Levi Sanders seemed to take his father’s firm stand on the sidelines with good humor when contacted by the Globe… “You know I’m not Bernie’s son. I’m the son of Larry David’s fourth cousin,” he quipped in a brief conversation, referring to the distant blood tie between the comedian and the senator.”

“Bernie Sanders provided a statement to the Globe… “Levi has spent his life in service to low income and working families, and I am very proud of all that he has done,” he said. “In our family, however, we do not believe in dynastic politics. Levi is running his own campaign in his own way.”” [BostonGlobe]

Virginia US Senate candidate previously paid anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim figure for fundraising list” by Andrew Kaczynski: “During his failed primary bid for Virginia governor in 2017, Republican Corey Stewart paid far-right commentator Paul Nehlen $759 dollars as a “fundraising commission,” in May… Video surfaced earlier this week of Stewart praising Nehlen in January 2017… The Washington Post reported earlier Thursdaythat Stewart said he no longer considers Nehlen a hero. “That was before he went nuts and started spewing a bunch of stupid stuff,” Stewart told the Post.” [CNN]

“As Keith Ellison Leaves Congress, One Likely Replacement Faces Criticism for Anti-Israel Views” by Armin Rosen: “One potential candidate who may replace Ellison is Minnesota state Sen. Ilhan Omar, the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker and a declared candidate for the August 14th vote… If elected, Omar appears likely to continue Ellison’s approach to Israel, if not intensify it… In late 2012… Omar… tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” … Omar spoke forcefully against Minnesota’s anti-BDS law on the floor of the state Senate and once suggested that the University of Minnesota should divest from State of Israel bonds.” [Tablet]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Stormy Daniels’ ex-attorney rips former client and her new lawyer in countersuit that includes Cohen” by MJ Lee and Scott Glover: “Keith Davidson, the lawyer who formerly represented adult film star Stormy Daniels, filed a defamation claim Thursday against Daniels and her current lawyer, Michael Avenatti, as well as a separate claim against Michael Cohen… for allegedly illegally recording phone calls with Davidson.” [CNN]

“With Keith Davidson Talking to the Feds, Michael Cohen Faces Growing Pressure” by Emily Jane Fox: “There is a sense among Cohen’s inner circle that he is exasperated and without allies in Washington, despite what some read as the hidden message in Trump’s recent pardons… Cohen did not see the presidential pardons and commutations Trump issued last week as a signal that Cohen would get his own pardon, or that he should stay strong and not agree to cooperate with investigators. “Those people he pardoned had been convicted and already served time,” one of these people said. “That’s not at all the same thing.” … Cohen, who once vowed he would “take a bullet” for Trump, declined to comment. His e-mail signature no longer identifies him as the personal attorney for the president.” [VanityFair]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Glencore Faces New Legal Challenge Against Congo Cobalt Mine [Bloomberg] • Carl Icahn Squeezes a Better Deal From AmTrust [Barrons] • Activist investors back plan for companies to limit quarterly guidance [NYPost• Warren Buffett tells Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon: “I’m a big believer in the Israeli economy.” [Pic]

SPOTLIGHT — One NYC Developer, Two Projects and $3.4 Billion of New Condos — by Oshrat Carmiel: “New York developer Ziel Feldman is unleashing about $3.4 billion worth of new condos onto the Manhattan market, at prices that guarantee him an exclusive buyer pool — and lots of competition. He’s listing 95 units at the Belnord, a century-old Upper West Side building getting an overhaul by architect Robert A.M. Stern, where the cheapest three-bedroom apartment will cost $5 million. He’ll also start sales for the 236 condos at the Eleventh, rising near the High Line park in Chelsea with a futuristic design by Bjarke Ingels. Two penthouses there are tagged at $70 million apiece, a purchase price that would set a downtown record.” [Bloomberg]

Real estate tycoons, musicians mingle at Domino Park preview — by Ian Mohr: “Real estate moguls and rockers alike mixed at the preview of Two Trees Management’s Domino Park on the Williamsburg waterfront Wednesday night… At the event were developer of the park, Jed Walentas and his father, Two Trees founder David Walentas, Eliot Spitzer and Larry Silverstein. Also spotted were Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner… and NPR host Ira Glass.” [PageSix]

TALK OF THE VALLEY — How to talk about God in Silicon Valley — by Oliver Staley: “There’s a strong current of belief in Silicon Valley, but it’s not in organized religion. The San Francisco Bay Area is among the least religious regions of the US, according to the Pew Research Center, with only 42% of adults saying they believe in God with absolute certainty (compare that to 71% in Atlanta). Traditional religion in the Bay Area is being replaced with another sort of faith, a belief in the power of technology and science to save humanity. It’s a creed that says poverty and disease are simply programming challenges yet to be solved, bad code to be debugged.There’s a reason technologists use words like “evangelist” and “mission” to talk about themselves and their work.” [Quartz

SPORTS BLINK — A Secretive Owner of Triple-Crown Contender Justify: George Soros — by Melissa Hoppert and Matthew Goldstein: “If the strapping chestnut colt Justify wins the Belmont Stakes on Saturday to become just the 13th horse in history to claim horse racing’s Triple Crown, two of the three groups that have an ownership stake in the horse’s breeding rights will be front and center during the celebration… A third group, a secretive entity that holds the remaining 15 percent, will remain out of the spotlight because it vigorously avoids any public attention. It is a company controlled by top employees of the billionaire investor George Soros. Mr. Soros’s connection to Justify, which was not previously reported, has garnered little notice in the sport despite the horse’s rousing success in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes because his group tries to operate almost invisibly.” [NYTimes]

— Last Year: “After attending race growing up, Baltimore-raised owner Seth Klarman soaking in Preakness victory” [BaltimoreSun]

TRANSITION — Lahav Harkov, the Jerusalem Post Knesset reporter and one-time Kafe Knesset contributor, has been moved to the position of News Editor of the Jerusalem Post and Managing Editor of the online site.

DESSERT — There’s A Kosher Cheese Pop-Up In SoHo Now — by Shira Feder: “If you’re a food adventurer, tantalized by the notion of chasing cheese to the far ends of the SoHo area… put on your detective trench-coat and track The Cheese Guy down to his small, temporary SoHo popup at449 Broadway near Grand Street, inside Broadway Market Co. No official end date is in sight for this pop-up. The cheeses are all certified OU or OK.” [Forward]

WINE OF THE WEEK — Bat Shlomo 2014 Chardonnay — by Yitz Applbaum: Over the years I have found, somewhat counter-intuitively, that drinking Chardonnay in cool weather helps to bring out the floral nature of the grape. However, to enjoy a Chardonnay on a minus-five-degree day while in Saint Petersburg, Russia during Passover, requires a really bold, thick-skinned, hearty Chardonnay. The Bat Shlomo 2014 Chardonnay is just what the doctor ordered.

This Chardonnay is quite meaty. It starts out with a zesty punch which will make you pucker. By the time this wine gets to your mid-palate, you are tasting green apples which practically ripen on your tongue. The finish coats your whole mouth with creamy butter, all without the traditionally Californian vanilla or oak. This wine makes for a very memorable experience. The wine is aged in new French oak for 10 months. This wine goes brilliantly with stinky blue cheese, or, if you are in a brave mood, spicy aged salami (although obviously either one, not both). [BatShlomo]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYComedian and actor, Jerry Stillerturns 91… Hebrew University mathematics professor and Nobel Prize laureate in Economics, Robert Aumann turns 88… Partner in the Cincinnati-based law firm of Aronoff, Rosen & Hunt, he was a member of the Ohio State Senate (1967-1996), Stanley J. Aronoff turns 86… Founder of the Family Dollar Stores chain of discount stores in 1959, he remained chairman and CEO until 2003, Leon Levine turns 81… Guru of alternative, holistic and integrative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil turns 76… South African businessman and philanthropist, formerly the Chairman of De Beers, Nicky Oppenheimerturns 73… Hedge fund founder and manager, Selwyn Donald Sussmanturns 72… Detective novelist Sara Paretsky turns 71… The Juilliard School’s classical pianist, teacher and performer, Emanuel Ax turns 69… Community affairs coordinator at UCLA’s Leve Center for Jewish Studies, Mary Enid Pinkerson turns 67… Member of Knesset since 2015 from the Zionist Union party, professor at Ben-Gurion University, Yosef “Yossi” Yona turns 65… Principal at Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based O2 Investment Partners, Robert Harris (Rob) Orley turns 63… Journalist, stand-up comedian, author, cartoonist, blogger and occasional commentator on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Aaron Freeman turns 62… Assistant Vice President for Campaign at the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, Patti Frazinturns 57… Lead director of UK-based L1 Energy, co-founder and CEO of the Genesis Prize Foundation, Stan Polovets turns 55… Winner of many Emmy and SAG awards, star of the long-running TV series “The Good Wife,” Julianna Margulies turns 52… Actor and screenwriter, he is married to the sister of baseball executive Theo Epstein, Daniel Paul “Dan” Futtermanturns 51… Former Congresswoman, survivor of an assassination attempt near Tucson in 2011, Gabrielle Giffords turns 48… Actor who starred in USA Network’s “Royal Pains,” Mark Feuerstein turns 47… Deputy Chief of Staff for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Michael Emanuel Vallarelli turns 39… Rabbinic fellow in the inaugural cohort of the Jewish Emergent Network at DC’s historic Sixth & I Synagogue, Suzy Stone turns 38… Businesswoman, art collector Dasha Zhukova turns 37… Denver-based chief marketing officer at Layer3 TV, Eric J. Kuhn turns 31… Offensive tackle for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, his Hebrew name is “Mendel,” Mitchell Schwartz turns 29… Michael Fishberg

SATURDAYStandup comedian Jackie Mason turns 90… Journalist for 30 years at CBS, Marvin Kalb turns 88… Retired Israeli diplomat who served as ambassador to Italy and France and World Chairman of Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal, Aviezer “Avi” Pazner turns 81… Author, journalist, lecturer and social activist, founding editor of Ms. Magazine, mother of identical twin daughters, Robin Pogrebin and Abigail Pogrebin, Letty Cottin Pogrebin turns 79… British businessman, co-founder with his brother Maurice of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Charles Saatchi turns 75… Diplomat, Pentagon official, political writer, policy analyst, Shakespeare historian, Kenneth Adelman turns 72… Founder and chairman of Commonwealth Financial Network (a broker/dealer network) and chairman of Southworth Development (golf and leisure business), Joseph Deitch turns 68… Professional mediator, previously a syndicated advice columnist in many Jewish newspapers (1995-2006), Wendy J. Belzberg… Formerly Israel’s military attaché in DC (2005-09) who went on to become the IDF’s Chief of General Staff, Benjamin “Benny” Gantz turns 59… Producer, playwright and screenwriter, Aaron Benjamin Sorkin turns 57… Founder and CEO of Delve LLC, an opposition research firm for political campaigns, Jeff Berkowitz turns 39… Jerusalem-born actress, producer and director, Natalie Portman turns 37… Online producer, writer and director, who together with his brother Benny, are best known for their React video series which has over five billion views on YouTube, Rafi Fine turns 35… Principal at DC-based Precision Strategies, Jeffrey Francis (Jeff) Solnet turns 26… Serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Team Brotherly Love and The Fine Companies, Daniel Fine turns 25… Deputy press secretary for VPOTUS Joe Biden during most of his second term (2014-2017), Stephen Spector… Craig Appelbaum

SUNDAY: Author of award-winning books about her experiences before, during and after the Holocaust, Aranka Davidowitz Siegal turns 88… Emmy Award-winning TV journalist who has worked for CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and PBS, he is the author of 13 books, Jeff Greenfield turns 75… Strategic communications director at the Generation to Generation program powered by Encore[dot]org, Stefanie “Stef” Weiss turns 60… Former Attorney General and then Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer turns 59… President of Skokie-based Pharmore Drugs, Avi H. Goldfeder turns 59… Film, television and stage actress, singer and author, Gina Gershon turns 56… Melbourne native, now Associate Vice President of strategic partnerships at the Birthright Israel Foundation and director of community education at NYC’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, Rabbi Daniel Kraus turns 37… Executive director of NYC-based Encounter Programs, Yona Shem-Tov… Editor-in-Chief of The Algemeiner newspaper, Dovid Efune… Cathy Miller

House committee will vote on Taylor Force Act next week

Thursday, November 9, 2017

WASHINGTON – The House Foreign Affairs Committee will vote next Wednesday on the Taylor Force Act, a critical step in advancing the legislation into law, a Congressional aide…

Kafe Knesset for November 8

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Spotlight on Dermer: Investigations against the PM and his associates have accelerated this week, along with news reports about some of the suspicions. As Netanyahu’s confidants, lawyers Isaac…

Kafe Knesset for November 7

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Submarine Affair: After two days of guessing and hinting as to whom the Police detained in their investigation of the Submarine Affair, the court-imposed gag order expired…

Kafe Knesset for November 6

Monday, November 6, 2017

The noose tightens around Bibi: Netanyahu never really gets any quality time off. And, as has happened in the past, his historic visit to London was disrupted by…

Kafe Knesset for November 3

Friday, November 3, 2017

Just as PM Netanyahu took off to London, two new television-sponsored polls were published, giving him some troubling news for the weekend. If elections were held today, both…

Kafe Knesset for November 1

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Netanyahu’s off to London: After an extravagant Australian celebration marking 100 years since the Battle of Beersheba, the Prime Minister is heading to more historical festivities. Netanyahu and…