Daily Kickoff: Dershowitz defends Booker after photo with BDS activists | How old-money — Ackman, Pritzker, Saban, Gilbert — invest in tech

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DRIVING THE CONVO — At the Netroots Nation conference in New Orleans on Friday, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was pictured posing with anti-Israel activists while holding a poster that criticized Israel’s security barrier in the West Bank. “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go,” the sign in Booker’s hands read. The image was shared on Twitter by @US_Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a pro-Palestinian group that endorses the BDS movement.

Booker’s Senate spokesperson Jeff Giertz insisted that the Senator did not realize the poster’s reference to Israel. “Just before delivering a speech in New Orleans, Senator Booker was approached by dozens of people for photos,” Giertz explained in a statement on Friday afternoon. “In one instance, amid the rush, he was posing for a photo and was passed a sign to hold — he didn’t have time to read the sign, and from his cursory glance he thought it was talking about Mexico and didn’t realize it had anything to do with Israel. He hopes for a day when there will be no need for security barriers in the State of Israel, but while active terrorist organizations threaten the safety of the people living in Israel, security barriers are unfortunate but necessary to protect human lives.”

Professor Alan Dershowitz tells us… “As someone who is constantly asked to pose for photos with strangers, I understand how Senator Booker was tricked into posing with a sign whose implications he did not immediately comprehend. I have known Senator Booker for many years and have discussed with him many aspects of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. I am confident that he fully understands Israel’s need to protect its citizens from terrorism. We share a hope that just as the barrier dividing Jerusalem came down in 1967, so too the other barriers will someday be able to be safely removed, if and when terrorism against Israelis ends.”

— Dershowitz added that he doesn’t see this picture become an issue in 2020 should Booker decide to run for president.

Noah Pollak tells us… “Senator Booker’s explanation for why he posed with BDS activists is not credible, and so his judgment on foreign policy will be an issue in any future election. If he wants to begin repairing the damage, he can argue to the progressives he appears so interested in courting that their contempt for Israel and support for BDS is unacceptable. But I am sure he will never publicly criticize the kind of people with whom he just posed with. That would require political courage.”

A veteran of Democratic presidential races, who asked to remain anonymous, tells us that Booker could get a one-time pass over this ‘stupid’ move. And while it’s possible that Booker didn’t read the sign, it’s also possible that “having never been confronted with a split-second decision about angering a fan, Booker didn’t know what to do,” the Dem strategist said.

“This ain’t baseball — if there’s a strike two, then he’s out,” he added. “It will certainly be possible to run for president in 2020 as a pro-Palestinian Democrat — we’ll probably see more than one candidate do that and it’s definitely where a lot of Democratic primary voters are. But it isn’t possible to be pro-Palestinian if you’ve already been co-president of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s L’Chaim Society.”

Ann Lewis, a former White House Communications Director, emails us… “I have too much confidence in voters to think that a photo snapped in 15 seconds — and explained 15 minutes later — will have a lasting effect.”

Democratic pollster and campaign strategist Mark Mellman: “Booker’s long and strong record of support for Israel says a lot more than a mischievously placed sign handed to him as he was going to a podium to speak. Some Israel critics tried to misuse Booker and he did not let it stand, making clear immediately that Israel has the right and responsibility to protect itself.”

Noam Neusner, a former speechwriter and Jewish liaison for President George W. Bush: “Maybe it will hurt him with everyone. His explanation that he hadn’t read the sign suggests he doesn’t have the courage of someone else’s convictions.”

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted on Friday: “Booker’s office issued a statement saying he was handed the sign amidst a crowd and did not read it. These things do happen to politicians. I accept his explanation.”

DRIVING THE DAY — The U.S. is expected to restore major sanctions against Iran that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal following President Trump’s withdrawal from JCPOA in May. “The United States is going to enforce these sanctions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reportersyesterday. “It’s an important part of our efforts to push back against Iranian malign activity.”

— “A U.S. Treasury official… said so-called “snapback” sanctions will be reimposed at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.” [Reuters]

Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, emails us… “The Trump administration is sending a clear message to banks, insurers and other companies around the world: get out of Iran or face dire legal and financial consequences. U.S. sanctions on Iran are back and they will be fully enforced.”

“Now it’s time to look ahead to the next round of sanctions in November — especially for foreign banks processing oil payments with the Central Bank of Iran and banks on the board of SWIFT, which must disconnect Iranian banks or face certain cut-off from the US financial system. As this maximum pressure campaign gets rolling, the mullahs will face a stark choice: fundamental behavioral change or regime collapse.”

Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, on what’s next: “The big regional picture is a race underway to determine what comes first: Will the Iranian regime buckle under internal protest and external pressure, including the tightened economic grip imposed by the Trump Administration’s welcome reimposition of sanctions, or will Iran’s attempt to turn Syria into a Lebanon-like front against Israel, armed to the teeth with offensive weapons, trigger a massive Iran-Israel conflagration?”

“While the Trump administration seems to have indicated it would be happy with any of three outcomes of its Iran policy — a unilateral change by Iran of its malign behavior in the Middle East; a willingness by Iran to negotiate a bigger, better agreement covering both nuclear and non-nuclear issues; or full-scale regime change in Iran — at the current moment, it is difficult to see the Tehran regime choosing either of the first two paths. That calculus may change if the domestic situation dramatically worsens, both politically and economically, or if Israel adopts an even more muscular and assertive strategy to counter Iranian gains in Syria. ”

HEARD YESTERDAY — Former Senator and Chairman of UANI Joe Lieberman on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo: “It’s a very important day, and that’s a day that I for one I didn’t think would happen. Tomorrow is the day that effectively the Iran nuclear agreement of 2015 dies, and this is one death that I am not mourning because I thought it was a bad agreement… I give credit to President Trump on this one, for getting us out of the agreement. Hopefully, it will bring the Iranians back to the negotiating table to negotiate a better deal.” [Video]

U.N. officials: Trump, Rouhani may hold meeting at U.N. General Assembly — by Shlomo Shamir: “A summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani may take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next month, a senior diplomatic source at the UN headquarters in New York told Ma’ariv… “It’s still too early to talk about it, but we think it’s worth making the effort to take this opportunity to push toward a meeting between the two leaders,” one UN official said.” [JPost]

Trump tweeted on Saturday“Iran, and its economy, is going very bad, and fast! I will meet, or not meet, it doesn’t matter – it is up to them!”

U.S. Accuses Iran of Terror Plots in Effort to Sway Europe — by Laurence Norman in Brussels and Matthew Dalton in Paris: “A slate of investigations into alleged terror plots and killings sponsored by Iran has opened a new front in U.S. efforts to persuade European governments to cut ties with Tehran… Washington, Israel and Iranian dissident groups say the alleged recent operations show that Iran has ended years of caution about hunting its enemies in Europe.” [WSJ]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: There’s Trump’s Foreign Policy and Then There’s His Administration’s — by Mark Landler: “For aides like [Mike] Pompeo or Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, there could be another reason for the disconnect with Mr. Trump: they harbor their own long-term political ambitions and do not want to run afoul of traditional Republican constituencies. Cozying up to Iran or Russia does not play well with mainstream Republicans.” [NYTimes

REPORT: Trump and Allies Seek End to Refugee Status for Millions of Palestinians — by Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer: “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner wrote about the agency in one of those emails, dated Jan. 11 and addressed to several other senior officials, including Trump’s Middle East peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt. “This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace,” he wrote.”

“Kushner raised the refugee issue with officials in Jordan during a visit to the region in June, along with… Jason Greenblatt. According to Palestinian officials, he pressed the Jordan to strip its more than 2 million registered Palestinians of their refugee status so that UNRWA would no longer need to operate there.”

“The White House declined to comment on the record for this story. A senior executive branch official… said U.S. policy regarding the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee program “has been under frequent evaluation and internal discussion. The administration will announce its policy in due course.” [ForeignPolicy

Palestinians slam reported US plan to weaken refugee agency: “Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, alleged Sundaythat the Trump administration is “pushing to impose facts on the ground, by realizing all of Israel’s demands.” [AP

How Trump’s strong support for Israel harms pro-settler party — by Mazal Mualem: “Trump’s highly supportive policy toward Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and his failure thus far to instigate a peace process with the Palestinians seem to have left [Nafatali] Bennett without a cutting-edge agenda… With such a friendly US administration and a US ambassador… HaBayit HaYehudi and Bennett have lost the “demon” who made them so essential for the hardcore right.” [Al-Monitor]

The real lesson Trump learned from Charlottesville — by Annie Karni: “The big picture is the fizzle,” said Bill Kristol, editor-at-large of the Weekly Standard and a prominent Never Trump conservative. “He’s not in good shape politically, but he’s not in worse shape. Charlottesville didn’t change his numbers. Everything has just become more the way it was.” … In some ways, the experience of Charlottesville, as well as his ability to recover from any short-term crisis, has been empowering for Trump and his allies. Three former aides said the takeaway from Charlottesville is the nihilistic notion that nothing matters except for how things play.” [Politico]

ROAD TO THE MIDTERMS — In an interview with Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh, Republican challenger Noga Sachs discussed her campaign against incumbent GOP Congresswoman Ann Wagner in Tuesday’s primary for Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District:

Sachs, a 34-year-old Israeli American, is Wagner’s only challenger and is facing an uphill battle. The Missouri GOP attempted to throw her off the ballot alleging Sachs is a ‘Trojan Horse’ candidate. In a phone interview, Sachs admitted that she is not a traditional Republican and that in the past she voted for Democrats…

Sachs on her views toward President Trump: “Trump does a lot of not necessarily well thought-out-things that I think is irresponsible. Definitely, if you’re talking about moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, I agree with that and several other ideas that he has. But I couldn’t tell you that I would be like Wagner and that I would just always go with what Trump says.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

White Nationalists Love Corey Stewart. He Keeps Them Close — by Danny Hakim and Stephanie Saul: “Some white nationalists volunteer for Mr. Stewart’s campaign, and several of his aides and advisers have used racist or anti-Muslim language, or maintained links to outspoken racists like Jason Kessler, the organizer of last year’s violent rally in Charlottesville, Va. Mr. Stewart has not distanced himself from those aides… Mr. Stewart praised President Trump’s statement that there were “very fine people on both sides” at the Unite the Right white nationalist protests in Charlottesville last August. “I don’t think he said anything bad there,” Mr. Stewart, 50, said.” [NYTimes]

Sanders boosts progressive candidate ahead of Michigan governor primary — by Max Greenwood: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sought to boost Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed in Detroit on Sunday… In a fiery stump speech that touched on the senator’s usual motifs of income inequality and the corrupting influence of money in politics, Sanders touted El-Sayed as a political ally who would buoy the progressive movement in a state narrowly won by President Trump in 2016.” [TheHill]

In Deeply Blue New Jersey, an Unexpected Battle for Senate — by Nick Corasaniti: “So far, national Democratic Party groups have not contributed to [Sen. Bob] Menendez’s efforts, though that may change. Mr. Menendez said he might get help from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which he once led… Mr. Menendez also counts one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party as his close friend: Mr. Booker, who despite spending time traveling and planting the seeds for what many believe will be a presidential run in two years, is also invested in ensuring Mr. Menendez is re-elected.” [NYTimes]

Max Rose on leave from campaign trail to train with National Guard — by Anna Sanders: “Staten Island Congressional candidate and decorated war vet Max Rose is detouring from the campaign trail for military training. Rose is on leave from his campaign between Sunday and Aug. 20 for squad-level combat exercises with the New York National Guard.” [NYPost]

Pennsylvania congressman touts fake pro-Israel award from Sacha Baron Cohen — by Josh Israel: “Alongside his 2018 “True Blue Award” from the anti-LGBTQ hate group the Family Research Council and his 2010 Leadership Award from the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, [Rep. Scott] Perry (R-PA) lists the fake prize — incorrectly listing it as “70 for 70″ on his “Awards and Recognition” page.” [ThinkProgress

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Deal Gives Kushners Cash Infusion on 666 Fifth Avenue [NYTimes] • Chetrit Group out at 9 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn’stallest development [TheRealDeal] • In ‘Confidential’ Letter, Hedge Fund Elliott Skewers ‘Secretive’ Label [WSJ] • Israeli Startup DouxMatok Makes Sugar Sweeter [Bloomberg] • Scooter Braun Launches Fitness Venture[Variety] • Sun, sand, sea and … unicorns? Why Tel Aviv is the world’s new startup capital [TheGuardian]

SPOTLIGHT — Old-Money Billionaires Are Chasing New Tech Riches — by Anupreeta Das: “The family office of hedge-fund titan William Ackman has invested in Rubicon Global, an Atlanta-based trash-collection startup last valued at $1 billion… E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc., which in July raised $650 million from investors at a $15 billion valuation, counts a family office founded by Nicholas Pritzker and his four adult children among its early backers.

“Successful tech companies are popping up all around [families],” making it impossible not to consider investing, said Jacob Cohen, who oversees venture investments for Dan Gilbert, the billionaire cofounder of mortgage lender Quicken Loans Inc. and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. While Mr. Cohen is open to investing in deals led by Valley firms, he also focuses on Michigan-area investments and holds out his serial-entrepreneur boss Mr. Gilbert as a resource to young founders.”

“Entrepreneur-turned-venture-investor Barak Pridor, who has $100 million from media mogul Haim Saban’s investment firm Saban Capital Group to deploy on startups, too is steering clear of the Valley. He’s training Saban Ventures on Israel, which he deems as friendlier than the Valley. Israel has a thriving community of entrepreneurs and has produced venture-backed companies such as Mobileye, acquired by Intel Corp. for $15 billion.” [WSJ]

PROFILE — Disney’s Streaming Service Starts to Come Into Focus — by Brooks Barnes: “The service’s initial success or failure will depend a great deal on an ascendant Disney executive named Ricky Strauss, who was recently given — to the surprise of many in Hollywood — creative oversight of the service’s programming.” [NYTimes]

She’s Joining Goldman’s Most Elite Tier, as Its Youngest Banker — by Sridhar Natarajan: “[Stephanie] Cohen is now Goldman Sachs committee’s youngest, with the rare label of “ex officio” member… Since the start of this year, Cohen has held the weighty title of chief strategy officer — leading a team that helps decide where the bank should pursue new lines of business or acquisitions of its own… She’ll be among seven women on the 33-person panel.” [Bloomberg]

SPORTS BLINK: Amar’e Stoudemire Is on a Religious Quest — by Sam Kestenbaum: “The halls of the Jewish Museum in Manhattan were hushed and dim as Amar’e Stoudemire stepped inside… With furrowed brow, he considered dozens of Jewish relics on display: a chunk of carved third-century marble, twinkling candelabra and a carved wooden chest for keeping the Torah… “When I’m not training, I study Torah,” Mr. Stoudemire said. “Study, train, study, train, study, train, study. That’s life.” … Mr. Stoudemire seems undeterred by religious gatekeepers who might discourage such exploration. “I study with elders, with rabbis, with everyone,” he said. “I don’t limit myself.”” [NYTimes]

MEDIA WATCH: C-SPAN Caller Threatens ‘To Shoot’ CNN Hosts Brian Stelter And Don Lemon — by Hayley Miller: “A supporter of President Donald Trump threatened “to shoot” CNN reporters Brian Stelter and Don Lemon during an on-air call with C-SPAN on Friday… “I’m not asking for sympathy,” Stelter said Sunday. “I don’t think I’m in extreme danger. I know some of my colleagues get much worse threats than I do. CNN has a great security team and we know how to handle this stuff.” “But these kinds of threats are coming in more often,” he warned.” [HuffPost]

Bret Stephens writes… “Trump Will Have Blood on His Hands: The message I got in May was the third time I’ve been expressly or implicitly threatened with violence by someone whose views clearly align with Donald Trump’s.” [NYTimes]

CNN boss Jeff Zucker is doing well after heart surgery: “Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, is through heart surgery and doing well. Zucker is on a leave of absence through August to recover and is expected back at the network in September.” [NBCNews]

CAMPUS BEAT — Stanford RA Who Threatened ‘Zionist Students’ Resigns –by Marcy Oster: “A student at Stanford University who threatened to “physically fight” against “Zionist students” following Israel’s passing of legislation making Israel the “nation-state of the Jewish people” announced that he would resign his post as a residential assistant…” [ForwardStanfordDaily]

Some College Students Choose a School Where They Don’t Fit, on Purpose — by Kyle Spencer: “When Jonah Shainberg was accepted to Notre Dame, a football-heavy Catholic university in Indiana, his mother balked at the idea. “I’m not sending my Jewish son to Notre Dame,” Mr. Shainberg recalled her saying. He was also skeptical. But once he was there, Mr. Shainberg… discovered something about himself he had not totally understood before: His faith was central to his identity. “I think Notre Dame made me more Jewish,” he said.” [NYTimes]

Ross Douthat writes… “The Jewish Crossroads: One form of pressure comes from the left, which is increasingly intent on rooting out all residues of traditionalism within the liberal order… At the same time, there is a different pressure from Israel itself. As the Jewish state’s political and cultural debate has shifted to the right, Benjamin Netanyahu has embraced the view that European Jewry’s old enemy, Christian nationalism, is less dangerous to the Jewish future than the dissolving effects of liberal cosmopolitanism and the threat posed by Islamist anti-Semitism… These centrifugal forces, pulling leftward and rightward, have already alienated younger liberal Jews in the United States from the uncomplicated pro-Israel sentiments of their grandparents. And they may portend a future where the “liberal politics with a dose of cultural conservatism” combination gives way to a sharper choice for many Jews: a more consistently conservative Judaism bound to Israeli nationalism, and a liberal Judaism that’s more consistently liberal and less identitarian — and perhaps ultimately more secularized and assimilated.” [NYT]

ACROSS THE POND: Jewish leaders blast Corbyn for ‘bland’ video with no apology in video — by Tim Stickings: “Jewish leaders have dismissed Jeremy Corbyn’s latest attempt to solve his party’s anti-Semitism crisis after the Labour leader posted a video promising to ‘root out’ racism among his supporters.” [DailyMail]

Anti-Semitic Graffiti Scrawled on Childhood Home of Elie Wiesel in Romania — by Kit Gillet: “It was scrawled late Friday evening on the outside wall of the childhood home of… Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. The building in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania, is now a protected historical monument and museum. The graffiti read in part, “Nazi Jew lying in hell with Hitler” and “Public toilet, anti-Semite pedophile.” … In a statement on Saturday, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its regret over the vandalism at Mr. Wiesel’s childhood home, and condemned “any anti-Semitic gestures and any behavior or expression that promotes intolerance and xenophobia.”[NYTimes]

— The Elie Wiesel National Institute for Studying the Holocaust in Romania called the damage “grotesque” and asked investigators “to treat this incident with maximum severity with maximum responsibility.” [CNN]

IMAGE — Roger Waters displayed the slogan “Resist Israeli anti-Semitism” on the Jumbotrons at his concert last night at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland.[Pic]

— Rabbi David Wolpe tweeted“That Roger Waters displayed this at his concert in Poland of all places is unendingly odious.”

DESSERT — Eating kosher at ASU is about to get easier — by Lauren Castle: “Hannah Widawer, 20, found herself taking an Uber or relying on friends with cars to get kosher food off campus in her earlier years at Arizona State University. She is one of an estimated 3,500 Jewish students attending ASU… That will change this year as ASU will serve new kosher options at the Hassayampa Academic Village Dining Hall…” [AZCentral]

New Vegan Shawarma Joint in Tel Aviv Is a Game-changer — by Roni Kashmin: “The new place, called Sultana, will be a shawarma eatery for all intents and purposes… Only this shawarma is totally vegan.” [Haaretz]

Healthy taqueria Taco Dumbo opening fourth location — by Jennifer Gould Keil: “While the name evokes Brooklyn, Taco Dumbo — a SoCal taqueria that focuses on healthy food and cold-pressed juice — is launching an outpost at 1385 Broadway, between 37th and 38th Streets, later this year… Jonathan Krieger and Dan Bodner of Retail Worx repped Taco Dumbo.”[NYPost]

BIRTHDAYS: Beverly Hills-based family law attorney, founding partner of Jaffe and Clemens, Daniel J. Jaffe turns 81… Casino owner, three time winner of the World Series of Poker, and former executive of Wilsons Leather and Rainforest Cafe, Lyle Berman turns 77… Founder and spiritual leader of The Elijah Minyan in San Diego, Wayne Dosick turns 71… Austrian businessman with many US, Israeli and Eastern European investments, Martin Schlaff turns 65… Distinguished Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, formerly Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy (2012-2013), Tara D. Sonenshine turns 59… NASA astronaut who spent 198 days on the International Space Station during 2008, he brought bagels from his family’s bagel store in Montreal into space on his first mission into orbit, Gregory Chamitoff turns 56… Famed computer hacker, now a computer security consultant, Kevin Mitnick turns 55…

AVP of Public Affairs at the American Council on Education, Jonathan Riskind turns 55… Chair of the Executive Grantmaking Committee of the board of directors at the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, board member of Hillel at Stanford University, Susie Sorkin… Television and radio sports anchor on ESPN and ABC, he was one-half of the “Mike & Mike” team but now hosts his own morning program, Mike Greenberg turns 51… HBO’s boxing commentator and co-host of ESPN’s First Take, Yiddish speaking Max Kellerman turns 45… Former CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick turns 42… Entrepreneur In Residence at LinkedIn, she was previously the CEO at ReUp Education, Nitzan Pelman… Actress, director and screenwriter, Soleil Moon Frye turns 42… Creative director and graphic designer at Facebook, Rachel Gogel… Senior Policy Advisor to Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), Corey A. Jacobson turns 29… Senior producer and journalist at Mic, Jessica I. Goldberg




Daily Kickoff: White House Mideast team staffing up ahead of peace plan rollout | United’s new DC—Tel Aviv route | Paul Ryan’s welcome package

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VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the Debut Inbox starting at 7:19 AM EDT this morning. 

DRIVING THE CONVO: Donald Trump Jr. compares Democratic platform to 1930-era Nazis — by Stephanie Murray: “President Donald Trump’s oldest son made the comments at an event for conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza’s new film: “Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party.” … “You see the Nazi platform in the early 1930s and what was actually put out there, and you look at it compared to, like, the DNC platform of today, and you’re saying, ‘Man, those things are awfully similar,’ to the point where it’s actually scary, and to me that was one of the most striking things I took from the movie because it’s the exact opposite that you’ve been told,” Donald Trump Jr. said during an interview with One America News Network.”

“The president’s son did not address the members of the so-called alt-right who self-identify as Nazis and white supremacists.” [Politico

Abe Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and former National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, tells us… “This is 1984 Doublethink. I would like to believe that it is not true, but unfortunately, it is! Sadly it is being pronounced by the people who brought back Lindbergh’s America First, that there are good Nazis, and who brought you separating children from parents. It is hideous to compare Trump to Hitler or Mussolini, and it is more hideous to compare the DNC agenda to the Nazi platform. Somebody please take Donald Jr. to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or to Auschwitz so he may learn what the Nazi platform was all about.”

Aaron Keyak, co-founder of Bluelight Strategies, emails us… “After President Trump’s response to Charlottesville and his general reluctance to strongly condemn neo-Nazis, it’s not a surprise that his son doesn’t know his Nazi history. Of course, this is all deeply disturbing and damaging, but the real question is what are Trump’s supporters going to do about it?”

Alan Dershowitz shares some of the hate mail he got for defending President Trump on TV: “One email that begins by calling me “a piece of s—” continues with the following: “Despite what Zionists such as yourself want the rest of us to believe, the world doesn’t revolve around Jews.” Another says that alleged support for President Trump is “All about Jerusalem as the capital, and loving Israel to you, just move there.” …  Yet another accused me of saying what I say for “The Money” and accusing my “home country,” Israel, of being like the “f—— Nazis.” He ends his email by acknowledging that “I don’t like Jewish people.”

“Then there are the anti-Trump extremists who compare Trump to Hitler and compare those of us who defend his civil liberties to those who brought Hitler to power. One email addresses me as “Alan ‘Goebbels’ Dershowitz.”” [TheHill]  

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH: White House Mideast team staffing up for peace plan rollout — by Matt Lee and Zeke Miller: “The National Security Council last week began approaching other agencies seeking volunteers to join the team, which will work for President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace pointmen Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt… The team, which is being set up to organize the peace plan’s public presentation and any negotiations that may ensue, will comprise three units: one concentrating on its political and security details, one on its significant economic focus and one on strategic communications.”

“The State Department, Pentagon, intelligence agencies and Congress have been asked to detail personnel to the team for six months to a year.” [AP]

REPORT: US postpones rollout of Mideast ‘deal of the century’ — by Daniel Siryoti, Ariel Kahana and Erez Linn: “[A] U.S. official said the administration has already decided not to present the peace plan before the congressional mid-term elections on Nov. 6 because certain components of the plan call for Israeli concessions and could harm Republican candidates’ election bids.”

“The official also said that if Israel goes to elections after the Jewish holidays this September, then the administration would postpone the peace plan even further… Announcing the peace plan during an Israeli election campaign “would play into the hands of [Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali] Bennett and the administration understands this,” the official said… “It appears, therefore, that the sides would rather play it smart and simply wait until the elections are over, in the U.S. and in Israel,” the official said.” [IsraelHayom]

Zev Chafets writes… “Israel’s Opposition Took the Bait of Bibi’s New Law: Prime ministers stay in power one election at a time, and Bibi intends to win re-election to a fourth consecutive term. His right wing coalition partners will be with him because they have nowhere else to go. But if he makes inroads in the center, he can have the kind of broad government he has dreamed of. If that comes to pass, he will look back on the 19th of July, 2018 as the day his opponents walked into the trap by voting against a bill that happens to enshrine the most cherished values of the Israeli mainstream.” [BloombergView]

Jerusalem fast-tracks approval of major US embassy expansion: “The plans, reported by Hadashot TV news on Thursday, include an expansion of office space, creation of new entrances, and additional areas for providing services to the public… Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat welcomed the expansion. “The permits that I signed yesterday for the US embassy in Jerusalem are another stage in establishing and setting the role of the embassy in Israel’s capital,” he said.” [ToI]

TALK OF THE REGION: Hamas Debates Cease-Fire With Israel as Leaders Head to Gaza — by Jonathan Ferziger: “Salah al-Arouri, Turkey-based deputy head of the militant group that rules Gaza, and Mussa Abu Marzuk, another senior leader, crossed from Egypt to Gaza for three days of talks, spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in an email… Netanyahu’s deputy minister for public diplomacy, Michael Oren, acknowledged that efforts were being made to halt the violence, without discussing Israel’s involvement.”[Bloomberg]

— “Permitting a delegation with this level to come to Gaza is a clear sign that there are first of all guarantees that the delegation will not be targeted by the Israelis, and a sign that there are serious meetings to be held in Gaza,” said Bassem Naim, a Gaza-based Hamas official.” [AP]

PROFILE: The man trying to save Gaza — by Itamar Eichner and Elior Levy: “Israeli officials agree that [Nickolay] Mladenov is the most active UN envoy the region has seen in recent years. That is considered a compliment, as Israel generally views UN personnel with suspicion for their generally pro-Palestinian views… He is very familiar with Israel and the Israelis and is deeply involved in politics… Mladenov was also able to earn the trust of Hamas, and it is no wonder that in each of the recent escalations, the terrorist organization was quick to turn to him (in addition to Egypt, of course) to achieve a cease-fire… Israel views Mladenov as the man who can find a solution to the Gaza mess, despite the difficulties… The Americans also admire him, and… Jared Kushner is in touch with Mladenov regarding a tentative American peace initiative that will surely place an emphasis on Gaza.” [Ynet

WELCOMING COMMITTEE — House Speaker Paul Ryan received a warm welcome after it was revealed that he’s slightly Jewish. Yesterday, The Manischewitz Company, the largest marketer of Kosher Foods in North America, sent a letter to Ryan introducing him to the traditional kosher products and offering him some tips to jump-start his education on Jewish culture.

The top ten tips include making “sure to clear your calendar on Friday nights or Saturday mornings for Shabbat; be prepared to gain a few pounds, Jewish grandmothers will never believe you when you say you’re full” and “make sure to learn the hora because if you don’t, you may get injured.” Read the full letter here.

— Dan Senor tweets“Look, Speaker Ryan is a team player — so he’ll roll with it — but he did NOT know that Kosher-for-Passover macaroons were part of the deal.”

Stephen Colbert Offers to Circumcise ‘Slightly Jewish’ Paul Ryan on ‘Late Show’ — by Ryan Reed: “Colbert offered to recruit a mohel and stage a “live bris” on The Late Show. “Think of it this way, Paul,” he added, sneaking in one final diss. “The foreskin is only one percent… and we know how much you love cuts for the one percent!” [RollingStoneVideo]

TENNESSEE PRIMARY RESULTS: David Kustoff holds off George Flinn challenge for Eighth District GOP nomination — by Ted Evanoff: “U.S. Rep. David Kustoff held off a challenge from Dr. George Flinn Jr. to win the Republican nomination in the Eighth District Thursday. Incomplete and unofficial vote totals showed Kustoff with 57,391 votes, or 56 percent, compared to 40,673 for Flinn, or about 40 percent.”[CommercialAppeal]

Controversial former GOP lawmaker fails in comeback bid — Sheila Burke and Adam Beam: “Stacey Campfield finished third in a GOP primary for House District 89 in the Knoxville area, one of 86 contested state legislative races in Tennessee on Thursday… He once likened the insurance requirement under President Barack Obama’s health care law to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.” [AP]

Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Too Far Left for Hollywood? — by Peter Kiefer: “In a break with tradition, Ocasio-Cortez, who labels herself a democratic socialist, has no plans to meet with any of the entertainment industry’s Democratic political power brokers while she is in town. She will not be having coffee with Carl Reiner. There will be no sitdown with Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen or Haim Saban. No $5,000-a-plate dinner at Robert Iger’s mansion in Brentwood.” [HollywoodReporterNYPost]

MIDTERMS: Steve Bannon Is Trying To Set Up A “2018 War Room.” Will Trump Care? — by Tarini Parti: “Bannon is expected to launch a “2018 war room,” according to two sources, to try to shape the midterm elections messaging on behalf of Republicans… Former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg… told BuzzFeed News he will have a senior role in it.” [BuzzFeed]

Tommy Robinson case exposes links between far-right in US and UK — by Henry Mance: “Mr Robinson’s case was championed on Fox News, the US network beloved of Mr Trump, and an online petition calling for his release gained more than 630,000 signatories, many from the US. His legal fees were paid by the Middle East Forum, a conservative US think-tank (led by Daniel Pipes) that has previously supported Dutch populist Geert Wilders.” [FinancialTimes

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… Top Trump Donor Agreed to Pay Michael Cohen $10 Million for Nuclear Project Push, Sources Say — by Michael Rothfeld, Rebecca Ballhaus and Joe Palazzolo: “A major donor to President Trump agreed to pay $10 million to the president’s then-personal attorney Michael if he successfully helped obtain funding for a nuclear-power project, including a $5 billion loan from the U.S. government…”[WSJ

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Selling Millennials Home Insurance Is Lemonade’s Novel Pitch [Bloomberg] • Les Moonves Breaks Silence On CBS Earnings Call But Sticks To Numbers [DeadlineNYT] • Media Veterans Betsy Morgan, Brett Bouttier and Jeff Berman Form Venture To Acquire Consumer Businesses[Deadline] • Papa John’s hires Ari Emanuel’s ad agency to get past N-word controversy [CNNMoney] • Bossert debacle: No opening in sight for beloved Brooklyn Heights hotel [BrooklynPaper]

Univision’s Saban Wants to Hand Chairman Post to Tribune Media Chief — by Gerry Smith, Nabila Ahmed and Kiel Porter: “Billionaire Haim Saban is considering stepping down as chairman of Univision Holdings Inc. and has told associates he wants Peter M. Kern to take his place at the Spanish-language media company… Kern, the chief executive officer of local TV station owner Tribune Media Co., is already advising Univision CEO Vincent Sadusky, who replaced Randy Falco this year… Saban has no immediate plans to step down from the board, in part because his succession has been complicated by regulators’ resistance to Tribune’s sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.” [Bloomberg]

Kara Swisher writes… “The Expensive Education of Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley: Mr. Zuckerberg is now trying to fend off talk in Washington of regulating his company like the thing he once told me it was: a utility. He has also spent the last month meeting over dinners with a range of academic experts on free speech, propaganda and more to try to understand where to go from here. Call it the education of Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley, but on the world’s dime. How much that has — and will — cost is probably immeasurable.” [NYTimes]

PODCAST PLAYBACK: Mila Kunis Shares How Her Family Does Shabbat — by Emily Burack: “Mila Kunis… who is married to Ashton Kutcher and is mom to Wyatt, 4, and Dimitri, 2, recently dished to actor/podcast host Dax Shepard about how her family always makes time to do Shabbat on Friday nights… “I’m not religious, at all, but Ashton is… When we started dating, Ashton was very religious,” and she was “not religious whatsover.” So she told him, “listen buddy, I love you, so very much, let’s like find a happy medium here.” And what was that happy medium? Shabbat. She tells Shepard that even though “normal Shabbats are hours long, and require a lot of work,” her family’s Shabbat is just about spending time together.”

“Our kids are going to get older, and they’re not gonna want to spend time with us. Just what happens,” she adds. “Too bad, so sad, you’re going to have dinner with us. So that, to me, was like — Friday night, we’re all going to get together, and we’re all just going to talk. And we’re gonna talk about the week.” … Kunis, furthermore, says her kids know all the blessings in Hebrew. And she only says the lighting of the candles part, and the rest is said by Kutcher.” [KvellerArmchairExpertPod]

Spike Lee Takes On the Klan — by Salamishah Tillet: “Adam Driver, who plays Ron Stallworth’s partner, Flip Zimmerman, the Jewish police officer who goes undercover with the Klan, said the political weight of the film’s message hit home. “The town I was from” — Mishawaka, Ind. — “had a Klan presence, and there were rallies and fights every summer in South Bend,” Mr. Driver said. “And then suddenly, I am acting in a movie and am putting on Klan paraphernalia.” Aware that the film’s success depended on audiences not simply seeing Mr. Stallworth’s story as a history lesson, Mr. Lee knew that he also needed to update it. Which is why images from the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, end the movie. Mr. Lee knew that he had to make the connection between the 1970s and the world today explicit. [NYT

TRAVEL TALK: United adds Israel route from its Washington Dulles hub — by Ben Mutzabaugh: “The carrier will add non-stop service to Tel Aviv from its hub at Washington Dulles, offering three flights a week starting May 22. United says its new Washington Dulles-Tel Aviv routes will include connecting options for about 70 U.S. destinations, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth Houston, and Miami.” [USAToday]

HAPPENING ON SUNDAY — Long Island Ducks Go Kosher For One Night Only: “The fourth annual Jewish Heritage Night with the Long Island Ducks will take place on Sunday.. at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip… Jewish Heritage Night will be the only game of the year in which kosher food will be available for game-goers… Jewish music will be played throughout the evening and complimentary “l’chaim stadium cups” will be distributed.” [Patch

PIC OF THE DAY: Legendary New York Yankees superstar pitcher Mariano Rivera toured the Michve Alon IDF base in the Galilee on Tuesday as part of a spiritual interfaith mission led by The New York Board of Rabbis. [Pic] • Rivera also met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem [Pic]

REMEMBERING: Charles Docter, promoter of downtown Washington revitalization, dies at 86 — by Bart Barnes: “Charles A. Docter, a bankruptcy lawyer for a half century who simultaneously pursued a second career as a 12-year member of the Maryland House of Delegates and then a third career as a promoter of downtown Washington revitalization, died July 27 at a medical-care center in Washington… Charles Alfred Docter was born into a Jewish family in Hamburg on Aug. 5, 1931 — two years before Adolf Hitler came to power. He and his family left Germany three months before the anti-Semitic Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, and they settled in Cincinnati.” [WashPost]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Retired NFL Head Coach, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Marv Levy turns 93… English actor, known for his roles as the villain in both James Bond and Rambo films, Steven Berkoff turns 81… Sephardic rabbi and rosh yeshiva in Tel Aviv, he was a member of the Knesset for the Shas party (1992-1996), Rabbi Moshe Maya turns 80… EVP of the UJA-Federation of New York (1993-2015), Vice Chancellor of JTS (1985-1993) and Education Director at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA (1980-1985), John S. Ruskay turns 72… Chairman and CEO of Savills Studley, Mitchell S. Steir turns 63… Board Member of both the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and the LA Museum of Contemporary Art, Orna Amir Wolens turns 57… Former aide to Senator Schumer, then senior adviser to President Clinton at the White House and thereafter, now President of DC-based Freedman Consulting, LLC, Thomas Z. Freedman turns 55… Political journalist, a Rhodes Scholar and editor-in-chief and chairman of Slate Group,Jacob Weisberg turns 54… Russian-born Canadian entrepreneur, he developed the 65-story Trump International Hotel in Toronto and he leads the Jewish Russian Community Centre of Ontario, Alexander Shnaider turns 50… Member of the New York Daily News editorial board and the paper’s opinion editor, Josh Greenman turns 45… National Security Advisor in the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jeffrey A. Dresslerturns 34… Director of development at the Anti-Defamation League, Erica Greenblatt turns 34… Associate at McKinsey & Company, Carrie Keller-Lynn… Program Officer at The Natan Fund, Adina Poupko turns 30… Ariana Kaufman… Leigh Bonner

SATURDAYOwner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Sheldon Adelsonturns 85… The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama turns 57… Professor of American history at Yeshiva University and Stern College, expert on the history of McCarthyism, Dr. Ellen Schrecker turns 80… Talmudic scholar, Av Beit Din (head of the rabbinical court) of Mekor Haim in Queens, New York and a prominent leader of New York’s Sephardic Jewish community, Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim turns 78… Member of the Knesset since 2013 for the Yesh Atid party, she served as mayor of Herzliya between 1998 and 2013, Yael German turns 71… Long-time member of the Knesset for Likud (1992-2015) including multiple ministerial positions, Silvan Shalom turns 60… Executive producer of “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” Michael Gelman turns 57… Executive Editor of PwC’s management magazine “Strategy + Business,” Daniel Gross turns 51… Co-founder of the music and culture magazine The Source, Jonathan Shecter turns 50… CEO of Aspiration Andrei Cherny turns 43… Jonathan Keyson turns 26… Natalie Roberts… Evelyn Murphy

SUNDAYFormer member of the New York State Senate (1961-1994) and a founding partner of the New York law firm of Ohrenstein & Brown, Manfred Ohrenstein turns 93… Historian, Nazi hunter and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, Efraim Zuroff turns 70… Banker, once known as “Austria’s woman on Wall Street” and founder of Bank Medici in 1994, Sonja Kohn turns 70… Former Soviet Refusenik, moved to Israel in 1987, elected to the Knesset in each of the last seven elections since 1996, now Speaker of the Knesset since 2013, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein turns 60… Member of the British House of Lords, he was chief executive of the Office of the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and then chief executive of the United Jewish Israel Appeal, Baron Jonathan Andrew Kestenbaum turns 59… Songwriter, author and political columnist, Seth Swirsky turns 58… Actor who starred in “Weekend at Bernie’s” and whose father and grandfather were both rabbis, Jonathan Silverman turns 52… Member of the Knesset since 2015 for the Kulanu party, Roy Folkman turns 43… Long-time member of the Israeli national soccer team who also played in Europe’s UEFA Champions League, Gil Vermouth turns 33… Lobbyist for the Wireless Infrastructure Association and adjunct at American U, Matt Mandel… Leslie Saunders




Daily Kickoff: Ivanka breaks with her dad on attacking media | Yiddish Theater disinvites Ocasio-Cortez | Gillibrand on losing George Soros’ support

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HEARD THIS MORNING — Ivanka Trump in conversation with Axios Executive Editor Mike Allen at the Newseum in DC: “Every day I walk in the White House and that means something. It’s very special. And I never, ever let myself forget the privilege that I have to serve our country.”

In introducing the morning’s conversation, Mike Allen noted that “RSVPs for this event have broken all our records in 12 years of doing conversations like this. You’ve gotten more response than Bill Gates or Mark Cuban.” Ivanka reacted: “That’s pretty impressive.”

Ivanka on her future: “I am 36 years old, so I have a long life ahead of me, and I don’t know what it holds for me. At some point, I will likely return to the private sector, but I don’t have a timetable.”

Allen: So you might live in Washington permanently?

Ivanka: “Or not go back to that business (the fashion brand). I just don’t know. I am really passionate about the work i am doing here and I am committed to it.”

Allen: So you might spend the rest of your life in the ‘swamp’?

Ivanka: “Well, that’s highly unlikely.” [Video]

Allen: Do you think the media is the ‘enemy’ of the people?

Ivanka: “No, I do not. I can share my own personal perspective. I have certainly received my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate. So I have some sensitivity around why people have concerns and gripe especially when they sort of feel targeted. But no, I do not feel that the media is ‘the enemy of the people.'”

Ivanka added that the news about family separations at the border was a “low point” during her time in the White House: “I felt very strongly about that and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children… Immigration is incredibly complex as a topic. Illegal immigration is incredibly complicated. I am the daughter of an immigrant, my mother grew up in communist Czech Republic, but we are a country of laws… These are not easy issues, these are incredibly difficult issues and like the rest of the country, I experienced them in a very emotional way.” [CNN]

DRIVING THE CONVO — As Israel Enshrines Its Jewish Identity, Its Druze Minority Feels Abandoned — by Dov Lieber and Felicia Schwartz: “Scores of former senior military and police chiefs are pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to revise a recent law enshrining the country as a Jewish nation-state to include the Druze, an ethnic minority ingrained in military and civic life… On Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu’s office offered a draft of a plan to address the community’s complaints, including legislation that would “anchor” the status of the Druze in law, offer benefits for minority-group members who serve in the military and recognize Druze’s contributions to protecting Israel.” [WSJ]

REPORT: Israel assures U.S. Jewish “nation-state” law won’t lead to discrimination — by Barak Ravid: “Senior U.S. officials asked senior officials in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office for clarification over the [new nation-state] law… The Israeli Prime Minister’s office confirmed the issue was raised during a meeting between Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Yoav Horowitz, and U.S. ambassador David Friedman… At this stage, the White House accepts the clarifications from Netanyahu’s office. Nevertheless, the U.S. is following the protests in Israel against the bill, and criticism about it in the Jewish community in America.”

“One of the critics of the law was Alan Dershowitz, who is perceived as being close to President Trump. Dershowitz spoke publicly against the law in an interview to i24 news channel.” [Axios]

PROFILE: Stav Shaffir Speaks for Us, Too — by Armin Rosen: “Despair is not a political strategy.” It isn’t an option for American Jews, either, Shaffir stressed. “One of the things that I wish for American Jews to understand, especially for the American liberal democratic camp of American Jews, is the amount of influence that the extreme right wing in Israel is getting from the American right,” she said. [Tablet]

— FIRST LOOK: Adam Rubenstein profiles “Kid Trump” — Charlie Kirk, the 24-year-old founder of Turning Point USA: “Charlie Kirk calls himself “the luckiest 24-year-old ever to exist.” He started the group six years ago instead of going to college and now has 130,000 high school students, undergrads, and recent college graduates on board in what he calls the fight “to save Western civilization.” [WeeklyStandard]

UPCOMING: National Security Advisor John Bolton will visit Israel from August 12th—13th amid Israeli concerns about the Trump Administration’s approach to Iran, according to Hadashot’s Dana Weiss.

— John Bolton Brings a Nuclear Superhawk Into the White House: “John Bolton has quietly gotten his very own John Bolton, and his name is Tim Morrison. Morrison possesses a hostility to negotiated restrictions on U.S. nuclear weapons that rivals Bolton’s own, as well as an expertise on nuclear issues undisputed by even his harshest critics… He’s a stridently partisan person who constantly insisted on confrontation with the [Obama] administration,” said a former official at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).” [DailyBeast]

Israel warns Iran of military response if it closed key Red Sea strait — by Ori Lewis: “If Iran will try to block the straits of Bab al-Mandeb, I am certain that it will find itself confronting an international coalition that will be determined to prevent this, and this coalition will also include all of Israel’s military branches,” Netanyahu said at a passing out parade for new naval officers in Haifa. [Reuters]

ON THE GROUND — Israel says Assad back in charge, Syrian front likely to be quieter: “Israel described the Syrian civil war as effectively over on Thursday and predicted that the Golan Heights frontier between the countries would be quieter with central rule by Damascus restored there… “From our perspective, the situation is returning to how it was before the civil war, meaning there is a real address, someone responsible, and central rule,” [Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman] told reporters, referring to a decades-old standoff between Israel and Syria.” [Reuters]

Israel Kills Seven Armed ISIS Terrorists Approaching Syria Border — by Yaniv Kubovich: “Seven Islamic State terrorists were killed in an Israeli attack overnight Wednesday in Syria’s Golan Heights. The terrorists came as close to 200 meters to the Israel-Syria border, at which point Israeli troops launched an attack against them.” [Haaretz]

Netanyahu cancels Colombia trip, citing Gaza situation: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled a trip to Colombia planned for next week due to the situation around the Gaza Strip, an Israeli official said on Thursday.” [Reuters]

U.S. quietly released funding a few weeks ago to the Palestinian Authority security forces: “Top Trump administration officials have talked up America’s years of assistance to Palestinians — even as the administration has taken steps to curtail its own contributions. “The United States has given billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians. We’ve done nothing but help,” a senior administration official told NPR… “Anybody who thinks that the United States has to engender more goodwill with them after all this country has done for them is not necessarily looking at the full picture.”

“The U.S. quietly released funding a few weeks ago to the Palestinian Authority security forces. The money supports them working with Israel to maintain security in the West Bank, the State Department said. Now the administration is deciding which other Palestinian aid projects it might unfreeze, based on whether the projects meet national security interests and policy goals and provide “value to U.S. taxpayers,” a State Department official said, without specifying.” [NPR

Israel inaugurates Jewish heritage center in hotly contested East Jerusalem neighborhood — by Erin Cunningham: “Amid high security, senior Israeli ministers and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a staunch supporter of Israel, attended the ceremony on a narrow, trash-strewn street in the Silwan neighborhood, a recent flash point for tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. The Israel government says the center will honor Yemenite Jews who lived here in the 19th century and has allocated $1.2 million to develop the site.” [WashPost]

ON THE HILL — Yesterday, the Senate passed (87-10) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. The legislation includes the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, which authorizes the 10-year MOU (memorandum of understanding) signed between Israel and the Obama administration in 2016, $500 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation and up to $50 million for U.S.-Israel counter-tunnel cooperation. The bill now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

Israeli-born New York Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Queens) sent a follow-up letter addressed to President Trump urging the administration to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Department of State for a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism. “The Special Envoy has played a unique and important role in the effort to fight against anti-Semitism and for human rights. Please appoint a Special Envoy to help eradicate anti-Semitism and do not allow this important post to remain vacant,” Rozic wrote.

TOP TALKER: Kirsten Gillibrand Pays The Price For Speaking Out Against Al Franken — by Amanda Terkel: “Most prominently, Gillibrand has attracted the ire of billionaire George Soros, who has long funded Democratic candidates and causes. Soros recently said he wasn’t sure whom he was supporting for 2020, but that it absolutely wouldn’t be Gillibrand. He accused her of going after Franken, “whom I admire,” to “improve her chances” for president. “If standing up for women who have been wronged makes George Soros mad, that’s on him,” Gillibrand said in a statement to HuffPost… When someone does something wrong, you have to speak up and be counted, whether it’s President Trump, or a Democratic colleague.”” [HuffPost]

Ocasio-Cortez Invite To Shoah Museum Backfires— by Stewart Ain: “The Immigrant Arts Coalition was trying to make a match — hold a conference on immigration and women’s empowerment at the museum and feature the future face of the Democratic Party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez… But… it turned out not to be a match made in heaven. The National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, which is currently performing “Fiddler on the Roof” at the museum and is listed as a co-sponsor of the conference, was not informed in advance that Ocasio-Cortez… had been invited to speak next Sunday.”

“The group’s chairman, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, said he was informed by an irate board member whose neighbor learned of it from a flyer in the mail. “Absent a public reassessment by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez of her unfair and extremist position [on Israel], she dishonors both the Immigrant Summit and the museum by her scheduled appearance,” Wiesenfeld said in a statement.” [JewishWeek]

HAPPENING TODAY: Primary Threat Targets One of Two Jewish Republicans in the House — by Simone Pathé: “The next test of President Donald Trump’s endorsement power will come in Tennessee, where a little-known freshman — one of two Jewish Republicans in the House —  is being outspent more than 2-to-1… Most Tennessee political operatives think Rep. David Kustoff will survive… But they acknowledge that 2018 is an unpredictable year. A loss would make Kustoff the fourth House incumbent and the third Republican to fall in a primary this year.” [RollCallIndependent]

2020 WATCH — Republicans abuzz over Schmidt’s divorce from GOP — by Ben Schreckinger, Eliana Johnson and Daniel Lippman: “Steve Schmidt’s public break from the GOP and quiet departure from his corporate PR gig earlier this summer are fueling speculation in Republican circles that he’ll advise a presidential bid by his longtime client, former Starbucks chief Howard Schultz… “I don’t have any plans to be on a political campaign, and I would never jump into one too lightly,” Schmidt said in an interview. “Howard Schultz is a hell of a man, a hell of a leader. I’m proud to call him a friend, but there’s no campaign, and I don’t have anything to tell you.” … Few of Schmidt’s peers believe that. The moves, and speculation about Schmidt’s future, have not escaped the notice of Republican operatives.”[Politico]

MUELLER WATCH — Trump Pushes for Interview With Mueller Against Lawyers’ Advice — by Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman: “For the past week, Mr. Trump has expressed frustration about the confluences of investigations that have dogged him. The president told his advisers that the Russia inquiry and a separate federal investigation in Manhattan into his former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, have undermined him for too long and need to be brought to an end.” [NYTimes]

Learning From Henry Kissinger — by Jeremi Suri: “The authors of “Kissinger the Negotiator,” James K. Sebenius, R. Nicholas Burns and Robert H. Mnookin, are an all-star trio of experts on negotiation in business, law and diplomacy. They have focused on Kissinger because he is unsurpassed for the range and intensity of his negotiations as national security adviser and secretary of state… Kissinger repeatedly told Soviet, Chinese and other leaders that they should work only with him, encouraging disregard for the rest of the American government. This personalization of his negotiations runs against the authors’ advice about building a strong team. Kissinger was, in fact, a terrible team player. And many of his negotiations, particularly with the Soviet Union and the Middle East states, proved unsustainable after his departure.”[NYTimes]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Les Moonves’s Long, Slow, Potentially Lucrative Walk Down the Plank [VanityFair• 23andMe and other home test companies pledge new privacy guidelines on using people’s DNA [Mashable] • Hillary Clinton, Steven Spielberg Bringing Women’s Voting Drama to TV [HollywoodReporter]

Hope Hicks dines with Manhattan power broker: “Hope Hicks was spotted on a lunch date with Manhattan power broker Aryeh Bourkoff — the man once linked to the creation of an alleged Trump TV network… at hot spot Avra Madison on the Upper East Side… A source told us: “Aryeh is incredibly successful and well-connected, and has been generous offering career advice to a wide range of people.” … Hicks is still close with Kushner and Ivanka Trump.”[PageSix]

HOLLYWOOD: Netflix Won’t Offer Louis Farrakhan Documentary — by Amanda Svachula: “It appeared that “The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan: My Life’s Journey Through Music,” would be available for streaming on Netflix on Aug. 1, according to a now-deleted MondayTwitter announcement from Mr. Farrakhan’s account… The film was not actually supposed to be scheduled, but, because of an “internal miscommunication,” appeared to be on various platforms, a spokesperson for Netflix said in an email… Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center… said he immediately called up the Netflix chief executive, Ted Sarandos, who told him that a “glitch” had occurred, and the movie would not be released. Rabbi Hier said it would be terrible to give Mr. Farrakhan “legitimacy” on such a national level by streaming this documentary.”[NYTimes]

Israelis tickled by Sacha Baron Cohen’s grotesque caricature — by Aron Heller: “The reaction has mostly been astonishment about the accuracy of the portrayal. He really got some of our traits down,” Einav Schiff, a TV critic for the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, said with a chuckle. “Everyone here knows an ‘Erran Morad’ but I haven’t recognized any outrage or embarrassment about the character. It’s mostly been ridicule for these Americans who have fallen for him.” [AP]

Congressman avoids becoming Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest fool — by Marisa Schultz: “Katie Vincentz, communications director for [Rep. Lee] Zeldin, said his staff became wary when they checked out the TV station — Yerushalayim Television — and found it had minimal presence online and very little social media activity. Also, the producer had an American name. “To be candid, it was a little suspicious that someone who was the producer of Yerushalayim Television in Israel would be ‘Julia Harris’,” Vincentz said.”[NYPost]

NYTimes’ bureau chief for Jerusalem David Halbfinger on the tech he’s using when reporting from Gaza and the West Bank: “Probably the most vital tech tool I carry is the lightest: a paper clip to switch SIM cards. I’ve been here less than a year and finally got a local number from the Palestinian provider Jawwal, which has good coverage across Gaza and can be quickly replenished at countless retail shops… I juggle the Gaza and New York phones depending on which has the stronger signal.” What tech tools do you use to navigate the language barrier in Hebrew and Arabic? “I depend way too heavily on Google Translate, both for work and in my personal life. For accurate translations I rely on an excellent support staff, but in scanning social media I routinely turn to automated translations — far more than I’d like.”[NYT]

Travel service identifies Jerusalem as ‘Israeli settlement’ — by Yaron Steinbuch: “A Dutch travel reservation service called Jerusalem an “Israeli settlement” … “I thought it was a hoax until I checked it out and saw it with my own eyes,” Michael Freilich, editor in chief of the Joods Actueel in Antwerp, said after a reader tipped him off to Booking[dot]com’s faux pas about the capital city… Hours after Freilich complained Tuesday, Jerusalem appeared on as actually being in Israel.” [NYPost]

ACROSS THE POND: British Jews Find Their Voice — by Ben Judah: “Once British Jews would never have thrown around synonyms for genocide so carelessly, at such a delicate and important moment… What has changed is not so much the community, but the environment of British politics. This is Brexit Britain. A country known for its moderation has suddenly discovered extremism… The Jewish community is no longer so polite. Now we see incendiary headlines, vigilante Twitter accounts, left-wing and pro-Corbyn Jews branded as traitors.” [TheAtlantic]

CAMPUS BEAT — Josh Nathan-Kazis on anti-BDS groups: “When a BDS vote comes to a U.S. college campus today, a pro-Israel cavalry arrives, whether or not they’re called. The list of Jewish groups that do anti-BDS work on campuses is bafflingly long. A partial tally includes StandWithUs, AEPi, CAMERA, the David Project, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Jerusalem U, AIPAC, Sheldon Adelson’s Maccabee Task Force, and the Zionist Organization of America. The total amount of American Jewish and Israeli government funds flooding the anti-BDS effort is easily in the tens of millions of dollars each year.” [Forward]

SPORTS BLINK — Israel baseball team in 2020 Olympics: That’s the goal: “If you thought Israel’s strong showing in the 2017 World Baseball Classic was unexpected, how about seeing an Israeli baseball team in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo? “It would be incredible,” said Peter Kurz, president of the Israel Baseball Association… Kurz is serious about constructing an Israeli baseball team that will be ready to compete in Olympic qualifying rounds in Europe in the fall of 2019. The roster would include several American professional players who intend to make aliyah this fall; all players must have an Israeli passport to compete in the Olympics.” [JPost]

DESSERT: Where to Surf, Eat, Drink, and Dance in Tel Aviv — by Natalie Compton: “Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade is a feast for the eyes (and the ‘gram) on any given sunset. The sea shimmers, the palm trees sway. Happy dogs trot alongside six-packed owners. After dark, the streets only get busier. Tel Aviv has one hell of a nightlife scene.” [GQ]

BIRTHDAYS: Jerusalem-born actor, who moved to the US as a child, and has appeared in over 400 TV episodes, Nehemiah Persoff turns 99… Co-founder and chairman of NYC-based real estate development firm, Rockrose Development Corporation, Henry Elghanayan turns 78… Long-time member of Knesset, in the Likud party (1984-2006) and the Yisrael Beiteinu party (2009-2015), he also held several ministerial posts, Uzi Landau turns 75… Retired colonel in the US Army and a recipient of the Medal of Honor and seven other medals, he taught at West Point and serves as a military analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, Jack H. Jacobs turns 73… Long-time librarian, now residing in Houston, Irene Seff turns 72… Nationally-syndicated radio talk show host, columnist for the Jewish Journal, author and public speaker, Dennis Prager turns 70… Op-Ed columnist for the International New York Times, he has worked as a foreign correspondent in fifteen different countries, Roger Cohen turns 63…

Democratic member of the US House of Representatives for Nevada’s 3rd congressional district since 2017, she is the Democratic candidate for the US Senate in the 2018 election, Jacklyn Sheryl Rosen turns 61… Owner of Newton, Massachusetts-based MPG Promotions, Elliot Mael turns 53… VP and General Counsel of Yeshiva University, Andrew ”Avi” Lauer turns 51… ATP professional tennis player (1983 to 1996), who was once ranked sixth best in the world, Aaron Krickstein turns 51… SVP of Sales for Hearst Television, Eric J. Meyrowitz turns 48… Former reporter for both the AP and Wall Street Journal, now a DC-based national security reporter for The New York Times where he won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018, Matthew Rosenbergturns 44… Product marketing manager at Google, Stephen L. Rabin turns 40… CEO of a multi-national toy and gift company, a founding member of Mesila of Baltimore (a non-profit financial advisory organization) and The Jewish Entrepreneur (a mentoring program), Isaac William (“Zevy”) Wolman turns 34… Director of special projects at the DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Julia Nayfeld Schulman turns 34… Actress best known for her 1999 “Pepsi Girl” role as a seven year old, and later for subsequent teen roles, Hallie Kate Eisenberg turns 26… Harriet Cohen

Kafe Knesset for October 31

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Netanyahu vs. Ha’aretz “fake news:” Ha’aretz is in the Prime Minister’s Office’s crosshairs, Kafe Knesset learned today, over a story about Netanyahu’s planned participation in the Jewish Federations…

Kafe Knesset for October 30

Monday, October 30, 2017

Hi-Tech Defense: The latest breaking story from Israel today is the destruction of a Hamas terror tunnel from Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, into Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin…

Kafe Knesset for October 26

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Daddy: Dozens of Likud ministers and MKs gathered in the cabinet room to celebrate Bibi’s 68th birthday. Perhaps because of the scandalous police investigations underway, no…

Kafe Knesset for October 25

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

TKO on PM immunity: The Bayit Yehudi party put the kibosh on the controversial bill to give sitting prime ministers immunity from criminal investigations. After days of MKs…

Kafe Knesset for October 24

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pickles and politics: Both PM Netanyahu’s speech and President Rivlin’s speech at the Knesset winter session’s opening meeting yesterday made big waves. Netanyahu’s speech was based around a…

Kafe Knesset for October 23

Monday, October 23, 2017

Welcome back, Knesset: After a three-month summer recess, the Knesset has returned to regular work. As always, the afternoon plenum meeting will be full of pomp and circumstance,…