Jul
20

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Daily Kickoff: Bipartisan backing for Temple Mount metal detectors | Meet the candidate: Elissa Slotkin | Jeffrey Katzenberg’s plan for ‘New TV’

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — The White House voiced its concerns yesterday about recent tensions surrounding the Temple Mount. In a statement, Press Secretary Sean Spicer called upon Israel and Jordan “to make a good faith effort to reduce tensions and to find a solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo. The United States will continue to closely monitor the developments.”

“Netanyahu faces pressure to remove metal detectors from Jerusalem holy site” by Ruth Eglash: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must decide before Friday whether he will keep or remove metal detectors placed earlier this week at the entrances to the al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem’s Old City. As of Thursday, the prime minister’s position regarding the metal detectors had not changed after holding security consultations, an Israeli official told The Washington Post. A showdown between worshipers and police is expected on Friday, the Muslim holy day, unless Israel removes the metal detectors and relaxes its security.” [WashPost]

ON THE HILL — Republican and Democratic House Members support Temple Mount metal detectors — by Aaron Magid: “We should support the actions of Israel installing the metal detector and support their right to do that in any way that we can,” Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) told Jewish Insider. According to Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), “When you have one side taking action to protect people’s security and the other side is taking action to harm people’s security, it’s hard to be neutral and make it out as both sides are right. I don’t think it’s necessary to apply an equal amount of pressure on both sides.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump, noted, “I don’t know how you can object to metal detectors. There are many synagogues and mosques in the world that have metal detectors to walk in. When they are necessary for security, we should be urging that every reasonable measure be taken to provide for people’s safety.” Given the rising number of attacks, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) explained, “I understand the respect for the holiness of the site but you have got to keep people safe unfortunately in this day and age. I would be sympathetic to Israel.”

“Huge increase in PA terror funding in 2017” by Itamar Marcus: “The PA expenditure for salaries to terrorist prisoners has risen by a huge 13%… and the expenditure for payments to families of “Martyrs” has gone up by 4%… In 2017, the PA’s total expenditure for directly funding terror is 1.237 billion shekels or $355 million.” [PMW]

Trump Administration’s Mixed Signals on Taylor Force Act — by Aaron Magid: The White House agrees with the “high-level goals” of legislation aimed to stop the Palestinian Authority’s payments to families of terrorists’ an administration official told us. “While the Administration agrees with the high-level goals of the Taylor Force Act, it is currently in Congress’s hands and we will continue to closely monitor the specifics of the legislation,” the administration official said. Last week, Stuart Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, expressed skepticism regarding the efficiency of the Taylor Force Act in combating Palestinian terrorism. “It is not clear that the Taylor Force Act as currently drafted would help accomplish these objectives,” he said during a House hearing. [JewishInsider

ON THE HILL — U.S. State Department Faces Cuts, Israeli-Palestinian Peace Programming Untouched” by Amir Tibon: “The projected U.S. State Department and Foreign Operations budget for 2018 includes a deep $5.6 billion cut in funding, as presented by the House Appropriations Committee. One policy issue that won’t be affected by cuts, however, is peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians. Out of the entire “reconciliation programs” budget of $26 million around the world… the bill plans to direct almost 40 percent of the budget “for reconciliation activists between Israelis and Palestinians.” The amount, $10 million, is the same amount appropriated to the cause of peace in the region for 2017.” [Haaretz]

“43 Senators Want to Make It a Federal Crime to Boycott Israeli Settlements” by Eric Levitz: “In an official statement denouncing the bill, [ACLU] the civil-liberties group noted that businesses and individuals who do no business with Israel for purely pragmatic reasons would not be subject to criminal punishment — only those who do so on the basis of their political beliefs. Which is to say, “the bill would punish businesses and individuals based solely on their point of view. Such a penalty is in direct violation of the First Amendment.”” [NYMag

–MoveOn[dot]org tweeted yesterday: “Regardless how you feel about BDS, Congress must reject action to criminalize free speech & peaceful protest. The Democrats in House and Senate must say no to H.R. 1697/S. 720. Free speech and peaceful protest are integral to democracy.” [Twitter]

JI INTERVIEW — Elissa Slotkin, a former Obama administration official who also served at the CIA and the Pentagon, discussed her congressional run against incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Bishop in an interview with JI’s Aaron Magid: A Hebrew and Arabic speaker, Slotkin’s last post was Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security affairs during the end of the Obama administration. During her time in the Pentagon, she visited Israel at least six times and helped bring the F-35 fighter jets to Israel. Striking a close friendship with Amos Gilad, the former Director of the political-military affairs bureau at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, she also worked on U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs including the Iron Dome.

Slotkin on Trump’s Mideast peace push: “The only way that this gets done is through strong American leadership. The only way that the two sides (Israel and the Palestinians) even come to the table is if the U.S. with a very strong lead convenes pushes both sides to make forward progress on the issue. But, if the parties are unwilling to come to the table, then, unfortunately, we are in a number of additional years with the same conflict with the same problems.” [JewishInsider

“Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow” by Greg Jaffe and Adam Entous: “The program was a central plank of a policy begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to step aside… Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests… The move to end the secret program to arm the anti-Assad rebels was not a condition of the cease-fire negotiations, which were already well underway, said U.S. officials… “It’s probably a nod to reality,” said Ilan Goldenberg, a former Obama administration official… “This is a force that we can’t afford to completely abandon,” Goldenberg said. “If they are ending the aid to the rebels altogether, then that is a huge strategic mistake.”” [WashPost

Shalom Lipner: “Putin victory = Iran win = lots of unhappy Jews and Sunni Arabs in the Middle East tonight.” [Twitter]

“Netanyahu puts Trump on notice over Syria” by Ben Caspit: “An Israeli source intimately familiar with what is happening behind the scenes told Al-Monitor emphatically, “This is not just some disagreement. This is a real clash, pitting Israel against Russia and the United States. It reflects Israel’s conspicuous disappointment with the way that the Americans let [Russian President Vladimir] Putin outmaneuver them, leading to the sellout of Israeli interests in the Golan Heights and Lebanon versus the Shiite axis.” … “The Americans completely conceded to the Russians,” a senior Israeli military official told Al-Monitor… “The very names of Iran or Hezbollah do not appear in the agreement, and there is no expression of Israeli concerns at all. Our security needs are completely ignored.”” [Al-Monitor

“Why Israel Can’t Support a Cease-Fire in Syria” by Shmuel Rosner: “Israel is following Iran’s patient game, and what it sees is Iranian and Hezbollah operatives in the area between Damascus and the Golan Heights. It sees a gradual process that ultimately strengthens Iran and its proxies, and leaves them in charge of strategic areas in Syria, including right on Israel’s border. The way Israel sees it, the cease-fire… is a gain for Iran, whose advance amid the gradual surrender of the Islamic State makes a mockery of vows to contain its growing influence. It is a loss for Israel.” [NYTimes]

“US accuses Lebanon’s Hezbollah of weapons buildup” by AFP: “Ambassador [Nikki] Haley expressed alarm over the build-up of weapons by Hezbollah, a situation that demands the international community’s attention to prevent the further escalation of regional tensions,” said a statement by the US mission. She stressed that the international community must “apply more pressure on Hezbollah to disarm and cease its destabilizing behavior, especially toward Israel.” [DailyMail

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — “Rosenstein casts shade on Comey’s leak of memos on Trump talks” by Josh Gerstein: “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested in an interview aired Wednesday that former FBI Director James Comey broke with Justice Department policy when he arranged to leak memos about his conversations with President Donald Trump… Rosenstein… was also asked whether [Robert] Mueller’s relationship with Comey made Mueller a less than ideal choice. “I made the decision to appoint Director Mueller based upon his reputation… But, I can assure you that if there were conflicts that arose, because of Director Mueller or anybody employed by Director Mueller, we have a process within the department to take care of that,” Rosenstein said.” [Politico] • Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions [NYTimes

PTI: At one point during Trump’s Oval Office interview with the NYTimes yesterday, his daughter Ivanka arrived at the doorway with her daughter, Arabella, who ran to her grandfather and gave him a kiss. He greeted the 6-year-old girl as “baby,” then urged her to show the reporters her ability to speak Chinese. She obliged. [NYTimes]

“Jared Kushner to appear before Senate Intelligence Committee Monday” by John Santucci and Benjamin Siegel: “White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has agreed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling on Monday, July 24, ABC News has learned. The closed-door session sets up what could be one of the most highly anticipated interviews for lawmakers to date.” [ABCNews

“Big German Bank, Key to Trump’s Finances, Faces New Scrutiny” Ben Protess, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Jesse Drucker: “Mr. Kushner’s company bought the space from Africa Israel Investments, a company owned by Lev Leviev, which has a sizable real estate portfolio in Russia.” [NYTimes

“Why is Jared Kushner by far the least popular Trump family member?” by Jason Le Miere: “Part of that reaction may be down to Kushner’s lack of visibility. Unlike Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka, Kushner is rarely heard from in public, whether giving interviews, speeches or on social media. Or perhaps Kushner is less popular with the president’s base because he has been portrayed as a Democrat and a moderating voice. Or it could also be due to the fact that he is an Orthodox Jew. Although Ivanka Trump has converted to Orthodox Judaism, it is Kushner who has been the target of concerted anti-Semitic abuse.” [Newsweek

** 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: Inside Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Plan to Revolutionize Entertainment on Mobile Screens [Variety] • Abramovich’s steel company hit by costly repair work [TheTimes] • 10 Israeli start-ups that are gunning for the self-driving car market [CNBC] • Israeli Spreadsheet management co DataRails raises $6m [Globes] • Viber acquires Chatter Commerce, maker of mobile shopping keyboard ShopChat [VentureBeat] • De Blasio to Durst: Back off on Barry Diller’s Pier 55 [RealDealNYTimes]

MEDIA WATCH: “Univision Draws Interest From Potential Bidders Amid IPO Delays” by Matt Jarzemsky, Arian Campo-Flores, Sarah Rabil and Joe Flint: “[John] Malone and [Greg] Maffei met with Univision backers billionaire Haim Saban and Providence Equity Partners’ Jonathan Nelson at the Sun Valley media conference this month, the people said. However, the two sides were far apart on valuation, and it is unclear if a deal—with Mr. Malone or anyone else—could be reached. It is also unclear what terms were discussed. Univision’s owners also haven’t ruled out an IPO in the first half of next year, some of the people said.” [WSJ]

COVER OF BUSINESSWEEK: “The Sinclair Revolution Will Be Televised. It’ll Just Have Low Production Values” by Felix Gillette: “If you encountered [Boris] Epshteyn at the Trump National Golf Club bar in Bedminster, N.J., you might expect him to hard-sell you on a real estate investment in the Urals or, failing that, a delicatessen in Newark… Three times a week he records brief video commentaries that are sent to Sinclair’s 65 or so newsrooms around the country… In recent segments, Epshteyn has praised the Trump administration’s trade policies, encouraged states to cooperate with his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, critiqued Democrats’ lack of a “coherent and authentic” message, and knocked other news outlets for their insufficiently admiring coverage of Trump.”[Bloomberg]

STARTUP NATION: “6 Reasons Israel Became A Cybersecurity Powerhouse Leading The $82 Billion Industry” by Gil Press: “The young people serving in 8200 and similar IDF units experience real-life and leading-edge cybersecurity challenges and solutions. But as these units work like startups, they also get to experience teamwork, leading other people, having responsibility for making significant decisions, and surviving failure, all a great preparation for entrepreneurial life.” [Forbes

PROFILE: “Avi Gabbay, Israel’s Surging New Threat to Benjamin Netanyahu” by Bernard Avishai: “Fifty years old, balanced, affable, and gregarious, Gabbay projects the gravitas one sensed in Barack Obama during the 2008 primaries… But the parallel with Obama ends there. Gabbay’s story is not that of an unlikely minority candidate who organized at the grassroots… For decades, the Party has suffered from the same time type of disconnect from working-class voters that now seems to plague the Democratic Party in the U.S. Gabbay is trying to bring that dynamic to an end… Before Gabbay, Mizrahim who disapproved of Likud’s support for settlers and the ultra-religious struggled to find common ground with Labor’s Ashkenazi élites, intellectual socialists, and union hacks. Gabbay, the former kid from a transit camp who rose to run an iconic corporation, might bridge the gap… In this, Gabbay’s election may be a lesson for American Democrats as well.” [NewYorker

KAFE KNESSET — Barak is back — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Former PM and Defense Minister Ehud Barak is still enjoying his status as Internet-commenter-in-chief and put up yet another video on his Facebook page, this time comparing Netanyahu to a Mafia don. “The time hasn’t come to put this to an end? What, have we gone crazy?” Barak asked, listing the various corruption scandals that have come to light in the last year. “Everything all around is criminal, but the boss is clean. Where is this familiar from? That’s right, ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Godfather.’  It is similar, but without the style. But there, it is the movies, and here, it is real life. Even there, when they decided to bring it all down, they couldn’t prove the submarines. The Godfathers were sent to jail over lawn furniture and electricians.” For those on the Ehud Barak style watch — he wasn’t wearing a puffy jacket this time. Barak was wearing a pink button-down shirt, and standing in a backyard with ivy and a wooden porch behind him, a style of house that looks more American than Israeli. Barak’s Israeli Facebook followers have been wondering where his videos are made – a source told Kafe Knesset this week that he is still in New York. That, of course, still does not explain why he wore a winter jacket in his previous video. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Decrying ‘betrayal,’ Hungarian Jews say Netanyahu ignoring them” by Raphael Ahren: “Wrapping up his three-day trip to Hungary, Netanyahu and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday delivered addresses in the headquarters of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary… Both prime ministers focused their remarks on bilateral ties, neglecting to directly address the community… The chilly reception for the prime minister — including scathing criticism from the Jewish community’s president — underlined Hungarian Jewry’s unhappiness with Netanyahu’s decision to embrace Orban despite accusations of anti-Semitism… Highlighting the community’s angst over the issues, Mazsihisz President Andras Heisler delivered a speech ahead of the two leaders, lambasting Orban for the Horthy and Soros controversies, and Netanyahu for the non-recognition of non-Orthodox Jewish streams in Israel.” [ToI]

“Israel and George Soros” by Itai Bardov, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in DC: “George Soros has a consistent record of reckless antipathy toward Israel… Mr. Soros supports N.G.O.s that libel Israel by falsely accusing it of genocide and war crimes. One N.G.O. Mr. Soros funds wrote the same number of reports from 2000 to 2010 blasting Israel, the one democracy in the Middle East, as it wrote against Iran, Syria and Libya combined. This double standard, not Mr. Soros’s supposed “humanitarianism,” is why many are rightly critical of him. There is no contradiction between speaking honestly about Mr. Soros and simultaneously fighting anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.” [NYTimes

“Israeli Student’s Use of Auschwitz Artifacts in an Art Exhibit Prompts a Furor” by Megan Specia: “The student, Rotem Bides, told Israeli news outlets this week that she had collected the objects during five visits to the site of the former Nazi concentration camp… Ms. Bides said that her grandparents were Holocaust survivors — one grandfather was in Auschwitz — and that the art was intended to explore her personal history… Ms. Bides later told The New York Times that the items “are not from the Auschwitz camp and not from the Auschwitz museum, but from the nearby area,” but she declined to elaborate…The artwork was meant to be part of an exhibit starting on July 26 at Beit Berl College in Kfar Saba, a city near Tel Aviv, Israel. But the college removed it… after reports circulated that it contained stolen artifacts.”[NYTimes]

“Radiohead finally take the stage in Israel, play their longest concert in 11 years” by Alex Young: “Defying protests and calls for a cultural boycott, Radiohead took the stage at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, Israel on Wednesday night… Radiohead certainly let their music do the talking on Wednesday night, as the band served up a 27-song set that amounted to their longest performance in 11 years… According to reports from the ground, Yorke spoke sparsely throughout the night, saying at the end of the show, “A lot of stuff has been said about this, but in the end, we played some music.”” [COSBBC

“Is Israeli spy thriller False Flag, the new Homeland” by Gerard Gilbert: “False Flag is being marketed as “the new Homeland”, perhaps inevitably since the global hit starring Claire Danes as CIA agent Carrie Mathison began life as the low-budget Israeli TV drama called Prisoners of War. “It’s a big compliment but the big difference is the focus”, says False Flag’s co-creator Amit Cohen. “Homeland puts the focus on the professionals and does it in an amazing way, but the uniqueness of False Flag is that it is told from the point of view of ordinary people… They don’t know anything about the espionage world. This is their first encounter with the world of shadows. We didn’t put the focus on terrorists or spies – we were looking at Israeli society and Israeli characters to tell the story.”” [Independent

“Nev Schulman is getting married in the Hamptons this weekend” by Christine Burroni: “The ceremony is set to take place in Schulman’s father’s back yard, “where Nev used to run around as a kid,” and the reception will follow on the beach where Schulman took Perlongo on their second date… Perlongo will walk down the aisle in a gown by Israeli designer Inbal Raviv and jewelry by Edgar Mosa.” [PageSix

DESSERT: “Kosher bourbon: Buffalo Trace, Jewish owned since 1992” by Alfred Miller: ““Whisky Alert” read the top of the 2010 memo. Issued by an association of groups that grant kosher status to food products, the memo revealed serious doubts about whether the products of Franklin County’s best-known brand were in fact kosher. With its purchase by Sazerac Company in 1992, Buffalo Trace had become a Jewish-owned company, said the author of that memo, Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, referring to Sazerac Chairman William Goldring. For Jews who keep kosher and also enjoy a bit of Buffalo Trace bourbon, that poses a problem due to a relatively obscure Jewish dietary law related to Passover.” [StateJournal]

REMEMBERING: “Raymond Sackler, Psychopharmacology Pioneer and Philanthropist, Dies at 97” by Sam Roberts: “Dr. Raymond Sackler, a pioneer in psychopharmacology, a medicinal products entrepreneur and a leading philanthropist whose family made a fortune from the opioid painkiller OxyContin, died on Monday in Greenwich, Conn. They were major benefactors who helped finance the Sackler Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (home to the Temple of Dendur), the Freer and Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, British cultural institutions, schools in Israel and scores of scientific, academic and cultural programs. Raymond Raphael Sackler was born on Feb. 16, 1920, in Brooklyn to Isaac Sackler and the former Sophie Ziesel, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who ran a grocery store.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Billionaire, art collector and NYC real estate developer, Sheldon Solow turns 89… Retired after 30 years in the US Senate (D-MD) following 10 years in the House of Representatives, Barbara Mikulski turns 81… President of the National Endowment for Democracy (a private, congressionally supported grant-making institution) since its 1984 founding, Carl Gershman turns 74… Long-time member of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he served as a consul to Hong Kong and ambassador to Germany, Yoram Ben-Zeev turns 73… Commissioner on the US Commission on Civil Rights (2011-2016), Assistant Secretary of HUD in the Clinton administration, presently Vice Chair of the Board of Bank of San Francisco, Roberta Achtenberg turns 67… NY Times columnist, author and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Thomas Friedman turns 64… Molecular geneticist at NYC-based Rockefeller University and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Jeffrey M. Friedman turns 63… Broadcast and digital media executive, managing director of FDM Azerbaijan LLC and Azerbaijan International Film Company, both based in Baku, Farrell Meisel turns 62… Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Barbara Risman turns 61…

Past president of the Women’s Department at the Jewish Federation of Detroit, her late father was the US Ambassador to Norway (1997-2000), mother of fashion designers Matthew and Alex, Marcie Hermelin Orley turns 58… Political director of CNN, where he oversees the political coverage across all of CNN’s platforms, David Marc Chalian turns 44… Co-author of “Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame,” he is a staff writer at The Atlantic and a fellow at the New America Foundation, former editor of The New Republic, Franklin Foer turns 43… Singer who burst on the scene as a finalist on the fifth season of American Idol, Efraym Elliott Yamin turns 39… Senior Vice President at lobbyist Capalino+Company, Fred Kreizman turns 39… Managing partner of the communications firm of Main & Rose, writer, speaker and advocate, Beth Doane turns 34… Utility player for MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies, he started at third base for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Ty Kelly turns 29… Sheila Ganjian Navi turns 27… Graduate of Rockville, MD’s Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy and University of Pennsylvania, now a business analyst at McKinsey & Company, Etan Raskas turns 25… Institutional sales associate at BlackRock in San Francisco, Jonathan Tamir Alden turns 25… Associate at Chicago-based kCura, an e-discovery software company, former AIPAC staffer, Ashley Abramowicz… Jack Guggenheim… Goldie Fields

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Jul
19

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Daily Kickoff: Bibi’s hot mic — “we’re not OK on Iran” | Wayne Berman for WH Chief of Staff? | Prince William and Kate pay respects at Stutthof camp

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KAFE KNESSET — BIBI’S HOT MIC — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Some journalists wait a lifetime for a “fly on the wall” moment, and reporters accompanying Bibi on his European trip got one today. Arriving at the V4 Visegrad conference venue — bringing together leaders from Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland — Israeli journalists were awaiting an official press conference. Coincidentally, we all opened the headphones that were given out for simultaneous translation only to hear Bibi and his counterparts in their closed door meeting. For about 15 minutes the reporters eavesdropped on the conversation, providing a glimpse into Bibi’s real thinking.

“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear. I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth. Both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy toward Israel,” Netanyahu said. Bibi urged the countries to change the trend. “The EU is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology and every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it. It’s crazy. It’s actually crazy. There is no logic here. The EU is undermining its security by undermining Israel. Europe is undermining its progress by undermining its connection with Israeli innovation by a crazy attempt to create political conditions,” he said.

Europe wasn’t the only hot topic. Netanyahu also said Israel “had a big problem,” with the Obama administration and its policies on Iran and Syria. “I think its different now. Vis-a-vis Iran, there is a stronger position. The US is more engaged in the region and conducting more bombing attacks [in Syria], which is a positive thing. I think we are OK on ISIS. We’re not OK on Iran,” he said.

After about 15 minutes, the PM’s press team realized what was happening and the broadcast was stopped, but not before the recording was distributed and all media outlets broke out with push notifications about the incident. When the official presser started, Netanyahu addressed the matter, and said in Hebrew that he “will be brief because I understand the Israeli press is already well briefed.” However, despite the obvious embarrassment, the incident is not necessarily bad for Bibi, as it proves he actually delivers the same messages both inside closed doors and outside as well.  His staunch defense of Israel will definitely earn him some points with his base, and prompted some speculation and theories that perhaps the hot mic wasn’t unintended. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset today [JewishInsider]  

HEARD YESTERDAY —  State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on reports of Netanyahu expressing skepticism about Trump’s peace efforts: “I know that we have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and this administration has talked a lot about the importance of promoting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

ON THE HILL — Jason Greenblatt: “An honor to meet with Sen. Bob Corker today to discuss Israeli/Palestinian peace. Our conversation covered many topics including Taylor Force.” [Twitter]

A WH official tells us… “Jason went to hear about the Taylor Force Act not to share the WH opinion about it.”

TOP TALKER: “Saudi King’s Son Plotted Effort to Oust His Rival” by Ben Hubbard, Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt: “Before midnight, Mohammed bin Nayef was told he was going to meet the king and was led into another room, where royal court officials took away his phones and pressured him to give up his posts as crown prince and interior minister… At first, he refused. But as the night wore on, the prince, a diabetic who suffers from the effects of a 2009 assassination attempt by a suicide bomber, grew tired… One American official and one adviser to a Saudi royal said Mohammed bin Nayef opposed the embargo on Qatar, a stand that probably accelerated his ouster. Sometime before dawn, Mohammed bin Nayef agreed to resign…” [NYTimes]

“Qatar’s Critics Scale Back Demands in Diplomatic Bid” by Farnaz Fassihi: “Diplomats from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt told reporters that they had altered their demands from 13 detailed requests to six generalized ones focused on “principles.” … Qatar’s ambassador to the U.N. dismissed the new demands as a move to save face amid international pressure on the group to end the standoff.” [WSJ]

IRAN DEAL: “Iran FM accuses Trump of trying to undermine nuclear deal” by Laura Rozen: “We still do not know what they want to do,” [Mohammad Javad] Zarif said today. “They have been talking about scrapping the deal… But they seem to have come to the realization that scrapping the deal is not something that would be globally welcome. [So] they now try to make it impossible for Iran to get the benefits from the deal.” Zarif spoke to a small group of American journalists at the Central Park residence of Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations… The “JCPOA is not a deal that anyone loves,” Zarif said. “It was the only deal possible… We could not get a better deal… I assure [you], the US could not get a better deal.” … The JCPOA “was negotiated and drafted based on mutual distrust,” Zarif said. “It is not an agreement based on trust… [You] will see mistrust in every sentence and paragraph of deal. And it is mutual.” [Al-Monitor]

Zarif on new sanctions: “It violates the spirit of the deal. We will look at it and see whether it violates the letter of the deal. And we will act accordingly.”[CBSNews]

Deputy Minister Michael Oren: Trump was “clearly not ripping up the deal any time soon.” [JPost]

“4 good reasons Trump shouldn’t scrap the Iran nuclear deal or goad Iran to pull out” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “Playing around with a nuclear agreement — however imperfect — that is keeping Iran’s finger off the nuclear trigger, is both irresponsible and dangerous. If this is the course the Trump administration follows, it’s likely to find itself with the worst of both worlds: an Iran with nuclear weapons expanding its influence in the region. Perhaps in some parallel universe this could be claimed as a beautiful victory that will make America great again, but on planet Earth that just isn’t going fly.” [USAToday

“Source: Some White House staff worry Kushner security clearance in jeopardy” by Sara Murray and Jeremy Diamond: “White House officials are concerned that Kushner may not be granted a final security clearance, an administration official told CNN on Monday… As a top White House official, Kushner was granted an interim security clearance. Kushner met with the FBI on June 23 to be interviewed for his permanent security clearance… A source close to Kushner said his legal team sees no basis under which Kushner’s security clearance would be denied… Sanders, the No. 2 White House spokeswoman, affirmed Tuesday that Trump has faith in Kushner. “The President has confidence in Jared,” she said.” [CNN] • Why Jared Kushner Will Be Able to Keep His Security Clearance [NewYorker]

“Democrats target Ivanka Trump security clearance amid Kushner scrutiny” by Heidi M Przybyla: “A group of 20 House Democrats is calling on the FBI to review Ivanka Trump’s security clearance… “We are concerned that Ivanka Trump may have engaged in similar deception,” the House Democrats wrote in a letter.” [USAToday]

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Trump aides move on after health care loss” by Annie Karni and Eliana Johnson: “Ivanka Trump made an appearance at a global robotics competition celebrating girls from Afghanistan pursuing careers in STEM. Meanwhile, her husband, White House adviser Jared Kushner — who has taken little interest in the health care bill since its early, troubled days in the House, when he went skiing in Aspen with his family — was busy leading a meeting with his Office of American Innovation. In the West Wing, chief strategist Steve Bannon took a meeting with Wayne Berman, a Republican operative and board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition whose name has surfaced as a potential future chief of staff.” [Politico

“Here are the ‘three easy things’ that Chuck Schumer thinks can shore up Obamacare” by Ed O’Keefe and Sean Sullivan: “On Tuesday, Schumer said he told his Democratic colleagues during their weekly luncheon, “Sit down with Republicans. I welcome it.” But he insisted that any bipartisan deal cannot include tax cuts for wealthier Americans or cuts to the Medicaid program… And then there’s this: Schumer said he hasn’t spoke directly to Trump in months and to Vice President Pence in several weeks… “He’s tweeted at me much more than he’s talked to me lately,” Schumer said of the president.” [WashPost]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — “Meet Donald Trump’s Lawyer: A Messianic Jew Who Loves Jesus and Hates BDS” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “[Jay Sekulow] is representing the Gush Etzion Foundation, one of over a dozen defendants, in al-Tamimi vs. Adelson – a 2016 lawsuit brought by Palestinian activist Bassem al-Tamimi and others. The latter contend that the defendants, a group of U.S. nonprofits, philanthropists and corporations led by American casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, are guilty of war crimes against Palestinians, among other accusations. Sekulow’s co-counsel in the case is Marc Zell, co-chair of Republicans Abroad Israel… He said he had been brought into the Tamimi case by Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon because “the folks in Gush Etzion” needed a “tough” lawyer. “I like being a tough lawyer,” he declared. “And when you know the story of Gush Etzion, it brings out the toughest part of who you are.”” [Haaretz]  

2018 WATCH: “Illinois’ 2018 gubernatorial race is already nearing the $100 million mark with 16 months to go” by Stephen Wolf: “Wealthy investor J.B. Pritzker dominated the money race by self-funding $14 million even as he accepted no donations… While the Democrats have to first get past a crowded primary, [Gov. Bruce] Rauner will have built up a fully operational Death Star by the time the general election arrives. He raked in $20.6 million during the second quarter and finished June with $67.6 million cash-on-hand…  A whopping $20 million of Rauner’s haul, or all but $600,000, came from just a single source: hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin… Pritzker already spent a staggering $9.3 million in the second quarter.” [DailyKos

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: David Zaslav’s Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks in Talks to Combine [WSJ] • Struggles at Procter & Gamble Draw Scrutiny of Nelson Peltz [DealBook] • How Paul Singer plans to transform the biggest American power producer without getting burned [CNBC] • Jacob M. Safra Buys Jackie Kennedy’s Childhood Home [MansionGlobal] • Uber-style app ‘Careem’ goes off beaten track in Palestinian West Bank [Reuters] • Jonathon Triest’s Ludlow Ventures has closed its second fund with $45 million [TechCrunch] • Israel-based Cyberbit makes another move in Maryland [Technical.ly]

STARTUP NATION: “Mangrove raises $170M for its new fund to invest in Europe and Israeli startups” by Mike Butcher: “Luxembourg-based Mangrove Capital Partners, one of Europe’s leading early stage venture capital firms, has raised $170 million for its latest fund. Mangrove V will be used to invest across Europe and Israel. Mangrove put $8 million into Wix.com, and that resulted in a $550 million exit when it became the largest tech IPO to come out of Israel. Mangrove now has over $1bn under management and a team of twelve, which includes partners in Berlin and Tel Aviv.” [TechCrunch] • Israel tech firms raise $1.26 billion in 2Q 2017 [ToI]

“Prince William and Kate ‘intensely moved’ by visit to Holocaust camp” by Aubrey Allegretti: “Prince William and Kate spent more than an hour at the Stutthoff camp, just outside of Gdansk, where 65,000 people were killed by the Nazis. They toured the site, which is now a museum, meeting senior staff and signing a visitors book before being taken to a barracks and shown shoes left by Holocaust victims… Afterwards, the Royal couple met survivors of the camp, including two Britons who were returning for the first time. They listened while Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, both 87, led a prayer.” [SkyNews]

BOOK REVIEW: “The Red Cross and the Holocaust” by Samuel Moyn: “What began as an organization meant to curb the barbarity of warfare has found it difficult to live down its most grievous mistake: cozying up to the Third Reich, remaining silent about the Holocaust and later helping Nazis escape justice. In his last book, “Nazis on the Run: How Hitler’s Henchmen Fled Justice” (2011), historian Gerald Steinacher chronicled one aspect of this shameful era. His newest effort, “Humanitarians at War: The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust,” synthesizes what he and other historians have learned about the ICRC’s conduct during this troublesome period before adding new material on what the organization did next. This more comprehensive account of the ICRC’s actions equips the reader to decide whether the organization truly recovered from its wartime and postwar errors.” [WSJ

“Terror at the Temple Mount Puts the Lie to Palestinian Rage” by Eli Lake: “As Martin Kramer, a historian at Shalem College in Jerusalem, told me this week, the attack at the Temple Mount broke a taboo. “The usual Islamist claim is the danger to the mosque and the shrine is from Jews,” he said. “Here there was an actual conspiracy to smuggle weapons into this holy place and Hamas does not condemn it, they praise it. Who poses the greater danger to Al Aqsa?” It’s an excellent question. The answer is that the greater danger to one of Islam’s holiest place these days comes from the Palestinian fanatics who claim to be fighting for its reclamation.” [BloombergView

“Radiohead in Israel: As Opposition Intensifies, Opening Acts Preach Understanding” by Lior Phillips: “Radiohead not only reaffirmed their plans, but in choosing opening acts Dudu Tassa and Shye Ben Tzur for the July 19 show at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, are emphasizing, through art, the cross-cultural understanding and dialog so desperately needed in the area…. Tassa, who had once focused solely on Hebrew rock, now showcases the deeply rooted, potent depth of music written decades ago by Iraqi Jews, and featuring traditional Arabic instruments…” [Variety]

“Don’t tell Radiohead it can’t tour in Israel” by Jeff Blehar: “It’s depressing that Radiohead’s desire to return to a country that has a large, longstanding and vociferously supportive fan base should even be a political issue at all. But it is indicative of the trend in the modern era to politicize everything, and of people’s desire to use culture as a blunt, bludgeoning weapon against their enemies. Ultimately, what is most admirable about Radiohead refusing to buckle to the BDS pressure and media hassle is the fact that it is seeking to float above the politics of the issue entirely.” [NYPost

MEDIA WATCH: Has Trump Turned CNN into a House of Existential Dread?” by Sarah Ellison: ““We may look back in five years and find that CNN was fundamentally changed because of Trump,” one CNN employee told me. “Maybe it will turn out that Trump changed the brand” through his battle with the network… [Jeff] Zucker has made efforts to reassure journalists and on-air talent that the mission of CNN, to conduct journalism and hold the administration accountable, has never been more clear. He took a recent trip to the D.C. bureau to reiterate to staffers that there should be no chilling effect on their reporting as a result of the attacks from the administration, according to one person who was present.” [VanityFair

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Brooklyn’s OY/YO Sculpture Gets a New Home at the Williamsburg Waterfront” by Stephanie Geier: “On July 13th, it was unveiled by NYC Parks and Douglaston Development LLC at the esplanade of the North 5th Street Pier and Park. Many were eager to celebrate its return, with [Deborah] Kass herself attending the ceremony. The sculpture will be open to the public in its new home until July 2018… When facing Brooklyn, it reads “YO,” reflecting urban, Brooklyn slang and the Spanish word for “I am.” When facing Manhattan, it shows just the opposite word, “OY,” the famous Yiddish expression.” [UntappedCities

DESSERT: “Why the Young Heir of Katz’s Deli Decided to Expand for the First Time in 129 Years” by Sierra Tishgart: “That changed last month, when the newish owner, 29-year-old Jake Dell… expanded the business by opening a takeout-only stand in Brooklyn’s DeKalb Market Hall… In a back table at Katz’s, in between greeting elderly regulars and spot-checking the pastrami, Dell explained what motivated this decision… “One of the most important things for me is maintaining tradition and preserving the classics. That’s what people expect from me and from Katz’s… It’s about me preserving this tradition. You can’t re-create everything. You can’t re-create nostalgia. You can’t re-create the smut on the walls or the smell of an old neon sign, but you can bring the food closer to people. I don’t think you can replicate this place.”[GrubStreet]

“Is It O.K. to Fire a Muslim Driver for Refusing to Carry Wine?” by Kwame Anthony Appiah: “The real question is whether em­ployees can be exempted from such disputed activities without causing a business hardship. A supermarket can’t be obliged to retain a butcher whose religion forbids him to handle pork. But neither should it require the vegetable guy with the kipa to fill in at the sausage station. Where to draw the line between accommodations that are reasonable and those that are too demanding? That isn’t a question to be resolved once and for all, ethically or legally.” [NYTimes

MAZEL TOV: Aaron Keyak, co-founder of Bluelight Strategies, emails yesterday… “Late this morning, we had a baby girl! Today’s expansion of the Keyak/Goldgraber clan weighed in at a formitable 8 pounds, 3 ounces and is quite adorable. Mom and the baby are doing great. We’re feeling very excited and blessed!” [Pic]

BIRTHDAYS: Violinist, composer, conductor, and co-founder of the Juilliard String Quartet, Robert Mann turns 97… Survivor of the Holocaust by hiding in a Catholic school, earned a Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii, founder of the Newport News-based Holocaust Education Foundation, Peter Fischl turns 87… Johannesburg resident Monty Lasovsky turns 82… Interactive designer, author and artist, in 1986 he married Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late JFK, Edwin Arthur “Ed” Schlossberg turns 72… Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University, he seved in the Dutch Senate (1999-2010) and then as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (2010-2012), Uriel “Uri” Rosenthal turns 72… Entrepreneur, hotelier and real estate developer, often referred to as the creator of the boutique hotel concept, he gained fame in 1977 as co-founder of NYC’s Studio 54, Ian Schrager turns 71… Author of three books on baseball, long-time sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and ESPN writer and co-host, Jayson Starkturns 66… Born in a public housing project in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, now Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz turns 64… Ner Israel Rabbinical College’s Rabbi Ezra Neuberger turns 60… Billionaire chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings (owner of retailers Sears and Kmart), Edward Scott “Eddie” Lampert turns 55…

Pulitzer Prize winning NY Times reporter and author of “The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men,” Eric Lichtblau turns 52… Israeli actress, model and film producer, Yael Abecassis turns 50… Spokesperson to the Arab media in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office, Ofir Gendelman turns 46… Co-Chairman and CEO of of CheckAlt, an independent provider of treasury and lockbox solutions, previously CEO of Vintage Filings, a NYC-based EDGAR filing firm that he sold to PR Newswire, Shai Stern turns 43… Entrepreneur, two-time author and strategic marketing consultant, Alexis Blair Wolfer turns 33… Founder, CEO and Director at TradeRoom International, Ezra David Beren turns 32… ProPublica reporter covering the Trump administration since 2017, previously at Politico and Bloomberg, Isaac Arnsdorf turns 28… Warren Rapf Henry Emmanuel Hublet

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Daily Kickoff: Trump almost killed the Iran deal yesterday | KKR’s successors | Brafman’s strange defense of Shkreli | Kosher coming to Wrigley Field

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump Recertifies Iran Nuclear Deal, but Only Reluctantly” by Peter Baker: “President Trump agreed on Monday to certify again that Iran is complying with an international nuclear agreement that he has strongly criticized, but only after hours of arguing with his top national security advisers, briefly upending a planned announcement as a legal deadline loomed… While Mr. Trump headed to Paris and then spent the weekend in New Jersey, his team developed a strategy that they hoped would satisfy him and planned to notify Congress and make the case publicly on Monday. But even as allies were quietly being informed, Mr. Trump balked when he heard the plan at his morning security briefing, the official said.”

“The argument continued during a separate meeting with Mr. Tillerson as Mr. Trump pressed for more action… He agreed only late in the day after a final meeting in the Oval Office, in effect telling his advisers that he was giving them another chance and this time they had to deliver.” [NYTimes]

“Trump Just Came Very Close to Killing the Iran Deal” by Eli Lake: “For a few hours on Monday afternoon, it looked like the White House was going to tell Congress it could not certify Iran was complying, without saying Iran was in breach of the pact. This would have triggered a 60-day period in which Congress could vote to re-impose the secondary sanctions lifted as a condition of the deal, or to strike it down altogether.” [Bloomberg

HEARD LAST NIGHT — A Trump administration official in a briefing with reporters: “What we are focused on right now is trying to see a change in the behavior of the Iranian regime and stopping the Iranian malign behavior… The Secretary of State and the President intend to emphasize that Iran remains one of the most dangerous threats to U.S. interests and regional stability and to highlight the range of malign activities by Iran that extend well beyond the nuclear realm… The President, Secretary of State, and the entire administration judge that Iran is unquestionably in default of the spirit of the JCPOA.” [JewishInsider]

Breaking this am — AP: “US slaps 18 Iranian individuals, groups with sanctions over ballistic missiles program, other non-nuclear behavior.” [TwitterTreasury]

AIPAC’s take: “Today’s sanctions issued by the Trump administration against entities supporting Iran’s military and missile program are an important step forward. Lawmakers must quickly complete work on the Iran sanctions legislation currently under consideration and forward it to the president to sign and implement.”

“These Are The Trump White House’s Talking Points For Why The Iran Deal Is Staying In Place” by Mark Siebel: “The Trump administration… issued tough talking points on Monday… to supporters promising that it will continue to search for ways to modify the agreement. The talking points said that the Treasury Department would impose sanctions on seven Iranian government entities and five individuals in an effort to show determination to punish Iran for what it called “malign activities” that make Iran “one of the most dangerous threats to US interests.” … The document also cites the arbitrary arrests of Americans and accuses the Obama administration of a “myopic focus” on Iran’s nuclear program that allowed the Islamic Republic to gain influence throughout the region.” [BuzzFeed] • Pence: Trump has put Iran ‘on notice’ [WashTimes

KEY TAKE —  Aaron David Miller: “Today it’s clear Trump unable to overturn Obama’s two main achievements at home/abroad. ACA and JCPOA — however flawed.” [Twitter

Dem donor Andrew Weinstein emails us… “Iran remains a disruptive force in the region and we must be vigilant in guarding against the threat that they pose. However, they are no longer a nuclear threat and that alone is an accomplishment of enormous consequence.”

VIEW FROM TEHRAN: “Iran says it has received ‘contradictory signals’ from Trump” by The Associated Press: “Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Council on Foreign Relations Monday he hasn’t communicated with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But he said “it doesn’t mean that there can’t be (communication), because the possibilities for engagement with regard to the nuclear deal have always been open.” Zarif stressed that “Iran is serious about the nuclear deal” which “can lay the foundation, not the ceiling.” … Zarif said this “creates the impression in Iran that the United States’ hostility toward Iran will never end. And I think that can be remedied.”” [AP

HEARD YESTERDAY — WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Israeli criticism of Syria ceasefire: “There’s a shared interest that we have with Israel, making sure that Iran does not gain a foothold, military base-wise, in southern Syria. So while we’re going to continue those talks, obviously we want to have the productive ceasefire, but we also want to make sure that we’re not — one of our other objectives obviously remains to make sure that Iran does not gain a foothold in southern Syria.  So we need to continue to have that discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu about his concerns, but I think there is a shared goal there.”

“Netanyahu Told Macron He’s Skeptical About Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts” by Barak Ravid: “The Palestinian issue is complicated,” Netanyahu told Macron, the sources say, adding that Macron agreed but replied, “The problem is that you’re making it more complicated by building more and more in the settlements.” … Macron told Netanyahu that during Trump’s visit to Paris last week, the U.S. president spoke about his attempt to advance the peace process. Macron told Netanyahu he supports Trump’s initiative… but Netanyahu was more skeptical… “It will be complicated to move quickly with the American plan,” the sources quoted Netanyahu as saying. “I don’t know if Abbas can supply the goods because of his internal politics. But we will cooperate with Trump’s move.” [Haaretz

TAYLOR FORCE ACT: “Foreign Relations Panel to Vote to Slash Palestinian Authority Funding” by Jenna Lifhits: “It’ll be a pretty strong vote,” said Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the panel. “Hopefully during this work period.” Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the committee, also said he expected a vote soon. “We have gotten the bill in a place where it’s going to receive overwhelming support,” he said.”[TWS

CUFI CONFERENCE — Ambassador Ron Dermer blasts ‘Fake News’ false reporting about Israel — by Jacob Kornbluh: Tonight I’d like to talk to you about Fake News,” Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer started his speech at the annual Christians United for Israel’s ‘Night to Honor Israel’ in Washington, D.C. But as the crowd roared, Dermer made a point that he was not joining President Donald Trump’s tirade against the U.S. media. “Now, some people associate fake news with the rise of President Donald Trump,” he asserted. “but Israel has been dealing with fake news day after day, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade.”

Dermer on the Taylor Force Act: “I can assure that Israel is not the slightest bit concerned that the Taylor Force will pass. Israel would be concerned if the Taylor Force Act didn’t pass. Israel believes that the United States should end economic assistance of any government that pays people to kill Jews. Period.” [JewishInsider

Conference of Presidents’ Malcolm Hoenlein rebuked UNESCO’s recent resolution on Hebron: “They have declared the Bible obsolete and irrelevant. You can take an oath on the Bible but you can’t believe those same words. They are rewriting and distorting history,” he emphasized. Assailing the BDS movement, Hoenlein asserted, “It’s time to take the ‘D’ out of ‘BDS’ because that is a much better description of this campaign.”

Former Congressman Allen West warned Trump of the consequences for failing to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem: “If you have made this a campaign promise and you have spoken about this and don’t follow through, then there is a loss of credibility.  Then, how are you seen in the eyes of someone like (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas?” explained West. Moving the embassy demonstrates that “we will not be intimidated by the leader of a terrorist gang, which is what Fatah is.” [JewishInsider]

Pence reassures CUFI crowd that it’s only a matter of time until Trump moves the embassy to Jerusalem: “I promise you that the day will come when President Donald Trump will move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said to loud applause. “It is not a question of if, it is only when.” Pence also reassured the crowd that while certifying Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, the President “will not allow Iran develop a usable nuclear weapon. This is our solemn promise to the American people, to the people of Israel and to the world.” [JewishInsider]

ON THE HILL — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praised French President Emmanuel Macron on the Senate floor yesterday for his comments over the weekend about anti-Semitism: “It is with anti-Zionism; the idea that all other peoples can seek and defend their right to self-determination but Jews cannot; that other nations have a right to exist, but the Jewish state of Israel does not. Anti-Zionism, unfortunately, continues to bubble up in many different forms… The BDS movement is a deeply biased campaign that I would say, in similar words to Mr. Macron, is a “reinvented form of anti-Semitism” because it seeks to impose boycotts on Israel and not on any other nation. I hope that states across the country continue to push back against the BDS movement, by boycotting the boycotters, as my home state of New York has done.” [YouTube]

“AIPAC Withholds Criticism of Trump’s Budget Stance on Israel Because ‘No Veto Threat’ vs. Congress” by Amir Tibon: “AIPAC denounced the Obama administration for opposing a funding increase for Israel’s missile-defense program last year but hasn’t criticized the administration of President Donald Trump for its similar stance because it did not threaten to veto Congress’ efforts on the matter, an AIPAC official told Haaretz. “The statement in 2016 was issued because of a clear veto threat by the Obama administration over this provision,” the official said. “There has been no veto threat issued by the administration over this provision this year.” [Haaretz

“Jared Kushner Isn’t Going Anywhere” by Emily Jane Fox: “Kushner is not leaving the White House for now, despite calls for him to do so. As the administration dives head-first into “Made in America Week,” its latest themed week, he will debrief with Jason Greenblatt, the president’s lead envoy in the Middle East, who recently returned from Israel, and focus on the U.S.-China diplomatic and security dialogue, which will take place mid-week.” [VanityFair]

“Embroiled in Russia crisis, Kushner presses on with Mideast peace” by Michael Wilner: “I don’t sense that there is any substantive effect of the Trump family’s involvement with Russia on the way that Israelis perceive Jared Kushner’s involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian context,” said Gilead Sher, chief of staff under former Prime Minister Ehud Barak… Several of his predecessors in the peace process wondered aloud whether he will have the bandwidth to remain engaged. “Mr. Kushner is one individual – in the end, it is the president and the credibility of his administration that matters,” said Aaron David Miller… Obviously, any time there’s an investigation, there’s a distraction. But smart people are used to having distractions,” [Alan] Dershowitz added. “Jared strikes me as a very intelligent and a very determined young man who is learning quickly on the job the complexities of the Middle East peace process.” [JPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY — CNN’s Sara Murray on The Lead with Jake Tapper: “Jared Kushner is regularly at the president’s side, whether it’s when he is considering national security decisions, meeting with foreign leaders, or in his capacity helping to figure out the Mideast peace process. And talking to experts, they say it would be basically impossible for Kushner to do his job in the White House if he did not have a full security clearance.”

Hungary’s Orban: Collaboration with Nazis was mistake, sin: “Hungary’s prime minister says his country’s collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II was a “mistake” and a “sin” as it failed to protect its Jewish community. Viktor Orban said Tuesday that he told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “this can never happen again,” as Hungary “will protect all its citizens.” Some 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust.” [AP

KAFE KNESSET — Dispatch from Budapest — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Netanyahu expressed his gratitude for Orban’s “strong words,” but is still facing a tense meeting tomorrow evening with the local Jewish community as the government billboard campaign against George Soros is still up in the air, and some senior Jewish leaders feel they were “stabbed in the back” by Netanyahus stance on the debacle last week. Orban greeted Netanyahu with a grand honor guard and with all the respect in the world and they appear to have quite a friendly relationship. Bibi also expressed Israel’s gratitude for Hungary’s support in international forums, and that will be the leading theme tomorrow in his meetings with the V4 leaders of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to Israeli officials, the main goal of Bibi’s participation in the summit is to promote bilateral economic relations and in exchange – ensure support in the hostile multilateral international arena, primarily the EU, as each of these four countries could come into hand and block a consensus on future critical and anti-Israel resolutions. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

** 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: KKR positions successors to Henry Kravis and George Roberts [FinancialTimes] • Game of Thrones, Private Equity Style [Bloomberg] • Nelson Peltz’s Activist Attack Puts Focus on Procter & Gamble Cost Cutting [WSJ] • WeWork will launch in Japan with the help of SoftBank[TC] • Thyssenkrupp finds no signs of corruption in Israel deal [Reuters] • China is increasingly becoming key for Israel’s high-tech industry [CNBC] • David A. Steinberg’s Zeta Global acquires Boomtrain to boost marketing with machine learning [VentureBeat]

SPOTLIGHT: “The Strange Defense of Martin Shkreli” by Sheelah Kolhatkar: “On Wednesday, June 28th, the criminal-defense attorney Benjamin Brafman stood in front of a Brooklyn jury and presented an unusual argument… In late 2015, Shkreli was arrested and charged with misappropriating assets from Retrophin, a publicly traded drug company that he was running, and using those assets to conceal investor losses in separate entities, his hedge funds, MSMB Capital L.P. and MSMB Healthcare L.P. Announcing the charges, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Robert Capers, said, “Shkreli essentially ran his companies like a Ponzi scheme.” Brafman’s defense seems to be that Shkreli’s investors ultimately ended up making money on their investments, and this should excuse whatever lines he crossed in the process.”

“According to the testimony of some of his investors, Shkreli finally told them that he was shutting MSMB down and offered them shares in Retrophin, the drug company he was running that had no relationship with MSMB, rather than cash to redeem their shares. Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald, one of those investors, testified that “my choice was the cash”; he never got the cash, though. Instead, Rosenwald said, he and Shkreli reached a settlement in which Rosenwald received eighty thousand shares of Retrophin. In a pattern mirrored by other investors, Rosenwald testified that he came out ahead, financially, in the end, and was able to sell the Retrophin shares for between four hundred thousand and six hundred thousand dollars, a huge increase over his initial hundred-thousand-dollar investment.” [NewYorker]

“Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury Secretary, is hurtling toward his first fiasco” by Damian Paletta: “The coming months promise to test Mnuchin… with no experience in government but plenty of experience by the president’s side, serving as campaign finance chairman. Trump attended Mnuchin’s wedding in June, and on the wall beside Mnuchin’s desk is a news clipping announcing his appointment, signed by Trump along with — in black Sharpie — “I’m very proud of you.” … People who have met with him at Treasury describe him as polite and curious, with an unabashed affection for Trump that can cloud his message… He meets weekly with Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet L. Yellen, often for breakfast or lunch, to discuss a variety of financial market issues…. Whereas Lew seemed to eschew all the security and publicity — he once stood alone at night in Union Station waiting for his wife to get off a train — Mnuchin travels differently. He was recently seen leaving a Washington custom tailor shop in the middle of a workday with a group of Secret Service agents.” [WashPost

MEDIA WATCH: “Sinclair executive defends company from ‘biased’ media in internal memo” by Hadas Gold: “While it is true that Sinclair offers commentary segments from Mark Hyman and Boris Epshtyen, this content is clearly identified as commentary and constitutes a tiny percentage of the station’s weekly broadcast content,” [Scott] Livingston wrote. “Mark and Boris’ commentaries provide a viewpoint that often gets lost in the typical national broadcast media dialogue. Boris Epshtyen worked in the Trump White House, a fact that Sinclair makes no effort to hide, and provides a unique insight that viewers can’t find anywhere else. The presence of former administrative personnel serving as news commentators is a well accepted practice in journalism.” [Politico]

SPORTS BLINK: “Kosher food coming to Wrigley Field” by Elan Kane: “Kosher Standz, a partner of the Danziger Kosher Midwest catering company, will open DanZtand on July 21, serving kosher Romanian Hot dogs, Romanian Polish Sausages, and pretzels. Kosher Standz, a partner of the Danziger Kosher Midwest catering company, will open DanZtand on July 21, serving kosher Romanian Hot dogs, Romanian Polish Sausages, and pretzels.” [ChicagoSunTimes]

DESSERT: “JJ’s Holy Cow—A New Burger Cart For The Downtown Lunch Crowd” by Paul Stremple: “A new food cart at the corner of Court and Schermerhorn Streets is serving up kosher, artisanal burgers to the downtown Brooklyn lunch crowd. JJ’s Holy Cow is a small cart making big—aka half pound—burgers while focusing on organic and, when possible, locally sourced ingredients.” [Bklyner]
 
BIRTHDAYS: Cognitive therapy psychiatrist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, Aaron T. Beck turns 96… Hidden with his mother in a school attic in Poland during WW2, theoretical chemist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, he has also published plays and poetry, Roald Hoffmann (born Roald Safran) turns 80… Mayor of Edmonton, Alberta (2004-2013) and Minister of Health in the Alberta provincial government (2014-2015), Stephen Mandel turns 72… Politician, legislator and former Prime Minister of Peru (2008-2009), Yehude Simon Munaro turns 70… Executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (1985-2009) including during the 1994-95 MLB strike, now executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association, Donald Fehr turns 69… Finance and nursing home executive, attorney, founder of two banks and chairman of the Israel Discount Bank of New York (2006-2007), Leonard Grunsteinturns 65… Retired IDF Brigadier General, former Israeli Police spokesman, senior national radio broadcaster and international talk-show host, Elihu Ben-Onn turns 63… Yitz Woolf

Assistant Professor in the Cyber Science Department at the US Naval Academy and formerly an attorney at Covington & Burling, Jeffrey Michael Kosseffturns 39… Kiev-born, Australian writer, advocate, commentator and lawyer, he is the director of public affairs at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry,Alexander Ryvchin turns 34… Digital Media Associate at NYC-based The Workmen’s Circle, Lauren Friedlander … VP of development and strategy at 70 Faces Media (parent company of JTA), Shuli Karkowsky… Chairperson of the Jerusalem-based World Union of Jewish Students, Yosef Tarshish… Izi Doenyas… Rhoda Rosen… Jan Allen… Regina Brenner… Ted Rosenberg

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Kafe Knesset for July 17

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Obama and Biden walk together after Obama announced that the United States, with five other major world powers, and Iran have reached a nuclear deal (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

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Netanyahu Knesset committee

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PHOTO: REUTERS

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PHOTO: REUTERS

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