Mar
8

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Daily Kickoff: Israel advances to 2nd round of WBC | Haidt, Bruni & Senor on state of the campus debate re Israel | Art World Disowns Javanka

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “For Trump and Netanyahu, a Budding Symbiotic Relationship” by Mark Landler: “Mr. Trump’s conveniently timed call was a not-so-subtle reminder to Israel’s attorney general that indicting Mr. Netanyahu… could harm Israel’s national security at a dangerous time… “It appears that President Trump is prepared to go a long way to help Prime Minister Netanyahu with his domestic difficulties and that Netanyahu, in return, is willing to provide a kosher seal of approval for a president who was slow to condemn anti-Semitism,” said Martin S. Indyk… American and Israeli officials insist they did not coordinate Mr. Trump’s call for political effect. White House officials said Mr. Trump told aides on Monday morning he wanted to speak to Mr. Netanyahu.”

“So far, experts said, Mr. Netanyahu had benefited more from the relationship than Mr. Trump. “Solving today’s problems probably helps Bibi more than Trump in the short term,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer… “But in the larger picture of how Israel is viewed in Washington, it probably helps Trump as well.” [NYTimes]

“Defense Minister Lieberman Tells Pence: I Expect to See U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Soon” by Amir Tibon:“According to an official statement, Lieberman told Pence during the meeting that he “expects to see the U.S. Embassy [in Israel] at its new location in Jerusalem soon” and thanked Pence and the Trump administration for supporting Israel. “We have true friends in the White House,” Lieberman said after the meeting. He added that “the United States under President Donald Trump is a true partner of Israel’s in facing the different challenges in the region, first among them the Iranian issue.” … Also on Tuesday, Lieberman met with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.” [Haaretz

Sebastian Gorka tweets: “The REAL West Wing: you walk into the lobby and there’s VP Pence with Dr Kissinger surrounded by scouts and cadets!” [Pic] • Gorka didn’t mention Lieberman who is with Pence in the photo

Dan Shapiro writes: “It’s a challenging time to be an ally visiting Washington. The ramp-up phase of any new Admin is difficult, even in best of conditions. The lack of articulated policies and empowered personnel can leave foreign delegations frustrated and without the clarity they seek… Under Trump, the challenge is clearly harder: no Deputies named, no UnderSecs, Asst Secs… Lots of other value in Lieberman’s trip: personal ties, coord on missile defense, joint training, cyber, Israel’s QME, Gaza, Lebanon. But when Bibi asks him what is US policy on Iran & Syria, I bet he goes with his sardonic “Ha Kol Gan Eden” – Everything is paradise.” [Twitter

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: While media outlets were swamped with leaks from Bibi’s fourth investigation, the Prime Minister along with his wife Sarah continued their Bibi-tours yesterday, this time encouraging domestic tourism with a visit to the southern city of Eilat. Netanyahu spent the day signing housing agreements with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Housing Minister Yoav Galant, pledging to double Eilat’s size and economy.

The Knesset erupted in debate today over the controversial Muezzin Bill, which limits the use of outdoor loudspeakers by houses of worship to daytime only. The bill passed a preliminary vote. The main target of the bill, proposed by MKs from Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu, is the crack-of-dawn call to prayer from mosques. Bayit Yehudi MK Motti Yogev said he proposed the bill after receiving complaints from both Jews and Muslims about the muezzin’s call. However, Likud MK Yehudah Glick and Zionist Union’s Zouheir Bahloul have commenced a bipartisan and interfaith campaign to reach agreements on the matter through a dialogue and not legislation. Glick rebelled against the coalition, absenting himself from the vote. The bipartisan efforts may be in vain, however, since Netanyahu has thrown his support behind the bill – some say at the behest of his son Yair, who can reportedly hear the mosques in Jisr az-Zarqa from the family’s home in Caesarea.

Tzipi Livni and Ayelet Shaked are the top female candidates for the premiership these days, according to a Walla! news poll published today for International Women’s Day. Livni has run for the job in the past, but lost to Netanyahu in the 2009 elections. Justice Minister Shaked, number two in the Jewish Home party, has recently stated that she sees herself as future PM candidate as well. However, Shaked rushed to avoid getting in trouble with her party’s leader, Naftali Bennett, saying she was talking about the distant future and that she believes Bennett will be the next PM after Netanyahu. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Israel’s travel ban: Boycott supporters to be turned away” by Oren Liebermann: “Every country has the right to determine who enters its borders,” said Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, speaking at conference on Tuesday. “The law adopted yesterday to prevent the entrance of BDS activists into Israel is another step in our struggle against those who seek to delegitimize Israel while hiding behind the language of human rights.” [CNN]

Kenneth Bob, president of Ameinu, which describes itself as a progressive Zionist organization in New York, told Foreign Policy: “Israel should never take actions that reinforce the Far Left’s claim that Israel and its supporters use the power of the state to violate the freedom of speech of their opponents.” [ForeignPolicy]

HEARD ON CHARLIE ROSE: NYU professor Jonathan Haidt and NYT’s Frank Bruni discussing the state of the debate regarding Israel on college campuses with guest moderator Dan Senor, stepping in for Charlie on the eponymous PBS show:

Senor: “When I was on college campus, I was active in the Israel debate – the Israel debate and the peace process. Let’s take the students today on campus, they say the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) debate about boycotting Israel – getting campuses to boycott Israel – it’s no longer just between those who support one policy on Israel and those who oppose one policy on Israel, which it was when I was going to college. Now those who are hostile to Israel, or U.S. policy towards Israel, are joined by almost like a coalition of all these different factions who know nothing about the issue but they all lock arms.”

Haidt: “The key to the new morality is a method of looking at society and looking in terms of power and privilege. So, the old idea of education is – come to campus, we’re going to teach you lots of perspectives that you can use…  What’s happening now is some students – only in a few departments – are learning only one perspective to look at everything. And so you start, this is a good kind of identity politics which is, you know, if black people being denied rights, that’s right for the right. That’s the good kind. There’s a bad kind which is to train students, train young people, to say, let’s divide everybody up by their race and gender and other categories. We will find a moral merit based on their level of privileges is bad and victimhood is good. Now, let’s look at everything through this lens. The Palestinians are the victims. So, therefore they are the good and the Jews, the Israelis are the bad. This is one totalizing perspective. All social problems get reduced to the simple framework. I think we’re doing them a disservice. I think we’re actually making students less wise.”

Bruni: “You mentioned Israel… I think if you’re an Israel supporter, you probably bite your tongue more than you shout out… and you shouldn’t have to do that.” Conversation is from 19:34 to 22:08 in the video [CharlieRose]

FOGGY PRESSER: “State Department’s resumed briefing strives for normal” by Nahal Toosi: “Associated Press diplomatic writer Matthew Lee was, as usual, called on first… Lee asked for details about a Trump administration plan to review financial assistance for the Palestinians. “As always, you’ve stumped me right out of the box,” Toner replied. “I don’t have a status update on that assistance.” … One topic where it was clear that the new administration has a more hard-edged view than the one before it was that of Iran. Just months ago, Toner—a career Foreign Service officer—was defending President Barack Obama’s engagement with Iran on a nuclear deal. On Tuesday, he repeatedly berated Iran in striking terms for its “bad behavior” in the Middle East.” [Politico

“No news at the State Department” by Josh Rogin: “On policies that the president has spoken out on, Toner was much more comfortable giving details — by repeating what the president has said. For example, Toner articulated U.S. policy on Israeli settlement activity by referring to the president’s news conference. President Trump “said he would like to see Israel hold back on settlement activity, and we are in discussions with Israel as to what that would look like,” Toner said. But when asked how the administration intends to get from that statement to an actual peace process, Toner returned to form. “We are working closely with the White House on evaluating where we stand,” he said. “At this point we are still at a stage where we are looking at the situation and formulating next steps.”” [WashPost]  Trump’s State Department Discovers That Press Briefings Aren’t Deadly [FP

“New Palestinian Envoy to U.S. Welcomes Trump’s Desire for an ‘Ultimate’ Peace Deal” by Mark Leftly: “Speaking to media in Ramallah minutes before he was sworn in as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)’s chief representative in Washington on Tuesday, Dr Husam Zomlot said he had faith Trump would listen to both sides in any negotiations. “There are sufficient signs he [Trump] is after the ultimate deal. My task is to explain we’re the ultimate power, that we have done sufficient investment to be the launchpad for that deal,” he said. “If President Trump seeks the ultimate deal, he needs to know we’re the ultimate partners. There will be no deal without us.” [TimeMag]

TOP TALKER: “Calls for more security as new threats made against Jewish centers” by Ray Sanchez and David Shortell: “”This is not ‘normal,'” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement, “We will not be deterred or intimidated. These threats (are) in addition to threats to at least six JCCs and three day schools in Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Florida, Maryland and Toronto.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neil on Tuesday held a closed-door meeting with Jewish leaders at a JCC on Staten Island to discuss the anti-Semitic incidents throughout the city… Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday directed the state police to coordinate with federal and local law enforcement to investigate bomb threats against New York Jewish community centers in Rochester and Syracuse and the Anti-Defamation League headquarters in Manhattan.” [CNN; CBSNews

“Alluding to Trump, de Blasio calls for vigilance against spike in anti-Semitic crimes” by Azi Paybarah: “We understand what’s happened around the country in the last few months,” said [Mayor Bill] de Blasio, standing in the lobby of the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island… “We’ve never seen a concentrated threat against the Jewish community.” …  The mayor recalled hearing stories of World War II from his parents… When asked what he would like to see from Washington in light of these anti-Semitic incidents, the mayor replied, “In a moment like this, everyone should speak up… The more condemnation, the better.” [Politico]  De Blasio and Cuomo United Amid Wave of Anti-Semitic Threats [NYTimes

ON THE HILL — All 100 Senators have signed a letter urging the Trump Administration to take action in response to the rash of anonymous bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers (JCC’s), Jewish Day Schools, synagogues and Jewish institutions. In a bipartisan letter directed to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and FBI Director James Comey, the senators stressed the importance of these centers within their communities, and offers suggestions for deterring the threats of violence.

Two Democratic Senators spoke out yesterday against David Friedman’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Israel ahead of Thursday’s confirmation vote. “At this moment, I do not intend to support his nomination.” Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) told JI’s Aaron Magid. “His record clearly indicates that he is not in the bipartisan tradition of seeking out the two state solution. He is much more an advocate for some kind of one state solution. I think his views are so far out of the bipartisan mainstream.”

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) shared a similar viewpoint with Jewish Insider. “I’m deeply concerned about his nomination. His past comments have been pretty incendiary, and I don’t think he would help with any type of movement towards reconciliation and a two state solution,” she noted. [JewishInsider

“Israeli ambassador hopeful spurns J Street” by Burgess Everett: “In a letter to Friedman, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said that Friedman must meet with him before he is confirmed to prove that he willing to engage with advocacy groups that disagree with his brand of conservative politics… “We understand that during this process you have committed to senators that you are willing to meet with with pro-Israel organizations whose views you do not share, and with J Street specifically,” Ben Ami wrote this week in a letter obtained by POLITICO… “Accordingly, I am requesting a meeting with you to take place before the final vote on your confirmation.”” [Politico] • In Letter to Top Senator, WJC Head Lauder Defends Trump’s Pick to Serve as Next US Envoy to Israel, Blasts Criticism as ‘Beyond Outrageous’ [Algemeiner

TRUMP TEAM: President Trump announced yesterday the nomination of Jeffrey A. Rosen as Deputy Secretary for Department of Transportation. Rosen, a senior partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP,  was General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Management and Budget from 2006 through 2009, and from 2003 through 2006, he served as General Counsel at the Department of Transportation.

Tevi Troy tells us: “Rosen is a great pick to be Secretary Chao’s deputy at the Department of Transportation. He is a smart and strategic policy maker. He knows the Department well from his previous sojourn there, but also has high-level OMB experience, which will be essential in his new role. As I know from long conversations and work with him, Jeff has given a lot of thought to the regulatory state and how to best reform it to the benefit of all Americans. He will have a lot of opportunities to work on this in the new position. The only bad thing I can say about Jeff is that he’s a Red Sox fan, but I try not to hold it against him.”

“The Trump loyalist roiling network green rooms” by Annie Karni: “On all three cable news networks, according to more than half a dozen interviews with TV insiders and contributors, [Boris] Epshteyn has earned a reputation as someone who is combative and sometimes difficult to work with, even when he arrives at studios as a guest of a network. He has offended people in green rooms with comments they have interpreted as racially insensitive and demeaning… Despite his critics, Epshteyn’s political profile has quickly risen, thanks to his early allegiance to the president… And in Trump’s world, loyalty and ubiquity on television count for a lot. “He goes on TV and he defends Donald Trump,” said one former campaign aide. “That carries a lot of weight.”” [Politico

“The Adult in the Room” by Michael Warren: “[Gary] Cohn is also uniquely positioned to have influence with Trump because of his closeness to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and another senior adviser… Cohn likely isn’t at the White House for his political views, or even for his policy recommendations. As his Goldman Sachs associate says, “He’s a take-charge guy, but in a crisis moment, he’s also the calmest one in the room.” For an administration that’s bound to face a lot of crises—as indeed it already has—Cohn may be a real asset.” [TWS]  

** 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: Why some airlines remove Israel from their online route maps [TheEconomist] • Apollo Seeks $20 Billion by May for New Buyout Fund [Bloomberg]  Barry Sternlicht: Trump was a hot topic at my dinner with Goldman’s Blankfein and other bigwigs [CNBC] • Will Ivanka Trump’s Brand Be Even Bigger Without Ivanka? (It’s Complicated) [Refinery29; CNN] • Jersey City fighting $2.7M court award over Journal Square property [JerseyJournal] • David Lichtenstein’s Lightstone Group has struck a deal with Noah Tepperberg’s Tao Group that brings the nightlife brand on board to host the restaurants and bars at the upcoming Marriott Moxy Hotel [RealDeal; NYPost]

SPOTLIGHT: “Questions About Loyalty to Trump Stall Mnuchin’s Treasury Picks” by Robert Schmidt and Saleha Mohsin: “As Mnuchin waited for the Senate to act on his own nomination, he spent much of his time interviewing people for his team. Others who sat in on the interviews were Eli Miller and Shannon McGahn, both of whom now work at the Treasury in non-Senate confirmed jobs. Miller, who worked on Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign before joining Trump, is Mnuchin’s chief of staff.” [Bloomberg]

“’Javanka’ Is the Perfect Celebrity Nickname for Our Strange Era” by Benjamin Freed: “Javanka goes out to dinner and becomes fodder for gossip mongers. Javanka also works in the White House, wielding considerable power not just over foreign and domestic affairs, but over the behavior of a short-tempered, paranoid, conspiracy-prone President who may one day dismiss or demote all his other aides. But he will never abandon Javanka. Better to use the name sparingly, but always with its potency in mind.” [Washingtonian]

“Disowning Ivanka: The Art World Stares Down the First Daughter” by Nate Freeman: “Hours after Clinton conceded on the night of November 8, the gathering that would come to form the core of Halt Action Group—[Alison] Gingeras and [Alissa] Bennett as well as artist Jonathan Horowitz, psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster, and curator Ariella Wolens—met for a hush-hush meeting at an art space in lower Manhattan to discuss how the art world should fight back during the age of Trump. They fixated quickly on Ivanka. “The most urgent thing was to get organized and not allow for a normalization of the Trump administration,” Gingeras said later, with the group’s formative Instagram action already implemented. “And that was before he named any administration picks. It didn’t make sense to continue angry marches… The Dear Ivanka conceit came out of these conversations.”” [ArtNews]

“German Foundation to Help Jewish Heirs in Search for Nazi Looted Art” by Colin Moynihan: “The project, called the Mosse Art Research Initiative, will be partly funded by the German Lost Art Foundation, which was formed in 2015 by the federal and state governments in Germany to find and identify cultural artifacts seized by the Nazi regime. Officials at the Lost Art Foundation said that this was the first time they had financed an initiative to track down a set of works that had belonged to a particular family… The Mosse Art Restitution Project, which was created by the Mosse heirs several years ago to search for the art, will share in financing the new partnership, and 11 museums and archives in Germany have agreed to cooperate.” [NYTimes

“Joan Rivers’s Bone China Seder Plate Is Being Auctioned. You Know You Want It!” by Rachel Shukert: “According to the New York Times, it has been acquired by Jonathan Greenstein, the operator of the premier (and self-proclaimed only) auction house in the United States dealing exclusively with the appraisal and sale of antique Judaica. The item will go on the block April 24, six days after the end of Passover this year, but who’s counting? The bone China plate itself is blue and white Spode, very nice and unchipped, and dating back to the 1980’s… Greenstein said, “This one is worth about $5000 because it belonged to her.”” [Tablet]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Gloria Steinem is inaugural speaker at Senesh School series” by Paula Katinas: “With the support of philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, Senesh is launching the speaker series to highlight the connection between timeless Jewish values and modern professional accomplishments… Steinem’s lifetime of campaigning for gender equality and human rights epitomizes the connection between Jewish values and accomplishments, according to a statement issued by officials at Senesh. The new series, called Conversations@Senesh, will feature leaders from all areas of public life whose careers embody the school’s values.” [BrooklynEagle]

“Mark Zuckerberg Named 2017 Commencement Speaker” by Leah Yared: “Zuckerberg, who is 32, is the youngest Commencement speaker selected in recent history. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg implored graduates to follow their “intuition” at last year’s ceremony… But Zuckerberg is neither the first Harvard dropout nor first tech billionaire to speak at Harvard’s graduation exercises: Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft, spoke at Commencement in 2007.” [TheCrimson]

MEDIA WATCH: “Trump Grants Oval Office Meeting to TMZ Founder” by Michael Grynbaum: “Mr. Trump, in a meeting last Wednesday that went unmentioned on his public schedule, spent about an hour in the Oval Office chatting with Harvey Levin, the tabloid emperor… The TMZ chieftain interviewed Mr. Trump for a Fox News special, “Objectified: Donald Trump,” that aired last fall. Mr. Levin, according to two people with direct knowledge of the visit, broached the possibility of Mr. Trump sitting for another interview.” [NYTimes]

SPORTS BLINK — Israel advances to 2nd round of World Baseball Classic:“The Netherlands’ 6-5 defeat of Taiwan means Israel’s baseball team qualiies for Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic in Tokyo on Sunday. Team Israel will face The Netherlands tomorrow to determine group placement in Pool A.” [ToI; ESPN] • Sam Fuld In Familiar Role with Team Israel [FanSided]

DESSERT: “7th Annual Houston Kosher Chili Cookoff” by Liz Lopez: “34 local organizations and businesses participated in the competition with unique kosher chili recipes to benefit the seven local Jewish Day Schools and the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center’s Meals on Wheels Program. The Houston Jewish community enjoyed live music from local bands, The Danny Gavin Band and Houston’s Young Kletzmer Band, an obstacle course, balloon artists and face painting while getting to sample some of Houston’s best kosher chili.” [Houstonia

BIRTHDAYS: Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain (1991-2013), member of the House of Lords, philosopher, scholar and winner of the 2016 Templeton Prize, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks turns 69… Former Governor of Virginia (1994-1998) and US Senator (2001-2007), whose mother was from a Sephardic Jewish family in Tunisia, George Allen turns 65… Jazz pianist, composer, organist, arranger and music director, Dick Hyman turns 90… Democratic US Representative for California’s 47th congressional district since 2013, Alan Lowenthal turns 76… British television executive and businessman, chairman of the BBC (2004-2006), member of the House of Lords, Michael Grade (family name Winogradsky) turns 74… Graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, attorney at Seyfarth Shaw and now the ‘Judaism and Science’ blogger, Roger Price turns 73… Lyricist, singer, songwriter, painter and philanthropist, Carole Bayer Sager turns 70… Founder and CEO of 32 Advisors, LLC (advising on infrastructure) and chairman and co-founder of Measure (practical uses of drones), previously President of UBS Investment Bank, Robert Wolf turns 55… Vice chairman of the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago, with a Ph.D. in Chinese politics from Stanford University, high-ranking State Department official (2001-2009), Evan A. Feigenbaum turns 48…

Albany Reporter for New York’s news channel NY1, covering state politics, including Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature, Zack Fink turns 44… Harvard Law grad, member of Congress since 2017 (D-NJ:5), former speechwriter for Bill Clinton, Joshua S. Gottheimer turns 42… DC-based labor and employment attorney at Bredhoff & Kaiser, clerked for Justice Brennan at the U.S. Supreme Court (1983-1984), Bruce R. Lerner… Licensed clinical psychologist and director of couple therapy training at the Chicago Center for Family Health, Dr. Mona Fishbane… Talent acquisition executive at Sageview Consulting, specializing in placements at Jewish federations and non-profits, Colorado Springs resident, Carin Maher… Senior Fellow on national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress, Alan Makovsky… Manager of Public Policy at the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership of The Forbes Funds, previously press secretary at NJDC, David Streeter

Retired in 2016 after 28 years as the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester NY, Larry Fine… Program analyst at Mathematica Policy Research, Karen Katz… Research associate at The Israel Project, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Amanda Botfeld… Senior digital and marketing associate at Catalist (a voter data service for progressive organizations), Lauren Farber… Special assistant to the director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, Nathaniel Sobel… Brenda Krantz… Lexi Chavin… Jeff Sonderman… Alexis Rice

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Mar
7

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Daily Kickoff: Trump Tower Baku’s ties with Iranian Revolutionary Guard | MK Glick’s 30 State Solution | Israel wins again at World Baseball Classic

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HEARD IN JERUSALEM: “Jeff Zucker on Donald Trump, Fake News, CNN’s ‘Golden Age’” by Debra Kamin: “Zucker, who is in Jerusalem this week for the media-centric INTV conference at the city’s historic YMCA, told attendees that Trump’s declarations of fake news and his labeling of journalists as “enemies of the people” has helped usher in a golden age for CNN… In a friendly hour-long back-and-forth, Zucker and [Channel 2 News anchor Yonit] Levi discussed CNN’s coverage of the election… and also — in an anecdote that drew laughter and gasps from the crowd — the true story of how Zucker himself played a critical role in launching the television career of the current leader of the Free World when, as president of NBC Universal, he ordered “The Apprentice” with Trump as host….”

“Mark Burnett brought [‘The Apprentice’] in as a package. It was pitched to us as ‘Survivor’ in a different jungle, the jungle of the boardroom,” Zucker said. “I had lived in New York for all my adult life but I was working in Los Angeles, and as a New Yorker I really understood the appeal of Donald Trump, in terms of his ability to create publicity, his ability to create a big commotion.” He jumped on the pitch. “So you are the man who made Donald Trump a television star?” asked Levi, to which Zucker simply said, “Well, I am the man who greenlit ‘The Apprentice.’” Zucker has always understood Trump’s appeal, he told the crowd, which is why CNN gave the real estate mogul-turned president so much coverage early on in the presidential campaign. “Once he decided to run, knowing him and knowing his charisma and his ability to attract attention, I think we understood earlier than most other news organizations that he should be taken seriously,” Zucker said.” [Variety; HollywoodReporter]

Zucker took the stage after a ‘blistering speech’ from Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan about the international media’s biased reporting toward Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. According to Peter Lerner of the IDF Spokespersons Unit, Zucker said that there are always two sides of the conflict, but Israel is much more than the conflict. [JPost; Twitter]

Spotted at Yad Vashem‏: “Jeff Zucker President of CNN Worldwide in Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names during his recent visit.” [Pic

HEARD IN DC: “Anti-Trump sentiment may turn against Israel, Ya’alon warns” by Eric Cortellessa: “I’m afraid of the fact that Israel is identified nowadays more with the Republicans,” [former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon] said Monday during a lecture at American University’s Center for Israel Studies. “Anti-Trump sentiments are becoming anti-Israel sentiments. This is my fear.” [ToI]

BUZZ FROM BERLIN: “Trump a new test for German-Israeli ‘special relationship'” by Noah Barkin: “The extent of the strains between Germany and Israel was underscored last month when Merkel canceled a summit with Netanyahu that was due to take place in Jerusalem in May… “Netanyahu does not listen to us and the situation may only get worse with Trump,” said one senior German official… In Israel, an official… argued that Berlin’s main gripe was with Trump. “Germany is really angry with Trump, but they can’t afford to express it or take him on directly because he’s too strong,” the official said.” [Reuters]

“Tillerson pushes back on White House’s proposed cuts to State Department and USAID” by Josh Rogin: “The memo says that Tillerson… “is deeply concerned about the timing and the size of the reductions… We intend to make the strongest argument possible in our appeal that the Department needs this additional funding to ensure the United States remains active, engaged and influential throughout the world and that any changes to our mission or way or doing business occur in the context of the National Security Strategy.” … The White House’s proposal would shift almost all foreign military financing grants to loans, except for the security assistance committed to Israel, the memo states.” [WashPost]

“Bipartisan Support Behind Campaign Urging Trump Not to Cut anti-Semitism Envoy” by Amir Tibon: “A draft of the bipartisan letter… states that: “[A]s Members of Congress who care deeply about anti-Semitism at home and abroad, we urge you to maintain and prioritize the appointment of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.”” [Haaretz

“Floridian Congressman Touts U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem, Tours Potential Sites” by Eylon Aslan-Levy: “According to Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-Florida)—the chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security who led a two-day delegation to Israel over the weekend—President Trump is likely to announce in June that the U.S. Embassy in Israel will relocate to Jerusalem… The Congressman said the “most ready” location for relocating the embassy is the U.S. Consular Section in Talpiyot because it’s already “very well-guarded.” … Also under consideration are the Diplomat Hotel, inside that former no-man’s land, and “partial leased land” in Jerusalem, presumed to refer to an empty plot on Hebron Road. The congressional delegation is also considering using the U.S. Consulate in West Jerusalem, which serves as the U.S. diplomatic mission to the Palestinian Authority.” [Tablet

Introducing Lahav Harkov, the new contributor to Kafe Knesset. Lahav is the Jerusalem Post’s parliamentary reporter, and will be joining Tal Shalev in giving JI readers a glimpse into what’s driving the conversation among Israeli political leaders each day.

KAFE KNESSET — Trump interrupted Israeli police questioning Bibi — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Trump provided Netanyahu with a pleasant respite by dialing him during the five-hour police interrogation at Bibi’s residence last night. Bibi’s aides said it was a surprise call from the White House and that the main focus was Iran. Meanwhile, during the probe, Netanyahu was reportedly confronted with new and surprising information gathered from Arnon Milchan in recent days. According to sources close to the investigation, Milchan’s most recent testimony was dramatic and substantial. The police are still trying to reach Aussie billionaire James Packer, who, according to a new Ha’aretz exposé funded 25% of the alleged gifts from Milchan to the Netanyahu family. To date, the authorities have not been able to interview Packer.

According to other press reports, the police are hoping to question Sheldon Adelson, as well. Meanwhile, Yair Lapid is not waiting for the investigation to be concluded and Lapid is already preparing for the the next election. Lapid convened a special press conference today during which he introduced seven new members of his party – mayors from around the country. Lapid has invested a lot of effort in rallying support outside of the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem metropolitan areas and the local leaders – previously aligned with the Likud and Labor – pledged their support for Lapid, who explained the timing of the announcement with a clear-cut statement that “we are in election-year mode.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Israel’s opposition: A camp with a backpack” by Shmuel Rosner: “Labor is not just a party, it used to be a representative of a certain political camp. It used to be the main vehicle of political identity for Israel’s left of center. Its uncertain future is testimony to the fact that Israel’s left-of-center camp is not just having problems winning elections, it is having problems deciding what it is, what ideology it wants to pursue, what party can represent it, what type of leadership it needs. Israel’s left of center is drifting, its voters moving like nomads from one party to the other. They used to have a home: The Labor Party. They now have a backpack. Constantly on the move in search of a political miracle.” [JewishJournal]

INTERVIEW – Member of Knesset Yehuda Glick (Likud) spoke to JI’s Jacob Kornbluh at the Knesset yesterday about the possible relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem: “It can be done gradually. I don’t think that it should be done at once. Today, there is a Consulate in West Jerusalem. You don’t have to move the embassy there in one day. But for instance, why don’t you have the Ambassador come there once a month? The Jerusalem Consulate, currently, doesn’t work through Tel Aviv. They work through Amman (Jordan). They don’t have any connections. They can’t even send a fax from the Jerusalem office to the Tel Aviv office. The first thing should be done is to make contact between the two since they represent the same country. There should be an office at the Jerusalem Consulate where the ambassador comes and sits there once a month.”

“Instead of Trump issuing a waiver on June 1st like they have been doing automatically every six months, let him waive the Jerusalem Embassy Act but say that the U.S. has begun the process of relocating the embassy. Say that it’s happening. There’s no way he’s giving up his promise. I am not here to tell Trump what to do, and I am not going to sit with him with a timer and say, ‘Come on, you promised. Let’s go.’ You know, we have to remember, he doesn’t take orders from me and not from Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Glick’s 30-states solution as an alternative to the two-state solution: “You implement Israeli sovereignty all over Judea and Samaria and you give the Palestinians all human rights, full political rights, and you do it in a smart way that prevents them from becoming a majority. I believe that the whole Israeli system should change to a federal system. Just like you have 50 states in America, Israel should have 30 states – 20 of them Jewish and 10 of them non-Jewish (1 Beduin, 1 Druze, 3 Arab Israelis and 5 Palestinian Israelis) – and each regional state should be able to develop its uniqueness on its own. The Palestinians will be able to have their own state and together they will be part of Israel’s federal government. That way we preserve the Jewish majority and you give them to live their own life, just like New York, Texas and Utah.”

HAPPENING TODAY ON THE HILL — The Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing this morning to discuss the nomination of Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General. After Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation of the Trump Administration’s alleged ties with Russia, Rosenstein would play a central role in the proceedings, if confirmed. The session is expected to be tense as Democrats will question the U.S. Attorney from Maryland over whether he would support appointing a special prosecutor to examine Moscow’s involvement. “I will use every tool available to block this nomination if Rod Rosenstein fails to commit to appoint a special prosecutor,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Maryland Democratic Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen will introduce the Deputy Attorney General nominee. GOP Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will chair the session and he is expected to express reservations about the necessity of a special prosecutor. [CSPAN]

“Senators decry ‘accelerating’ anti-Semitic threats in bipartisan plea” by Elana Schor: “At least 97 senators will align Tuesday morning in a rare moment of bipartisanship to ask that the Trump administration offer help to Jewish Community Centers and other Jewish institutions facing a sharp rise in security threats this year… The senators not yet signing onto the letter — spearheaded by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — as of yet were Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).” [Politico] • Update: Sen. Paul (R-KY) has now signed on, bringing it to 98 senators [Twitter]

“David Friedman unfit to be ambassador to Israel” by Sen. Dianne Feinstein: “Friedman’s positions are so extreme that he tried to walk them back at his confirmation hearing. However, pandering for votes doesn’t negate a lifetime of radical views. If confirmed, I seriously doubt he would push for a two-state solution after so forcefully denouncing it in the past… Even more frightening, I feel his confirmation would only fan the flames of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” [SFChronicle

TAYLOR FORCE ACT: “Palestinian Authority must stop rewarding acts of terrorism” by Amos Yadlin and Moshe Yaalon: “Israel should not refrain from acting against these policies [of PA payments to terrorists and their families] simply because doing so entails risks. Firstly, a failure to respond to PA support for terrorists due to fear of institutional collapse sends the message that Israel seeks to keep the PA alive at any cost… If the PA were to collapse in response to Israeli pressure, which is far from certain, the consequences would be significant though manageable. President Donald Trump, who has expressed disdain for foreign aid, disgust at Islamic terrorism and staunch support of Israel will likely come out in favor of cutting off US taxpayer support to the PA.” [JPost]

“It’s a date: South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham to lunch with President Trump on Tuesday” by Emma Dumain: “This likely marks the very first time Graham and Trump have sat down together, for any length of time, face to face. It will be just the two of them… On Monday, Graham spoke favorably of the revised White House executive order banning travel to the United States from certain Muslim-majority countries.” [PostandCourier] 

“All Trump has to do is sound presidential to get everything he wants. Instead, he logs on to Twitter” by Jonah Goldberg: “And since Trump’s most loyal fans will celebrate anything he does, there’s no need to pander to them with the greatest hits anymore. In short, there is no downside and all manner of upside for Trump to play the part of a somewhat sober, serious, responsible president — even one with an ambitious populist-outsider agenda. Naturally, Trump opted for Plan B. Step 1: Destroy all hope on Twitter.” [LATimes]

LongRead: “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal” by Adam Davidson: “The Azerbaijanis behind the (Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku) project were close relatives of Ziya Mammadov, the Transportation Minister and one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful oligarchs… Ivanka Trump was the most senior Trump Organization official on the Baku project. In October, 2014, she visited the city to tour the site and offer advice… The Mammadov family… has been financially entangled with an Iranian family tied to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps… In 2008, the year that the tower was announced, Ziya Mammadov, in his role as Transportation Minister, awarded a series of multimillion-dollar contracts to Azarpassillo, an Iranian construction company… The available evidence strongly suggests that Ziya Mammadov conspired with an agent of the Revolutionary Guard to make overpriced deals that would enrich them both while allowing them to flout prohibitions against money laundering and to circumvent sanctions against Iran… The Baku deal appears to be the second time that the Trump Organization has turned a blind eye to U.S. efforts to sanction Iran.” [NewYorker

“Iran Nuclear Deal Could Be Gateway for Terrorism Legal Claims” by Charlie Savage: “Over the last two decades, since Congress carved out a terrorism case exception to the general rule that people cannot use American courts to sue foreign governments, victims of attacks have racked up more than $50 billion in default judgments against Iran… In the first case of its kind, a group of attack victims — including estates of people who were killed — who won one of the default judgments against Iran has gone to a European court to try to enforce it. A judge in Luxembourg has quietly put a freeze on $1.6 billion in assets belonging to Iran’s central bank, according to people familiar with the case.” [NYTimes] • Iran launched 2 ballistic missiles, US officials say [FoxNews

TALK OF THE TOWN: “N.Y. pols push increased penalties for cemetery vandals amid rise in anti-Semitic incidents” by Edgar Sandoval and Reuven Blau: ““There has been a rise of anti-Semitic hate crimes in our country,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney told reporters gathered inside her Upper East Side office… Maloney said she’s considering expanding the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, which protects foreign cemeteries, into U.S. territory… Maloney also wants to expand anti-Semitism prevention programs and penalties for desecrators.” [NYDailyNews

“De Blasio to visit Staten Island JCC Tuesday after bomb threats” by Anna Sanders: “De Blasio and Police Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill will both go to the Manor Road JCC for a “private meeting” and “VIP town hall” to discuss anti-Semitic crimes in the city… The Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island arranged the 10:30 a.m. event.” [SILive

** 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: Raiders’ Las Vegas stadium effort to be backed by Bank of America: The Raiders had been seeking a new partner for the proposed $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium after casino magnate Sheldon Adelson withdrew a $650 million pledge last month [10News] • Isaac Chetrit sues would-be buyer of Garment District office building for allegedly backing out [TRD

MEDIA WATCH: “‘Notoriously difficult’: Inside the unraveling of the Thrillist-JackThreads marriage of content and commerce” by Lucia Moses: “Few media executives have been more enthusiastic about the idea of melding content and commerce than Thrillist Media Group founder and publishing scion Ben Lerer… Back in 2010, Thrillist bought flash-sale site JackThreads for a skimpy $10 million, and Lerer gushed that it was a “win-win,” a “spectacular” company with “lots of potential.” But ultimately, Thrillist had to concede what Refinery29 did earlier, in 2013: that the e-commerce business is a low-margin grind, and content and commerce were hard to mix organizationally. In 2015, Thrillist spun off JackThreads into a standalone business.” [Digiday]

“Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks & Meryl Streep Team For Pentagon Papers Drama ‘The Post’” by Mike Fleming Jr: “A timely film about the vital role of the press in keeping government honest is coming together with a powerhouse cast. Steven Spielberg just said yes to direct Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in The Post… The film is a drama about the Washington Post’s role in exposing the Pentagon Papers in 1971, and how the Post’s editor Ben Bradlee and publisher Kay Graham challenged the federal government over their right to publish them.” [Deadline]

“Stony-faced Ivanka talks on her cell phone as she is driven out of her D.C. home in a chauffeured SUV while cheery Jared sets off for another day at the White House after weekend at Mar-a-Lago” by Jennifer Smith: “Ivanka Trump failed to raise a smile as she was driven out of her Washington D.C. home on Monday after a weekend with her family in Palm Beach. The First Daughter wore a steely expression as she chatted on her phone in the backseat of a chauffeured SUV. Earlier, her cheerier husband Jared Kushner emerged from the house ready for another day at work.” [DailyMail

“Twitter suspends former KKK leader’s account” by Kyle Feldscher: “David Duke’s Twitter account was temporarily suspended on Monday, according to the social media site. Duke’s Twitter page was inaccessible Monday afternoon during the suspension, the reason for which was not immediately clear.” [DCExaminer

SPORTS BLINK — Israel wins at World Baseball Classic again: “Ryan Lavarnway hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Nate Freiman added a three-run shot in the ninth to help Israel beat Taiwan 15-7 Tuesday and improve to 2-0 in the World Baseball Classic. After beating Pool A host South Korea and Taiwan in its first two games, Israel would clinch a spot in the second round with a win over the Netherlands on Wednesday.” [USAToday]

“NYC’s Kosher Le Marais Steakhouse—What’s Not to Like?” by John Mariani: “After saying that Le Marais is a kosher steakhouse and noting that it serves no dairy products or shellfish and must close on Friday evenings and Saturdays, I have said all I need to about its differences from a non-kosher steakhouse. And that was the guiding principle when a non-Jewish Portuguese named José Meirelles took the advice of his lawyers to open a kosher steakhouse (he was already partner at the non-kosher Les Halles bistro). After first sourcing some of the finest beef available, Meirelles went out and hired an Irish-American chef named Mark Hennessey.” [HuffPost

BIRTHDAYS: Nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Times since 1984, author and social observer, Suzanne Bregman Fields, Ph.D. turns 81… Biologist, president of the California Institute of Technology (1997-2006) and 1975 Nobel laureate in Medicine, David Baltimore turns 79… Bureau chief for the AP in Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, London and Tokyo, president of the National Press Club in 2014, since 2005 a journalism educator at George Washington University, Myron Belkind turns 77… Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company from 1984 – 2005, Michael Eisner turns 75… Retired media executive who was a member of the first co-ed class at Yale University in 1969, Ruth Barbara Jarmul turns 68… Vice-Chairman and general trust counsel of Fiduciary Trust International, Gail Ehrlich Cohen turns 61… Academy Award winning actress, Rachel Weisz turns 47… Brooklyn-based political consultant and attorney focused on media relations, formerly director of intergovernmental affairs for Senator Schumer, Michael Tobman turns 44…

Award-winning freelance journalist, author and adjunct professor at Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland, Anne Farris Rosen… Senior publicist in the media relations group at MSNBC, Rachel Zuckerman… Assistant News Director for DC’s NBC4 News, adjunct professor of journalism at American U, Matt Glassman… Staff writer for U.S. News & World Report covering law enforcement, criminal justice, STEM and healthcare, Alan Neuhauser… Democratic political strategist, SVP at TruBlu Politics, Lewis H. Cohen (h/ts Playbook)… Jake Hirth… Sasha Ahuva Farahi… Yaakov Spira

Gratuity not included. We love receiving news tips but we also gladly accept tax deductible tips. 100% of your donation will go directly towards improving Jewish Insider. Thanks! [PayPal]

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Daily Kickoff: Trump’s Shabbat Tweets | Israel — dubbed Jamaican bobsled team of WBC — upsets South Korea | Tony Blair as Trump’s Middle East envoy?

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AND TRUMP TWEETED ON THE SEVENTH DAY… “Inside Trump’s fury: The president rages at leaks, setbacks and accusations” by Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Ashley Parker: “President Donald Trump spent the weekend at “the winter White House,” Mar-a-Lago, the secluded Florida castle where he is king… His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner – celebrated as calming influences on the tempestuous president – joined him. But they were helpless to contain his fury.” [WashPost]

Mike Allen in Axios AM: “Six weeks (44 days) into his presidency, Donald Trump, when left alone because Jared and Ivanka are observing the Sabbath, still bangs out tweets (with episodic misspellings) making wild accusations based on flimsy or nonexistent evidence.” [Axios

Jason Zengerle: “Jared Kushner should really look into hiring a Shabbos goy.” [Twitter]

“Sabbath’s Tweeter: A scientific examination of the garbage Trump posts on Jared and Ivanka’s day of rest” by Andrew Kahn: “As of this writing, Trump has tweeted 1,257 times—plus anything he’s deleted—since he received his party’s nomination for president on July 19, 2016. If we skim off Trump’s copy-and-paste retweets, that number falls to 1,171. According to the conventional wisdom, only tweets sent from an Android device were written by Trump himself. There are 918 of those within this group. Seventy-seven were sent between sundown on a Friday and sundown on a Saturday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s sunset estimates at the longitude and latitude of Trump Tower. (Many observant Jews start Shabbat a bit earlier and end a bit later, but those rabbinically sanctioned cutoffs are not easily accessible in my statistical software.)” [Slate• All of Trump’s Saturday tweets since taking office [Axios]

Noga Tarnopolsky: “To proponents of the Shabbat Tweeting hypothesis: Jared & Ivanka Kushner are with Trump in Florida this weekend & it hasn’t really helped.” [Twitter

John Podhoretz: “If it is true that Trump needs the Kushners around on Shabbat not to be crazy, I hereby approve Jared’s conversion to goy.” [Twitter]

TOP TALKER: “Tony Blair’s secret White House summit in bid to work for Trump” by Simon Walters: “The former Prime Minister held talks with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday with a view to becoming a Middle East peace envoy for Trump. This newspaper has learned that Blair and Kushner have met three times in secret since September, including their three-hour summit in the West Wing last week… A well-placed source said Blair’s role could be as Kushner’s senior adviser: ‘Blair has been pitching hard for this job and Trump’s people are taking him very seriously.’” [DailyMail• Tony Blair denies report he was offered job as Trump’s Middle East peace envoy [Independent]

Amid a wave of anti-Semitism, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Israel yesterday to deliver a message of ‘Hineini’ — by JI’s Jacob Kornbluh covering Cuomo in Jerusalem: “New York’s principles are built on a rock. They will not change, and the political winds will not change them,” Cuomo said in a joint appearance with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, following a tour of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. “To the people of Israel, I say that these acts will not be tolerated. New York State has reacted aggressively with extraordinary measures, more aggressively than any other state in the nation – I am proud to say.” Cuomo said the purpose of this 24-hour trip was to send a message: “Hineini. I am here. I’ve been here before. I will be here again. Our relationship is enduring. The relationship between the people of the Jewish community and the state of New York is built on mutual support and respect. It’s built on love. And that will not change.” [JewishInsider

— During a press conference at the King David hotel, Cuomo also announced the launch of a 22-member joint commission that will explore new opportunities to strengthen economic and cultural ties between New York and Israel, chaired by Mort Zuckerman, along with Malcolm Hoenlein, Howard Zemsky, Linda Mirel and OU’s Allen Fagin who will serve as co-chairs. Members include Stuart Appelbaum, AIPAC’s Bob Cohen, Abe Foxman, George Klein, JCRC’s Michael Miller, Rabbi Joe Potasnik, Jack Bendheim, Burton Resnick, Bill Rudin, Charles Temel, Randi Weingarten, Sol Werdiger, Jeffrey Richard, Alisa Doctoroff, Sara Berman, and Howard Zucker.

Addressing the U.S.-Israel relationship and erosion of support for Israel within the Democratic Party, Cuomo told Jewish Insider, that one of the reasons he formed an economic development cooperation with Israel is because “there are political divides that are getting harsher and louder and people now debate whether you need Israel as a strategic ally — even though I don’t believe there is anything to debate about. When I took the anti-BDS action, I can tell you there was quite a bit of opposition. I think fortifying the relationship with the cultural and economic aspects, will make the relationship even stronger and clearer for all Americans.”

Cuomo on Jerusalem Embassy: “Look, Jerusalem is the capital [of Israel]. But it’s certainly a security concern, and that would be a decision that you would have to talk to Israel about. And whatever is in their best interest, I think, should govern.”

PHOTO: Cuomo at the Western Wall [Pic

Dan Shapiro, who attended Cuomo’s business roundtable, tells us: “Speaking as a private citizen, I am touched by Gov. Cuomo’s decision to come on such short notice to hit a couple of very important notes. One is a message of solidarity at a time when the U.S. Jewish community is feeling vulnerable because of the anti-Semitic incidents over the last weeks, and tying that to the vulnerability Israelis always feel because of the threats they face. And the second, expressing his commitment to deepening the economic partnership between New York and Israel, of course as part of a larger economic partnership between the two nations. It’s a source of incredible opportunity, a mutual benefit already, and with the sky as a limit for what can be achieved. And on top of that, it is the best answer to the voice calling for BDS. Gov. Cuomo has been a leading voice to oppose BDS.””

HOW IT PLAYED: “Cuomo, in Whirlwind Tour of Jerusalem, Shows Support for Israel” by Jesse McKinley: “He toured. He prayed. He visited an ancient tomb. He broke bread, cracked jokes and even wedged in some Albany arm-twisting. And he prompted flags to appear all over, even in the middle of cobblestone streets… But as with all things Cuomo lately, the trip is also being seen through the prism of politics, particularly the continued speculation about the governor’s potential presidential ambitions. It is a notion he has been actively tamping down, even if his actions — such as a last-minute trip to a country that looms large in discussions of American foreign policy — seem to feed the idea. “It’s unfortunate in many ways because it suggests a political nature to everything, which frankly fuels the cynicism about the whole process,” said Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, who added that anti-Semitism was a personal issue: Two of his sisters are married to Jewish men. “If you really care, you show up,” he said. “And I really care.” [NYTimes]

“Former US envoy to Israel to join Tel Aviv-based think tank” by Alexander Fulbright: “Dan Shapiro will join the Institute for National Security studies as a visiting fellow… INSS cited Shapiro’s “rich experience” working on issues pertaining to Israel and the Middle East in its decision to hire him, pointing not only to his work as ambassador, but also as a member of the US National Security Council and an adviser on foreign affairs to Congress.” [ToI]

“In Israel, Lauding and Lamenting the Era of Trump” by Ian Fisher: “The unenviable challenge facing the Israeli government is how to express its visceral horror over the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the U.S. without becoming a pawn in America’s partisan debate or jeopardizing its critical working relationship with the administration,” said Shalom Lipner…” [NYTimes]

“US delegation in Israel to study relocation of embassy to Jerusalem” by Tovah Lazaroff: “”The delegation (led by Congressman Ron DeSantis) is in Jerusalem to learn first hand what it will mean to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Ruth Lieberman, a friend of DeSantis and a political advisor in Israel. “Its leadership intends to return to Congress with a report and a deeper understanding of what to expect, and of some of the decisions that have to be made as well,” Lieberman said… The delegation will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli political leaders during their visit.” [JPost• Will US move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem? [CNN

“Trump Team’s Links to Russia Crisscross in Washington” by Scott Shane and Andrew Kramer: “And Jason Greenblatt, a former Trump Organization lawyer and now a special representative for international negotiations at the White House, met last summer with Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia and an ally of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.” [NYTimes

“Trump pleads for cash at closed donor retreat” by Darren Samuelsohn and Marc Caputo: “At one point, he poked fun at Steve Wynn, the RNC finance chair and billionaire owner of a Las Vegas casino, for not backing him at the start of the 2016 campaign. Wynn, who initially backed Sen. Marco Rubio, wasn’t the only one in the room to have initially picked a different horse in the 2016 Republican primary race, drawing Trump’s scorn at the time.” [Politico

“Ivanka Trump Tours Holocaust Museum as Father Considers Visit” by Jennifer Jacobs: “Ivanka Trump took a private tour of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum this week without her father, who is considering his own visit… She was accompanied by her mother- and father-in-law, Charles and Seryl Kushner. Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner’s late grandmother, Rae Kushner, was a Holocaust survivor who helped found the Holocaust Museum.” [Bloomberg

THIS WEEK ON THE HILL: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on whether to confirm David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel on Thursday.

“JFNA’s Sandler taking heat for support of David Friedman” by Eitan Arom: “The comments reported in the press were in response to a question directed to me about David Friedman and reflected my personal view, based upon my analysis of the situation and my personal contact with Mr. Friedman,” Sandler wrote in an email to JFNA trustees… Others in the community were more disappointed than angry about Sandler’s comments. “He’s done a lot for both the L.A. as well as the national Jewish community,” Adam Wergeles, a co-founder of the West L.A. congregation IKAR, told the Journal… “And it is upsetting to see someone like Sandler — who’s kind of using his stature — to support what felt to me like Friedman’s very convenient and self-serving retraction.” [JewishJournal]

“The End of the Libertarian Dream? Long on the fringes of American politics, small-government conservatives were closer than ever to mainstream acceptance. Then two things happened: Donald Trump and Jihadi John” by Tim Alberta: “I think the McCain-Graham wing of the party is withering,” Amash tells me in his office, referring to South Carolina’s hawkish senator. “It was dominant 10 or 15 years ago on foreign policy matters and surveillance and other things. But today, it’s a rather weak force compared to a decade ago in D.C. And it’s almost nonexistent at home.” And yet, Trump also pledged to oversee a massive military buildup. He threatened to “bomb the shit out of” the Islamic State; suggested killing the families of terrorists; expressed an interest in seizing Iraq’s sovereign oil; advocated the return of torture; and, in his inaugural address, declared he would eradicate Islamist terrorism “from the face of the Earth.” When I mention all this, Amash bursts out laughing. “Not exactly a libertarian philosophy,” I say. “No,” he shakes his head. “It’s not.”” [Politico

“Israeli Arab Leader Angers J Street by Criticizing Labor Party” by Chaim Levinson: “While addressing J Street’s national conference in Washington last week, Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh lashed out at the Zionist Union, saying the center-left party “failed” in its role as the opposition, and ignoring a request by J Street not to criticize the party. As Odeh left the podium following his speech, the visibly angry J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami demonstrably did not shake Odeh’s hand, sources present said.” [Haaretz

KAFE KNESSET — Buzz on Balfour — by Tal Shalev: Police investigators are set to arrive to the Prime Minister’s Balfour residence this afternoon for the fourth time to continue the probe of “File 1000,” concerning alleged gifts from millionaires Arnon Milchan and James Packer, and “File 2000,” regarding his contacts with Noni Mozes, the publisher of the Yedioth Aharonoth daily. For weeks the police have been waiting to continue questioning Netanyahu but due to his constant traveling lately it took quite a while to coordinate the meeting. Today, Netanyahu cancelled the weekly Likud faction meeting and will be facing some difficult questions instead. Police chief Roni Alsheikh said today that “we are at the end, and now conducting last supplements of the investigation. We don’t have much left to complete and the minute we are finished we will reach a conclusion and pass is it on to the Attorney General.”

Meanwhile, right wing pressure on Netanyahu is growing. The PM succeeded in postponing until next week the ministerial vote on the Maale Adumim bill, which seeks to apply Israeli sovereignty on that West Bank city.  Defense Minister Liberman told the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs committee today that Israel received a clear message from the Trump administration that applying sovereignty to Maale Adumim will lead to a crisis. Meanwhile, the Jewish Home party is not sitting still and is also pushing Netanyahu to stand by his commitment to establish a new settlement for the Amona evacuees.

Netanyahu has denied reports that he is reconsidering the Amona resettlement move due to White House pressure, but Bennet and friends apparently don’t believe him. Minister Uri Ariel has started to circulate a draft of a government resolution that will start the planning and construction of the settlement. Yesterday at the weekly meeting of coalition party heads, Bennet asked Netanyahu about what is happening with the new settlement and pointed out that the residents are now on a hunger strike. “Its complicated. We haven’t reached understandings with the US yet. We are committed to finding a solution and don’t need more pressure or any recommendations.” Liberman also weighed in, and with humor asked Bennet “Where are they on strike? I need to lose some weight, perhaps I’ll join them.” This reply provoked a strong and angry reaction from the Amona settlers. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

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

SPOTLIGHT: “Financiers Fight Over the American Dream” by Sheelah Kolhatkar: “Ackman grew up in the affluent New York City suburb of Chappaqua, where his father ran a brokerage firm. He graduated from Harvard College and then Harvard Business School, where he was on the rowing team, and had a reputation as someone who couldn’t keep his opinions to himself. He and the rest of the team had rowed with oars adorned with dollar signs. “Let’s face up to what HBS represents,” he wrote in the student newspaper. “We spend 90% of our studies at HBS pursuing the maximization of the dollar.”

“Ackman wasn’t prepared for what came next, however. Two weeks later, the legendary investor Carl Icahn lashed out at Ackman and his Herbalife play on Bloomberg Television. “It’s no secret I don’t like Ackman,” Icahn said. “I think if you’re short you go short, and, hey, if it goes down, you make money. You don’t go out and get a roomful of people to bad-mouth the company. If you want to be in that business, why don’t you go and join the S.E.C.?” He went on, “I don’t respect him. . . . Don’t be holier than thou and say, ‘Look, I’m doing this for the good of the world, and I want to see sunshine on Herbalife.’ I mean, that’s bullshit.” “I’ve really sort of had it with this guy Ackman,” Icahn said. “He’s like the crybaby in the schoolyard. I went to a tough school in Queens, and they used to beat up the little Jewish boys. He was like one of these little Jewish boys, crying that the world was taking advantage of him.” [NewYorker]

“VCs, startups: Stop networking so much” by Bradley Tusk: “My advice to the venture and startup community is this: Stop talking so much. Stop meeting with each other so much. Stop drinking so much coffee. Focus on your product, your service, your technology. Focus on your investments, your portfolio companies, your value proposition. Just knowing lots of other people who do roughly the same thing you do is not all that useful.” [VB]

The rise of the useless class: “Historian Yuval Noah Harari makes a bracing prediction: just as mass industrialization created the working class, the AI revolution will create a new unworking class.” [Ideas.Ted]

“Do People Look Like Their Names?” by Daniel Akst: “In a series of intriguing experiments, [Yonat] Zwebner and colleagues at Israel’s Hebrew University and IDC Herzliya and France’s HEC Paris found that volunteers shown a headshot of a person and four or five possible names can pick the correct name at a significantly higher rate than chance… In one experiment, volunteers in Israel were shown 25 neutral photos of young, Israeli-born adults known by their reasonably common first names (not nicknames). Shown a picture of a young man, people might be asked, for example, if his given name was Yaakov, Dan, Yosef or Netanel. The volunteers got the right answer 30% of the time, compared with the 25% rate expected if everyone had simply guessed.” [WSJ]   

HEARD OVER THE WEEKEND – Jeffrey Goldberg discusses rise in anti-Semitism on NPR’s Weekend Edition: “These things happened before Donald Trump… What happened right now, I think, is because of a certain narrative just developed around Donald Trump. People are saying this is the cause of these incidents. And I just think that that might be a little bit premature or a little bit oversimplistic. We’ve had serious incidents of anti-Semitism in this country for years and years and years. They did not start on January 20.” [NPR

MEDIA WATCH: “The Declining Fortunes of Women at The Times” by Liz Spayd: “Men accounted for 61 percent of the bylines that appeared in the front section of The Times last year, according to data soon to be published by the Women’s Media Center… That put The Times in the middle of the pack, which is a vast improvement over the previous two years, when it ranked last. (Partial credit surely goes to political correspondent Maggie Haberman, whose byline, I’m told, drew more page views last year than any other reporter at The Times — an eye-popping 141 million.)” [NYTimes

TRANSITION: JI reader Herbert Block was appointed last week as the American Zionist Movement (AZM) new Executive Director. He is succeeding Karen Rubinstein who is retiring after 40 years with AZM.

DESSERT: “Israeli Cabinet Makes Move to Decriminalize Recreational Marijuana Use” by Ian Fisher: “Israel, which has been at the forefront of research into medical marijuana and the drug’s commercialization, took a major step on Sunday toward officially decriminalizing its recreational use. At a time when many American states and European countries are loosening marijuana laws, the Israeli cabinet approved a plan that would impose fines rather than criminal penalties on those caught using the drug in public.” [NYTimes]

SPORTS BLINK: “With Mirth and a Mensch, Israel Upsets South Korea in W.B.C.” by Ken Belson: “When Sam Fuld, a journeyman outfielder, hit a line-drive single to open an exhibition game between Team Israel and a squad representing the South Korean Army the other day, one of his teammates on the bench, third baseman Cody Decker, yelled, “Nobody, and I mean nobody, no-hits the Jews!” The exhortation was part bravado, part sarcasm, part siren call. Team Israel is one of the lowest-ranked of the 16 teams in the World Baseball Classic that began here in Seoul on Monday… But miracle of miracles, Israel won its tournament debut on Monday by beating South Korea, 2-1.” [NYTimes]

“Team Israel — and its mascot, Mensch on a Bench — is the Jamaican bobsled team of the WBC” by Eddie Matz: “Hollywood isn’t the only place where [Ty] Kelly’s networking skills have helped him. Last spring training in Port St. Lucie, a conversation with a couple of Jewish fans about Kelly’s background (his mother is Jewish) led to a phone call from Peter Kurz, president of the IAB (Israel Association of Baseball). Prior to that call, Kelly — whose father is Irish Catholic and who was baptized while in elementary school — had no clue that he even qualified for Team Israel. “I always figured that if I played in the WBC, it’d be based on my Irish or German ancestors,” he says. A year later, thanks to the Classic’s “Heritage Rule,” he’s rocking the Star of David on his cap, part of a decidedly anonymous roster that screams what-could’ve-been.” [ESPNUSAToday

BIRTHDAYS: Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006, Alan Greenspan turns 91… Actor, writer, director, producer and political activist, directed “When Harry Met Sally” and “A Few Good Men,” Rob Reiner turns 70… Musical theatre lyricist and composer, winner of three Oscars, three Grammys and received six Tony Award nominations, Stephen Schwartz turns 69… Actor, comedian and sports show host, converted to Judaism upon marrying Roseanne Barr in 1990, Tom Arnold turns 58… Head of Innovation Communication at Bloomberg LP, Chaim Haas turns 42… Former football quarterback who played on six NFL teams (2001-2012), member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Sage Rosenfels turns 39… Fourth generation developer, owner, and operator of commercial real estate throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region, Daniel Klein turns 36… Israeli fashion model who has appeared in international campaigns for many world-wide brands, Esti Ginzburg turns 27… Artist and founder / director of Tikkun Olam Journeys, introducing young Americans to a cross-section of social causes in Israel, Tova Suissa… Senior director for business development and client services at NYC-based Jewish Communal Fund, Michelle Lebowitz… Princeton University student who interned for Senator Marco Rubio, Theodore Furchtgott… University of Miami student who is a member of the Israel Project’s Tower Tomorrow Fellowship, Riley Clafton… Aliza Tendler… Sandra Brown… Nelson Katz

Gratuity not included. We love receiving news tips but we also gladly accept tax deductible tips. 100% of your donation will go directly towards improving Jewish Insider. Thanks! [PayPal]

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